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.

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