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Trading the Talents: Part 1-Biblical Principles on Investing

Alistair Huong
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As high-earners, many medical professionals have discretionary income to save and invest, but seek Biblical principles to guide those decisions. What are safe investments options? How to prepare for retirement and college savings? Ways to balance risk and returns? This seminar series will provide guidelines for making sound investment choices especially adapted for Adventist medical professionals.


1. Possess a framework for prioritizing personal financial obligations.
2. Recognize the importance of eliminating debt and saving for the future.

3. Understand key Biblical principles that guide a Christian in investing.
4. Develop a score card for the evaluation of investment options.
5. Avoid unfavorable and unsafe investment products and practices. 


Alistair Huong

Executive Director of AudioVerse



  • October 27, 2017
    2:00 PM
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Father in heaven thank you for this afternoon that we can spend in discussion and to think about a practical aspect of our stewardship responsibilities when you give us biblical principles to apply in your spirit guide us to be able to increase our talents for your kingdom and for your glory YOUR PRETTY these things in Jesus name Amen. So as Albert mentioned earlier we have a my wife and I have a personal finance blog saving the Chromes dot com We don't just talk about investing investing is just one aspect but the whole gamut of biblical principles so I encourage you to check it out if you want to. Get more details but if reading is not so much what you're interested in and you prefer to listen on audio verse in two thousand and fifteen G Y C I actually did a six hour long seminar on this topic of personal finance and it covers the broader aspects of. The various aspects of how to manage our money and I think it's important to mention that although the emphasis here in a minute this hour in the next hour will be specifically on investing investing is not the silver bullet to solve all the other problems in our financial life. There are times when investing actually should be put on the back burner to deal with other more pressing responsibilities and so I encourage you to get the full context if you have the time. Twenty fifteen the seminar is called Beyond the tide. And so. We're just dealing with investing specifically and I was told by the programming committee when they invited me to speak that this is a unique crowd because. Generally physicians dentists medical professionals have a few pennies to rub together those are the exact words and so we're approaching this from that standpoint that we're dealing with individuals who are you know already not particularly. Leigh laden with debt although I understand medical professionals usually comes anonymously with a lot of debt but the assumption is that there is higher earning potential in the audience and what we're dealing with and so what I say here may not necessarily apply to just anybody you want to make that clear. So investing the foundation less we need to have a scriptural basis for why we do what we do and so on a look through a number of passages in the we're going to synthesize it together as we get started Matthew twenty five twenty seven that tells us you ought to have invested my money with the bankers now my coming I should have received my own with interest were familiar with the parable of the Talents three servants each were given their allotment of talents the first to double their money the third one buried the talent and this is what the master said to the third servant when he came home expecting an increase we know the story of the talents and you know one of the interesting things about this parable is I feel like we apply it to everything under the sun frequently except money we say our time our influence our strength my musical ability and whatever it is but then money the actual literal object that Jesus used in his parable we say now. It's not so important well what does this your props have to say about this council and stewardship page one thirteen one the followers of Christ are not to despise Well they are to look upon wealth as the Lord's intrusted talent so money is a talent goes without saying but sometimes it does bear repeating why a wise you've used his gifts they may be eternally benefited that we are but we are to bear in mind the fact that God has not given us riches to use just as we shall fancy to indulge in polls to bestow or withhold as we please so that's a balancing statement yes it's a talent to be increased but we've got to remember it's not our talent even if we increase it it still doesn't belong to us the purpose for increasing. It is for the Lord's purposes to return to the master that's the foundational principle here but he does expect increase interest on his talents Christ opposite lessons three fifty two paragraph one hoarded well is not merely useless it is a curse in this life it is a snare to the soul drawing the affections away from the family treasures so we're going to look at some passages that have a little bit of tension here is on one hand Christ expects to receive interest on the talents he's given to our management but yet we're told we are not to hoard the wealth so we are to grow it but not to hoard it so. What are we growing it for OK. And you know the parable the story of the rich fool he has barns were filled he said let's build bigger and bigger barges fill those and take it early retirement take my easy to be merry but the Lord said You fool tonight your soul be required of the. Whole world right and lose the souls we have to keep in perspective so why are we to grow the talents whether what's God expecting of us to do with it counsels us to achieve page two fifty paragraph two had you and your wife understood it to be a duty OK we have a duty here that God enjoined upon you to done your taste and your desires and make