by Ron Bare
Beginning to see something with a new perspective changes everything. Many years ago, when you first saw your now-spouse as more than just a friend, it changed everything, didn’t it? When you began to see your job as a calling, it changed everything, didn’t it? And when you started to see your finances as a gift from the Lord and something to be stewarded for His glory, it changed everything, didn’t it?
We believe this same principle can be true with the stock market. If you can start to see the stock market in a new light, it just might change everything. What if instead of seeing your investment as tied to an obscure thing that we have named “the stock market,” you began to see your investment tied to real companies? And not just any companies, but some of the best in the world.
Do you think that would change things? I know it has for me.
All of a sudden instead of investing in an unpredictable, volatile stock market, you become a shareholder in some of the best businesses in the world. When you invest your assets into these companies, you become a part owner and share in their profit. You get to be a part of what each of these companies is doing and how they are impacting the world for the better.
We believe there are a few reasons that this mindset shift is critical.
First, it’s a whole lot easier to trust businesses than the stock market, right? Each business you invest in through the stock market has a business plan, financial advisors, CFO’s, CEO’s, Boards, and marketing professionals to help them be successful. They strive to make the best decision for themselves and their customers. If they start to lose money because of the decisions they’re making, they’ll change what they’re doing. And when these businesses do well, so does the stock market, because they are the stock market.
But what about when crises hit? You know it as well as I do – they’re inevitable. Yet as we look back through time through various crises – COVID, crises in the Middle East, or others, we see a trend in the market values of publicly traded companies. Not only do these companies survive, they often come out stronger on the other side of the crisis. And historically, if you stayed invested over a long period of time, your overall return from these companies far outpaces the rate of inflation.
Nick Murray, a well-known financial advisor, writes about the reality of this trend. Murray writes about the staggering difference between the increase in the dividend (profit distributions) of the S&P 500 (500 of the largest US companies) and the increase in inflation in the 50 years between 1972 and 2022. The dividend increased 21 times while inflation increased 7 times. In addition, The research indicates that dividend increases tend to outpace the rate of inflation. In addition, the pattern is that the increase in the stock market almost always has a positive correlation with earnings growth. (Murray).
Finally, a quick disclaimer. Many people spend a lot time trying to predict the short term direction of our economy and stock market. The truth is, nobody can promise you anything about what the economy or the stock market may do in the short term. When you invest in the stock market, there are risks involved. That’s just the reality of it. But as we follow the trends of history, we continually see the increases in the value of these companies far outpace inflation and we see the market value of these companies following earnings.
So why not reframe our perspective? Rather than thinking we’re investing in an unpredictable stock market, let’s change our mindset and understand that we are investing in some of the greatest companies in the world. Many of these companies are making a positive difference through the products and services they provide, and when you step into long-term investment with them, you get to be a part of something greater than yourself!
Murray, Nick. Nick Murray Interactive, vol. 23, no. 7, July 2023, pp. 1–2.
by Ron Bare
What could your future look like if you invested well? How could you bless your families, coworkers, or community? Over the years, I have gathered 20 principles that guide our investment strategy, and I’d love to share them with you!
- God is the owner and I am the steward. What do you own that God hasn’t blessed you with? He owns everything we have, which should encourage us to steward and invest it wisely and generously.
- Learn the secret of being content. Contentment drives away the continual need for more. See Phil. 4:12, Heb. 13:5
- Passing on wisdom is better than passing on wealth. Wealth doesn’t last. Wisdom does. Wisdom gets passed on and on, yet wealth vanishes with one decision or circumstance.
- Live generously. God blesses you so you can bless others. Plus, do you know any unhappy generous people? No? Me neither!
- Build margin into your time and money. Time margin allows you to serve, volunteer, and mentor. Financial margin allows you to invest, donate, and have enough when things go badly.
- Borrow cautiously and repay debts quickly. Repaying debts gives you financial freedom to invest, donate, or save for your kids and grandkids.
- Save 10-15% of your income. Saving helps you prepare for unexpected opportunities or crises. This is a practical way to build financial margin into your life!
