Posted in Finances, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 17: The Law of Tithing and the Law of the Fast

1. The Lord has commanded us to pay tithing. He has promised great blessings to those who obey this commandment.

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See: Revelations in Context: The tithing of my people

D&C 119:4 One tenth of all their interest annually

‘Tithing is so simple and straightforward a thing. The principle, as it applies to us, is actually set forth in one verse of section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants. That fourth verse consists of thirty-five words. Contrast that with the cumbersome and complex tax codes enacted and enforced by governments. In the one case it is a brief statement from the Lord, the payment left to the individual and motivated by faith. With the other it is a tangled web created by men and enforced by law. ‘(Gordon B Hinckley, “The Miracle Made Possible by Faith,” Ensign, May 1984, 47)

D&C 59:21 Gratitude

‘The payment of tithing helps us develop a submissive and humble heart and a grateful heart that tends to “confess … his hand in all things”  D&C 59:21 Tithe-paying fosters in us a generous and forgiving heart and a charitable heart full of the pure love of Christ. We become eager to serve and bless others with an obedient heart, submissive to the Lord’s will. Regular tithe payers find their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ strengthened, and they develop a firm, abiding testimony of His gospel and of His Church. None of these blessings are monetary or material in any way, but surely they are the Lord’s richest blessings.’ (Carl B Pratt, General Conference, April 2011)

D&C 120:1 The Council on the Disposition of the Tithes

‘Before my call to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, I read many times in the Doctrine and Covenants about the council appointed to oversee and disburse sacred tithing funds. The Council on the Disposition of the Tithes was established by revelation and consists of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Presiding Bishopric (see D&C 120). As I prepared in December of 2004 to attend my first meeting of this council, I eagerly anticipated a most remarkable learning opportunity.

I still remember the things I experienced and felt in that council. I gained a greater appreciation and reverence for the Lord’s laws of finance for individuals, for families, and for His Church. The basic financial program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—for both income and disbursement—is defined in sections 119 and 120 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Two statements found in these revelations provide the foundation for the fiscal affairs of the Church.

Section 119 simply states that all members “shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, … saith the Lord” (verse 4).

Then, concerning the authorized disbursement of the tithes, the Lord said, “It shall be disposed of by a council, composed of the First Presidency of my Church, and of the bishop and his council, and by my high council; and by mine own voice unto them, saith the Lord” (D&C 120:1). The “bishop and his council” and “my high council” referred to in this revelation are known today as the Presiding Bishopric and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, respectively. These sacred funds are used in a rapidly growing church to spiritually bless individuals and families by constructing and maintaining temples and houses of worship, supporting missionary work, translating and publishing scriptures, fostering family history research, funding schools and religious education, and accomplishing many other Church purposes as directed by the Lord’s ordained servants.

I marvel at the clarity and brevity of these two revelations in comparison to the complicated financial guidelines and administrative procedures used in so many organizations and governments around the world. How can the temporal affairs of an organization as large as the restored Church of Jesus Christ possibly operate throughout the entire world using such succinct instructions? To me the answer is quite straightforward: this is the Lord’s work, He is able to do His own work (see 2 Nephi 27:20), and the Savior inspires and directs His servants as they apply His directions and labor in His cause.

In that first council meeting I was impressed by the simplicity of the principles that guided our deliberations and decisions. In the financial operations of the Church, two basic and fixed principles are observed. First, the Church lives within its means and does not spend more than it receives. Second, a portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and unanticipated needs. For decades the Church has taught its membership the principle of setting aside additional food, fuel, and money to take care of emergencies that might arise. The Church as an institution simply follows the same principles that are taught repeatedly to the members.

As the meeting progressed, I found myself wishing that all members of the Church could observe the simplicity, the clarity, the orderliness, the charity, and the power of the Lord’s own way (see D&C 104:16) for conducting the temporal affairs of His Church. I have now participated in the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes for many years. My gratitude and reverence for the Lord’s pattern has grown each year, and the lessons learned have become even more profound.

