Finances can be a difficult concern for Christians to navigate, especially when there are countless avenues to take. Wealth is a resource provided by God, to be used for His glory, and in spite of other differing opinions, many Christians agree that they desire to honor God with their money.
According to a newly released 2020 study conducted by Masterpiece Research, the overwhelming majority of Christian participants agreed that they consider their personal money management to be strongly connected to their faith. When asked to share investing priorities, 37% said “investing in companies I believe share my values” was top. An additional 30% said their priority was “earning the highest return.” This indicates that Christians want to honor God with their investments, but don’t believe their returns need to suffer in order to do so.
The good news is that Christians can invest in companies that share their faith-based values without having to sacrifice a high return. There are two prominent ways to accomplish this.
One way to achieve this goal is through a managed approach. According to the study, the ideal investing method for 34% of Christians was stated to be, “I have frequent contact with trusted financial professionals to understand their management of my finances.” For 26% of Christians, it was stated as, “I rely on certified professionals to manage my finances and communicate with them infrequently.” Financial advisors can be invaluable resources for those seeking an extra measure of experience and guidance for their investments. Working with an advisor provides face-to-face interactions and meaningful conversation and counsel.
According to Inspire ETF, Ambassador Advisors is an independent Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm that decided to transition their entire $520M firm into biblically responsible investments. The Lancaster, PA, based company is a faith-based financial consulting firm that practices this managed approach with their clients from six locations. They help clients navigate strategy and implementation, and through individual sessions, their specialists provide direction and guidance for financial management.
The second way to increase investment return in a faith-based system is through a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. The ideal investing method for 22% of Christians, according to the Masterpiece Research survey, was stated to be, “I like to do my own research and pair that with professional advice, then manage myself.” Of this 22%, the majority were females aged 25-34. While this method is not everyone’s preference, the survey revealed that there are a significant number of people preferring the DIY approach.
For 16% of Christians, their ideal method was stated as, “I would like to set up initial parameters for my investments, but then be hands off while it rebalances itself according to my preferences.” These findings are indicative that some Christians desire to be heavily involved in the management of their own finances and – though they may consult experts at times – ultimately control and invest as they deem most prudent.
According to Statista, 46 million people currently use virtual investing tools, and that number is expected to grow to $147 million by 2023. Although few tools exist for Christians looking to manage their finances this way, Align Investments’ virtual investing tool Align My Finances is an entirely biblically responsible virtual investing option. Their online dashboard simplifies the investing experience for beginners or DIY investors by directing all funds towards companies and businesses prioritizing faith-based principles and morality. The DIY approach results in lower fees and a greater amount of personal freedom when making financial decisions.
According to the survey, over 80% of Christians said that they would put effort into changing their investments if they found out a company in the portfolio contradicted their faith or values. Influencing the decision to change that investment for 83% of respondents is primarily the personal importance of the issue is on which we disagree, such as abortion, firearms, tobacco use, or pornography. 38% would be influenced by the time involved for them to make the change. Christians need not be discouraged or overwhelmed by their finances. It is not necessary to sacrifice a high return on investment, due to the desire to invest in companies that don’t conflict with faith-based values. Because wealth is an extension of God’s blessing, it is not only honorable, but necessary, that Christians seek the methods best suited for maximizing their goals for His glory.