- Own companies (mutual funds, ETF’s, and individual securities) and real estate. Once you’re an owner, hold these investments long-term.
- If it seems too good to be true, it is! If you’re skeptical or suspicious, seek wisdom from trusted advisors!
- Don’t blindly follow the crowd. Trends are temporary and will fade. The opposite of the crowd is often best!
- Don’t make financial decisions primarily to reduce taxes. Tax reduction is a great benefit. However, this shouldn’t be the driving force for financial decisions.
- Hold unwavering faith in the future. This is not for the faint of heart! Don’t become pessimistic in investing, rather trust companies will prosper and trends will continue upward in the long term.
- Diversify, diversify, diversify! Ecclesiastes 11 encourages us to invest in many different ventures, as we can not predict the future nor what will succeed.
- Invest within the context of your financial plan, goals, and values. Use your plan, goals, and values as a guide for where, when, and how much to invest.
- Be careful of the words “this time is different. ”The truth is, it’s probably not. Look for, study, and learn from patterns in the financial world!
- Build a trusted team of advisors. “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed,” says Proverbs 15:22. Who are your advisors? Where do you go for wisdom?
- Don’t waste time predicting what the markets will do in the short term. No one knows what they will do in the short term! Not you, not the professionals, not internet opinion articles, no one! Don’t waste your time.
- The best time to start investing is today! Don’t wait for the perfect time.
- Be careful with gold (perhaps 3-5% of your portfolio). Usually gold is sold out of fear of potential catastrophes in the world. Personally, the gold I buy is jewelry for my wife so we can enjoy it while we hold it!
- Never make an emotional financial decision. Emotions are good, but when it comes to finances, lean on wisdom, experiences, and your advisors.
These principles can’t promise a life of perfection and wealth. But they can promise to be a good starting point when learning to invest well. If you’re interested in talking more about investing, give us a call!
by Ron Bare
Alan and Katherine Barnhart gave away their company. They had spent years working on building a strong company and growing their sales but gave it all away in the end. “God is not impressed with the commas and zeroes,” Alan said. “We’re not giving away anything that God hasn’t given us.”
They were confident knowing that God owned their resources and that they had defined enough. Intentional future planning gave them the freedom to make such a generous decision.
Defining enough is an important step in recognizing that God owns everything that we have, and that endless accumulation is not what we were created for. Let us instead use our resources to join in God’s mission, spreading the Gospel through our generosity toward others. This is easier said than done, but there are six steps that we believe will help you define enough.
- First, add up all your monthly expenses. This includes your mortgage, utilities, transportation, groceries, etc. Providing for your family is good and right, and requires planning.
- Second, define your wants and enjoyments. This might include vacations, date nights, eating out, entertainment, etc. It’s important to enjoy life and spend time doing things you love!
- Third, come up with a total annual spending/living goal. Once your needs and wants are defined, you can plan for both your living expenses and the things you enjoy.
- Fourth, define how much you will need to accumulate to meet this goal of ‘enough.’ We would love to talk with you about this at Bare. This will cover what it looks like to work, save, and invest in order to have enough and then move forward to give in generous ways.
- Fifth, pay off your debts! This is a crucial part of being financially free. When debts are not hanging over your head, you are free to move forward with saving, investing, and giving.
- Finally, build a base giving goal into your financial plan and try to expand this giving each year. 2 Corinthians 8:7 says, “But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (NIV). How can you excel at giving? We encourage you to set an annual giving goal and then plan to expand that goal each year!
We’ve seen a variety of creative giving over the years in our clients’ lives. We’ve seen clients give the growth of their portfolio away, give their business to charity, and others have given real estate away. How can you be generous with the things God has given to you? We’d love to help you talk through what this could look like for you.
Alan and Katherine are just one example of someone who is generous with what God has given them. It’s such a great gift to the people they interact with and the communities they influence. It’s honoring to God as they remember the one who has given them all that they have.
