If you are thinking about hiring a financial services firm, it is imperative to consider how that firm’s values align with your own.
In today’s episode of Retire in Texas, Darryl Lyons explores essential considerations when choosing a financial institution, diving into topics ranging from aligning your investments with Judeo-Christian values to legacy planning and the biblical perspective on retirement.
Some key discussion points include:
- How to approach financial discussions through a biblical worldview.
- A breakdown of eight considerations to evaluate when hiring a financial services firm.
- A challenge to the conventional view of retirement, emphasizing that from a biblical perspective, retirement should not be viewed as the disposal of an asset but rather as a transition to a different purpose.
- The importance of financial institutions being open to Christian health insurance alternatives.
If you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to share it with your friends and family!
Hey, this is Darryl Lyons, CEO and co-founder of PAX Financial Group. And thanks for tuning in to retire in Texas. This information is general in nature only. It’s not intended to provide specific tax, investment or legal advice. Visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information. So, I want to make sure that you go to our website from time to time.
We have some eBooks on there and grab some of those eBooks to digest content because I can only give you kind of a high-level stuff through a 15 to 20 minute podcast. Now, you may or may not have caught this, but generally speaking, this podcast is going to have content that is in the financial planning space. So, I’ll cover whether it’s estate planning or taxes.
I stay a lot in the markets because I need to keep you abreast of the markets. I will also do this in such a way that I look at life through a biblical worldview. I don’t feel comfortable expressing my faith so overtly because I want to make sure you focus on some of the very salient tactical stuff. But whenever Scripture guides my thought, I do share it with you unapologetically.
But I just don’t feel like I have to preach. I just do it in an authentic fashion. And then finally, you’ll see that I don’t use a lot of numbers. Everything that I say is supported by data. And so that’s put in the show notes. But people often tell me I dumb things down for them, but basically what I’ve done is not interjected a bunch of facts and figures that confuse people.
So, you know, I just generally don’t use a lot of that in a 15- or 20-minute podcast. So those are three elements to consider. It’s going to be financial planning related, coming at life through a biblical worldview, not using a lot of numbers, all supported by research and facts, because that’s how I’m particularly wired. But that’s the format of this.
And if you find it to be helpful, then please, please share it with others as I am getting incredible feedback that this podcast is doing its job by serving people. And in the midst of this noise, we just need something that makes a little bit more sense, rational sense. This one, this particular podcast, as much as I’d like to talk about Target and how their stock continues to decline, I say that tongue in cheek.
I know why they’re declining. I don’t think the market likes to talk about why they’re declining, but maybe we’ll talk about that here soon. And that’s a little teaser. I also have like three or four really cool podcasts right around the corner that I’m just really excited to share with you. But right now, I’m going to talk about eight considerations.
When you’re hiring a financial advisory firm that you have to consider specifically if you’re thinking about how that advisory firm aligns with your values, your Christian values. If you’re not a Christian, I think there’s still a very helpful framework because when we’re talking about money, we’re talking about much more than dollars and cents. We’re talking about how to solve life problems with, you know, financial vehicles and resources, whether that’s sending kids to college or leaving an inheritance or retirement.
So, the person that’s giving you advice, if they have a complete disconnect from your worldview, it makes it difficult. And so, I think in today’s polarizing environment, we need to just take inventory of what the marketplace is doing to accommodate people with different life views. And I’m finding that these institutions are having a hard time or will have a hard time.
I’ll say it that way, being everything to everyone. So I have eight salient points that I think you have to consider when working with, I wouldn’t say a banking institution, that’s very transactional, but any institution that’s pouring into your life and giving you wisdom or advice or knowledge or information that’s going to guide your future, you have to think about is that advice aligned with my values?
So, if you’re Christian, I think the first, there’s eight of these I go through relatively quickly, but the first one is does that financial institution honor, if you’re Christian, do they honor my Christian values? This is actually becoming an issue in the marketplace. If you look you can look this up. This is public information. Bank of America recently suspended an account for a missionary group in Uganda, I think it was called the Indigenous Group.
