by Curtis Burkholder
As a young boy growing up on a dairy farm, I remember my mom talking about adding money to her Christmas Club. At the time, I didn’t understand what this meant. What I understand now is that she was intentionally setting money aside each month so that when Christmas came around my parents would have money saved to be able to buy gifts. Instead of just buying gifts out of their monthly income they had a lump sum saved to buy gifts. My parents valued generosity at Christmas time and knew that it wouldn’t happen naturally. They intentionally planned to save monthly so they could be generous at Christmas time. They had a vision of being able to enjoy giving as well as experience the joy of my sisters and I opening our gifts. This was one of the earliest examples of intentional generosity that I remember.
For many of us, giving and generosity does not occur naturally but requires intentional thought and planning. 2022 at Bare Wealth Advisors is the “Year of Intentionality.” In addition, one of our core values is generosity. Today, we’ll consider how intentionality and generosity are related. Generosity is a way that we can inspire others, a way to enrich our relationships, and allows us to expand the influence of what we manage. This kind of generosity requires intentional thought and planning.
Generosity inspires others by making an impact upon their current situation. It may be a gift that is made right when funds are needed to pay a bill or to meet the current need of a charity. Generosity can also provide funds for an organization to venture into new areas of opportunity. Then, as we share stories of generosity, others are inspired to give as well. This can cause a community to gain momentum around generosity.
Giving generously enriches relationships as it communicates, “I value who you are and know what is important to you.” Generosity requires intentional thought and planning to find a gift that reflects who the person is as well as their interests. With an organization, giving can also enrich the relationship between the giver and the organization as it allows gratitude to flow back and forth between the giver and the recipient.
Generosity expands the influence of what we manage by sharing what we have with others. Instead of keeping money, time, or talent to ourselves, as we share our resources it allows us to influence others in ways we would not have been able to do otherwise. We can encourage, train, and teach others as we share what we have.
The apostle Paul in a letter to the church at Corinth encouraged them to excel in the “grace of giving.” To excel in something requires hard work and effort. It does not occur naturally but requires sacrifice and discipline. To intentionally live a generous lifestyle requires us to say “No” to some things and make sacrifices so we can say “Yes” to others and be generous. This requires us to have a vision for our giving and to intentionally plan. Just like my parents saw on Christmas morning when they watched the joy on our faces, the energy that it takes to intentionally be generous is well worth the effort.
As you think about your personal life and giving strategy, take time to consider one area or cause that you feel inspired to be more generous in. Consider the potential impact of an increase in your generosity and develop a plan that will help you accomplish that goal. (We would love to help you create this plan!) As you develop a plan, make sacrifices, and take steps towards greater giving, you will be living in intentional generosity and experience the truth, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”
By Ryan Kurtz
It is January 26th, 2022, as I sit down to write my thoughts on the current state of the stock market. After 3 great years in the market (measured by the S&P 500 Index) in which a $100,000 investment would have grown to almost $180,000, the market is down 8.5% since January 1st. Does that mean the stock market is no longer a good place to invest? Let’s take a deeper look.
What creates volatility in the stock market?
The “market” is just an auction that happens every business day in which investors (owners) in companies buy and sell their ownership shares. If there are more buyers bidding, then there are sellers selling of a company, the shares go up in price. If there are more sellers than buyers, the share price goes down. There are many things that would make people want to buy or sell – a CEO retiring, a new product that investors think is a good idea, profits in a quarter are better than expected, and on and on.
Are we going to see a decline or drop in the market? The answer is yes. When, and how much, I have no idea (and no one else does either, it is just speculation.) Just because the market drops does not mean it is a bad place to invest. It is the nature of this type of investment that is priced by a daily auction. No one knows the future and even when very intelligent people predict what “may” happen to the market, they are often wrong.
Is the stock market still a good place to invest? The answer is – it depends. It depends on what you plan to use the money you invest into the market for. It is typically a good place to invest for someone that has a long-term plan to own the investment. If you need the money you’re investing in 1 – 3 years, it may not be a good place to invest. For investors that have been able to hold investments in the stock market for 10 years or more they would have had an investment that would have provided a good average annual return during most decades. If you only would be able to hold the investment for a year or two, you would have had a 25% – 30% chance of losing money*.
So, what are our current thoughts on the Market?
