Religion is very important to a lot of people, though attendance at religions institutions has certainly fallen in recent decades. Fully 49% of Americans said that religion was a “very important” part of their lives in a 2021 poll from Gallup, with a further 27% saying it was “somewhat important.” Specifically, 69% of Americans identify with some variation of a Christian religion.
Religious people need financial planning just like non-religious people, but for those who take their faith very seriously, it may be intimidating to think about building a financial plan that fits within their moral worldview. Luckily, there are financial planning strategies that are tailor-made for Christians – and there are even financial professionals who specialize in working with them. These strategies fall under a broad umbrella known as biblically responsible investing. Note that while this article focuses on these Christian-focused strategies, there are investing plans for other religions as well, like halal investing for Muslims and kosher investing for Jews.
Regardless of your religious affiliation, a financial advisor can help you get on the right track.
Biblically Responsible Investing Defined
Put simply, biblically responsible investing is a method of choosing investments that align with the values and morals of the Bible – even above investment return. Of course, the end goal is still to make money and expand your wealth; that’s what all investing is about at the end of the day. Biblically responsible investing, though, might pass over potentially lucrative investments if they don’t align with biblical principles.
This is not a concept unique to religious people. If you care about the environment, there is green investing, which avoids investing in fossil fuel companies and other firms that contribute to global warming. If you are passionate about social justice more generally, there are investment plans that focus on ESG – environmental, social and governance.
Biblically Responsible Investing Example
One prominent example of a biblically responsible investing program is the Timothy Plan, a fund firm run by financial professional Arthur Ally. Ally, a devout Christian himself, originally set out to create a retirement an investing plan for pastors which would not conflict with their beliefs. Eventually, it expanded into a fund that others can invest in. There are five basic issues that investments in the Timothy Plan seek to avoid:
- Casino Gambling
Keep in mind, the companies invested in by the Timothy Plan don’t necessarily have to be run by devout Christians, which would likely severely limit the options. Rather, the companies simply have to avoid any activities that actively contradict Christian values.
These filters do eliminate some fairly prominent companies from possible investment. Netflix, for example, is filtered out from possible investment for its promotion of non-Christian values in its film and television programs. Pfizer is eliminated for manufacturing abortifacients. Amazon is a no-go for myriad reasons, including pro-abortion rights philanthropy and entertainment programming that isn’t consistent with Christian values.
How to Get Help With Biblically Responsible Investing
Those looking for biblically responsible investing need help just like everyone else. While finding the right financial advisor can be difficult for anyone, it may be especially tough for Christian investors, as not all advisors will be well versed in their needs.
Luckily, there is a financial certification you can look for if you want an advisor who will be cognizant of your needs as a Christian investor: Certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA). To get the CKA certification, an advisor must already hold a broader industry certification such as certified financial planner, chartered financial consultant or certified public accountant, and they must have 10 years of experience in the field. On top of that they have to be recommended by community and church leaders and be committed to Christian values.
The Bottom Line
Biblically responsible investing is an approach to financial planning and investing that focuses on adhering to Christian values in addition to maximizing profit. It involves selecting companies for investment that don’t do work that runs counter to Christian morality. For help with biblically responsible investing, an advisor who has earned the Certified Kingdom Advisor certification is a good start.
- Regardless of your religious beliefs, it pays to get help with financial planning. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- The first step to saving for many people is using a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k). If you have access to one, make sure you’re using it, and taking advantage of any employer match program.
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