Money Matters: Living Joyfully Within Your Means | E. Jeffrey Hill


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THIS DEVOTIONAL ADDRESS
WITH JEFF HILL WAS GIVEN
ON JUNE 9, 2015.
>>GOOD MORNING,
BROTHERS AND SISTERS, AND WELCOME TO OUR DEVOTIONAL. WE ARE PLEASED TO
HAVE JEFFREY HILL, A PROFESSOR OF FAMILY LIFE,
AS OUR SPEAKER TODAY. WE EXTEND A SPECIAL
WELCOME TO HIS WIFE, TAMMY, AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS
AND FRIENDS WHO ARE HERE. PROFESSOR HILL RECEIVED
HIS BACHELOR’S AND MASTER’S DEGREES FROM
BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, THEN EARNED A PH.D. FROM
UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY IN FAMILY AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT.HE TEACHES CLASSES
IN FAMILY FINANCE,
AND HIS RESEARCH DEALS WITH
SUCCESSFULLY INTEGRATING WORK,
FAMILY,
AND FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES.
PROFESSOR HILL WAS AWARDED THE
KARL G. MAESER EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD IN 2012. JEFF AND HIS WIFE, TAMMY,
HAVE BEEN MARRIED EIGHT YEARSAND ARE JOYFULLY BLENDING
A FAMILY OF 12 CHILDREN
AND 21 GRANDCHILDREN.AND NOW WE’LL BE
PLEASED TO HEAR FROM BROTHER JEFFREY HILL.>>GOOD MORNING! I’M EXCITED TO BE HERE TODAY! I PRAY THAT THE
SPIRIT WILL BLESS US. THE TOPIC TODAY IS IMPORTANT,
BOTH TEMPORALLY AND SPIRITUALLY,
AND I INVITE YOU TO LISTEN WITH BOTH YOUR
MIND AND YOUR HEART. EACH YEAR,
I TEACH ALMOST A THOUSAND BYU STUDENTS ABOUT FAMILY
FINANCE IN SFL 260.ODDLY ENOUGH,
THE PURPOSE OF THIS
COURSE IS NOT TO TEACH
STUDENTS HOW TO GET RICH.
INSTEAD, THE GOAL IS TO HELP
STUDENTS GAIN A STEWARDSHIP
PERSPECTIVE AND WISELY MANAGE
MONEY TO JOYFULLY STRENGTHEN
FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.AS A BONUS,
THIS CLASS FULFILLS THE
QUANTITATIVE REASONING GENERAL
EDUCATION REQUIREMENT.
AT THE BEGINNING
OF EACH SEMESTER,
I TELL MY CLASS TO
REMEMBER THREE THINGS,
AND I INVITE YOU
TO DO THE SAME:
FIRST, LIFE IS HARD,
BUT YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS.
WITH THE HELP OF THE LORD,
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING HE
WANTS YOU TO DO–
EVEN BALANCE A BUDGET OR
INVEST IN A MUTUAL FUND.SECOND, WHEN LIFE
DOESN’T GO AS PLANNED,
DON’T GET FRUSTRATED;
MAKE THE BEST OF IT.
MOST OF THE TIME,
THINGS DON’T GO
AS PLANNED–
ESPECIALLY IN
FINANCIAL MATTERS–
AND IF YOU DON’T
MAKE THE BEST OF IT,
YOU’LL SPEND MOST OF YOUR
LIFE FEELING FRUSTRATED.AND THIRD, T.T.T.,
THINGS TAKE TIME.
IN FACT,
THE BEST FINANCIAL PLAN IS THE
“GET RICH SLOWLY” PLAN,
WHERE YOU SAFELY AND
SYSTEMATICALLY INVEST.WHENEVER I TALK
ABOUT FINANCES,
I AM REMINDED OF A STORY I
HEARD ABOUT A COLLEGE FRESHMAN WHO DIDN’T BUDGET VERY WELL. HE KEPT RUNNING OUT OF MONEY
BEFORE HE RAN OUT OF MONTH. ONE NIGHT THE STUDENT
TEXTED HOME: “NO MON, NO FUN,
YOUR SON.” HIS WISE FATHER
TEXTED RIGHT BACK, “HOW SAD, TOO BAD,
YOUR DAD.” I HOPE MY TALK THIS MORNING
WILL HELP YOU AVOID THE PLIGHT OF THIS STUDENT. THE TITLE OF THIS DEVOTIONAL
TODAY IS MONEY MATTERS:
LIVING JOYFULLY
WITHIN YOUR MEANS.