- The market is a good place to invest for a long-term investor
- The market could be too much risk to take if you are a short-term investor
- Based on our experience and working with many families; the stock market is one of the 3 best investments one should own to create wealth. The other two are real estate and private business.
In closing, our encouragement to our clients is to keep a long-term focus regarding your investment portfolio and understand how these investments fit into your overall financial plan. If you have a good understanding of the investments purpose, timeframe, and needs for you and your family you are much more likely to be a successful long-term investor!
*American Funds, The ICA Guide 2021 edition: Class A shares; MFS Investment Management, Principles of Long Term Investing Resilience
by Ron Bare
Happy New Year! As I reflect on each relationship we have with our clients, friends, and colleagues I have a sense of honor and humility to be invited to the table as an advisor. Coming out of our Year of Impact at Bare Wealth Advisors, I think about the stories of impact we are beginning to hear – whether at home within families, local communities, or impact all over the world – Bare Wealth Advisor clients are helping to make an impact for the better and you are part of that! Generosity has increased, communication within families has improved, businesses have grown, and contentment levels are increasing – all of these are essential for the kind of impact we are called to make. So, as I begin, let me first say thank you for allowing us to be part of your journey.
We have communicated over the past few years how fortunate we have been to be able to grow and serve more families, and we remain committed to growing and serving families who align with our mission and desire a long-term relationship with a trusted advisor. Through serving additional families we have been able to fulfill our mission statement – “to intentionally manage wealth in a way that aligns with your God given purpose, for maximum impact” – more than I ever thought possible! Heading into 2022, what stands out to me more than ever in our mission statement is the word intentionally. I have now served for more than 25 years in the role of a financial advisor, and I have seen firsthand how important it is to be intentional if you wish to make an impact.
We all know that to have a good marriage we need to be intentional, to parent children to become productive, faithful adults takes intentionality, to build friendships, stay physically healthy, to meet and achieve personal growth or to be successful in our jobs/businesses – all takes being VERY intentional! Why would we think it is any different in our financial lives? To make an impact and be wise stewards we need to be intentional.
With this in mind, we feel strongly that our “year of” theme for 2022 should be: The Year of Intentionality. To continue to advance our mission and help our clients make an impact we know that being intentional is more important than ever. As a culture, there is more competition for our time, money, emotions, and energy than ever before. Bare Wealth Advisors is committed to standing with our clients and team members to intentionally advance those things that matters most. Here are some areas we hope to be intentional in 2022:
- Creating a welcoming and caring place for all who enter our door.
- Investing into each team member at Bare to further grow and develop their incredible talent.
- Building stronger relationships with each family unit we are blessed to work with.
- Continue conversations exploring new ways of being intentional in your financial plan.
- Listening for new and improved ways to add value to the advice and services we provide.
As we pursue these initiatives of intentionality in 2022 our desire is to strengthen our relationship with you and your family. We want you to be confident and have clarity on where you stand financially. But, most importantly, we want to ensure that you have an intentional strategy for greater impact in your family and the charitable causes you feel drawn to!
We look forward to connecting with you soon in 2022 to continue the journey towards intentional stewardship!
by Ron Bare
I remember as a child waking up on Christmas morning full of excitement and anticipation for what the morning would bring – a special breakfast, stockings, and…presents!
However, growing up on a dairy farm meant it was also a morning of waiting. The cows still had to be milked on Christmas morning just like every other day, and that meant that I had to wait until all the morning work was done, showers for my parents who were doing the work, and breakfast to feed those who already put in half day’s work until I could get to those presents! Ugh! Time seemed to move so slowly!
Then, the moment finally came -the Bible was opened, and the Christmas story read. And we could begin opening presents! Whatever the gifts were, they were usually worth the wait! However, by the next year I somehow would forget the gifts from the prior year and be looking ahead to what the next Christmas would bring.
Christmas Day more than 2000 years ago the world was also in waiting. Waiting on a promised Savior who had been foretold hundreds of years prior. But finally the wait was over. Jesus Christ was born! Unexpectedly, he came as a baby…. grew into a man…and died on a cross for the sins of the world. This was and is great news! He lived a perfect life, performed many miracles, and taught and modeled for us all how to live a life of impact. A life that is willing to serve, put others first, and ultimately die for others who are underserving of such sacrifice. Jesus was and is THE gift of Christmas.
