Category: Biblical Principles
Resurrection ImpactMarch 31, 2021
by Lamar King
Growing up on a farm, I (Lamar) was often encouraged to start my own business. So at the age of 12 I began raising and selling puppies. I purchased a beautiful yellow Labrador retriever and remember vividly one winter when she gave birth to a litter of puppies. One was not moving. It had gotten away from her mom and was lifeless. My father brought her inside and with warm water rubbed this little puppy and soon enough it was moving around, and life was evident! Like a real-life version of 101 Dalmatians, this puppy had seemingly come back to life! This experience is the closest I have ever come to physically seeing resurrection and I can assure you, it had lasting impact! As we approach Easter, this memory brings to mind a resurrection that has had an impact on me personally and on the world we live in – the most meaningful resurrection in history – the res urrection of Jesus Christ.
As Ron shared in our most recent blog, 2021 is our “Year of Impact” at Bare Wealth Advisors. There has been and is no greater impact than the person of Jesus Christ. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used on earth currently and whether you call it the Common Era or Anno Domini (AD), the counting of years to get to 2021 started at the birth of Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and willingly laid down His life at the hands of those who were His own people. He came as a King yet acted like a servant. He often taught with stories and parables to turn peoples’ hearts rather than with decree to only chase obedience. He restored the marginalized and showed the value of people no matter their age, gender, or ethnicity.
Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus predicted his resurrection. Most of the time his followers really did not understand what He was talking about. Three days after His death, so much became clear. The tomb was empty! Everything Jesus had talked about suddenly made sense. For 40 days on the earth before ascending to Heaven Jesus physically appeared to many people. From groups of two to gatherings of 500, His presence is documented.
Jesus said to His followers in John 15:5 “Apart from me you can do nothing”. I believe this. The deepest and truest impact can only be found in and through Him. Him who conquered the grave. Him who walked in humility and obedience to His Father. Him who led people as a servant. Him who gave generously. Him who was patient with difficult people. Him who laid down His life for His friends. Him who empowered the broken and despised. Him who spoke with and encouraged those left alone. Jesus Christ impacted every person He met. And He gives us this same ability to impact others – through His example and the Holy Spirit. As we approach Good Friday, the day of His death, and contemplate the impact His resurrection had three days later, on what we now call Easter – may we all consider and remember His impact. And may it cause us to ask – Who am I impacting? And may we all walk anew with impact like this, by His strength.
If you would like to experience and walk in this life changing power and have lasting impact beyond your time here on earth, please feel free to reach out to our team.
2021 – Year of ImpactMarch 22, 2021
by Ron Bare
Who or what are you impacting? This is the question we are asking at Bare Wealth Advisors in 2021. Each of us has an impact on someone or something, either in a positive or in a negative manner. Our mission at Bare is to help our clients “intentionally manage wealth that aligns with their God given purpose for maximum impact.” Our desire is to assist you in having the maximum impact with the wealth you are stewarding. What I (Ron) have learned over the past 25 years as a wealth advisor is that most of us aspire to having impact, but many things (both good and bad) easily get in the way of accomplishing this goal.
I recently heard a speaker say, “whenever we have excess it is easy to be wasteful.” It’s easy to think of this in terms of food, or time, but what about wealth? If you have more than enough, do you easily find yourself investing the extra into relationships or causes to help create impact? Or do you spend it on more temporal or short-term fun?
At Bare, we believe God has given us complete freedom to use wealth for enjoyment and for blessing our families, but also for SO much more! We believe in being intentional with excess wealth decisions so we can leave an impact and legacy. The end goal of managing wealth should not be endless accumulation. You have probably heard the saying, “you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul full of our stuff.” When we die, only what has been invested into people and impact will last. That is what we are passionate about. Imagine a world where we took the excess resources we have and intentionally invested these funds into causes or people for positive impact.
Let’s dream together about a few areas of possible impact:
Family – have we purposely invested into our families’ dreams, whether that be education, launching a business, or helping to fund a passion?
Local communities – how can we improve the community we live in? Do we know our neighbors and their struggles? Are we involved in local ministries? What other ways can we help our community?
World problems – what problem around the world do you wish to see positive change in? Clean water for all? Elimination of hunger? End of human slavery? Value of human life? I am sure we could name so many more.