provision for the future instead of living merely for the present you could have had a competency and your family have had the comforts of life so here the Spirit of Prophecy gives the counsel you ought to have made provision it is a duty to make provision for the future meaning saving up for future needs that's another way of putting it and it's interesting to use the term our family could have the comforts of life and I just want to make this point is that it's OK based on Spirit of Prophecy to have comforts of life you know we sometimes have this perspective when we think about stewardship that God is looking up there like no you need to give it all away until we live in a cardboard box. You know I have one you know outfit to wear and our shoes are wearing out until we have given that much of them we're not truly being faithful Actually there is a balance here we ought to take care of the health and the needs of our family and we actually should save up for it it's a duty we're told. Final statement here testimonies for the church going five page one fifty six as brother in a wake for your life of selfishness and act like consistent Christians the Lord requires you to economize your means we use the term saving the crumbs on our blog economizing means let every dollar not need it for your comfort flow into the treasury So yes it's OK to take care of our family and provide some of the comforts of life but whatever you don't need God expects it to go back into his work so let's summarize what we've discussed this is. Really the foundation of everything we're talking about here today as servants we are responsible to increase our talents which includes money all of our talents money is one of them but the objective is to make provision for the future for future needs So what does that mean it means to have enough to save up so we have enough not to get filthy rich Those are two very different goals and once we do have enough all the surplus should flow back into God's Treasury so that's the line of thinking based on Scripture and the spirit prophecy principles that we're looking at why should we invest Well here's why what are we investing for here's what we're investing for and how much are we investing for that's the other point and what do we do with any surplus so that's the foundation so I want to get into some principles now of how do we determine what is the acceptable and acceptable form of investing I'm just going to mention this here and that is because we live in a sinful world there is no such thing as a perfect investment just as something that is all upside and no downside the. The closest thing to that is getting out of debt or investing in the Lord's work laying up our treasures in the bank of heaven and there are statements that it will accrue abundant interest up there and God will give it back to us once we arrive so yes besides those things as far as investing here on this earth there's nothing there's no perfect investment so the best we can do is figure out what's the best alternative What can we how can we determine what is how to evaluate it so I'm going to go through ten principles and if there is time I'll get through all ten but the tenth one I may not get to but. Let's get started with number one and. Never invest in something you don't understand I can't underscore this enough the Bible tells us and problems twenty four three and four through wisdom is how to build it and by understanding it is established and by knowledge of the chambers be filled with all precious a pleasant riches so it's important for us in the process of increasing the talents that God has given to us to do so with wisdom with understanding with knowledge the simple application is never invest in something you don't understand you've got to know what you're dealing with so how do you or what do we need to understand for questions number one how does it make money. That's. Surprisingly. That's a question that surprisingly few people ask when they are confronted with a very rare or some extraordinary opportunity that seems to be a path to instant riches story with you a little bit about this other question that even fewer people ask is how can it lose money the reality is there is always risk in investing but it's not always well advertised so we have to ask that question how can it lose money what's my risk OK what are the costs we're going to talk more about than a little bit and what are the rules and regulations so clearly you don't want to do anything illegal but it's also ahead. To know what are some safeguards investor safeguards and other rules of engagement in certain types of investing So the simple rule of thumb I have several rules of thumb about this is if it's too good to be true it probably is when it comes to investing not long ago I had some friends in Asia contact me and they said hey we are happy we're involved in this amazing investment it's a gold investment and it's promising a guaranteed sixty percent annual rate of return. And not only that they said you can get a referral bonus so the more people you recruit to join they'll tack on additional bonuses on top every month and guess what it's perfectly say my friends have been getting their regular checks every month and they've actually earned their principal back already if it they're getting sixty percent it doesn't take long to get the principle back in their stance so they felt they asked me what did what do you think so I asked him the question so how does it make how does it make money. That was exactly what I was thinking but I actually I wanted to lead them through the process of thinking through it and they said it's a gold investment well as it turns out it was no gold investment at all it was actually what what they called it was Spot gold trading which is a type of Forex a foreign exchange where gold happens to be one of the pairs of currencies that they traded against but in reality just like Dr Bivins here astute Li recognized it's really not a forex investment at all because guess what if a firm can guarantee you sixty percent rate of