7 Financial Mistakes Every Latter-day Saint Family Should Avoid



Since the earliest days in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, personal and family finances have been topics the Lord and His prophets have frequently addressed. Who can forget the Lord’s terse counsel to Martin Harris, an early Church member who generously mortgaged his farm in order to finance the initial printing of the Book of Mormon: “Pay the debt thou has contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage” (Doctrine & Covenants 19:35). Indeed, a substantial number of sections in the Doctrine & Covenants contain revelations from the Lord that relate principally or in part to financial matters. In these scriptures and in the nearly two centuries of teachings of modern prophets from the Prophet Joseph Smith to President Thomas S. Monson, we have been cautioned about the dangers of excessive debt and the blessings of living within our means.

At a time when concerns about family finances are widely believed to be a leading cause of marital discord and divorce, our efforts to manage our finances wisely are perhaps more important than ever. During my adult life in the Church, I have observed a number of common financial mistakes individuals and families make that, if avoided, will lead to greater peace and financial security. Below, I summarize seven of these mistakes:

Mistake #1: A 30-Year Mortgage

With few exceptions, a home is the most valuable asset most of us will purchase in our lifetime. However, too many Latter-day Saint families in the United States purchase a home that stretches them financially beyond what is needed or what is wise. Although 30-year mortgages have grown in popularity because of the lower monthly payment they offer, I believe 30-year mortgages are a financial mistake for most families. Thirty years is too long to be in “bondage!” With a 15-year fixed mortgage, you can pay off a house in half the amount of time and save tens of thousands of dollars in interest. Making prepayments on a 30-year mortgage will reduce interest costs and allow you pay off the loan in fewer than 30 years, but if our goal is to avoid excessive debt and pay off debt as quickly as possible, a 15-year mortgage is a better financial choice. In short, if you cannot afford to finance a home using a 15-year mortgage instead of a 30-year mortgage, I believe it’s a good sign you’re purchasing a more expensive home than what is in your best financial interest.



Mistake #2: Eternal Car Payments

Life is better without a car payment. Too many people treat a monthly car payment like it is a permanent fixture in a family budget. Almost as soon as they pay off one car, they trade it in and take on a new car loan that requires another five years of monthly payments. Said simply, cars can very easily become a big waste of money. There is nothing wrong with wanting to drive a safe and comfortable car, but avoiding excessive spending on cars and driving cars long enough to be free from car payments for extended periods of time are smart financial moves.

Mistake #3: Worrying More about Food Storage Than Financial Reserves

The prophets have taught that having at least some food storage on hand is an important way of living providently and fostering self-reliance. That is good counsel, and many families have been blessed during times of hardship by being able to rely on their supplies of food storage. However, I am often surprised that many families with a great zeal for food storage give comparatively much less thought and effort to building a financial reserve to assist in the event of an unexpected hardship. While food storage is important, we cannot use cans of food to pay our debts or our bills if we fall on hard times. Having a financial reserve of at least 3 months of expenses saved up and getting out of debt as quickly as possibly can bring as much peace of mind as having cans of food storage in our homes. Both of these forms of provident living deserve our attention and effort.





Mistake #4: Paying the Lord Last

I am convinced that the law of tithing is a gift from the Lord. Paying an honest, full tithe teaches us so many valuable lessons and brings so many blessings. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once taught, paying tithing is “a declaration that possession of material goods and the accumulation of worldly wealth are not the uppermost goals of [our] existence” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Like a Watered Garden,” Ensign, November 2001). Over the years, several prophets have emphasized that tithing is not a principle of finance; it is a principle of faith. I believe it is a financial mistake to pay our other bills and expenses first, waiting to see if there is enough left over to pay tithing and other offerings. Instead, we will have greater peace of mind and the promise of additional blessings from heaven (Malachi 3:10-11) if we pay tithes and offerings first, trusting that the Lord will ensure our other needs are met one way or another.