To learn more about Alan and Katherine’s story, watch this video.
by Ron Bare
Regret stings. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. You say something to your spouse that you really didn’t mean, you make a choice you wish you hadn’t, or maybe you let fear stand in the way of what could’ve been a life-changing opportunity. I believe each of us want to avoid it as much as possible.
I certainly don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I had done more with what God has graciously put in my hands. Yet we know that our default as humans is to think of ourselves before others, spend on ourselves before being generous, and place security for ourselves as the highest priority.
As humans, we often choose to be selfish rather than being generous with what God has given us. We know this is true of each of us yet none of us are proud of it. As we consider how to be more generous and live a life of impact, we have found three key principles to live by.
Start with capturing your story. This allows your wisdom and knowledge to be passed on to the next generation, so they don’t have to learn things the hard way like you did (at least in some areas!) Financial principles, giving guidelines, spiritual principles, and ideas about work have been ingrained in each of us. We’d love to help you put words to some of these things, capturing them so that they can empower the next generation.
Next, define “what is enough” and “learn the secret of being content.” Defining what is enough is difficult but important as you plan for your family’s future. Once ‘enough’ is defined, you must “learn” to be content with it. Learning, as you know, is a process! Learning to become content allows you to be freed from the love of money. You will be reminded of who truly owns your money and resources. Paul talks about this in Philippians 4:12 when he says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (NIV). Contentment allows each of us to give cheerfully to others rather than continuing to store up for ourselves. Our natural tendencies would be to raise our standard of living as we accumulate more – the principle of learning contentment helps us as we establish a personal financial finish line.
Finally, maximize your impact. We like to think about three things in this area – giving generously, increasing your resources for God, and impacting generations to come. 2 Corinthians talks about deciding what you are going to give and then giving cheerfully. God has gifted you with money and resources so that you can bless others. Matthew 25 talks about working and investing your resources, not so that you can build yourself a bigger life, but so that you have more available capital to invest and use for impact. Finally, think about impacting your grandchildren and great grandchildren (or those in the next generation that are special to you!) What can you do now that can impact their view of stewardship and generosity?
No one wants to live a life they regret. At Bare, we believe that capturing your story, defining and being content with enough, and thinking practically about maximizing your impact will help you live a life that impacts generations to come. In our Year of Story, we’re focused on these things in a new way. We’ve been refreshed by the power of each of our stories and would love to help you capture yours.
Part two of this blog will come out in September. We’ll be talking about what it looks like to define ‘enough,’ and the freedom that defining enough brings!
by Ron Bare
We all want the things we do to have purpose. As a kid, we want to have purpose in the sports we play – why do we play? How do we win? That kid turns into a teenager who wants to have purpose in their future – how do I get where I want to be? Do I need more schooling? That teenager turns into the adult who wants to have purpose in their family and their career – am I intentional with these things? How do I balance my marriage and work well?
These questions don’t end when you hit retirement. We know retirement brings big questions around how much is enough and how we might plan for it. But at Bare, we know that planning for retirement is more than just a financial conversation. We know that it’s also a consideration of what kind of purpose you want your later years to have and what kind of legacy you want to leave.
A study done in the U.S. found that the most productive stage in life is between the ages of 60-70. It found that the second most productive stage in life is between the ages of 70-801. This means that the typical American has the most productive, impactful years of their life in their retirement years!
While this may sound surprising, we know that retirees have more time to be generous with. Time spent in retirement can be so impactful. Whether you choose to volunteer with a local organization, spend time with your family, or share the wisdom you have gained with the next generation, your time can be an invaluable gift to those around you.
Luke 12 talks about this concept of managing our time and resources well. This passage, called the Parable of the Rich Fool, talks about a rich man who builds a large barn to store his crops in. He then chooses to “take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry” (NIV). Jesus condemns this choice. In fact, he says, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God” (NIV).
Jesus is reminding us here of the importance of being rich toward God – giving our energy, time, and resources toward the things that he cares about. If we can apply this lesson to our retirement years, we can be incredibly productive and impactful.
As you look toward retirement, ask yourself a few questions.
- What strengths do I have that I can use to serve others?
