Frequently Asked Questions

Listed are the most common questions we receive. We hope they answer some of your questions too. If not, please feel free to contact us!

Investing

What is biblically responsible investing?

Biblically responsible investing is taking 1 Cor 10:31 at face value.  Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.  Inspires approach to BRI is to threefold:

  1. Endorse companies making a positive impact on the world;
  2. Engage with companies to create positive Biblical change; and
  3. Exclude companies involved in immoral issues.

Do I need to sacrifice performance to invest in clean companies?

No, you do not.  Good values and good returns are not mutually exclusive. While no strategy can ever guarantee positive investment returns, research from Biola University, Oxford University, Wharton and others suggest that investment performance has benefited from values-based investment practices, such as BRI. We discuss this topic more here on our blog post Performance Study on Inspire’s Biblically Responsible Investing Strategy

That said, the book of Proverbs teaches, “Better is a little with righteousness than greater revenues with injustice” (Prov 16:8 ESV).  So, as Christians, if we had to choose between higher returns with immoral investments, or lower returns with God glorifying investments we should, without hesitation, joyfully choose the option that glorifies God no matter what the returns.  (Just sayin’)

You might also be interested in this blog post.

Are there enough companies that pass biblical screens to build a diversified portfolio?

Yes, there are. In fact, we maintain Inspire Impact Scores on more than 4,500 companies globally of which 88% pass all biblical screening criteria, with failing scores mostly concentrated among the largest mega-cap companies. You can check the Inspire Impact Score of any company or fund yourself at inspireinsight.com.

If Apple stock is dirty, does that mean I need to get rid of my iPhone?

This is a great question we get all the time. Inspire believes there is a biblical line between consumerism and ownership. As a consumer, you are only responsible for the product or service that you purchased, not for the actions of the company you purchased it from. An iPhone is not immoral, and neither is owning one.

But, as a shareholder of Apple or any other company, you are participating in the profits and all other corporate actions of that company because you are an owner of that company. It doesn’t matter how much or how little of the company you own, you are still an owner.  

If that company you own is involved in immoral businesses, like abortion or pornography, or is donating corporate profits to support immoral issues such as giving money to Planned Parenthood, then you are responsible for that activity. It’s your company.

We encourage you to study 1 Corinthians 10:14-31 for a biblical perspective on this topic.

Is buying a stock really supporting a company?

Yes, when you buy a stock you are providing upward support for the stock price of that company. And more importantly, you have now become an owner of that company and are profiting from and supporting all of its corporate activities.  

Some argue that if you buy stock on the secondary market (ie: stock exchange) that you are not directly giving the money to the company, just like buying a used car does not give money to the car company. While it is true that your money is not going directly into the bank account of the company, your purchase is still benefiting the company via supporting its stock price and you are still becoming part owner of the company. (See question above on ownership vs. consumerism).

Read more on this in our post Christian, Dirty Money & Financial Revival

Can I invest with Inspire internationally?

ETFs trade on an exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange, and are available on all online brokerage accounts or through most financial advisors. As long as your investment account has access to buying individual stocks, you can buy ETFs.

My advisor is Christian, isn't she already screening my investments?

Probably not. There is a widely held assumption that every Christian advisor or Christian fund company automatically screens for biblical issues. However, many if not most Christian advisors do not invest biblically unless their client specifically asks for it. And many Christian advisors have still never heard of BRI and/or do not have the tools available to them to implement biblical investing. It is always best to make sure to have a conversation with your advisor and let them know these values matter to you.

If you want to see if your current portfolio is screened for biblical values, you can see for yourself at inspireinsight.com.

Fees

Does investing biblically mean I have to pay high fees?

It used to, but not anymore. You’re welcome. 😉

However, you might also be interested in this blog post.  

Does the Give50 campaign mean you give away my profits?

No. We only donate funds from our own corporate revenues. All investment funds have management fees, whether low or high, that investors have to pay. What makes Inspire unique is that we donate 50 percent or more of the profit we make from these management fees to Christian ministries. You can learn more about the Give50 campaign on our Impact page.

Total lifetime giving $131,548 as of 8/24/21

Screening

What types of screens do you use?

At Inspire our unique approach to screening which we call Inspire Impact Score Methodology includes both positive screens and exclusionary screens. We have a short video and blog post that discuss this in more detail.

What if some of your screens are not important to me?

That’s ok. We understand that not all issues are important to all investors; however, every issue screened does have a group of investors who do care about it. Therefore, in order to serve and be a blessing to those investors, we take all these issues into consideration.

Also, regardless of whether these issues are important to you or not, studies have found that implementing values-based analysis such as the Inspire Impact Score Methodology has benefited some portfolio returns. And who doesn’t like that?