Mistake #5: Waiting Too Long to Let Children Practice Tithing and Saving

We can help our children gain testimonies of the blessings of provident living by giving them opportunities to practice paying tithing and putting money into savings at an early age. Too many Latter-day Saint parents wait until their children are old enough to earn money outside the home before they teach and emphasize tithing and savings. This is a mistake because we lose the chance to teach these principles when our children are most impressionable. Using some form of allowance will allow even very young children to gain testimonies of the power of paying a full tithing and putting at least 10% of their money away in long-term savings. They can also learn the necessity of saving up money over a period of time to earn enough to pay for the things they want to have. Thus, even a very small allowance can become an investment you make that teaches your children these valuable lessons at an early age.


Mistake #6: Not Saving Enough and Not Saving Automatically

Savings rates for the average American household are abysmally small compared to many other developed countries around the world. Put simply, we spend too much and save too little. Too many families live at or above their means, leaving little or no room for setting savings aside. As a good rule of thumb, pay the Lord 10% in tithing and pay yourself at least 10% in long-term savings. In other words, learn to live off of no more than 80% of your take-home pay. If your employer sponsors a 401(k) or other pre-tax savings plan, take advantage of it by maximizing your contributions—especially if your employer offers matching contributions. In addition, make your other savings automatic. Set up recurring transfers that automatically move money out of your checking account on payday and into long-term investments. For retirement savings, use inexpensive, diversified index funds. I try to remember that having the financial freedom to serve missions with my wife and spend our retirement years the way we envision depends critically on our choices now to save generously for later in life.

Mistake #7: Carrying a Balance on Credit Cards / Excessive Consumer Debt

In David Copperfield, Charles Dickens wrote that the difference between happiness and misery is having an income slightly above your debts versus having an income slightly below your debts. It is a terrible mistake for any LDS family to carry a balance on a credit card and pay the accompanying interest. It is also unwise to have a large number of credit cards (one or two should be enough). Likewise, consumer debt should be avoided as much as possible, which includes all forms of debt for home furnishings, electronics, eating out, etc. As President J. Reuben Clark famously taught in 1938: “Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you” (Conference Report, Apr. 1938, 103).




Nate Sharp is an associate professor in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, where he teaches and researches financial reporting. He grew up in Holladay, Utah, served a full-time mission for the Church in the Korea Seoul West mission, and later graduated from Brigham Young University and the University of Texas at Austin. He married Holly Carroll in 2003, and they are the proud parents of five beautiful children.

42 comments

  1. I don't completely agree that a 30-year mortgage is a mistake. I think, especially with today's low interest rates, a 30 year mortgage can be the better long-term choice for many (maybe even most) people. This is because the opportunity cost of paying off your house sooner is high. (E.g. real estate increases in value by about 1% each year, stocks are about 8% each year in the long run. So you're better off paying your house off slower and investing that money instead--but of course that assumes you take that saved money and actually invest it, rather than just wasting it on frivolous things.) But I do agree, the biggest problem is people are purchasing more expensive homes than they really should.

    I agree 100% that people should avoid car payments. Rather then buying a car on loan, and paying interest, people should save up money and buy it in cash. That way interest can work for you instead of against you.

    I think people should have 6 months of expenses saved. But then again, I'm pretty risk averse.

    I absolutely agree that we should donate tithing before anything else. Especially in the times we are struggling financially. I know a lot of people criticize the doctrine of tithing, and say it is inappropriate for the Church to expect individuals to donate tithing when they are struggling financially. But that is the essence of faith. It reminds me of the widow of Zarapeth: "And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah." (1 Kings 17:8-16)

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    1. Except that interest rates on a 15 year mortgages are lower than 30 year mortgages and instead of paying for your house 3 times you pay for it 1 1/2 times. The problem with a 30 year mortgage is that people start a new one every time they buy a house. If you buy your long term house in your mid 30's it will be paid for when children are going to college, missions, getting married. That frees the family finances to be able to assist with those expenses that so many go into debt for. If you have a 30 year mortgage you will maybe have it paid off by the time your retire.

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    2. I do not think you understood Gregory's point about opportunity cost. If you take take out a 30-year mortgage and invest (in, for instance, an index fund) the difference between the payments on it and what you'd have to pay on a 15-year mortgage, you will most likely earn a return that more than erases the amount of additional interest you end up paying on the mortgage.

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    3. Think of it this way:
      If your home was paid off, and you didn't have any extra money to invest, would you take out a mortgage on your home to take advantage of the investment returns? No! That would be ridiculous! However, there is no difference in this scenario ams your argument for keeping a longer mortgage so you can invest now.

