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The Impact of Biblically Responsible Investing - Rachel McDonough (Podcast Episode 18)

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What should you do with your money? Should you save? Invest? Give it away? These questions have big implications for your financial security in the future, and also for your faith. Rachel McDonough, our guest today is a certified financial planner who has wrestled personally and professionally with this issue. She's here to help us think about investment decisions and how these decisions impact your relationship with God.

Scripture References

Matthew 6:33
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NRSV)

Matthew 25:14-30
“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (NRSV)

Romans 12:9
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good (NRSV)

Mark 12:41-44
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (NRSV)

Matthew 13:31-32
He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (NRSV)

Ephesians 2:10
For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. (NRSV)

Additional Resources Referenced

Faith Driven Investor: faithdriveninvestor.org.

Make Your Money Count, a resource for Christian Financial Advice with CFP Rachel McDonough: makeyourmoneycount.com

Make Your Money Count Webinar: Five Timeless Truths for Investing

Make Your Money Count Webinar: The Power of Investing to Change the World

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Transcript

​​Leah Archibald: Making It Work is brought to you by The Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Theology of Work Project.

Mark Roberts: Welcome to Making it Work LA: Through conversation, scripture and stories, we invite God into work’s biggest challenges... so that you can live out your purpose in the workplace. I’m Mark Roberts

LA: And I’m Leah Archibald. And this is Making It Work.

What should you do with your money? Should you save? Invest? Give it away? These questions have big implications for your financial security in the future, but also for your faith. Rachel McDonough, our guest today is a certified financial planner who has wrestled personally and professionally with this issue. She's here to help us think about investment decisions and how these decisions impact your relationship with God. Rachel, welcome to the Making It Work podcast.

Rachel McDonough: Thanks, Leah. It's nice to be here with you.

LA: Thank you. Well, first of all, just tell us a little bit about yourself and your work. Did you always integrate your work with your faith?

RM: Well, I have, but my background is a little bit different than most financial advisors, and I'd love to just give you a little recap glimpse into history. When I was 10 years old, my family moved to Kenya, my parents were actually missionaries there. And so, my first real understanding and impression about wealth was that I was a wealthy person. So when I was 10 years old, I remember being in Nairobi and having one of the kids on the street come up to me and ask me for money, which was a common occurrence. But as I looked into this boy's eyes, I realized he also was probably about 10 years old, and I had money in my pocket, and he did not.

And so that had a big impact on me just realizing that by comparative standards, I was wealthy, and it wasn't by anything that I had done to deserve it or really earn it, apart from maybe a few chores or that kind of thing. But I was born into a position of privilege. And that's an uncommon background for a financial advisor, certainly. But if you fast-forward a few years down the road, my first real job out of college, I actually took a position working in a high-end brokerage firm in downtown Minneapolis on the 44th floor, and I regularly interacted with people who were far wealthier than me, and so that was another big impression on my concept of wealth. So I would say my walk with God was important through all of the steps, I know that God called me to be a certified financial planner, and so it always was important to me. My faith, was always important to me in my work, but I started out with this kind of missionary upbringing and not really understanding maybe how faith and Christian values could be fully integrated into a work as a financial advisor to really become the ministry that God originally intended for my life, so it's been a process and a journey.

LA: Did your parents expect you to go into ministry in the more classical sense, I mean that from the outside, that looks like a jump from ministry to financial planning.

RM: It is a jump. It is a big jump but I don't think my parents had that expectation of me, but I think I sort of expected it of myself. In my concept of what it meant to really live a life unto the Lord as an offering of worship and to be a living sacrifice, it usually meant giving up creature comforts and being willing to do something bold and risky and scary and go somewhere new, but actually my journey into work in the Wall Street type of world was that, that kind of journey. It was scary, it was different, it was new, it wasn't, however, dealing with poverty on a mass scale, it was dealing with wealth on an expansive measure. So in that sense, I think it was a surprise to my family, I think it was a surprise to myself because it's not something that I would have chosen for myself, it's not something that I grew up thinking, "Wow, I can't wait to work in the investment world when I grow up," but that is very clearly, if I look back over the journey of my life, it's clearly where God led me to be.

