Economy, Investing

Putting Your Money to Work

By: MoneyWise

Most of us make money by working a job, but there is another way to make money — and that’s by putting money itself to work. Getting your money to earn more money is crucial if you’re going to build a nest egg for the future.

There are five basic things you can do with money: (1) You can earn it, (2) live on it, (3) give some away, (4) owe it to someone (or a business or government), and (5) you can grow it for the future.

This article will focus on the last one: growing your money.

The run-up in inflation that we’ve seen over the past year-and-a-half makes it clear that finding ways to grow your money is essential. If you put money in the bank and earn a 1% or 2% annual return while inflation is running at 7% or 8% annually, you’re falling behind— way behind.

Inflation means that the money you put in the bank will have significantly less purchasing power when you take it out than when you put it in. That’s why it’s so important to increase the growth rate of your money, to try to keep up with, or in the best possible case, to outpace inflation.

There are many options to do that, but each calls for investing your money in some way. The safest approach right now would be to invest in government I bonds. The “I” stands for inflation. These bonds, guaranteed by the U.S. government, are designed to keep pace with inflation.

Unfortunately, I bonds carry restrictions, such as a $10,000 per-person limit on how much you can invest each year. Further, you can’t hold I bonds in a retirement account such as an IRA or a company-sponsored 401(k) plan.

So, to get your money growing to match or beat inflation, you have to go beyond super-safe I bonds and look to investments that grow with the economy.

For most people, investing in the stock market is the easiest way to do this. That scares some people. After all, stocks can go down as well as up, but to get your money to grow requires you to take some risk.

The good news is that you can minimize the risk of investing in stocks if you spread your money across many companies and stay invested for a long time. Being broadly invested and staying the course over a long time are two key ways of reducing risk.

The easiest way to broadly invest is to hold mutual funds that contain shares of many companies. Some funds hold the stock of hundreds of companies and those funds have tended to do quite well over time.

Of course, no one knows the future. This year has been a tough one for the market so far. Next year could be terrific, or it could be worse. We don’t know. But history tells us that those who invest broadly and steadily over a long time almost always come out ahead.

As your investments grow over time, the earnings on them can purchase more shares. Those new shares will grow and allow you to purchase still more shares.

This “compounding” growth is what helps keep you up with—or outpace inflation. The effect of compounding, given enough time, is remarkable. It can turn relatively modest investments of thousands of dollars a year into millions over a few decades. That’s why compound interest is often called the “8th Wonder of the World.”

This is not without danger, however. Investing can foster bad things in your life, such as greed when the investment markets are performing well and fear when they’re not. As a Christian investor, you need to be on your guard. Don’t let greed and fear take over. Instead, seek to be a wise and faithful steward who takes a reasonable amount of risk to prepare for future needs.

It’s possible to take excessive risk with your investments. Proverbs 13:11 warns, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” It’s also possible to take too little risk, which likely will result in you not being financially prepared for your later years.

As a steward of what belongs to God, it’s your role to find the right balance as you seek to put your money to work and make it grow.

Read More
Finance, Investing, Money Management

Ask Chuck: Is Day Trading A Bad Idea?

By: Chuck Bentley, Crown Financial Ministries

Dear Chuck,

My son’s college roommate made some money in day trading. Now my son wants in on the action. I’m not sure what to tell him, except to avoid it!

Day Trading Fears

Dear Day Trading Fears,

The Bible talks a lot about investing, so I will be able to give you some of those principles to help direct your son. He is jumping on to a very hot trend among young people right now.

Here is a simple framework of my core beliefs about this topic:

  1. Investing is not gambling.
  2. Day trading is not investing.
  3. Investing should be done according to God’s principles.

Day Trading on the Rise 

Day traders are traders who execute intraday strategies to hopefully profit off relatively short-lived price changes for a given asset. On the contrary, investors look to maintain ownership of a given asset indefinitely to give it the opportunity to increase in value.

Recently, Felix Salmon at wrote: “Never mind saving for retirement. Gen Z has embraced the stock market as a place to make short-term gains.” Technology, social media, and overconfident young people are causing the resurgence of day trading. Barriers to entry are low, numerous apps make trading easy, and they do not fear risk or failure. They only see potential wins.

