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Elder L. Tom Perry commented on the challenge facing families for financing education and missions.  He wrote:

Today a long-range family financial plan is clearly needed if children are to have the blessings of missions and education. It would need to be carefully worked out and prepared to meet these requirements. The avoidance of debt is essential; living within [your] income, fundamental. Much thought and understanding must be given to keep [your] family finances properly balanced. Expenditures must be challenged: Do [you] really need a giant house with the giant-size monthly mortgage payments? Is a second car required? Can [your] family-centered activities replace costly commercial entertainment? Can vacations be made exciting at home? (L. Tom Perry, “For Whatsoever a Man Soweth, That Shall He Also Reap,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 7)

Clearly a long-rang family financial plan is needed.  But how do you plan for the large expenses that education and missions entail?

Education and missions are very important, whether for yourself or for your children.  We have a responsibility to continually improve ourselves, to be a blessing to ourselves, our families, and the world around us.  Education can help us fulfill that responsibility.  President Gordon B. Hinckley said the following about the importance of education:

It is so important that you young men and you young women get all of the education that you can. The Lord has said very plainly that His people are to gain knowledge of countries and kingdoms and of things of the world through the process of education, even by study and by faith. Education is the key which will unlock the door of opportunity for you. It is worth sacrificing for. It is worth working at, and if you educate your mind and your hands, you will be able to make a great contribution to the society of which you are a part, and you will be able to reflect honorably on the Church of which you are a member. My dear young brothers and sisters take advantage of every educational opportunity that you can possibly afford, and you fathers and mothers, encourage your sons and daughters to gain an education which will bless their lives. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Inspirational Thoughts,” Liahona, June 1999, 3)

According to President Hinckley, education will help you to make a great contribution to society of which you are a part.  But education is not just a temporal activity.  Elder Russell M. Nelson also commented on the religious importance of education:

Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. Our Creator expects His children everywhere to educate themselves. He issued a commandment: “Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). And He assures us that knowledge acquired here will be ours forever (see D&C 130:18-19). Measured by this celestial standard, it is apparent that those who impulsively “drop out” and cut short their education not only disregard divine decree but frustrate the realization of their own potential. (“Where Is Wisdom?” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 6)

President Gordon B. Hinckley said: "God has placed upon this people a mandate to acquire knowledge “even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118) (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 49).

But what about missions?  Are they equally important?  Regarding serving missions, President Spencer W. Kimball said:

The question is frequently asked: Should every young man fill a mission? And the answer has been given by the Lord. It is ‘Yes.’ Every young man should fill a mission. …Every man should also pay his tithing. Every man should observe the Sabbath. Every man should attend his meetings. Every man should marry in the temple. (“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, p. 8).

President Ezra Taft Benson counseled:

The Lord wants every young man to serve a full-time mission. … Not only should a mission be regarded as a priesthood duty, but every young man should look forward to this experience with great joy and anticipation. What a privilege—what a sacred privilege—to serve the Lord full time for two years with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. You can do nothing more important. … Give me a young man who has kept himself morally clean and has faithfully attended his Church meetings. Give me a young man who has magnified his priesthood and has earned the Duty to God Award and is an Eagle Scout. Give me a young man who is a seminary graduate and has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me such a young man, and I will give you a young man who can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life. (Ensign, May 1986, pp. 44–45).

The challenge then as parents is how to prepare a family financial plan today to pay for the steadily rising costs of  education and missions? The following are a few ideas to help you as you put that plan together.


When you have completed this section, you should be able to do the following:

  1.   Decide how education relates to your financial goals.
  2.   Understand the principles of financing education and missions
  3.   Understand the priority of money for financing education and missions.
  4.   Recognize how to save for your children’s education
  5.   Recognize how to save for your children’s missions.
  6.   Know how to reduce the cost of education and apply for aid.



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