Why to Invest

Investing. This topic generates more discussion and controversy than virtually any other in the financial arena. Almost everyone wants to know how to make the most money with the least risk. But for believers, the question should not be where to invest, or how to invest, but why to invest. Should Christians speculate with money, or does God direct us to give our entire surplus to the needy? Which investments are compatible with Christian principles, and which are a compromise? Does speculation in the stock or commodities market constitute gambling? What is the scriptural justification for investing?

When to invest
Scripture indicates that, like the ant that stores during the summer knowing a leaner time will come, we too need to set aside and invest our surplus for future needs (Proverbs 6:6-11). But scripture also warns us not to be like the foolish hoarder in Luke 12:16 who built bigger barns to store his surplus for himself. Somewhere in between the careful ant and the foolish hoarder is the balance required of God’s steward. Investing presumes that a person has already given back to God as they are lead, and that they have extinguished their consumer debt (credit card balances, etc.). It also presumes that they have adequate insurance coverage, and have set aside 3-6 months of monthly expenses in reserve. Until these items have been accomplished, it is not the time to start long term investing.

Why to invest
While investing is not scripturally wrong, many times the motive behind investing is. Many people today (Christians included) are consumed by greed, indulgence, pride and fear of the future. These are all illegitimate reasons for investing. Investments that people lose money in are often get-rich-quick ploys designed to ensnare ignorant speculators. God’s main concern is motive. It’s not so much what you’re investing in, but why you’re investing in the first place. The best way to guard against the sin of greed is found in Romans 13:14, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” In other words, check your motives.

Scriptural justification for investing is to provide for future needs by multiplying our surplus. Some legitimate future needs include: 1) family responsibilities, such as the education of your children; 2) the goal of becoming debt free; 3) retirement (within reason); and 4) spontaneous giving as needs are brought to your attention and to further God’s work.

Unified, prayerful and patient
It is also important that Christian couples practice the principle of oneness that God’s Word describes. Not including your spouse in your investment plan may cause you to neglect all of the wisdom available to you. Make a commitment to work together on long range financial goals. As we read in Proverbs 21:20, “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it all up.”

Before embarking on a formal investment plan, be sure to seek wise counsel and prayer in setting financial goals. Remember that “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps” (Proverbs 14:15). Many do not heed this advice, and use too much of their discretionary income to make inappropriate purchases and investments…to their great disappointment. Be patient and remember to take your time to educate yourself. Get wisdom, get counsel, pray and be discerning and “do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint” (Proverbs 23:4).

Finally, after 20 plus years of financial counseling I have found that the man who saves little by little makes it grow. In other words, long term, steady plodding is the method by which the majority of financially independent people that I know have succeeded. They automatically save every month, invest in a rental unit that is paid off by their collected rent, or participate in their work 401k. The other truth that is a crucial complement is to spend less than you make. While this may sound obvious, it is mostly unpracticed by our American consumer mentality. Saving and investing are good stewardship, and are a hedge against future needs. However, hoarding is a lack of trust. The difference is in our attitude, so remember the words of Jesus, “If you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous Mammon, who will entrust true riches to you?” (Luke 16:11).

Jeffery Masters, President of Jeffery W. Masters & Associates
Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC
Investment Advise offered through Independent Financial Partners,
a Registered Investment Advisor. Independent Financial Partners and Jeffery W. Masters
& Associates are not affiliated with LPL Financial.
Jeff is a Locally Endorsed Investment Advisor by Dave Ramsey. Email Jeff at: [email protected].

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