“May I say something about interest? Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours; it never has short crops nor droughts; it never pays taxes; it buys no food; it wears no clothes; it is un-housed and without home and so has no repairs, no replacements, no shingling, plumbing, painting, or white-washing; it has neither wife, children, father, mother, nor kinfolk to watch over and care for; it has no expense of living; it has neither weddings nor births nor deaths; it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff.
Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away for it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, nor orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you ( Improvement Era, vol. 41, June 1938, 328).
The time has come to get our houses in order! (Gordon B. Hinckley) “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:77). “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8). And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also” (Mosiah 4:28).
“Behold, it is said in my laws, or forbidden, to get into debt - behold it is my will that you shall pay all your debts” (D&C 64: 27). “If thou borrowest of thy neighbor, thou shalt restore that which thou hast borrowed; and if thou canst not repay then go straightway and tell thy neighbor, lest he condemn thee (D&C 136:25).
The American Barr Association has indicated that 89 percent of all divorces can be traced to quarrels and accusations over money. Others have estimated that 75 percent of all divorces result from clashes over finances. Professional counselors indicate that four out of five families are strapped with serious money problems. These Marriage tragedies are not caused by lack of money, but rather by the mismanagement of personal finances (Elder Marvin J. Ashton). In the home, money management between husband and wife should be on a partnership basis, with both parties having a voice in decision and policy making (Elder Marvin J. Ashton).
“The possession of wealth or the acquisition of significant income is not a mark of heavenly favor, and their absence is not evidence of heavenly disfavor.” “Those who brood over the prosperity or seeming happiness of the wicked put to much emphasis on material things.”
“Well-meaning relatives have broken up many a home. Numerous divorces are attributable to the interference of parents who thought they were only protecting their loved children. Live in your own home even though it be but a modest cottage or a tent. Live your own life” (“John and Mary, Beginning Life Together,” New Era, June 1975, 4).
A letter from a male student received October 30, 2014 : Brother Pyper! I really just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your class. I really do enjoy the material being taught. Today was especially thought provoking; and I applaud you for your financial success. I’m 25, and RM, and currently enrolled in my 5 th semester studying History Education. I plan on receiving a MA in Education Administration, and possibly a Doctorate. I know I want to be a teacher in Wyoming (as they pay more), and eventually a HS Principal. My Patriarchal blessing is very clear about my education, and prompts me to get as much as I possibly can, and that I can “excel in the field of my choice.” I have every confidence of that. I trust in the Lord’s promises. What I have been doubting is myself. I long considered an accounting route. Not because of a passion for it, but because of its security. In my mind, almost no degrees equate with an accounting degree. My closest friend graduated from here with a BA in Accounting. By brother-in-law is a CPA, but chose to go into real estate. After many talks with my friend, I decided to change my major to Accounting. At the beginning of this semester, I enrolled in two Econ courses, and one accounting course. I stuck it out three days. Ha. I knew I was being unfair to myself. I would have been miserable had I stayed in that pathway. So, I went to the Academic Discovery Center almost pathetically desperate for help and guidance.
You know….one of those moments where you feel so totally frustrated with your progress, and you still can’t decide what to study. But, I went and spoke with them. And, they pointed me in the right direction. And, I can say with confidence that I feel good about my degree and my desired occupation. I really appreciated what you said today. I truly want to make a lot of money. But, I don’t want a miserable occupation. And, I feel that I can be successful teaching in WY, and become a principal or superintendent. But, I wanted to write to you and vent a little. It’s clear students feel comfortable approaching you, and confiding in you; and I appreciate that. Thank you. My dad has always put bread on the table. He has always cared for the family, and has worked hard for my family. When I was younger (before the 4 th grade), my parents had a large home, and a lot of kids. I remember those Christmas’s being so big. Presents everywhere. Ya know….like Home Alone List in New York big Christmas’s. And then, it seems liked they all just went away. My parents are faithful members, but I know even for a while they refused paying their tithing. In the 4 th grade, my family and I moved here, to Rigby. I spent the next four years here. And, for two or three of those Christmas’s we had nothing. I mean nothing. We put a tree up, but there wasn’t a single present under it. It’s like the Grinch made his way in before Christmas Eve. And, I’m not complaining. I’ve always felt like I’ve been blessed with understanding. And, witnessing the “crucifixion of my father’s soul” really impacted me.