TO INTRODUCE THIS THEME,
I WOULD LIKE TO GET PERSONAL
AND BRIEFLY SHARE SOME THINGS
I HAVE LEARNED OVER MY LIFETIME ABOUT MONEY AND JOYFUL LIVING. A LONG, LONG, LONG TIME AGO,
JUANITA RAY AND I MET
WHILE ATTENDING BYU.WE PLAYED RACQUETBALL TOGETHER,
COURTED FOR A TIME,
AND WERE MARRIED IN THE TEMPLE.AS NEWLYWEDS, WE HAD NO MONEY.WE LIVED IN A TINY TWO-ROOM
APARTMENT WITH LOW CEILINGS, WE BOUGHT CLOTHES FROM D.I.,
AND WE ATE HER FAMILY’S FOOD STORAGE. WE DRANK POWDERED
MILK FOR ALMOST A YEAR. YUCK! BUT WE HAD EACH OTHER,
WE HAD OUR LOVE, AND WE HAD THE GOSPEL. IT WAS A GOOD YEAR. WE LEARNED YOU DON’T NEED
A LOT OF MONEY TO BE HAPPY. I GRADUATED,
GOT A GOOD JOB, AND WE STARTED
DRINKING WHOLE MILK.
HEAVENLY!I HAD BEEN TAUGHT TO PAY
10 PERCENT TO THE LORD,
SAVE 10 PERCENT TO INVEST,
AND LIVE ON THE REST. JUANITA AND I DID THIS
AS WE CREATED OUR FAMILY BUDGETS OVER THE YEARS. WE WERE FRUITFUL,
AND AFTER TWENTY-FIVE YEARS WE HAD LOTS OF KIDS WHO FILLED
OUR MORTGAGE-FREE HOME. WE ALSO HAD SOLID INVESTMENTS. WE LEARNED ABOUT THE MIRACLE
OF COMPOUND INTEREST: IF YOU CONSISTENTLY SAVE
A LITTLE MONEY AND INVEST IT IN A BROAD
STOCK MARKET FUND, THAT MONEY
NATURALLY MULTIPLIES.CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN
ALSO MULTIPLY.
THEN CAME THE HARD PART.THOUGH JUANITA AND I WERE
FINANCIALLY SET FOR A LONG LIFE TOGETHER–
AND WE ANTICIPATED MANY MISSIONS,
LOTS OF TRAVEL, AND LOTS OF GRANDKIDS–
LIFE DIDN’T GO AS PLANNED. JUANITA GOT CANCER. SHE FOUGHT VALIANTLY,
BUT CANCER WON. I LEARNED THAT THERE ARE
SOME THINGS THAT MATTER MUCH MORE THAN MONEY,
AND I LEARNEDTHE HARD WAY THAT
“YOU CAN’T TAKE
IT WITH YOU.”AFTER JUANITA DIED,
I WAS A LONELY SINGLE DAD.
I COULDN’T SLEEP. I GOT ANGRY EASILY. I DIDN’T EAT WELL. TO COMPENSATE,
I WASTED MY MONEY. I LEARNED HOW FOOLISH IT IS
TO SPEND WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY, AND TIRED.THEN A MIRACLE HAPPENED.GOD SENT ME AN AMAZING,
BEAUTIFUL WIDOW
NAMED TAMMY MULFORD.IT WAS SO FUN TO
BE DATING AGAIN,
AND TO HAVE MONEY THIS TIME!TAMMY AND I FELL IN
LOVE AND WERE MARRIED.
WHAT PURE JOY!AND WHAT A GOOD WOMAN!IT TAKES A REMARKABLE PERSON
TO MARRY A STUFFY BYU
PROFESSOR WITH SO MANY KIDS.JUANITA AND I ARE BOTH
ETERNALLY GRATEFUL TO TAMMY!
IT IS NEVER EASY TO
JOIN TWO FAMILIES,
BUT TAMMY AND I HAVE LEARNED
THAT MONEY IS USEFUL WHEN YOU
ARE BLENDING A LARGE FAMILY,
ESPECIALLY ONE WITH TWELVE
CHILDREN, SIX IN-LAWS,
AND TWENTY-ONE GRANDCHILDREN.
ONE FINAL NOTE:
WHEN THE KIDS WERE OLDER,
TAMMY TOOK THE INITIATIVE
TO GO BACK TO GRADUATE SCHOOL.
SHE NOW BLESSES MANY AS
AN EXCELLENT MARRIAGE AND
FAMILY THERAPIST AND
ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AT BYU.
