Finances

“Finances,” Counseling Resources (2020).

“Finances,” Counseling Resources.

Finances

Everyone has the responsibility to provide for his or her own needs, as well as the needs of family members, to the extent possible. The responsibility to manage family finances should be shared between husband and wife with an attitude of trust and openness. Wise financial management can provide security and promote family well-being.

Individuals may experience financial troubles due to unemployment, overspending, unexpected emergencies, or mismanagement of finances. Help individuals understand the importance of paying an honest tithing, living within their means, saving for unexpected expenses, and avoiding debt. As families become more financially self-reliant, they will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in their lives.

Be aware that financial issues often appear to be an emergency. Help individuals consider their available resources first (such as friends and immediate or extended family) before seeking financial assistance from the Church. As you seek out those who are struggling, identify signs that they may be in need. Constantly emphasize the importance of staying aware of finances and of being prepared for emergencies or financial setbacks.

Seek to Understand

Discussing financial issues can be straining, emotional, and difficult. As you ask questions, make sure to show love and empathy as the Savior would. Prayerfully consider asking questions like these in a kind and loving manner to help you better understand the person’s financial situation and discern her or his needs.

  • What is your current financial situation? (For example, how much income are you bringing in, how much are you spending, and how much debt do you have?)

  • Who manages finances in your family?

  • How do you make purchasing decisions? (Is spending emotional? Budget-conscious?)

  • What is your employment situation?

  • What would your situation be if you had to rely on your financial reserve or savings?

  • Do you have a budget for your family? How well are you following it?

  • What has been the biggest source of your financial troubles? (Possible sources might include overspending, medical expenses, or divorce.)

  • Who else have you asked for help (such as family or friends)?

  • What financial help have you already received?

  • What other resources do you have that you can use?

Help the Individual

As you help the person understand principles of self-reliance, consider using some of the following suggestions. As you work together, seek to show empathy and help individuals maintain a sense of dignity.

Teach the principles of paying an honest tithe and giving a generous fast offering, as well as principles of self-reliance.

  • Teach that management of family finances should be a shared responsibility between husband and wife.

Identify existing resources for financial help.

  • Make a list of talents and skills.

  • Make a list of connections, relationships, possessions, financial assets, or other assets that could help generate income.

Encourage the family to actively manage their finances and use a debt-elimination calendar or strategy to reduce debt, if needed, and increase savings.

  • Invite couples to develop a spending plan (see Personal Finances for Self-Reliance workbook).

  • Encourage couples to forecast and track spending.

  • Encourage couples to participate in the Personal Finances Self-Reliance group. If there is not one in your area, consider contacting the stake self-reliance specialist.

Support the Family

Financial issues affect all family members. Determine the impact on the spouse or other family members and address those issues.

Encourage the family to make financial matters a family effort.

  • Invite the family to prioritize savings (for things such as large future purchases, emergencies, missions, and education).

  • Help the family understand how to budget.

  • Encourage individuals to follow principles of self-reliance and turn to family members and friends for help and then the bishop, if needed.

Use Ward and Stake Resources

Consider working with ward leaders or other trusted individuals to provide continuing support, guidance, and assistance. Request the individual’s permission before discussing the situation with others.

Leaders may consider discussing the situation in ward council to identify resources, contacts, and opportunities to help the person.

Connect the family with someone who can mentor them, help them set goals, and make a plan to work together.

Invite the welfare specialist or someone else in the ward to help the family prepare a budget and spending plan.

Identify and encourage the use of reputable local organizations and resources.

Resources may include:

  • Government and private agencies

  • NGOs (nongovernmental organizations)

  • Nonprofit organizations

  • Local financial workshops

  • Online money management systems and websites