Christian Financial Professionals Needed in Canada

Christian Financial Professionals Needed in Canada

I’ve been looking at some stats as part of a research project to determine the need for financial advice that aligns with the values and priorities of Christian consumers in Canada.

Financial Advisors in Canada

Firstly, what is the total number of financial advisors in Canada? According to an Advocis report released in 2012 there were just over 90,000 financial advisors.

In 2020, the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) released a client research report, which stated the total number of advisors had grown to 136,000 as of January 2019. (The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) is the pan‑Canadian self‑regulatory organization that oversees all investment dealers and trading activity on Canada’s debt and equity marketplaces). 

In a Sept. 29, 2022 press release, IIROC announced that MFDA & IIROC “have passed a special resolution approving the amalgamation of the two self-regulatory organizations (SROs). Effective January 1, 2023, subject to the conditions outlined in the Combination Agreement, the MFDA and IIROC will become one organization that will temporarily be known as the New Self-Regulatory Organization of Canada (New SRO).” This release stated that the approximate number of MFDA approved persons are 76,695 plus another 32,000 registered employees with IIROC. This means the New SRO will have 108,695 total advisors serving the Canadian public.

Financial Wealth in Canada

Next, it’s important to understand the level of wealth held by Canadian households. The MFDA Client Research Report also revealed that there are 16.2 Million Canadian households holding 4.4 Trillion in financial wealth.

Most households in Canada (79%) are mass-market households who own $100,000 or less in financial wealth (not exactly the target market for financial advisors). However, mass-market households only own 4% of the $4.4 trillion in financial wealth in Canada. Conversely, affluent households represent only 10% of all households in Canada but own 86% of the $4.4 trillion in financial wealth. Mid-market households represent 11% of all Canadian households and own 10% of total Canadian household financial wealth.

Wealth held by Christians

According to Pew Research published July 2019, 55% of the Canadian population consider themselves Christian. This would mean 2.42 Trillion of financial wealth is in the hands of Christians among 8.9 million households.

The research further shows that 33% of Canadians say that belief in God is essential to have good values. It is quite natural for clients to work with an advisor who shares their values. This would mean that over 5.3 million households in Canada would prefer to work with a Christian advisor; one having values based on a belief in God.

In the Investment Executive’s 2021 Dealers’ Report Card: The average advisor reported serving 206 households. This means that 26,500 advisors would be needed to serve the 5.3 million Christian households.

However, not all of these households are the ideal clients for advisors. The MFDA report showed that 79% of these households are mass-market, meaning they have less than 100k to invest and are therefore not the target market for advisors. The remaining 21% are mid-market (100K – 500k) or affluent (500k+), which is the target market for financial advisors (or 3.4 million households). This would mean that 1.87 million would identify as Christian (55%) and 1.12 million households (33%) would have values driven by their belief in God.

How many Christian advisors are needed to serve these 1.12 million households who say their values are driven by their belief in God? If we take the average advisor serving 200 households – a minimum of 5,600 Christian financial professionals are needed in Canada. To serve those who identify as Christian (55%), 9350 financial professionals are needed. (As a side note: it has been debated whether an advisor has the capacity to adequately serve 200 households effectively – the number is probably closer to 100 families, thus increasing the need for Christian advisors).

Certified Kingdom Advisors are Needed

The Christian market segment has specific financial planning and decision-making differentiators that are important in their selection of a financial advisor, based on their  religious/faith paradigms including: planning areas and common language, financial stewardship, debt, lifestyle, investing, charitable giving, estate planning and wealth transfer, generosity, and retirement planning.

One of my mentors, Ron Blue, who is also the Founder of Kingdom Advisors, believes that “everybody’s advice and counsel comes from a value system. What I learned as a CPA and a Christian is that good advice has its roots in wisdom that is thousands of years old. I am applying this wisdom to decision making regarding money.” He also says, “There is a big difference between a Christian who is a financial advisor and a ‘Christian financial advisor.’ A Christian financial advisor integrates their faith into their professional advice.”

The CKA® designation is designed to build on an advisor’s base of technical competency and experience as evidenced by an approved industry designation, or a minimum of 10 years full-time experience in a specific financial discipline. The earning of the designation is a pathway for a Christian who is an advisor to become a Christian financial advisor. There is a significant need for sound financial wisdom in Canadian households, which can come through trained Christian financial advisors.

