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E. Jeffrey Hill|June 9, 2015 Good morning. I am excited to be here today. I pray that the Spirit will bless us. The topic today is important, both temporally and spiritually, and I invite you to listen with both your mind and your heart. Each year I teach almost a thousand BYU students in SFL (School of Family Life) 260 about family finance. Oddly enough, the purpose of this course is not to teach students how to get rich. Instead, the goal is to help students gain a stewardship perspective and wisely manage their money to joyfully strengthen family relationships. As a bonus, this class fulfills the quantitative reasoning general education requirement. At the beginning of each semester I tell my class to remember three things, and I invite you to do the same: First, life is hard, but you can do hard things. With the help of the Lord you can do anything He wants you to do—even balance a budget or invest in a mutual fund. Second, when life doesn’t go as planned, don’t get frustrated; make the best of it. Most of the time things don’t go as planned—especially in financial matters—and if you don’t make the best of it, you will spend most of your life feeling frustrated. And third, remember TTT: things take time. In fact, the best financial plan is the “get rich slowly” plan in which you safely and systematically invest. Whenever I talk about finances, I am reminded of a story I heard about a college freshman who didn’t budget very well. He kept running out of money before he ran out of month. One night the student texted home: “No mon, no fun, your son.” His wise father texted right back: “How sad, too bad, your dad.”1 I hope my talk this morning will help you avoid the plight of this student. The title of this devotional is “Money Matters: Living Joyfully Within Your Means.” To introduce this theme, I would like to get personal and briefly share some things I have learned over my lifetime about money and joyful living. A long, long time ago, Juanita Ray and I met while attending BYU. We played racquetball together, courted for a time, and were married in the temple. As newlyweds, we had no money. We lived in a tiny two-room apartment with low ceilings, we bought clothes from Deseret Industries, and we ate her family’s food storage. We drank powdered milk for almost a year—yuck! But we had each other, we had our love, and we had the gospel. It was a good year. We learned that you don’t need a lot of money to be happy. I graduated, I got a good job, and we started drinking whole milk—heavenly! I had been taught to pay 10 percent to the Lord, save 10 percent to invest, and live on the rest. Juanita and I did this as we created our family budgets over the years. We were fruitful, and after twenty-five years we had lots of kids who filled our mortgage-free home. We also had solid investments. We learned about the miracle of compo
J. Craig McIlroy|Apr. 26, 2007 It is my great pleasure to represent the Brigham Young University Alumni Association at these commencement exercises. On a personal note, I should tell you that in January of this year my wife, Bertha, and I celebrated the payment of our last tuition bill. Our youngest child, Heather, is with us today as a graduate, and no two people are prouder or happier for her than are we. As new graduates, many of you may be focusing on the possibilities that lie ahead to create wealth for yourselves. Might I suggest that you consider wealth creation as a commodity made up of financial, human, and intellectual capital. Business people know that they must spend 70 to 80 percent of their time growing assets. In families, growing the human and intellectual assets is often overlooked. The members in the family are the human capital. Their collective life experiences and knowledge make up the intellectual capital. The financial capital supports the growth of the other two. James E. Hughes, Jr., suggests these concepts to us in his book, Family Wealth. He reminds us that in the mid-eighteenth century, Mayer Amschel Rothschild founded the House of Rothschild. This creator of the Rothschild fortune had five sons, each of whom he set up in the banking business in one of the era’s five principal European financial capitals: Frankfurt, Vienna, London, Paris, and Naples. He lent them the money to get started at lower than normal interest with the proviso that they pay him back. He directed that each son keep the profits of his individual bank once the original loan had been repaid. He also charged interest in the form of intellectual currency. He requested each of his sons relay to him every bit of financial information he gained in his city. He agreed to share this intellectual interest with his other sons. In modern terms, he created an effective information network. Mayer Amschel Rothschild also used a powerful investment technique to manage the risk to his family’s human capital. By sending each son to a different city, he diversified his human assets into five separate investments, thereby increasing the probability that at least one of the branches would survive political and economic risks. Ultimately, only the London and Paris branches survived and continue to prosper. Today, some 250 years later, the name Rothschild is synonymous with wealth. [James E. Hughes, Jr., Family Wealth: Keeping It in the Family: How Family Members and Their Advisers Preserve Human, Intellectual, and Financial Assets for Generations (Princeton: Bloomberg Press, 2004), 32; adapted by permission] Mayer Amschel Rothschild understood that two important elements of a family’s wealth are its human and intellectual capital. He saw to it that all family members were well educated and that they worked. He also provided specialized mentorship opportunities as his sons entered the workforce. Like the Rothschild child
