A new study shows that Utah’s relatively high rate of bankruptcy isn’t directly tied to the LDS faith. In fact, non-Mormons in Utah are somewhat more likely than Mormons to go bankrupt, and those who pay tithing are about 1/3 as likely to file bankruptcy. The key factor in the high bankruptcy rate may be the large family size that is typical in Utah. More children means more financial stress. This could be a cultural and not purely religious factor, since both Mormon and non-Mormon families in Utah tend to have large families- it’s a family oriented state. In any case, having 50% more children per adult than the national average clearly leads to financial stress and higher bankruptcies. But there’s a positive side to this: “nationally, households with children are 300 percent more likely to file for bankruptcy than households without children. But in Utah, that percentage dropped to 191 percent.” So even though having kids puts you at financial risk, the risk may be lower than normal in Utah.
My experience in working with many people in the Church confirms one thing: to reduce financial trouble in your life, pay tithing. Even without the divine blessings that definitely occur in some cases, the discipline that tithing imposes really helps many people manage their finances better. And if you can learn to pay 10% as tithing, in many cases you should also be able to make the sacrifices needed to also put away at least 10% as savings.