Comments about ‘Saving for souls: Sending a missionary out can be cheaper than leaving them at home’

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Published: Friday, Dec. 28 2012 11:40 a.m. MST

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American Fork, UT

How about they move out and get a job? That's pretty cheap for all concerned.

Henderson, NV

Hutterite: Your comment reveals your age. Things have changed, greatly, from when this was done regularly ending in about the 1980's.

Maricopa, AZ

hutty-not enough eggnogg this year? Yeow!
I suspect that many of these young people that this story applies to are still in high school, hence they are still at home.
For those in college, I say let them live at home as long as they are actively pursuing an education or working to save money for a mission.
It's pretty tough for a young person to save when they are paying rent and expenses.

For me, just the thought of my sons being on their missions was a great source of peace and comfort to me. I always felt that for now, they were where they needed to be. I never worried...too much over their safety or well being. Once they got home I was more anxious with what they would do now after their mission such as relationships, educations, jobs, cars etc etc.

Turns out, in large part that due to their missions, they know very well how to save, how to budget, how to study and how to work hard.
Truly the best two years of "our" lives.

Spanish Fork, Ut

LOL. Good one Hutterite. Kids don't move out and get jobs because it is too darn painful on their doting parents. The same parents that made sure their kids had rides everywhere, same parents that allow their teenagers to sleep in until noon. Kids are fragile and must be treated as such.

South Jordan, UT

As much as my teenagers eat, leaving lights on, car insurance, etc, them leaving on missions will mean a pay raise to me. I have two leaving in the next 14 months. I must be getting old.


This article is at best incomplete and misleading.

Let me explain with a tale of two sons.

I saved for my sons' college educations and had the full amount put away by the time each graduated high school. Son #1 did not go on a mission, graduated college within 4 years of high school graduation, and got a job earning $65k/yr.

Son #2 went on a mission, came back, graduated college, and got a job with a starting salary roughly the same amount as son #1. I paid a lost less (for the mission versus tuition) for the 2 years while son #2 was gone, but while he was away the cost of tuition inflated at a greater rate than his college savings earned, and he permanently lost 2 years wages ($65k times 2).

So from a strictly financial perspective, the mission was a LOT more expensive than continuing school, graduating and beginning work.

The only way a two-year hiatus would have been financially beneficial was if I had not saved the tuition by graduation (and thereby had two more years to save while #2 was gone). But I had #3 coming up behind #2, so that was not an option for me.

Bountiful, UT

I really don't think these numbers add up. I suspect if you add in the initial costs of going on a mission it's not as cheap as they say it is. Looking at the numbers I would bet that it cost more like $6,000 a year to keep a missionary out. It depends on the country your in. There is a lot of work and sacrifice to send a missionary out on a mission. Let's not give people false hopes of how much it will cost. Most of us don't make six figure salaries like these guys do. Most of us have cars and houses to make payments on and illness comes into the equation. Most of the families I know have had to sacrifice a great deal to send their sons and duaghters on missions. Reading this article you would think it was simple and easy.

Ivins, UT

"The age limit for women was lowered from 21 to 19."

Shouldn't this sentence read "The age requirement was lowered from 21 to 19" ??

I thought the "Limit" or oldest that someone could go was 26.

Pocatello, ID

A parent needs to see the overall picture of what "cheaper means. It's not just financial. I was sooooooooo grateful to have sons in the mission field when they were most vulnerable to the pressures of life, the excitement of being on your own, girlfriend situations, decisions of what to do with life, etc. For those of you who don't know, a mission lines you up to look at life before partaking. Watching people suffer through their decisions and attempting to make changes certainly gives some valuable insight to your own future. Learning to love each other will help all missionaries learn what is really important. Yes, those years are definitely much more than a monetary consideration.

Medical Lake, Washington

I suspect that if we were to sit down with a calculator, pencil and piece of paper, there are a great many things that would be way too expensive to do or to invest in. Personally, I can't see how people can afford Cable or Satellite TV. Nor can I comprehend how people can afford cigarettes. It all comes down to priorities and interests.

I think the article was trying to point out that before we discount a mission that we recognize that not going on a mission can also still cost money. Personally, if they so choose, I would prefer that my sons, especially, serve missions and I'm willing to help them do so. Of course I hope that they have savings that they can use, but I'm certainly not going to not help out if their savings come up short. It's a tough economy.

And in conclusion, not all young adults who live at home are lazy, burdens to the household budget. A great many work, contribute around the house and care for parents in their declining years.

