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Should Christians Vote with Their Investments? With Jerry Bowyer

FaithFi: Faith & Finance | May 8, 2024


Show Notes

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus called us to be wise as snakes and gentle as doves. But can we be gentle and wise when standing up for biblical principles and our voting rights as investors?

It’s the annual shareholder meeting season for public corporations, meaning companies will hear about their policies from investors. Jerry Bowyer joins us today with a biblical perspective on corporate engagement.

Jerry Bowyer is the President of Bowyer Research and our Resident Economist here at Faith & Finance. He is the author of “The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics.” You can also read his insightful columns for World News Group

When you work with corporations and voting shares, are you helping Christians stand up for their “rights” in some way?

Christians can advocate for their rights as corporate shareholders by putting shareholder proposals on the ballot if they own $2,000 worth of shares for three years. This enables them to speak at the annual meeting or delegate that to somebody else and present their questions and cases to the CEOs and executives. 

Through shareholder activism and proxy voting, there is a great deal of ability to "speak to kings" or address corporate leadership.

How does proxy voting work and how can it impact a company?

Proxy voting works similarly to how voting works for citizens. As shareholders, investors get to vote for members of the board of directors, just like citizens vote for members of Congress or the president. As shareholders, investors can attend the annual meeting and speak up if they own just one or even a fractional share, similar to how citizens can go to town hall meetings to voice their opinions.

What are some differences in how one engages a corporation vs. a government agency?

When engaging with government funds as investors, they are on the "our side" as the investor. They help governments engage properly when they are company investors, just like individuals invest through 401ks, ETFs, etc. Governments have a fiduciary obligation to invest for retirees' good and vote in a way that benefits them. 

With corporations, the engagement is more about holding them accountable and encouraging them to focus on their core business rather than politics or social issues.

On Today’s Program, Rob Answers Listener Questions:

  • I just read the book “Home Equity and Reverse Mortgages: The Cinderella of the Baby Boomer Retirement” by Harlan Accola and have decided to move forward to do that, too. I contacted my bank, and they don’t offer that service. Do you have any suggestions? In Virginia, specifically Richmond, are there banks that do this?
  • My house loan is only in my husband's name, and I would like to know if I should put my name on it or leave it as is.
  • I will be 65 in June and don't want to work until I fully retire. My job is gratifying but very stressful. I have no credit card bills or anything additional to the mortgage or car payment. My car payment is about $400 monthly, and I still owe about $18,000. Would it be in my best interest to take my additional monthly commission checks, typically put in savings, and put that toward paying the car off?

Resources Mentioned:

Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000. Faith & Finance is also available on the Moody Radio Network and American Family Radio. Visit our website at FaithFi.com where you can join the FaithFi Community and give as we expand our outreach.

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