etf awards

Inspire Investing Named as Finalist for ETF.com Industry Awards

Biblically responsible investing firm Inspire Investing has been named as a finalist in two categories in the 2017 ETF.com awards.

San Jose, CA, February 8, 2018 (Newswire.com)Inspire Investing, a leading biblically responsible investing (BRI) firm, has been named as a finalist in multiple categories for the 2017 ETF.com Awards.

Inspire is a finalist in both the “Best New ESG ETF – 2017” and “New ETF Issuer of the Year – 2017” categories. Winners of these award categories are judged based on criterion such as: contributing to positive investor outcomes, opening new areas of the market, lower costs, driving risk-adjusted performance, providing innovative exposures not previously available to most investors, product performance and fund management.

Other finalists joining Inspire in these categories include: Davis Advisors, iShares (BlackRock), VanEck, GraniteShares, QuantX (Blue Sky Asset Management), Sage Advisory Services and USAA.

“We are honored to be nominated as finalists in two categories for these prestigious awards. This recognition by our industry peers is such a validation for our team here at Inspire that our work is paying off, both in advancing the biblically responsible investing movement and also in providing outstanding investment options for people around the world,” says Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing.

“We are honored to be nominated as finalists in two categories for these prestigious awards. This recognition by our industry peers is such a validation for our team here at Inspire that our work is paying off, both in advancing the biblically responsible investing movement and also in providing outstanding investment options for people around the world,”

Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing.

About ETF.com Awards

The ETF.com Awards, presented by ETF.com and Inside ETFs, are the most widely recognized and respected awards for the exchange traded fund industry.

To be recognized as a finalist, investment firms must be selected by the ETF.com Awards Nominating Committee comprised of senior leaders at ETF.com, Inside ETFs and FactSet. There are only a maximum of six finalists nominated per category. The winners are being announced at an exclusive gala dinner on March 22 at Chelsea Piers, Pier 61 in New York.

The Awards Selection Committee who have chosen the winners for this year’s awards are:

  • Kim Arthur, Main Management
  • Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Intelligence
  • Ben Blaisdell, US Trust
  • Rob Glownia, RiverFront
  • Tom Lydon, ETFtrends
  • Phil Mackintosh, Virtu
  • Tyler Mordy, Forstrong Global Asset Management
  • Jason Nicastro, LPL Financial
  • Todd Rosenbluth, CFRA
  • Jim Wiandt, Industry Expert

Inspire’s Rapid Growth And Innovative Approach

Inspire investing made headlines across the globe last year with the debut of their innovative approach to biblically responsible investing, giving faith based investors access to low cost, index based investments that are aligned with biblical values. Inspire’s assets under management rose by an impressive 154% in 2017, and is currently nearing the $150-million-dollar mark. Inspire uses their proprietary Inspire Impact Score Methodology to identify the most inspiring, biblically aligned companies in the world to include in their portfolios: companies that are doing things like creating clean water solutions, curing cancer, giving generously to their communities and blessing their workforce. Inspire portfolios also pointedly avoid investing in companies involved with immoral issues such as abortion, pornography, human trafficking, LGBT activism and other areas of concern for faith-based investors.

Inspiring Transformation Around The World

Inspire water well in Birendranagar, NepalNot only does Inspire Investing seek to invest in the most inspiring companies in the world, but they also aim to be one of the most inspiring  companies in the world. As such, Inspire donates 50% or more of their corporate profits to Christian ministry every year. Last year alone Inspire provided clean water to impoverished villagers in Nepal, provided relief for Syrian refugees and Hurricane Harvey victims, sent Bibles into North Korea and shared the hope of Christ with thousands of youth in America.

“Our goal is to donate $1 billion dollars to Christian ministry over the next ten years,” commented Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing, “That is why we do what we do here at Inspire Investing and we are so thankful for the outpouring of support from our brothers and sisters around the world as we inspire transformation for the glory of God together.”

Christian Leaders Descend Upon New York Stock Exchange With Inspire Investing as Biblically Responsible Investing Movement Gathers Steam

More than 100 influential Christian leaders in finance, politics, pro-life and non-profit join Inspire Investing to ring the NYSE closing bell as biblically responsible investing movement sweeps the nation.

​Inspire Investing, a leading biblically responsible investing (BRI) firm, is hosting one of the largest gatherings of Christian leaders ever held at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as they ring the closing bell today.