return every year that is three times the rate of what Warren Buffett earned over the past fifty years or so and you know the world has beaten the path to Warren Buffett's door to learn how to invest and he got only nineteen percent per year and here's the firm that can promise sixty percent and you can get a bonus so in the end it was exactly that it was a pyramid scheme and so people would buy in at the bottom of the pier. That's why they had referral bonuses and that inflow of the money would be what pays out to the guys at the top and I told my friends I said look you guys don't really understand what you're investing in that's what we're talking about is too good to be true. And they said oh OK I guess we better pull our money out but guess what it's too late the website went down I wrote a blog post about it I don't know if it's I don't think I have that level of power but the day of my post went up their website went down and my friends called and they said oh you might be able to get seventy percent of your money back but they kept putting it off but you're going have to wait six months so I told my friends well sorry but see you later to that money so if it's too good to be true it probably is and by the way speaking of Ponzi schemes Bernie made off the biggest Ponzi scheme ever sixty five billion dollars of what not he only guaranteed twelve percent or so. So just because it's sounds reasonable even it doesn't necessarily mean we understand what's going on the other point here is do you understand is simplicity trumps complexity. And Warren Buffett actually nine years ago issued a bet you may have heard of it's called the million dollar bet Warren Buffett bet hedge fund managers that a simple S. and P. five hundred index fund which is very basic available in most four one K. programs will beat any hedge fund in returns over ten years only one hedge fund manager took him up on the bet and it's nine years in and Warren Buffett has smoked the hedge fund I mean like burn them like it's like twenty percent to like two percent or something like that you can look at up the Warren Buffett million dollar wager and the point that Warren Buffett is trying to illustrate my point simplicity beats complexity hedge funds are so complex and we think oh they must have some secret sauce but in the world of investing simplicity is better. Think complex city and it comes with a cost as well which is part of complexity so the simple point if you don't understand walk away so this is the first point and it's the most important because if you don't understand what the investment is how it works how it can lose money don't bother with the rest of the principle just walk away save yourself the time. But let's go to Principle Number two is related to this we talked about costs a moment ago we need to be mindful of costs and taxes why is that well first of all the rule of thumb in all of investing is that the rule lower the cost of investments. The better the returns generally speaking if especially be comparing apples with apples so if you have a mutual fund with high expenses and a mutual fund with lower expenses the one with lower expenses generally speaking nine times out of ten is going to do better. Why is that is because costs compound we learn about compound interest will cost compound as well and it will eat into your compound interest returns and also there are a lot of hidden transaction costs you need to be aware of brokerage fees commissions transaction charges so on and so forth and then of course there are taxes I don't have time to talk a lot about this and it's bores me to death but tax sheltered accounts Here's just a quick guide you can snap a picture of some of the most common types of tax sheltered accounts everyone's heard of for one K. IRA Roth IRAs the college savings funds and also the H.S.A. I will just make this one point and that is if you have a match for your four hundred one K. You know I said earlier there's no such thing as a risk free investment now this is it because if they match you dollar for dollar up to five percent the five percent you put in you instantly double your money that's a one hundred percent rate of return with no risk so take the match and move on with life OK for number three we need to beat inflation and I get this principle for. The parable of the talents because when we talk about the wicked servant the wicked servant was not punished because he lost the talent in fact he preserve the talent marvelously he buried it and he knew exactly where it was and he could reproduce the one talent that the master gave him the problem was he did not grow it and that's why he was reprimanded and when we think about inflation we all know how inflation works you know you just think back to the cost of a gallon of gas you know a couple decades ago a loaf of bread inflation erodes purchasing power and so if we are not beating inflation in a sense we are doing worse than bearing our talent in a sense. And so in order for us to grow the talents it's not just growing it numerically there's got to be in excess of inflation and here in the United States averaged over the past century inflation has average about three percent annually but it's a take us one step further so what kind of returns do we need to look for because we hear these marvelous tantalizing investment opportunities you can double your money a thousand percent returns you know all these things Facebook and Google might be throwing ads in your face do we have some sort of guidance Well the faithful talent of faithful search has doubled their talents and if you think about it you know I don't actually mind of the one with the two talents bringing back only two talents because he still increase it by the same percentage one hundred percent return I thought they both did equally well so one hundred percent total return but how long did it take them to double their money we're not told exactly all we're told is that after a long time the master comes back to settle their accounts so what what was their annual rate of return OK if we