personal finance: a gospel perspective section 1: introduction: a gospel perspective on wealth

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Personal Finance: A Gospel Perspective Section 1: Introduction: A Gospel Perspective on Wealth

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  • Personal Finance:A Gospel PerspectiveSection 1: Introduction: A Gospel Perspective on Wealth

  • ObjectivesA. Understand why to Decide to DecideB. Understand the Spiritual Foundation for Using Wealth WiselyC. Understand some Gospel Truths about WealthD. Understand the four critical points of Financial Self-Reliance

  • A. Why Decide to Decide?Your Future Starts NowYou have many challenges ahead:Surviving this class and graduatingBudgeting, spending, saving and investingStudent loans, credit card debt, graduate schoolMarriage and childrenMissionsRetirementHow do you keep your (personal and financial) priorities in order?

  • Why Decide to Decide?Elder James E. Faust stated:In this life we have to make many choices. Some are very important choices. Some are not. Many of our choices are between good and evil. The choices we make, however, determine to a large extent our happiness or our unhappiness, because we have to live with the consequences of our choices. Making perfect choices all of the time is not possible. It just doesnt happen. But it is possible to make good choices we can live with and grow from. (Choices, Ensign, May 2004, p. 51)How do you make good choices you can live with and grow from?

  • Why Decide to Decide?Benjamin Franklin commented:Those who believe there is one God who made all things and who governs the world by this providence will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe that mankind are all of a family and that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe in a future state in which all that is wrong here will be made right will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who subscribe to the morals of Jesus will make many choices different from those who do not. (The Art of Virtue, 1986, pp. 8890).

  • Why Decide to Decide? President Spencer W. Kimball said:We hope we can help our young men and young women to realize, even sooner than they do now, that they need to make certain decisions only once. We can push some things away from us once and have done with them! We can make a single decision about certain things that we will incorporate in our lives and then make them ourswithout having to brood and re-decide a hundred times what it is we will do and what we will not do. My young brothers [and sisters], if you have not done so yet, decide to decide! (Ensign, May 1976, p. 46; italics added.)

  • QuestionsDo you have any questions on why you need to Decide to Decide?

  • B. Understand the Spiritual Foundation for Using Wealth Wisely Much has been written and said about the importance of wealth in our lives.Some have made decisions which have resulted in the acquisition of large amounts of wealthOthers have made the search for wealth so important that they have given up family and friends in search of that goalStill others have kept their priorities in order and have found wealthboth the true wealth, that leads to life eternal, and the temporal wealth, that allows them to serve their families and fellowmenIs wealth important?

  • The Spiritual Foundation (continued)What is the spiritual foundation?The spiritual foundation is the principles that hold everything else up. The Spiritual Foundation is based on four key pillars that underlie personal finance:OwnershipStewardshipAgencyChoice and AccountabilityThese pillars form the foundation, that if understood, will help us keep our priorities in order and to use our wealth as Jesus Christ would have us use it.

  • Pillar 1: Ownership1. Everything we have is the LordsThe Lord is the creator of the earth (Mosiah 2:21), the supplier of our breath (2 Nephi 9:26), the giver of our knowledge (Moses 7:32) and our abilities (Mosiah 2:21).Nothing we have is our ownits all GodsIn D&C 104:14-15 it states: I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. (italics added)

  • Ownership (continued)The things we have, we are, or we will become are really not ours, but are on loan from a loving Father in HeavenWe have not earned themThere should be no feeling of pride for the things we have, we are, or will become.Rather, they are gifts from a loving Father and Son

  • Pillar 2: Stewardship2. We are stewards over all that the Lord has blessed us withThe Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith in stated that we will each be held accountable for what we do with the blessings we receive: It is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. (D&C 104:13 )

  • Stewardship (continued)Being blessed with the material things in life should be seen not just as a blessing, but as a responsibility.We will all have to give an account of our stewardship in the future to a loving Father and Son.As wise stewards, it is our responsibility to learn everything we can about our stewardshipThat way we can manage our stewardship to the best of our abilitiesThe purpose of this class is to help you manage that stewardship better

  • Pillar 3: Agency3. We were given our agency by a loving God in the day we were createdThe Lord said to Enoch:Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hand, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden gave I unto man his agency. (Moses 7:32)Mans agency is the right to select between options, whether good or bad, or good and better

  • Agency (continued)The prophet Lehi, in speaking to his son Jacob explained:For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so. . ., righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. (2 Nephi 2:11)The gift of agency was such an important subject that a war was fought in heaven because Satan sought to destroy the agency of man (Moses 4:3).We should do everything in our power to thank a loving Father and Son for this wonderful right to chooseand then use that choice wisely!

