Personal Finance

For those who want better control over their finances. Group members will learn how to eliminate debt, protect against financial hardship, and invest in the future. They will create a financial plan and follow a budget. Spouses are encouraged to attend together.

Link to Manuals, Materials and Videos

Connect to Additional Resources

Below you will find additional church, community and other local resources to help you with your journey in improving your personal finances. Each section corresponds to a section in the Personal Finance manual you are studying.

Week 1 - Becoming a Wise and Faithful Steward: Knowing Is Half The Battle
- Track Your Income and Expenses - Tool
- Online Resources
- Training Video - Begin To Track Your Income and Expenses

Week 2 - Becoming Unified in Your Approach to Finances: Working As A Team
- Online Resources

Week 3 - Paying Tithes and Offerings: The Windows Of Heaven
- Online Resources

Week 4 - Creating a Budget: Taking Control
- Building Your Budget
- Money Saving Ideas
- Training Video - Building Your Budget

Week 5 - Sticking to a Budget: Taking It to the Next Level
- Personal Finance Software and Apps

Week 6 - Protecting Your Family from Hardship: Comfort In Coverage
- Online Resources

Week 7 - Understanding Debt: Debt Inventory
- Analyzing Your Debt
- Online Resources
- Training Video - Build Your Debt Inventory

Week 8 - Getting Out of Debt: Busting Debt
- Online Resources
- Video - How to Get Out of Debt and Be Financially Successful, by Dave Ramsey

Week 9 - Managing Financial Crisis: To Act Or Be Acted Upon
- Review Your Actuals to Projections
- Online Resources
- Video - Being an Agent to Act, by David A Bednar

Week 10 - Investing for the Future (Part 1): Wise Investment Priorities
- Investing in a Home
- Investing in Education

Week 11 - Investing for the Future (Part 2): Prepare For Retirement
- Retirement Savings Options
- Calculating Retirement Savings
- Build Your Savings Plan
- Working With Investment Advisors
- Training Video - Building Your Savings Plan

Week 12 - Continuing to Give and Bless Others
-
Online Resources

Knowing is HALF THE BATTLE

"The first step to successful financial stewardship is understanding your current financial situation. When you gain a better understanding of where your money is being spent, you can better plan where you want it to go. You will begin by tracking your income and expenses for the first four weeks of this course." - pg. 9

Commitment Assistance

May assist you with commitments on pg. 14, My Commitments B & D. Share your findings with your spouse, family and action partner.

Track Your Income and Expenses - TOOL

The manual shares several activities to begin to track your income and expenses. To facilitate these activities, you may consider using the below spreadsheet document. You will be able to continue to use this document in subsequent weeks as you build your budget and track your financial activity.

Finance Tracker and Budget - TEMPLATE (Microsoft Excel format)
Finance Tracker and Budget - TEMPLATE (Google Spreadsheet file)

Watch the video below for guidance on how to use the tool to begin to track your daily income and expenses.

Online Resources

The Spiritual Foundations of Church Financial Self-Reliance - by Bishop Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop, LDS.org
5 Steps to Financial Well-Being - LDS.org
Study the topic of Self-Reliance on LDS.org

BYU Marriot School of Management - Online personal finance courses
Moneywise FInancial Workshop - six online lessons with video lectures, resources and course materials.  Gives a broad introduction to the many different areas of personal finance.
Another Perspective on Wealth - understand the "whys" and "whats" of personal finance.

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Ask someone in your ward or stake who is good with spreadsheets to help or request assistance from your local Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

Working As A Team

"President Spencer W. Kimball taught, 'The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second upon his family, and third upon the Church if he is a faithful member thereof. No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able, will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else.'" - pg. 23

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on pg. 30, My Commitments B, C & D. Share your finding with your spouse, family and action partner.

Online Resources

Family Finances - Gospel Topic on LDS.org - includes a 15 financial calculators to help dig into your finances and answer questions. This will be a helpful site through your group and beyond.
Managing Money - LDS.org
Study the principle of Stewardship on LDS.org.
Family Finance: How a couple handles money can make or mar their marriage, Ensign, Orson Scott Card.
18 Money Management Tips for Newly Married Couples - MoneyCrashers.com
How to Deal with Financial Income Inequality in Marriage - MoneyCrashers.com

BYU Marriot School of Management - Online personal finance courses
Setting Personal Goals - understand the role of personal financial planning in achieving your goals.

