Estate & Gift Planning Awareness

October is Estate and Gift Planning Awareness Month — dedicated to supporting the improvement of financial awareness and financial literacy for all Americans.

According to the Financial Awareness Foundation, a majority of adults in the U.S. that reach age 79 are almost out of money even though life expectancies are well in the mid-80s and beyond.

Over 120 million adults don’t have nor do they understand the importance of having a current financial, estate and gift planning strategy to protect themselves and their assets during their lifetime and after death.

Too many young people and their families are burdened with excessive education debt. Student loan debt is the second largest class of consumer debt after mortgages!

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported in January 2019 that there’s a link between financial education and financial well-being. A key finding was that while many adults desire to educate themselves to become more financially literate, they often seek out that information only within their social networks. This cuts across all demographics, including education level and income and is quite alarming: People are making critical life decisions based on information gained from non-experts and fragmented sources. 

If you, or someone you care about, needs a financial health and planning checkup, we are happy to offer our professional advice, or we can recommend a financial planner that is the ideal fit for your personal financial situation. Drop us a note at info@stewardshipworks.org

“Sell All That You Have”

A rich young man said to Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Sell all that you have and give to the poor.” Mark 10:21

What? Sell my home, my cars, the sofa, the lawnmower, clothing, shoes, and all that stuff in my garage? You’ve got to be kidding!

When we, as wealthy Americans (and we are all wealthy as compared to the world population), read this Bible passage, how does it make us feel? Confused mostly, because it can’t be possible for God to wish that we actually sell all that we have and, after it’s all gone, still give more to the poor!

If we have “stuff” and money, are we doomed to the eternal fire because we disobeyed Jesus?

Look at the passage again, the rich young man asked Jesus how to inherit even more than he already had. In addition to his worldly goods, he also wanted to “inherit” (get without working for it) eternal life. 

Jesus was teaching the young man a valuable lesson. Serve the Lord, not money. Comparing the concept of eternity, endless time, with the 70 – 90 years of earthly life, can put a few things into perspective. We also learn in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, that we can serve God and His people by means of our money so as to “win the life that is true life.” Bottom line, material wealth should never become our god, nor should our greed prevent us from reaching out to the needy.

The Apple Falls Not Far From the Morality Tree

Almost a year ago, Gallup conducted a survey on the moral value of Americans. More than three in four Americans reported morals in the U.S. as getting worse. Surprisingly, there was little difference in the opinions of Democrats and Republicans — both were equally negative.

Moral values having anything to do with politics is alarming. Moral values are knowing the difference between right and wrong and having a willingness to do the right thing, even if it is hard or dangerous.  Americans entered WWII because they believed that it was  ethically the right thing to do, even though it was dangerous for the individuals who served and for the country as a whole. Americans valued democracy and freedom and were willing to fight for it.

The Ten Commandments define for believers what is right or wrong. Values are defined as those things that are important to an individual or group. Core values may include integrity, professionalism, caring, teamwork, and stewardship when applied to an organization’s vision. The aforementioned core values are part and parcel of the Stewardship Foundation, and form the basis for our ethics.

When we perform ethically, we behave in a manner that is consistent with what we believe to be right or moral. We specifically apply these ethics to our own core belief that financial riches are to be shared, and that faithfulness to God commands that we be good stewards of the riches that we share.

Our Credo is on our website, but those who visit our blog more frequently than our website, they bear repeating:

  • We believe in transformational giving.
  • We believe that giving is a collaborative act between the donor, the charity, and their God
  • We believe that transformational giving is not about the bottom line, but about the heart.
  • We believe that transformational giving creates partnerships that impact entire communities.
  • We believe in the sanctity of human life, marriage and sexual morality, and religious freedom and the rights of conscience.
  • We believe that it is our responsibility to care for the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, and to use our talents for the betterment of mankind through education, opportunity and freedom.

We also believe that those who seek to invest their money through an organization like ours do so because of shared moral values, and whether our clients are Democrats or Republicans, both do so because of equally positive motives. We have choices where and how we invest. What’s more important—social and moral responsibility, or profitability? We believe that both are equally important and that’s why we work hard everyday to manage funds that do both.