Financial advisors can learn more here: https://kingdomadvisors.com/

Seeing The Eternal in Queen Elizabeth II

Seeing The Eternal in Queen Elizabeth II

I married into a family that certainly had a healthy appreciation for the Royal family. The Annual Christmas Message from the Queen was one my wife never wanted to miss. We watched the Netflix series called “The Crown” which chronicled the life of the Royals, particularly Queen Elizabeth II.

We may never know if some of the scenes or words spoken are perfectly accurate, but the advice Winston Churchill gave the young Queen was very powerful. As she was leaving on a flight to tour some countries in the Commonwealth, he instructed her, “Never let them see the real Elizabeth Windsor. The cameras, the television; never let them see that carrying the crown is often a burden. Let them look at you but let them see only the eternal.”

From the Netflix Series “The Crown”

Churchill was telling her that although people wanted to see the Queen, she must determine what she would allow them to see. In essence, the Queen needed to represent the crown more than herself. Her priority was to put the interest of the crown ahead of her own delight. This entailed self-denial, sacrifice and service for the higher purpose of the crown. Churchill instructed the Queen to display the eternal, or higher calling.

We are seen everyday by others, but what do we let them see?

1926 – 2022

While we may not live the life of a Royal, we all have choices to make about how we are seen by others. We all have opportunities to “let them see only the eternal.” We put our best forward when we have an important meeting, but are we motivated by who we represent? For the Queen, she was called to represent the crown, something that existed before she was even born.

The fact is eternity is set within the heart of each of us, even commoners, and whether we recognize it or not, we are all representing something greater than ourselves that existed before we were born. That also means there is a much grander purpose in the conversations we have than we realize.

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 HCSB

At times, I felt my life lacked meaning and purpose. However, I now know that those were the times that I failed to recognize the eternal in my day-to-day life. It is too easy for us to become focused only on the routine of the day and overlook the opportunities to have a significant influence on others. Consider the words you share and the advice you provide to others. In many cases, it has a greater impact that only eternity may reveal.

A tribute to Her Majesty’s 90th birthday

Churchill’s advice to the Queen is good for all of us: “Let them look at you, but let them see only the eternal.”

Queen Elizabeth II had an eternal perspective that guided her leadership. A tribute for Her Majesty’s 90th birthday was aptly titled: “The Servant Queen and the King she serves.” Well done, Ma’am!

As it is in Heaven

As it is in Heaven

As I awoke this morning, my thoughts went to the line in the Lord’s Prayer where it speaks about “His will be done on earth just as it is in heaven” (my paraphrase). I guess that summarizes a deep inner desire within each of us: to live out what God’s will is today, just as God already planned it in heaven.

I believe a person would have a greater level of fulfillment if they believed their activity and work somehow had its origin in a divine purpose for their lives. In essence, knowing God’s will for us (in heaven), and then living it out.

The problem: heaven is not typically our focus. We haven’t been there, so how can we know or connect the plans in heaven with what happens on earth? To be clear, from the very time of creation, earth is separate from heaven. When we fly, we get a little sense of be separated from the earth; It’s like we are shifted into a different realm.

Screenshot of flight path

In August 2021, we flew to St. John’s, Newfoundland. As we approached our destination, the pilot announced that we were unable to land because the runway lights were not working due to a power outage. We didn’t think much of it, but looked at the airplane app and took a few screenshots of the plane circling. Then after about an hour, we began to descend below the clouds into the darkness and rain.

We discovered that the storm had caused a power outage. Until we landed, we had no idea there was even a storm because we were circling above it.

Maybe the Lord’s prayer is telling us that even in the midst of the storms (on earth), we can live out God’s purpose because our perspective is based on being above the storm (in heaven). Maybe that’s why Paul instructed us to set our mind on the things that are above!

Here’s where many people unfortunately find themselves:

“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 2:11

Saying that everything is meaningless brings you down (pun intentional), but we must understand Solomon’s point of view.

“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Ecclesiastes 1:14

The key phrase is under the sun, which is repeated throughout the book. Solomon is sharing an earth-bound perspective. He is only considering life “under the sun”; that is, a human life lived to the exclusion of any consideration of God. From that godless perspective, everything is indeed “meaningless.”

https://www.gotquestions.org/everything-is-meaningless.html

Here’s a prayer that was written by Ken Boa:

Dear Lord, where would I be without Your Word? What would guide me and teach me the answers to the fundamental questions of origin, purpose, and destiny? Human speculation is utterly inadequate for this task, because the answers to these and other questions require a word from without, a revelation that is not under the sun but from above the sun. Teach me to treasure Your Word, and give me the wisdom to read, meditate on, and memorize Your revealed truths—this is the sure foundation upon which to live and flourish. May I be different from the corrupt culture in which I live and value the things that have eternal rather than passing worth. Then I will order my steps with wisdom, prudence, discernment, and good counsel. I want Your Word to make a difference in my life and to be evident to all.

