The world is full of useless information. Some of it’s fun to learn, but it won’t help you reach your goals, especially your investing goals. So we’ll talk with Mark Biller about some things that ARE worth knowing, today on Faith and Finance.
Mark Biller is executive editor at Sound Mind Investing.
- On this episode, we dig into a recent article in the SMI newsletter called “Things Worth Knowing.”
- We’ll start with a question: What is the #1 financial mistake many Christians make?
- In our opinion, the answer is: They ignore biblical wisdom when managing their money and follow secular advice instead. And a lot of that secular advice— the things you hear on financial shows, for example, is relatively useless information. And sometimes it’s even worse than useless because it can cause you to make mistakes with your investing.
- SMI has long taught that when you use God’s protective biblical principles as a guide, you’ll manage your money more wisely and glorify God at the same time.
- SMI’s founder, Austin Pryor, came by this knowledge the hard way. He tells about how from the early 1970s through the mid-80s, he relied primarily on his own skills and intellect for making financial and investing decisions. He had a lot of success but also a lot of failures relying on himself and his own wisdom.
- By the late 80s, Austin faced up to his limitations and turned to the teachings of his longtime friend Larry Burkett, who many of your listeners were very familiar with, as he’d become a leading voice on the importance of Christians applying Biblical wisdom to managing their finances.
- Long story short, getting in sync with God’s ways instead of his own laid a foundation for Austin’s future financial success, and that experience more than 30 years ago still influences the content that SMI publishes to this day.
- SMI views its teaching as a discipleship tool with a specialized focus that comes out of Ephesians 4: to “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…and become mature” (Ephesians 4:12-13).
- Within the personal finance arena, that means learning to set financial priorities that honor God and point toward the attainment of God-given goals. And given THAT, the things really worth knowing are, first and foremost, rooted in God’s Word.
- KEY SCRIPTURES
- Here are some key verses that help SMI decide what information is important and worth knowing:
- 2 Timothy 3:16, tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” So the starting point is looking primarily to God’s wisdom, found in His word, rather than the world’s conventional wisdom, for principles to guide our financial decision-making.
- 1 Corinthians 4:2 tells us “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful”. It’s worth knowing that we each have to take personal responsibility for making knowledgeable, biblically consistent financial decisions. If we don’t know how to do that, we need to get help - whether that’s from a service like SMI or finding an advisor who can assist us. But even then, we’re still ultimately responsible for our financial decisions.
- The next group in the article touches on core tenets of biblical financial stewardship.
- CORE TENETS OF BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP
- “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). It’s worth knowing that debt can be enslaving and that we should avoid it as much as possible.
- “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has” (Proverbs 21:20). It’s worth knowing that maintaining a proper balance between current spending and long-term saving is a sign of wisdom.
- “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5). It’s worth knowing we should consistently invest from a carefully considered strategy rather than making decisions impulsively on a case-by-case basis.
- “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth” (Ecclesiastes 11:2). It’s worth knowing that we should rely on diversification — rather than a preoccupation with market cycles — as a means of controlling risk and protecting our capital.
- “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint” (Proverbs 23:4). It’s worth knowing that we must be on guard against greed and spending all our energies in a futile attempt to constantly get more, whether that’s always striving for more in our careers and work, or being overly focused on the highest possible returns.
- What can someone expect to experience when they follow these principles?
- As you “renew your mind” with these guiding precepts, you can apply them to help you make the day-to-day financial decisions that everyone faces. If you follow them consistently, you can have confidence that, whatever the short-term sacrifices may be, you’re making wise spending, saving, and investing choices. That frees you to leave the results with God, knowing that as First Timothy 6 says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain”.
On this program, Rob also answers listener questions:
- When should you keep money in a CD?
- What's the right budget percentage for spending on groceries and household item
Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000. Also, visit our website at FaithFi.com where you can join the FaithFi Community, and give as we expand our outreach.