Aug 28, 2012

Five Reasons to Hire the World’s Worst Financial Planner

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: Wall Street and Washington have some major issues.  Crime, corruption, gridlock, compromise, fraud, financial manipulation and tremendous debt.  We could make a list a mile long of choice adjectives to describe the brokenness of our global financial situation and we’d still be lacking.  

Because we must steward our resources in the midst of this financial mess, it is nearly impossible to remove ourselves completely from the world’s broken financial system.

There is hope, and for that wisdom we can look right to the Word of God.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

                                                            - Romans 12:2

This passage gives clear instruction on how to live and manage life and finances in the world. You don’t need a financial planner conformed to this world -- quite the contrary. Instead, we should strive to find wise counselors who desire this transformation and who seek God’s will. Instead of worldly counsel, we need to seek Godly Wisdom.

Here are five reasons to hire the world’s worst financial planner.

Wealth is Deceitful
We listen in Matthew as Jesus explains The Parable of the Sower.  He describes one of the seeds which was planted among the thorns.  While the seed is successful in sprouting, “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”

Wealth is deceitful -- plain and simple.  We read as King Solomon, in all his riches, describes his wealth as fleeting.  A financial plan, without Christ at the center, will offer no security, and no amount of money will provide the long term security we all need.  Wealth is only a tool.  It is just one of the many ways that God has richly blessed us.  A financial planner who shares your values can help you to use money effectively while keeping God in the driver’s seat.

The World’s Best Isn’t Good Enough
The financial industry has set up rules and regulations to protect consumers from mismanagement in the financial system. Even with these protections, this worldly system has left us disappointed. Designations and qualifications spring up and the fiduciary standard is touted as the highest calling for a financial planner. As a fiduciary, your financial planner is expected to do what is in your best interest. But as a financial planner and a fiduciary myself, I am going to suggest that even the world’s highest standard is too short sighted. Based on the passage above from Romans, we know that there is a higher calling.

What if you had someone who could walk alongside you in your stewardship and was unwilling to be conformed to this world? Imagine someone took the fiduciary standard a step further. They agreed to look out for your best interest, not only today, or through retirement, but in light of Eternity? Your financial planner should be held to a higher standard as they desire to be transformed and to see clients transformed to the will of God.

Instead of Charging You More, Your Financial Planner Should Help You In Giving More.
As a family spends assets down or gives assets away, your financial professional manages less. The financial system in America today incentivizes financial professionals to keep more of your assets around. This can be a conflict of interest, especially when a family believes what the Bible says about giving. Seek a financial planner who knows what God says about generosity. Search for someone who will go against the grain to back you up as you obey God and use what you have to be generous on every occasion. (There are some excellent passages on generosity throughout the Bible. My favorites are in 2 Corinthians and in 1 Timothy.)

A Different Idea of Success
The world’s financial planner measures success by the size of their practice and the assets under management. More clients and larger clients lead to more fees and more commissions. This ultimately leads to larger spending and more lifestyle.

A financial planner with his or her sights set on God will not measure success in the same way. Instead of more billing and higher fees, they will strive for a higher level of contentment. Instead of more personal wealth and more assets under management, they will work to be generous and to lead clients to contentment and generosity.

Empowering Clients to Live Life to the Fullest!
I recently heard it said that many Americans are now dying at age 60 but are not being buried for 20 or 30 years past that. The quote was meant to discourage folks from a self-serving, un-purposeful life in retirement.

The concept of retirement is not necessarily good or bad, but it is certainly not a practice defined in the Bible. Last year I had the privilege of seeing a financial planner in his late 80’s at a Kingdom Advisors Conference. He received the Larry Burkett Award for integrating Biblical wisdom into his advice and counsel. The emcee presenting the award jokingly said, “You are getting pretty old. When do you think you’ll retire?” The planner responded, “I have never been more equipped to do my job and to point families and their finances toward Christ than I am right now.” I thought his response was beautiful.

The fact is that you have never been more equipped to make a difference for Christ. Your financial planner should seek out your capacity. They should help you to find what you were made for. Instead of a message on retirement or a sales pitch on long term care, you should leave your planner’s office with sound financial advice, but even more importantly, a feeling that you can do all things, through Christ, who gives you strength!

Surrounding Yourself With Biblical Counselors. 
Years ago I stumbled upon an organization, mentioned above, called Kingdom Advisors. I signed up to attend the organization’s annual conference and I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. I expected to meet financial salespeople using Jesus fish on their business cards to sell bad annuities to helpless widows. I can’t tell you how pleasantly surprised I was with the education at the conference. I was even more excited to meet the financial planners in attendance who wanted to serve God by serving clients better. Instead of conforming to the world, or abandoning the financial system altogether, they desired to use their unique seat to honor God.

In other forums of financial planners, I have heard endless concerns about our economy and much cynicism regarding our nation’s future. It is refreshing to work alongside this group of men and women convinced that our nation could change if we would just turn to God. The voluntary membership organization is now more than 1000 members strong. These folks are Christians and Financial Planners. This doesn’t guarantee that they will not make mistakes, but it adds a bit of comfort that they will share your values, relying on Biblical financial principles instead of the wisdom the world has to offer. You can search for a Christian financial planner who shares your values at
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