LA: Now, I'm sure your parents ingrained in you specific scriptures that they thought were gonna be important to your development, do you have scriptures that when you think about your work, do you have scriptures that you see differently from your upbringing, or do you have scriptures that guide your work as a financial planner?

RM: Yeah, two passages that I would share, the first one is Matthew 6:33. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. And it really has taken on a deeper level of meaning for me as I've ventured into my world in wealth management, because I think it really helps us to focus on what matters and to live with an eternal perspective, that what we should be seeking is not how to get rich, or how to acquire greater and greater wealth. But in fact, what we need to be pursuing regardless of our affluence, is His kingdom and His righteousness, and then trusting that as we seek His kingdom and His righteousness, His provision will be there for us. So that has been a verse that has always struck me as really one to live by. And the other passage that's taken on special meaning for me as a wealth manager is the parable of the talents in Matthew, and also in the Book of Luke, where the master, the story that Jesus tells us that the master goes away, you've probably all heard it before, and he leaves a certain amount of financial resources in the hands of his servants.

And when he returns, he asks them for an account of what they did with the resource while he was away. And the first two show that they were faithful and that they doubled the master's resources. And then the third, of course, we all know he buried his in the ground. And he was the one who was of course, accused as being wicked and lazy. Not something that we wanna hear Jesus say to us, by the way, a pretty dire end of life scenario, right? But as a wealth manager, I was praying over that passage, and it's one that I hear quite often among Kingdom Advisors and Faith-Driven Investor, different Christian financial advisor type of circles, we talk about that passage a lot, as you might imagine. And yet, as I was praying about it and pondering it one day, I really sensed the Holy Spirit say, "what would the master say to the servant who earned his revenue or her revenue by giving other stewards recommendations on how they should invest.

And what would the master say if we were recommending for other stewards, our brothers and sisters in Christ, to invest in the campaigns of the master's enemy while he was away?” And that might sound like a real serious topic, but it is a serious topic, and what I mean by that is, if we are investing in companies that are aligned with the work of the enemy to kill, steal and destroy, then we're actually taking resources that the Bible clearly tells us belong to God—we're just the stewards we’re not the owners of it. And we're taking those resources that belong to the master and we're investing in the campaigns of his enemy while he is away. And so I think there's a really a high degree of accountability, not to be legalistic or overly religious rules-based, but we do wanna take this very seriously and realize that as ambassadors of His kingdom, as his sons and daughters living on the earth, we need to have the heart that Jesus taught his disciples how to pray. Let your will be done, Father, let your kingdom come on the earth as it is in heaven. And we can actually do that work of partnering and aligning with him, of seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness through our investment decisions, which is not an area of discipleship that we often pay a lot of attention to.

LA: And there's a lot in those scriptures for us to unpack. Mark, I wanna hear your take. What's striking me, as Rachel mentioned those two scriptures, one is, we have two, a little bit different pictures in Jesus' telling of what to do with money, and one of them is kind of hands-on, the steward who's praised, is the steward who invests the master's money wisely. And the other is a little bit hands-off, like seek God's kingdom first, and then the other things that you need will come in the background. Do you feel like those are mixed messages, Mark, tell me your take.

MR: Now, you can't say that Jesus had mixed messages, come on Leah, you might get in trouble, get fired even.

[laughter]

LA: Strike that from the record. I didn't mean that Jesus was giving mixed messages, I'm saying, I don't understand, and I want you to elucidate it for me.