factor a three percent annual inflation rate so what I did I took three dates ten. Years fifteen years twenty years and just ran the numbers and accounting for inflation how how what rate of return do I need to double my money in ten years it's approximately ten percent if it's fifteen years eight percent it is twenty years six and a half percent and you can see the trend a bit longer than that twenty five thirty forty years the percentage continues to go down so I'm not saying that's a Sara Lee that the Bible is prescribe being this as what we have to achieve but it does give me the context to realize I don't need thousand two thousand whatever rate percent rates of return to actually accomplish the goal of meeting our needs because the point remember our foundational quote earlier is we're not investing to become the next Warren Buffet or Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates we're simply investing our means in such a manner to take care of our future needs to take care of the family provide the comforts of life and never surplus to give back to God not to be the richest man in or woman or corpse in the graveyard that's not the goal. So the rate of return yes we have somewhat of a guideline here to give us a frame of reference but the fact is it's better to get a lower rate of return and meet our needs rather than the shooting for the sky high rate of return taking excess of risk and losing our shirts OK so conservative expectations point to four diversify. The Bible tells us Ecclesiastes these eleven verse to give a portion to seven or even to eight for you know not what disaster may come upon the earth. There's another way of putting it in modern parlance don't put all your eggs in one basket so diversification the principle is you don't want to put all of your investments in one place because all of your risk is concentrated in one place so if all of your entire retirement savings is in one stock let's just use. A modern day example let's say. You know you grew up and you saw the catalogs and your parents were big Sears customers and you have the whirlpool you know washing machines or whatever and you put your entire retirement savings in Sears and you're about to retire well sorry Sears is going down the toilet if you haven't been keeping track of the news so that's the principle Don't put all your eggs in one basket you want to diversify yes or. Yes. OK So the question is just for the recording the question is diversify across what you know which would you prefer investing in one thing that you know a lot about or device of diversifying across multiple things that you know nothing about neither one is a good option so the best option is educate yourself on more options and diversify among many things that you understand yeah that's and you don't have to diversify across a million things but two is better than one three is better than two and the Bible if we want to use that as a guideline seven or eight right is what the Bible verse says so that's my recommendation read a few books follow a few blogs you can pick up things pretty quickly so related to diversification is risk so for number five you have to know your risk tolerance to illustrate this take a look at this picture. So just in the first two rows illustrate my point the reaction in the first row here I heard a reaction. In the second row it was oh no. And that illustrates that we all have a different tolerance for risk OK we have an internal risk meter Now imagine if this was your portfolio. If overnight maybe it was in two thousand and eight for example your retirement portfolio got cut in half how would you feel OK those are the types of. Things that. Show us that we have a risk meter so how do we tune the risk meter internally for things Number one we have to determine our investment time horizon and this is one of the most important things and investment time horizon in general means the closer you are to the time you need your money the less risk you can take on but the farther away you are the more risk you can take on so for someone who is nearly to retirement they shouldn't be taking on as much risk of someone who is just starting out in their careers so the younger you are the more risk you can take on the older you are the less risk you take on but even though that might be the case in general if this young person is investing for let's say a five or ten year time frame to pay for kids' college or buy a house or whatever their investment timeframe is still short so you don't want to go all crazy with the risk even if you only have five to ten years Number two is back to point or one you can see is the theme here knowledge how much do you know about this so if someone who is a gifted carpenter or is a contractor and he knows how to build houses and fix houses they can that person can take a great deal more risk in the real estate market than someone like me who doesn't know diddly squat I know a little bit so. But the fact is the more you know the more that mitigates the risk in the investment because you have the education to make careful decisions number three has to do with how reliant are you on this one investment for your support so do you have other assets that you can rely on other sources of income of course Social Security and retirement is a big thing so for those of you who are. More advanced in your career and then your life it's more sure that you're going to have Social Security than maybe some of the young people here in the front row right so that's going to factor in to the question of how much risk can I take on this particular. Bucket of investments because I'm going to be more dependent on a number four is just a personal risk appetite or versions personality OK And so I will mention this in that you know in a husband or wife in a family situation frequently there are different personalities that are brought together by the Lord and that's a good thing but what that means is when we're talking about investment and risk and so forth there needs to be communication between husband and wife so that the