117 E Elm Street
We want to be perfectly clear about a few things.
Shannon and I are very blessed to be Christian believers who are going to heaven. It is nothing that we have earned or deserved in any way, except to receive what Jesus has already done on the cross and what God accomplished by raising Him from the grave. We have received salvation by His grace through faith. Ephesians 2:8-9
While living on earth before going to Heaven, we are also blessed to walk out our lives in that same faith and by that same grace, because of what Jesus has already done. It is nothing we have earned or deserved in any way but it is exciting to have that opportunity! Ephesians 2:10
There was a thief crucified at the same time as Jesus. He asked Jesus to remember him when He, Jesus, came into His kingdom. Jesus said that day the thief would be with Him in paradise. (Heaven) Luke 23:42-43
God’s goodness delivered that thief to a Heavenly Kingdom simply because he received Jesus by faith, based on nothing he earned or deserved. This is how we must respond to be a believer. If the thief had lived, he would have needed to live by that same faith. Romans 3:22-28
God grants His believers the Holy Spirit to live within them. Jesus said He would leave the comforter, the Holy Spirit, to come alongside believers to guide and empower them to do His work on earth. We receive that by faith as well. John 16:7-14
In 2003 the Holy Spirit revealed to us over a period of weeks, through circumstances, His word, and prayer, that I (Gary) needed to leave my current employer and start a new firm to help people understand their finances. This was and still is the main reason we are in business today.
At the same time, the Spirit led us to instruction about how to provide Values Based Investing, the forerunner of Biblically Responsible Investing, which we have been providing to clients for 18 years. This is still the core of what we do as a firm. I Corinthians 10:31
The Holy Spirit encouraged us at the beginning to “only work with those who want to work with us!” That meant we would not ever be “chasing” or “pestering” people to become clients or buy something we could sell. It does mean that we are called to be diligent in providing a no-pressure atmosphere, individualized advice, and superior service. Colossians 3:23
Over the years, God has added extraordinary believers to come alongside with us to help people. Rick (Gallipolis, OH) 2007, Kathi 2008, Lynda 2011, Cami (Gallipolis, OH) 2015, Renea 2016, Orie 2017, Susannah 2020.
We now advise over 400 Clients with assets of over $50 million, and are connected with RIAs with over $6 billion under management.
Just an FYI—While we are a financial advisory firm first, we realize that some clients do not want to risk being in the market at their stage in life. As a result, we offer insurance products to assist with their peace of mind during retirement.
God allows you to decide whether to have a relationship with Christ and how close you want to get, all by faith. Trust me, He wants to get very close because He loves you to a depth that only a creator fully understands! He has already prepared the way. You don’t want to miss it! 1 Corinthians 2:9
You also decide whether you want our help with your finances. If you want our advice with your finances you must ask. Our standard process is to have you fill out a short financial questionnaire as a “ticket” to sit with us and have a conversation. It’s like filling out a health questionnaire for any medical provider. It might involve some work but is necessary to help us both to have a no pressure, productive conversation. Let us know if you have any questions. We’d be glad to assist you in any way with either of these decisions.
What is BRI?? SRI?? Impact Investing?
BRI is Biblically Responsible Investing, a means of screening your invest-ments to know whether the underlying companies and funds are voluntarily supporting things such as abortion, pornography, anti-family lifestyles, gambling, or other areas of concern. Most BRI screening mechanisms look for “voluntary” support—things like promoting these issues through advertising or producing products or services in these areas—not “involuntary” areas such as fulfilling government-required mandates.
SRI is Socially Responsible Investing. An SRI screen may look for environ-mental issues or social issues such as weaponry, diversity, clean water, animal welfare, employee treatment, etc. SRI has been around for several years, even as far back as the Quakers’ avoidance of a company who engaged in slavery in the 1600s. BRI is considered a subset of SRI and has really gained traction in the 21st century.
