What to Expect from a Christian Financial Advisor
The person you select to be the steward of your finances should be:
- Easy to work with, and
The first three characteristics are relatively easy to qualify, but how do you vet a financial advisor for trustworthiness?
This question has led more and more people to seek out the services of Christian financial advisors. Christian financial advisors are very open about the principles they follow, which provides transparency about their motivations and helps build trust.
But the term “Christian financial advisor” is loaded; without background, people have their own interpretations of what it means to be a Christian Financial Advisor. In this guide, we break down the differences between Christian and non-Christian financial advisors, delve into the distinction between Christian financial advisors and advisors who identify as Christian, and discuss why an advisor who openly follows Christian teachings may be right for you, no matter what your religious beliefs.
What is a Christian Financial Advisor?
A Christian Financial Advisor is a financial planner that uses Biblical-based investing and the principles of Christian-based theology to manage their clients’ portfolios. Typically, they do not invest in funds that back morally questionable endeavors, like gambling, alcohol or pornography.
What is a Christian-aligned financial advisor?
There is a subset of advisors who consider themselves financial advisors who are Christian, but do not call themselves “Christian Financial Advisors.” F5 Financial falls into this category. Though our firm is guided by the principles of Christ, we do not impose our belief set on the clients we serve. While we encourage our clients to factor their faith into all decisions they make, we do not “force” anything. We believe that a better approach is to live our lives by Christian principles, ensure that as a company we are aligned with Biblical guidance, and trust that the families we serve will engage us more deeply in faith conversations when they see us leading by example. We are able and willing to put more explicit plans in place if a family so desires. For example, the Bible never specifies that Facebook is perverse or harmful, but some clients prefer not to financially benefit from the social media giant, so we eliminate Facebook from their pool of investments. We respect the views of the families we serve and work with them to honor their choices so long as we are not asked to compromise our personal principles.
What are the principles Christian financial advisors use to guide their investment strategies?
There is no cut-and-dry set of principles that all Christian financial advisors use when managing their client's portfolios. However, there are several rules set forth by verses in the Bible that play a prominent role:
- Spend less than you earn
Proverbs 13:11: “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it”
- Establish an emergency fund
Proverbs 21:20: “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it”
Ecclesiastes 11:2: “Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth”
- Market timing is not beneficial
Ecclesiastes 11:4: “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”
- Be generous
Proverbs 11:25: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
What are the differences between a Christian financial advisor and a secular financial advisor?
Again, there are no hard-and-fast differences between the investment methodologies of a Christian financial advisor and a secular financial advisor, but the below table outlines how each may approach investing in certain companies:
|Industry||Secular Financial Advisors||Christian Financial Advisors|
|Gambling||May consider investing in||Largely opposed to investing in|
|Pornography||May consider investing in||Largely opposed to investing in|
|Alcohol||May consider investing in||Largely opposed to investing in|
|Firearms||May consider investing in||Largely opposed to investing in|
|Cannabis||May consider investing in||Largely opposed to investing in|
|High-Interest Lending||May consider investing in||Some opposed to investing in|
|LGBTQ-focused||May consider investing in||Some opposed to investing in|
Do Christian financial advisors only work with Christians?
Though the word “Christian” may make you think that Christian-aligned financial planners refuse to work with atheists or people from other religions, this isn’t the case at all. The affiliation is more about the principles we bring to our business interactions and ostracizing the non-religious or people from other religions is not a principle Christian-aligned planners stand by.
Will a Christian financial advisor prevent me from investing in certain companies, even if I want to?
How a Christian financial advisor approaches the quandary of helping their clients invest in companies they themselves are opposed to is dependent on the advisor’s personal beliefs. Before you hire an advisor, you should have an honest conversation with them about the types of investment opportunities you’d like to pursue, to make sure there’s no conflict of values.
The benefits of working with a Christian or Christian-aligned financial advisor
One of the most attractive reasons to work with a Christian-aligned advisor is that they prioritize their clients’ values when it concerns investment strategy. Because our beliefs lead the way in how we conduct our lives, we understand their importance and are comfortable discussing how you want your values to impact your financial planning. A “win at all costs” mentality is eschewed; when we discuss your investments and what’s important to you, we make sure your portfolio is aligned with what you hold significant.
How to find a Christian Financial Advisor
If you want a financial planner who is a certified Christian Financial Advisor, Kingdom Advisors has a searchable database of CFAs located across the country that you can use to find one near you.
If you aren’t concerned with finding a certified Christian Financial Advisor but would like an advisor who abides by Christian-backed beliefs, you can start by looking at the websites of financial advisors that are local to you. Advisors’ websites will reveal much about their personality and character, if you look for the right elements. Do they regularly update their blog? If so, this demonstrates a commitment to sharing insights and updates with the community. In their blog, how do they talk about money and investing? Is it all dollars and cents, or do they tackle topics that impact the average family? Do they address topics like tithing, charitable giving, or how to make your purpose in life feel complete through financial planning?
One of F5 Financial’s recent articles addresses the abundance vs. scarcity mindset. A scarcity mindset is one that views resources as exclusively finite while an abundance mindset believes there are enough resources to support everyone’s success. A scarcity mindset leads to a hyper fixation on conserving your resources and preventing them from realizing their true potential while an abundance mindset can discover the hidden value of your resources and leverage them in a way that serves others, as well as yourself. This is one example of an article you would look for on an advisor's website to see if they follow Christian principles.
Their website should also provide a bounty of information on their services and process. This type of information-sharing demonstrates respect for people’s time and need for answers, and also shows transparency. Some financial advisors are opaque about their process and fees, but an advisor who puts this information out there to the world has more reason to be trusted.
How F5 Financial helps clients achieve principle-driven investing
At F5 Financial, we help clients achieve principle-driven investing in a couple of different ways - one method of investment management involves backing funds that are free of stock with companies that could be considered morally questionable, like alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. Another method is investing in separately managed accounts, which allows us to invest in shares of specific companies as opposed to a mutual fund that lumps shares from multiple business types into one account. This lets us “filter out” the shares from companies in which clients do not want to invest.
Hiring a Christian-aligned financial advisor has many advantages. They will help you invest in a manner that is backed by a set of morals (either yours, the Bible’s, or a combination of both), and they hold themselves to a high standard of trustworthiness and integrity that every financial advisor should possess. If investing your money means more to you than just growing your income, then I encourage you to explore hiring a Christian Financial Advisor or Christian-aligned advisor. You may sleep better at night knowing your money is making the best possible impact on the world.
If you are interested in learning more about principle-driven investing or working with a Christian-aligned financial advisor, please contact us.