“For God so loved the world that HE gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16. This gift lasts throughout eternity and is not like earthly gifts that rust and rot away or are quickly forgotten. He is the gift that forever changed the world and was worth the wait. He is the gift we should all reflect on every day, but especially during the season of Christmas, not to be lost in the hustle and preparations of the upcoming day.
Throughout 2021 at Bare Wealth Advisors, we have carried the theme “Year of Impact” both internally and with our valued clients. As we come to the end of another year and bring the “Year of Impact” to a close, I am drawn to the impact the life Jesus had on all of humanity. 2021 years after his birth we are still celebrating this life on the most widely known holiday celebrated each year. The life of Jesus Christ is the most impactful life of anyone who has ever lived and one we should look to model. He did it not with much wealth (actually very little), but rather with a life that served, loved, and ultimately was laid down for others – you and me. So, as we celebrate another Christmas season let us remember that the wait is over! The best gift ever has been given to all! And we are free to live a life like Jesus, a life of impact.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
by Lamar King
As we approach Thanksgiving in our “Year of Impact,” it’s hard to think of
any greater impact than a life lived in gratitude. Sounds trite, but when you stop and really think about it – it’s so true. In high school when the Lord captured my heart, a friend shared 3 powerful verses with me that we also recently memorized as a team at Bare Wealth. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I find that being joyful and giving thanks is fairly easy when things are going well. I also find I pray more when things aren’t going well. But the power of Christ shines most and carries the most impact when we do these things both when life is going well AND when life stinks. This is not fake happiness or empty one-liners, but a dependency on and a deep-rooted belief in WHO is with us, WHO is the righteous judge, WHO wins in the end, and WHO loves our loved ones better than we can.
An excellent example of living this way was the apostle Paul. While in prison he wrote to the church in Philippi and said, “At the moment I have all I need – and more!” (4:18) Can you actually imagine saying that?! Throughout this entire book he reminds the Philippians of what is most important, where their focus should be and to “shine like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (2:15) Rejoicing and gratitude are a recurring theme throughout Philippians – what an impact that must have made on the readers! (and should on us today!)
The picture at the top of this post was hanging on the dining room wall of a hotel we stayed at in Salina, KS this summer and I had to take a picture of it. As I researched the author, I found she is someone with a deep history of pain and addiction yet out of that darkness learned the power of gratitude. Though it does not take long to find great quotes about gratitude online, a life lived in gratitude is a rare jewel.
As we approach Thanksgiving, may the season be a catalyst for us all to change our thoughts about things both in and out of our control and may we grow more and more in gratitude for ALL circumstances. God does not call us to something that is impossible – as we pray continually, He will renew our minds so that our life of gratitude will produce joy in us and impact in those we interact with.
by Jim Wahlberg
As we move into the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period for another year, I think most of you know the “routine” by now. For those of you experiencing this for the first time or if you just need a reminder, I thought it would be helpful to remind you all of dates and times that changes can be made.
What is the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)? The AEP is a timeframe that allows Medicare beneficiaries an opportunity to either enroll, disenroll, or make changes to your existing Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription drug plan. Medicare Supplement plans have separate rules for change and are not necessarily tied to this enrollment season.
What are the dates of the Annual Enrollment Period? October 1st is the “magic date” that discussion can begin about any of the 2022 plans. If a plan change is necessary, I can help with enrollment, including signing and submitting applications beginning October 15th. We can continue to meet and accept applications until December 7th…after the 7th you cannot submit an application for the AEP.
Do I have to meet, call, or sign anything to keep my current coverage? Generally, NO. If your current plan is continuing for 2022, you are satisfied with the way it worked, and you understand the upcoming changes in coverage, you do not need to do anything. If you have questions about your plan for the next year it would generally be best to have a 5-10 minute phone call that we can review the upcoming changes and decide if an in-person meeting is necessary.
Finally, as a general reminder, you will receive many different pieces of Medicare marketing in the mail…you do not want to send your phone number or email address on a response card unless you would like to receive a lot of calls/emails from the unknown sender of that mailer. If you have questions about your Medicare coverage, please feel free to call our office or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to answer any questions you have. I hope that each of you have a great Fall season!
by Ryan Kurtz
As many of you know, our theme at Bare Wealth Advisors for 2021 is “Impact.” Specifically, we are challenging our staff and clients to ask, “how can we use our resources and lives to have an impact on others?”
As I reflect on my life and career, a man comes to mind that was very influential in my own life as well as extremely influential in our industry. Even though he is no longer with us on earth, Larry Burkett epitomizes a life of impact.