MR: Actually, I appreciate your candor there because I think it's important when we come to anything in Scripture, but Jesus, it's not as if He sort of wrote out the definitive guidebook to investing, He rather established some theological priorities. And by the way, Rachel, I love the way you frame this up in terms of just how we think about it, so you're not immediately getting into the nitty-gritty of a particular kind of investment but you're sort of looking at what is money and how do we think about that, and how do we really think about what God has entrusted to us? And I know you talk a lot about stewardship. And so just setting it up that way, 'cause I think for a lot of people, and for a lot of faithful Christians, they sort of have their faithful Christian life over here, and then like investments are just... They're just not a part of it, right?

RM: Separate. Yes.

MR: Yeah. And they really wanna honor the Lord, but we just don't think like, "Oh, my investments might actually also have everything to do with seeking God's kingdom." And part of seeking God's kingdom, if we interpret scripture in light of scripture, which we like to do, of course, is that part of being faithful in God's kingdom is being faithful to how God entrusts to you.

RM: Yes.

MR: So those two texts are not really... They might seem to be contradictory but they're not actually so. But the seek first His kingdom and His righteousness qualifies the “use well the talent you've been entrusted with” text to say, well, not every profit is a good profit.

RM: Yes.

MR: At the same time, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness does mean using and investing well what you've been given. So there's actually, I think an important complementarity there, but my main point, Rachel, about, it's just I really appreciate how you're framing up this whole conversation because in the end, we might differ on the details, right?

RM: Yes, absolutely.

MR: But really we all need to understand our whole lives and all that God has entrusted to us in light of that kind of a stewardship that you've talked about, and so I really appreciate your set up.

LA: Tell us more about seeking God's kingdom in your work. In your investment decisions, what is faith-based investing?

RM: Yeah, great question. And it means different things to different people as Mark alluded to earlier. For me, I like to use the framework of avoid, embrace and engage. And let me just disclose first that this was not natural to me when I first began in wealth management, I did not, even though I was a serious believer, I was devout in my faith, I did not initially realize how connected my values could be with my investing practices, and so I was out recommending conventional investments for my clients without really much thought to the moral integrity or the values components of those investments. So please, I don't have any judgment for anyone or whatever stage you're at in this journey. But as I became aware, I realized, "Hey, there is a framework that we can use: avoid, embrace and engage." It's just like the Scripture says, to flee from what is evil or avoid what is evil and cling to what is good. So those are those first two pillars, avoid and embrace it means that we can avoid things that are not in alignment with God's heart, not in a religious legalistic sort of way, but just in the sense that, "Hey, this is God's money."

I don't think that I need to derive my profits from things that are going to hurt other people or harm the creation that I've been given to steward, and so I'm gonna avoid. I choose to avoid. I don't need profits that come from tobacco, or pornography, or abortion, or gambling, or whatever it is that might speak to you personally, and you just say, "Yep, that's something I don't need to profit from." And let me encourage you that there are lots of other companies that you can invest in, so you don't need to be nervous. There was a study that came out from the BRI Institute, at the end of 2019, they looked back over a 20-year time horizon. So that's a nice chunk of time, and they filtered one index, they used S&P 500 Index as their base. They filtered that index with a pretty rigorous set of exclusionary screens based on things that people of faith might want to avoid. And the performance at the end of those 20 years was neck and neck. So, when we think about counting the cost or what it might cost us to take a stand for what we think is or what we see as righteousness, avoiding certain companies is not a huge obvious way to lose a bunch of money, okay?

And then if we filter on top of that “avoid” - the embrace and engage, there's really some positive things. We don't want it to say what we're against as believers, but we wanna be for something. We wanna be for companies and for businesses that align with God's purposes in the Earth, because business is such a powerful tool and such a powerful engine of blessing for humanity, if it's done in a way that is aligned with kingdom values. So we can intentionally embrace and choose to invest in companies that are doing an excellent job of creating value for their customers, creating value for their employees, taking care of the employees that work for them, taking care of the environment and the cities where they're stationed. And so we can look to identify companies that are solving water shortage problems, creating cures for diseases, real estate companies that are facilitating collaborative work environments for things. The whole pandemic that we're all experiencing right now has given us a beautiful illustration of the redemptive potential of business. Businesses have been stepping up to solve problems that governments cannot solve and nonprofits cannot solve.