The NYSE bell ringing is one of the most-watched daily events in the world, with an estimated 100 million viewers each day. Inspire is leveraging that platform to bring the rapidly growing biblically responsible investing movement to the attention of investors everywhere.

“We have been riding a rocket ship of growth this past year at Inspire and the biblically responsible investing movement is at one of the most exciting points I have ever seen. At today’s bell ringing, we are sharing that excitement with the world and ushering in a new day for the BRI movement,” says Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing.

We have been riding a rocket ship of growth this past year at Inspire and the biblically responsible investing movement is at one of the most exciting points I have ever seen. At today’s bell ringing, we are sharing that excitement with the world and ushering in a new day for the BRI movement.

ROBERT NETZLY, CEO, INSPIRE INVESTING

Influential Guest List

Among the more than 100 influential Christian leaders joining Inspire at the New York Stock Exchange are pro-life ministry leaders, including Abby Johnson, the former-Planned-Parenthood-director-turned-pro-life who is the founder of And Then There Were None and author of the book “Unplanned.”

Also attending is Rob West, who is the president of Kingdom Advisors, the largest association of Christian financial professionals in the country, and host of “Moneywise,” the popular Christian finance radio show with more than one million daily listeners.

Additional guests include executives from Thrivent, one of the largest Christian financial institutions in the country; the presidents of numerous Christian foundations; several executives from multi-billion dollar investment management firms, and a contingent of bloggers, including “Money Saving Mom” Crystal Paine whose blog has more than one million followers on social media.

All told, the attendees at Inspire Investing’s NYSE bell-ringing event control more than $100 billion of assets.

Inspire’s Rapid Growth and Innovative Approach

Inspire investing made headlines across the globe last year with the debut of their innovative approach to biblically responsible investing, giving faith-based investors access to low-cost, index-based investments that are aligned with biblical values. Inspire’s assets under management rose by an impressive 154 percent in 2017 and are currently nearing the $150 million mark.

Inspire uses their proprietary Inspire Impact Score Methodology to identify the most inspiring, biblically aligned companies in the world to include in their portfolios: companies that are doing things like creating clean water solutions, curing cancer, giving generously to their communities and blessing their workforce. Inspire portfolios also pointedly avoid investing in companies involved with contentious issues such as abortion, pornography, human trafficking, LGBT activism and other areas of concern for faith-based investors.

Inspiring Transformation Around The World

Not only does Inspire Investing seek to invest in the most inspiring companies in the world, but they also aim to beone of the most inspiring companies in the world. As such, Inspire donates 50 percent or more of their corporate profits to Christian ministry every year. Last year alone Inspire provided clean water to impoverished villagers in Nepal, provided relief for Syrian refugees and Hurricane Harvey victims, sent Bibles into North Korea and shared the hope of Christ with thousands of youth in America.

“Our goal is to donate $1 billion dollars to Christian ministry over the next 10 years,” commented Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing. “That is why we do what we do here at Inspire Investing and we are so thankful for the outpouring of support from our brothers and sisters around the world as we inspire transformation for the glory of God together.”

Why The Wall Street Journal Is Wrong About Socially Responsible Investing

Is Socially Responsible Investing For “Suckers”?

“The basic idea is to throw money away,” declares The Wall Street Journal today in reference to socially responsible investing (SRI). In their article titled “Stocks Weren’t Made For Social Climbing” author Andy Kessler and WSJ make the misguided assertion that anyone who invests with an eye toward corporate responsibility and making the world a better place is a “sucker”. In Kessler’s words,

“Wall Street considers it a truism that money sloshes around the globe seeking the highest return. But there are countless investors, believe it or not, who are willing to accept lower returns. P.T. Barnum supposedly said there’s a sucker born every minute. Many of them go into so-called socially responsible investing…In reality there is no trade-off of Vice vs. Nice. There are only returns.”

I am more than a little surprised at the ignorance of this article, but I suppose it is an opinion piece after all, and hey, everyone is entitled to an opinion…even me! So, here is my opinion then.

Socially Responsible Investing Performance Studies

While Kessler has an entertaining writing style and definitely knows how to turn a phrase, his entire premise is flawed. He makes the rather uninformed statement that responsible investing requires one to sacrifice performance, but he gives no basis for this conclusion.