THIS WAS ONLY AN OPTION
BECAUSE WE HAD THE
FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO DO IT. WE LEARNED THAT MONEY MAKES
IMPORTANT THINGS POSSIBLE. OK, THAT’S MY LIFE STORY! LET’S GET BACK
TO TODAY’S THEME: MONEY MATTERS:
LIVING JOYFULLY WITHIN YOUR MEANS. FINANCES CAN BE PERPLEXING
FOR MANY OF US, BUT THIS MORNING I HOPE TO
MAKE THEM A LITTLE SIMPLER. I WILL FIRST BRIEFLY EXPLORE
WHY MONEY MATTERS TO FAMILIES. THEN I WILL SHARE FIVE
PRACTICES TO HELP YOU LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS AND THUS
CLAIM BLESSINGS OF JOY. LET’S GET STARTED! FIRST, MONEY MATTERS. THE CHOICES WE MAKE WITH
MONEY ARE AT THE HEART OF MORTALITY’S TEST. WILL WE CHOOSE TO WASTE
OUR RESOURCES UPON TRANSITORY PLEASURES? OR WILL WE CHOOSE TO
SERVE OTHERS AND BUILD UP THE KINGDOM OF GOD? WILL WE CHOOSE TO ACT
ON IMPULSE AND BURDEN OURSELVES WITH DEBT? OR WILL WE ACT PRUDENTLY SO
THAT MONEY BECOMES A TOOL FOR FAMILY JOY AND NOT THE
CAUSE OF STRESS AND WORRY? MONEY MATTERS TO A HUSBAND
AND WIFE AND THEIR MARITAL RELATIONSHIP. INDEED, RESEARCH SHOWS
THAT FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES ARE OFTEN ASSOCIATED
WITH MARITAL STRESS AND EVEN DIVORCE. DR. BERNARD PODUSKA REFLECTED,
“THE SAYING
“‘MARRIED FOR
“‘BETTER OR WORSE,
“OR UNTIL DEBT DO US PART’
“SEEMS TO REFLECT TODAY’S
“MARITAL REALITIES MORE
“ACCURATELY THAN DOES THE
TRADITIONAL VOW.”A WORD OF ADVICE FOR THOSE
SEEKING AN ETERNAL MATE, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE:
AN IMPORTANT CRITERION FOR A FUTURE SPOUSE IS THE
WAY THEY HANDLE MONEY. MONEY ALSO MATTERS TO
PARENTS AND CHILDREN. PARENTS HAVE A SACRED
RESPONSIBILITY TO REAR THEIR CHILDREN IN LOVE
AND RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THIS INCLUDES TEACHING
THEIR CHILDREN ABOUT FINANCES. ELDER JOSEPH B. WIRTHLIN TAUGHT,
“TOO MANY OF OUR YOUTH GET
“INTO FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY
“BECAUSE THEY NEVER LEARNED
“PROPER PRINCIPLES OF FINANCIAL
“COMMON SENSE AT HOME.
“TEACH YOUR CHILDREN
WHILE THEY ARE YOUNG.”
THERE ARE MANY WAYS
PARENTS CAN TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT MONEY. ONE PRACTICE OUR FAMILY
ADOPTED WAS TO ESTABLISH A FAMILY BANK. UNTIL THEY GRADUATE
FROM HIGH SCHOOL, OUR CHILDREN MAY INVEST
THEIR MONEY IN AND BORROW MONEY FROM THE FAMILY BANK. MONEY INVESTED EARNS 10
PERCENT INTEREST PER MONTH, COMPOUNDED MONTHLY. MONEY BORROWED COSTS
10 PERCENT INTEREST, COMPOUNDED MONTHLY. THIS ARRANGEMENT QUICKLY
TEACHES CHILDREN THAT THE SMART DECISION IS TO SAVE
AND EARN INTEREST AND THAT THE FOOLISH DECISION IS TO
BORROW AND PAY INTEREST. THOUGH MONEY IS IMPORTANT,
WE MUST VIEW ITS PURPOSE WITH AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE. MONEY IS MEANT TO BE A
MEANS FOR SERVING OUR FAMILIES AND OUR GOD. WHEN CONSECRATED
TO THOSE PURPOSES, IT IS OF GREAT WORTH. HOWEVER, WHEN MONEY
BECOMES AN END UNTO ITSELF, IT DERAILS US FROM
OUR ETERNAL PURPOSES. WHEN WE FOCUS TOO MUCH
OF OUR TIME, TALENTS, AND ENERGY ON MAKING MONEY,
WE SIN. THE APOSTLE PAUL TAUGHT THAT
“THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL.” OK, YOU’VE SEEN HOW
“MONEY MATTERS.” NOW LET’S LOOK AT
“LIVING JOYFULLY WITHIN YOUR MEANS.” WE MUST BUILD OUR FINANCIAL
HOUSES UPON THE ROCK OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. FORTUNATELY,
OUR PROPHETS, SEERS, AND REVELATORS–
CHRIST’S REPRESENTATIVES ON THE EARTH–
HAVE GIVEN US CLEAR FINANCIAL GUIDANCE. I HAVE DISTILLED FIVE DISTINCT
THEMES FROM THEIR MESSAGESOVER THE YEARS:
ONE: CREATE, USE, AND
UPDATE A FAMILY BUDGET.TWO: MINIMIZE AND
EVENTUALLY ELIMINATE DEBT.
THREE: INVEST EARLY,
CONSISTENTLY,
AND WISELY TO BUILD
A FINANCIAL RESERVE.
FOUR:
DON’T DO DUMB THINGS
WITH YOUR MONEY!FIVE: BE GENEROUS AND
SHARE YOUR RESOURCES
WITH OTHERS.IN A RECENT FIRST
PRESIDENCY MESSAGE,
PRESIDENT THOMAS S. MONSON
TAUGHT THESE PRACTICES
SUCCINCTLY:
“WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO
“LOOK TO THE CONDITION
“OF YOUR FINANCES.