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from the American Fork Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

The Windows of Heaven

"President Heber J. Grant taught, “The men and the women who have been absolutely honest with God, who have paid their tithing, . . . God has given them wisdom whereby they have been able to utilize the remaining nine-tenths, and it has been of greater value to them, and they have accomplished more with it than they would if they had not been honest with the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1912, 30)." pg. 39

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on pg. 48, My Commitments B & D. Share your finding with your spouse, family and action partner.

Online Resources

The Spiritual Foundations of Church Financial Self-Reliance - by Bishop Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop, LDS.org
Study the principle of Tithing on LDS.org
Study the principles of Fasting and Fast Offerings on LDS.org

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from the American Fork Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

Taking Control

"Following a budget will help you and your family take control of your temporal life, put off the natural man (see Mosiah 3:19), and invite the Spirit into your home. Budgeting can also help you to protect your family from hardship as you use it to allocate money for building an emergency fund, paying down debt, and saving for future expenses." - pg. 57

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on pg. 65, My Commitments B, C & D. Share your findings with your spouse, family and action partner.

Building Your Budget

By tracking your income and expenses you are well ahead of the curve in create your budget. If you used the template provided in the first section of this page for week 1, the your budget is already coming together. If you have not been using it, it's not too late. Download it now and build your budget on the second tab of the spreadsheet.

Finance Tracker and Budget - TEMPLATE (Microsoft Excel format)
Finance Tracker and Budget - TEMPLATE (Google Spreadsheet file)

Watch the video below for instructions on using the template to build your budget.

MONEY SAVING IDEAS

As you look at your fixed and variable expense, identifying areas where you can spend less money. The entire family should participate. It's no fun to be the only one cutting spending. Everyone can pitch in. Often it's just a matter of paying more attention to where your money is going. Here are a few budget-saving ideas:

Cut down on eating out - Give the family a budget, take leftovers to work, use a coupons when you do eat out.
Stop buying the unnecessary - Are you or family members buying items that are not needed like toys, movies, gadgets, music, soda?
Use coupons or deals - Find deals for entertainment, food or shop for the best deals, make it a contest to see who can find the best deals.
Watch your utility usage - Turn off lights, manage your heating and cooling better and turn down usage while no one is home. Can you live at just 2 degrees up or down to save on cost? Can you better utilize the technology you have to manage your usage?
Phone service - Maybe it's time to evaluate your phone services. Does everyone in the family really need unlimited data? Does your carrier offer a better plan now? Evaluate monthly cost of phones. Is it better to buy than lease? Consider shared cellphone plans, family plans or plans with managed data limits. Do you still use the ol' home phone line? Could you switch to a less expensive voice-over-IP phone service?
The Best VoIP Providers and Phone Services of 2018 - PCMagazine.com
Change TV service - Do you really need all 200 channels? What channels do you really watch? Can you downgrade to a less expensive package? Have you considered installing an over-the-air digital antenna for free TV service?
Find out what channels are available for free over the air - NoCable.org
Streaming video services - Can you get what you want by subscribing to a streaming TV service? Do you really need a subscription to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu?
Phone/cell service - Do you need unlimited data for all your phones? Is your family or kids going over data limits and costing high fees? Can you switch to a less expensive service with data management abilities? Would a family plan be less expensive? When was the last time you evaluated your services?
Home mortgage - Is there an opportunity to refinance to a significantly lower interest rate? Visit Should I Refiance My Home Mortgage? calculator on LDS.org
Insurances - When as the last time you reviewed your insurance costs and options for home, life, auto or health? You will be reviewing your coverages in a coming week.

Visit Would Spending a Little Less and Saving a Little More Make a Difference? calculator on LDS.org.

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from the American Fork Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

Taking It to THE Next LEvel

"There are many tools and systems available to help you manage your budget and track your expenses. Effective budgeting systems range from simple pen-and-paper systems to mobile and computer applications." - pg. 77

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on pg. 82, My Commitments B, C & D. Share your findings with your spouse, family and action partner.

Personal Finance software and app Solutions

The Best Personal Finance Software - Reviews.com
The Best Personal Finance Services of 2018 - PCMagazine.com
16 Best Budget Apps for 2018 - GottaBeMobile.com
Best Budget Apps and Personal Finance Tools for 2018 - NerdWallet.com

Top Rates Software or Apps
Now that you understanding budgeting, you may want a more powerful system to manage your finances and budget. Integration with your bank accounts or credit cards can be a main drive to move to a more sophisticated system. A few apps seem to be consistently shared on most reviews as the best personal budget applications:
Mint.com – FREE, made by Intuit, has some nice connections to TurboTax and Quickbooks, bank and credit card sync. May be missing a few features for the more sophisticated user. To take it to the next level, users can step up to Quicken at $35 - $75/yr. depending on features.
YNAB (You Need A Budget) – about $6.99/mo., 34-day FREE trial, feature rich budgeting and planning, bank and credit card sync.
PocketGuard – FREE app, bank and credit card sync. Focus on mobile app user.
Personal Capital – FREE, great for those who also want to track investments and wealth management goals, bank and credit card sync.