I know I’m not getting that name 100% right, but for no reason whatsoever. And so that’s happened at other big institutions before we’ve seen it. The headlines are clear. No reason or rationale. So, there are many financial institutions that are targeting Christians. It’s the saddest and most peculiar thing at the same time, I mean, Bank of America, very large institution owned, you know, owns Merrill Lynch and a lot of people depending on that institution for financial advice and they love taking the Christians money and then on the other hand attacking them.
And so, this is happening. And if you want to look it up, you can look it up on Alliance Defending Freedoms website and push back. But, you know, question your institution. Are they honoring or in fact dishonoring Christian values? Number two, does my financial institution offer biblical responsible investing? I actually worked with a very, very one of the largest financial institutions in the world.
I was working with them on a project, and I tried to convince them that they need to reconstruct their focus to accommodate the Christian marketplace. And I was trying to make the case that there’s a business opportunity for them in the Christian marketplace, but they didn’t want to have anything to do with it.
I was trying to get them to adopt biblical responsible investing. They did not want to have anything to do with biblical responsible investing. There’s a lot of institutions out there that will not allow biblical responsible investing. If you’re at a financial institution that you’re getting advice from, it isn’t offering biblical responsible investing. I think it begs the question: is there a specific reason why or why not?
Number three, does your financial institution offer Christian donor advised funds? Donor advised funds are a way for you to give to a specific type of an account where your donation to the charity is anonymous. This is very helpful. As the dollars get bigger. And it’s very helpful because if your donations are made public in some instances, some very spiteful groups will try to find the list of donors and attack them, undermine them or harass them. Focus on the Family is a great example, the Southern Poverty Law Association states that the Focus on the Family is a hate group because of their stance on traditional marriage and the nuclear family.
So as a result, some donor advised funds have considered no longer allowing distributions or making distributions from a fund to Focus on the Family public subjecting them to harassment. I don’t think anything has been adopted.
I think there’s been dialogue, but nothing’s been adopted here. But I prefer to work with donor advised funds that are used for charitable giving. I prefer them to remain anonymous and in order to do that, I like working with donor base funds that are Christian donor advised funds that their focus is working with the Christian community. Number four: Will my financial institution advocate for religious freedom? We all have a voice as individuals, but these institutions also have a voice and a very powerful one.
And many of them are using profits, company profits, to support legislation, specifically the Equality Act. And you can look at that, make a judgment, call yourself. But the Equality Act does, at first glance, seem to be a very encouraging way for everybody to participate in this American experiment, which is nothing wrong. But the consequences of religious freedom are a threat by the current adoption of the Equality Act.
And I don’t think there’s a doubt about it, because if you express your conviction for having a dad in the house, in a church according to the Equality Act, you could be subject to fine or sanctions. So having a financial institution that you’re working with, that’s using their profits to support that, that’s in conflict with your deeply held convictions.
And so that’s often done at a voting level at shareholder meetings, and it’s called proxy voting. And so, when I say does your financial institute advocate for religious, religious freedom, are they participating in these proxy votes? And if so, are they voting for religious freedom or against religious freedom? And that actually includes not just Christians, but all types of religious organizations.
Number five, does my financial institution discourage excessive debt? You know, Dave Ramsey is obviously the champion here. But if you look at the word of God when it comes to the Christian faith, debt is discouraged. The borrower is the slave to the lender. We all find ourselves in debt to a certain degree, especially when we’re buying houses or cars.
But the idea behind the Christian attitude is that you’re not going to stay in debt very long. You’re going to try to remove that debt. So, working with an institution that encourages a lot of debt is, you know, you have to take inventory of how that conflicts with your values. Number six, does my financial institution think about legacy from a biblical perspective?
I’ve said this before, you’ve probably heard me say this. An inheritance is what you leave to someone, but a legacy is what you leave in someone. And so, leaving a legacy is really, really a sacred thing when it comes to a Christian worldview and the idea of leaving an inheritance to your children’s children or legacy to your children’s children is much more than just leaving money.