Stanley D. Neeleman|June 11, 2002 One of my colleagues recently boasted that he had won his struggle with money and no longer had any desire to be rich. But when I asked him if that meant that he had all the money he wanted, he replied: “Of course not! I’d love to have more money; lots more!” We would all like to have more money. Indeed, our desire for it is so strong that frequently it is the determining factor in some of our most important decisions, including where to go to school, what to study, what career path to follow, where to work and live, and whom to befriend—and sometimes even whom to marry. In the extreme it may induce us to neglect weightier matters or even engage in unethical or illegal conduct. I suspect that is what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he characterized the love of money as “the root of all evil” and observed that those burdened by it (the love of money) “have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10). Our yearning for more money in large part is fueled by the popular myth—carefully cultivated by the commercial media—that the ability to access high-quality goods and services is the measure of a happy and meaningful life. In that regard, consider the Lexus commercial that concludes with this enticing observation: “Anyone who believes that money can’t buy happiness hasn’t driven a Lexus.” Because our ability to access more and better goods and services is measured and limited by the amount of money at our disposal, it is not surprising that most of us believe that more money will bring us a greater sense of well-being and personal fulfillment. Of course the fallacy on which that belief is based is that the physical, psychological, and social gratification associated with material abundance is the equivalent of “the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God” (Mosiah 2:41). In the Savior’s words, as recorded in Luke 12:15, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” The Savior then vividly illustrated the foolishness of relying on material possessions as a source of happiness with the parable of a farmer who had been blessed with a bumper crop: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. [Luke 12:17–21] The plight of this successful but misguided farmer gives new m
Marvin J. Ashton|Mar. 30, 1982 I think, when I announce the title of my remarks, it is reasonable to assume many of you could nudge the one next to you and say, “So what else is new?” or “I know that is true. Where does the line form for those to stand who want to bear witness to the fact?” Well, with just that much to arouse your interest, my topic is, “It’s No Fun Being Poor.” Despite some thoughts to the contrary, the great majority in attendance today are not poor. However, we can become victims of real poverty if we are not wise in our daily conduct. Fortunately, very few in attendance today are poor. The main question for every person to resolve is not what he would do if he had unlimited money, time, influence, or vast educational advantages, but how he will best use the means and assets he has and will yet have. The purpose of my remarks is to try to help all of us avoid being poor. I hope that, if we are already poor, we will be wise enough to overcome it with corrective actions prompted by self-motivation. Brigham Young University does not exist to help you make money. It exists to make you rich. “It’s no fun being poor.” Here are some truths for your consideration. I am going to identify them as ten commandments we should follow if we would avoid being poor. Doubtless there may be 10, 20, or 30 more, but for our purposes today, the following may be construed as perhaps a good start. I. Thou shalt not lose a friend or cease being one. A person is poor when his friendship inventory is depreciating. A person is poor when he is friendless. When friends, those closest to us, have cause to desert, to disbelieve, to lose confidence in us, we are poor. Very often friends are lost because we are unwilling to pay the price it takes to maintain them. It was Emerson who said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one” (“Friendship,” Essays). A friend is a person who will not only take the time to know us, but also take the time to be with us, and never leave us regardless of the circumstances. One of the finest presents each of us can give someone else is our best self. When we lose friends, our strength as well as our desire is ofttimes totally drained. In our personal balance sheets “minus friends” indicates a loss position. No man is useless while he has a friend. No man can declare personal bankruptcy if he has one friend. Joseph Smith gave us a glimpse of his measure of friends when he said, “If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of none to myself” (HC 6:549). The Savior said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). When Robert Louis Stevenson was asked the secret of his radiant, useful life, he responded simply, “I had a friend.” A friend in the true sense is not a person who passively nods approval of our conduct or encourages improper behavior. A friend is a person who c
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