Debt and Preparedness

With such uncertain times around us, I've noticed a trend of desperation as families work towards getting prepared.  That desperation sometimes results in incurring debt to purchase preparedness items. 

Over and over, we have been told by living prophets not to go into debt in order to get prepared.  Instead we should be working towards getting debt-free as part of our preparedness efforts.  Here are just a few sources:

We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt. (President Thomas S. Monson,  October 2008 general conference)

“We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings.  Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once.  With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve."  (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage (2007), First Presidency, President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Thomas S. Monson, President James E. Faust)

“I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order … Self-reliance cannot obtain when there is serious debt hanging over a household." (President Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October, 1998)
Wisely we have been counseled to avoid debt as we would avoid the plague. (Elder L. Tom Perry referencing President J. Reuben Clark, October 1995 general conference)
You do not need to go into debt, may I add, to obtain a year’s supply. Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account. (President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1980 general conference)

A huge chunk of being prepared is also having your financial houses in order.  You might reason that in an economic downturn, or the end-of-the-world, that money might be meaningless.  But it's much more likely, that whatever the emergency circumstances, your house payment will still be due. 

And it's not enough to be debt free.  Make plans to ensure that you have a financial reserve to get you through potentially tough times:
“We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures. . .  Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from this bondage.  Save a little money regularly to gradually build a financial reserve.  If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts.(All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances (2007), First Presidency, President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Thomas S. Monson, President James E. Faust)

“Set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts”  (President Gordon B. Hinckley, October 1998 general conference).

So, before you go and purchase that new generator, farm land, long-term food storage, or gun, make sure that you can afford it without using credit, that you have a financial reserve and that you are working towards being debt-free.