Education Week: Longer life means more chances to save

Sarah Strobel; Sarah Hill
Scott C. Marsh says it’s never too late to make smart money decisions.

Aging is inevitable; however, people who let the sands of time discourage them from making smart money choices commit a costly mistake.

BYU finance adjunct professor Scott C. Marsh explained that as prosperity and life expectancy increases worldwide, financial preparations turn from a “young people’s” game into a lifelong pursuit.

Marsh opened his discussion by asking people in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium if the U.S. is headed in the right direction financially. The speaker measured audience opinion by asking people to raise their hands when he said the number they most agreed with on a scale from zero to 10, zero being the absolute worst.

Overwhelmingly, people in attendance identified with numbers zero through six.

Marsh, who seemed unsurprised by the response, determined to change his audience’s mind as his presentation moved on.

“Prosperity has very dramatic momentum,” said Marsh, explaining that while people believe things are getting worse, there is “compelling historical momentum” that shows wealth has increased for people from all walks of life since the 1800s.

Marsh said he believes this positive trend will continue as innovations in health and technology exponentially improve overall health. Marsh predicts he could possibly live to the age of 147.

But there’s a spiritual aspect behind longer life expectancy.

Quoting Brigham Young, Mash showed how the prophet believed that like in the Old Testament, men would live to be the “age of a tree” in the latter-days.

Because people have more years to live than they expect, Marsh said it is time for them to stop having an “I’m too old for this” mentality and to instead maintain an empowering eternal mindset — especially about their investments and finances.

An eternal mindset will allow Latter-day Saints to capture the prosperous future ahead, according to Marsh, which has been revealed in speeches by apostles such as Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Boyd K. Packer.

“I believe we are standing on the threshold of a new era of growth, prosperity, and abundance,” said Marsh, quoting Elder Ballard’s 2012 BYU-Idaho commencement address.

Marsh explained that while Mormons have been taught to prepare for the Second Coming, this doesn’t mean they should go out and buy camouflaged gear and bazookas.

Rather, members of the church should be prepare to combat the loud and extreme voices claiming that the world is falling apart and instead, focus their attention on innovations that promote prosperity and can be considered modern-day miracles.

For example, areas in which Americans are saving money, or in Marsh’s terms becoming more prosperous, when compared to 1970s inflated adjusted dollars, include essentials such as clothing, food and major appliances, according to “The Two-Income Trap,” by Elizabeth Warren.

On the other had, items that have increased include housing, healthcare and higher education, according to the same source — but in the case of housing, Marsh believes that higher costs are due to the trend of people buying larger homes than they need to achieve their version of the American Dream.

Marsh predicts that eventually, the costs of all essential human needs will decrease as people share resources.

Innovations in travel, for example, include driverless cars, which could eventually eliminate the need for car insurance and prevent fatal accidents.

Marsh continued his series of Education Week lectures by highlighting money habits that will take advantage of the prosperity and years of life ahead, highlighting the power of million-dollar choices and personal opportunities, and exposing bad advice given by some financial advisors.

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