“WE URGE YOU TO 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.”AND I IMAGINE PRESIDENT MONSON
CHUCKLED AS HE WROTE,
“MANY MORE PEOPLE COULD RIDE
“OUT THE STORM-TOSSED WAVES IN
“THEIR ECONOMIC LIVES IF THEY
“HAD A SUPPLY OF FOOD AND
“CLOTHING AND WERE DEBT-FREE.“TODAY WE FIND THAT MANY
“HAVE FOLLOWED THIS
“COUNSEL IN REVERSE:
“THEY HAVE A SUPPLY OF
DEBT AND ARE FOOD-FREE.”LET’S EXAMINE MORE CLOSELY
FIVE PRACTICES THAT CAN HELP
YOU MOVE TOWARD LIVING
JOYFULLY WITHIN YOUR MEANS. ONE: CREATE, USE,
AND UPDATE A FAMILY BUDGET. THE FIRST PRACTICE
IS TO CREATE, USE, AND CONTINUALLY
UPDATE A BUDGET. ELDER ROBERT D. HALES TAUGHT,
“WE HELP OUR CHILDREN LEARN TO
“BE PROVIDENT PROVIDERS BY
“ESTABLISHING A FAMILY BUDGET.
“WE SHOULD REGULARLY REVIEW
“OUR FAMILY INCOME, SAVINGS,
“AND SPENDING PLAN IN
FAMILY COUNCIL MEETINGS.”
A BUDGET IS SIMPLY A PLAN
FOR HOW YOU ARE GOING
TO SPEND THE MONEY THAT
IS AVAILABLE TO YOU. EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOU,
SHOULD HAVE A BUDGET. TO CREATE A BUDGET,
YOU DETERMINE YOUR SPENDABLE INCOME AND ALLOCATE
IT TO DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF EXPENSES. THEN YOU TRACK YOUR ACTUAL
SPENDING AGAINST YOUR BUDGET. A BUDGET IS A LIVING
DOCUMENT THAT IS MODIFIED AS CONDITIONS WARRANT. I SUGGEST THAT EVERY
BUDGET SHOULD ALLOCATE AT LEAST 10 PERCENT TO
TITHES AND OFFERINGS, AND MOST BUDGETS SHOULD
ALLOCATE AT LEAST 10 PERCENT TO LONG-TERM SAVINGS. YOU CAN FIND SAMPLE BUDGETS
ON NUMEROUS INTERNET SITES, SUCH AS THE MARRIOTT
SCHOOL’S EXCELLENT SITE PERSONALFINANCE.BYU.EDU
AND LDS.ORG. IN MY MIND,
THE MOST OVERLOOKED BUDGET CATEGORY IS MISCELLANEOUS. UNEXPECTED EXPENSES ALWAYS
COME UP THAT DON’T FIT NEATLY INTO YOUR BUDGET CATEGORIES:
A CAR REPAIR, A ROOT CANAL, OR PERHAPS AN ENGAGEMENT RING. IN MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIPS,
BOTH HUSBAND AND WIFE SHOULD HAVE A SAY IN BUDGET CREATION. IN MANY MARRIAGES,
ONE PARTNER IS A SAVER, AND THE OTHER PARTNER
IS A SPENDER. BOTH PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE. EARLY IN A MARRIAGE,
IT IS A GREAT BLESSING WHEN THE SAVER CAN HELP THE SPENDER
STAY WITHIN THE BUDGET. ELDER ROBERT D. HALES
POIGNANTLY ILLUSTRATED THIS POINT IN THE
FOLLOWING STORY: “WE WERE NEWLY MARRIED
AND HAD VERY LITTLE MONEY “I SAW A BEAUTIFUL DRESS IN A
“STORE WINDOW AND SUGGESTED TO “MY WIFE THAT IF SHE LIKED IT,
“WE WOULD BUY IT. “MARY WENT INTO THE DRESSING
“ROOM OF THE STORE. “AFTER A MOMENT THE
“SALESCLERK CAME OUT, “BRUSHED BY ME,
“AND RETURNED THE DRESS TO ITS “PLACE IN THE STORE WINDOW. “AS WE LEFT THE STORE,
“I ASKED, “‘WHAT HAPPENED?’
“SHE REPLIED, “‘IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL DRESS,
“BUT WE CAN’T AFFORD IT!’ “THOSE WORDS WENT
STRAIGHT TO MY HEART.” ELDER HALES FINISHED
THIS STORY SAYING,“I HAVE LEARNED THAT THE
“THREE MOST LOVING WORDS ARE
“‘I LOVE YOU,’
“AND THE FOUR MOST CARING
“WORDS FOR THOSE WE LOVE
ARE ‘WE CAN’T AFFORD IT.'”
