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Overcoming Debt

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The following list is adapted from a booklet produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church). The pamphlet, based on an address by Elder Marvin J. Ashton, is entitled "One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance."

  1. Pay an honest tithing. Successful financial management in every LDS [Mormon] home begins with the payment of an honest tithe.
  2. Learn to manage money before it manages you. Financial peace of mind is not determined by how much we make but is dependent upon how much we spend.
  3. Learn self-discipline and self-restraint in money matters. Married couples show genuine maturity when they think of their partner’s and their family’s needs ahead of their own spending impulses.
  4. Use a budget. Every family must have a predetermined understanding of how much money will be available each month and the amount to be spent in each category of the family budget. With the exception of buying a home, paying for education, or making other vital investments, avoid debt and the resulting finance charges. Be careful with your use of credit cards. Save and invest a specific percentage of your income. Bankruptcy should be avoided, except only under the most unique and irreversible circumstances.
  5. Teach family members early the importance of working and earning. One of the greatest favors parents can do for their children is to teach them to work.
  6. Teach children to make money decisions in keeping with their capacities to comprehend. Based upon appropriate teaching and individual experience, children should be responsible for the financial decisions affecting their own money and suffer the consequences of unwise spending.
  7. Teach each family member to contribute to the total family welfare. As children mature, they should understand the family financial position, budget, and investment goals and their individual responsibility within the family.
  8. Make education a continuing process. Complete as much formal, full-time education as possible, including trade schools and apprentice programs. This is money well invested. Acquire some special skill or ability that could be used to avoid prolonged unemployment.
  9. Work toward home ownership. Home ownership qualifies as an investment, not consumption. Buy the type of home your income will support. Improve the home and beautify the landscape throughout the period you occupy the premises so if you do sell it, you can use the accumulated equity and potential capital gain to acquire a home more suitable to family needs.
  10. Appropriately involve yourself in an insurance program. It is most important to have sufficient medical, automobile, and homeowner’s insurance and an adequate life insurance program. Costs associated with illness, accident, and death may be so large that uninsured families can be financially burdened for many years.
  11. Understand the influence of external forces on family finances and investments. Inflation continues to offset a major portion of average wage increases. Beyond the emergency liquid savings, families should plan for and utilize a wise investment program preparing for financial security, possible disability, and retirement. Avoid all proposals for high-risk investments and get-rich-quick schemes.
  12. Appropriately involve yourself in a food storage and emergency preparedness program.


Marvin J. Ashton, “Guide to Family Finance,” Liahona, Apr. 2000, 42

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

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