Canyon Rim 1st and 2nd Wards Canyon Rim Stake Ten Myths of Personal Finance and What Wise Stewards Know March 31, 2019 Bryan Sudweeks, Ph.D., CFA From the BYU Marriott School of Management website on Personal Finance at http://personalfinance.byu.edu 1 Abstract Some have felt personal finance was just about them, about money, a temporal matter, not required for
spiritual growth, and separate from the gospel of Jesus Christ. These and other myths abound that are not only wrong, but detrimental to your spiritual and financial health. The reality is that personal finance is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ and is an important part of this life experience here on earth. Individuals who have not fallen for these myths have learned important habits that have helped them become wiser financial stewards and better prepared for the inevitable challenges and storms of life ahead. They have learned what wise stewards know. 2 Remember Life is Good What do I want my students to remember/apply?
L I F E Love the Lord and put and pay Him first Invest your money wisely, consistent with risk Find happiness in your spouse and family Enjoy the journey and give back I S
Invest in yourself/family for education/missions Save 20% and allocate 15% for retirement G O O Get and stay out of debt Organize yourself, know vision, goals & plans Operate on a budget, get very good at it 3 Ten Myths of Personal Finance Myth 1: Living the gospel is hard Myth 2: Life revolves around me Myth 3: Its about money
Myth 4: Its all mine Myth 5: Finances are a temporal matter Myth 6: Finances are a mans responsibility Myth 7: Consumer, auto and credit card debt is OK Myth 8: Budgets are for college students Myth 9: I can start saving and getting out of debt later Myth 10: I pay tithing--I have nothing to worry about financially 4 Myth 1. Living The Gospel is Hard Some have felt that living the gospel is hard, that it is too much work and too expensive They think life would be easier without the need to: Pay tithes and offerings
Obey the commandments Help and share with others Do their monthly ministering Serve and work in the church The reality is different 5 Reality 1. Life is hard, not the Gospel Life is whats hardit was meant to be It is hard making decisions, growing up, overcoming challenges, earning a living, raising children, etc., but this is how we grow But living the gospel is easier and makes us free: Free to be our best self and to make choices consistent with our vision of who we truly are
Free from the enticements to forsake all in search of pleasure, pay, power, and prestige Free from addictions including illegal drugs, pornography, tobacco, alcohol, and debt Didnt Christ promise For my yoke is easy and my6 burden is light? (Matt 11:30) Myth 2. Life Revolves Around Me Some believe the statement its all about me They think life is: Only about them What they want is right, regardless They decide what they should do They can do whatever they want, because they dont have to account to anyone
The reality is different 7 Reality 2. Life is About Others Thoughtful consideration causes us to think: Who created us? Who loves us the most? What is our purpose? Where do we find joy? And when we think longer-term Who forgives our sins? Who allows us to live eternally with our families? Who will judge us at the last day? Life is not about us, its what we do with life Life is a test, training, or probationary time Here we show where our heart and our will really are (Alma 42:4)
8 Myth 3. Its All About Money Some feel personal finance is all about money Money is the answer to all our problems We just dont have enough of it Someone commented: If you can solve it with money, it is not a problem The reality is different 9 9
Reality 3. It's About Faith 1. Its about faith Personal finance is not about money Its about what the Lord trying to teach us about life and ourselves through personal finance What lessons can the Lord teach us from personal finance? The spiritual and physical creation Prioritization (even of good things) Sacrifice and deferring our wants Giving and sharing with others The Law of the Harvest 10 10
It's About Faith (continued) How do we motivate ourselves and others? Elder Boyd K. Packer answered this when he said: True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior (Boyd K. Packer, Little Children, Ensign, Nov. 1986, 16). 11 11 It's About Faith (continued)
The lesson for us then is to understand doctrine The key doctrines or whys of finance are : Spiritual: To bring us to Jesus Christ Temporal: To help us be wiser stewards Family: To return with our families back to Heavenly Fathers presence Individual: To accomplish our divine missions From this perspective, we see that financial problems are not necessarily problems of money, but problems of faith. We are doing our finances right when we will accomplish the above doctrines12 12 It's About Faith (continued)
2. Its about freedom President Ezra Taft Benson said: The Lord desires his Saints to be free and independent in the critical days ahead. But no man is truly free who is in financial bondage (Prepare Ye, Ensign, Jan. 1974, p. 69). And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32). 13 13 It's About Faith (continued) 3. Its about happiness Happiness is not dependent on the amount of
money we earn Rather, it comes from doing the things that we know are right. The prophet Alma wrote to his wayward son Corianton: Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness (Alma 41:10). 14 14 Myth 4: Its All Mine Some believe the oft-quoted statement its all mine They think they own: Their belongings
Their education they gained Their money, savings and investments They earned these things through their hard work, intellect, effort, sweat, tears, luck and the time they spent The reality is different 15 15 Reality 4. I Am a Steward 1. Ownership: Everything we have is the Lords The sweet Psalmist of Israel wrote: The earth is the Lords, and the fullness thereof;