THE SPENDER CAN ALSO
PLAY AN IMPORTANT
ROLE IN THE MARRIAGE.IF, AFTER A PERIOD OF TIME,
THE FAMILY IS DOING WELL FINANCIALLY,
THE SPENDER CAN TAKE THE LEAD IN BUDGETING FOR SOME SPECIAL
EXPENDITURES THAT WOULD STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS:
PERHAPS A SECOND HONEYMOON OR A NICE FAMILY VACATION. I INVITE EACH OF
YOU TO CREATE, USE, AND UPDATE SOME FORM OF BUDGET
FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. TWO: MINIMIZE AND EVENTUALLY
ELIMINATE DEBT THE SECOND PRESIDENT THOMAS S. MONSON
RECENTLY QUOTED PRESIDENT J. REUBEN CLARKE, JR. WHEN HE SAID,
“ONCE IN DEBT,
“INTEREST IS YOUR
“COMPANION EVERY MINUTE
“OF THE DAY AND NIGHT;
“YOU CANNOT SHUN IT OR
“SLIP AWAY FROM IT;
“AND WHENEVER YOU GET IN ITS
“WAY OR CROSS ITS COURSE OR
“FAIL TO MEET ITS DEMANDS,
IT CRUSHES YOU.”SO IS ANY DEBT LEGITIMATE?THE COUNSEL OF CHURCH
LEADERS ON DEBT WAS RECENTLY SUMMARIZED BY
ELDER ROBERT D. HALES:“SOME DEBT INCURRED FOR
“EDUCATION, A MODEST HOME,
“OR A BASIC AUTOMOBILE
“MAY BE NECESSARY TO
PROVIDE FOR A FAMILY.”I MIGHT ADD THAT NECESSARY
DEBT FOR A BYU EDUCATION
USUALLY PAYS OFF QUITE WELL.A RECENT STUDY REVEALED
THAT THE COST OF A BYU
EDUCATION HAD THE HIGHEST
RETURN ON INVESTMENT OF ANY UNIVERSITY IN UTAH. HERE I WOULD LIKE TO INTERJECT
WHAT I BELIEVE IS THE BIGGEST FINANCIAL MISTAKE MADE
BY RECENT BYU GRADUATES: BUYING A HOUSE THAT
IS BEYOND THEIR MEANS. THERE IS A REASON
FOR THIS PROBLEM. WHEN YOU APPLY FOR
A MORTGAGE LOAN, YOU ARE ASKED
ABOUT YOUR DEBTS. TITHING REPRESENTS
A DEBT WORTH 10 PERCENT OF YOUR INCOME,
REDUCING THE AMOUNT YOU CAN AFFORD FOR A HOUSE PAYMENT. PLEASE TREAT 10 PERCENT
OF YOUR INCOME AS A DEBT WHEN CONSIDERING HOW MUCH
YOU CAN REALLY AFFORD TO PAY FOR A HOME. IF YOU ALREADY HAVE DEBTS,
THE KEY IS TO INCLUDE A “DEBT REPAYMENT”
CATEGORY IN YOUR BUDGET. THE MONEY ALLOCATED TO THIS
CATEGORY IS APPLIED EACH MONTH AS AN EXTRA PAYMENT TO THE
DEBT WITH THE HIGHEST INTEREST RATE UNTIL IT IS ELIMINATED. AGAIN, PERSONALFINANCE.BYU.EDU
HAS EXCELLENT ADVICE ON THIS TOPIC. THE PROPHETIC
COUNSEL IS CLEAR, BUT SOMETIMES TEMPTATIONS
ARE VERY CHALLENGING, EVEN AFTER BEING
DEBT-FREE FOR YEARS. LET ME CONFESS AND SHARE
ANOTHER PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. TAMMY AND I HAVE COMMITTED
TO FOLLOW THE PROPHET AND LIVE DEBT FREE,
WITHIN OUR MEANS. WE DON’T HAVE A MORTGAGE
NOR ANY OTHER DEBT. WE DO MAKE A CAR
PAYMENT EACH MONTH, BUT INSTEAD OF PAYING
A CAR DEALERSHIP, WE MAKE A DEPOSIT INTO OUR
OWN CAR SAVINGS ACCOUNT. A LITTLE WHILE AGO,
WE TOOK ABOUT FOUR YEARS OF CAR SAVINGS AND WENT
SHOPPING FOR A NEW CAR. WE REALLY LIKED A
BASE MODEL TOYOTA, AND IT FIT OUR
BUDGET PERFECTLY. WE THOUGHT WE WERE
READY TO BUY, BUT THEN THE SALESMAN SHOWED
US THE NEXT MODEL UP. IT WAS MUCH NICER BUT
WAS A LITTLE MORE THAN WHAT WE HAD SAVED. BUT THEN,
AND THIS WAS THE TEMPTATION, WE WERE LED TO A
TOP-OF-THE-LINE MODEL, A REAL DREAM MACHINE. NOW, I’VE NEVER BEEN
INFATUATED WITH CARS, BUT DRIVING THAT VEHICLE WAS
A TRANSCENDENT EXPERIENCE; IT WAS SO SMOOTH,
SO POWERFUL. I WANTED IT! I REALLY WANTED IT,
AND TAMMY WANTED IT TOO! WE HAD JUST ONE PROBLEM:
THE CAR COST MUCH MORE THAN WHAT WE HAD IN
OUR CAR SAVINGS. THE SALES PERSON
ENTHUSIASTICALLY SHOWED US THAT WITH OUR
LARGE DOWN PAYMENT, OUR MONTHLY CAR PAYMENT
