The more and more I research and learn about these different preparedness topics, the more I see how fully intertwined they all are. As I’ve been studying on Financial Preparedness, it’s been difficult to separate (not that I’ve been trying) the effects that financial freedom or bondage has on our emotional well being, physical, and of course spiritual. In fact, at the heart of almost all of these areas of preparedness is a deeply spiritual root.
And therefore, to properly introduce this topic, I want to share a great talk with you that illustrates just how intertwined financial preparedness is with these other areas. (I know, I know… it’s not Sunday and you’re not at church. Just stay with me. You’ll be glad you did. :)) This talk was given by Franklin D. Richards in 1979. Click HERE for the full talk (which I highly recommend doing at some point), but here’s the meat of what he covers. He says,
“In view of today’s moral and social conditions, as well as unstable economic conditions in practically every country in the world, I have felt impressed to speak upon the importance of personal and family financial preparedness.
“We must recognize that financial problems are the reason for much unhappiness and are certainly a major factor in family difficulties and divorce.
“The Lord has told us that if we are prepared, we shall not fear (see D&C 38:30). What a blessing it is to be free from financial fear.
“I would like to suggest a three-point formula to attain and maintain financial preparedness:
1. Pay your tithes and offerings.
2. Get out of debt and stay out of debt.
3. Use your surplus funds wisely.
“Let me discuss each of these three points briefly.
“First, pay your tithes and offerings.
“When men, women, and children are honest with the Lord and pay their tithes and offerings, the Lord gives them wisdom whereby they can do as much or more with the remainder than they could if they had not been honest with the Lord (emphasis added). They are blessed and prospered in various ways—spiritually, physically, and mentally, as well as materially.
“Now, the second point of the formula–get out of debt and stay out of debt.
“In getting out of debt and staying out of debt, there are certain basic principles that we, as individuals and families, can apply, such as:
1. Live within your income.
2. Prepare and use short- and long-term budgets.
3. Regularly save a part of your income.
4. Use your credit wisely, if it is necessary to use it at all. For example, a reasonable debt may be justified for the acquisition of a home or education.
5. Preserve and utilize your assets through appropriate tax and estate planning.
“I know that by following these simple, basic principles it is possible to get out of debt and stay out of debt.
“What will this mean to us as individuals and families?
President Heber J. Grant said, “If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means (emphasis added), 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” (Relief Society Magazine, May 1932, p. 302).
“The third point of the formula is to use your surplus funds wisely. In many respects, the real test of a man is his attitude towards his earthly possessions. A person who places earthly possessions in the scales against the things of God evidences little understanding of eternal values.
President Brigham Young had this to say about this matter:
“When this people are prepared to properly use the riches of this world for the building up of the kingdom of God, He is ready and willing to bestow them upon us. (emphasis added)…” (Journal of Discourses, 11:114–15).
“I personally feel very strongly that in furtherance of these teachings every man who has property and means should so live as to obtain wisdom to know how to use them in the best possible way to promote the welfare of his family and his fellowmen and in building the kingdom of God.
“Yes, financial strength is realized by keeping God’s commandments, by the payment of an honest tithe, by developing habits of work, by being thrifty and living within one’s income, as well as by using our means wisely.” -Ensign, May 1979
Wow. What a powerful talk. When I first read it, I was fairly blown away with the incredible promises made in it. I highlighted my most favorite ones. I hope you’ll take a second to re-read them (if you didn’t already) and let them sink in for a minute. It really is amazing what they are promising. That last one particularly hit me over the head like a mallet. Essentially it’s telling us that when we are willing to live the law of consecration–not that we are expected to give up all that we own, but when our hearts are willing to–Heavenly Father is anxiously awaiting to bless us with the means to bless others! I imagine a test of faith would be required first in order to prove this, though. 😉
Anyway, I know it’s a little odd to take a financial topic and study it first from the spiritual side, but I don’t know any other way I’d prefer to start. In my personal life, I have been very careful to make the Lord an integral part of my financial goals. And I feel we have been very blessed in our efforts as we’ve done that as a family.
I want to use this talk as the premise for our future financial preparedness discussions and we can break down some of these steps a little further and look at them in more detail, but I hope you’ll at least start by taking all your financial matters and concerns to the Lord and asking for help with them there. I’m sure you’ll be blessed as you do.
Best wishes to you all.