risk is agreed upon prior to making the leap. And I think it's not a relationship seminars I'll just leave it at that but there are some messages audio verse to help you deal with that anyway risk in return so here's a rule of thumb all investments have risk and the relationship of risk is that the higher returns the higher the risk OK so my friends and their sixty percent rate of return the moment they said oh it's safe I'm like no you guys don't really know what you're talking about the fact that someone is promising sixty percent the risk is significantly higher than if you were to get a CD at your bank for one percent right so this is something to always keep in mind if they promise you higher returns they're always higher risk. So diversifying our risk he's going to make this point real real short and that is that when we think about savings accounts we think of it as a low risk investment Well that's true in the short term but if you think of it in the long term it's actually a very high risk in the sense that it will almost for sure lag the rate of inflation however when we're looking at things a real estate and land the stock market in the short term it can be fairly high risk especially if there is debt involved but over the long term the track record of these assets tend to outpace inflation and so really there's not the same level of risk at all times during a time horizon and so what do we do we talk about diversification a little bit this is one. Way to diversify is that if you have money that you need in the short term money in the and I define short term and you can define it differently if you choose but something. Within five years I want to preserve that capital I don't want my value being cut and so I put in things like savings accounts C.D.'s fawns things of that nature and it's low risk and generally is backed by something or it might be f.d.i.c insured over the long term I need to put my money in something that's going to be the rate of inflation I can take a little bit more risk in money I don't need soche so soon so the rule of thumb is save for the short term and invest for the long term OK So that's one way to mitigate risk through diversification just one example point over six Principle Number six Don't try to get rich quick Don't be greedy and don't speculate. We have a huge We human beings have a fascination with wanting to get rich quick and I think it is tied into our carnal nature and that the Tenth Commandment tells a don't covet Proverbs thirteen eleven says Well again hastily will dwindle but whoever gathers little by little will increase it a faithful man will abound with blessings but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished Proverbs twenty eight verse twenty. So go with me back to the sixteen hundreds in Holland. There was a craze in investment fad a craze over of all things tulips of course Holland is still known for tulips about back then it became a veritable bubble so these investors they were better called speculators would buy a book tulip bulbs expecting to sell them for two three four five one hundred thousand times more the next day or the next month in fact at the height of what they called Tulip Mania tulip bulbs in. Creased by as much as eleven hundred percent value in one month and it got so expensive that some of the rarer bulbs one balled with sell for ten times the annual salary of a middle middle class man so if we just say fifty thousand dollars as U.S. median income household income today one tulip would be selling for the equivalent of half a million dollars One bolt and there was this idea that this bubble which is going to keep increasing but of course bubbles always burst it got to the point where they were creating derivative financial instruments to sell tulips there would be options contracts where there is an option for you to buy an acre or worth of to a ball before they were even dug you take it to the market and they would bid on that contract so it says the contrary you can buy a four thousand dollars say and they would bid it up ten thousand one hundred thousand dollars or whatnot but when the bubble burst as they always do the entire Dutch economy came to a grinding halt and you know we think about throwing we think tulips. That's so silly we would never do that again would we. Just about nine ten years ago. That was exactly what happened with it then happened to be something so silly as tulips but just happened to be real estate's and mortgage backed securities and derivatives financial derivative instruments and it was the same story what's the bottom line here the point is it was driven by this carnal desire to get rich quick and speculation always leads to disaster. You mean bitcoin that coin Well I'm not an expert on big coin but there there's definitely speculation happening in Bitcoin but Bitcoin in and of itself is a crypto currency so. As a technology I don't view it as necessarily something that's inherently bad or wrong but speculation is what people do with the asset so like there's nothing wrong with real estate nothing wrong with tulips in fact but it's what people do with it. Just like paper money has nothing to back it it's similar its currency. Supposed to but it says the full faith and credit of the United States but you know I'm not going to get into economics right now but go ahead Dr Venus. You are. Well we're going to talk about them the next hour so I'll hold on to that question so tulip mania gives us the illustration of speculation versus investing so what's the difference we want to be investors not speculators how do you define the difference here just a few helpful ways that I think about it speculation is hoping for quick riches Whereas investing is patient and study for the long term speculation is the motive behind it is to get rich Whereas investing the motive is to meet needs very different motive speculating this is important speculating is based on arbitrary price movement whereas investing is based on the expected product to Vittie of an asset so in the tulip situation they were hoping they