  • Pillar 4: Choice and Accountability4. We have been blessed with the gift of choiceGod wont force us, and Satan cannot force usWe have been counseled by the Lord:Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. (D&C 58: 27-28)We have been given the choice, but it is up to us to choose wisely to bring to pass much righteousness.

  • Choice and Accountability (continued)The first three pillars are Gods gift to us. The fourth pillar is our gift to GodWe can choose things for many reasons: fear, duty, obligation and loveThe motivation behind that choice is importantCharity, or the pure love of Christ, is the highest form of motivationThe bestowal of the blessing of choice should be seen as additional evidence of Gods love for us.Instead of using this blessing unwisely, we should use all our strength to thank Him by making wise choices and through greater obedience to His commandments

  • What is really ours?On this subject, Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated: In conclusion, 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.)

  • Understand Gospel Truths About WealthWhat are gospel truths?Gospel truths are statements of truth that are built on the pillars discussed earlier. They include:Ownership1. Wealth is not a sign of righteousness 2. Because God shares freely with us, we should share freely with othersStewardship3. We have not earned the things we enjoy4. Wealth is not a necessary qualification for service in the Lord's Kingdom

  • Gospel Truths about Wealth (continued)Agency5. Wealth can be either a blessing or curse6. The love of money (not money) is the root of evilChoice and Motivation7. Wealth will not bring happiness nor solve all your problems

  • Ownership Truths1. Wealth is not a Sign of RighteousnessWhile financial blessings may be a result of righteousness, more often than not the blessings are spiritualWilliam Jennings Bryan wrote in The Prince of Peace: The human measure of a human life is its income; the divine measure of a life is its outgo, its overflow its contribution to the welfare of all."The best sign of righteousness is not wealth, but how well we follow the example of our SaviorDo we have His image in our countenances?

  • Ownership Truths (continued) 2. Since God gives us blessings freely, we should share them freelyThe prophet Jacob taught:Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. (Jacob 2:17)God does not ask us to be rich so that we can help him. God gives us riches so we can show the world and ourselves what we will do with themSince God gives us our blessings freelyWe should be willing to share them freely with Gods other children

  • Stewardship Truths3. We have not earned the things we possessIn D&C 130:20-21 it tells us: There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicatedAnd when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.Blessings are not earned; rather, they are given by a loving Heavenly Father.Instead of feeling pride for our blessings, we should feel humble. Then we should work hard to thank our Heavenly Father for all his wonderful blessings.

  • Stewardship Truths (continued)4. Wealth is not a necessary qualification for service in the Lord's kingdomOf this President Gordon B. Hinckley said:If that is the perception, I am sorry, because it is a false perception. Out of the experience of nearly a quarter of a century in organizing and reorganizing scores of stakes, I can say that the financial worth of a man was the least of all considerations in selecting a stake president. Wealth and financial success are not criteria for Church service. (Tithing: An Opportunity to Prove Our Faithfulness, Ensign, May 1982, 40.)

  • Agency Truths5. Wealth can be a Blessing or CursePresident N. Eldon Tanner said:The Lord gave the greatest success formula that I know of : "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Constancy Amid Change, Ensign, Nov. 1979, 80.)President Brigham Young stated:"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. ... My greatest fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth." (This Is The Place, Tambuli, July 1977, 25.)

  • Agency Truths (continued)If wealth is bad, should we ever seek riches? The Nephite Prophet Jacob counseled:"But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good-to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. (Jacob 2:18-19)Our first goal should be the KingdomOnly then should we seek riches. An we will seek them for the right reasons, to do good, to serve God, to help others

  • Agency Truths (continued)6. Love of money is the root of all evilElder Theodore M. Burton commented:Paul did not say that money itself was evil, but that the love of money is the root of all evil.(1 Tim. 6:10.) Love of money, status, possessions, or position more than righteousness begets a kind of false pride that must be avoided. That is why the Lord also told us that if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity,. . .but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old. (D&C 38:39) (A Disease Called Pride, Ensign, Mar. 1971, 26.)

