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 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!
by Tina Petersheim
Cancelled plans. High school proms, college graduations, weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, sporting events, vacations. The pandemic changed a lot of plans over the last couple of years as important milestones looked different. It would be easy to complain about all that was missed but what if we changed our focus and perspective for this “new normal”: A chance to be more intentional with the people in our lives, longer conversations with the people we love, meaningful encounters with those around us and time to disconnect from the chaos around us.
I met, dated, and married my husband in the middle of the pandemic. Like almost every girl, I imagined the princess dress, the extravagant cake, the lavish venue full of guests, the sendoff in a horse and carriage…. my very own fairytale wedding. Instead, I said “yes to the dress” online; our wedding list was shortened, our wedding cake was a few small desserts, the ballroom became the church lobby, and the grandeur exit was sitting around the table enjoying conversation with our kids.
As we focus on a year of intentionality at Bare, intentional contentment means choosing to be satisfied in all situations, experiencing joy and seeing God’s goodness, even when things don’t go as planned and life throws an unexpected curveball. After years of praying and experiencing loss, God had answered our prayers and my husband and I chose to find joy and contentment in the simpler things. We became intentional with the people we invited to our wedding as the room was filled with those who had weathered our journeys with us and with the ceremony as we shared how God merged the paths of two people who had lived through difficult circumstances.
The Apostle Paul learned the secret of being content and reminds us in Philippians 4:10b-11… “for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”
How are you being intentional with being content in every circumstance? Are you choosing to be happy with the little things in life and live in the moment? Are you fully trusting in the One who has promised to meet every need? Maybe, like me, some things in your life don’t look quite like you thought they might. Maybe some of your goals have shifted or changed. At Bare, we help you through transitions to ensure your values, goals and purpose are directing your financial plan. Having a good financial plan that you feel confident about, along with regular “check-ins”, can help with living out the verses in Philippians and being content in every circumstance.
Ultimately, choose to recognize God’s blessings and enjoy the simpler things: long walks in the park, snuggles with a new baby, a cup of coffee on a rainy morning, relaxing on a sunny day. Know that God is in the details, canceled plans, and missed activities. After all, I still found my Prince Charming and am choosing to be intentional in living happily ever after.
The Equity (Stock) market by most gauges is now down well over 20% and has entered a bear market. We understand that times like this can be difficult as an investor, and we are here to help you make wise financial and investment decisions. Because we care about you and your financial plan, we want to provide you with some overall thoughts and perspectives on market volatility.
What is the cause of this bear market?
Inflation has surged, the federal reserve is raising interest rates (and reversing what is called QE or Quantitative Easing) and these actions are increasing the odds of a recession. Oil prices are at record highs (we all see this at the gas pump daily), and food prices are skyrocketing – not to mention the war in Ukraine. All these headlines and events may lead you to believe that “this time is different.”
Therein lies perhaps the most dangerous phrase of becoming a long-term successful investor. “This time is different.” If we believe this, then the next thought is, “I must pull my money out of the markets, or at least start preserving cash and stop investing my monthly amount into something that loses money each month.”
This time is NOT different. Recessions occur once every five years on average. While inflation is a problem right now, there have been times where it was much higher. Also, although the federal reserve is raising interest rates, they are still relatively low. Oil supply is still limited due to pandemic shutdowns (and other factors for another time) and demand has surged due to a full reopening of the economy. All of this will work its way out. In our opinion, more oil supply will come, demand will soften, inflation will cool, and the market will realize that the world is not ending. In time, this bear market will end.
This time is not different, if just FEELS different. It always does. In 2008 when banks were failing, housing was busting, and the market dropped over 50% (remember how that felt? I do!) – it certainly felt very different. However, those who stayed the course, added to their portfolios, and had faith in the future prevailed, and this time should be no different. During uncertain times it is good to reflect on time tested principles:
- Give more money away this year to a cause you care about (giving is a step of faith in a God who provides)
- Do not make financial decisions out of fear or worry.
- Think long term – we make better decisions when we think long term
- Add to your investment portfolio, assuming you have a few years until you need the money a drop in the market may be a good opportunity to invest with a long-term perspective.
- As we have talked about in the past, make decisions based on your holistic financial plan that is based on your goals, values, and timeframes – we are here to help review any of these details with you if that would be helpful.
Thank you for your continued partnership, and I wish to close with words from Paul in Philippians 4:6-7; “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 heart and minds in Christ Jesus.”
by Ron Bare
With recent market volatility we know concerns can sometimes arise. We hope this video blog by Ron helps to alleviate any of your concerns and offers you peace of mind. As always, we are here should you like to speak directly with us. Please feel free to reach out to your advisor with any additional questions.
by Adam Black
When you hear the term “financial plan”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it’s planning for retirement, finding a way to get your kids through college, or buying your first home. Personally, the first thing that I think of is “process”. When I think of the goals I have in my life, I know that most of them will not be accomplished overnight. To determine the best path forward, I had to sit down to evaluate what I have, what I’ve done so far, but most importantly, where my heart is. Taking the time to do that was an awesome process of self-discovery – but that was just the beginning.
Once I knew what I wanted to accomplish, I had to take action-steps to get there. The most important financial aspect of my plan was to live within my means. Without this discipline, most (if not all) plans would fail. I had to discern where money was flowing – how much I was spending money on takeout, how much I was giving, how much I was spending on gas, and so on. This process wasn’t fun, but from it I was able to figure out how I could achieve my goals and set guardrails on my financial journey.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s important to intentionally take the time to go through this process. As you dream of your future, think about how it is impacted by your finances and consider the steps you need to take to make that dream happen.
You may not have the know-how on earning the most money in your investment account, how to save for your goals while being tax-efficient, or how to effectively give your money generously to make your financial plan flourish, but that’s okay. We would love to help you discern what those goals are and help you get there, all while building a deep relationship of trust and intentionality. For those we already serve – we love serving you! For those who we do not have the honor to work with yet, understand it’s a process, but a fulfilling one when done with intentionality and purpose.
I’ll leave you with my favorite catchphrase that I believe summarizes a key point to an intentionally built financial plan: “Trust the Process”.