were thinking I'll just buy this tulip and someone else will pay more for it tomorrow whereas a real tulip investor would view it as a business I'm looking at this farm if I had better techniques if I motivated my employees more and I treat them better if I have better means of irrigation and harvesting and fertilizing can I increase the yield of this land then what's the what's the price that I can sell in the market and you know there's a totally different mentality versus OK I'm going to buy this contract you know how much can I get for it tomorrow. And so speculation ask the question what's the price where. As investing we ask what is the value so this may not be crystal clear but this helps me somewhat gauge speculation versus investing and I'll just mention this point to most of the time speculation is driven more by the user or the investor. Originates from the person rather than innately in the asset itself so it's an issue with the person not so much in the asset generally speaking. Principle number seven we need to value our time I don't think I need to tell you this already but just to mention this because there is a temptation our money should be working for us not us working more for our money the point of investing is you have this surplus capital put it to work so you can focus on other things your career ministry family and whatnot it shouldn't be another job so there are some Sometimes people get into you know. Stock options trading or even real estate investing and it becomes either a serious hobby or another job it's not the say that it's wrong necessarily if that's your interest but just don't assume that you have to do that you need to value your time as well because our time is also a talent to improve the Lord and here in a minute of all places we understand there are a lot of demands on our time particularly in the end times and the salvation of souls and ministry we need our money to free us up to work more for the Lord not tie us down more OK. Money is a very excellent servant but a terrible master P.T. Barnum once said very true statement OK print point over eight we need to have an exit strategy or we need to consider liquidity that's another way of thinking about it and I get this from the Spirit of Prophecy councils and stewardship is fifty nine paragraph four I'm not going to read the full passage here but you have the reference on the bold I was shown that it is the will of God but the same should cut loose from every incumbent before the time of trouble comes. And if they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty he will teach them when to. Dispose of these things so we're talking about the end of time time of trouble houses and lands will be of no use to the saints during that time so we understand within the prophetic context there will be a time when God says Sell it all. Councils on stewardship the next page page sixty I also saw that God had not required all of his people to dispose of their property at the same time but if they desired to be taught he would teach them in a time of need when to sell and how much to sell I will read this one because I think it's good context how have some have been required to dispose of their property in times past to sustain the admin costs while others have been permitted to keep theirs until the time of need then as a cause needs it it is their duty to sell so what we see here is Ellen White tells us what's the purpose for God's people selling their assets at the end of time is very important point it is not for self preservation we have this idea that when we think about the end times we have to sell everything we have this mentality like we're going to keep everything we have as long as possible and then right before the Sunday law hits OK sell everything now run to the hills but the point of what we're told here is that the reason that God moves on pond is people to sell is to sustain the cars in times past to sustain the admin costs and the reality of the matter is if everyone sells at the last moment where is that money going to be put into God's work how is it going to be applied for the salvation of souls so my point is we don't know that we're told right here we're not all expected to sell all of the same time and so that's something that the Lord has to guide us and in effect in our investments we need to always have that in mind because the Lord may move upon us to sell our practice to sell our home for the advancement of God's work that's not up to me to tell you when that is that's up to the Lord but here's the principle summarized it is the will of God but the state should cut loose from every. Or liquidate before the time of trouble God does not require all of his people to dispose of the property at the same time we have to inquire of God for duty and he will teach you when to sell and we that means right now we need to consider the liquidity over investments I'm not saying all of our investments must be liquid but we need to understand what it will take to liquidate and also value with the full portfolio so we're not putting everything in something that's going to take months to unravel when perhaps there are better ways All right so point over nine and this may actually. Touch on Daniel's question earlier so morality first Corinthians ten verse thirty one whatsoever therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do do all to the glory of God we're familiar with this verse and so this whatsoever you do must necessarily also impact how we manage our money and how we invest and so this comes to the topic of ethical investing and I could spend a whole hour talking about this but let me try to condense it and I'll just mention this I have a long article a long series on my blog where I go into far deeper detail so if you feel like I didn't fully answer your question here. I recommend you check that out. But let me try to summarize when it comes ethical investing there are really two perspectives within our world view The first is that we need to invoice avoid investments that are directly involved with