In the 1960s, the Rev. Walter Fauntroy was at the right hand of Martin Luther King, and later became the D.C. congressman. He even ran for mayor. But now, the civil rights veteran and his wife of 60 years, Dorothy, are facing foreclosure. And a group of ministers are holding a major fundraising campaign to pay off mortgage liens, penalties and interest on the Fauntroy home. News4’s Tom Sherwood reports.

There are many lessons in this news report. Hearing that anyone is facing foreclosure saddens me. To hear that it is someone who served and sacrificed for most of his adult life has an even more profound impact.

One of the reasons why having a solid personal financial plan is essential is because it can help avoid scenarios like this. In 2001, I recall my 79 year old grandmother clearly stating that she wished that she would have had a better financial plan shortly after my grandfather died. The look of despair on her face was heartbreaking. It was a conversation that I will never forget. It was also the day that I decided to focus attention on a solid personal financial plan.

  • Personal lessons I walked away with from the news report. Because I do not have the full context behind each financial decision, I will only focus on what was presented in the report.

1. The house was paid off but they refinanced the house to help others. I can’t help but to wonder how many of those people are coming to help save their home. Sometimes our kindness can leave us in a challenging situation. What I have learned from this is very simple. If I do not have the disposable resources, then I cannot afford it. Going into debt to pay someone else’s debt is unwise and not an option for me. Proverbs 11:5, Proverbs 22:26-27

2. The amount owed is more than $700,000. This left me with more questions than anything. It was a clear reminder that a primary home that has a mortgage is a liability as long as the bank owns it and I have to pay out of my pocket for it.

I share this story as an encouragement for anyone reading it to place priority on having a concrete, long-term personal finance plan. This is one reason why I encouraging paying off a primary residence and resisting the temptation to “dip” into what appears to be a “piggy bank”. Proverbs 22:7 is very clear about who is in the position of power when debt is involved.

I certainly wish the Fauntroy’s all the best but I also hope that we will take heed with this situation.