the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalms 24:1). The Lord is the creator of the earth (Mosiah 2:21), the creator of men and all things (D&C 93:10), the supplier of our breath (2 Nephi 9:26), the giver of our knowledge (Moses 7:32), the provider of our life (Mosiah 2:22), and the giver all we have and are (Mosiah 2:21). 16 16 I Am a Steward (continued) 2. Stewardship: We are stewards over all that the Lord has, is, or will share with us The Lord said:
Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward (D&C 136:27). 17 17 I Am a Steward (continued) 3. Agency: The gift of choice is mans most precious inheritance President David O. McKay wrote: Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is Gods greatest gift to man. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than
any possession earth can give (Conference Report, Apr. 1950, p. 32; italics added). 18 18 I Am a Steward (continued) 4. Accountability: We are accountable for every choice we make The Lord stated: For it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity (D&C 72:3). 19
19 I Am a Steward (continued) On the questions of what is really ours, Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated: The submission of ones will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on Gods altar. The many other things we give, brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in Gods will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give! (italics added, Swallowed Up in
the Will of the Father, Ensign, Nov. 1995, 22). 20 20 Myth 5. Finances are a Temporal Matter Many think money matters are only temporal matters They feel that how we manage their money has nothing to do with their spirituality They feel that scriptures talk only of spiritual things and not temporal issues such as financial matters Those are left up to them The reality is different!
21 21 Reality 5. Finances are a Spiritual Matters Money matters, and money matters are spiritual matters because: 1. All things are spiritual (including the commandments to budget and get out of debt) The Lord said, All things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal (D&C 29:34) The Apostle Paul taught that the love of money is evil, not money itself (1 Timothy 6:10) 22
22 Finances are a Spiritual Matter (continued) 2. We make covenants (regarding our finances) We covenant to: To pay our tithes and offerings To take care of the Lords poor Share with others Consecrate all we have Live the law of sacrifice 23 23
Finances are a Spiritual Matter (continued) 3. Money is a medium of exchange Elder Sterling W. Sill said: We can build temples with money, we can send out missionaries with money, we can erect educational institutions, operate hospitals, and pay our tithing with money. In many ways we can build up the kingdom of God with money (Sterling W. Sill, A Fortune to Share, Ensign, Jan. 1974, 60). 24 24 Finances are a Spiritual Matter (continued)
4. Money is a tool to teach the gospel Money is a tool to teach us many things, including the gospel principles of sacrifice, discipline, law of the harvest, and work Money teaches and reinforces both the spiritual and physical creation, as we develop our vision, goals and plans and work toward them We create when we become wiser stewards and develop our budgets and goals and then work toward them Money teaches the Law of the Harvest, discipline, and choice as we invest for 25 retirement and other goals 25
Finances are a Spiritual Matter (continued) 5. The Spirit can help us to do better with everything (including our finances) Through the challenges that come with money, we can learn to seek, receive and act on personal revelation (Daughters in His Kingdom, preface) And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own way (D&C 104:15-16). 26 26 Myth 6. Finances are a Mans Responsibility
Some think money matters are a priesthood responsibility for married couples They think if wives become knowledgeable about financial matters, their husbands will be upset They reason that since the husband often makes the money, husbands get to decide where it goes (this is commonly known as unrighteous dominion) 27
27 Reality 6. Finances are a Shared Responsibility The Proclamation on the Family states: By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred
responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners (italics added, Proclamation on the Family, 1995). 28 28 A Shared Responsibility (continued) Marvin J. Ashton counseled: Management of family finances should be mutual between husband and wife in an attitude of openness and trust. Control of the money by one spouse as a source of power and authority causes inequality in the marriage and is inappropriate. Conversely, if a marriage partner voluntarily
removes himself or herself entirely from family financial management, that is an abdication of necessary responsibility (italics added, Guide to Family Finance, Liahona, Apr. 2000, 42). 29 29 Myth 7. Credit Card, Auto and Consumer Debt is OK Some consider it is OK to go into debt for things, especially things they really want We cant have a car without a car payment, can we? It helps build our credit scoredoesnt it? Its OK to not pay off my credit card--I will do it
next year 30 30 Reality 7. Debt is Dumb Consumer debt slows growth and savings, and is expensive, both economically and spiritually President James E. Faust stated: Over the years the wise counsel of our leaders has been to avoid debt except for the purchase of a home or to pay for an education. I have not heard any of the prophets change this counsel (Doing the Best Things in the Worst Times, Ensign, Aug. 1984, 41).
