Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some reading recommendations...

Surprise, surprise, more Dave Ramsey! Lee and I read this book a couple months ago and we both loved it.

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Many of you know how much I agree with and like the plan that Dave Ramsey has for getting out of debt and building wealth. The tools and principles he teaches are not new and I have heard many of them from several people.

Overall what I loved about this book is that it was about real life--not just saving X amount of dollars so you can be a billionaire. He talks about different things like how to handle trials successfully, the joy of giving and how to create a better marriage. It was like reading a book on how to apply gospel principles in your life while improving your financial situation too. Though we talk quite a bit about financial things, the book also motivated me to improve my communication with Lee about our specific financial goals and monthly budget. Thanks for the book Amy! If you haven't read any of Dave Ramsey's books, I would recommend first reading More Than Enough, and then the The Total Money Makeover.

Lately Lee and I have been talking a lot about specific financial goals. Since we will be out of debt in a few months we are deciding exactly what to do with our money: how much to set aside for an emergency fund, for retirement, for kids' college; when we should buy a house, how much to spend on a house, etc. It has been VERY fun!!!

With an almost ongoing financial conversation at home, I have been thinking a lot too about what our Prophet and church leaders have counseled us to do with our money. Among many, one great article from the June Ensign is "Focus on Family Finances" by Allie Schulte. In there she referred to the pamphlet my church produces entitled All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances and it prompted me to read that pamphlet again. You can go here to get it for free (free shipping too!) or go here to read it online.

In trying to refrain myself from putting the whole pamphlet on my blog--it's a short read--here are some highlights from All Is Safely Gathered In: Family 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."

"Spending less money than you make is essential to your financial security."

"Save money to purchase what you need."

"If you are in debt, pay it off as quickly as possible." (Dave's plan is great for this!)

It also mentions to first pay tithes and also generous fast offerings, keep track of expenditures, stick to your budget, save money, involve your family in the process and teach them good financial habits and get as much education as you can.

I have heard comments about people always having money problems or that they'll never "get ahead". But as I was thinking about finances, and what church leaders have counseled to do, I know that we all can be financially secure. Sure maybe some of us won't have private jets or own our own island, but we can all be financially secure.

It's like when David killed Goliath, or Nephi went to get the plates from Laban. They both accomplished a task that some thought impossible. As Nephi said in 1 Nephi 3:7 "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

For years we have been counseled to get out of debt and save money. This is something that the Lord wants us to do, thus in turn, we can do it! We will all be able to get out of debt. We will all be able to save money. It will be easier for some than others. Sacrifice may be a constant friend to some. And financial struggles may still come in the future. But it is possible. And again from All Is Safely Gathered In, "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." True, true. Anyway, I just had this realization the other day and wanted to share it with all of you.

I have one last article to recommend before I end this blog post. It also comes from the June Ensign: "Our Refined Heavenly Home" by Elder Douglas L. Callister. It was great. There are so many things I need to improve on! I have been thinking about the article and wanted to pass along the link for all of you to read.

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