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Stay In The Investing Boat With Mark Biller with Mark Biller


Christian talk radio with Rob West

July 26, 2022

The account of Jesus walking on water and Peter attempting to join him is generally associated with faith. But does it hold a message for investing, as well? We’ll tackle that question today with investment expert Mark Biller. Mark Biller back is executive editor at Sound Mind Investing. SMI’s Austin Pryor recently wrote an article titled If You Want to Arrive Safely, You’ve Got to Stay IN the Boat. Our title is a little wordplay on an excellent book by John Ortberg called, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get OUT of the Boat. Years ago, SMI ran an excerpt from that book in their newsletter and used the contrast between getting OUT of the boat in our faith walk with Christ versus staying IN the boat as investors, with the boat in this latter case being a well-thought-out and personalized investing strategy. In Matthew 14, we find the story of Jesus walking on water, and Peter, enthusiastic as ever, wants to join him. So, Jesus told Peter to come, and for the first few steps all went well. But when Peter then noticed the wind, became fearful, began to sink, and cried out for Jesus to save him. As he did so, Jesus admonished Peter for having too little faith. The story is a vivid call for Christ-followers to get out of their comfort zones and live boldly by faith. For investors, however, boldness isn’t always the best approach. WHY STAY IN THE BOAT? So why are we, as managers of God’s resources, usually better off by staying in the boat? Mark Biller shares multiple reasons: Stewardship, managing God’s wealth with His priorities and purposes in mind, is an assignment given to every Christ-follower. This story begins with Jesus giving His disciples an assignment Get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side. We too have wealth-related marching orders to be good stewards of the Lord’s money on the journey each of us is on in this life. You need an investing boat that will carry you safely across occasionally turbulent economic waters. In stewardship terms, your boat is a biblically sound, personalized money-management strategy. That plan guides your spending, saving, investing, and generosity decisions. It should be designed to assure your safe arrival at the end of your financial journey. It’d be foolish to think you can survive the wind and turbulence for long without being in a well-built boat. A PLAN ISN’T ENOUGH Then again, it’s not enough to have a boat (or a plan). Unlike Peter, investors need to stay IN their boat! It’s generally not safe to think outside the boat. Unfortunately, many Christians don’t even take the time to build their boat. Or, if they have one, they don’t always stay in it. But being in the boat is a lot safer than being in the churning waters. Again, what we’re really talking about here is a plan. You need to have one and then stick with it. Along with that, you need to expect the wind. The disciples had been on the lake before. They knew that heavy winds were a possibility. In the same way, we need to realize there will be challenges on our financial journey. These challenges can take many forms unemployment, unexpected expenses, health setbacks, a bad economy, periodic bear markets for our investments. You should anticipate and plan for these possibilities. IGNORE THE WIND Ignore the wind and focus on Christ. The wind can cause us to grow fearful and react inappropriately. That’s where we’re saying to stay IN your boat, and trust the One who has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13: 5). NAVIGATING RISK Everything is risky, but some things are riskier than others. Navigating risk is essentially what selecting your portfolio mix is all about. Owning more stocks gives you more potential for reward but also greater risk of loss. Owning more bonds and CDs offers more safety but with more risk of losing purchasing power in the face of inflation. The challenge is to balance the reward you need with the risk you are willing to accept. Another takeaway from Matthew 14 is that the decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. Even with the best of strategies, there will be setbacks that can cause emotional distress. SMI uses an investing temperament quiz to help members identify their appropriate risk level before they get in the middle of a market storm. Biller also discusses when the time is right to increase your cash holdings and what to do if you’ve already cashed out some or all of your investments. Mark Biller is executive editor at Sound Mind Investing. You’ll find more free investing resources at SoundMindInvesting. com. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● What can you do to address substantial credit card debt? RESOURCES MENTIONED: ● Christian Credit Counselors

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