My heart swells with love and admiration for the faithful and obedient members of this Church from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. As I travel the earth, I learn about your hopes and dreams, your varied living conditions and circumstances, and your struggles. I have attended Church meetings with you and visited in some of your homes. Your faith strengthens my faith. Your devotion makes me more devoted. And your goodness and willing obedience to the law of tithing inspires me to be a better man, husband, father, and Church leader. I remember and think of you each time I participate in the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes. Thank you for your goodness and faithfulness as you honor your covenants.

The leaders of the Lord’s restored Church feel a tremendous responsibility to care appropriately for the consecrated offerings of Church members. We are keenly aware of the sacred nature of the widow’s mite.

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

“And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

“And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

“For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:41–44).

I know from firsthand experience that the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes is vigilant in caring for the widow’s mite. I express appreciation to President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors for their effective leadership in discharging this holy stewardship. And I acknowledge the voice (see D&C 120:1) and hand of the Lord that sustain His ordained servants in fulfilling the duty to represent Him.’ (David A Bednar, “The Windows of Heaven,” Ensign, November 2013)

2. The Lord has commanded us to fast and to pay generous fast offerings.

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D&C 59:13 That Thy fasting may be perfect

“Now, while the law requires the Saints in all the world to fast from ‘even to even’ and to abstain both from food and drink, it can easily be seen from the Scriptures, and especially from the words of Jesus, that it is more important to obtain the true spirit of love for God and man, ‘purity of heart and simplicity of intention,’ than it is to carry out the cold letter of the law. The Lord has instituted the fast on a reasonable and intelligent basis, and none of his works are vain or unwise. His law is perfect in this as in other things. Hence, those who can are required to comply thereto; it is a duty from which they cannot escape; but let it be remembered that the observance of the fast day by abstaining twenty-four hours from food and drink is not an absolute rule, it is no iron-clad law to us, but it is left with the people as a matter of conscience, to exercise wisdom and discretion. Many are subject to weakness, others are delicate in health, and others have nursing babies; of such it should not be required to fast. Neither should parents compel their little children to fast. I have known children to cry for something to eat on fast day. In such cases, going without food will do them no good. Instead, they dread the day to come, and in place of hailing it, dislike it; while the compulsion engenders a spirit of rebellion in them, rather than a love for the Lord and their fellows. Better teach them the principle, and let them observe it when they are old enough to choose intelligently, than to so compel them.

“But those should fast who can, and all classes among us should be taught to save the meals which they would eat, or their equivalent, for the poor. None are exempt from this; it is required of the Saints, old and young, in every part of the Church. It is no excuse that in some places there are no poor. In such cases the fast donation should be forwarded to the proper authorities for transmission to such stakes of Zion as may stand in need.” (Joseph F Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 243–44.)

Posted in Finances

Principles of financial self reliance

This post is based on a presentation I recently gave at a joint Priesthood/Relief Society meeting. It sets out some basic principles for the management of personal and family finances as set out by the Brethren. In preparation for the presentation I did an internet search to find out what guidance other organisations, particularly churches, gave on personal and family financial management. It was interesting to find that such guidance was often unclear, muddled or patchy. As in so many things, the clearest and most coherent counsel comes from the Brethren. In 2007 , the Church produced a pamphlet, with an introduction from the First Presidency, entitled ‘All is Safely Gathered In – Family Finances’. It gives us some very clear and concise principles for managing our finances. My presentation is based around these principles. You can find the pamphlet at:

https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/language-materials/04007_eng.pdf

Context

I will address each of the principles in All is Safely Gathered In, but first I want to give some context.

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This chart, produced by the Bank of England compares the total amount owed by UK households and total disposable income from 1990 to 2013. The blue bars represent the total disposable income of everyone in the UK. The purple bars represent the total debt of all households in the UK. Note – this is not the money that the Government owes – it is the personal borrowings of each individual household. The graph shows that in 1990 total disposable income was greater than total debt. Since then disposable income has increased steadily but debt has increased even more quickly and now stands at just under 1.5 trillion pounds.