Ken Boa, Reflections Ministries

The Impact of Your Lifestyle

The Impact of Your Lifestyle

There are so many places that our money can be directed so it is important to set our priorities. One priority already set for the majority is tax, since the income tax act requires that taxes are deducted at source before we receive our pay. The more one makes, the more gets deducted.

One of the more challenging areas is our lifestyle because we always seem to want a larger lifestyle. We like to have a newer car, the latest cell phone, another toy and the list goes on. For this reason, limiting our lifestyle spending is never easy.

It has been said that lifestyle spending accounts for 40-70% of where our money goes. Please note that lifestyle spending is different than “living expenses” because lifestyle is about what we want, not just what we need to live.

Have you ever calculated how much of your monthly expenditures is directed toward lifestyle and these other areas? There is a simple tool in the form of a pie chart that I have used to determine the percentage of money that goes to each piece of the pie.

Taken from the Kingdom Advisors Educational Program

Your tax return can provide some of this data: start with your gross income, then subtract the tax you pay, then take off the amount you save (if it’s in your RRSP, you can find this on your tax return) and subtract your charitable giving (also on your tax return if given to a registered charity). Finally, subtract what you pay annually in debt (which typically is an extension of your lifestyle). What remains is your lifestyle. (Income – tax – debt – saving – giving = lifestyle).

In the Kingdom Advisors Study Group this month, Founding Director, Ron Blue shares the story of a couple who desired to give more than 10%. Might that be a goal for you?

This couple was spending 52% on lifestyle and 15% was going to pay on the debt. The reason for the debt was paying off things like an RV, motorcycles, boats – the toys or the extras. The toys are great to have but maybe not used as much as when first purchased.

This couple made the decision to sell the toys (for what they were worth – less than the purchase price) and eliminate the debt. They allocated this 15% to their giving, so they now gave 25%! This in turn reduced their taxes by 10% – that’s a definite win! This 10% allowed them to boost their savings and even add to their lifestyle boosting it to 59%.

Just think about that result for a minute: paying 10% less in tax, saving 3% more, giving 15% more and spending 7% more on lifestyle; who can argue with that? Most importantly, this couple was more content than they were previously. It came by eliminating the debt.

As a couple, we have calculated this in the past few years and have found it extremely useful, because like this couple, we were not 100% content and wanted to make some adjustments in our pie chart. In particular: decrease (or eliminate) debt, give more and pay less in tax.

How about you? If you would like to calculate your own, you can download the tool here: https://ronblueinstitute.com/tools/#budgeting_tools

Revisit your own pie and priorities on an annual basis. Maybe some adjustment might be exactly what you need!

When Sparks Fly

When Sparks Fly

After reading the “verse of the day” on my YouVersion Bible app (one day last week), I made this post based on a verse that is familiar to many:

Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Proverbs 27:17 NLT

Do you have a goal to be sharper, to become better at your craft? That means a willingness to be critiqued, even if critics may not have the best intentions. Instead of feeling hurt because we are hearing criticism, we could see this criticism as an opportunity for growth. Criticism has come in my life, and I have felt like my best was not good enough, so the criticism was at first, not helpful to me. It was only after moving past the hurt feelings I was able to see that the critique was meant to improve me.

Differences of opinion can cause sparks to fly in relationships, but maybe the other person does have a point. What can be learned from this difference?

Why are the sparks flying? Is it not to make the instrument sharper? We often take what is being said personally and are hurt by it, rather than accept it as a refining moment to make us sharper.

If we dig deeper, we’ll discover that there is value in the sparks, particularly because the sparks provide evidence that something is being filed away from us. If that something remains, it means we are not being sharpened. It is for this very reason:

You can trust a friend who corrects you.

Proverbs 27:6a CEV

The sharper the tool, the better it functions and the easier the work becomes. If the axe is not sharp, you will work much harder to cut down the tree. If you are iron that is not connecting with iron that is different than you, you are missing out on becoming sharper.

