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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Financial Book Report

                I promised my readers that I would share my financial book report on which I received full credit.  I highly recommend the book that I read because it offered many insights into why my husband and I handle finances as we do and how we can improve our situation.  I feel that our finances are in good condition; I simply understand things better now.

                I chose to read The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom – Practical & Spiritual Steps So You Can Stop Worrying by Suze Orman.  The five principles from the book that I chose to study are: (1) Be open to receive all that you are meant to have, (2) Be aware that your past holds the key to your financial future, (3) Be honest with yourself about your income and expenses, (4) Be responsible to those you love, and (5) Be respectful to your money and yourself.

                Principle 1:  Be open to receive all that you are meant to have.  The author states that “when you feel you’re in control of your money and have enough to be generous with it, money will naturally flow your way….”1 

                I believe that this principle correlates with the Lord’s law of tithes and offerings.  Malachi wrote:  “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”2

                I was taught the law of tithing as a child, and I have lived it for my entire life.  I know it is a true principle given for our benefit.  I have never gone to bed hungry because there was no food in the house, and I have never wondered how I would pay the bills. 

                Principle 2:  Be aware that your past holds the key to your financial future.  “The road to financial freedom begins … in your head… with your thoughts….”3 

                I think that this principle supports the teachings of the Church about the importance of our thoughts.  As I read about it, my mind went immediately to “as a man thinketh….”   President David O. McKay said, “No principle of life was more constantly emphasized by the Great Teacher than the necessity of right thinking.  To Him, the man was not what he appeared to be outwardly, nor what he professed to be by his words:  what the man thought determined in all cases what the man was.  No teacher emphasized more strongly than He the truth that `as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he’ [see Proverbs 23:7]…”4  

                I know that my thoughts greatly affect everything I do in life.  I believe that how I think about money will affect how I deal with it.  I think there is an enormous difference between “I do not have any money” and “I am temporarily out of cash.”  I prefer the second type of thinking because it is positive; I feel that the first type of thinking could cause me to give up while the second could influence me to find better ways to handle my money. 

                Principle 3:  Be honest with yourself about your income and expenses.  “This third step toward financial freedom, then, is about getting back in touch with your money and understanding that you have the power to decide how to use it.  And it’s about being honest with yourself.  ….  With this step you begin to take control of your financial life in a concrete way.” 5

                This principle supports the teachings of the Church on budgeting.  President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Every family should have a budget.  …We have to know approximately what we may receive, and we certainly must know what we are going to spend….”6

                I know the importance of this principle because I live it.  I remember when my husband invested a chunk of our monthly income for our retirement years.  We struggled with a tight budget for numerous years but are now reaping the benefits of my husband’s wisdom.  We continue to use a budget to track our spending but not such a strict one.      
                Principle 4:  Be responsible to those you love.  “The emotional foundation of your life is no less important than the financial structure you create.  That is why, in building your financial structure, you must begin with the people you care about.”7 

                I believe this principle supports the teachings of the Church:  “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.” 8  It also supports the teachings in “One for the Money” about the need for wise investments, various types of insurance, and being prepared for emergencies.9    One way we can care for our loved ones is to make sure they will have what they need whether or not we are around.   

                My husband and I have enough money for our needs as well as health insurance and long-term care insurance; however, we need to look closely at our affairs to be sure that our estate passes to our children as easily as possible.  I believe that I will sleep better at night when we have everything in order for our children to inherit all that we have.

                Principle 5:  Be respectful of yourself and your money.  “Money is a living entity, and it responds to energy exactly the same way you do.  It is drawn to those who welcome it, those who respect it….”10  

                I think this principle supports the gospel truth that money itself is neither good nor evil.    Jacob taught the Nephites, “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 – to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.”11 

                I have known this teaching from my childhood.  I knew as a child that my parents did not have much money, but I do not remember it being a big problem in my life.  I have always believed that money was a tool to be used in doing good.  It is nice to have enough to meet my needs and some of my desires, but it is still only a tool for me to use wisely.  I will continue to be wise in living within my means and showing proper respect for money and for myself.

                I enjoyed studying this book very much.  There were times when I felt as though I were reading financial counsel from Church leaders.  I believe that every principle taught by the author has a spiritual foundation to it, and I made many new connections with gospel teachings.  I highly recommend the book!

1 The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, p. 262
2 Malachi 3:10
3 The 9 Steps…, p. 7
4 “‘As a Man Thinketh… ,’” Instructor, September 1958, 257–58). 
5 The 9 Steps…, p. 30
6 One for the Money,” iii 
7 The 9 Steps…, p. 45
9 “One for the Money,” pp. 9-10
10 The 9 Steps…, p. 117
11 Jacob 2:18-19

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