This past year I had the privilege of being called as Self Reliance specialist in my ward, something of a replacement for what used to be the Ward Employment Specialist. But when I was called, no one could tell me what, exactly, this new calling was supposed to be.
I am not a patient person, so the wait to see this new program get rolled out officially in my Stake was excruciating. Finally we had our initial event, where the idea that God wants to help us was rolled out. There are four workshops: Better Job, Starting/Growing Your Own Business, Getting an Education, and Personal Finances.
I’m within a decade or so of retirement, and I have a good job as an employee. So when I was given the My Path booklet and assessed my needs, it was pretty clear I needed to attend the Personal Finances workshop. Meanwhile I got assigned to facilitate the Better Job workshop. The workshops nominally occurs over a twelve week period, with weekly group sessions that last 1-2 hours.
An awesome thing about doing this workshop within an official LDS setting is that you can get a certificate from LDS Business College for the effort. But the materials are all available online for free, so you could do this workshop with a group of friends without waiting for an official LDS setting to occur near you.
We thought a workshop on personal finances would start off with budgeting and savings advice. Instead the workshop starts off talking about faith.
The second surprise (for me) was that I was really opened up to new ideas that I hadn’t seen elsewhere. In particular, I and my spouse for the first time really sat down to talk money in a productive way. Other participants in our workshop reported the same phenomenon.
A third surprise, as we started recording and discussing our expenditures, was where the money was going, and how that compared with our income. Our biggest “problems” were somewhat surprising, and we discovered that there were deep emotional issues attached to those problems.
A fourth surprise was how we moved from being a bit ashamed that we “needed” a Personal Finances workshop to being openly happy to tell people we were doing this super cool thing that was making our lives better and more peaceful. Continue reading