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This chart shows the UK bank base interest rates since 1945.  It demonstrates that the low rates enjoyed in recent years are extremely unusual historically and are not expected to last much longer. Most experts expect an increase in rates some time this year. Increased interest rates will mean higher mortgage payments, higher rents, higher costs of borrowing generally and increased inflation. If rates were to rise to 3%, some experts predict a deep and prolonged recession, a collapse in the housing market and a huge increase in personal insolvencies.

Mortgage debt

The average outstanding mortgage debt at October 2014 was £116,167. During 2014 a property was repossessed every 26 and a half minutes (even at the current low interest rates). If interest rates rise, many people will find that they cannot meet their increased mortgage payments and the repossession rate will increase.

Credit card debt

The increase in debt consists of an increase in mortgage debt and also an increase in personal consumer debt – a large part of that being credit card debt.The average credit card debt per UK household at October 2014 was £2,303. It would take over 25 years to pay this off at the minimum monthly payment. People often take out a credit card with the intention of paying back the outstanding balance each month and thus avoiding interest charges. However, 58% of credit cards are charged interest. The average rate of interest is 18.06%.

J Reuben Clark gave some great advice about interest in 1938:

‘Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours; it never has short crops nor droughts; it never pays taxes; it buys no food; it wears no clothes; it is unhoused and without home and so has no repairs, no replacements, no shingling, plumbing, painting, or whitewashing; it has neither wife, children, father, mother, nor kinfolk to watch over and care for; it has no expense of living; it has neither weddings nor births nor deaths; it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff. 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. ‘ (in Conference Report, Apr., 1938)

Message from First Presidency in 2007

The First Presidency  counseled:

  • “We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt”.
  • “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.”

In the Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood Manual we read:

Neither wealth nor poverty is an indication of individual worthiness. Some great men of God have been rich and some have been poor. The amount of money we have is not important, but rather how we obtain and use it. Using money to provide for the temporal needs of our families, for example, is not only proper, but is a commandment from God (see 1 Timothy 5:8). The commandment to provide for our families is easier to obey when we learn and apply the basic principles of wise money management. (Lesson 21: Managing Family Finances)

Principle 1 – Pay tithes and offerings

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Successful family finances begin with the payment of an honest tithe and the giving of a generous fast offering. The Lord has promised to open the windows of heaven and pour out great blessings upon those who pay tithes and offerings faithfully (Malachi 3:10 and Isaiah 58: 6–12). (All Is Safely Gathered In)

Everything that we own or earn comes from the Lord. Tithing is the rent we pay the Lord for our space on the earth. When planning our finances it should be our first priority.

In the UK, if we pay tax, it is possible to pay our tithes and offerings by Gift Aid. The effect of this is that the Government gives us tax relief on our tithes and offerings and pays that tax relief to the Church as tithing.  So if, for example your tithes and offerings amount to £1000 you would pay £800 to the Church and the remaining £200 would be paid to the Church by the Government on your behalf. It is perfectly legal and above board and you are still a full tithe payer even though only £800 has left your bank account. If you are a tax payer and you are not taking advantage of this opportunity you are throwing money away!

If you are a higher rate tax payer you get even more of a benefit as you are entitled to tax relief at the higher rate of tax. This is achieved through an increase in your tax allowance meaning that you pay less tax in the future.

For further information on how to pay by Gift Aid and a Gift Aid Declaration form email giftaid@ldschurch.org

Principle 2 – Avoid debt/ get out of debt

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Spending less money than you make is   essential to your financial security. Avoid debt,   with the exception of buying a modest home or   paying for education or other vital needs. If you   are in debt, pay it off as quickly as possible. (All Is Safely Gathered In)

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught: “All too often a family’s spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” (“Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts,Ensign, May 2004, 42).

how debt

The debt cycle begins when you spend more than you earn.  When you are not living within your means, you must borrow to plug the gap between your income and your standard of living. At first, you borrow a little money or you put a bit on a credit card. It’s not much after all and you know that you can easily pay it back. However, because you have not addressed the gap between your lifestyle and your income you keep spending more than you earn.  You dig yourself deeper and deeper into debt each month. Soon you have so much debt on your credit cards that most of your income is going to service the minimum repayments and there is no money left for other important items, such as tithing, fast offerings, food, clothing or housing costs. This debt cycle can continue for only so long. Soon, you can’t get any more credit, and just the interest becomes more than you can pay each month.