According to Investopedia, active traders desire to profit quickly from price fluctuations and only hold trades for a brief period of time. They generally focus on stocks, foreign currency, futures, and options. Volume is necessary because price changes may only be in pennies. Day traders make tens or hundreds of trades per day. Swing traders open or close positions every few days. Active investing is slightly different. It involves ongoing buying and selling activity to beat the market. Portfolios are rearranged to adjust to the market. Passive investing is a buy-and-hold strategy for those interested in long-term investments with minimal trading. It is cheaper, less complex, and for those who desire to build wealth gradually. Each has pros and cons. But beware, some of these methods violate God’s principles.

Investing is Not Gambling

The only thing investing and gambling have in common is they both involve financial risk. However, they radically differ in one key aspect—how you create a financial gain. Gambling requires that other participants lose in order for you to gain. Investing requires that everyone must win in order for you to gain.

Gamblers do not care if others lose, only that they win. The Bible warns against this attitude.

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 ESV)

Day Trading is Not Investing

While not actually gambling in the strict sense, day trading is certainly more akin to it than investing.

The Bible warns: “Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.” Proverbs 21:5 (TLB)

My friend, Tim Macready, former Chief Investment Officer at Christian Super, a pension fund located in Australia, says: “At a personal level, investing represents an opportunity to provide for our future needs by setting aside money today and growing it for the future. At a societal level, the assets we invest can be used for productive purposes—to support the creation of goods, services, and jobs that support human flourishing.”

People fail to recognize that investing is ownership in a company. Robin John, CEO of Eventide, says “The real issue that we face today is that investors are divorced from their investing.”

Investing is willingly placing your funds into a business, commodity, or other assets to allow it time to grow and increase in value. This takes patience, knowledge, and wisdom.

Proverbs 24:3-4 (NIV) says, “By wisdom, a house is built, and through understanding, it is established; through knowledge, its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

To apply this proverb to investing, we must read, learn, research, study, and understand what we are investing in to create lasting wealth. While many may claim the same approach to day trading, it is difficult to defend rapid trading as a wise approach.

Jonny Wills at says, “An influx of novice investors is blurring the line between investing and gambling….How should I view the resources God has put in my hands? Is money a toy or is it a tool?”

Invest According to God’s Principles 

Vince Birley, CEO of Vident Financial, says, “Christians should see financial markets as a great test to ensure that their love and security stay with God and are not misplaced with money.”

Unfortunately, day trading is often driven by greed. Combine that with overconfidence, and you’ve got a dangerous situation. In Luke 12:15-21, Jesus told the parable of the rich fool. He said, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Encourage your son to be a good steward of what God provides. Suggest that he takes a Crown course to learn more of God’s economic principles, as a foundation for how he approaches his finances. At Crown, we have many resources on learning God’s principles of investing.

I also recommend that he begins to read and learn from some of the great investors before making any trades or investments. Many resources are available, starting with works by Benjamin Graham, Peter Lynch, Sir John Templeton, or Warren Buffet. They offer experienced insights into becoming a serious investor. Young people desire to make a difference in society. Perhaps he would also be interested in learning about impact investing.

Read More
Christian Credit Counselors, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Settlement, Finance, Goals, Investing, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

Financial Planning: A Dose of Truth and Grace


Planning for a Financial Planner

So you’re considering a financial plan! Perhaps your finances have told you that you need one. Planning with purpose for your financial future is a noble task. Sure many good things come to us in unexpected surprises, but planning for a good future, especially when it comes to finances, is a wise strategy indeed! You’re reading this article because financial planning interests or excites you, and just doing so is taking the first step.


Financial planning is a well marked plan to thrive financially, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a secure, successful financial portfolio. It’s never too late to start making changes and never too late to pursue financial freedom. The key is: start where you are. Don’t dwell on where you have been or the mistakes and poor choices that you may have made. Everyday is a fresh start to the life you want to live, to the best you yet!

Your Dreams, Desires, and Goals

You have dreams, desires and goals. Everyone does. But, not everyone lives in such a way as to see them come to pass. Why do some succeed where others fail? Why do some thrive while others seem to strive after the wind? Not all of life’s answers come sugarcoated and some pills are hard to swallow. But, taking in wisdom, advice and eating humble pie is good for us all. With humility comes honor, and sometimes taking a long, hard look at ourselves is truly a humbling endeavor.