- How can I share my story in a way that impacts the next generation?
- How can I use my time, talent, and treasure in coordination with each other to make an impact on my community?
Bare Wealth Advisors walks alongside you as you process these questions and more. We craft a wealth management plan grounded in Biblical wisdom that is unique to you and your situation and the impact you want to make. In addition, 2023 is our “Year of Story”.” We’re helping you capture your story. What lessons have you learned? What things have shaped you? We’re interested in the lifelong perspective. We want to see our world impacted for the better and we know you have a lot to bring to the table through your story. Come talk with us – we’ll be there as you continue to seek wisdom while preparing for retirement!
by Curtis Burkholder
“Wealth never creates wisdom. Wisdom may create wealth”
We believe in this principle at Bare, that we should work hard at passing on wisdom rather than focusing on passing wealth as the primary goal. Our founder, Ron Bare, often adds not only will wealth not create wisdom – but where there is wealth without wisdom you have a disaster.
Where do we find wisdom? First and foremost – in God’s Word! A great place to start is in the Proverbs. The Proverbs are written by Solomon, the wisest man on earth. Proverbs 8:11 tells us: “for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” Secondly, we have each had different experiences, challenges, and failures over our lifetime. Through each of these, wisdom is gained (hopefully!). Additionally, mentors and the community we have surrounded ourselves with are also valuable sources of wisdom.
Wisdom gained is of no benefit if it is not applied and shared. Many of us have learned our wisdom through making mistakes – we often allow our children to make mistakes because we know that by this they learn. However, we would really be considered foolish if we kept making the same mistake over and over. So, we learn, and we apply wisdom. And then we share or pass wisdom to others. We love to pass our wisdom on to our children so that hopefully they avoid some of our mistakes! (Although they don’t always want to learn this way!)
We have found that one of the best ways to pass on wisdom is through capturing stories. Because of this, we have themed 2023 “Year of Story”. We all love a good story, and the human mind is 22 times more likely to remember facts if they are part of a story! To help you begin capturing your story, we have created a story journal. In this journal are several different categories of questions designed to capture some of the wisdom you have learned. Questions like:
- What have you learned from challenging times in your life experience?
- What was life like growing up and how does that shape who you are today?
By intentionally capturing your story you can then intentionally begin passing wisdom before wealth. You are “stewarding” this wisdom for the next steward – your children and grandchildren. You are preparing them to be wise stewards of any wealth that you pass to them. And remember, even if you don’t feel you have done a good job passing wisdom in the past, it’s never too late to begin! As long as you are alive, you are able to influence your children, grandchildren, or other heirs.
As you go throughout your days and weeks, consider how you can begin to pass the wisdom you have learned through the years to those around you. Your stories are a great way to pass this wisdom in memorable ways to those around you! We’d love to encourage you in this – please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com if you’d like to learn more about our unique process of helping you capture your unique story!
by Ron Bare
Perhaps the most common mistake made when making investment decisions is making ANY investment decision outside the context of a written financial plan based on your goals and values. That is why Bare Wealth Advisors does not create investment portfolios for our clients without a plan.
Without a plan we are left to the news headlines and predictions from all the market “experts” – most of which are fear driven. Fear is a good salesperson, and financial journalism is guilty of “selling” the headline that will generate the most clicks. We believe wealth is ultimately a resource entrusted to us to maximize the impact and calling God has given us. We should never succumb to fear headlines and financial journalism’s goal of making short term investment decisions based on what the market may do over the next few months.
As Ecclesiastes tells us, “nothing is new under the sun.” Over the past year we have seen the following: war, inflation, rising interest rates, recession fears, supply chain constraints, and most recently the failure of Silicon Vally Bank (a tech focused bank which had heavy losses the past year). All this on top of coming out of a closed economy due to the Covid 19 pandemic, can be exhausting and emotional – however, none of these are “new under the sun!” We live in an uncertain world and one benefit of a financial plan is to help you plan for what we call the “certainty of uncertainty”.