For advice on how to fight back see my post:

Debt – a self-defence guide

Top tips for avoiding debt

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  • Take time to think through purchases – Don’t buy on a whim or due to pressure from a salesperson or any one else (spouse, child). Ask yourself – Is it a need or just a want? If you really want something, sleep on it for a night. You may find it doesn’t seem as attractive the next day!If you’re tempted by an impulse buy, work out how long it would take you to earn that money in hours worked. So if you get paid £10 an hour and it costs £300, that’s an extra 45 hours you’ll need to work to fund it, taking into account tax.
  • Avoid consolidating short term expenses into long term debt – Consolidating your loans to reduce payments doesn’t help you change the spending habits that got you into debt and it greatly extends the time required to get out of debt.
  • Avoid remortgaging to finance “toys” or lifestyle – Don’t jeopardise your home for lifestyle.
  • Pay as you go..and if you can’t pay don’t go.
  • Don’t gamble on interest only mortgages – Without a good plan in place for paying off the capital amount an interest only mortgage is a ticking time bomb. Don’t go into an interest only mortgage hoping that at some future date you will miraculously have the money later to pay off the loan. Better to resize your desires to what you can afford to pay back.

Principle 3 – Manage your money before it manages you

President Spencer W Kimball said that every family should have a budget. A budget is a tool that helps you to achieve what you want to achieve. It could be saving for a holiday, for a mission or for retirement. It could be getting out of debt or just surviving without going into debt.

President Gordon B. Hinckley stated:

In managing the affairs of the Church, we have tried to set an example. We have, as a matter of policy, stringently followed the practice of setting aside each year a percentage of the income of the Church against a possible day of need. I am grateful to be able to say that the Church . . . is able to function without borrowed money. If we cannot get along, we will curtail our programs. We will shrink expenditures to fit the income. We will not borrow. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “To the Boys and to the Men,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 51.)

What a good model that is for our family finances!

Steps to using a budget

1. List all your expenses – go through your bank statement and list everything you spent money on. Look at the cash you withdrew from the cash machine and write down what you spent it on. This exercise will also help you to review your spending habits. Do you really need to buy a newspaper? Do you really need all of those channels on your TV? How much are your phones and electronic devices costing you? Look at your shopping habits – are you buying lots of food that you then throw away because it has gone out of date? You can avoid this by shopping to menus?

2. Prepare a budget – use this information to prepare a budget showing all of your income and expenditure. There is a simple pro-forma in the ‘All Is Safely Gathered In’ pamphlet.

Don’t forget to pay the Lord first – make sure that you include your tithes and other offerings in your budget.

Plan to save – if you save what is left there won’t be anything left! So decide on a fixed sum or percentage to save and build that into your budget. BYU suggests that we should save 10% of our income,

Then adjust your spending to fit your income. Don’t forget to take into account irregular or annual payments such as road fund tax, birthdays, Christmas etc.

3. Implement your budget – discipline yourself to keep to the budget you have set. You will sleep better at night.

4. Compare your budget and your actual expenditure – at the end of the week or the month review how well you did. You may find that there were some items of expenditure that you forgot about – build them into the next budget. If you kept to the budget – pat yourself on the back and then keep keeping to it!

Within a family setting, this will only work if both husband and wife are committed to it – family finances and budgeting should be a joint responsibility. Marvin J Ashton wrote:

New attitudes and relationships towards money should be developed constantly by all couples. After all, the partnership should be full and eternal. Management of family finances should be mutual between husband and wife in an attitude of openness and trust. Control of the money by one spouse as a source of power of authority causes inequality in the marriage and is inappropriate. Conversely, if a marriage partner voluntarily removes himself or herself entirely from family financial management, that is an abdication of necessary responsibility. (One for the Money)

Principle 4 – Build a reserve

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‘Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.’ (All is Safely Gathered In)

As mentioned above, save a specific amount. Aim to build up an emergency cushion of 3 months essential obligations (mortgage, fuel, Council tax etc). Save for missions, weddings, education, a deposit on a house, retirement. Shop around for the best rates of return but be careful to avoid get rich quick schemes. If something seems to be too good to be true, it is because it is too good to be true.