It's actually been businesses who've been working on creating a vaccine. It's been businesses who have been producing the PPE that's needed to keep our medical professionals and first responders safe. It's been businesses who have been creating work from home and educate at a distance types of technologies that can allow our students to keep learning and our businesses to keep functioning remotely. So I think it's really powerful, just these examples that we've seen in recent news, to just give us a sense of what could we invest in and how could our investment dollars actually have a positive impact in the world and further our kingdom values. Capital has influence, money talks and capital has influence, and right now, it's estimated that Christian people manage over $150 trillion, which is more than half of the world's wealth. That amount is 200 to 300 times greater than what is given away philanthropically each year, and how powerful could it be if brothers and sisters in Christ across the globe decided to divest of certain industries that are harmful to people and intentionally put all of that capital to work in companies that are creating a positive impact on the world. I think we could see massive problems being changed, being solved, cultural shift. We could see certain industries that are harmful just literally dry up and go away because of lack of investment capital. I think that's what's really exciting to me.

LA: And I agree with you, Rachel, it seems very powerful in aggregate, but as one person, as one individual, it can feel disempowering. Let's say, I'm just on the front end of my career and I'm just starting to earn some money that I could play with, it's not just hand-to-mouth anymore. I'm thinking, "Oh gosh, what do I do with my little extra every month? Should I save it, should I invest it?" How would one individual make these kinds of decisions?

RM: Well, that's a fantastic question. I think that a lot of people share that sentiment like what difference does it make, my little amount? But let me encourage you too that... Jesus, when He saw the widow placed her two copper coins at the temple, and He said she's given more than even the most wealthy, because she gave out of her lack and she gave all that she had to live on to God. And so, I think that there's something so beautiful in terms of our worship and our love relationship with God, and really choosing that whatever it is that He's put into my hands, I wanna use it in a way that honors Him. I wanna use it in way that pleases Him, and so even if it doesn't look like it's gonna change the world, the kingdom is an upside on kingdom. His kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. It's the small things, it's the mustard seed kingdom. The mustard seed, that's so tiny, but it grows into a tree that's the biggest plant in the garden. And the same is true for the way that we choose to steward our finances in the kingdom. It's even the small things that we give or the small choices that we make to invest in a way that aligns with His values and His purposes in the world, it still makes an impact.

And also, why not you? Who's to say that He won’t, as you become a faithful steward, who's to say that more is not gonna be entrusted to you. In one of the parables, it might be the Parable of the Talents. Forgive me for not having my Bible in front of me. But it said that to each steward an amount was given according to his ability. And as we show and demonstrate our faithfulness, that is the pathway to advancement into promotion where God can say, "Okay, you, who have been faithful with little things, now I'm gonna trust you with more." And so this is just a beautiful way, a simple, beautiful way for us to both express our worship and our love for God, and also, to just demonstrate faithfulness.

MR: That's great. By the way, you're right, it is in the Parable of the Talents, and it's worth saying, 'cause not everyone, I think knows this. In that word talent, comes from an ancient word that means an amount of money, so it would be as if it said that the owner entrusted to one of his servants a large amount of money. I just say that 'cause we, good heavens, sometimes you think we rightly, sometimes extract from that the idea, well, it's not just money, it's stewarding all that you have, including what we call talents, but originally, it was an amount of money.

RM: Yes, good point.