WOULD BE VERY AFFORDABLE! WHAT WOULD BE WRONG WITH
A LITTLE DEBT IF WE COULD GET WHAT WE WANTED NOW? WE WERE SO TEMPTED! FORTUNATELY,
TAMMY AND I DON’T MAKE MAJOR FINANCIAL
DECISIONS ON THE SPOT. WE TALK ABOUT IT,
PRAY ABOUT IT, SLEEP ON IT,
AND MAKE THE FINAL DECISION WHEN WE’RE FRESH,
AND HOPEFULLY MORE INSPIRED. SO, WE WENT HOME AND TRIED
TO TALK OURSELVES INTO THIS BRIEF EXCURSION INTO DEBT. BUT WE DIDN’T FEEL
GOOD ABOUT IT, SO WE DECIDED TO WAIT. WHEN I TOLD THIS STORY TO MY
FAMILY FINANCE CLASS AT BYU, ONE STUDENT ASKED,
“DR. HILL, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST BUY A USED
“VERSION OF THE CAR YOU WANT? “IT’S BETTER
FINANCIALLY ANYWAY.” HE WAS RIGHT! IT IS MORE ECONOMICAL
TO BUY A USED, LOW-MILEAGE CAR THAN
TO BUY A NEW CAR. I GOT EXCITED! RIGHT AFTER CLASS,
I SEARCHED CARFAX.COM AND FOUND A BEAUTIFUL CAR WITH
LOW MILES IN REXBURG, IDAHO THAT FIT OUR BUDGET. MY DAD LIVES IN REXBURG,
SO I ASKED HIM TO TAKE A TEST DRIVE. HE CALLED BACK AND SAID IT WAS
THE BEST CAR HE’D EVER DRIVEN. IF I DIDN’T BUY IT, HE WOULD! I BOUGHT THE CAR OVER THE
PHONE ON CONDITION THAT MY WIFE WOULD APPROVE IT. OUR ANNIVERSARY WAS COMING UP,
SO I DECIDED TO SURPRISE TAMMY. I ASKED HER TO GIVE ME
24 HOURS TO CELEBRATE WITH A LITTLE GETAWAY. WE PACKED OUR BAGS AND
HEADED NORTH ON I-15. TAMMY KEPT GUESSING
WHERE WE WERE HEADED, BUT I KEPT SAYING,
“YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO SEE.” SHE HAD NO CLUE. WHEN WE NEARED THE CAR
DEALERSHIP I SAID, “LET’S JUST STOP
HERE FOR A MINUTE.” WE WALKED INTO THE SHOWROOM,
AND THERE WAS OUR GORGEOUS, NEW-LOOKING USED CAR DRAPED
IN “HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!”
BALLOONS.TAMMY SQUEALED IN DELIGHT AND
NEARLY HYPERVENTILATED!
A FEW SECONDS LATER SHE CAUGHT
HER BREATH AND GOT CONCERNED.
SHE PROTESTED: “BUT, JEFF,
WE CAN’T AFFORD THIS.”
WHEN SHE HEARD THAT WE COULD
PAY CASH FOR THIS USED CAR,
SHE HUGGED ME,
GAVE ME A KISS, AND SAID I WAS THE
SMARTEST HUSBAND EVER! THAT IS AN EXPERIENCE
I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER. I CAN HONESTLY TELL YOU THAT
WHEN YOU ARE TRUE TO A COMMITMENT TO LIVE DEBT-FREE,
WITHIN YOUR MEANS, YOU CAN LIVE JOYFULLY
AND CLAIM BLESSINGS. THREE: INVEST EARLY,
CONSISTENTLY, AND WISELY TO BUILD
A FINANCIAL RESERVE. ELDER JOE J. CHRISTENSEN
SAID IN THE APRIL 1999 GENERAL CONFERENCE,
“THERE ARE THOSE WITH
“AVERAGE INCOMES WHO,
“OVER A LIFETIME,
“DO AMASS SOME MEANS,
“AND THERE ARE THOSE
“WHO RECEIVE LARGE
“SALARIES WHO DO NOT.
“WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?“IT IS SIMPLY SPENDING LESS
“THAN THEY RECEIVE,
“SAVING ALONG THE WAY,
“AND TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE
POWER OF COMPOUND INTEREST.”LET ME ILLUSTRATE THIS
WITH A LITTLE ANIMATION.
ALBERT EINSTEIN IS
QUOTED AS SAYING,
“COMPOUND INTEREST IS THE
EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD.”
LET’S CONSIDER AN
EXAMPLE OF THIS WONDER.
IMAGINE THERE ARE FOUR
20-YEAR OLD BYU STUDENTS,
EACH WITH $10,000 TO INVEST
NOW IN PREPARATION
FOR RETIREMENT IN 2065.LET’S COMPARE DIFFERENT
INVESTMENT OPTIONS,
ASSUMING SIMILAR RETURNS
TO THE PAST FEW DECADES.
THE FIRST STUDENT DOES NOT
TRUST THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM,
AND HE PUTS THE MONEY UNDER
HIS BED IN A STRONG BOX.
IN FIFTY YEARS,
HE STILL HAS $10,000.