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    4. Gregory's point about opportunity cost misunderstands the issue. Yes, if the only issue is arithmetic, it seems to give you a better return if you take what you would have paid on your mortgage and invest it elsewhere. But that's "the wisdom of the world." Here's what you're missing:
      1. Peace of Mind. Having the mortgage paid off feels really good. We have a ten-year mortgage on our house, and as we get close to the payoff, we're getting inklings of how good this is going to feel.
      2. Being prepared for the unexpected. Living in a house that is paid for braces you against possible national or personal financial calamity.
      3. The counsel of the brethren. Do you remember Pres. Eyring's talk in General Conference October 2010? He heard Pres. Benson counsel members to pay off their mortgages if they could, so he did it. Look up the talk - "Trust in God, Then Go and Do."

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    5. I agree with iowasmiles' three points. In fact, I'll add to his evidence President Hinckley's talk "To the Boys and to the Men," from October 1998 General Conference, in which he talks about President Faust paying off his mortgage quickly despite having a low, 4 percent interest rate.

      I just wanted to point out that the reason to go with a 15-year mortgage is not because it will make you the most wealthy in the long run, despite a lower interest rate. It is for the reasons iowasmiles mentioned.

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    6. Gregory,
      I would have to disagree. 30 year loans you are paying more in interest, A 15 year loan's payment has a higher percentage of the payment go towards the principle instead of the interest.

      People also say that they will "add extra money to their principle payments on a 30 year loan" but typically the extra money added to the principle doesn't even equal the amount of principle paid on a 15 year loan without adding anything extra.
      Another disadvantage of a 30 year loan is even if you were able to take the extra money and invest it, I would be surprised if you could find an interest rate for savings or investment that would be higher than the interest rate on a mortgage. (Assuming the investment isn't a high risk investment)
      The last reason why 15 year loan is better than a 30 year loan is the guarantee that you will have your mortgage done in 15 years. If you choose to sell, the majority of the money spent on payments were actually money going towards your principle, so you also get to keep more of the money you put into your house.

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    7. I disagree . . . a 15 year loan may be more of an outlay but the interest saved is well worth it. My husband had a 15 year and have paid our house off and now we can take our $1,000 plus house payment and put it in to retirment funds.

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    8. A very good and helpful article for the most part. However, I do wish to add that many many people barely earn enough to stay afloat with the majority of low paying jobs these days. It has just gotten worse, when you consider than minimum wage in 1973 at $1.64 per hour adjusted for inflation for 2015 would be around $18 per hour or more, to have the SAME purchasing power. Most jobs here in the northeast pay in the $8 to $12 range, professional type jobs notwithstanding(and of course, the majority could not hold those occupations anyhow, even if schooled since there's a reasonable limit to what is available). It was either take a 30 year mortgage or just live in some sleezebag apartment or in public housing; I opted for buying my own home. I've never had a car payment and still own the same car that I've had for over 40 years and it was 10 years old at the time I bought it. All other vehicles I've had or own all cost less than $900, and all have/had more than 100k miles on them. One can cut expenses as much as possible, but even at that, nutrition becomes a problem for low income familes from what I have seen. I certainly can squeeze a dime out of a penny, but then our culture is such that the majority do not want to live in what they consider austerity: living without internet or cable/satellite TV etc. I have even opted to go back to dialup and use public hispeed when needed. There are so many ways to live cheaply. Lastly, on low income, the part of saving is almost impossible, aside from perhaps eventually one to three months income at the very best, and that, after a very long time to acquire it. What is the answer? Do the best you can with what you have, be frugal where possible, make things last as long as they can, don't worry about fads, of course pay tithing first, and in the end, when you've done the best you can and something happens, other opportunities often will arise in the form of help, unless you're able to pull yourself up via some other method or job. Sadly, I see the opposite, thus the admonishment of our leaders, as they know full well, as do most of us, that there are so many in our wards and branches that just shun careful living and put themselves in hot water, at the taxing expense of the talents, care and love of their church units.....when there are others that truly need the help that didn't put themselves in hot water due to recklessness. It's a pitiful fact that nowadays help from fast offerings exceeds that of local units and comes from even 3rd world country members; we could all learn from them what hardship is truly about, and thus be stronger. Kind regards to all who posted here, and thanks again Nat for your article.