Our advice is and always will be the same – think long term, diversify, minimize debt, live generously, live within your means, and create a tailored financial plan based on the individual values, purpose, and goals your family has established. However, in the meantime let me share a few thoughts regarding our current economic state.
There has been much discussion recently regarding the cause of the inflation we have been experiencing. Basic economics tell us that when you create too much of something the value of that something is reduced. The total M2 (money supply – or simply just think money in all bank accounts) increased by 40% during a two-year window of the pandemic. (Over $6 Trillion!) For perspective, the normal increase in M2 is about 6% per year. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out this may reduce the value of money (the definition of inflation). The good news (of course nobody is focusing on any good news) is that M2 has decreased over the past 12 months and many leading indicators are showing that inflation is subsiding. It will take some time, but inflation is heading in the right direction – lower!
Remember, even though some indicators show inflation is declining, it is always challenging to predict what will happen in the “short-term.” More importantly, short term is not where we or you should focus. We are long term planners focused on the impact your resources can help you make over the next 10, 20 or 30 years!
As I wrap up these thoughts, I would like to encourage us all to make sure we receive the proper “inputs.” Begin with the NEVER changing word of God (Bible), understand the principles of truth and ask for wisdom to apply them to your life. Then surround yourself with advisors that know and care about you, listen to you and share your values, and can help you discern how to apply wisdom to the vision and impact God is calling you and your family to make – in this short life we have been privileged to live. Thank you for allowing us at Bare Wealth Advisors to be one of your trusted advisors, we are honored!
by Ron Bare
“Through intentional stewardship and extravagant giving, Bare Wealth Advisors help generous people shift the culture and change the world for the glory of God.”
As we have been writing about in our latest series of blogs and articles, our vision is to not only help you plan strategically with your finances, but our main desire is to help you maximize your impact (with the financial capital you are stewarding) for the next generation and for the good you desire to have on this earth. The quote that begins this blog is what we are calling our “impact statement.” We have seen and believe that intentional money management and generosity are a key element to making the impact we desire.
Throughout history there have been individuals that God has used to shift culture for the glory of God. Billy Graham, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King all come to mind as individuals that used their time, talent and treasure to make a difference in our world. To a great extent, we are benefactors of their efforts. You can read more about some of these individuals in Eric Metaxas Books; Seven Men and Seven Women.
Often as you look behind the names mentioned above you can find others who have supported these movements with their gifts – including financial gifts. I think of William Tyndale, responsible for translating the Bible into English (putting his life on the line!) and how this may never have happened without Humphrey Monmouth who financially backed the endeavor. I also think of John Newton, responsible for writing many hymns including “Amazing Grace”, who also mentored William Wilberforce to use his gifting’s in politics rather than go into “ministry.” Wilberforce went on to help lead the abolishment of the English slave trade. Without John Thornton’s financial support from his successful business enterprises we may not know of the name John Newton or William Wilberforce – that jolts me! You can read more about these stories in John Rinehart’s book, “Gospel Patrons.”
These stories inspire us to think about our impact. We may not be Billy Graham, William Wilberforce or Mother Theresa – however what if we are those who are to support and financially fund the movements in 2023 that will shape the next 50 – 100 years of history? There has never been a more prosperous time in history, and with that in mind, we must ask ourselves – what does God want me to do with his resources (that He has entrusted to us) to make an impact in our culture today?
We have a great opportunity. Lets expand our vision of what God may want to do through our stewardship and generosity so we can shift the culture and change the world for the glory of God. William Wilberforce had a dream to end the slave trade – as a result of him fulfilling this calling, generations have been changed, culture has shifted and God has been glorified. We can do the same! Our desire at Bare Wealth Advisors is to help you leave this kind of impact!
We have themed 2023 “The Year of Story”. Over the past 21 years of hearing your stories, we have come to believe that capturing your story is an important piece of preparing the next generation for successful stewardship. Therefore, in 2023 we are making an intentional effort to give you tools to help you capture your story.
