Going By The Book

MAITLAND, Fla. — Instead of applying scripture and verse to secular financial advice, the National Association of Christian Financial Consultants favors using verses from Scripture to manage your wealth.

To that end, NACFC President Robert Barber has developed a list of nine guidelines for biblical wealth management. All nine are based on principles found in the Bible, and Barber backs each one with quotes from Proverbs, Jeremiah, Psalms and other books from both testaments, such as the following verse from Luke 12:48 (New International Version):

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

The Nine Strategies for Biblical Wealth Management, as Barber titles his standards, is appearing as a nine-part series of online articles under the Business section at www.christianpost.com. At press time, the first three had been posted and covered how to discover your purpose for biblical wealth management, how to honor God with cash flow discovery and management, and how to manage risk wisely.

“Strategies include transferring the risk to another party, avoiding the risk, reducing the negative effect of the risk, and accepting some or all of the consequences of a particular risk,” wrote Barber, founder and CEO of Christian Investment Services in New Braufels, Texas, which is north of San Antonio.

Barber advises that if someone isn’t willing to accept risk, then they should transfer it to someone who will — namely, insurance companies. Life, health, homeowners, auto, disability and liability policies are ways to remove risk in order to create a secure foundation to begin building and managing wealth.

“Transferring risk so that you or your family will be prepared in case of tragedy is wise planning and it shows those you love that you care about them.”

But before someone can determine how much risk he or she should accept or transfer, Barber said individuals have to identify the core values they will use to guide every facet of their lives, including their finances.

To do that, Barber offered five exercises that should help people discover their purpose for biblical wealth management:

**Identify what you value most in life.

**Explore what your meaningful purpose is in life.

**Design a compelling vision for your future.

**Create a personal mission statement.

**Set one, three, five and 10-year goals and create an action plan that will help you implement your mission, live your values and move toward achieving your vision.

“By completing these exercises and internalizing their meaning, you’ll have a renewed enthusiasm for living your life by design: God’s design,” wrote Barber.

The National Association of Christian Financial Consultants was founded in 1997. Based in Maitland, Fla., which is just north of Orlando, the organization is made up of professional investment counselors who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and are devoted to basing financial plans on biblical principles.

The association’s mission is to “provide educational resources, fellowship support, and biblical standards for professional investment counselors seeking to integrate Bible-based principles within their financial counseling practices.”

NACFC Executive Director Wes Pennington told the Business Journal the group has 230 members across the country and three locally. He said financial planners Paul Sexton and Thomas Mellon, both of Grand Rapids, and Wyoming’s Daniel Musick are active members.

For more information on the organization, go to www.nacfc.org.  

Divorce Less Likely For Some

Cited so often that it borders on a cliché, the nearly 50 percent national divorce rate doesn’t actually imply a 50/50 chance of any given marriage ending in divorce. The background characteristics of people entering into a marriage have major implications for divorce risk.

In the first 10 years of marriage, the following factors decrease the risk of divorce by the following percentages:

Annual income of $50,000 (vs. $25,000)     30%

Having a baby seven months or more after (vs. before) marriage  24%

Over 25 years of age (vs. under 18)     24%

Family of origin intact (vs. divorced parents)    14%

Religious affiliation       14%

Some college        13%

It should also be noted that the “nearly 50 percent” divorce rate refers to the percentage of marriages entered into during a particular year projected to end in divorce or separation before one spouse dies. However, these projections assume that the frequency of divorce and death will remain constant indefinitely, which it almost certainly will not. As such, the divorce rate is best used to represent the success of marriages in the recent past, not the probability of a successful marriage in the future.

Source: The National Marriage Center at Rutgers University

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David Czurak is a former Grand Rapids Business Journal staff reporter who most recently covered city and county government, real estate, construction, architecture and design and sports business.

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