Another derivative of moral investing is sometimes called Impact Investing. This is a more positive or proactive look at the investment screening process. Impact investing looks for companies who are doing good and making positive impact in their communities, their employee or client base, and/or providing excellent products that improve the world we live in. This is not looking at what these companies are doing wrong (if anything) but what they are doing right.
For too long, investing has been seen as an amoral activity whose primary goal is profit or gain. If you make money, you’ve made a good investment, right? If that were truly the only criteria for a Christian to consider, then I would strongly suggest that you go buy an abortion clinic or an ‘adult’ bookstore. There is plenty of money to be made there, if money is all there is. But for most of us, that suggestion goes “too far.” We would never purposely invest directly in enterprises that harm others, promote addictions, divide families, or defame Christ’s mission. The question to ask then is—how is stock ownership any different?
If you have questions about Biblically Responsible investing, the returns that you might get (or lose) if you invest this way, and/or the history and heart of the movement, we would be happy to send you a booklet that answers some of these questions. Please call or email us (see below) for a free copy.
It is not our desire (either in this newsletter or in our daily interactions) to judge someone who does not engage in BRI. The process of understanding and embracing Biblically Responsible Investing is often a journey that is led by the Holy Spirit. We each have our own testimony of how God unfolded the mission of BRI in our hearts and we’ve read and heard many wonderful testimonies by leaders in the movement. It is not our job or our mission to “make” anyone utilize this approach—truly!
In the early years of our business, we wrestled between two taglines:
“It’s your money, shouldn’t it reflect your values?”
“It’s His money, shouldn’t it reflect His values?”
We finally acknowledged that both are accurate and appropriate for believers. It is His money—but for our days on earth, it is ours to steward. And our mission at Faith Investment Services is to help you walk in freedom and peace, morally as well as financially.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV
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One of the investment options we offer is professional money management. Our office has in excess of $50M in accounts. Our primary registered investment advisory firm, Creative Financial Designs, based in Kokomo, IN manages in excess of $1.5B.
Professional money management is a means of being in the market according to your risk tolerance and time horizon. A skilled professional who is not emotionally affected by market swings “has your back.” They will work toward the goals and objectives you request of them—income, growth, security, etc.—without impulsive or emotional reactions. These accounts usually have initial investment limits and may not be available to beginning investors.
The money managers we engage are professional and excellent at what they do. They serve you from a Christian worldview. They serve us behind the scenes so that we can spend our time communicating with you and serving your needs.
Why management? Professional money managers see market ups and downs through the lens of experience. They have dedicated time to focus on your accounts. They have know-how and ability to hedge against inflation.
What about Gold?
You might have heard that gold is a great way to hedge against inflation and we often have clients ask about this. Gold is not the only hedge against inflation; for many, the stock market is the preferred hedge against inflation. Investing in the stock market can help your portfolio outpace the rate of inflation. Stock market investing allows investors to manage their risk across many different asset classes and holdings. While every situation is different, we do not encourage investors to move the bulk of their investment portfolio into physical gold.
In 1928, the price of gold per ounce was $20.67.1 That same year, the S&P 500 closed at $24.35.2 Today the price of gold is around $1,900.00 an ounce and the S&P 500 is hovering around $4,200.00. A single ounce of gold purchased at the end of 1928 has increased in price by nearly 9,092%. In that same time frame, the S&P 500 has increased by approximately 17,148%. Since 1928, the U.S. Dollar has changed in purchasing power by approximately 1,462%.3
Both gold and the U.S. stock market have far outpaced the rate of inflation. However, gold was not the superior performer. Each investor’s timeline and risk tolerance is different. Including equities in your portfolio can help you hedge against inflation and professional money managers excel at knowing how to guide the process.
BRI (Biblically Responsible Investing) is “a heart of worship that desires to glorify God in all we do, to shine the light of Christ brightly that the world “may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Even if companies never changed a thing about the values they support or products and services they sell, biblically responsible investing would still be important because it is ultimately not about changing the world, but about glorifying our Father who is in heaven.
Biblically Responsible Investing: For God’s glory and your joy by Robert Netzly