In Biblical times, stories were often passed down orally from one generation to the next. In Deuteronomy Moses reminds the people of Israel about their story and journey to freedom. He tells them to “remember” and gives careful warnings of how to live as they enter the promised land under new leadership from Joshua. “Remember” is a word that Moses repeats often! By remembering their story of the past the Israelites will be protected from repeating mistakes as well as prepared for the impact and purposes God had for them.
As we begin 2023, I feel the burden of helping the next generation be prepared to enter life and make the difference God has called them to. I’m sure you think about this as well. I believe we can model what was done in Moses’ time today. This current generation (Us!) can intentionally prepare the next to enter their calling. Some of this preparation involves passing down wealth. But more importantly, we should be passing down our stories – which allows the next generation to understand the wisdom you’ve gained, lessons you’ve learned, the challenges you endured during hard times and the perseverance you employed to overcome those challenges. We believe your stories will help prepare the next generation to pick up where you leave off so they can continue to create positive change to impact the world for good.
As mentioned above, money is an important part of our story. When managed with wisdom, we can use financial capital in a way that helps us tell a story that inspires the next generation. Think about it, you could do a lot of great things in life, however if you do not learn to manage and handle money well it will most likely lead to regrets as part of your story. We have all learned a lot through our successes and failures in managing money – why not intentionally pass these lessons learned to the next generation? Here are 3 suggestions to help you tell a successful story:
- Build a financial plan tailored to your story, values, purpose, and goals. This will create clarity on the purpose of the money and help you stay focused on what matters most in life – it’s like putting guardrails on the side of the road. They protect you from going over the edge while you retain control of where you are heading financially.
- Write down your story and how it interacts with money. Answering questions like: what was money like growing up? What was I taught about money and how to manage or care for it? What is your first memory of money? What do you want to be remembered for? Putting pen to paper with these types of questions will help you clarify your values and what you want to communicate to the next generation.
- Define what is enough. Once you know how much is enough you will unlock potential resources to pour into your purpose and the next generation. This could help you accomplish more than you imagined during your lifetime to continue to build on the story you have told to this point in time.
We look forward to connecting with you in 2023 and helping you explore these steps above and work together to help you capture and tell the story you desire. Blessings to you and your family as we embark on another year together!
By Ron Bare
by Ron Bare
As we mentioned in our last blog post, we have recently gone through a rebranding process and now have a “new” look and feel! We hope you love this new look as much as we do! As we mentioned last month, as part of our rebranding, we created a new tagline – “Beyond Abundance.” This tagline connects to our core value of “biblical wisdom” and ultimately connects to our approach of helping you with your financial decision making. We believe that living “beyond abundance,” is a posture of confidence in God, acknowledging that He can richly provide for us beyond what we need so we can generously share with others (2 Cor 9:8-12). A “beyond abundance” way of living offers freedom and opportunities to live a life of fullness (John 10:10), to impact the world far beyond what we could hope or imagine (Eph 3:20).
As we began thinking about what our tagline should be we first thought of what would resonate with you! And this is what we know – you love to be generous, and we love to promote generosity! We were reminded of all the generosity stories we have heard from you, and we have watched so many of you walk in a generous life that we can confidently say that 2 Cor 9:8-12 is true! We believe generosity is the most important part of a financial plan and a necessary component of a lasting legacy. A fulfilling and abundant life must contain living with open hands – looking for ways to be a blessing to those in need, our families, and others who we can love and serve.
In addition to generosity, we believe that it is important to be intentional to think about and expand our vision to align with desired impact, and then connect finances to this vision. Proverb 29:18 says in the KJV “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. We know as well as you do that people follow “visions” they deem worthy. What vision are you following? Have you paused to think intentionally about the vision for your life, family members and others you care about? Through our intentional process, we will help you bring clarity to your vision as well as work with you to align your money decisions to help carry your vision forward.
By living generously and clarifying your vision you can be confident that you are leaving a lasting impact in our world! You will be able to truly say you are living, “Beyond Abundance!” We look forward to connecting with you soon to continue to explore ways to do this together as well as share some new tools we are developing to help you tell your loved ones and the world your story of a “Beyond Abundance” life!