In the 8 th grade, my family and I moved back to Washington….where it seemed things were much better. Financial stress seemed to level out….the fighting seemed to calm down, and spirits seemed to be higher. Then, halfway through my senior year, my parents again moved me back to Idaho; this time Idaho Falls. The next two years sucked. They sucked bad. My dad lost his job in Washington, and he went a few months unemployed. I’ve seen my dad unshaven about twice in my life. And, I don’t think he even bathed or changed out of his sleeping gown. Seeing my dad like that was hell. It seriously made me so depressed, and I felt so bad for him. All the money that I had been saving the last year (to buy a new road bike) went to buy the family groceries (which I understood. I wasn’t upset). What upset me was that they didn’t tell me that they had been using my money for groceries. But, it wasn’t a surprise to me that they had….as the contention level again had risen, and fights were becoming the norm again. Now I know most parents fight. I know they have their disagreements. But, I remember fights so viscous I was so confused why they didn’t divorce. I remember wishing they would….if it meant we didn’t have to listen to their fighting. My older siblings were not witnesses to a lot of these fights. But, they’ve been ingrained in my memory, and I’ve wondered if these are not the reasons for my not being married. Nothing infuriates me more than controlling behavior, manipulation, and nit-picking.
I’ve witnessed my parents’ marriage, and told myself I’d rather be alone the rest of my life than live in a relationship like that. So, we moved back to Idaho for my senior year, and in preparation for my mission. We moved in with my aunt, who was a traveling nurse and often left her nice home vacant. She graciously offered us to come live there till we could get back on our feet. That’s when the fighting got really bad. Some school nights we couldn’t fall asleep because the yelling would last till 3 or 4 in the morning. To be brief, my parents have either had a lot of money or none. I love my parents so much, and I’m grateful for them. Really, I love my parents. They’ve just had a few rough patches. But my deepest insecurities were again realized today in class. I guess my parents never taught me a lot of financial self-discipline. And I’ve seen three of my siblings go through college with as much as 40K in debt. Being young and dumb, I’ve collect 15K. A number I’m truly not proud of. It makes me sick, and it is my goal to not take out another loan for my BA. And, I know I can do it. If I need to sell my car, I will. But, what has always worried me so much about getting into a serious relationship is telling her that I have 15K in debt. I hate reading church counsel on the topic, because it’s something that I’ve struggled with. And, it seems like many of the girls I take out (the one I’m crushing on right now) come from very wealthy families, whose parents pay for their car, phone, insurance, tuition, and rent. I’m not envious at all. But, I’ve never had the luxury of having things paid for. Consequently, it makes me insecure. I hate the debt that I have; and these girls coming from their comfortable backgrounds will never know what it’s like to have only $10 in the bank account.
I feel like they will look down on me so much if they knew what debt I’ve collected, and how much my family has struggled with finances. It’s hard. But, witnessing all this has distilled on me a strong desire to excel. I want to graduate with no more loans. I want to consider retirement plans now to bless my future family. I know I’ll get married; I just don’t know when or to who. I’ve often felt like she would come from a similar background….so that we could relate. But, I just wanted to thank you for you kind words today. You help me reflect on my insecurities, and helped me realize what changes I need to make to bless myself, and my future family. Sorry for the novel, but I felt like I needed to put it on paper. Thanks again!
1. PAY AN HONEST T ITHING : Our commitment to this important gospel principle will be strengthened and the likelihood of financial mismanagement will be reduced..
2. LEARN TO MANAGE MONEY BEFORE IT MANAGES YOU: Can my sweetheart manage money? Does he know how to live within his means? These are more important questions than can he earn a lot of money. Finances should be mutual between husband and wife in an attitude of openness and trust.
3. LEARN SELF-DISIPLINE AND SELF- RESTRAINT IN MONEY MATTERS: Young couples should recognize that they cannot immediately maintain the same spending patterns and life-style as that to which they were accustomed as part of their parents’ family. A disgusted husband once said, “I think that in life money talks, but when my wife gets hold of it, all it ever says is “Good-bye.”
4. USE A BUDGET: With the exception of buying a home, paying for education, or making other vital investments, avoid debt and the resulting finance charges. Buy consumer durables and vacations with cash. The use of multiple credit cards significantly adds to the risk of excess debt. Every LDS family should file honest and timely tax returns. Bankruptcy should be avoided, except only under the most unique and irreversible circumstances, and then utilized only after prayerful thought and through legal and financial consultation.
5. TEACH FAMILY MEMBERS EARLY THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING AND EARNING: One of the greatest favors parents can do for their children is to teach them to work. I believe children should earn money needs through service and appropriate chores. 6. TEACH CHILDREN TO MAKE MONEY DECISIONS IN KEEPING WITH THEIR CAPACITIES TO COMPREHEND. 7. TEACH EACH FAMILY MEMBER TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE TOTAL FAMILY WELFARE.
8. MAKE EDUCATION A CONTINUING PROCESS: We should no allow ourselves, when we are out of work, to sit back and wait for “our type of job” if other honorable interim employment becomes available. 9. WORK TOWARD HOME OWNERSHIP. 10. APPROPRIATELY INVOLVE YOURSELF IN AN INSURANCE PROGRAM: It is most important to have sufficient medical, automobile, and homeowner’s insurance and an adequate life insurance program.