Maybe this idea of becoming sharper best defines the purpose in coming together with other people – it’s to motivate others, or to make others sharper, moving them toward specific actions.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

Hebrews 10:24 NLT

In the verse that follows (Heb. 10:25), we are instructed about “not neglecting to meet together.” Maybe the very purpose of our coming together is: “to motivate one another,” in essence sharpening one another. I have often heard the instruction about “assembling ourselves together” as the church, gathering for fellowship which is good, but it may not be the best or even the biblical reason to come together. By coming together, we may get to know our neighbour better, but the higher purpose is to become sharper, motivated because there was an interaction together as friends.

When Cathy and I first started to date, it was because we felt we had so much in common and enjoyed one another’s company. Now, after being together married for 36+ years, the differences have become more evident and personality tests have confirmed we are more opposite than alike. Interestingly, despite our personality differences, we still have some important things in common, like our passion for ministry and love for family. Our differences have served to sharpen each of us, but we first needed to understand that criticism was not meant to hurt, but to improve one another.

So my advice is this: Let’s get together and let the sparks fly so we can become sharper – that way we don’t have to work as hard!

Client Meetings & Unexpected Questions

Client Meetings & Unexpected Questions

Financial advisors all have access to the same or similar tools and products. While they have different backgrounds, they still have similar training. They attend many of the same conferences and are exposed to the same content from the financial industry. So then …

“How is a Christian advisor different from an advisor who is a Christian?”

It can be very difficult to answer that question or explain it in such a way that the advisor truly gets it, and to be honest, understanding the difference is a journey. As an advisor myself for 24 years, I did not fully comprehend this difference. As I reflect back on the early days of my career, I recognize now that I was “an advisor who was a Christian” rather than a “Christian advisor.” My advice was not that different than a non-Christian advisor because I was trained in the same way they were, but I was on a journey …

Kingdom Advisors offers a training program that is meant to go deep into the core of who an advisor is and even why an advisor does what he/she does. There’s good reason it is referred to as Core Training.

Since October, I have been walking with a group of advisors through this training which concluded this past week. One advisor shared a conversation that he had with his clients who are in their 80’s, which I believe illustrates how a Christian advisor is different.

This elderly couple have both had health challenges and called to have a discussion with their advisor because they have been working through an important decision. The decision they had reached and wanted to discuss was that they both wanted to move forward with medical assistance in dying (MAID). A discussion on this topic certainly was not something this advisor was expecting and felt, in some respects was beyond his area of expertise; yet something within him felt this was an opportunity for a deeper conversation.

In a very thoughtful way, he complimented them for always educating themselves about important decisions they’ve had to make since that was his experience with them. He then asked a question that was a little outside of his comfort zone: “Have you considered this from a spiritual aspect?”

This question led to a much deeper discussion, one that this advisor had never had with these clients in previous meetings. The end of this story is not written but these clients expressed such a deep appreciation for the thoughtful question that has led them to deeper soul-searching. Near the end of the meeting, the clients had a question for the advisor:

“Why have we never had a discussion like this before?”

That is definitely a valid question from this client. It’s a clear example of “an advisor who was a Christian” and successfully practiced for many years being transformed into a “Christian advisor.” His immediate thought was to send these clients to a spiritual leader, but because he had journeyed through the KA Core Training, he felt compelled and confident enough to ask a non-financial question that caused the clients to think more deeply.

One of the quotes from the Core Training Module that we ended with this week stated:

“Your practice can become indispensable to your client families.”

This incident has helped me realize what truly differentiates a Christian financial advisor from other advisors, and from those who may even be Christians. It’s not just a willingness to go deeper in client conversations but a deep sense of calling to go where other advisors fear to tread.

I am truly grateful there are so many Kingdom Advisors in Canada, where I get to serve, as well as in the USA and other parts of our world; advisors who care enough to build an indispensable practice for their client families. Where are you on the journey?

If you are a financial professional in Canada, I would encourage you to join one of the upcoming Kingdom Advisors Regional Events in May 2022.

What Is Your Legacy?

What Is Your Legacy?

Every month, I am involved in a Kingdom Advisors Study Group and January’s focus is on legacy.

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.

J.W. Whitehead from Exploring Stewardship section of The Stewardship Study Bible

Did you know that there are three kinds of legacy!

1. The Legacy We Received

Father’s Day 2006 with my Grandfather, Arch Woodworth

When considering the legacy I received, my thoughts immediately went to my grandfather, Arch Woodworth, who has been described as “a good man.” He was consistent in his work, loved his Lord and maybe without realizing it, was an example to me. I remember as a child seeing him stand in church and quote: “Be not weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap if you faint not.” He lived that verse; it was part of the fabric of who he was.