The facts are that research done over the past several years by the likes of Oxford UniversityWharton University, Biola University and others show that responsible investing did not require a sacrifice of performance in their studies. In fact, some of these studies show that there was actually a slight improvement in performance for responsible investors compared to non-responsible investments.

According to Oxford University’s study with Arabesque Partners, “80 percent of the reviewed studies demonstrate that prudent sustainability practices have a positive influence on investment performance.”

Socially Responsible Investing For More Than Returns

That aside, Kessler has also made himself out to be a hypocrite or a criminal. He proudly asserts that returns are the only thing that matter when selecting an investment, that “there are only returns.” He most certainly doesn’t believe that…unless he is investing in illegal prostitution rings, arms dealers and drug cartels. They make a ton of money, but obviously (I hope) he would never consider investing in such a thing as it is 1) illegal and 2) completely immoral.

So, returns are not the only thing that matter. The law matters, too. And for Christians, God’s law matters even more than the law of man, so how could we possibly invest in companies that are in direct violation of God’s law, even if they did offer tantalizing promises of high returns? “Better is a little with righteousness than great gains with injustice.” (Proverbs 16:8)

Wall Street would goad us to give in to greed and chase high returns above all else. Sadly, there are many who fall prey to that siren’s call. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9)

As for me, there is no return high enough to entice me to invest in immoral industries like abortion, pornography and human trafficking.

Wall Street can keep their profits-at-any-cost approach to investing; I will keep my integrity. And if Oxford University is right, I may end up keeping more money in the long run anyway.

How about you?

PS – You can read the entire Wall Street Journal article here. But your IQ may drop after doing so. Just saying.

Blessings,

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

Does Your Conscience Have A Price? Biblically Responsible Investing In The Age Of High Return, Low Fee Idolatry.

You probably remember the 1993 movie “Indecent Proposal” even if you never saw it (which I hope is the case…bleh) because of it’s infamous plot line: a billionaire offers a young couple $1,000,000 for one night with the wife. Indecent proposal indeed. The plot is brilliant, even if the movie is not, because it touches a very human issue that we all are confronted with on a daily basis: Does your conscience have a price? In our modern day of finance, where Wall Street calls for high profits and low fees above all else, the Christian investor must seriously consider whether there is a return high enough, or fee low enough, that would entice them to abandon God’s call to biblically responsible investing.

Make good choices

Everyday, moment by moment, we are forced to choose between upholding good ethics and morals, or giving in to the temptations of our more base desires. Sometimes the decision to do the right thing may come almost effortlessly, like opening a door for an old woman, or choosing to pay for your candy bar instead of stealing it away in your pocket. But it wasn’t always that way, was it? There was a time in all our lives (hopefully when we were very young!) when the temptation of the forbidden candy bar held an irresistible allure and we really had to wrestle with ourselves to ensure that candy bar did not end up sneaking out of the store in our little larcenous pocket.

When we were a child, the price of our conscience may have been scant more than a candy bar. But now, as adults, does our conscience still have a price, albeit a much higher one? Put another way, is there some payoff high enough that would cause you to accept an “indecent proposal”? In our best moments, and only by the grace of God, our answer is no. There is no payment high enough, nor penalty great enough, that would cause me to sin against my God. But in our worst moments, the answer unfortunately is yes. And often the price is ridiculously low. The Apostle Paul embodies this struggle as he was led by the Holy Spirit to write,

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing…24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:18-19,24-25)

50 shades of neon

Today, the siren’s call to Christian investors is to join the world and chase high returns and lower fees no matter what. On one hand you have unscrupulous brokers promising sky-high returns with investments in the booming marijuana business, cryptocurrencies (aka. Bitcoin, et al), gold, silver and ocean front property in Arizona. These con jobs are usually pretty easy to spot, especially because the popup ads they use are about 50 different colors of neon and size 3,000 extra-super-bold font. As silly and ridiculous as these gigs are, there are many who fall prey to their allure of greed. I know because some have come seeking my advice after losing their shirts.

But what about other businesses, such as abortion and pornography? If you asked the average Christian investor if they would consider buying into the porn business, they would probably (hopefully!) say no. But, if you asked the average Christian investor if they would consider buying into the porn business for a 100% annual return on their money…well…

I submit to you that this scenario is playing out every single day with Christian investors around the world, except instead of 100% annual returns, Christians are selling out for much, much less. In fact, in some cases they are selling out for less than the price of a candy bar. Allow me to explain.