Montesano, WA

I have two sons out at the same time not a big deal. As for being cheaper. Then living at home yes to a degree. My oldest turned 19 a few months after high school so he left right a way my other son turned 18 on the day he graduated. And was working six days a week ten hours a day to pay for his. Mission that all changed for him in October and he put his papers in that month. And left right a way. As for college. All my boys plans are after missions military and use the GI bill to pay for school.sorry but my financial obligation ends when they come home from their missions. No living at home get a job what ever. And don't ask for money. Purse strings are cut.

Sandy, UT

My mom couldn't afford to send me on a mission and now I'm glad I never went. It would of been a total burden on her financially and I'm a firm believer that not every young person should go if they truly do not want to go. I had mixed feelings about the whole idea.

Montesano, WA

It costs to send a young man out before he enters the MTC is right at close to one thousand dollars. Then it is five thousand per year. Or four hundred a month no matter were you go. I don't know the cost for sisters. So if any knows those costs it would be helpful to know as well. For clothing for one of my sons was eight hundred dollars a bike because that is all they use for transportation five hundred dollars. An no he did not have a bike before. So that right there is 1400 start up cost. Then the 400 per month. I save more in food costs per month. Plus it is so much more cheaper to send them out and have grow up doing that. Then have them out any were else.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

Oh good grief! You go on a mission because you have a personal conviction that it is what you should do. As for the financier who thinks that most parents spend more than $500 / month per child to have them at home, all I can say is he needs to spend more time with the average American.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

We have been going through this and we are going to break even. The cost of having our sons at home is pretty close to $400 a month. The article is right on. I would gladly pay double that for the experiences they are going to have. It really is life changing and will set the tone for the rest of their lives.


"Plus it is so much cheaper to send them out and have grow up doing that than have them out anywhere else."

I think it is a bit of a generalization saying it is cheaper sending a son on a mission than having them out anywhere else. I think it depends on each child. I was poorer by $12K for the cost of the mission and the increased cost of college tuition (due to inflation) as a result of him serving. In addition, the mission cost him approximately $130K in permanently lost salary (versus what he hypothetically would have earned) by graduating two years later than originally scheduled.

"How about they move out and get a job? That's pretty cheap for all concerned."

I hope you're kidding. Kicking kids out on their own may work for a few, but if your kids have worthy goals (as many young people do) and we can help them reach their goals and become prosperous adults, shouldn't we do that? Isn't that better for our society and our future economy?

@JRJ and Orem - I agree, but this article was about financial costs/benefits, not non-financial aspects.

South Jordan, UT

cpafred understands the concept of opportunity cost.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

In all likelihood going on a mission will be more "expensive" than if a child stays home. But in reality, it won't be the $400 more like some people think. It is likely in this economy most children ages 18-24 will live at home for most or all of that time. It is likely this will cost the parents money. I don't think people need to fear financial destitution to send their children on missions is what this article is saying because if they stay home they are still going to cost parents money most likely.

Coach P
Provo, UT

On an overnight trip we took when I was a coach we asked athletes to pay $30. We had parents say they can't afford this. I always countered with this argument. If your child stays at home and doesn't go on the trip are you still planning on feeding him? Is he likely to have his lights on his bedroom while he stays? How about use your car? Maybe, he'll want to go on a date an want $20. Well, if he is with us, we plan on feeding him two to three meals, he won't be using your car, leaving the lights on or asking for money. I suspect it will be a wash financially if you figure it out. But he will having a great experience with us on this trip (hopefully)...

I think this is analogous to the mission situation but on steroids so to speak. The cost of the mission won't be that great when you think that child will still have to be fed, clothed, etc. Plus the experience of the mission will likely be life changing in a beneficial way which is hard to put on price on that.

Harwich, MA

Hutterite... I agree.
Our namby pamby culture has decided that 19 year olds are still kids. They're not. If your kids didn't work hard enough in school to get a scholarship or at least a partial scholarship, too bad. Get out of the house. There are no "worthy" goals to be attained living by the shirt tails of mom and dad. You're right vegaspam, this went out in the 80's. The reason it went out is baby boomer parents stopped parenting and placing expectations of excellence on their children. I went to college because I got a job and paid for it. Very simple. Today's generation, and I've hired dozens of them have very little work ethic, less ambition, and all want something for nothing. Imagine sending these kids out to the mission field and the headache it give mission presidents. It's time to start "parenting" not long term "babysitting".

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