Larry passed away when I was 25 years old, and I was never able to meet him. My remembrance of Larry Burkett was when I spent afternoons as a young boy feeding animals and milking cows in the barn on our family farm. Typical of many farmers, the radio was playing, and every midafternoon a show called “Money Matters” aired. It was a “call-in” type of show where people would ask Larry financial questions and he would answer them. I was always struck by the way Larry gave answers to callers with knowledge for each financial situation while simultaneously integrating Biblical wisdom with the answer. His words were full of love for each person regardless of the financial situation – even if the caller found themselves in very negative appearing circumstances. Years later, as I began my career in the financial field as an advisor, part of my desire to help others came from wanting to “be like Larry” – to give loving financial advice integrated with God’s Word.
In addition to the radio show, Larry published over 70 books in his lifetime, and sales of these books now exceed 11 million copies. As I prepare for meetings with clients, I still have many of his books in my office that I pull out from time to time to see what Larry said about a certain topic. It is interesting to me that when I look up the advice he gave in his writings there is almost always a Bible reference included.
Not only did Larry impact me personally (and many others) through his radio broadcasts and writings, Larry was also instrumental in starting or helping to start a number of wonderful Christian financial ministries. At Bare Wealth Advisors we still are closely connected to several of these ministries, and they continue to impact so much of what we do each day. Some of these organizations that we use and connect with regularly are Kingdom Advisors, National Christian Foundation, Crown Financial Ministries, and the Money Wise radio show.
As I reflect on the impact that Larry’s life had on me and many others, I ask myself, “on who am I having an impact?” “Am I having the same life changing impact on others as Larry’s life impacted mine?” I will always be forever grateful for Larry’s life and the way God used him to influence me in so many areas of my life.
by Ron Bare
It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of August 2021. As you all are very aware, the past year and a half have presented never before seen challenges and uncertainty. We recognize that often fear and anxiety are the results of this uncertainty. We thought it would be appropriate as we head into the fall to share some important, time tested principles, as well as a few key thoughts on our economy.
- As always, we recommend the best course of action is to be long-term, goal-focused, planning-driven investors. We’ve found that the best course for us is to formulate a financial plan—and to build portfolios—based not on a view of the economy or the markets, but on our most important lifetime financial goals.
- We believe in following a plan with discipline — as opposed to reacting to current events. This offers us the best chance for long-term investment success. Simply stated: unless our goals change, we see little reason to alter our financial plan. And if our portfolio is well-suited to that plan, we don’t often make significant changes to that, either.
- We do not believe the economy can be consistently forecast, nor the markets consistently timed. We are therefore convinced that the most reliable way to capture the long-term return of equities is to ride out their frequent but ultimately temporary declines.
PERSPECTIVE OF CURRENT SITUATION
- The economy continues to struggle with supply chain imbalances, as well as with a historic mismatch between the number of job openings available and continued high (though rapidly declining) unemployment. Financial journalists continue to speculate on when these blockages will clear, but for long-term investors like us, the key is our belief that they will, in the fullness of time.
- There is also the issue of the Biden administration’s drastic tax proposals with respect to capital gains and estates. The best that can be said on this subject is that, as the first half of the year ended, the momentum behind these initiatives seemed to be declining. But the political climate remains as detrimental to capital (and capitalists) as it’s been in quite a while.
- Nonetheless, for investors like us, the most important economic report of this whole six-month period is the fact that household net worth in this country spiked 3.8% in the first quarter of 2021—to $136.9 trillion—propelled by broad gains in the equity market and in home prices. Even more important, perhaps, is the fact that the ratio of household debt to assets continued to fall, and is now back down to about where it was 50 years ago.
- The consumer powers this economy, and the consumer has rarely carried more manageable debt levels relative to disposable income—and has simply never been holding more cash—than he/she does today. In June, the National Retail Foundation raised its outlook yet again; it now expects retail sales to grow 10.5% to 13.5% (that is, $4.44 trillion to $4.56 trillion) year over year. As a result, the retail giant Target raised its dividend by a whopping 32%.