King Solomon talks biblically responsible investing

Let’s say you have $50,000 to invest. Where will you put it? Many investors, including Christian investors, will end up buying a mutual fund or ETF (exchange traded fund) of some sort. Maybe you would choose the highest performing actively managed fund you can find, or maybe you would focus on investing in the lowest cost index fund available. In either case, you would sensibly be trying to maximize your return (either through stellar investment management or by saving money on fees), but is that a biblical approach? Now, there is nothing wrong with investing in high performing funds, and certainly there is no problem with keeping fees low with index investing (I happen to be a fan), but for the Christian investor there are other — and I dare say more important — issues to consider, namely those of biblical morals.

Hear the words of Solomon, “Better is a little with righteousness than great gains with injustice.”(Proverbs 16:8) In this verse and others like it, the Bible’s clear teaching is that righteousness is more important than financial gain. Biblically responsible investing (BRI) is the practice of making biblical values the first priority in investment decisions as an obedient act of worship for the glory of God. This means aligning your investments with biblical values, avoiding companies involved in immoral businesses like abortion and pornography, and instead choosing investments in companies which are a blessing to their customers, communities, workforce and the world — and then taking into consideration maximizing returns and minimizing expenses within the context of the available, biblically responsible investment options.

The problem is that by and large, Christian investors have gotten this process backward. They heed the advice of Wall Street first and God second. (That is never a good idea, by the way.) They put first priority on finding the highest performing, lowest cost investments without giving thought to the moral concerns of those investments…or if they do consider biblical values it is only as an afterthought and results in a portfolio that might employ a few screens, such as tobacco or alcohol, but falls far short of the standard of diligently stewarding God’s assets in accordance with his values for His glory. We have caved into the demand of this age that we fulfill our “fiduciary duty” to keep fees as low as possible and returns as high as possible, and abandoned our first and eternally more important “stewardship duty” to “honor God with your wealth.”(Proverbs 3:9) We have been “conformed to the pattern of this world”(Romans 12:2) and are bowing down to the idols of low fees and high returns.

And, by the way, just because you put biblical values first does not mean that you must sacrifice returns. Recent research by Wharton School of Business, Oxford University and Biola University all have concluded that employing values based screening like biblically responsible investing does not negatively affect performance…in fact, they find that screening actually can help improve performance. Some critics say biblically responsible investing advocates use the Bible as an excuse for charging higher fees or being lazy about choosing quality investments. I disagree. I think those critics use low fees and the ever-elusive seduction of higher returns as an excuse for their financial idolatry.

Now what about that candy bar?

To make matters worse, the price we have accepted in this compromise of financial idolatry is often pathetically small. Going back to that $50,000 investment you have to make, let’s say that you chose to invest in a very low cost fund that had a total expense ratio of 0.10%. And let’s say that there was an equivalent, biblically responsible investing fund with an expense ratio of 1.00%. That means that you chose to prioritize lower fees above biblical values for a total savings of 0.90% per year. Putting that into dollars, that means that you decided to invest in abortion, pornography, human trafficking and other immoral industries instead of honoring God first for a total annual savings of $450/year ($50,000 x 0.009 = $450). That is just $1.23 per day…the price of a cheap candy bar.

But, you might say, what if I have much more than $50,000 to invest? My savings would be higher than just a candy bar! Yes, this is true. If you have more than $50,000 to invest then your nominal savings goes up some, so maybe your price to sell out on God is a latte per day instead of a candy bar. Or maybe you have millions of dollars to invest and your savings would be measured in thousands of dollars. Maybe you have so much money that your savings would be, oh, let’s say an even $1,000,000. Is that a high enough price for you to accept the “indecent proposal” of Wall Street billionaires?

Wall Street would applaud your “wisdom” as a “good fiduciary”. The Bible would call that idolatry.

Grace, truth and biblically responsible investing

Now, let me be the first to confess that I invested as an idolater for years, never realizing that I was investing in and profiting from the vilest sin and immorality the depraved human mind can conjure. And I want you to know that I have a lot of grace for those still investing the way of the world, because I know that most Christian investors are just like I was, unwittingly investing in atrocities because they have never been taught to think biblically about their investments. And this is exactly what needs to change.