Let me leave you with a simple formula for intentional money management so you can have meaningful impact:
- Work hard to earn a living and bring increase to your business. We were made to work and improve the earth. (Genesis 2:15)
- Learn to be content. Not an easy task but the more we learn contentment the more we can focus on the needs of others. (Philippians 4:12)
- Set long term financial goals – college, family, retirement, or other. When you know your goals, it is much easier to calculate how much you will need to accomplish those goals.
- Set a financial finish line. This can be an annual cap on your living expenses or a cap on your net worth. When this is set, work hard to grow your income or net worth (increase is good), but commit to using the increase for impact on others.
Following this four-step formula can help you intentionally have an impact in your family, local community, and the world. We look forward to working with you in 2021 to help you set and accomplish your goals and to begin discussions on what kind of impact you wish to leave this world!
What is going on with GameStop and how should I respond as an investor?February 9, 2021
As many of you have seen in the financial news within the last week(s), social media forums are having an increased influence on specific shares of companies or precious metals. We have had several of our clients as well as friends and family members ask us to explain what is happening.
For those who have not heard about it, here is a quick background: Hedge funds often have large short positions on companies they expect to decline in share price. To “short a stock”, means to sell it with plans to buy it back later; hopefully, at a lower price. These positions are public as large hedge funds are required to make their holdings known. Recently, forums on some social media platforms have taken notice and leaders of these are encouraging people to buy stocks of a few of these companies to run up the price and cause large losses for the hedge fund managers.
A few thoughts and reminders:
- When you are buying a stock of a company, that company does not receive any money. Stocks (after the IPO – Initial Public Offering) are traded on the secondary market. So, when you are buying a stock, it is like buying a used vehicle – the manufacturer does not get a dime.
- Use caution if your heart is attracted due to a quick gain or fast profit. Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it”.
- Understand how your investment creates wealth. If you are going to buy an investment, make sure you or your advisor knows how it works. In this case, with companies like GameStop, look at the underlying company you are buying, in this case GameStop had 3 years of declining income, increasing debt, and the increasing use of borrowing to fund cash flow. Proverbs 14:15 says “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”
- Consider the ethical side of an investment decision not just the financial side. Contemplate questions like “Am I making the right investment choice if I’m hoping for the demise of another for the sake of personal gain”? Proverbs 24:17 says, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.”
- Just like joining in partnership with someone in business – know what your exit strategy is. If you plan to get in on trends or investing in individual companies, know what your exit plan is. Do not buy based off excitement with no plan of when to sell after gains or losses occur.
- Seek the counsel of those whom you trust. Be cautious trusting your investment decisions to those you do not know.
There is nothing inherently right or wrong about purchasing stock in a company. However, we do know that every financial decision has more than just financial implications and it is good for each of our hearts to pause and consider the above thoughts before making any investment decision.
Generosity – For it is better to give than to receiveDecember 9, 2020
At Bare Wealth Advisors, one of our core values is Generosity.
We believe that cheerful and generous giving inspires others in their purpose, enriches relationships, and expands the influence of the resources we manage. All year long we love to lead our clients in conversations regarding generosity and strategic giving. But certainly, something happens between Thanksgiving and year end that ramps up those conversations. There is a clear connection between gratitude and generosity. A connection between heart and function. So here are some thoughts below about how you give in heart and in function.
How in our hearts:
- As Jesus is sending out His disciples part of His instructions were “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8b) As we recognize God as the owner and we as the stewards it positions our hearts in gratitude to give freely with no strings attached.
- “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7) This is a great chapter packed with why we should sow generously and give what is decided in our hearts.
- “Each person is to give what has been decided in their heart to give.” (2 Cor 9:7) Giving is to be strategic, prayerfully considered, and is different for each person/family/business.
- By Faith. “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.” (2 Cor 8:2-3)
How in our function:
- Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs). These are great tools that make giving easier in so many ways. A DAF is basically a savings account for giving that provides the tax deduction the year you place money in the DAF. It can be directed out immediately to charities of your choice or wait until you decide to give it later. It simplifies giving record-keeping to one place, provides ability to give anonymously, can be used to maximize bunching strategies with the current itemized/standard deduction tax law, and so much more.
- Giving 100% of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). For 2020 only! You can deduct up to 100% of your AGI using charitable gifts of cash. These donations must go to an operating nonprofit. You can not use a DAF for the increased amount. (Though a single charity fund is an option)
- Out of Assets not only Income. We often only think of giving based on income and out of cash. However, there are lots of ways to give the same amounts but in a more tax advantaged way. Several examples would be: charitable SWAP donating appreciated stock and using cash then to buy back the stock to improve basis, gifting portions of business ownership, giving of grain or other commodities, Real estate, and more.
- Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) – IRA accounts have no required minimum distribution (RMD) in 2020. But those age 70½ or older can still make gifts directly from an IRA to a nonprofit up to $100,000. This gift donates pre-tax dollars. The earned income is not once taxed because it goes directly to the charitable organization.
Please reach out to us with questions as you consider your generosity goals! We would encourage you as Ron Blue says, to consider “doing your givin’ while you’re livin’, so you’re knowing where it’s goin’.” For it is better to give than to receive.
(We have recently completed a new video sharing more about our roots of generosity – please check it out! (www.barewealthadvisors.com/about/values/givingroots/)
Securities America and its representatives do not provide tax advice; therefore it is important to coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.
Easter MessageApril 9, 2020
by Ron Bare
As I sit down to write this, it is a sunny 70-degree day with a slight breeze, some would say near “perfect” conditions. It may be perfect weather but that’s not what I feel inside. I feel a burden – a burden but at the same time peace. Peace that goes beyond my understanding but a heaviness of the unknown. How many lives and families will be affected? What will the economic impact be and how will it ultimately affect us? All of the “experts” seem to have a different outlook on the health situation and the financial impact and timeframe. Could it be that no one really knows? Where should we go for the answers?
These past few days as I worked at my home office, I watched several signs of new life outside my window; a robin with bright colors, a finch perched just feet away, a bald eagle flew right over my house and I can almost watch the bushes and trees budding their leaves. These are all reminders that spring is here and new life is coming!
It is also the week of Easter. A story that redefined the meaning of life! Hope, Peace, Love, Joy can all be found in the Easter story regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Jesus died on Good Friday and all seemed lost – even his 12 disciples thought it was over. They fled for their physical lives, were emotionally defeated and spiritually confused. BUT Easter morning came a few days later and everything changed! Over 500 witnesses saw Jesus after he rose on Easter and many wrote about it and sacrificed their lives because of their testimony. They had a new outlook – one that changed everything. Physically they had hope for life beyond what this world has to offer, emotionally they had joy and peace even when enduring suffering, and spiritually they had a rebirth knowing they had hope for eternity.
We can experience the same today in the uncertainty of our life circumstances. We may find ourselves wanting to control our circumstances or how our leaders are responding – but we will be better off working on self-control. We CAN control how we respond to events, but usually cannot control the events themselves. How can we have contentment, faith in the future, and peace? To be content it is necessary to not fear the future, to have peace we must look for truth and to have faith we must rely on what is trustworthy. Are these even possible? Yes! The Easter story makes all this possible. We have someone who gives us a bright future, who IS truth and who has proven trustworthy. This person is found in the center of the Easter story – Jesus. He is our Way, our Truth, and our Life!
We are praying for you and your family that you will experience His peace, joy and hope this Easter weekend. And for our country and world to have physical, emotional, and financial healing. I am also looking forward to a good ham and lots of chocolate!
Market UpdateMarch 12, 2020
by Ron Bare
As mentioned in our previous blog, the Bare Wealth Advisors team believe in helping our clients make financial decisions flowing out of a comprehensive financial plan based on your values and goals. However, we do understand that the current health situation with the virus and also the implications of how this effects your financial goals is probably on your mind. With that in mind, we wanted to share a few thoughts on fear and also a few principles we believe.
Since fear levels in our country (and world) are at high levels, we thought it would be good to share some thoughts and principles related to fear and finances. I have heard that the Bible says do not fear (or be afraid) somewhere close to 365 times, one for each day. This is clearly to remind us that our nature is to fear the unknown and the circumstance we may be faced with. I was reminded in our church service this past week to read Psalms 91 (too long to type in this blog – I suggest going to the YouVersion Bible app to read). Reading this and other scripture is a great way to actively combat fear in our lives and for those we care about.
In addition, as we make financial decisions, we believe reviewing a few basic principles can be effective when we live in times of uncertainty. Here are a few to consider:
- God is the owner of all things, including our money (Psalm 24:1). This reminds us we are stewards and should work hard to manage what has been entrusted to us; however, we are not expected to have a crystal ball based on future events that may or may not happen.
