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Concluding Thoughts

You have agency to make choices in life. You can decide just once to avoid the things that will keep you from achieving your goals, or you can re-decide each time temptations arise. The former will make your life much easier; the latter will make your life much harder. Likewise, you can decide just once about other aspects of your life—you can be firm in making decisions that will bring you eternal happiness and that will bring you closer to your personal and family goals.

Live the gospel! This will make all the difference in your life. Become financially self-reliant: start saving now and let time work for you, regardless of how old you are. Pray and plan for true success: true success is becoming what Heavenly Father would have you become. My father, Clinton W. Sudweeks, who is eighty-eight years old this year, attended one of the last personal finance classes of the semester. Giving him no time to prepare his answer, I asked him to share a few of his thoughts. He said the following:

The key to life is to live like our Savior and to obey the commandments of God. If you will do this, you will have the Spirit. And if you have the Spirit, you will be successful.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke at a CES Youth Fireside in Oakland, California, in 2005. He titled his talk “The Dedication of a Lifetime.” He said the following:

Some people live the gospel with “short, frenzied outbursts of emotion,” followed by long periods of lapse or by performance that is intermittent or sputtering. What we need in living the gospel is the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. (“The Dedication of a Lifetime,” CES Fireside, Oakland, California, May 1, 2005)

What does the phrase “the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime” mean? Dallin H. Oaks answered this question when he said the following:

It means to be a 100 percent Latter-day Saint, 100 percent of the time. It means to follow the direction King Benjamin gave to his people: “I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his” (Mosiah 5:15). It means to follow the plea Father Lehi gave to a wavering son: “O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!” (1 Nephi 2:10). (“The Dedication of a Lifetime,” CES Fireside, Oakland, California, May 1, 2005)

Dallin H. Oaks’s final comments are the comments I most hope you will take from this series:

The “dedication of a lifetime” requires one to be tranquil and steady, steadfast and immovable. That is our standard and our goal. This steadfast standard requires us to avoid extremes. Our performance should be the steady 100 percent of a committed servant, not the frenzied and occasional 120 percent of the fanatic. (“The Dedication of a Lifetime,” CES Fireside, Oakland, California, May 1, 2005)

My purpose and hope for this series on personal finance is that we can become the 100 percent committed servant of our Savior as we get our financial houses in order.


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