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Break away from debt, breakthrough for wealth

/ 03:59 AM December 20, 2015
“THE DEBT-FREE Lifestyle” by Andrew Liuson CSM Publishing, 2015

“THE DEBT-FREE Lifestyle” by Andrew Liuson CSM Publishing, 2015

“Till debt do us part.” That is a parody of that beautiful vow during a marriage ceremony when two people about to become one in a marital union say: “Till death do us part,” affirming a union that will last a lifetime.

“Till debt do us part” is certainly said in jest, and yet is telling an awful truth that mounting debt can break up a marriage, harm a business partnership—or, worse, collapse a business enterprise.

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This book addresses the need to be debt-free as the first order of business. And then as the book progresses, the idea comes across that after being “debt-free,” one can now proceed to experience success, prosperity—and to pile up a fortune.

And yet this is not your usual “getting rich” book or “making your first million” guide—or being No. 1. Because this book recognizes a nobler cause for breaking free from debt and— may I add—scoring a breakthrough for wealth.

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The book reminds its readers of the concept of stewardship— that any material wealth given to anyone is one “given in trust” —yes, to a steward, with a clear accountability “at the end of the day.”

Struggling through debt

 

Author Andrew I. Liuson co-founded Cityland, a famous name in condominium building in the country, with Stephen Roxas, his brother in law. All CityLand structures sport at the topmost floor these words: “In God We Trust.”

In the book’s preface, the question is asked: “Does Andrew Liuson, a successful businessman, know how it feels to be in debt?”

“Perhaps, you think I do not,” Liuson replies. And he goes on to tell a story of his own struggle with debt, a life of cash shortage and a future of uncertainty. He harks back to the 1970s when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) “instituted an embargo against the West for supporting Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the oil price spiked from $3 to $12 a barrel.”

The resulting oil shortage and high prices, as we now know in history, created a worldwide recession, and the Philippine economy deteriorated. The author is not unfamiliar with liquidity problems.

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He reveals: “My responsibility was to extend the bank loans that kept maturing, while I continued paying exorbitant interest.” Sounds uncanny familiar?

He confesses: “I balanced low sales and slow collections with recurring payrolls and mounting payable due. It was a draining task that got harder each day as finances dried up. Money ran out and the company sank deeper into debt.” “Sounds family” as associates joking say, citing the familiarity of being debt-laden as a lifestyle.

This is precisely the “debt-free lifestyle” that Liuson’s book wants readers to leave behind —so they will be spared from hurt or heartaches—and, serious from serious business loss or bankruptcy.

Ten principles

The author advances these principles: (1) Your Calling in God’s Economy, (2) The One Thing You Must Do, (3) End a Deadly Practice, (4) What to Do with Debt, (5) A Proven Way out of Poverty, (6) Plan Your Children’s Future, (7) Cultivate the Winning Attitude, (8) The Essential Ingredient of Success, (8) Make Your Money Make More Money, (9) Learn the Secret Formula, and (10) How Be Debt Free Forever.

“God’s Economy,” according to Liuson, recognizes God as Owner of all, “and He has appointed us to take care of His creation… to administer every resource and every blessing.” The advantage of being an administrator is, when a really big problem comes, the owner comes to the rescue.

The “One-Thing-You-Must-Do” Principle gives the wisest but rarely practiced advice: Have a budget, instead of yielding to impulse spending. Easy? Use an envelope for every essential or non-essential expense.

He has this witty advice with a warning: “When you shop for food, you’ll spend only the money found in that envelope. When it runs out, that means you should stop buying food.” It’s like saying, stop breathing!

One or no credit card at all. What’s the “deadly practice” mentioned in Principle 3? It’s the ubiquitous, powerful, addictive credit card! What’s Liuson’s advice: “Cut your credit card” into pieces. “If necessary,” he quickly adds. Then he tells a heartbreaking story of a Nestor, who has eight credit cards, and piled up half a million of debt in the principal alone!

He relents about credit cards, and dishes out four tips in using these cards: (1) Get one credit card only, (2) Never recklessly charge to your credit card all purchases that you can pay with cash, (3) Pay the total bill on time, and (4) Don’t be greedy for points (or be seduced by points).

And what’s the secret formula in Principle 10? Liuson volunteers the “10:20:70 Formula.” It is a shorthand to “Tithe 10 percent, Save 20 percent, Spend 70 percent. He advances the concept of tithing (10 percent of your income) as mentioned in Genesis 14:18 of the Scriptures —believed by Catholics and other Christians faiths.

Debt-free forever?

And he cites a policy among Cityland founders that every stockholder should be a “tither.” He attributes the continuing growth and expansion of this condominium builder to giving the tenth to God’s work— meaning, in a church, a chapel or any of God’s “storehouses.”

So becoming “debt-free” is an attainable goal after all. Even the poorest of the poor can achieve such a feat. And then move on realizing wealth, creating wealth—and “honoring God with your wealth.”

As I said earlier, this is is a different guide to getting out of the present-day bondage—financial debt. An evangelical leader as he is, Liuson advises readers to be debt-free forever. He just leaves these thoughts to ponder:

“What good would it do to live free from financial debt in this life only to find out that we have an unsettled debt to pay in the afterlife?”

After reading this book, living up to the 10 principles of a debt-free lifestyle, one realizes that the issue of debt has material and spiritual dimensions. And it is necessary to settle both dimensions soonest. As one author puts it, not Liuson, “Nothing is settled until it is settled right.”

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TAGS: Andrew I. Liuson, business principles, CityLand, Debt, The debt-free lifestyle, wealth
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