Why do people need financial advisors? For the same reason we have surgeons, plumbers, dentists and home builders: They have the expertise and time to tackle the job properly.
A hair-raising, vintage TV commercial for a health plan showed a man trying to do open heart surgery on his own. It was funny because it was so absurd. The ad could also have worked with someone trying to fix a cavity in his own mouth, squinting at a mirror while trying to steady the hand that held the drill. Good luck with that.
Investing is really no different. It’s one thing to dabble in the stock market; it’s another to devise a smart financial plan for a secure future. That takes a professional. And to do it in a God-pleasing way, it helps immensely to have a Christian advisor.
On the Same Wave Length
We are all stewards of whatever God has blessed us with, and we should seek out wise Christian counsel regarding the best use of our financial blessings. It starts with the foundational concept that we don’t own all that we have – God does.
“That’s the game changer,” says Art Ally, founder and president of the Timothy Plan family of mutual funds and ETFs. “God owns everything, including us. Once we understand that, everything else falls into place.”
Mr. Ally explains the concept of biblical stewardship in his financial planning course “Stewardship: God’s Plan for Financial Success.”
“A steward is someone entrusted with another’s wealth or property and charged with the responsibility of managing it in the owner’s best interest,” he writes, adding that “God expects us to use the resources He gives us to best carry out our responsibilities.”
“For Christians, it’s especially important to have a like-minded advisor who can steer them toward biblically sound investments,” Mr. Ally says. “It’s why Mark Minnella and I sought to expand the field by founding the National Association of Christian Financial Consultants (NACFC) in 1997. This gave Christian advisors a forum to come together, worship and figure out how to change investors’ ideas about investing.”
The NACFC’s mission is to “teach, train, and encourage financial professionals to learn, share, and instruct Biblical Stewardship to individuals and families believing that ‘it profits a man nothing to gain the whole world and lose his soul’ (Mathew 16:26).”
In 2005, the NACFC began Christian Financial Consultant and Advisor (CFCA) certification training, with major input from Alan Ross, Dan Hardt, Michael Pink and Mark Minnella. The program helps financial professionals integrate their faith into their practice.
Finding a Christian Advisor
The idea of seeking out a sage advisor comes straight out of Proverbs:
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (15:22).
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” (19:20)
Not everyone who claims to be a Christian necessarily gives biblically sound advice, however. In fact, “It’s much easier to find a Christian financial counselor than a biblical financial counselor,” says Randy Alcorn, author of ‘Money, Possessions and Eternity.’
“Financial advisors should be evaluated not only by their professed faith but also by their knowledge of Scripture, grasp of finances, track record, character, and skills.”
One way to find such a person is to check the NACFC’s listing service of CFCA-certified advisors.
Small Businesses Winging It
Despite the clear advantages of professional counseling, one survey indicates that only 40 percent of small business owners have consulted with a financial professional. In addition, only 30 percent have calculated how much money they would need for retirement, and only 25 percent had a written plan for transferring ownership of the business upon retirement.
“Most small business owners want their business, their future and their children’s future to be in their control,” says financial writer Dan Moskowitz. “This is understandable, but if all that time and energy is being put into the business, then who’s going to keep a sharp eye on personal finances? …. A savvy small business owner knows that delegation to the right party saves time and is fiscally rewarding.”
Citing the ministry of Barnabas, a friend of the Apostle Paul who came alongside to offer encouragement and counsel, Brian Mumbert, vice president of advisor relations at Timothy Plan, notes that more than ever, accepting such counsel is smart.
This year has been “an emotional roller coaster at times, with the market swinging wildly up or down,” he says. “The average investor can make large mistakes by leaving the market at the wrong time or coming into the market when it’s too high.”
A trusted financial advisor, he adds, “can help the client take some of the emotion out of the process, and, like Barnabas, be an encourager—to stay the course and to resist irrational decisions.”
Compiling a Biblically Responsible Investing Portfolio
As Timothy Plan explains on its website, the firm makes investment decisions prayerfully and responsibly. For over 25 years, it’s been committed to operating with the integrity, excellence and wisdom that brings honor and glory to Jesus. It is a beacon for godly stewardship in the financial community.
The first of its kind, Timothy Plan is a family of mutual funds and Exchange-Traded Funds that filters its funds to ensure no money is invested in companies that are supportive of ideals contrary to its biblical and moral imperative. In 2019, Timothy Plan celebrated 25 years as founders in helping Christians achieve their financial goals while investing in a biblically and morally responsible manner.
“We work with many financial advisors and are continually impressed with their knowledge and dedication to doing the best job possible for their clients,” Mr. Ally says.
A writer for Timothy Partners, Ltd. He is a regular weekly columnist for The Washington Times and Townhall.com and is frequently published by AmericanThinker.com, DailyCaller.com, OneNewsNow.com, and others. He has authored the following books: “A Strong Constitution: What Would America Look Like If We Followed the Law” (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2018), Invested with Purpose: The Birth of the Biblically-Responsible Investment Movement, and A Nation Worth Fighting For: 10 Steps to Restore Freedom.