Sadly, consumer, auto, and credit card debt not paid off monthly are not included in that short list of acceptable debt 31 31 Debt is Dumb (continued) President Ezra Taft Benson said: Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. . . It is manifest in so many ways, such as . . . living beyond our means (italics added, Ezra Taft Benson, The Faces of Pride, New Era, Oct. 2003, p. 40). Perhaps debt is more a problem of pride than it
is of money 32 32 Myth 8: Budgets are for College Students Some feel that living on budgets is only for college students Those more careful with their money, mature people like ourselves, dont need to have a budget We know where our money goes (it goes to pay our bills, I hope) The reality is different!
33 33 Reality 8. Every Family Should have a Budget President Spencer W. Kimball counseled: Every family should have a budget. Why, we would not think of going one day without a budget in this Church or our businesses. We have to know approximately what we may receive, and we certainly must know what we are going to spend. And one of the successes of the Church would have to be that the Brethren watch these things very carefully, and we do not spend that which we do not have (Conference Report, April 1975, pp.
166-167). 34 34 Every Family Should Have a Budget (continued) What is a Budget (we call it a saving, income and expense plan)? It is the single most important tool in helping us attain our personal goals. It is the process of planning our spending Its making sure our resources are used for the things that matter mostour personal goals It gives every dollar a name and a purpose 35
35 Budgeting: The Old Way Income Tithing Expenses Available for Savings Personal Goals 36
36 Budgeting: The Better Way Income Pay the Lord First Pay Yourself Expenses Other
Savings Personal Goals 37 37 Every Family Should Have a Budget (continued) L. Tom Perry taught this when he said: After paying your tithing of 10 percent to the Lord, you pay yourself a predetermined amount directly into savings. That leaves you a balance of your income to budget for taxes, food, clothing, shelter, transportation, etc. It is amazing to me that so many people work all of their lives for the grocer, the landlord, the power company, the automobile
salesman, and the bank, and yet think so little of their own efforts that they pay themselves nothing (Becoming Self-Reliant, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 64). 38 38 Every Family Should Have a Budget (continued) Marvin J. Ashton stated: Some claim living within a budget takes the fun out of life and is too restrictive. But those who avoid the inconvenience of a budget must suffer the pains of living outside of it. The Church operates within a budget. Successful business functions within a budget. Families free of crushing debt have a budget. Budget
guidelines encourage better performance and management (italics added, Its No Fun Being Poor, Ensign, Sept. 1982, 72). 39 39 Myth 9. I Can Start Later Some think they do not need to get their finances in order now because they can always start getting our of debt and saving later It is easy to get out of debt so why worry now I will start saving when I get the big bucks later There is no possible way that I can begin saving now, so why even try
The reality is different 40 40 Reality 9. I Must Start Saving Now If you want to get out of debt, have an adequate retirement, and save for education and missions for yourself and children, you must start now! You must think long-term now (D&C 43:34) You cannot put it off budgeting and saving Time value of money takes just that--time 41
Myth 10. I Pay my Tithing, I Have Nothing to Worry About Financially The prophet Malachi said: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, . . . and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven (Malachi 3:10, 3 Nephi 24:10). Doesnt it say that if I pay my tithing, the windows of heaven will open and I will get all the financial blessings I need, regardless of any learning, thought, application, hard work or effort on my part? The reality is different! 42
42 Reality 10. We Must Learn To Be Financially Wise The prophet Malachi promised that God will open the windows of heaven However, there is no promise that the windows of heaven will be financial blessings or that paying tithing will eliminate all our financial problems We still are stewards over what we have and are, and must learn to live in this increasingly challenging financial world We have been commanded: Oh be wise, what can I say more (Jacob 6:12) 43