THE SECOND STUDENT
PUTS HER MONEY IN
A SAVINGS ACCOUNT,
WHICH AVERAGES ABOUT 2.5
PERCENT ANNUAL RETURN.BECAUSE OF COMPOUND INTEREST,
IT DOUBLES EVERY
25 YEARS.WHEN SHE RETIRES,
SHE HAS $40,000.
THE THIRD PUTS HIS MONEY
IN A SAFE GOVERNMENT
BOND MUTUAL FUND,
WHICH AVERAGES ABOUT 4.5
PERCENT ANNUAL RETURN.IT DOUBLES EVERY
FIFTEEN YEARS.
BY 2065 THE $10,000
BECOME ALMOST $100,000.
THE FOURTH PUTS HER MONEY
IN A BROAD DIVERSIFIED
STOCK MARKET FUND,
WHICH AVERAGES ABOUT
10 PERCENT RETURN.IT DOUBLES EVERY 7.5 YEARS.IN 50 YEARS,
IT DOUBLES NEARLY SEVEN TIMES,
AND THE $10,000
HAS BECOME MORE
THAN $1,000,000!THAT IS THE MIRACLE
OF COMPOUND INTEREST!
WHEN YOU CONSISTENTLY INVEST
LIKE THE FOURTH STUDENT,
YOU HAVE THE PEACE OF MIND
THAT COMES FROM KNOWING YOU
WILL BE ABLE TO RETIRE IN
THE FUTURE AND THAT IF AN
EMERGENCY HAPPENS NOW,
YOU HAVE A RESERVE.
I INVITE MY STUDENTS
AND I INVITE YOU TO BEGIN TO INVEST NOW. IF YOU DON’T HAVE
MUCH TO INVEST, THAT’S OK. YOU CAN START AS SMALL AS
A $1.00/MONTH AUTOMATIC WITHDRAWAL FROM YOUR CHECKING
ACCOUNT THROUGH SOME MUTUAL FUNDS THAT CATER
TO THE SMALL INVESTOR. IN THIS REGARD,
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT
ALTHOUGH MONEY MATTERS, IT IS SIMPLY A MEANS TO DO
SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT. HAVING A LOT OF MONEY WHEN
YOU RETIRE BECAUSE YOU HAVE MADE WISE INVESTMENTS IS
MEANINGLESS IN AND OF ITSELF. THE MONEY ONLY HAS VALUE AS IT
IS USED TO DO GOD’S WORK WITH YOUR FAMILY AND ELSEWHERE. FOUR: DON’T DO DUMB
THINGS WITH YOUR MONEY!
WHEN DEALING WITH MONEY,
USE YOUR COMMON SENSE;
IF IT SOUNDS TOO
GOOD TO BE TRUE,
IT PROBABLY IS.MY FIRST SUGGESTION IS
TO AVOID SPECULATION.
SPECULATION IS ANY INVESTMENT
THAT PROMISES A GREATER THAN MARKET-RATE RETURN. MOST OF THESE ARE SCAMS OR
EXTREMELY HIGH-RISK VENTURES. IN A LETTER FROM
THE FIRST PRESIDENCY, MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH
WERE WARNED ABOUT“THOSE WHO USE RELATIONSHIPS
“OF TRUST TO PROMOTE RISKY
“OR EVEN FRAUDULENT INVESTMENT
AND BUSINESS SCHEMES.”
I KNOW OF A YOUNG WIDOW
WHO INVESTED PART OF THE PROCEEDS OF HER HUSBAND’S
LIFE-INSURANCE SETTLEMENT WITH A CLOSE FRIEND,
WITH THE PROMISE OF A HIGH GUARANTEED INTEREST RATE. THOUGH THE INVESTMENT PAID
OUT FOR SEVERAL YEARS, ONE DAY THE CHECKS
STOPPED COMING. SOON THEREAFTER,
THE COMPANY FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY,
AND THE WIDOW LOST MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. SHE FELT BETRAYED THAT
THE SACRED FUNDS HER LATE HUSBAND HAD PROVIDED HAD
BEEN LOST IN THIS WAY. IT IS IMPORTANT TO REALIZE
THAT THE ONLY WAY TO GET GREATER THAN MARKET-RATE
RETURNS IS TO TAKE GREATER THAN MARKET-RATE RISKS. THIS MEANS IF YOU PUT
MONEY INTO INVESTMENTS THAT PROMISE LARGE RETURNS,
“GET RICH QUICK SCHEMES,” YOU LIKELY STAND
TO LOSE MUCH. IT IS MUCH BETTER TO TAKE
THE “GET RICH SLOWLY” APPROACH AND INVEST WISELY
FOR THE LONG TERM. MY NEXT SUGGESTION IS TO
AVOID HOME EQUITY LOANS. WHEN PROPERTY VALUES GO DOWN,
HOME EQUITY LOANS CAN LEAD YOU TO BE UPSIDE
DOWN IN YOUR HOME. THIS DOESN’T MEAN YOU
ARE STANDING ON YOUR HEAD IN YOUR LIVING ROOM;
IT DOES MEAN YOU CANNOT SELL YOUR HOME FOR
WHAT YOU OWE ON IT. WHEN THAT HAPPENS,
YOU BECOME A PRISONER IN YOUR HOME BECAUSE
YOU CAN’T SELL IT. WORSE YET,
MANY IN THIS SITUATION HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES BECAUSE
THEY COULDN’T AFFORD THE PAYMENTS WHEN FINANCIAL
CHALLENGES OCCURRED. BE VERY CAREFUL
WHEN CONSIDERING A HOME EQUITY LOAN. ANOTHER SUGGESTION IS TO
AVOID IMPULSE PURCHASES. I RECOMMEND YOU MAKE A
POLICY TO NEVER MAKE A MAJOR PURCHASE ON THE SPOT. GO HOME,
TALK ABOUT IT WITH YOUR SPOUSE OR SOMEONE
ELSE THAT YOU TRUST, PRAY ABOUT THE DECISION,
AND DECIDE LATER WHETHER OR NOT TO MAKE THE PURCHASE. YOU CAN REMEMBER THIS
ADVICE WITH THE ACRONYMHALT (H.A.L.T.):
DON’T MAKE MAJOR PURCHASES
WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY,
ANGRY, LONELY OR TIRED.
