How do you find a Christian financial advisor? It can be a stressful process. Who can you trust to skillfully and wisely guide you through all of life’s financial twists and turns? What if you find a Christian financial advisor and they end up being the wrong pick? And what if you don’t realize they are the wrong advisor until it is too late? And for us Christians, are there biblical considerations that we should take into account to find a financial advisor?
Here are four qualities that Christian investors should demand when looking to find a financial advisor.
If you want a financial advisor who has wisdom, then this is a non-negotiable. The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”(Proverbs 9:10) If we are to believe the Bible, which we do, then this verse states very plainly that only those who fear the Lord can attain to wisdom. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and a certain financial advisor does not fear the Lord, then scripture says that financial advisor does not have wisdom.
But some may challenge this notion, asking, “Surely there are non-Christian financial advisors who give good advice, aren’t there?”
To answer that question, let’s start by assuming that the Bible is actually correct, which it is. Next, let us consider the definition of “wisdom”. Does wisdom mean making decisions or giving advice that has beneficial earthly outcomes, such as a high performing investment portfolio? Or is there a deeper, and more important element to wisdom that the Bible is referring to?
Consider another verse of scripture dealing with wisdom, “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’”(1 Corinthians 3:19-20) This verse makes clear that God has a different definition of wisdom than the world does — and importantly, His definition is the correct definition!
True wisdom has its roots in the fear of the Lord, and as such it always brings glory to God. Worldly “wisdom” has its roots in the cleverness of men, and as such never brings glory to God. We must recognize that there are decisions that the world would count as wise but that are complete foolishness to God. Conversely, there are decisions that God counts as wise, yet the world sees as abject folly.
Which decisions would you rather make?
But, that does not mean that all Christian financial advisors give wise advice.
That brings us to the second point. At the risk of sounding redundant, if a Christian investor is going to seek advice from a financial advisor, they should only seek advice from a Christian financial advisor. Always.
And they should also demand excellence from that Christian financial advisor, just as they would from any other professional advising them on the most important decisions in their life. Always.
Scripture warns believers about receiving advice from those who are not following after Christ:
“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)
We must remind ourselves that apart from Christ, “None is righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). Only by grace through faith in Christ can we escape our wicked, sinful, scoffing state of depravity. “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)
The implication is that no matter how nice, talented or helpful an unbelieving financial advisor is, they have not had their minds, hearts and spirits renewed by faith in Christ, and as such their advice is inherently, spiritually flawed and the Bible warns us not to seek their guidance, not to “walk in their counsel”.
However, that does not mean that Christian investors should choose to work with just any Christian financial advisor. Putting a Jesus fish on a business card is not a free pass to deliver sub-standard performance. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
Christian professionals should be the hardest working, most trustworthy, devoted to excellence individuals in the marketplace. Christian investors should demand excellence in their search to find a Christian financial advisor.
Jesus said, “Each tree is known by its own fruit.”(Luke 6:44)
There are many people who may claim the name of “Christian”, yet their pattern of life does not give evidence of the Lordship of Christ. Put another way, there are many financial advisors who may claim the name of “Christian”, yet there is no “fruit” to give us confidence that they are born again followers of Christ.
Worse than that, there are also those who would masquerade under the Christian banner with the explicit purpose of defrauding Christian investors. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Before doing business with a Christian financial advisor, be sure to evaluate their character and pattern of life. Check character references from a pastor, ask them what church they attend and what ministries they serve or volunteer in.
Only God truly knows the heart, but the Bible exhorts us to be wise in our assessment of the people in our life, and especially those who we take advice from.
Finally, Christian investors should look for a Christian financial advisor who is skilled in biblically responsible investing (BRI).
BRI is the practice of aligning investment portfolios to support biblical values by excluding companies that are engaged in immoral activities, such as abortion or human trafficking, and instead seeking to invest in companies which are more closely aligned with God’s heart and operate as a blessing to the world.
Unfortunately, many Christian financial advisors do not have the resources or experience to deliver high quality, biblically responsible investing advice. Often this is no fault of the advisor, but rather a result of their firm not having a robust lineup of biblically responsible investing offerings. And sometimes the advisor may have the investments available for his or her use, but lack experience in managing a quality BRI portfolio that rivals or exceeds the results one would expect from a worthwhile investment.
Thankfully, there are a growing number of biblically responsible investing options becoming available to Christian financial advisors at firms across the nation. And there is also a growing knowledge bank of best practices, training, screening technology and other professional resources becoming available to equip Christian financial advisors to become proficient in providing biblically responsible investing services.
The largest multi-firm, nationwide membership network of Christian financial advisors dedicated specifically to advancing the BRI movement is Christian Wealth Management. Full disclosure, I am also the founder and CEO of Christian Wealth Management, so I might be a little biased in saying that www.ChristianWealthManagement.com could be a great place to start for investors looking to find a Christian financial advisor to provide them with sophisticated guidance from a biblical perspective. I recommend you visit the site and judge for yourself.
There are many important considerations when choosing a financial advisor, and for Christian investors there are additional qualities in the areas of godly character, fear of the Lord, God-glorifying excellence and biblically responsible investing which must be examined. Find a Christian financial advisor who displays all of these traits, and you have found an advisor who is worth listening to.
Scripture compels us to live our entire lives for the glory of God, and the management of our finances (which ultimately belong to God) is no exception. Don’t settle for anything less.