The WOKE Investor

You are likely familiar with the terms “impact investing,” “cause based investing,” “social impact investing,” “socially responsible investing,” and “sustainability investing.” In fact, one of these terms serves as the backbone of the Stewardship Foundation. Nowadays, there’s a new kid on the block — the woke investor.

The Woke investor likes ESG funds for an investment strategy that aligns with personal values, whether those be going green, saving the planet, or protesting for BLM. They want to feel good about improving their financial well-being. 

Woke investors are generally millennials who want their money to go towards making a difference in society and in the world (though, when asked how their money would actually support a good cause, most aren’t sure). 

The Stewardship Foundation is similar in its pursuit of transformational investing, though where we invest may very well be different. We were founded on a set of core beliefs that allow our clients to trust that the decisions we make to grow and protect their wealth are made as though Christ was looking over our shoulder. 

Some investment companies appear to be exchanging the goal of maximizing shareholder value for maximizing societal value, a kind of social justice (source: The Federalist). Does this mean that SF has been way ahead of the curve? Perhaps. Since 2009, we have served only clients who share our Credo.

We faithfully serve clients who also believe…

  • in transformational giving.
  • that giving is a collaborative act between the donor, the charity, and their God.
  • that transformational giving is not about the bottom line, but about the heart.
  • that transformational giving creates partnerships that impact entire communities.
  • in the sanctity of human life, marriage and sexual morality, and religious freedom and the rights of conscience.
  • 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.

Our clients are not WOKE investors. They were never asleep.

Financial Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda

All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ in the sun,
Talkin’ bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little did.

A poem by Shel Silverstein

As I write this newsletter to share with our partners, friends and loyal clients, the worldwide number of confirmed Coronavirus cases has just passed 1,000,000. The financial impact of the virus  on the financial health of many Americans has been troubling. As the “curve” of the virus stubbornly inches upward, the average investor can’t help but think back to hearing the first news out of China and wonder if he “shoulda” liquidated his entire investment portfolio that day, then “shoulda” run to Costco to buy out the entire inventory of Charmin jumbo packs. We know one thing, he “woulda” been better off if he’d ignored the ugly coronavirus bear market.

Investors young and old are facing two challenges: 

  1. Don’t panic. It’s scary to watch your financial future disappear and it’s tempting to bail out. Don’t.
  2. Be sure you have a balanced portfolio that can tolerate future wild stock market rides.

The U.S. and worldwide economic situation was healthy before the coronavirus outbreak. Recovery should eventually be swift. Expecting a full restoration to pre-COVID-19 markets is only a Shoulda, be we can pray for one little “did.”

Reap What You Sow

When you decide to invest for your financial future, what do you consider to be important? Do you want to accumulate money for retirement or to purchase something big, like real estate? Do you need money to get your children through college or to start a business? You may also think about your risk tolerance, impact on taxes, and personal comfort zone. As Stephen Covey says, always start with the end in mind.

For Christian investors, this saying may have a deeper meaning.

Reap What You Sow

As investors, we ask ourselves these questions:

  1. What is the best use of my money? Should I invest now or use my income to pay off or avoid debt?
  2. What is my objective for investing? Do I want safety, long-term appreciation, or high gains? 
  3. Where and how much should I invest at my age? Should I invest while I’m young, have more disposable income, and can recover should my investment choices fail? Or should I wait until middle age when I am making more money and thinking of retirement?
  4. How much time do I have before I need to turn my investments into cash for living expenses? 

As Christian investors, we may also ask:

  1. How does God want me to invest my money? We should be good stewards by investing wisely, a concept emphasized in the Parables of the Talents in Mathew 25:14-30
  2. What investment opportunities should I seek? Our investment objective should always be to make the world a better place. No one can serve two masters. We cannot serve God and worship money at the same time, as we read in Luke 16:8-13
  3. What should be my attitude about the future? Keep a wise and humble attitude about the future and avoid boasting about wealth. Proverbs 27:1
  4. Can I be sure my investments will be profitable? Trust in God and make thoughtful choices about investments. Romans 8:29

Someone paraphrased the challenge of Christian life as “living in the world without being part of it.” There are no easy answers as to how to do this except in Scripture. Understanding God’s Word on wealth, money, and stewardship may not offer financial success, but we will all reap and sow more confidently by investing according to His teachings.