As a financial advisor, when I was asked about my family background (particularly when doing business on the Baie Verte peninsula), I would often share who my grandfather was and that he had worked in Advocate mines. When they knew whose grandson I was, it created an immediate connection of trust because of him. That’s part of the legacy I received.

2. The Legacy We Leave

As we age, we think more deeply about the legacy we will leave. What will our children and grandchildren receive from us? A similar word for legacy is inheritance, which is what you receive from another person, usually through a legal document, like a will. We can leave a financial legacy which can be valued by our heirs, but Ron Blue says, it is important to transfer wisdom before you transfer wealth. In his book, Splitting Heirs, Ron warns;

The worst thing you can do is to pass wealth if you haven’t passed wisdom. Good stewardship includes not only providing for your family, but also being sure that every family knows how to manage that provision.

Ron Blue, Splitting Heirs, p.71

3. The Legacy We Live

This may be the most challenging, but because you are reading this today, it means that you still have an opportunity to live out your legacy. One activity we did with our adult children was to ask them to think of 5 words that would describe our values as a family. This provided a significant opportunity for conversation and helped reveal what we have lived as parents. Words such as compassion, respect, delight, authenticity, and fun-loving were some of the values shared.

Surprisingly, all of the kids chose one word in common and that was “generosity.” You may have heard the phrase, “sometimes things are more often caught than taught.” That was the case here because even though mine and Cathy’s lists did not include that word, our children had seen it lived out. That’s when your values actually become virtues.

We may hold generosity as a value, but the virtue is behaving generously. Alignment occurs when we transform our values into virtues. Simply identifying our primary values is not sufficient. The next step is to define more precisely how we intend to embody the values in our daily lives – regardless of external pressures.

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

Take the time to ponder the questions in these four areas of legacy as you pass on the wisdom you have acquired in life.

1. Personal Legacy Question:

What will you be remembered for? You will leave a legacy whether it is by design or by default.

2. Family Legacy Questions:

Are you intentional to build into, or live out the values that represent your family? Have you discussed your family values and codified your family vision/mission statement?

3. Financial Legacy Questions:

Considering your financial legacy, what do you hope your inheritance will accomplish in the lives of your heirs? How prepared are your children to receive an inheritance?

4. Charitable Legacy Questions:

What are your current giving practices? If you are leaving money to charity, are your children the ones to give it away and are they trained and prepared for such a task?

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

Psalm 90:12 NLT

Happy New Year – A Choice or a Greeting

As we enter a new year, we tend to greet each other with the term, “Happy New Year” but I have been wondering if these words are better suited as a choice rather than a greeting. After all, we cannot control what will happen in the coming year.

The sad reality is that we may face difficult circumstances in 2022 that will bring grief rather than happiness. One Kingdom Advisor in NB shared with me during the holiday season that his wife’s cancer has returned; the news from the doctor is anything but positive and he is afraid he may lose the love of his life at some point this year.

Another advisor in AB suffered a brain bleed and was rushed to hospital just before Christmas. She posted this on Christmas Eve:

“I have a new joy. I have life. Dec 13th about 9:15, I had a headache like I have never experienced.

I knew I was in trouble almost immediately. As I crawled the hallway, the prompting, tell the 911 operator the door code. They can get you. Just rest now. I felt the Angels with me. They kept me safe and my heart at peace.

Since then, I have been told I am of the most unlikely to have survived this. Only 25% survive. 1 in 5 have no known cause and that is me.

I am so ready to count my blessings, treasure my loved ones and many dear friends, and to help those I have been entrusted to work with after a little time to fully heal.

Beyond blessed, beyond grateful, and weeping again.

On Boxing Day she posted some “post event observations” …

“In life there will be times we disagree with each other. Sadly this often leaves a broken relationship even amongst people that dearly loved one another. One of the many blessings to come of this medical event is healing in some of these breaks. It’s made it worth going through! It’s been a life changing time but for the better.

It seems that the events of our lives, no matter how challenging, are really meant to be opportunities, even though it may be difficult to see it that way at the time.

When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2-4 (NLT)

Jesus himself gave us the ultimate example of endurance: “in view of the joy lying before Him endured the cross …” (Hebrews 12:2 Berean Literal Bible). We have to determine our difficulties to be an opportunity for joy. Therefore, “Happy New Year” is not merely a greeting, but a choice we make in life.