- Live within your means and be content with what we have (Hebrews 13:5)
- Minimize the use of debt
- Build liquidity and have some money put back in savings for the unexpected and for income that you may need in the short term (our planning process accounts for these items)
- Think long term – the longer term your perspective typically will help you make better financial decisions. (Think back to the financial crisis of 2008 – 12 years ago, we have recovered well)
- Give generously – personally I believe this to be a very important step in coming up against fear we may have. Fear causes us to hold tight to what we have rather than have an open hand, look to help someone in need or bless a cause or mission you believe in.
In summary, one of our core values at Bare Wealth is Biblical wisdom. We believe that when we manage our lives and finances according to Biblical principles we can experience:
- Contentment under all economic conditions
- Confidence in financial decision making
- Maximize the use of money, our talents and time for what matters most to us
As always feel free to contact our team with questions on your plan/investments or concerns related to what is happening in our world, we care about you and your family.
Also, please pass this on to any family or friends who may benefit from reading this.
Market UpdateMarch 10, 2020
by Ron Bare
One thing I have learned, working in the financial services industry over the past 24 years, is by having your investment decisions flow out of a comprehensive personal financial plan, based on your values and goals, is essential to making wise decisions over time. The moment you separate your investment decisions and make them independently of a comprehensive financial plan is when those decisions are made based on emotions, news events, or other items that do not point back towards your values and goals.
If you have worked with Bare Wealth for any length of time, you know we believe in planning around our client’s purpose, values and goals and letting these items drive all decision making. However, we do understand when world events cause large movements in the financial markets, feelings of concern may arise regarding how these shifts may impact your objectives. With that in mind, we do not want to be silent when events, such as the coronavirus, influence the markets with an 11% drop in one week.
In case this has caused any concern (or fear) related to life or your finances, we want to assure you that unless your goals or short-term financial needs have changed, it is best not to react to these news events. Let your financial plan have the time it needs to properly help carry out your goals. As always, we are here to take any questions or inquiries surrounding these events. In the meantime, lets pray for the families impacted by the virus and pray that a solution would be developed to stop the spread of the disease.
Year of VisionFebruary 26, 2020
by Ron Bare
As mentioned in our “Yearly Update Letter,” 2020 is Bare Wealth Advisors’ Year of Vision.
At the beginning of this year, I (Ron) set some time aside to get alone with God and to focus on HIS vision for 2020. As I did, something stirred in my heart. God helped me see that during the last two decades, He has been developing my influence… my voice… and my abilities to move towards solutions to some problems in our world. As I wrote down the vision I felt God gave me, I closed my laptop that day and was excited to begin taking steps towards accomplishing what God had just planted in my heart.
How about you? Have you taken time to get alone with God as this new year has begun? If not, I would encourage you to! I feel confident that as you desire to hear from and seek Him, He will begin to unfold a vision for you with the gifting’s He has developed in you.
Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. Some versions of this verse replace perish with “the people cast off restraint”. Several versions of Proverbs 29:18 actually replace the word vision with “revelation” or “divine guidance” which may give us a better picture of what this actually is. What this verse is saying is that without godly vision for your life, or revelation from God, we are left to perish or “run wild”. God’s revelation is His Word! At Bare Wealth, we have seen this to be true especially in the area of finance. Without using God’s wisdom given in His Word and without formulating a plan or vision for your finances, mistakes are more easily made. In addition, if there is no order or restraint –financial problems (too much debt, too little margin, very little impact, no contentment, etc.)– all begin to surface.
Aligning our “vision” or plans with God’s divine revelation is the ultimate goal. What we all need to ask ourselves to help us gain clarity in our vision is this question: What has God shown me and what will I do with what I have been given?
Many of us have been given much not only in the financial area of life, but also talents, relationships, education, experiences, time etc. Those who have been given much have a higher level of responsibility and accountability (Luke 12:48). With a focus on Vision in 2020, we hope to help each family we serve better answer the above questions and take steps to help you gain a clearer vision in your finances, relationships, and many other areas of your life – ultimately in your God given purpose. Here is what I believe will happen if we are successful managing our lives with a greater vision: we will have great impact, improved relationships, increased adventure and fun, and gain eternal rewards.
Clarity in PlanningJanuary 6, 2020
Driving into work today the classic 1972 Johnny Nash song “I Can See Clearly Now” came strolling into my mind. It made me first break out in song and then contemplate the blessing of sight and finally consider how this year is going to be the Year of Vision at Bare Wealth Advisors. You will hear more about our Year of Vision throughout the year but for now I simply want to focus on seeing clearly or having clarity.