We need to heed the call in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We need to extend grace to our brothers and sisters who are caught up in the world’s ways, and at the same time we need to understand that ignorance is not an excuse. In the words of the Apostle Paul, we need to:

“…equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”(Ephesians 4:12-16)

And it starts with you. It starts with looking in the mirror of God’s perfect word, submitting to the call to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31), including managing your investments, and then making the change to become a biblically responsible investor who puts righteousness and biblical morals in higher preference than fees and performance. And it continues by you doing your part to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” and sharing what you have learned about the importance of being obedient to God with your investment decisions with the other Christians in your life. Will you join us?

Beloved Christian, Wall Street is beckoning you to invest in immoral industries with the ephemeral allure of higher profits and lower fees. What is your answer to Wall Street’s “indecent proposal”?

Blessings,

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

How To Get Started With Biblically Responsible Investing

Introduction to Biblically Responsible Investing

There is a movement underway in the world of finance where Christians are investing billions of dollars intentionally to support biblical values for the glory of God, and it is called Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI). More and more Christians are waking up to the opportunity to align their investments with biblical values, as well as discovering the unsettling truth that they have previously been profiting from immoral businesses such as abortion, pornography, human trafficking and other unbiblical practices. The growing demand for biblically responsible investments is changing the landscape of Wall Street and gaining global recognition as a powerful force for positive change for God’s glory throughout the world. However, many Christian investors are at a loss for how to get started with biblically responsible investing, but biblically responsible investing does not have to be complicated. Following is a step by step guide to make it simple and easy to implement biblically responsible investing in your financial life.


Step 1:
Discover What You Own From A Biblically Responsible Investing Perspective

The first step in the journey towards biblically responsible investing is to discover the truth about what you own in your investment account. What are the companies that you own in your 401(k), IRA, mutual funds, ETFs and other investments doing to turn a profit? Are they manufacturing abortion drugs, selling pornography, using slave labor in their supply chains? Are they donating money to Planned Parenthood? Lobbying to advance the LGBT agenda? I vividly remember the moment that I discovered the troubling truth of what I was invested in and how shocked I was to find that here I was, the president of our local pro-life pregnancy center, and I also owned stock in 3 companies through my mutual funds that were manufacturing abortion drugs. That means that every time a young woman went to Planned Parenthood and had an abortion, I was profiting from that transaction. That realization changed my life forever, as it has for countless other biblically responsible investors around the world today.

So, how do you go about finding out what the moral value of your portfolio is? It is certainly a daunting task to consider, and quite impossible for the average investor to compile the amount of research necessary to dig into the dirty details of every company in their portfolio. After all, it is hard enough just to read your quarterly statement without going cross eyed, let alone pour through thousands of hard to find data points on thousands of publicly traded companies.

The good news is that you don’t have to because there are Christian financial professionals, such as the members of our Christian Wealth Management network, that have robust analytic technology where they plug in your investment ticker symbols and out pops easy to understand reports that show you everything you ever wanted to know (and everything you NEVER wanted to know) about the moral issues in your portfolio.

There is also www.inspireinsight.com, which is a free online tool that our team built to empower investors with the biblical values data they need to make informed, God honoring decisions. Insight brings together the most robust data sets from the world’s leading providers, such as Thomson Reuters, Value Line, TruValue Labs and others, and makes that information freely available to anyone with an Internet connection.

All you need is to type in your ticker symbols or search the name of a company and instantly you have all the data related to the biblical values issues, both good and bad, that company is involved in as well as financial performance data so that you can make an investment decision that is both “wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove” (Matthew 10:16).

Are you ready to discover the truth about your investments? Ignorance is certainly not bliss, and I encourage you to take that step and see for yourself what is going on behind closed doors in your portfolio.

Step 2: Explore Biblically Responsible Investing Options

If you are like me, once you discover the moral issues in your current portfolio you will want to make a change as soon as possible. So, how do you build a biblically responsible investing portfolio? Upon learning about biblically responsible investing, some Christian investors have the concern that it will be difficult to find enough quality biblically responsible investment options to construct an outstanding portfolio that meets their financial goals. But praise God that the fact of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of companies pass even the most stringent biblically responsible investing screening criterion so that there is no shortage of quality companies for biblically responsible investors to allocate capital to. There are also a large and growing number of biblically responsible investing mutual funds, including lower cost ETFs (exchange traded funds) and other professionally managed investment vehicles available for biblically responsible investors and Christian financial advisors to use in their portfolios.