unethical products and industries and when I say investments you know that term we can actually substitute for a broader term just all of our financial interactions all of our business interactions in the marketplace whether we're as a customer as an employee as a partner or as an investor we are being involved with them the that's the first perspective the second perspective is we must avoid any investments or any financial dealings or. Involvement with companies. Mutual funds etc that contain even an indirect or incidental interest in any product or industry that would be deemed an ethical So you understand the difference between the two views one is we are responsible for our direct decisions what businesses I do business with Invest in M. a customer with a partner with the second one says not only are responsible for those in our tier first tier of influence but also the second and the third level of involvement and indirect affiliations that they may have I think we would agree that number two is ideal if we can have moral purity in all of our investments even indirectly beyond the first and second and third levels that's ideal The question is Is it realistic and is it tenable. And not just mutual fund even in our day to day financial interactions because have you do you have a bank account. Is there any guarantee that that bank is not involved in some morally unscrupulous activity. For example Wells Fargo just happens to be the one that's in the news but Bank of America Citi Bank you name it The reality is they're loaning money to whoever and that interest they're earning actually comes back into our investments as well as a form of interest so and our taxes and so forth you can go down the line so what does the Bible give us as counsel OK I want to look at what the Bible has to say first Corinthians five verse nine and ten this is this this is the possible writing to the church in Corinth he says I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people but pause interjection here qualification not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral or greedy and swindler idolaters in that case you would have to leave this world so. What is Paul saying policy do not associate with sexually immoral people within the church because that's where the church has jurisdiction we have church discipline of various things that the church has a responsibility to do but he says but let me make this clear I'm not talking about the secular marketplace where you have to interact with other business people who are immoral and greedy or swindler's and i dollars And what does he basically say because it's untenable because we are to be in the world but not of the world and we do live in an imperfect and sinful world and Paul just makes the case the only way for you to be completely pure of those kind of interactions you would have to go to heaven and so one of these days we will and at that point we will have to worry about this anymore but another passage that I think of as in Matthew's five verse forty three to forty five and I actually just cut out the last section here so it's where he or God makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust So what does that mean. All of the resources that enable the activities of the unrighteous comes from the hand of God And so if we have a moral rule that says we are responsible not only for our direct decisions and choices and interactions but also on who what that decision incidentally or indirectly affects that may be immoral we're going to implicate God and make him complicit with all the evils that happen in the world. So that's a moral standard that even God cannot uphold and that's what I mean it is ideal but in a sinful world with sin in the world I don't believe it is tenable for us to expect that in all of our financial dealings not just financial but in our living in the world so the so the summarised application of what I'm saying we need to recognize what this what Scripture does and doesn't require of us and. Don't create a moral rule that's beyond what God requires you know when we say we're people of the book it means sticking to what God says not lagging behind but not running ahead either OK Number two make sure all of our direct interactions are morally pure and that we are following God clearly revealed will so who do we partner with who are we doing business with in our immediate circle of influence and then we are to do our best with the remaining in direct interactions were not to do nothing we do are the best that we can but we recognize that we live in an imperfect and sinful world and that we should in the Gleick major duties while quibbling over minor matters to not strain at a gnat and swallow a camel in other words so we need to be careful because I've talked with friends who have. Somewhat almost a paralysis you know a crisis of conscience because how can I put money in a bank that operates on step you know they were really struggling with this and I don't fault them you know for having those kinds of of questions but my point that I do have money in the bank and my point is when I look at the situation there is an obligation for me to make financial provision for my family and make sure that it's in a reasonable safe place and not neglect the major duties over some that might be more minor matters and we do the best we can within the scope of our decision making ability so incidentally specifically to investing now in Deuteronomy fifteen or sixteen we read this for the Lord thy God blessed with the as he promised the and national lend on the many nations and the SHALL NOT borrow so this is God One of his blessings to the nation of Israel they are obedient So this is like God's ideal for the children of Israel and the ideal is that they will be blessed materially in their possessions and that they will have a surplus to invest that's what lending is the form of investing and interesting the enough. They are to lend to many nations which necessarily represent gentile in heathen nations and so when I look at this I think God could have kept