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Debt Reduction

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Since its beginning, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been warning its members about the dangers of debt. In 1830, the Lord instructed Martin Harris that he "pay the debt thou hast contracted.... Release thyself from bondage (Doctrine and Covenants 19:35). In more recent times, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said:

Reasonable debt for the purchase of an affordable home and perhaps for a few other necessary things is acceptable. But from where I sit, I see in a very vivid way the terrible tragedies of many who have unwisely borrowed for things they really do not need [1]

The concern about debt is mostly centered on the fact that it can destroy both marriages and families. In 1975, Apostle Marvin J. Ashton spoke in General Conference about debt. He said the following:

How important are money management and finances in marriage and family affairs? May I respond, ‘Tremendously.’ The American Bar 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. Some professional counselors indicate that four out of five families are strapped with serious money problems. [2]

The figures given above are from 1975, and the problem with debt has only worsened. To help combat debt, Elder Ashton's talk has been made into a booklet entitled "One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance." It is used as a basis for teaching families and members in the Church about debt reduction.

In the pamphlet, there are 12 suggestions on how to help families avoid debt. One suggestion is for parents to personally understand and teach children the importance of work. A second is to teach children about money in a way that they can understand. Children need specifics, not just lines like “you should save your money.” Parents should use experiences to teach them; for example, if a child wants something, parents should help them understand that they can get it by saving their money. As children grow into adults, they all know that they should save money, but if they have had money-saving experiences as a child, they have a much better chance of being able to actually save as an adult. Another suggestion is to teach children to contribute to a family goal.

One group of suggestions focuses on self-discipline and integrity. Parents should pay bills on time and make sure that their children understand that this is the honest thing to do. Families should also focus on having good money management; restraining impulse buys for the good of the family, and making and following budgets.

The last five suggestions are designed to help church members ensure that they will continue to be able to provide for their families and not continue the cycle of debt. These are to get as much education as possible, strive to own a home, have a good insurance program, learn how to deal with and understand inflation, and build-up and maintain a food storage.

For More Information

For more resources to help manage finances visit the LDS Church's website Provident Living

For a free copy of "One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance" visit www.ldscatalog.com and look under Welfare Services: Pamphlets, Booklets, and Brochures.

References

  1. “I Believe,” Ensign, Aug. 1992, 6.
  2. Marvin J. Ashton, “One for the Money,” Ensign, July 1975, 72.
pt:Reducao de Dividas

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