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How can I prepare to be financially self-reliant?

The Lord has blessed us with resources, and He expects us to be wise stewards over these resources. He wants us to be financially self-reliant so that we can provide for ourselves and serve others. To do this, we should pay tithes and offerings, avoid unnecessary debt, use a budget, and live within our means.

Prepare yourself spiritually

What scriptures and other resources will help the youth understand the importance of financial self-reliance and prepare them to live providently?

Malachi 3:10–11 (Blessings of tithing)

2 Nephi 9:30, 51; Jacob 2:13–14, 17–19; Alma 1:29–30; 4:6–8 (We should use riches to bless others)

D&C 19:35 (The Lord compares debt to bondage)

Robert D. Hales, “Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 7–10; see also the video “Becoming Provident Providers”

Debt,” True to the Faith (2004), 48–49

Tithes and Offerings,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), 38–39

All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances (pamphlet, 2007)

Finances section of LDS.org

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between things they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help you:

  • Invite the youth to share something they learned recently from their personal scripture study.
  • Ask the youth to explain how certain tools can be both helpful and harmful, depending on how they are used (such as a mousetrap, hammer, or book of matches; you may want to bring one of these items as a visual aid). Show the youth some money and ask them to explain the positive and negative uses of money. How can it be used to bless others and further the Lord’s work?

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the youth understand the importance of financial self-reliance. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Write the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales on the board: “The three most loving words are ‘I love you,’ and the four most caring words … are ‘We can’t afford it.’” Invite the youth to read Elder Hales’s story about wanting to buy a dress for his wife (in his talk “Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually”), or show the video “Becoming Provident Providers.” Ask the youth to think about and share possible reasons Elder Hales says “We can’t afford it” are the four most caring words. What blessings come from living within our means? How can the youth follow Sister Hales’s example? How can her example help them when they are tempted to live beyond their means?
  • Invite the class to make two lists on the board: one describing what the world tells us about money and another describing what the Lord tells us about money. Ask them to read the scriptures provided in this outline, looking for things they can add to the lists. Ask the youth what they can do now to begin living by what the Lord teaches about money. Invite them to write their ideas on the board. Have the youth individually pick one idea from the list that they want to begin working on this week. Invite them to share their plans if they feel comfortable doing so.
  • Invite a class member to read D&C 19:35. Why does the Lord compare debt to bondage? Ask the youth to read “Debt” in True to the Faith. Invite half of the class to look for reasons why we should avoid debt, and ask the other half to look for counsel about how to stay out of debt. Ask them to teach each other what they learn and why they feel it is important to the Lord that we stay out of debt. How is our spirituality affected by the way we manage our money?
  • Ask the youth what they think the First Presidency would say about managing our finances. Write their ideas on the board. Give each class member a copy of the pamphlet All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances. Read together the message from the First Presidency. What counsel does the First Presidency give regarding finances? What blessings do they promise? Assign each class member to read one of the “Basics of Family Finances” and summarize it in his or her own words for the rest of the class. How can the youth apply these principles now? Share experiences you have had applying these principles, and invite the youth to do the same.

After completing one of the activities above, give the youth time in class to begin filling out the “Budget Worksheet” in the pamphlet All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances. They could base this worksheet on their actual income or use hypothetical figures. Encourage them to seek advice and guidance from their parents.

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand the importance of financial self-reliance well enough to explain it to others? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

Ask the youth what they feel inspired to do because of what they learned today. Encourage them to act on these feelings. Consider ways you can follow up. For example, you could ask them to share their experiences at the beginning of next week’s lesson.