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    9. Different strokes for different folks. Everyone uses their money differently. If getting a 15 year loan makes it harder to save money during those 15 years, I'd say you're on thin ice.

      Smaller payments on the 30 year loan allows you to have more cash in other places that you can unlock if needed and possibly make more than the cost of mortgage interest. If you're at the 10 year mark and because of an event you start missing payments, the mortgage holder isn't going to care that the past 10 years have been flawless, only if you have money to pay the mortgage. If you used the smaller payment to save money you can make up for other shortfalls if needed.

      Of course if you can't save away money with the 30 year mortgage you're also on thin ice.

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  2. Love this!! I think the biggest thing you are missing is student loan debt.

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    1. Really good point... I think that should have been added to the list, maybe make it 8 things. :-)

      I've seen so many people go into excessive student loan debt, because they weren't willing to sacrifice enough for their education, and now they are saddled with huge student loans.

      I too had to take out student loans... but was very careful to only take the absolute minimum that I NEEDED... if I had taken out all that they offered, I would still be paying on them!

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  3. We have been completely out of debt for 8 years and are 45 years old. It is definitely achievable and absolutely a worthwhile goal. I add my testimony to Nate's.

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  4. Hey Nate,

    Great advice, from one financial reporting researcher to another. See you at the BYU Symposium next October!

    I would add "stupid student loan debt." Not everyone can avoid it, but people fail to see student loan debt as an investment that should generate at least some required rate of return. Instead, we've seen far too many ward friends getting their Masters in Greek Mythology (or similar degree which has no marketable value). One could retort, "but I need to follow my passion!" I would ask them whether being a manager at Sam's Club is their passion, because that is the end game for many members that are mislead into fruitless career paths like these.

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  5. I don't think my comment posted, so I'm gonna try again - apologies if it's duplicate. I think that having children before you're financially prepared and having to go into debt just to survive should also make this list. I get the value of family and not putting off having children indefinitely, but in my mind, there is a huge difference between waiting until you're "secure" with a nice big house and six-figure job and waiting until you literally can put bread on the table without the help of a loan, Pell grant, or credit card. Being faithful doesn't mean you can't also be smart about it.

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    1. Seriously. I completely agree with this. I see people all the time getting pregnant without seeming to have a plan and I don't quite understand it.

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    2. It's a hard thing to say or give advice on since we believe that having children is between a husband, wife and the Lord. It's to intimate and personal, and really it doesn't matter the position or situation in life that we are in if we feel like it is the time to have children. I think it is an opportunity to show the Lord that we have faith that He will make a way for us to be successful, even if we don't know what it is. Just saying this as being one of those people. Sometimes we just have to take a step in the darkness and wait for the light to move.

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    3. If that's the case then my husband and I that have been married for 11 years should just now start having children ( our oldest is 8). It's been a long hard road for us, but somehow we've been able to manage, even if just barely - I think that's where faith comes in and I don't believe 'being smart' has much to do with it for most people. Great advice and points though!

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    4. I believe that couples should follow the guidance the Lord gives them. We prayerfully decided (felt compelled) to start our family immediately, by your and many others standards, we were crazy. Full time students, living on a part time income? But we did it. Graduated from BYU debt free with 2 kids and no assistance from anyone. The difference in ways of thinking is that we followed God's plan for us, stepped into the unknown and were tremendously blessed. We saw miracles. And 12 years later that unknown reason for starting our family so quickly has been made known, and I am so very grateful we were able to get all our children here when we had the ability to do so.

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    5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts everyone. I guess it really is just different for different people. Which as well is the beauty of the Lord's plan for each of us. He teaches us all in different ways and helps us to fulfill our callings through his love and guidance. For some that's starting a family soon, for others that's waiting. I do agree, the Lord always provides a way.