One word of caution: there are many investment funds issued by Christian faith-based organizations that one would assume are managed according to biblically responsible investing guidelines, but in fact do very little (or sometimes zero) investment screening. Also, not every Christian financial advisor is trained or equipped in biblically responsible investing, so do not just assume because your advisor is a Christian that they are managing your investments according to biblical values. Many Christian advisors, just like Christian investors, still have no idea that there is a major moral dilemma present in the portfolios they manage. As a good steward of God’s investments, be sure to do your homework and check the biblically responsible investing reports on www.inspireinsight.com even for Christian funds and advisors to make sure you know what you are investing in.

Once you identify your available investment options that meet biblically responsible investing screening criterion, the rest of the investment selection process is exactly the same as building any other portfolio: consider the risks, returns, fees, diversification and other important aspects to build your biblically responsible investing portfolio.

If you are a do-it-yourself investor, you can find many helpful resources direct from investment fund providers and analysis sites like www.inspireinsight.com. If managing your own investment portfolio is not on your list of favorite things to do, consider working with a Christian financial advisor who is trained in biblically responsible investing, like our Christian Wealth Management professional network members.

Step 3: Start Biblically Responsible Investing And Impact The World For God’s Glory!

After discovering what you own from a biblically responsible investing perspective, and then exploring your biblically responsible investing options, it is time to pull the proverbial trigger and become a biblically responsible investor, joining the growing number of other Christian investors in the biblically responsible investing movement!

The BRI movement is an exciting phenomenon that Wall Street is completely unprepared for. I have spoken with thousands of Christian investors and advisors over the past several years and I can attest to the fact that there is an awakening going on where the Holy Spirit is illuminating the importance of investing for God’s glory and placing a passionate conviction in the hearts of His people zealous to honor God in their financial life, just as they do in other areas of life.

God makes it clear in His word, the Holy Bible, that He wants His people to manage His money according to His values for His glory, and our joy. “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Christians control trillions of dollars in investment assets, and together we can inspire transformation for God’s glory throughout the world by aligning our investments (God’s investments!) with biblical values, sending a powerful message to Wall Street and corporations everywhere that God’s people care about biblical values enough to “put our money where our faith is”.

There are already biblically responsible investing success stories, such as corporations ending their philanthropic support of Planned Parenthood and hotels removing pornography from their televisions, and by the grace of God we will see even more of these inspiring stories unfolding. But, even if nothing changes and corporations continue to go from bad to worse, it is still the biblically responsible investor’s joy to glorify God by honoring His values with His investment assets. One day we will all stand before our Lord and give an account for what we have done with all He has given us during our time on earth. I want to hear the “well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master” regarding every part of my life, including how I managed God’s investments. What about you?

Blessings,

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

Do Not Desire To Be Rich

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9)

How easy it is to desire to be rich. We certainly do not desire to be poor, do we? But here in the scriptures Paul issues a sobering warning to Timothy that those who desire to be rich run afoul with all sorts of disaster. I don’t know about you, but this causes me to pause and examine my heart because “ruin and destruction” are certainly not part of my long term financial goals.

But is wanting to be rich really against biblical teaching? Yes, yes it is. Consider that just a few verses later Paul exhorts Timothy (and all Christians, including you and me) saying, “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.” (1 Timothy 6:11). God does not want His children chasing after riches any more than a mother wants her child to chase a ball across a busy street. It is not that the object being chased is necessarily wrong, but that the chase will absolutely end in ruin. Take note that Paul is not warning against riches, but rather the desire to be rich.

But isn’t the desire to be rich what drives our entire economic and investment system? Yes, yes it is. This is a problem because it is quite apparent by even the most cursory survey of the culture around us that most people desire to be rich, which means that they are careening headfirst into “many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction”. They are chasing their ball across the autobahn and the resulting carnage is all around us: Broken marriages, corrupt businesses, exploitation of the poor, families left destitute by dad’s (or mom’s) excessive risk taking.

And Christians are just as guilty as everyone else. In fact, many popular “prosperity gospel” preachers actually teach their adherents that they should desire to be rich, and that they should petition God loudly and persistently for material wealth, and that riches are a sign of strong faith. This is pure theological sewage and if someone is trying to feed it to you run away as fast as possible. The prosperity “gospel” is not the gospel at all. It is exactly what Paul describes in our text, a “temptation, a snare” that “plunge people into ruin and destruction”. Flee from it.