43 We Must Learn to Be Wise (continued) Interesting statistics: Average per household debt in the U.S. is $14,500 excluding mortgage debt in 2007 Credit card users pay 12-20% more than cash users 40% of American families spend more than they earn The typical family pays $1,200 per year in interest About 60% of all active credit card accounts are not paid off monthly Most couples indicate that finances are a major stress on their marriages Source: available upon request
44 44 We Must Learn to Be Wise (continued) How do to you learn to be wise financially? There are many sources of good information Let me add three other sources to your list: 1. The Personal Finances for Self-Reliance program (part of Self Reliance Services) https://www.lds.org/topics/pef-self-reliance/manualsand-videos/na?lang=eng&old=true#7 2. The LDS Provident Living Website www.providentliving.org, then Family Finances 3. The BYU Marriott School of Managements
Personal Finance website 45 http://personalfinance.byu.net 45 1. Personal Finances for Self-Reliance Program Take the Personal Finances for SelfReliance course offered by your Ward. It is an amazing program that EVERYONE should take carefully and prayerfully.
46 Personal Finances for Self-Reliance Program This is the best program for teaching basic Personal Finance, specifically budgets and debt reduction, that I have ever encountered 47 2. LDS Provident Living Website This is good for guidelines and general finance information There is lots of
inspired counsel for each of us 48 3. BYU MSB Personal Finance Website at http://personalfinance.byu.edu This is for those who want to go beyond Personal Finance basics 49 www.Personalfinance.byu.edu Each section contains
Learning Outcomes, Readings, PowerPoints, Videos, and Assignments and Learning Tools 50 B. Understand What Wise Stewards Know As I have taught classes in personal finance for over seventeen years, there has come a realization that certain principles are critical in the development of good financial habits Following are the 10 critical habits that I believe
wise men and women should develop about personal finance as they strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and apply spiritual principles to their temporal lives. 51 51 Wise Stewards Know (continued) 1. Wise stewards know who they are They know they are a child of God and understand the doctrines that God wants them to: Spiritual: Bring them to Christ Temporal: Help them to become better stewards Family: Help them return with their families
back to Heavenly Fathers presence, and Individual: Help them to accomplish their divine missions, destiny and work They recognize that if they are living their lives and finances correctly, it will lead them to accomplish the above doctrines and to help them become more52 like Jesus Christ Wise Stewards Know (continued) 2. Wise stewards recognize their stewardship They understand the principles of: Ownership: everything they have is the Lords Stewardship: they are stewards over all God has blessed them with Agency: the gift of choice is one of Gods greatest gifts to us
Accountability: they will be held accountable for all their choices, including their financial choices They know that nothing they have is their own, it is all Gods, and they listen to the Spirit and act 53 accordingly Wise Stewards Know (continued) 3. Wise stewards create They understand the creative process and know that creation is a spiritual gift. They have a vision of who they are, what they can accomplish, and what they should do (the spiritual creation) They truly understand they are children of God and can do all things with His help
Then with that vision, they set appropriate goals, develop tactical plans, determine constraints, and then work with accountability partners to accomplish their vision They create themselves with confidence new each 54 day with their prayers, goals, budget and lives Wise Stewards Know (continued) 4. Wise stewards have their priorities in order They seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33) They know the best things in life are free: families, relationships, and the gospel of Christ Their first goal in life is not wealth, power, or gratification, but eternal life with their
families They seek the true riches firstthe kingdom of God and the gift of eternal life. Then they seek the other riches, if they desire, but it is for the intent to do good and bless others (Jacob 2:18-19) 55 Wise Stewards Know (continued) 5. Wise stewards plan their future early and live their plans (both financial and non-financial) They catch their vision and goals, then follow Ezra Taft Bensons counsel to Plan your financial future early, then live your plan (Ezra Taft Benson, To the Elderly in the Church, Ensign, Nov 1989, 4).