It’s a transference of those values and those sacred principles. And so, when you think about the institution that’s giving you advice, are they dissecting the sacredness of how you leave money to the next generation? Sure. And every institution will suggest that you do a will. But does the institution actually walk down the conversation and say, how does this impact the next generation?
And should we consider a charitable component to this legacy that you’re leaving? Two more. My financial institution is open to Christian health insurance alternatives. You know, the marketplace offers an alternative to traditional health care. And you know, traditional health care has been very expensive for the middle class. But the insurance alternatives of Samaritan ministries and Medi-Share, they do have a place and it’s all rooted in the idea that we’ll share each other’s burdens.
I find the premiums to be so reasonable, they’re still expensive. But compared to traditional health insurance, I think financial institutions should not discount that as being a good alternative for many Christian families. If a financial institution says that’s silly, that’s dumb, I don’t think it makes sense, then I think you should, you know, double check on the financial institution you’re getting advice from because this Christian sharing alternative has about a 30-year track record of success.
Not perfect, but worthy of consideration. And I can testify to that personally. And finally, does my financial institution create a picture of retirement differently than the world? You know, when it comes to retirement, by definition, retirement is the disposal of an asset when it’s no longer useful. So, I wouldn’t suggest, and I don’t think really any financial institution would suggest that your life’s no longer useful.
But according to a biblical worldview, the only real suggestion of retirement in the Bible is when Moses decided that, you know, or God actually decided for Moses told him, you’re getting a little and I’m paraphrasing here, this is kind of Darryl’s version. You’re getting a little too old for this work. You need to hand it over to the Levites.
He told this to a bunch of people, but specifically Moses and, you know, really wasn’t about, you know, Moses in this group of people no longer working and sitting around with Fox News and flowerbeds for the rest of their lives. You’re just saying, look, you’re getting a little old. It’s time to pivot. It’s time to do something different.
And the reality is, life is so precious that when you’re older and you still have breath in your lungs, God still has a purpose for you. And so, it’s time to, in most cases, reach down to the next generation and grab their hand and try to pull them up. Given the fact that you have wisdom, hopefully or, you know, life experience, time now and maybe some money.
So, when you think about retirement from a biblical worldview, it’s much more than just, like I said, Fox News and flower beds. And so, anybody suggesting that you’ve deserved it, you earn it. I think there’s elements to that. But if that’s the main priority, I think we’re missing a boat from a biblical worldview. It’s much more than that and it’s much more precious than that.
So those are the eight salient points when it comes to taking inventory of the financial institution that’s giving you advice and asking yourselves, are they aligned with the Christian worldview, which, remember, Christians in the early days were people of the way there was a different way of doing things. And so there still is a different way of doing things with your money.
There’s 2000 scriptures regarding money, so there’s very much a different way of doing things. And sometimes it gets kind of lost in the chaos of our American consumerism. But I’m trying to tell you, hey, when you’re working with your financial institution, they’re giving you very, very important advice. You got to ask yourselves, is there alignment of values? And that’s I know I’ve told you this in other podcasts before, but just double clicking on it, making sure it just really gets reinforced.
And, you know, I mean, it is to a certain degree, it’s self-serving. But if you find another institution that has these qualities, or at least the majority of them, you’re probably going to be in good hands. And of course, PAX checks all these boxes. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. We check all these boxes because we want to build it out in such a way that Christians can feel that there’s not a misalignment.
So, there’s the eight bullet points on considerations when you’re hiring a financial institution to give you advice. Hope it’s helpful, hope you’d noodle on it and chew on it a little bit more. And as always, as we navigate these crazy times, I want to remind you, you think different when you think long term. Have a great day.
Disclaimer: Clicking the Like button does not constitute a testimonial for, recommendation or endorsement of our advisory firm, any associated person, or our services. Clicking the Like button is merely a mechanism to circulate our social media page. “Like” is not meant in the traditional sense. In addition, postings must refrain from recommending us or providing testimonials for our firm.