Did you know that eyes are made up of 2 million working parts? Or that your eye is the fastest muscle in your body? I regularly take my eyes for granted and forget that my vision is one of the greatest gifts I have. However, when I forget my glasses or get something in my eyes and lose the clarity of vision, it’s an easy reminder how critical it is to see clearly.
As a financial advisor, one of the areas we excel at is giving financial clarity to our clients. It’s more than just wealth management and insurance products based on your age and risk tolerance. These might provide a course but cannot provide full clarity. Once we get a chance to walk through a full financial plan, understanding a client’s core values in addition to their financial goals and circumstances, we can provide a lot of clarity as to the path they are on and help them answer the question of “how much is enough?” in many areas of their financial lives.
We’re looking forward to 2020 and hope to see you soon! As the Johnny Nash chorus continues, “It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day”.
Year of Generosity in ReviewDecember 1, 2019
2019 has been Bare Wealth Advisors’ Year of Generosity. We find it helpful to create a theme each year to help us be more intentional in a certain area of our financial lives. Without intentionality in our lives we are prone to coast along with life reacting to life events and circumstances. This is true in our financial lives as much as in any area of life. As we wrap up another year, I thought it would be good to make one last effort to emphasize the importance of generosity in our lives and in the lives of others around the world.
In 2 Corinthians 8:7, the Apostle Paul tells us to excel in our acts of giving – similar to how we would want to excel in other areas of life such as our knowledge, speech, faith etc. If you are alive more than 12 years, you probably know that to excel or get better in something you need to work at it and plan for it to actually improve. Think of a professional athlete such as Michael Jordan-the best basketball player ever to play the game (sorry, Lebron James fans). Although he was naturally gifted as an athlete and basketball player, he was also the one that put in the most hours a day practicing and mastering his game. The same is true for financial management as well as our generosity. We may be naturally generous, having a desire to help other people. However, with unlimited options on how we spend our time and money, we are often pulled away from using our resources for others in efforts to “better” our own lives resulting in more things or time commitments.
The only way to improve or excel in our effort to live a generous life is to plan, set goals, and take steps towards generosity. Begin by asking yourself: “What does generosity look like for me considering what I have been given?” The Bible tells us that to whom much is given, much is expected. This means we have a great responsibility with what we manage. Many in America have been given much and, we are the most generous nation in the world by many statistics. However, a deeper look into this says we have room for improvement. The average American gives about 2% of their income. While this is slightly better at 2.6% for someone who regularly attends a weekly worship service, it still falls short in many ways considering the wealth we have in our possession. During the Great Depression, average giving percentage was 3.5% of income, despite extremely difficult times. There are many studies that show as our income increases, we give a lower percent of our income to help other people. Why?
Perhaps because we do not think about being intentional or how we can improve in this area like we do areas such as fitness, our jobs, parenting, etc. Why not set giving or generosity goals each year that push us forward from the prior year? Think about giving a bit more to help others or possibly one percent more of your income than the prior year. Think about how we can use our time to help those in need around us such as volunteering an hour more per week so we can physically help someone in a tough situation. A good exercise is near the end of the year pull out your calendar and your checkbook (or online account) and reflect on how you spent your time and money in 2019, does it align with what you most value in life? If not, set some goals in both areas to be more generous and others focused in 2020.
I read recently that if the average church attender gave 10% of their income (a tithe or tenth is often taught in the Scriptures) there would be additional resources to solve problems such as: world hunger, deaths from preventable diseases, the world’s clean water and sanitation concerns, all world mission efforts would be funded, and all illiteracy concerns would be solved. Not only would these problems be solved but there would also be $100 billion left over to fund local needs in our communities. With this in mind, I could argue that if we all pushed forward with more generosity, we could drastically improve the lives of people around the world! In addition, when we take part in generous acts there is a supernatural joy and fulfillment that comes that cannot be matched by any earthly possessions.
To wrap up Bare Wealth Advisors. Year of Generosity, let me encourage and invite you to take part of generous acts of service in 2020 and beyond. Together we can move the needle of generosity from where we are today to where we can leave a legacy well beyond what we can imagine if we are intentional in this area of our lives. After 23 years of working with families such as yours in the area of financial management and decision making, I can honestly say I have NEVER met an unhappy generous person.