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  6. I agree with everything except "allowance." When one grows up and becomes an adult no one pays one to do general maintenance: house cleaning, laundry, car washing, yard mowing... Those are just part of life! If your kid wants to earn money, or you want them to earn money in order to teach them about tithing, then they ought to find work outside of the home - there are plenty of small jobs kids can do (for pay) outside of regular household tasks and chores, until they are of age to hold a regular day job. I had roommates in college who had "allowances" growing up, and let me tell you - they were LAZY and dirty! ..One such roommate, who I had the disfortune of sharing a room with, was such a slob I actually told her if she did not start doing laundry (her stuff made our room stink) and taking better care, I would report her to the apartment manager. I even offered to teach her how to do stuff (oh, and just a little fyi - she was 20 years old - no excuse for that in my book)! After that, she did start to pick up after herself, and wash her disgusting bedding and clothes, wash her own dishes, etc. It is a disservice to pay children to do things they should HAVE to do in order to live an orderly life with good hygiene. Those things should be taught to kids at a very young age and never paid for! Allowances are usually bogus, and a great way to make kids both greedy, and lazy! Growing up we had Saturday chores every week - helping Mom clean inside and Dad do the yard and car stuff in the garage. We knew that we had to do our fair share of chores, or we did not get to go play with our friends, swim, or just on the trampoline. It was just part of life. And, to this day, I have a weekly routine of cleaning my house, doing all the laundry, and the yardwork. The hard work ethic from my childhood stayed with me. It made me a better spouse, and helped me to create a house of order (a.k.a. " a house of God"). I look back and am so thankful my parents never gave me an "allowance" to do things that are part of life!

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    1. I totally agree on the 'money allowance' thing. I've seen a good many kids grow up to expect to be paid for every little thing they do for someone and become seriously self-centered. Then when they get older and no-one is paying them, they stop doing it. Plus, I can't see giving my kids an 'allowance' for doing what every member of the family should be pitching in to do for themselves and for the common good of the family. If they do an especially great job on something they've been asked to do or one of their weekly chores, however, or I catch them doing extra (i.e. shoveling a neighbor's snow or mowing the neighbor's lawn while doing their own) I will pick up something I know they like such as a certain pizza or treat, or iTunes gift card, movie, game, etc. when I'm out and about for showing some initiative in going above and beyond without being asked--but it's Always a surprise, and always something meant to be shared by them with others--but I never let them know they are getting anything so it doesn't become an 'expectation' or 'entitlement', but merely a show of appreciation for showing initiative.

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  7. Unfortunately you left out some huge ones, such as marrying too young before you are able to handle the responsibilities and expense of providing for a family (Mosiah 4:27), and having more children than you can provide for (D&C 90:25). You should also point out that saving money in most financial institutions is largely pointless with the non-existent or miniscule interest rates that are the norm these days.

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    1. I got married when I was 19 and we do all of these things (minus the 30 year mortgage)! I had my first baby when I was twenty and we practically had no money at that time. we made good decisions and followed the promptings of the Lord. we finished school, we had a family. marrying young doesn't mean the same thing/life for everyone.

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    2. “6. Some put off marriage for financial reasons. Postponing marriage until money is sufficient to sustain a stylish living is not wise. So much of life together—struggling, adjusting, and learning to cope with life’s challenges—is lost when that happens.”
      https://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/03/the-right-time-to-marry?lang=eng

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  8. Food storage is actually a very good thing to have, even if you can't build up a financial reserve. If you fall on hard times, you can live off the food storage and have more money available for other necessities.

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    1. We have had to live off our food storage twice in our nearly 25 yrs. of marriage, and we were really glad we had followed the counsel and made it a priority. Both times it was due to a prolonged stint of joblessness after being unexpectedly laid off. It gave us peace of mind to know we had basic food on the table and the other temporal necessities we've been counseled to set aside. We've also tried to put back at least 6 months of income (although, at times, it's only been two or three due to unexpected loss of income, etc.) to cover expenses in case of a job loss. We've been blessed with peace of mind in hard times for following the counsel of the Brethren in this over the years, as we didn't have to rely on anyone else but The Lord during those times. Truly, "if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." So, yes, I would say to be sure to pick up a few extra cans or cases of whatever when you are at the store and have the money to do so because it adds up quickly.

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  9. I really enjoyed this article, and the mostly courteous attitude of the comments. Very refreshing! My brother calls me a "Dave Ramseyite," because I'm constantly quoting him--his book and teachings have literally changed our lives, and I HIGHLY recommend them. Almost everything he teaches jives with what he teaches, but it's great to hear it from the LDS perspective.