Finances are a major test and testimony of our maturity and level of personal responsibility. It’s important in the process of self-discovery to admit the truth about your behaviors and choices and the effects they have had on both your life and the lives of those you influence, whether for good or for bad. Be sure to give yourself a healthy measure of both truth and grace. As imperfect people, who make not so perfect choices, grace is something we all need.

Consider Your Financial Peace

Start today by considering who you are, who you want to be. Consider what your financial situation looks like and what you want it to look like. Consider what it will take to get you there. Look at the situation objectively. Keep negative thoughts and emotions at bay. You are strategizing, planning, preparing and leading. It takes a strong mind and a strong spirit to be a good leader. The first person you lead is always yourself. And the truth is, if you can’t lead yourself, you really can’t lead others, not well, anyway.Financial grace is not a credit card with no limits and no consequences. If you charge, you owe. Same goes in life.

Your material choices have consequences, both positive and negative. Grace goes the extra mile, however. It says, “Yes, you are where you are, but…you don’t have to stay there, and you certainly don’t have to return.” Grace gives us the opportunity to make a change, to make the change we desire. It helps us to feel empowered to walk out the lifestyle we want for ourselves and to make the daily choices that both get us and keep us there. Mary Poppins should have said a spoonful of grace helps the medicine go down.

Planning Short and Long Term Goals

As you begin to plan, look at both short and long term goals. Write out the steps it will take to accomplish them. With your basic plan in hand, your road map, determine if further help is needed to bring clarity or to implement your newly devised strategy. Share your newfound view with others and invite them to partner with you where appropriate. Your close family and friends are key players in the game called “your life.” And, be proud of who you are because no matter where you’ve been, what you have or have not done, you are this day, an overcomer.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

    Full Name (required)

    Email (required)

    Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

    Type the code below in the text box. (required)

    Read More
    Christian Credit Counselors, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Settlement, Finance, Goals, Investing, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

    Making Money Matters Manageable in Your Marriage

    Mutual Money Management moneymarriage

    Is it love or money that makes the world go round? It’s both…Make money work for your marriage, not against it.  You need tips on strengthening your marriage through mutual management of your money.  This can be done and can even be fun!  Keep reading to find out how.

    Financial Honesty

    Have open, honest and non-confrontational discussions about your finances.  Set aside a regular time to talk about where you are, where you want to be and how you will get there…together.

    Budgeting and Strategic Spending

    Make budgeting a positive and fun project, rather than a chore.  Don’t view a budget as a way to plan spending out of your life.  News Flash: While you are alive, you will never stop spending money.  And, the ultimate goal is not to spend less, but to spend strategically and find ways to increase your income to continue to meet your financial goals.  Plan in the things you want and enjoy and work together to achieve them.

    Money Habits

    Be aware of your spouses habits and tendencies when it comes to finances.  Don’t eye one another to find fault, but look for opportunities to step in and offer encouragement or a listening ear.  Fear can lead people to hold onto finances tightly, or spend impulsively.  Find ways to help build faith and trust into each other, and encouraging one another daily.

    Reward Sacrifice

    Regardless of the roles you’ve decided upon in the area of finance, you are both working towards your mutual goals.  Look for opportunities to reward your spouse for their hard work.  Have they been making personal sacrifices to stay within the budget?  Acknowledge that in a way that will tell him or her: Thank you. I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m glad we are on the same team.

    Learn from Financial Freedom

    Get around other couples who are walking in financial freedom and learn from them.  Look for couples who are seasoned and successful in the area of mutual finance, and allow them to mentor you as a couple. They have been where you are and have insight into your success.

    The Three L’s

    Love much. Live well. Laugh often.  Always remember the love you have for your spouse.  Keep that as a forethought, prizing it more highly than anything money can buy.

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

      Full Name (required)

      Email (required)

      Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

      Type the code below in the text box. (required)


      Read More
      Investing, Money Management

      Investing 101

      You and Your Investments

      Maybe you have asked yourself, “How do I start investing?”  It’s very simple, but before you start, make sure you have your house, budget, and savings in order.  There are many things you can invest in: stocks, bonds, mutual funds and real estate, to name a few.


