Searching For A Moral Compass

As portfolio managers, we are tasked to look out for our customers—to offer higher returns, lower risk, and efficient tax avoidance while we grow their accounts and provide income in retirement. As stewards of our customer’s portfolios, we strive to the do the right thing in terms of selecting investment products that build up society, do good, and follow Christian principles.

There is often confusion about the difference between Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Morally Responsible Investing (MRI). We’ll try to make it simple.

Initially, SRI was used to describe investing in companies that did not profit from “bad” things like tobacco, alcohol, gambling, and firearms. The perception was that these companies promoted sickness, mental and physical abuse, failed relationships, bad habits, and even death. The term focused on which companies one would avoid, not what to invest in, but that has changed. Now SRI seeks out companies that do good—such as alternative energy/clean technologies, community organizations that provide needed services to the poor and disadvantaged, and others that improve the quality of life and reduce reliance on welfare. The focus is on society, not necessarily moral or ethical good as defined by Christian conscience.

moral compassMRI is a subset of SRI but is different because it screens out companies engaged in abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and pornography. It’s pro-life and pro-family. It’s a pillar of the Stewardship Foundation. MRI appeals to investors who want to buy into specific funds that match their moral compass.

As SRI investing became more popular (over $40 trillion in 2016), the term Impact Investing found its way onto the investment stage. The term refers to investing in companies that do the right thing. It actively targets firms, funds, or projects that provide a measurable benefit to society as a whole. Not limited to stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs, it includes private equity, venture capital, and debt investment programs. Investors in this arena are actively participating by putting their money where their mouth is.

Remember that the Stewardship Foundation’s endgame is financial growth for our clients. Whether you are saving for retirement or using your wealth to actively make the world a better place, the road we help you choose is paved with a Christian moral compass.

What Happened to Ireland?

oh irelandIreland has voted to sweep aside generations of faithfulness to God’s 7th Commandment, do not kill. This month, citizens of the island Republic voted decisively to repeal the ban on abortions, adding to their slide toward liberalism.

Left wing populism is on the rise all over Europe. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, “This has been a great exercise in democracy, and the people have spoken and the people have said: We want a modern Constitution for a modern country, and that we trust women and that we respect them to make the right decisions and the right choices about their own health care.”

When God blessed Noah and his sons, He said to them “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.” He did not say, “fill the earth until such a time that you decide there are enough children in the world, or when your women are able to make their own decisions and choices.” No, God made a covenant with them and sealed it with a rainbow—between Him and every mortal being on earth.

What is sad is that only 64% of Irish citizens cared enough to turn out to vote leaving nearly two-thirds of voters willing to repeal their constitution’s Eighth Amendment—largely because of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year old dentist who died from sepsis during a protracted miscarriage after being denied an abortion at a Galway hospital in 2012. Pro-choice advocates claimed that her life could have been spared had Halappanavar received the abortion she wanted.

Ireland’s first openly gay Prime Minister called it a “once in a generation vote.” He hopes to capitalize on the momentum of the vote to extend the time allowed to receive an abortion from the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to later terms. Ireland voted for same-sex “marriage” in 2015.

Reporters boasted that the vote is a “rejection of an Ireland that treated women as second-class citizens” adding that “this is about women’s equality.” If we are all created equal under God, then the yet-unborn child in his or her mother’s womb had equal rights, including the right to life.

The argument pits child against mother. How tragic that the unborn is the enemy of the mother. How more tragic is a world that believes passing laws disrespectful of human life is somehow more advanced, more fair, more compassionate.

The only moral direction possible is to leave life and death in the hands of a loving God, and to consider that the only way we can actually protect a woman’s rights is by enforcing laws that also protect an unborn child’s right to life.

How Kids Can Donate to Charity without Spending a Dime

How can parents and grandparents bring up their children to understand the importance of helping others?

There are many ways for children to contribute to charities without giving money. Children can earn money from a allowance or by earning points that represent money by doing certain chores, favors, or behaviors for which they are rewarded.

Once they have a reasonable amount saved, have them strategize on how they can give it away to the less fortunate. Search for a local charity that can accept gently-used clothing, toys, furniture or non-perishable food items. Once a charity is chosen, find a box and plan to fill it with appropriate items that the children collect and have parental permission to give away. Two broad categories are:

Used clothing/toys

Needs of charities are not all financial. Some collect blankets or clothing for sheltered or injured animals, and others accept stocking caps and lap blankets for people with medical issues, or toys and blankets for toddlers. Clothing that is used, but not worn out, can be donated to homeless shelters. T-shirts, sweaters and sweatpants that are taking up space on a shelf, in a drawer, or on a hanger in the back of the closet are of great value to someone who has nothing.

Let the kids research and choose the charity and be involved in every step of laundering, shopping, or boxing the chosen items. After delivery, have them write a short letter to the charity staff about what they learned and felt.

Food items

One in six people in the U.S.A. go hungry everyday, and many of them are children. Have your kids or grandkids decide to donate a non-refrigerated item that they love, such as their favorite cookie, cereal, cake, or candy bar.

Take them to the store, let them use their allowance or reward money to buy their favorite food, then deliver it to a pantry, food bank, or soup kitchen.

Both of these “kid-friendly” ideas will leave a lasting memory of the feeling that humans get when they genuinely help others with intention. It can prepare them to be generous adults, and perhaps tomorrow, great philanthropists.