MR: And the other thing, what strikes me is, we had said earlier and there's certainly truth in that, that particular parable speaks in a powerful way to people who are people of privilege or people who have financial resources, but it also actually speaks to people who have very, very little. I think of what's been going on now in the developing world with so much of, a sort of business as mission work, where you go into very impoverished places and give or invest really, in very small little local businesses that people do, and it empowers them to live out this parable, even though what they have is relatively little. So, on the one hand, it enables them to exercise a certain kind of faithfulness, and in many, many cases, these people turn out to be really good stewards and actually build little businesses that actually make a difference in their lives. And so this parable though, it certainly speaks to those of us who have a lot, absolutely, it also can be a great encouragement to those who really have relatively little, but who can nevertheless invest that little and be good stewards of that little for God's purposes.

RM: Yes. And also the thought of kind of having that aggregate or cumulative effect really points back to the third pillar, which I haven't talked about yet. So, we talked about avoid and embrace, very powerful concept, but there's also something called engagement. And that is to say, if you are a shareholder of a company, even if you were a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage shareholder of the company you are one of the owners of that business. And as an owner, you have the ability to make requests or have influence to some degree over corporate behavior. And so, what we've seen recently, there's just been a number of success stories around this, you don't have to be on the phone yourself, personally, with the investor relations number of different corporations. But if you choose to invest with a fund that does some type of values-driven advocacy on your behalf, your money gets pooled with the money of other values-driven people and it gives a bigger pool of money and a greater amount of influence to the people who are doing the advocacy with corporations. So, a great example of this from history, I've recently recorded an on-demand webinar called, The Power of Investing to Change the World, and one of the examples that we give is how shareholder resolutions were actually very much a contributing factor to the end of apartheid in South Africa.

So it started with some faith-based shareholder resolutions, Episcopalian, I believe they were investors in the United States, wrote shareholder resolutions to GM, asking them to discontinue doing business in South Africa, because of the poor working conditions. And it was Christian people who stood up and said, "This is not right and we want to see change come, and we know that money talks and money has a voice," and so they put their voice in their dollars behind this idea of wanting people to be treated with respect and dignity. And after GM was won over with this type of thinking and philosophy, then we saw Ford also, and there were some other major US corporations who had operations in South Africa that also got on board. And Nelson Mandela was quoted as saying that those divestitures of American investors had a huge impact and were part of one of the biggest contributing factors to the end of apartheid.

So why not us? And when we aggregate, you know everything in the Word of God encourages us to see ourselves as a community and not just as a bunch of individuals, so we need to see ourselves as the body of Christ, blanketed across the entire globe. And as we start operating under unifying principles found in God's word more effectively, we will have greater influence on culture, and we will see things, even in our generation, we'll see things can be dramatically changed through the power of that working together as the body of Christ.

LA: Now, Rachel, do you have for yourself a personal ratio of within the context of your own faith-based investing, how much of your income you wanna invest, or how much you wanna save? Or do you have... I don't know, a prescription or advice to give other people about what percentage they should be giving, what percentage they should be saving and what percentage they should be investing?

RM: I'm not a huge fan of rules of thumb because everyone's thumb are a different size. But I would say that one of the standards that I've heard a number of times is, if you're just starting out, especially, you mentioned earlier, what do I do if I'm at the beginning of my career? And so for those who are just starting out to maybe have some debts to pay down or don't have a ton of extra cash flow each month, just even saving, giving 10%, saving 10% and using the rest to live on is one guideline that I've heard. But I think more importantly than any rules of thumb would be intentionality. When I do a financial plan with a client, I wanna help them be intentional, figure out what it is that God's called them to do. What are their Ephesians 2:10, good works that God's prepared in advance for them to do? And then how do we take the resources that God has given and use them in such a way that they can effectively accomplish the good works that they're here to do? And so that looks different for every person, but intentionality is the one unifying theme that would cover any person at any stage in their lives, whether they're early in their career, or they're already retired, or whatever it might be.