FIVE: BE GENEROUS AND SHARE
YOUR RESOURCES WITH OTHERS. THE PROPHET JACOB PROVIDES US
WITH SOME EXCELLENT COUNSEL ABOUT RICHES AND HOW
THEY SHOULD BE USED:“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.”
WE HAVE A SPECIAL
RESPONSIBILITY TO BLESS THE
POOR WITH OUR RESOURCES. ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND
ELOQUENTLY TAUGHT US THAT WE ARE TO
“DO WHAT WE CAN TO DELIVER“ANY WE CAN FROM POVERTY
“THAT HOLDS THEM CAPTIVE
“AND DESTROYS SO MANY
OF THEIR DREAMS.”
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CHURCH
BEYOND TITHING CAN BE HELPFUL.
ELDER HOLLAND ALSO SAID,
“BE AS GENEROUS AS
“CIRCUMSTANCES PERMIT IN YOUR
“FAST OFFERING AND OTHER
“HUMANITARIAN, EDUCATIONAL,
AND MISSIONARY CONTRIBUTIONS.”
THERE ARE ALSO MANY WAYS TO
USE YOUR MEANS IN ANONYMOUS AND AD HOC GIVING. JUST ONE EXAMPLE:
TAMMY HAS TAUGHT ME TO BE MORE GENEROUS
WHEN WE GO OUT TO EAT. SHE WAS A WAITRESS
EARLIER IN LIFE, SO SHE IS VERY AWARE OF
HOW MUCH WORK SERVERS DO JUST TO MAKE ENDS MEET. SHE HAS ENCOURAGED ME TO STOP
BEING STINGY AND TO BE GENEROUS IN MY TIPPING. I HAVE TO TELL YOU,
IT FEELS SO GOOD TO GIVE AN UNEXPECTEDLY LARGE TIP. I APPRECIATE TAMMY’S
GENEROUS SPIRIT. I INVITE YOU TO BE THOUGHTFUL
AND PRAYERFUL AS YOU FIND WAYS TO BE GENEROUS AND SHARE
YOUR RESOURCES WITH OTHERS. I PROMISE THAT YOU WILL
FEEL JOY AS YOU DO SO. LET ME CONCLUDE WITH A
QUOTE AND MY TESTIMONY. ROBERT D. HALES TAUGHT,
“WE MUST PRACTICE
“THE PRINCIPLES OF
“PROVIDENT LIVING:
“JOYFULLY LIVING
“WITHIN OUR MEANS,
“BEING CONTENT
“WITH WHAT WE HAVE,
“AVOIDING EXCESSIVE DEBT,
“AND DILIGENTLY SAVING
“AND PREPARING FOR
RAINY-DAY EMERGENCIES.”
I HAVE A TESTIMONY THAT WHEN
WE UNDERSTAND THAT MONEY
MATTERS AND TAKE THE TIME
TO BUDGET, ELIMINATE DEBT, INVEST WISELY,
MAKE SMART DECISIONS, AND SHARE OUR RESOURCES,
WE RECEIVE BOTH MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS. I TESTIFY THAT WE MUST
BUILD OUR FINANCIAL HOMES UPON THE ROCK OF THE
GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. IF WE DO THIS,
WHEN THE RAINS OF RECESSIONS DESCEND,
THE FLOODS OF LAY-OFFS COME, AND THE WINDS OF HIGH
INTEREST RATES BLOW AND BEAT UPON OUR HOUSES,
OUR HOUSES WILL NOT FALL, FOR THEY WILL BE FOUNDED
UPON THE ROCK OF CHRIST. I INVITE YOU TO LIVE JOYFULLY
WITHIN YOUR MEANS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE SO THAT ON
JUDGMENT DAY YOU MIGHT GIVE A IN THE NAME OF
JESUS CHRIST, AMEN.>>THIS DEVOTIONAL ADDRESS
WITH JEFF HILL WAS GIVEN
ON JUNE 9, 2015.♪♪ ♪♪

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