I have been fascinated with self reliance and financial freedom since I was a little girl. From Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to Suze Orman’s book, 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, (both of which I highly recommend), I have read and studied countless articles and books regarding self-reliance and financial freedom. While not an expert, I feel like I have learned a ton and want to share that knowledge with you. To simplify your self-reliance journey, I’ve compiled a list of 8 steps you can take to become self-reliant from a latter-day saint perspective. (Click here to follow me and to get a free printable self reliance checklist!)
Why is Self-Reliance important?
Being self-reliant is an important part of life’s journey. It brings peace and security, even during turbulent times. (You can read my article about How to Have Faith in Turbulent Times here.) From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website it states, “The purpose of becoming spiritually and temporally self-reliant is to become better able to serve the Lord and care for others (see John 15:8).” I look forward to the day when I am in a position to bless others and to serve as the Lord sees fit.
“The Savior invites us all to act, to stand independent, and to become as He is. He will help us. He has promised: ‘It is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own way’ (Doctrine and Covenants 104:15–16). His way includes learning and living the principles of self-reliance—’the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the necessities of life for self and family’ (Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare ).”
8 Steps Towards Self-Reliance
Years ago I attended an evening financial class at my church. I was given a piece of paper from a financial advisor showcasing 8 steps to self reliance. Bringing it home, I set it aside and sadly forgot about it. Just recently, however, I unearthed this precious gem and loved what I saw. It was exactly what I needed to read! In light of that, I wanted to share these 8 steps with you. They are completely in line with Dave Ramsey’s baby steps as well as with the free personal finance course from the LDS Business College. I feel certain that by following these steps, you will have greater security and direction as you work towards self-reliance for you and your family. (I will talk about each step in greater detail at a later time.)
Step 1: Master Budgeting and the Words of the Prophets
- Track income and expenses and create a budget
- Read the following articles: “All is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances,” “All is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage,” and “One for the Money”
- Read other articles about self-reliance from the church website
Step 2: Establish a Basic Protection Portfolio
- Prioritize and pay tithes and offerings
- Save $1,000 for emergencies
- If you can qualify, get adequate insurance on your life, health, auto, and home
- If you have dependents, establish a will and correctly name beneficiaries on all assets
- Create an organizational portfolio of important information and documents
- Involve your children in the family finances
Step 3: Aggressively Pay Off Debt (except on an affordable mortgage on home)
- Use the debt rollover method outlined in “One for the Money” and get out of debt
Step 4: Build a More Extensive Protection Portfolio
- Establish more advanced estate planning documents
- Establish an emergency fund to sustain life for 6 months
- Build your store of food, water, and emergency supplies according to “All is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage”
Step 5: Save 20% of income automatically for your future
- Take advantage of employer matches and tax-advantaged accounts to save 20% of your income for your future retirement
Step 6: Get a Quality Education and Save for the Future of Your Dependents (e.g. college)
- Get as much education as possible
- If you have dependents, save for their future through an education IRA or other plan
Step 7: Work Towards Home Ownership
- Aggressively pay off your home mortgage
Step 8: Give back
- Give back and bless others in need
Personal Self-Reliance is Possible with God’s Help
While becoming truly self-reliant and financially independent can be a long road, I believe that it is totally possible and worth it. We have been promised help if we but ask for it. In Matthew 7:7 it states: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
The First Presidency has said: “We invite you to diligently study and apply these principles and teach them to your family members. As you do so, your life will be blessed. You will learn how to act on your path toward greater self-reliance. You will be blessed with greater hope, peace, and progress.”
“Please be assured that you are a child of our Father in Heaven. He loves you and will never forsake you. He knows you and is ready to extend to you the spiritual and temporal blessings of self-reliance” (First Presidency letter, in My Foundation: Principles, Skills, Habits , 2).
I believe in self-reliance and hope this helps you along your journey. You can do this!
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