RM: Taking time to focus on that, at least once every six months to kinda update, what is my cashflow plan or budget? And it doesn't mean that you have to track a bunch of receipts, you can find there are great tools now for tracking to make sure that you're kind of staying on top of where your cash is going and being intentional about it without getting trapped in all the minutiae. And taking time once every six months or so to just refocus and say, "Hey, have I gotten off track anywhere?" It doesn't mean that I'm saying, "Oh, you've racked up a huge credit card bill." It might just be something as simple as, "Wow, my giving has been on autopilot for the last couple of years. Maybe I ought to pray over that again and look at my cashflow a little bit more closely and see if God might have me stretch my giving a little bit or stretch how much I'm investing to save for the future, in case he calls me to do something else later and I don't have as much cash flow then as I do right now." So, whatever it is, just taking time to take that responsibility of stewardship seriously and do an excellent job of it by being intentional.

LA: Intention can be tricky in terms of investments for those of us who are not CFPs, 'cause for me, the whole point of an investment product like my 401(k) is something that I don't have to think about. That goes in every single month and I rely on it being there at some point in the future, and the whole point of that product is that I don't have to think about it. That's an investment, I picked it once and for all, but you would be encouraging me maybe to think about it a little bit more.

RM: I would, I definitely would. I've seen what happens with clients when they don't pay attention to their 401(k) plans for a long number of years. And if you're not the person, you don't enjoy reading Kiplinger’s and personal finance articles, you can always seek the help of a financial planner or even a trusted friend to get some advice. But I would say, keeping on top of that is very important, for a couple of reasons. So, first of all, we talked about the values alignment in investing. Just to kind of, I guess, let you off the hook, for those of you who are 401(k) investors, you may not have a lot of choices. Most 401(k) s have a very limited menu of investment options and you just have to pick out the menu based on risk. Some of them will have a socially responsible investment option, which may be better than nothing, but they're probably not gonna have any that are really aligned with biblical values.

So, when you have the opportunity to be in something besides a 401(k), if you're an IRA investor or you have a brokerage account, we don't wanna have you stop investing in your 401(k) and give up on company matches and things like that, unless that's something that you feel God's really called you to do, but for the money that's not in a 401(k), that's where you have the power of really choosing investments that align well with your personal values and having that traction on that portion of your investment. For the 401(k), I loved the fact that it's automated. I love the fact that it's set up to be easy. A lot of them have default options that are just kind of a target-based allocation that you don't have to think very much about. But when you do have the opportunity, take a look at what you're invested in, how risky it is. And of course, when you have the option, I would encourage you to choose investments that align well with your values and make a positive impact on the world.

LA: I like that advice, I feel both let off the hook and not let off the hook, which I think is appropriate. I think that's absolutely in line with the biblical advice that we were talking about before, that God is gonna be there in the background, if I'm seeking His kingdom, He's gonna add all these things into me, but am I investing wisely? Am I using the amount of money, my time and my talent and my treasure, as we say in some circles, for good? Am I using what God's given me for what he would have me invest in?

RM: Yes.

LA: Mark, give me your thoughts.

MR: Again, I appreciate the nature of the conversation, and I know there're certain Christian organizations and individuals who have, for example, helped churches to begin to think about this. I would hope that this conversation would live more and more in specific churches where people could really learn together, where friends might be able to talk about this.

I was once in a small group with a few other men and we actually talked about our money quite explicitly, which was very interesting, and all those guys were way wealthier than I was, it was kind of funny. But I appreciated that they were really saying like, "What should I do with my money?" And again, these can sound like radical ideas because we tend to be so private and individualistic about our finance, and obviously, people need to take the steps they're comfortable with. But I just think the more this kind of conversation can happen in churches, the better off the church is gonna be, the better off individuals and investors are gonna be, and the better off the world is gonna be, because of the impact that we can make, not just through our generosity and not just through our actual labor, but through our investing.