As always, if your situation has changed, or if you would like to speak to one of our advisors, please give us a call. We thank you for your continued trust and confidence in the team at Bare Wealth Advisors and we look forward to speaking with you soon!
by Tina Bare
As we are now halfway through our 2021 Year of Impact focus at Bare Wealth Advisors, we wanted to encourage you that giving back to organizations with your time and talents can be as important as giving your treasure. Many organizations rely very heavily on the support of volunteers and would not be able to survive without them! Ron and I (Tina) have been involved with a local youth ministry, the Parkesburg Point, (parkesburgpoint.com) for many years. We have served in different capacities – from board member to Bible study leader to cooking meals, staffing retreats and mentoring. At times we question do we have “the time” to volunteer and do these things, but we have always found that the Lord extends our time, blesses us, and fills us when we give of our time and talent to His work. The impact is two-fold; the Point meets the needs of those they serve and we in turn are impacted through the interactions that occur. I asked Amy Walton, Volunteer Coordinator at the Point to share her perspective on how volunteers impact their ministry:
“The Point addresses the spiritual, academic, emotional, and physical needs of the students. Volunteers have served those needs in many ways and help carry out the vision of a victorious life. One volunteer couple responded to a student who moved 41 times before coming to The Point. As a high school student, he could not read. Our volunteer couple began to address his academic needs by helping him learn to read. The time spent with this young man turned into a long-lasting relationship. Through their love and encouragement, he began learning about his passion to pursue real estate, learned how to budget, buy a car, and an apartment – and enjoyed eating family meals, something many of us take for granted! As a successful adult, he thanks The Point and this faithful couple for changing his bleak outlook into a life filled with hope, purpose, and love.
Volunteers also help carry out the programs that work towards our mission. Each month 150 volunteers from multiple churches come and serve home-cooked meals to our students each day that we are open. This service covers a nutritional and physical need for our demographic which falls below the poverty level. Other volunteers use their gifts and talents to teach cooking, woodworking, boxing, electrical work, skateboarding, tutoring, reading, and music. Additionally, we have volunteers who open their homes and pools for our Summer Bible Study students to swim—giving a chance for students to experience a peaceful, faithful atmosphere that they strive for in their own future home.
Volunteers support our mission, make an incredible impact, and show that true service does not require anything in return—we are grateful! Hundreds of volunteers have been serving, praying, supporting, giving, and believing in The Point for the last 18 years—the impact is priceless.”
We at Bare Wealth Advisors love to help you intentionally manage your wealth in a way that aligns with your God-given purpose for maximum impact – but, we also want to encourage you that there are so many ways to have impact outside of finances. We challenge you to ask yourself, “How can I leave an impact not only through my finances but also with my time and talents?”
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25.
by David Denlinger
It is no secret that this past year created a significant amount of uncertainty, fear, and confusion. In times like these, it is very easy to allow the stress and weariness to get the best of us. All the negative headlines and conflicting news sources seem to shake our judgement. Instead of letting fear control our thoughts and decisions, 2 Timothy 1:7 is a good reminder to stand firm, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” From a financial standpoint, staying disciplined during uncomfortable times is difficult but crucial to short-term financial wellness and long-term financial success. Here are several guidelines to help keep your eyes on the goal:
Don’t focus on market swings. It is important to have a financial plan and to stick to it through market volatility. If there are changes to your financial situation, please let us know and we can review your accounts to see if we need to make changes, but it is important to not make decisions out of fear or emotion. Additionally, trying to time the market often involves a lot of disappointment and very few find success.
Invest prudently. The natural human tendency is to buy lots of stock when prices are rising and to stop buying altogether when prices are on the down swing. But some stock prices may provide a good value if the market drops, and you will be able to buy more for the same amount of money. When you are in the accumulation phase, the best way to invest is to setup a monthly investment. This removes the emotion from investing and is a proven long-term plan for successful investing.
Increase your savings. In times of stress, it is natural to buy something fun. But no matter how you feel, it is important to follow Biblical principles and spend less than you make. Focus on adding to your savings instead of making large unnecessary purchases due to the stress you may be feeling.
Give Generously. No matter what is happening around us, it is important to continue to give. There will always be people in need and as a nation we have been very blessed financially. Consider giving of your time, talent, or money to those around you. Furthermore, you can consider giving to local, national, and international organizations to increase the impact that you can have.
Hopefully, these guidelines are helpful as you face the challenges of today. The pandemic has touched each of our lives differently and as you continue to steward your finances, we at Bare Wealth Advisors encourage you to stay disciplined and in all things be grateful. Philippians 4:6-7 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”