Letting Biblical Values Guide Your Financial Future
As a committed Christian living in today’s world, it can be a daily challenge to navigate the social, career and financial aspects of your life. Particularly when it comes to finances, the world teaches that money offers success and contentment, but the Bible paints a different picture.
We know from experience that money doesn’t buy happiness. We live in the wealthiest country in the world, yet many Americans suffer from financial fear and discontentment. Still, we are bombarded every day with messages that tempt us to buy more things, purchase more experiences, and pile up more debt.
Fortunately, the Bible has a lot to say about money and what it means to be a good steward of the resources that God has provided to us. As a Certified Kingdom Advisor, I can help you understand biblical stewardship and integrate Christian values into your financial planning.
Today I want to share with you some of the concerns that high net worth Christians face in handling their finances and preparing for the future.
I developed the following list of top concerns by working with many Christian individuals and families. My goal is to help you focus on your future and make well-informed decisions while adhering to Christian principles.
As your net worth increases, the level of complexity and the number of challenges you face increase too. The following questions—and their answers—highlight solutions for managing your wealth management plan.
Is it wrong to be rich?
In my experience, there seems to be two misguided viewpoints between wealth and righteousness.
Some view wealth as the evil enemy of righteousness, falsely equating wealth with materialism. Others, however, view wealth as the essential evidence of righteousness. Therefore, I believe it is imperative to have an accurate understanding of how God views money and the wealthy.
Wealth is from God (Matthew 7:11, Deuteronomy 8:10)
Wealth is to be managed for God’s purposes (Matthew 25: 14-30)
Wealth, when idolized, will lead to our destruction (Colossians 3:5 and Philippians 3:18-19)
It is not wrong to be rich. God made that happen. However, throughout Scripture there are plenty of warnings for the affluent. Steve Perry, in Living with Wealth without Losing your Soul, accurately summarizes the harm of idolizing wealth:
“Those who make the acquisition of wealth the chief goal of their lives do wander from the faith and they do pierce themselves with many griefs and they do plunge to their own ruin and destruction. Idolatry always kills, and Paul clearly calls greed “idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).
When we set our hearts on accumulating money, our minds very naturally focus on “earthly things,” our “god” becomes our “stomach” and our “glory” becomes our “shame,” which makes us into enemies of Christ (see Philippians 3:18-19).”
Estate planning has become a bigger responsibility. Is my estate plan in order?
Traditional estate planning focuses on reducing estate taxes and transferring the maximum amount to heirs.
While those may be worthy goals, As Christians we understand that God truly does own it all and that many of the taxes associated with a large net worth are optional. We can help you evaluate your choices to “honor the Lord from all your wealth”
Are my investments coordinated with my overall financial plan?
Are they properly allocated and structured for my risk tolerance and my values?
In the same way you need to revisit your life goals, you also need to revisit your investment goals. Your growing wealth has likely resulted in a proliferation of investment accounts, which could lead to duplication of investments. Furthermore, your asset allocations might not match shifts in your financial goals or be in alignment with Biblical values.
How can I maximize my giving?
How much should I give to charity, and what is the best way to do so?
As a Certified Financial Planner, I can work with you on several ways to maximize your charitable giving, starting with tax planning: The money you save in taxes increases the amount you can give to your church and favored charitable causes. The questions of how much to give, where to give, and the best way to give are complex, and the answers always depend on your individual financial situation.
How much is enough?
This is rarely a question that people ponder.
The dominant message that we hear is to continue to accumulate. Consider deciding ahead of time where you want or need to end up in various financial areas, and then work out a plan to head in that direction.
Decide on your long-term goals first.
Then, determine the margin you will need to save for those goals.
Finally, set a spending plan that will give you the margin you desire so that you can meet your long-term goals.
How much should I leave to my children?
Leaving a legacy involves more than money. Your legacy to your children includes teaching them to be good stewards of money and possessions based on biblical principles.
Proverbs 13:22 reads, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” In the end, while it is important to focus on leaving a financial legacy, it’s equally important to focus on leaving a spiritual legacy. Most people simply leave their estate to their children in equal shares without considering the heart and capabilities of the next generation.
How We Help
The issues discussed here make it clear that Christian individuals and families need an overall financial plan that ensures each aspect of their financial life is addressed in harmony with biblical values. At Chessman Wealth Strategies, a Certified Financial Planner will work with you to craft an effective financial plan designed to maximize your resources while adhering to Christian guidelines. Based on our experience helping Christians manage their wealth, we take the following steps:
Gather information on your assets and liabilities and provide a clear picture of your financial situation.
Help you establish a set of life goals based on your needs and objectives and on your Christian values.
Organize a comprehensive financial plan that includes tax planning, insurance coverage, retirement planning, estate planning, and philanthropic planning.
Implement your financial plan by setting up new accounts and addressing spiritual issues such as your charitable giving plan.
Form a long-term partnership with you, continuing to monitor your progress toward your goals and adjusting the plan as needed in response to changes in financial markets, the economy and your life situation.