  • Choice and Motivation Truths7. Money will not Bring Happiness or Solve your ProblemsHenrik Ibsen said: "Money may be the husk of many things, but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not faithfulness; days of joy, but not peace or happiness. (James E. Faust, Our Search for Happiness, Ensign, Oct. 2000, 2.) Anne Sudweeks added: If you cant be happy without money, you will never be happy with it.Remember money doesnt change you. It only reveals you to yourself.

  • Choice and Accountability Truths (continued)I believe there are two types of problems in life:Those we bring on ourselves from disobedience to the commandmentsThose that come as part of everyday livingWhile money can solve some problems, there are many it cannot solve.In fact, it brings along a host of its own problems: pride, greed, selfishness, etc. Dont seek for riches for its own sake. Seek them for:The good you can do and the lives you can blessDecide now that if you are blessed with riches that you will use them for the right reason, for the reasons Jacob specifies!

  • D. Understand the Four Critical Points of Financial Self-relianceThere are four points that are critical to understand that will help you in life. They are:1. Know what you want out of life2. Develop and live on a budget3. Pay the Lord first, yourself second, and learn to invest your money wisely4. Learn to Give

  • 1. Know what you want out of life! Set Personal GoalsThe important of goals is well stated in a poem by Jesse B. Rittenhouse. She writes:I bargained with Life for a Penny, and Life would pay no more,However I begged at evening, When I counted my scanty store.For Life is a just employer, He will give you what you ask,But once you have set the wages, Why, you must bear the task.I worked for a menial's hire, Only to learn, dismayed,That any wage I had asked of Life, Life would have willingly paid.

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  • Thoughts on Setting Goals (continued)What do you want to accomplish?What is important to you?What does Heavenly Father want you to do or be?I have learned in my life that if I do what Heavenly Father wants me to do first, He will help me accomplish what I want to doand I will do it better than if I had spent all my time working on what I wanted.- * -

  • Thoughts on Goals (continued)President Ezra Taft Benson commented:Every accountable child of God needs to set goals, short- and long-range goals. A man who is pressing forward to accomplish worthy goals can soon put despondency under his feet, and once a goal is accomplished, others can be set up. Some will be continuing goals. . . Now there is a lifetime goalto walk in his steps, to perfect ourselves in every virtue as he has done, to seek his face, and to work to make our calling and election sure. (Ezra Taft Benson, Do Not Despair, Ensign, Nov. 1974, 65.)

  • 2. Develop and Live on a BudgetPresident Spencer W. KimballEvery 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. (inside cover of One for the Money: guide to Family Finance, Intellectual Reserve, 2002.)- * -

  • How to BudgetWhy Budget? We will feel more in control of our livesThe prophet has commanded usHow to budget?Estimate your incomewhere is it from?Distinguish between fixed and variable expensesSeparate your needs from your wantsFind ways to decrease your spending and increase your savings

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  • 3. Pay the Lord First, Yourself Second, and then Invest Your Money WiselyPay the Lord first, and yourself secondThen invest your money wiselySave and invest wisely. Learn the Priority of Money1. Free money (401k or other employer match)2. Tax-advantaged moneyElimination of future taxes (Roth IRA, Education IRA, 529 Plans)Tax-deferred money (IRA, 401k, 403b, SEP-IRA)3. Tax-efficiently invested moneyBegin to save and invest now!!!!- * -

  • 4. Learn to GiveThere is a different type of accounting in heaven And he [Christ] looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he also saw a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. (Luke 21:1-4)- * -

  • Learn to Give (continued)Elder Lynn G. Robbins stated:The truer measure of sacrifice isn't so much what one gives to sacrifice as what one sacrifices to give. . . In these defining moments, the crisis doesn't create one's characterit reveals it. (Lynn G. Robbins, Tithinga Commandment Even for the Destitute, General Conference, April 2, 2005.)

