What do your investments say about you?

by Wes Bridel on October 6, 2010

in Stewardship

Do your Investments Line up with your Values?

(We’re going to begin interspersing posts on how to invest with the posts on asset management in a crazy economy that we’ve been running recently.)  In recent decades, Americans have been more and more consumed with the idea of getting rich quick whatever the scheme may be.  This most often leads to the poor house because it’s based on nothing other than the lust for money.  A wiser approach is to invest in areas which are in line with your personal values.  The ideal is to invest in the area of your own calling.

So what is important to you?

What are you passionate about?

In which direction is the Lord leading you?

And finally, to what degree is this investment opportunity in line with the answers to these questions?

You will probably find that many investment possibilities that you look at are neither in line with nor opposed to your own personal values.  If this is the case, this question neither helps you eliminate nor helps you to feel vastly more confident that the opportunity might be for you.

If an opportunity is in some way opposed to the ideals that you stand for, then asking yourself this question will help you eliminate the idea of investing in it no matter how profitable you think the investment might be.  It is far more important that your capital be stewarded in line with your personal values than it is that your capital achieve a slightly higher rate of return because it’s involved in something you don’t agree with.

Let’s give an example.  Imagine yourself as someone who believes that smoking is one of the greatest plagues on society of all time.  Perhaps your parents were smokers and they died early of lung disease.  You have made it your personal mission to convince everyone you encounter to quit smoking because you believe it is killing them!

Now imagine that you come across the opportunity to invest in Altria which is one of the largest cigarette makers in the country.  You’re fully aware that interest rates are tiny across the country and it gets you excited to see the 6.7% dividend rate this company is paying!

Should you invest in Altria?  Of course not, this would be disastrous for you because each time that collected that dividend, you would know that it came from the sale of cigarettes that you feel are killing Americans.

On the other extreme, if you feel like the Lord is leading you into a new business, investing your capital into this business is perfectly aligned with your values.  There is tremendous reward in this!

Of course, we’ve given you two extremes, but this should help you to grasp the concept so that you can decide where each new investment fits when measured on the scale of your personal values.

What is the advantage of an investment being in line with your personal values?   We’d love to hear from you.

This is Part 14 in the series Investment Due Diligence. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading Part 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4, Pt 5Pt 6, Pt 7, Pt 8, Pt 9, Pt 10 , Pt 11, Pt 12, and Pt 13.

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