Simple Mobile Apps
Fudget – FREE app, simple.
Mvelopes – $4-$59/mo. Follows the basic budgeting of the envelop method. $59/mo includes a personal financial trainer. Might be best for someone who really needs some extra help in getting spending under control.
EveryDollar – FREE and paid versions. Good option for the Dave Ramsey fan. Review between Mint and EveryDollar

Speak to someone who is using a personal finance software or app to get their perspectives. The market is constantly changing and evolving. Do an online search for the latest options.

Spreadsheet Options
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet templates – Excel includes a couple of good budget templates.

For Apple users, the Numbers application is a free application and has some great templates.

You may choose to simly continue to use the Financial Tracker and Budget you may have already begun. You can save a new copy for each month. For example, if you are creating a budget for January, save a file called 2018 JAN Family Budget. When you are ready to budget for February, save a copy and name it 2018 FEB Family Budget.

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from your local Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

Comfort In Coverage

"After our obligation to pay the Lord first through tithing and other offerings, our second obligation is to work to protect our families from hardship. We can do this only if we develop a long-term perspective." - pg. 93

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on page 103, My Commitments B, C & D. Share your findings with your spouse, family and action partner.

Online Resource

Emergency Fund
How much should I save for emergencies? calculator on LDS.org
8 Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund - The Balance
3 Questions to Ask Before You Use Your Emergency Fund - Dave Ramsey

Better Understanding Insurance
BYU Marriot School of Management - Online personal finance courses including video lectures, resources and course materials.
Insurance Basics - understand the key principles of insurance
Life Insurance - understand the principles, key terms, which type of insurance is best for you and know the steps to buying life insurance.
Health, Long-term Care, and Disability Insurance - understand how health insurance relates to your personal financial plan and key areas of coverage.
Auto, Homeowners, and Liability Insurance - understand key insurance types and ways to keep expenses down.

Insurance Research
Utah Insurance Department - information and links to articles and resources for all types of insurance in the State of Utah. For all insurance types, consult with an expert who can analyze your needs and help you evaluate your options.

Health Insurance and Other Coverage Options
Health Care In Utah - Utah Department of Health
ACA health insurance plans vs. Healthcare sharing ministries - PolicyGenius.com - article describes insurance alternatives like the Affordable Care Act and the growing market of healthcare sharing plans, an alternative to traditional insurance coverage.

Life Insurance Coverage Options
Comparing Life Insurance Policies - The Balance

Disability Insurance Coverage Options
What are the types of disability insurance? - Insurance Information Institute.org

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from the American Fork Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

Debt INVENTORY

"Prophets have always counseled us to avoid debt. President Heber J. Grant taught, “If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet” (Gospel Standards: Sermons and Writings of Heber J. Grant, comp. G. Homer Durham [1941], 111)." - pg. 113

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on pg. 122, My Commitments B, C & D. Share your findings with your spouse, family and action partner.

Analyzing Your Debt

You may wish to do your debt analysis on a spreadsheet. You can find a Debt Inventory Worksheet on the third tab:

Finance Tracker and Budget - TEMPLATE (Microsoft Excel file)
Finance Tracker and Budget - TEMPLATE (Google Spreadsheet file)

You may have already started using this template. The Debt Inventory Worksheet tab will calculate the remaining term of your loans, allow you to make adjustments to your payments and calculate the total interest expense.

Watch the video below for additional instructions on using the template to build your debt inventory.

Calculators available from LDS.org:
How soon could I pay off all my debts?
How long will it take to pay off my credit card?
What would my payment be if I borrowed?
What would be my monthly payment on a new home?

OnlinE Resources

You & Your Debt - Debt.org - Discusses many types of debt, managing debt, establishing credit, debt consolidation and looks at some of the debt challenges facing our country.
Debt Quiz: Warning Signs - DebtReductionServices.org

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from the American Fork Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

BUSTING DEBT

"Second, stop relying on consumer debt and credit cards. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland suggested financial “plastic surgery.” He said, “This is a very painless operation: Just cut up your credit cards. . . . No convenience known to modern man has so jeopardized the financial stability of families, especially young struggling families, like the credit card” (Jeffrey R. and Patricia T. Holland, “Things We Have Learned—Together,” Ensign, June 1986, 30). Cutting up your credit cards will help you stop getting into more debt." - pg. 131

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on pg. 138, My Commitments B, C & D. Share your findings with your spouse, family and action partner.