RM: You're exactly right, Mark. And when you go back to that statistic that I mentioned earlier, where we have 200 to 300 times more being invested each year than what gets given away. Now, that's not a judgment. We all have legitimate needs and things in the future that we need to save for. We are charged with providing for our family, so saving through the active investing is a good thing. And giving money away is also a good thing, but investing is necessary part of our wealth plan. And as we see that the capacity for investment is greater than the capacity for charitable giving, it really behooves us to talk about it in the church. And we see that churches talk more about giving and less about investing or just general stewardship. And you're absolutely right, it needs to be a message that gets out to the broader church. And I've been very excited to see the Faith Driven Investor movement. You can visit their website, faithdriveninvestor.org. And they've been intentional about including theological voices, including pastors of churches, in some of the conversations that they've been having, and just how powerful that can be as people in the church start hearing about this on Sunday morning more often.

MR: That's great.

LA: I imagine people come to you, Rachel, or I imagine people come to a CFP in the same way that they might come to a priest like, "Oh, here's confession time, [chuckle] I got to really tell someone what's been going on with my money." It is a real sacred position that you're in because of the lack of visibility that we have.

RM: It is. And clients do come initially, I think feeling a lot of times vulnerable or exposed that, "Oh wow, I actually have to show someone what's going on in my financial life," but much the same as going to the doctor. If you don't tell the doctor where it hurts they're not gonna be able to help you fix it, and the same is true for financial planners. But having someone to walk alongside of us and be willing to engage in accountability is what ensures our success. I would say accountability is the annoying little secret of success, 'cause we don't really want anybody up in our business. We don't necessarily wanna feel exposed or let people know what's really going on in our heads. We know that we have some neurosis around money or whatever it might be, but really, when we engage in that positive and redemptive relationship with someone who can be a sounding board, who can be objective, who can be an advice giver, it allows us to really accelerate our own financial journey and to have more success more quickly.

MR: Rachel, you mentioned Faith Driven Investor. I'll just happily give a free plug because I think it's a really good work, and as you rightly say, involving a wide number of people from different perspectives and in different occupations, and I've known many who've been involved with this and I think very highly of it, so thumbs up for that. Some of our listeners are saying, "Well, gosh. How do I find this?”, Faith Driven Investor in Google will take you to that place.

LA: This is just fantastic. I feel that I've thought a little bit more deeply about my own money and its relationship to my faith and its relationship to the pillars of my faith in the Bible. Rachel, if people wanna learn more from you personally, where can they find you?

RM: Makeyourmoneycount.com has the prerecorded webinars on demand that I think are just very... You can watch them any time you want to. It gives two basic overviews, one is kinda more nuts and bolts investment wisdom, so that's called the Five Timeless Truths for Investing, and then the last bulletpoint in there, of course, is the values-based investing, which is the introduction to part two of that series, The Power of Investing to Change the World. And I would just say, I know that I personally am not the right fit in terms of being a financial planner for all of your listeners, but if they come to makeyourmoneycount.com, there will be resources. I have a referral of advisors through my work with Faith Driven Investor and also leading the Christian Franchise Advisor Network within my own broker dealer, which is in 1100-member network of Christian advisors. I know Christian advisors all over the country, and I'll be happy to just take an email or a quick phone call to help point anybody in the right direction.

If you are feeling interested, excited, convicted by the Holy Spirit, whatever it is, about aligning your investments with your values, having that positive impact, it doesn't matter what your account size is, there's someone, there's a solution for you, and I now am so happy to say that I actually have those solutions. I know who those solutions are, I know who to point people towards. It's been a long time for me to be able to say that, but there's now even a solution for the do-it-yourself type of investor who doesn't really want a financial advisory type of relationship with an advisor, but they just want some type of solution that's gonna say, "Here, these are the clean conscience investments that can align with my risk tolerance and my time horizon, and it's gonna be managed and automatically rebalance for me. Very, very simple and approachable, easy to do."

LA: Well, Rachel McDonough, thank you so much for investing your time with us this afternoon. This is a great conversation, thank you.

RM: It's been my great pleasure. Thank you, Mark and thank you, Leah.

MR: Yes. Thanks, Rachel.​

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