11. UNDERSTAND THE INFLUENCE OF EXTERNAL FORCES ON FAMILY FINANCES AND INVESTMENTS. 12. APPROPRIATELY INVOLVE YOURSELF IN A FOOD STORAGE AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM: Planting and harvesting a garden annually is helpful to the family in many ways, including the food budget. Eat nutritious foods and exercise appropriately to improve health, thus avoiding many medical costs.
“The worst fear… I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth” (Brigham Young, Preston Nibley, Brigham Young, 127-28).
Jacob 2:13, 17-19 The Lord never intended the L.D.S. to be a poverty stricken and destitute people. He intended that their goodness should entitle them to inherit the good things of the earth if they were used properly… (with hard work). Do not get the idea that we have a quarrel with wealth if it is legitimately acquired. It is the utilization of wealth which is often subject to criticism (Stephen L. Richards, Where is Wisdom?, 57-58).
Jacob 2:18-19 Before all else, “Seek for the Kingdom of God.” “When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities” (Ezra T. Benson, Ensign, May 1988, 4). (Matthew 22:36-38).
President David O. McKay counseled us to be cautious regarding that which we seek. Though we may obtain almost anything we work for, it may come at a high price: “What seek ye first? What do you cherish as the dominant, the uppermost thought in your mind? What this is will largely determine your destiny… You may win in this world almost anything for which you strive. If you work for wealth, you can get it, but before you make it an end in itself, take a look at those men who have sacrificed all to the accomplishment of this purpose, at those who have desired wealth for the sake of wealth itself. Gold does not corrupt man; it is in the motive of acquiring that gold that corruption occurs” ( Treasures of Life , 174-75).
Having faith in the plan of salvation includes steadfastly refusing to be diverted from our true identities and responsibilities. In the brief season of our existence on earth we may serve as plumber, professor, farmer, physician, mechanic, bookkeeper, or teacher. These are useful activities and honorable designations; but a temporary vocation is not reflective of our true identities. Matthew was a tax collector, Luke a physician, and Peter a fisherman. In a salvational sense, “so what!” (Neal A. Maxwell, Lord, Increase Our Faith, 47).
“Children who always get what they want will want as long as they live. It is important for our children to realize that the earth still revolves around the sun and not around them. For many children it is almost all play and very little work. Pioneer Motto: Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
We should not endanger ourselves either spiritually or economically by acquiring homes which are ostentatious, feed our vanity, and go far beyond our needs. There are those with average incomes who, over a lifetime, do amass some means, and there are those who receive large salaries who do not. LET US EACH REMEMBER Don’t confuse wants with needs Avoid spoiling our children Live modestly and avoid debt Be generous in giving to others
Effective financial and resource management necessitates that we clarify our values. We must determine what is most important. President N. Eldon Tanner taught that we must “Learn to distinguish between needs and wants” (Constancy Amid Change). Elder Marvin J. Ashton taught that we must “Think of our partner’s and our family’s needs ahead of our own wants” (ibid.).
Elder Ashton counseled: “In the home, money management between husband and wife should be a partnership basis, with both parties having a voice… when children come along and reach the age of 8, they too should be involved in money concerns on a limited partnership basis” (ibid.).
President Tanner counseled: “Live frugally. Live on less than you earn” (ibid, 69). President Heber J. Grant said: “If there is any one thing that will bring peace an contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet ( Gospel Standards, 111).
The average person in this country carries a $1200 credit card balance from one month to the next. One of the wisest things many could do to help themselves financially is to perform some “ plastic surgery,” that is, cut up your credit cards. If you are already in debt, the following suggestions might be helpful:
Develop and stick to a balanced budget. Avoid making any new financial commitments. Take on no new credit. Destroy all credit cards or lock them up so that they can’t be used. Develop a plan for repaying all debts. If the budget cannot handle the repayment schedule, try to negotiate lower payments and longer payback periods. Try to pay off the debts with the highest interest rates first.
Budget category Housing Food Taxes Tithing Transportation Utilities Medical Clothing Recreation Life Insurance Personal care Savings Recommended percentage range 15-30 % Depends of tax bracket 10% offerings + fast offerings 6-20% 4-7% 2-8% 3-10% 2-6% 4-6% x your annual income 2-4% 5-9%
The birth of the first child increases expenses about 20%. However, each child born after that does not increase costs by 20% each. Food costs differ because you buy in larger quantities. Clothing can be handed down, Etc.
How will tithing fit into the management of our finances? What was the attitude of our parents toward debt? Toward Saving? Budgeting? Who managed the money in each of our homes? What will we do to ensure we do not go into debt? Do we agree about budgeting, saving, and investing? How will we handle credit cards? How do we plan to support our family financially? What types of bank accounts will we have? How will we see that bills are paid in a timely manner? Who will balance the check book? What types of purchases will we be able to make individually? Which will we need to agree on? How responsible have each of us been in the past with regard to money management?