      One type of investment can be in the form of a bond.  Many refer to it as a “Fancy IOU.”  This is when you lend out your money and in return you gain interest on it.  However, the return may be very small.  Bonds have predetermined intervals of when they pay interest which usually occurs semi-annually.  The maturity date on a bond refers to the end date of the agreement between the lender and the buyer.  Also, it is important that you know that interest rates and bond prices have an inverse relationship.  As interest rates fall, the price of the bond increases and vice versa.


      Stocks are another type of investment and the way people make a profit is when they increase in value.   When you own stocks in a company like Coca Cola, it means you own part of the company.  The concern with stocks is that the value fluctuates on a daily basis.  Stocks can have a high return, but the loss can also be very high.  To safely invest in stocks, invest in a company that will be around for a long time, for example, Pepsi Co, Apple, etc.

      Mutual Bonds

      Mutual bonds provide more of a safety net than regular bonds and stocks because you are not putting all your eggs in one basket.  Putting together money from many investors and purchasing stocks, bonds, etc., form a mutual bond and another person manages them.  Having the money professionally managed is a positive for many because it adds a level of security.

      Researching Investments

      With investing there are no guarantees but with the proper research you will be investing your money in a safer outlet with a higher chance of gaining profit. Regardless of what you choose to invest in, check the track record and know what you are getting into.

      If you are still doubtful about investing, think of the money you set aside for savings that is not accumulating any interest, meaning you aren’t making any extra money. In fact, you are losing money at the current inflation rate if you do not invest at a higher interest rate, so use this as motivation to start growing your money!

      Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

        Full Name (required)

        Email (required)

        Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

        Type the code below in the text box. (required)


        Read More
        Credit Cards, Debit & Your Credit Score, Goals, Investing, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

        Setting Good Financial Goals

        S.M.A.R.T Financial Goals

        If you are keeping up with the Newsletters, you know that last week we decided to open up the New Year by presenting you with the “S.M.A.R.T.” tactic; a great tool that you can use as a guide when setting your goals for 2011

        The aim is to set good financial goals.  You will want to write them down, consolidate and refine them, prioritize them, make them measurable, and keep them visible.  Set good goals and keep them in front of you—you’ll be surprised at how much more productive and focused you’ll feel as you start living with a clearer purpose.

        The second common denominator of all good financial plans is a spending plan (i.e., budget). You may not like it, but it’s an absolutely essential tool for everyone.  Without a spending plan, you cannot implement saving and investing strategies because you don’t know if you have any extra money to save or invest.

        Keep an eye out for next week’s newsletter about priorities!

        Financial GoalsTip

        Don’t procrastinate!  Just sit down and get started.  It does not have to be perfect, nor does it need to be complete.  You will find things along the way that will need to be added and/or changed; that is ok. The most important thing is that you make a set PLAN.

        “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”

        Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

          Full Name (required)

          Email (required)

          Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

          Type the code below in the text box. (required)

          Read More

          Investing 101

          Saving and Investing

          The difference between saving and investing is that when you invest, you put money in hoping to get something better back out. Every contribution is a step towards the goal of having the kind of retirement you want. Here are some of the most common choices:

          Stocks—these are shares of ownership that a company sells to individuals to raise the money it needs to conduct business. The value of the shares usually rises and falls over time, depending on how the company is doing. However, there is potential for high long-term growth. Stocks have the highest risk and return potential.

          Bonds—these represent loans to a company or government to finance operations. The loan is paid back after a fixed number of years and the investor receives regular interest payments. Typically, the risk is lower than that of stocks, but may not earn as much in the long run. Bonds have moderate risk and return potential.

          Mutual Funds—these are professionally managed funds where your money is combined with money from other investors to invest in a variety of stocks and bonds. This is a good way for smaller investors to gain diversity of their investments. The risk level depends on the stock and bonds in which the mutual fund invests.

          Cash Investments—these are the most basic type of investments but produce the lowest returns. Types include bank and savings accounts, money market mutual funds, certificates of deposit, and treasury bills.

          As always, investments don’t come without risk, but if you’re investing for the long term and start early, you’ll have more time to ride the ups and downs in the market. Whatever you do, choose the investments that are right for you.

          Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

            Full Name (required)

            Email (required)

            Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

            Type the code below in the text box. (required)

            Read More