And even if you and I are not drinking from the sewer water that so many prosperity preachers are serving up, it is still far too easy in our culture to desire to be rich without even realizing it. How many times have I desired a bigger house, nicer car, expensive clothes, bigger income, lavish vacations, high-performing investments? Or in other words, how often do I desire to be rich? And don’t we see the damage even these “normal” American desires can be? We are tempted to buy as much house as we can qualify for, the nicest car we can finance and the largest credit limit we can get approved for. The result is often disastrous. Lost house. Lost car. Mountains of debt. Ruined life. The desire to be rich is insidious.

So, what are we to do? Thankfully Paul does not leave us hanging, but continues, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Ruin and destruction? No thanks. Kill the desire to be rich.

Everything to enjoy? Count me in.

Set your hopes on God. Be rich in good works. Share. Store up eternal treasure in heaven. Take hold of that which is truly life. God help us.

Blessings,

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

Reflections On My First Wall Street Journal Article

It is a strange thing to see your picture in the Wall Street Journal for the first time. It makes you realize how normal the other people you see in the media are, because you know yourself and yourself is nothing special. Also strange is reading an article in the Wall Street Journal that “you wrote”, wondering what it is going to say because you did not actually write it, even though the WSJ makes it seem that you did. So, now that I have actually gotten to read “my” article and seen what I have to say, I have a few thoughts to share as well as some lessons learned. (PS – you can read the Wall Street Journal article here.)

1) I am humbled and thankful that The Wall Street Journal would choose to publish a story about me and my experience with biblically responsible investing.  I really am nothing special, but I serve a God who is awesome beyond compare. If there is anything good or praiseworthy in my life and work, it is only by the grace of God and to his glory. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36) If anyone tries to make a big deal out of me, they are sadly mistaken. Make a big deal about my God. He alone is worthy.

2) I wish The Wall Street Journal would have chosen a different title for the article. The one they chose, “Biblically Responsible Investing: A Lucrative Niche For Advisors”, strongly implies that the reason to pursue biblically responsible investing is because it is a “lucrative niche”. While it may be true that it can be lucrative, that most emphatically is NOT the reason any advisor or investor should practice biblically responsible investing. The only reason Christians should practice biblically responsible investing is because scripture clearly teaches to glorify God in everything that you do. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) If we are commanded to eat and drink in a manner that brings glory to God, surely we must do all we can to invest His money according to His values for His glory — regardless of the “lucrativity” of the outcome. In fact, scripture goes so far as to say that even if it means making less money that we should pursue righteousness in our financial dealings anyway, “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.” (Proverbs 16:8) That is a hard pill to swallow in our flesh, but is a very revealing truth that exposes our hearts for what they are. Would you invest for God’s glory even if it meant you made less money on your investments?

3) It is happening. The biblically responsible investing revolution is really happening. The fact that The Wall Street Journal would write a major piece highlighting biblically responsible investing in a positive light is quite staggering. The time is coming when biblically responsible investing is correctly understood and practiced as a vital component of biblical stewardship throughout the church, just like giving, proper debt management, and other commonly taught biblical financial practices. More investors are investing according to biblical values today than ever before in the history of the world, and the numbers are growing. God is on the move. (As always.)

4) I don’t think I will be letting any reporters write stories for me without any editorial control again. Except for the aforementioned “lucrative” issue, the article came out pretty decent. But it could have been a total train wreck.

Above all else, what this particular experience has made clear to me is the great divide between the perspective of the world, which looks at the motivation behind serving God through the lens of being “lucrative” or other worldly measures of success, contrasted with the Christian’s great joy and preeminent desire to glorify God in all we do, regardless of the outcome. We serve God for He is worthy, not for what He is worth. Is that true for you?

Blessings,

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

THE CRISIS OF INFLUENCE

Esther did not intend to be queen. It was not listed in her 10 year strategic vision. But she found herself in a place of influence during a time of crisis for her people, God’s people, and she was called upon by her people to take action. She was called upon to use the influence that God had given her to be a blessing, even a means of salvation. But exercising this influence would come at a great cost to Esther – namely the risk of her very life. As Esther spoke, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live.” (Esther 4:11)

What influence has God given you? When crisis comes, and it will come, and you are called upon to exercise that influence for God’s glory, will you be ready and willing to do so – despite the deep personal cost that undoubtedly will come with it? Step forward with boldness! Pray and fast and entrust yourself to the Lord as Esther did! “Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:15,16)

There is no better place for a person than in the will of God, and there is no better step than the step of faith. Though the specters of fear and death crowd close around you, if you will press through in faith you will find yourself safe in God’s mighty hand. Linger in doubt and your fears may just come to pass. As Esther was told, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13,14)

Press in to God. Use your influence for His glory. Enter the throne room in faith and do not be afraid. God is with you.