See our blog post Performance study of Biblically Responsible Investing. to learn more.

What happens when a company Inspire owns violates one of the screens?

This is one of the biggest opportunities we see to inspire transformation.  When a company we own violates a screen, our investment committee begins a detailed process of corporate engagement with that company to communicate our concerns and what actions are needed to correct the issue and prevent removal from our portfolios.

If the company responds positively and makes the necessary changes, we celebrate the transformation and keep them in our portfolios.  If the company does not make the requested changes, they are removed from our portfolios. Click here to see a detailed infographic detailing our process.

You screen out LGBT activism, does that mean you encourage discrimination?

No, it does not. To the contrary, Inspire loves our neighbors in the LGBT community and encourages all of our portfolio companies to provide a tolerant, non-discriminatory work environment, outstanding benefits, and opportunity for all of their employees, including those in the LGBT community and those who believe in traditional marriage. What we consider problematic is when a company decides to engage in LGBT activism, disregarding their employees and shareholders who hold a traditional view on marriage and sexuality.

Does screening matter?

Absolutely, screening matters. If we say that we are against certain issues, like abortion or human trafficking for instance, then we should not be investing in those businesses in order to profit from them. Also, studies have found that implementing screens such as the Inspire Impact Score Methodology has benefited some portfolio returns and lowered portfolio risk. Who doesn’t like that? For more information please read the Performance study of Biblically Responsible Investing.*Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

How do I find out if my current investments are violating my values?

We thought you would never ask! Visit inspireinsight.com and type in the ticker symbols of the stocks or funds you own in the search bar.  The results will show you if there are any violations in categories important to you. If you don’t like what you see, you can submit your most recent investment account statement here to receive a more in-depth analysis on your portfolio as well as explore some investment alternatives.

If you look hard enough, isn't every company dirty?

No. While every company is run by people, and every person has their problems, it does not mean that every company is involved in corporate sponsored immoral activity. In fact, we maintain impact scores on more than 4,500 companies globally of which 88% pass all biblical screening criteria, with failing scores mostly concentrated among only the largest mega-cap companies. You can see the data on any company for yourself directly at inspireinsight.com.

How is the Inspire Impact Score Calculated?

The Inspire Impact Score Methodology begins by filtering companies through exclusionary screens and assigns negative points where violations are found. If there are violations found, then negative points are assigned based upon the scope of violations. If there no violations found, then positive screens are applied and positive points assigned.  The result is that any company with a score above zero is considered investible from Inspire’s biblically responsible viewpoint, while any company with a score below zero is excluded from Inspire portfolios.

Chart of how scores are assigned

About Inspire

How are you different from other Christian investment firms?

Inspire is different than other Christian investment firms in three ways:

  1. Inspire’s unique investment approach goes beyond exclusionary screens to include positive screening criteria. Inspire believes that just because a company is not bad, does not necessarily mean it is good. With the Inspire Impact Score we can find the most inspiring, biblically-aligned companies making the world a better place — companies you would truly be proud to own.
  2. Inspire’s Give50 campaign donates 50% or more of our own corporate profits to Christian Ministries each year. That means that every dollar you invest with Inspire is helping to create meaningful impact in the lives of people all over the world – impact that will last for eternity!
  3. Inspire’s corporate engagement program advocates for transformation within companies by reaching out to companies when they violate exclusionary screens and advocating for the values of our investors. This is a powerful means of inspiring transformation not just in businesses, but across our entire culture.

How do I invest with Inspire?

There are many ways that you can invest with Inspire:  

  1. You can buy investments directly if you already have a brokerage account.  
  2. You can also invest in professionally managed Inspire portfolios by opening an account online through Bright portfolios quickly and easily, and for less than you would pay a traditional financial advisor.
  3. If you aren’t comfortable with either of those options, you can get help from a Christian financial advisor who can give you guidance on investments and other areas of your financial life.

ETFs

How do I buy ETFs?

ETF stands for Exchange Traded Funds and are “funds” that “trade” on an “exchange”, such as the New York Stock Exchange, just like a stock. They are easy to use, low cost, tax efficient investment vehicles and are widely available on most online brokerage accounts or through most financial advisors.  There are 3 common mistakes ETF investors make. To learn how to avoid them watch this video.

Where can I buy ETFs?

We are happy to say yes, you can invest with Inspire Internationally! Here is a very useful site that allows a foreign individual to find a US brokerage platform that support investors in their country – aka where you could open an account and invest with Inspire on the NYSE. Click the link below, type the name of a country in the top right and then a list of eligible stock brokers appears below in the right sidebar. Open an account with one of them and you are ready to invest!

stockbrokers.com/guides/internationaltrading

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