James K.A. Smith has written extensively on how our hearts are—often unintentionally—formed by our habits. What investing habits are we participating in that may be subtly shaping our view of money?
Tell us something about your own journey to what we might call faithful investing.
I’ve had an interest in investing for a long time and I became convinced early on in my investing life as I would have a job and maybe have a retirement account or fund, or maybe a little bit of extra side money. The index funds were largely the way to go and low fees and broad diversification, and it was tied to that aspect of understanding my risk tolerance and my wife, our risk tolerance together. And I would say that when I first began to hear about values based funds and investing probably stage one for me was skepticism.
I think I had seen enough in the world where there was always a Christian version of something where people would stick sort of a Christian sticker on it and call it Christian art, Christian business, Christian music, et cetera, and I just thought Christian is not a very good adjective. It’s a great noun, but it’s not a very good descriptor of something.
But there came a point when I began to run into some really thoughtful people who were thinking well about investing from a deep Christian faith, theologically informed, and that led to the second stage, which I’ll just call curiosity, where I began to listen and to learn.
And there were some building blocks that were really compelling to me on that journey. First of all, just this very simple idea that investing is ownership, and realizing that I wasn’t investing in the broad nebulous market but the market is composed of different companies. And what I became convinced of is that that’s not only a moral ethical stand but it’s actually a really strategic way to think about investing. That there’s actually a comparative advantage to think about investing in companies that create compelling value in the world.
So that third stage then for me was becoming convinced, but I didn’t do very much about it. And I didn’t have a lot of money invested but some different investment for different retirement accounts and different areas of work that I had had. And I was confused about the tax implications, about just how do you do the blocking and tackling of moving funds over and inertia set in and I didn’t really do anything. So my wife and I talked about it and we had just a little extra money that we would have on the side we began investing then in funds that were values based and aligned with our values.
And then I would say maybe the final stage was I was convinced and we were as it were jumping more into the pool. We were trying to make intentional decisions about all of our accounts, moving them over to values based accounts that we really strongly believed in. And the more that I learned about just the way that rollovers work and working with people that could help me we made some of those transitions. And in full transparency we still have some work to do there but the lion’s share of that has really been converted to investments that align with our values.
This communication is provided for informational purposes only and was made possible with the financial support of Eventide Asset Management, LLC (“Eventide”), an investment adviser. Eventide Center for Faith and Investing is an educational initiative of Eventide. Information contained herein has been obtained from third-party sources believed to be reliable.