They prayerfully catch their vision, establish their goals, set detailed plans, live worthy of the Spirit, and with His help achieve their vision They seek Gods help in all aspects of their lives including vision, goals, plans (i.e., budgets, debt reduction, saving, investing, giving, retirement 56 planning, etc.), constraints, and accountability Wise Stewards Know (continued) 6. Wise stewards know money cannot buy happiness They know what money can doit can eliminate a lot of financial and other problems in life and provide security for them and their families But they know it cannot buy them happiness.
They must find happiness on their own They use money to reduce their financial difficulties, be secure in their families, and to bless the lives of others Then they find happiness in the gospel of Jesus Christ, their families, and serving others 57 Wise Stewards Know (continued) 7. Wise stewards understand assets and liabilities Assets have value. They are either incomegenerating (investments, savings, rentals, etc.) or income-consuming (cars, toys, houses, etc.) Liabilities are things they have borrowed for Their choice of assets and liabilities will largely determine how they will live their lives
They know what is important with things They maximize income-generating assets, minimize income-consuming assets, and eliminate liabilities 58 Wise Stewards Know (continued) 8. Wise stewards understand income They understand the better types of income Earned income is income from their job Passive income is income from investments, generally businesses or real estate. They generally do less work to earn this income Portfolio income is income from financial investments. They do not need to do any work to earn income from these investments once
invested They realize the best income They emphasize portfolio and passive income 59 Wise Stewards Know (continued) 9. Wise stewards know they are responsible You were given two great gifts: your mind and your time. It is up to you to do what you please with both. With each dollar bill that enters your hand, you and only you have the power to determine your destiny. Spend it foolishly, you choose to be poor. Spend it on liabilities, you join the middle class. Invest it in your mind and learn how to acquire assets and you will be choosing wealth as your goal and your future. The choice is yours and only yours. Every day with every dollar, you decided to be rich, poor, or middle class (Robert Kiyosaki
and Sharon Lechter, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Time Warner Book Group, USA, 1998, p. 197). They choose to be responsible for their finances 60 Wise Stewards Know (continued) 10. Wise stewards remember the ifs Wise stewards remember four key things These are not just the things they must know, but things they must do! 61 Wise Stewards Know (continued)
a. The scriptures make us wise . . . if we learn from them and obey the commandments It is not enough to read the scriptureswe must read, think, ponder, pray and obey the commandments O remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God (Alma 37:35). 62 Wise Stewards Know (continued) b. The Savior makes us holy . . . if we repent It is not enough to have a Saviorwe must repent and take advantage of His amazing atonement For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered
death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance (D&C 18:11-12). 63 Wise Stewards Know (continued) c. The storms make us strong . . . if we learn the lessons God wants us to learn Nevertheless, . . . thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain (2 Nephi 2:2). And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they
may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them (Ether 12:27). 64 Wise Stewards Know (continued) The Brother of Jared knew about storms When the brother of Jared came to the ocean on his way to the promised land, he had three problems, air, light and navigation. The Lord helped the brother of Jared with all three problems The Lord instructed him to put holes in the ships He will instruct us in our lives as well The Lord touched the stones, which gave light
He will touch and give us light as well The Lord sent the storms to take Jared and his family toward the promised land Likewise, the storms which He sends today 65 will take us to our promised land as well Wise Stewards Know (continued) The Lord is in our storms He is trying to teach us those things which will take us to our promised land, to return to His presence If we learn the lessons He is trying to teach us, we will become stronger, more valiant in the testimony of Christ, more willing and able to serve, and more ready for the next storm 66
Wise Stewards Know (continued) d. We can be of good cheer. . . IF we will heed a prophets counsel I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us. My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith (italics added, Thomas S. Monson, Be of Good Cheer, Ensign, May 2009, 92).
67 Wise Stewards Know (continued) Wise stewards also know that if they strive to obey the Lords commandments and seek to be like their Savior, they will come to know, in spite of all the storms, that: For verily, I say unto you, that great things await you (D&C 45:62). For great things truly await you as you continue to live, obey, and enjoy the wonderful commandments and blessings of 68 the gospel of Jesus Christ!