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

Christians, Dirty Money & Financial Revival

I had no idea that I was making money from abortions. I also had no idea I was making money on the sale of pornography. But every time someone used an abortion drug or bought an X-rated movie from Amazon or their TV provider like AT&T, Verizon, Dish Network and DirectTV, I was making a cut of that profit. With God’s money.

I was just like hundreds of millions of other Christians in this world who have the wool pulled over their eyes by the great Babylon of Wall St. For some reason, it had never occurred to me that the companies that I owned in my mutual funds, ETFs and stock and bond portfolios were the very same companies that were manufacturing, selling and promoting the vilest products of immorality and unholiness that the depraved human mind can conjure. But there it was plain as day, the truth that I was ignorantly profiting from the nails in my Savior’s hands, the thorns on His glorious brow and the spear through His broken heart.

And most likely, so are you.

Take for example the most heavily traded index fund in the world, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (ticker: SPY). This fund has $237.26 billion dollars in assets and trades an astonishing 18 million shares, or roughly $4.3 billion, per hour. Chances are that you are invested in this fund, or some other fund like it from Vanguard, iShares, American Funds or other company. The chart below shows the information that changed my life forever, and details exactly what owners of these funds are profiting from.

The question is, do you care?

Believe me, I know this is a difficult question to answer because the ramifications of “yes” mean a complete and total departure from the so-called financial wisdom of this world. My personal “yes” cost me all the financial security this world has to offer. And yes, I have also heard the attempts by some to sidestep this issue by saying that buying stock in the secondary market (as is done on the stock exchange, mutual funds, etc) does not actually support the company or give them any money. But they miss the point completely. The issue is not about some kind of financial boycott to withhold our money from “evil companies”, the issue is the unavoidable truth that as an owner of that stock, you and I are profiting from the most grievous of sins. Instead of “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11), we are pocketing the cash in the name of the Lord.

Hear the merciful appeal of God in His holy word, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2). Set aside for a moment the questions and doubts of how to invest in a way that is not “conformed to this world”, and instead ask God to give you the faith to trust Him, to believe that His ways are better than our ways, whatever they may be. Ask your Lord to give you ears deaf to the commentators of this age who point fingers at you and yell “Fool! Bigot! Intolerant!”, but attentive to the voice from heaven that calls, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)

Pray for personal, spiritual, financial revival.

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

Overcoming Fear

Everything involves risk.  Especially things that matter.

When faced with the risk of failure and loss, fear is a natural emotion, but fear must be overcome. The popular “self-help” style of overcoming fear is to assume a false confidence that “everything will work out”, channeling Polly Anna with her rose-colored glasses, and resolutely ignoring the risk of failure. However, downplaying or ignoring the risk is not really overcoming fear, it is just a game of make-believe. Deep down you still know the risk is there and it gnaws at the back of your mind. You are still a prisoner of the specter of failure, you just have your eyes closed. Truly overcoming fear requires you to not ignore the risk, but rather to embrace the very real consequences of failure.

You might not succeed. You might fail. You could lose everything. That’s a real possibility.

Then there is just one question that you need to answer:  Is your calling worth the risk?

If you failed, miserably failed, and your worst nightmares came true, would it still have been worth it?  Do you believe in your cause enough to damn the torpedoes, step into the fire, do your best and leave the results to God, whatever they may be?  If the answer is no, then you don’t have the conviction you will need to succeed.  Even successful endeavors spend some time on the brink of failure, staring wide eyed into the open jaws of defeat and despair.  Without the steel and grit of the unshakable conviction that you must triumph, that your work is too great to back down from, you will come upon those dark and fearful times and perish, being swallowed up by dismay.  If your fear is greater than your conviction, you will eventually fail.  If your conviction is greater than your fear, then fear will never stop you, and even though you might give out, you will never give up.

Embrace the possibility of magnificent failure, trust God, and walk in victory over your fears.

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.