  • ConclusionThere is a Gospel Perspective on Wealth that is important for us to understand. It is based on a foundation for understanding wealth. It is:Ownership: Everything we have or are is a gift from God. Remember it is HisStewardship: We are stewards over the things the Lord has blessed us with. We must learn to be better stewardsthis class will help Agency: The ability to choose is a god-given gift. Use it wiselyChoice and Accountability: We are the final decision makers on what we will do with the opportunities God has given us. We must learn to choose wiselythis class can help- * -

  • Conclusion (continued)It is critical to have a correct perspective on wealth. Remember these truths:Ownership1. Wealth is not a sign of righteousness 2. Because God shares freely with us, we should share freely with othersStewardship3. We have not earned the things we enjoy4. Wealth is not a necessary qualification for service in the Lord's Kingdom

  • Gospel Truths about Wealth (continued)Agency5. Wealth can be either a blessing or curse6. The love of money (not money) is the root of evilChoice and Motivation7. Wealth will not bring happiness nor solve all your problems

  • Conclusion (continued)Remember the critical points of financial self-reliance1. Understand what you want out of lifeLife will give exactly what you ask. Ask more!2. Develop and live on a budgetGet out of debt and live within your means.3. Pay the Lord first, yourself second, and invest your money wiselyBegin saving and investing now4. Learn to giveIf you cant learn to give when you are poor, you will never give when you are rich

  • Review of ObjectivesA. Do you understand why you need to Decide to Decide?B. Do you understand the Spiritual Foundation for Using Wealth Wisely?C. Do you understand some of the Gospel Truths about Wealth?D. Do you understand the four critical points of Financial Self Reliance?

    A. I remember reading in the book Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. One of the things that really hit me was a simple poem. Its author is unknown, but its message said volumes to me: (read from the screen)a) I worry that too many of us do not think of what we want to attain out of life. We go through life going whichever way life takes us, we forget who we are, and we bargain with life for a penny--way way too low. And unless something changes, we will be disappointed with our life for the penny we receive.B. The gospel gives us wonderful direction in our lives, if we will let it. It has made all the difference in my personal life, for it has helped my family and I put our most important priorities first. We have set our major goals within the context of the gospel, and it has made all the difference.1. The scriptures tell us to (D&C 112:10):Be thou humble, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.(1) I believe that we can get even more out of life if we will put this scripture into action, that thought, prayer, and desire to learn the Lords will, will help us see where we should go, to see Fathers will, so we can get the most out of life.2. All of you Im sure have some favorite motivational thoughts that have helped you in life. Mine have included:a) Whatever the mind of man can conceive, and believe, it can achieve.b) Whether you think you can or you can't, you are right. c) And probably my all-time favorite--Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.(1) And in no place is this more important, the importance of planning, than in our decision regarding what we want to achieve out of life. 1. Let me share some of my experiences that may be helpful in planning your goals in life. A. First, what do you want to accomplish?1. One way is to ask yourself: What is important to you?a) What do you want to do with your life?b) What one thing, if you didn't achieve it in this life, would you be most disappointed in?c) Perhaps you can divide your goals into various areas, such as:(1) School, (2) Family, (3) Career, or (4) Retirementd) By dividing your life into various stages, you can set goals within each area.(1) This is really important. However, perhaps I can add three thoughts to help you as you set your own personal goals.2. Also you must ask, what does Heavenly Fathers want you to do?a) I made an amazing discovery during my 46 years.(1) I remember being a Ph.D. student at George Washington University. (a) I was going to school full-time (classes were mostly at night), working part time at the World Bank, raising a family, and trying to be a good dad. Then the Bishop called me to teach Seminary, from 6:10-7:00 a.m. each morning. (2) I remember thinking how easy it would be to justify not taking the call, but then I realized that this was where Heavenly Father wanted me to serve.(a) I accepted the calling, and it made all the difference in working on my Ph.D. b) I learned that if I do what Heavenly Father wants me to do first, that He will help me accomplish what I want to do--and I will do it better than if I spent all my time working on what I wanted to do originally.(1) So another key step in setting goals is to figure out what Heavenly Father would have you do. What are His plans for you? 1. And I promise you that if you will take His point of view, you will set the right goals