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  10. I question the 80% of take home pay. Tithing is 10% of your increase or as I see it your gross pay not net. If you pay your tithes and offerings and then 10% of your gross or net to yourself for savings you will have to learn to live on much less than 80% of your take home pay which is a good thing. Payment of tithes and offerings returns much more in financial and spiritual blessings than what you give to the Lord.

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    1. What your 'increase' is between you and The Lord. If I already have five chickens that have been tithed and I'm blessed to receive five more, do I pay a tithe (or tenth) on the total (ten) or the 5 others that were given to me that month?

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    2. I think the issue is more, if your employer pays you 5 chickens, but the government takes 2 before you even see them, do you tithe on 5 or 3?

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  11. We also pay tithing on our gross pay; the $$ that goes into retirement plans, HSA, medical plans, etc., we figure still counts as increase. Plus, when we get our tax return, we keep it all! We already paid tax on it :) I would never instruct someone else on the 10%, but this is how we view & do in our home.

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    1. We pay on our gross as well. However, our retirement plans, HSA, medical, etc, come out of our monthly pre-tax--we are not required to pay tax on it unless withdrawn early or for other purposes. We will also pay tithing on the increase it yields when it's withdrawn, as retirement investments (mutual funds, etc.) continually go up and down if you put the money in and don't touch it.

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  12. As a bank underwriter I think members of the church often can get themselves in too expensive of a mortgage by relying on a bank to tell them how much they qualify for. This happens to members because bank models don't consider the added financial "burden" associated with tithing, and generally only consider "gross" income. If members rely on a bank, they will likely be over their heads. The important thing to do before taking out a mortgage is to take the time and figure out what payment you can realistically afford, rather than relying on a banker to tell you how much you "qualify" for.

    Disclaimer: My bank requires me to state that any comments I make on banking do not necessarily reflect the views of my bank or its affiliates, etc.

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  13. Using the 30 year loan is the worldly way of living beyond your financial limits. You are setting yorself to lose out on blessings. Follow the teachings of the Church to find true joy and the hidden treasures.

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  14. What's everyone's take:

    After taxes (taken first) and Tithes and Offerings (Paid first) What should be the next thing to pay: Pay yourself (your future self - saving for the future) OR paying off debt (CC, student loan, mortgage)?

    I've not been able to find any guidance from the LDS Church, nor any direct guidance from Financial guru's (such as Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Orrin Woodward or Christ Brady). The all say to pay yourself; they all say to get out of debt.

    I personally believe that I should pay myself first (My family, obviously, is more important than tv, cds, movies, christmas, birthday parties and the like). My wife thinks that the debt should be addressed first.
    Initially the math may seem to indicate debt first; but as tithing is a principle of faith, isn't this also a similar principle.

    I've also heard that it's a good idea to have a small home business - as taxes in this case are taken out AFTER all income and expenses are figured. I see that as 'another window of heaven' that can be opened.

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  15. This article is not a be all end all. It's one guy's opinion on what he believe will work. You might have a different approach that works for you, and that's great. I agree on some things, tweak others.

    As for a mortgage, this is my opinion. It doesn't matter if you prefer a 30 or 15 year loan. The main thing here is getting the best home you can very easily afford. The rule of thumb has always been your mortgage payment should not exceed 25% of your monthly pay, but that's gross pay. I say it should be more like 25% of your net pay. I got burned once from not paying attention. I was looking at it from the gross pay and after I received my first bill, it ended up being half my take home pay.

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  16. That mortgage advice is nice if you live in Utah. Those of us in CA, where a $700,000 home would be $100k in Utah, consider ousrselves lucky to get a 30-year mortgage as opposed to a 40-year. But for us, a home is an investment. My parents just retired and with the equity in their 30-year-mortgaged home, they can sell, move to a less expensive state, buy a home for half the price and live in comfort and financial peace.

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  17. We are working on getting debt free including our house, After paying for 7 years our interest is still over $900 a month and principal is $200, that is just sickening. We will be paying for our house and 2 others for the bank by the time we are done. Here is a video on youtube you need to watch and see how the mortgage / Bank interest works and how you can cut some of that out. Very interesting and helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AzsbB25mbw

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  18. Great article - here are some free tools to help www.FinancialCalculators.com

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