Principle 5 – Teach family members

Teach all of these principles to your children. Teach the principles of hard work, frugality, and saving. Teach children that there is no money tree and help them to make decisions in keeping with their understanding. Stress the importance of education and teach young marrieds to manage their own expectations.

In summary:

  • Principle 1: Pay tithes and offerings
  • Principle 2: Avoid debt / get out of debt
  • Principle 3: Manage your money before it manages you
  • Principle 4: Build a reserve
  • Principle 5: Teach family members
Posted in Finances

Debt – a self defence guide

debt

 

 

I played Judo for a number of years and have also dabbled in Ju-Jitsu, Aikido, boxing  and Karate. I once asked my Judo teacher ‘What is the best form of self-defence?’ His reply – ‘Don’t be there in the first place!’

It seems likely that at some point over the next year interest rates will rise. That may be good news for those with savings but could be extremely bad news for those with mortgages and other forms of debt. The best defence against debt and the costs of debt is not to ‘be there in the first place’.

President Ezra Taft Benson wrote, “The Lord desires his Saints to be free and independent in the critical days ahead. But no man is truly free who is in financial bondage”.  President Benson’s 1974 counsel is as timely now as it was then.  In the October 1998 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley encouraged Latter-day Saints to get out of debt and live within their means:

‘ So many of our people are living on the very edge of their income. In fact, some are living on borrowings. The economy is a fragile thing. . . . I recognize that it may be necessary to borrow for a home, of course. But let us buy a home that we can afford and thus ease the payments which will constantly hang over our heads without mercy or respite for as long as 30 years. No one knows when emergencies will strike [and we could be] helpless before creditors. We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the Church. Self-reliance cannot be obtained when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others. . . . I urge you to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage.’ (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 52–54).

At the end of November 2013 UK household debt stood at nearly £1.5 trillion – that means that on average each adult in the UK owed over £28,000.

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If you are in debt – consider why? Is it temporary because you have made some large purchase such as a car? There may be times when you need to go into debt – to buy a home, to finance education – but this should always be a carefully thought out decision coupled with research as to the cheapest finance option. If however, you are financing your lifestyle through loans or credit cards then alarm bells should be ringing – it is time to wake up to your problems.

how debt

The debt cycle begins when you spend more than you earn.  People get into debt for a number of reasons:

  • Lack of knowledge:Some people don’t understand how borrowing and interest work.
  • Carelessness:Some people do understand about interest but they think, “If I spend a little more this one time, its okay—it won’t hurt this once.”
  • Compulsiveness:Some people lack the self-control to discipline their purchases.
  • Pride:Some people want to keep up with their neighbours and friends.
  • Necessity: Finally, some people go into debt in order to feed their families and provide for other basic needs.

When you are not living within your means, you must borrow to plug the gap between your income and your standard of living. At first, you borrow a little money or you put a bit on a credit card. It’s not much after all and you know that you can easily pay it back. However, because you have not addressed the gap between your lifestyle and your income you keep spending more than you earn.  You dig yourself deeper and deeper into debt each month. Soon you have so much debt on your credit cards that most of your income is going to service the minimum repayments and there is no money left for other important items, such as tithing, fast offerings, food, clothing or housing costs. This debt cycle can continue for only so long. Soon, you can’t get any more credit, and just the interest becomes more than you can pay each month.

So, how do you fight back?

grip

1. Be honest with yourself and recognise the position you are in. (Realise that you are in a place where you shouldn’t be!)

2. Act quickly. (The equivalent of kicking an aggressor in the shins!)

3. Don’t go it alone. (Shout for help). Church members can counsel with priesthood leaders. There are also organisations like Citizens Advice Bureau who can provide expert advice and practical help. They will help you to prioritise the most important debts (Take out the biggest bully first!) to enable you to keep food on the table and a roof over your head. Avoid any debt help or loan consolidation companies that advertise on the TV or in some newspapers. They are not there to help you – they are there to make money from you. They may help to reduce your payments in the short term but will be very expensive in the long term. You will be running from danger straight into another set of bullies.