all of the investment dollars with in the nation of Israel but that wasn't his ideal He actually encouraged the children his will to invest in other nations and I believe imbedded within that is also an outreach mandate it's not just to earn money but there is an influence factor as well but it does lead me to think well would they not then be complicit in the evils that may be allowed by the investment perhaps that's speculating more than what scripture reveals but at any rate it does give me some guidance that God does not prevent us from investing in or working within the within the secular financial industry in the financial markets and like I said I have a whole article it's far more detailed than what I have time to go over with you this afternoon but we need to wrap things up so we did hit Number ten so let me try to finish this up quickly the tenth principle is to start now. We need to take advantage of the power of compound interest by making time our ally so thrifty to finance spending Sally let me use this as an example they're both the same age young ladies and they graduated school of the same time and Tiffany on this side here decides to save two thousand dollars a year from age twenty to thirty for ten years you can save two thousand dollars a year she invested it and eight percent rate of return and people always ask Where do you get eight percent I use S. and P. five hundred index fund over the past hundred years averaged out to roughly eight percent that's where I got the number. And she invests twenty thousand dollars of her own number of her own money over ten years. Sally on the hand says I'm still young I'm going to get married first buy a house get settled in my career and I'll save more later so the day that they turn thirty to. If any stops saving and Sally start saving and she saves the same amount two thousand dollars a year from thirty to sixty five also a percent rate of return and so for thirty five years she actually puts in seventy thousand dollars of her own money so when they get ready to retire at sixty five who's got more money. I sort of set you up tonight just by the way I named them. So you are correct in ten years I'm sorry as thirty five thirty five years sixty five Tiffany will have half a million dollars worth Sally we only have three hundred eighty thousand and what happened this is the graph of their investment growth you see for the first ten years Tiffany was saving unopposed there was no one keeping up with her and compound interest is that marvelous thing where interest earns interest on itself and so it's not a linear progression you know it's an exponential curve and so because the money was the lump sum was already compound ing on itself for ten years even though Sally put a great deal more money into it over a longer period of time she could never catch up. So what's the point of this illustration. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago the second best time is now. We should have started a long time ago of course but we can't go back in time we do have today and so the best thing to do is to make the best use of today now I will have to make this little interjection because I'm here at a man. Just enough for M.D.'s and D.D.S. says if I was in their medical students this might make. Some people take notice. But you notice the medical professionals doctors and dentists in particular they do have high earning potential but how do doctors and dentists achieve that high earning potential Well they have to go through extended education especially if you have. You know high level of specialization and generally speaking we can roughly estimate that means a ten year shorter investment period because you can't start as early three minutes of him wrapping up and that also comes with a high debt load I think we all understand how that works four hundred thousand dollars Last I heard from Loma Linda dental school probably more than that now I don't know and then there are high professional expenses that come along with a career and then there is generally a lifestyle inflation that comes along so that also means that for the final total amount that needs to be saved there's generally a higher number as well and so what I'm saying yes we should start now but doctors even though the world looks at physicians as you know flowing with gold bars or something. You're actually at a disadvantage in a real sense because time is the secret and ingredient to compound interest investing so what's the point here doctors just have to save more you have less time but you do earn more but you have more debt and so this is one of those things that you have to prayerfully consider how to budget and to manage your finances in such a way to meet those goals that will take care of your family and still return means to the Lord so with these principles what we have here is we have a score card and the next hour we're going to apply the score card to a number of common investment types to see how do we rank them OK so do I understand can a beat inflation is a low cost diversified speculative how much time to take to manage investment risk liquidity and moral clarity and we'll explain a little bit more before we get into the next session but I was given the three minute warning and so I did and entendres Lord. Thank you for being here let's close with prayer and then we'll have to get ready for the next session and we can take questions after that Father in heaven thank you so much for the time we can spend and reviewing a few principles that hopefully can help us apply be applied to our. Personal financial decisions to our stewardship of your means help us to every keep in mind who we work for and that none of this belongs to us and as a service with talents hoping to increase if we are glory you will help us to be able to be faithful when you return to town to take account of what you have given to our care bless us and guide us also in our next session as we can see great Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.


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