Online Resources

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from your local Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

To Act Or BE ACTED UPON

"Like an emergency or fire escape plan, in the event of a financial crisis you should have a course of action that is simple to follow. About managing trials, Elder Marvin J. Ashton asked, 'Can you quietly sit down, review the facts, and list all the possible courses of action? Can you identify causes and determine remedies? Quiet contemplation can solve problems more quickly than frantic force”'('Give with Wisdom That They May Receive with Dignity,' Ensign, Nov. 1981, 88)."

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on pg. 149, My Commitments B, C & D. Share your findings with your spouse, family and action partner.

Review your PLAN to Projections

You have now been tracking your spending for about 2 months. You should have a good idea what is in line with your plan and what is not. Review your budget with your family. How are you doing in terms of keeping income and expenses in line with your projected budget. Discuss what is going well and what is not. Make necessary adjustments to your budget and plan numbers to improve.

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from your local Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

Wise Investment Priorities

"Elder L. Tom Perry taught, 'Pay yourself a predetermined amount directly into savings. . . . It is amazing to me that so many people work all of their lives for the grocer, the landlord, the power company, the automobile salesman, and the bank, and yet think so little of their own efforts that they pay themselves nothing” (“Becoming Self-Reliant,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 66)." - pg. 167

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on pg. 176, My Commitments B, C & D. Share your findings with your spouse, family and action partner.

InVesting In A Home

Rent vs. Buy Calculator - Zillow.com
What would be my monthly payment on a new home?
- calculator from LDS.org
How much should I save to reach my goal? - calculator from LDS.org - creating a downpayment of 20% on a home will help you qualify for lower interest rates and avoid private mortgage insurances costs, dramatically reducing the cost of your home purchase over time. Use this calculator to understand what it will take to save a 20% downpayment.

Investing in Education

How to Calculate Your Degree's Return on Investment - GetUnbound.org
5 Steps to Calculating Your College ROI - Forbes.com
2018 Best Value Colleges in Utah - Niche.com - be sure to complete the criteria on the lefthand side of the page to narrow down by specific criteria and majors.
Study the topic of Education - LDS.org Gospel Topics

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from your local Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

Prepare For RETIREMENT

"President Ezra Taft Benson taught, 'As you move through life toward retirement and the decades which follow, we invite all . . . to plan frugally for the years following full-time employment' (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson [2014], 208)." pg. 184

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

May assist you with commitments on pg. 195, My Commitments B, C & D. Share your findings with your spouse, family and action partner.

Retirement Savings Options

Calculating Retirement Savings

Build Your Savings Plan

As part of your analysis, you will want to build a savings plan looking at both short term and long term savings needs. You may already have discussed or written down some of these targets. To help you in your planning, you may wish to use the Savings Planner on the forth tab of:

Finance Tracker and Budget - TEMPLATE (Microsoft Excel format)
Finance Tracker and Budget - TEMPLATE (Google Spreadsheet file)

Watch the video below for guidance on how to use the tool to build your savings plan.

Workging With Investment Advisors

Choosing an Investment Professional - Financial Industry Regulator Authority
How To Choose A Financial Advisor
- Forbes.com
Utah Investment Advisors - Google Maps. Do your own analysis of each firms ability to meet your needs.

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from the American Fork Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

BLESSINGS of SELF-RELIANCE

"When we become spiritually self-reliant, it is our duty to help other s also become spiritually self-reliant. In the Doctrine and Covenants, we read, 'And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also' (D&C 84:106)." - pg. 203

COMMITMENT ASSISTANCE

Congratulations on completing Personal Finance group! This is just the beginning of your journey to continue to achieve greater self-reliance through the plans you have established. We encourage you to continue to share and involve your spouse, family and support your action partner in reaching their goals. You may select a mentor in your group, ward or stake to continue to assist you, encourage you and hold you accountable to your goals.

Please share your experience of participating in a Self-Reliance group with other members and encourage them to join during the next round. Your testimony may help encourage another who will greatly benefit them in moving toward receiving the blessings promised by the Lord.

ONline Resources

The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance - Elder Marion G. Romney, LDS.org
Blessing In Self-Reliance - See the video below from Elder Mark E. Peterson, LDS.org

NEED MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE?

Reach out to your stake leadership or request assistance from your local Self-Reliance Resource Center. We are here to help.

Request Assistance

The Self-Reliance Service Center is here to help. Submit you information on the form below and someone will get back with you shortly.

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