A Message From Todd D., POE Stake President
In 1998 President Gordon B. Hinckley told us all that it was time to prepare; to pay off debt, to not purchase homes beyond our ability to pay for them, to begin to save for a time when trouble might come. Well trouble has come to our nation and our communities. It reminds me of a statement Job made; “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” (Job 3:25-26).
When President Hinckley told us ten years ago to prepare it was like Joseph of old who had been sold into Egypt and was able to interpret the Pharaohs’s dream. Joseph told the Pharaoh to prepare during the seven years of plenty and that the seven years of plenty would be followed by seven years of drought.
Well trouble is upon us. Those who are prepared shall not fear. Those who did not listen have plenty to be afraid of. It is my prayer that you are prepared and if not it is time to start. On the Provident Living web page the Church gives us some very simple ways to prepare and to stay close to our Father in Heaven.
Pay Tithes and Offerings
Successful family finances begin with the payment of an honest tithe and the giving of a generous fast offering. The Lord has promised to open the windows of heaven and pour out great blessings upon those who pay tithes and offerings faithfully (Malachi 3:10 and Isaiah 58: 6–12).
If our tithing is the first obligation met, our commitment to this important gospel principle will be strengthened and the likelihood of financial mismanagement will be reduced.
On fast day, we go without food and drink for two consecutive meals, if physically able, and then give to the bishop a fast offering at least equal to the value of the food not eaten. If possible, we should be very generous and give more. The bishop uses the fast offerings to care for the poor and needy.
Spending less money than you make is essential to your financial security. Avoid debt, with the exception of buying a modest home or paying for education or other vital needs. If you are in debt, pay it off as quickly as possible. Some useful tools in becoming debt free are a debt-elimination calendar and a family budget worksheet.
Distinguish between Needs and Wants
We must learn to distinguish between wants and needs. We should be modest in our wants. It takes self-discipline to avoid the “buy now, pay later” philosophy and to adopt the “save now and buy later” practice.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught: “All too often a family’s spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress”
“Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts,“ Ensign, May 2004, 42).
Getting and Staying out of Debt
We should avoid debt. There is nothing that will cause greater tensions in life than grinding debt, which will make the debtor a slave to creditors. A specific goal, careful planning, and determined self-discipline are required to accomplish this.
President N. Eldon Tanner taught: “Those who structure their standard of living to allow a little surplus control their circumstances. Those who spend a little more than they earn are controlled by their circumstances. They are in bondage” “Constancy Amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 81).
Use a Budget
Keep a record of your expenditures. Record and review monthly income and expenses. Determine how to reduce what you spend for non essentials.
Use this information to establish a family budget. Plan what you will give as Church donations, how much you will save, and what you will spend for food, housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, insurance, and so on.
Discipline yourself to stay within your budget plan. A budget worksheet is a useful tool to help you with your plan.
Build a Reserve
Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has taught: “Set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts”
“To the Boys and to the Men“ Ensign, Nov. 1998, 54).
Teach Family Members
Teach family members the principles of financial management. Involve them in creating a budget and setting family financial goals. Teach the principles of hard work, frugality, and saving. Stress the importance of obtaining as much education as possible. Abundant resources are available—from classes, to books, to other resources such as One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance.
A new booklet that summarizes basic welfare principles and elements of self-reliance is now available for priesthood and Relief Society leaders. The new booklet, Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare, can help all Church members better understand their welfare responsibilities.
Photo source: Josephs Dream, as in Genesis 37:9–10, illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible