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Financial management during tough times


Recent studies

show one in four American workers is seriously distressed

about his personal financial situation. Add to that the

uncertainty of the economy and there becomes an increased

need to improve personal and family financial management.Richard W. Ebert

Jr., the director of Employment

Resource Services for The

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says,

"Financial problems are a source of much unhappiness and are

certainly a major factor in family and work difficulties.

Unresolved, they can lead to crushing debt and divorce."

Knowing this,

leaders of the church have counseled its members for decades

to prepare for hard times by avoiding financial problems and

becoming more economically stable. Recently, the senior

leadership of the church published the brochure


Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances

to help members manage their resources.

The brochure

advises families to "prepare for adversity by looking to the

condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your

expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to

avoid debt. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free

yourselves from this bondage. Save a little money regularly

to gradually build a financial reserve. If you have paid

your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be

small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy

greater peace in your hearts."

The brochure is

available on the Church Welfare Services Web site at

The Web site also provides the following guidelines for

families to become more financially responsible:

  • Avoid debt. Learn self-restraint by spending

less money than you make and saving money to purchase

what you need. Avoid debt except for vital needs,

education and the purchase of a modest home. If in debt,

try to pay it off quickly. Use a budget. Keep a record of your monthly

income and expenses. With this information, set up a

family budget. Establish how much you will save, how

much you will spend for food, housing, insurance,

utilities, etc. Reduce what you spend on things that are

not necessary. Teach family members early the importance of

working and earning. Children should be responsible for

the decisions that affect their own money and face the

consequences of their bad spending. As your children

mature, help them understand the family financial

situation, budget goals and their individual

responsibility within their families. Work toward home ownership. Improve the home

you acquire so you can use the accumulated equity for a

better home if you decide to sell it. Appropriately involve yourself in an insurance

program to avoid the significant debts place upon

families when they are uninsured. Involve yourself in a food storage and

emergency preparedness program. Planting and harvesting

a garden annually can help the family budget and

encourage food storage. Build a reserve. Accumulate savings little by

little and use it for emergencies only.

The Web site also

provides a number of financial tools to guide families and

individuals in the decision-making process. These tools can

help determine — based on an individual's own income — how

soon loans and debts can be paid off, how much to save for

retirement, how much to save to reach a specific goal, and

the monthly payment on a new home.

Related links:Employment Resource ServicesAll is Safely Gathered in: Family