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4. Stop spending! Don’t make the hole bigger!  Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught: “All too often a family’s spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress”

skint

If you really want something, sleep on it for a night. You may find it doesn’t seem as attractive the next day! If you’re tempted by an impulse buy, work out how long it would take you to earn that money in hours worked.

5. Make and keep to a budget. If you have debt problems then doing a budget is central, you have to get a handle on what you spend to future proof your finances. Work out a weekly or monthly budget to see what you need to live on. It’s important to be realistic and honest with yourself. Your budget will show how much money you can afford to commit to paying off your debts. Your budget may also show where you can save money.

 

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Mr Micawber:  “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen, nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

6. Keep in contact with the people you owe money to. If your creditors don’t know you’re having financial difficulties they’ll assume you don’t want to pay and start taking action against you

  • Explain why you’re in debt
  • Ask them to freeze the interest
  • Don’t ignore letters or phone calls
  • Work out how much you can afford to pay your creditors

Once you know what you can afford you can talk to your creditors about your situation and what you’re going to do about it. Offer to pay each debt off in a way that you can afford – it’s important not to offer to pay more than you can afford and not to assume that you’ll be able to pay more in the future.

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The best form of self defence is not to be there in the first place. If you are in the wrong place – get out. Once you’re out – don’t go back! Once you have successfully  overcome your debt problems, make sure that you don’t go back there again.

Posted in Finances

The cost of giving

‘No one has ever become poor by giving’, so wrote Anne Frank.

When we give to those who are in need we shouldn’t count the cost. But when we give to organised charities do we know what the ‘cost of giving’ is? How much of what we give to charities is actually used for charitable purposes (rather than for administration, payment of salaries etc)? Figures from the Charities Commission show a wide variation in the charitable purposes/administration ratio:

CHARITY                                                              % OF DONATIONS USED FOR CHARITABLE PURPOSES

Royal Mencap Society                                                                                    96%

Action for Children                                                                                          93%

Save the Children                                                                                            89%

Barnardo’s                                                                                                        80%

RNLI                                                                                                                 78%

Oxfam                                                                                                               76%

Cancer Research                                                                                              70%

British Red Cross                                                                                              67%

Age Uk                                                                                                                 49%

British Heart Foundation                                                                               46%

That’s right – for some major charities less than half of your donation goes to the charitable purpose you want to support. For other charities the percentage is significantly higher. However, none can match the LDS Humanitarian Fund – 100% of all donations is used for humanitarian purposes. No administration costs, no rent for expensive buildings, no executive salaries. The LDS Philanthropies website (ldsphilanthropies.org) says:

‘Last year, LDS Charities responded to 111 requests in 50 countries. They included response to earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan, relief to 55,000 refugees in Libya, and emergency aid to mudslide victims in El Salvador.

One hundred percent of every dollar donated is used to help those in need without regard to race, religion, or ethnic origin.’

Last week’s Deseret News featured a report on the Humanitarian Aid Fund’s sending food and emergency supplies to Sierra Leone during the recent Ebola related state of emergency – see http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865612891/Aiding-families-in-Sierra-Leone.html?pg=all

Other examples of Humanitarian Aid funded initiatives include:

Providing nets and other fishing supplies to Japanese fishermen whose livelihoods had been destroyed by earthquake and tsunami – see http://ldscharities.org/articles/church-expands-donations-to-japan?lang=eng

Helping to eliminate preventable diseases in 34 countries – see http://ldscharities.org/articles/church-works-toward-world-goal-to-eliminate-preventable-diseases?lang=eng

Training doctors, nurses and midwives in neonatal resuscitation in Ghana – see http://ldscharities.org/articles/neonatal-resuscitation-training-accra-ghana?lang=eng

There are many ways in which we can help others through our charitable donations but in terms of ‘value for money’ and the cost of giving the Humanitarian Aid Fund is a great option.