Make 2022 your best year ever. Life is so very worth the living.

A Child is Born!

A Child is Born!

Christmas Day, December 25th has become a day focused on gift-giving and receiving. On Christmas Day 2019, our granddaughter, Eleanor was born which has changed Christmas Day for our family into her birthday celebration.

Queen Elizabeth said it well in her Christmas message:

In the birth of a child there is a new dawn with endless potential.

Queen Elizabeth, Dec. 25, 2021

When a child (or grandchild) is born, it brings about significant change in the family dynamic. You become more centred on someone new rather than on yourself. Before children (35 years ago), we were newly-weds and the focus was on each other as a young married couple. We were transformed into parents and the years since brought further transformation – We became grand-parents! Christmas Day 2021 was delayed until Boxing Day because our focus intentionally shifted.

Photo taken on Dec. 27, 2019

The process of transformation often involves painful experiences. Here is how the Apostle Paul described it:

I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.

Galatians 4:19 (NLT)

While we celebrate Christ being born on a specific day, we have continued the celebrations from a single day to a full season. Paul said he was experiencing labour pains which “will continue until Christ is fully developed.” It is not just the experience of Christ being made alive in our hearts but also that He continues to develop in our lives. Children grow and parents grow with them so each can be brought to maturity and that is the journey of life.

When I think about Christmas, it’s about a child being born but also about that child becoming “fully developed in our lives.” What this means is the focus of life and yes, even our business, is changed forever so that Christ becomes the centre.

There is much in our world that draws our attention away from what is truly important. Often the influences that impact our daily decisions are so subtle that we are completely unaware of them. Make no mistake the goal is to shift our focus away from what is essential. The context of Paul’s statement about labour pains is that there are competing voices that are “zealous to win you over” with the ultimate goal of distraction so that we “would pursue them” (Gal. 4:17).

There is always a competing voice – one that is louder than the whisper of truth! The truth is that we are on this earth to complete the work that was prepared for us and to bring glory to God. The louder voice calls us to focus on other things in our business like products and sales targets. While these are a necessary elements for our success in business, the focal point is to bring glory to God by completing the work given to us.

For every industry, there are “best practices” to follow to be successful. When Christ is fully developed in us, the “best practices” will naturally flow through us into our lives and businesses.

It’s quite interesting that “the glory of God” is something we have all fallen short of (Rom. 3:23) whether in life personally or in business. We have all missed opportunities but the object of our hope is the glory of God (Rom. 5:2).

So as we wrap up another Christmas and journey into 2022,

I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion!!

Philippians 1:6 ESV

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday

Following the US Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday comes “Black Friday” where consumers shop for great deals which is a great lead-up to the frantic shopping Christmas season. I’m sure you have received and have maybe even taken advantage of some of these deals.

The shopping frenzy typically goes through the weekend and even extends into “Cyber Monday” – more deals.

In response to all this spending comes “Giving Tuesday” which highlights the importance of not just spending our resources on ourselves or the people we love, but also on giving to those we may or may not even know.

We have to set our priorities because all of these uses for our money are calling to us everyday! Honestly, I wish “Giving Tuesday” was a week earlier, before the big sales weekend.

The sequence of these days speaks to what is priority for most. There are typically only five places that money is directed:

  1. Lifestyle – typically the top priority / when we get a raise or bonus we tend to increase our standard of living.
  2. Owe – when we are not able to pay immediately for large purchases (house or vehicle), we often borrow for it, so in essence, debt is an extension of our lifestyle.
  3. Owe – let’s not forget what else we owe – tax. Amounts for tax are deducted from our pay so the taxman makes tax our top priority since this deduction happens as we receive our pay.
  4. Grow – “Pay yourself first” is a tag line used by many financial advisors to motivate you to save for your financial future.
  5. Give – sadly, giving is often the lowest on the priority list.

Maybe it’s time we adjust our financial priorities: instead of focusing on our lifestyle first and giving out of what’s left, maybe we should adjust our priorities:

  1. Give – Let this become our top priority / When we get a raise or bonus let’s increase our standard of giving (instead of our standard of living).
  2. Owe – The bank and CRA sets this as a high priority for us anyway.
  3. Grow – The wise save for the future while the fool spends whatever is received.
  4. Live – Our lifestyle can be based on what remains which will mean some adjusting.
Rev. Billy Graham

When we set the right priorities, our spending habits and our attitude toward money will change. Billy Graham believed that our thinking toward money has a profound impact on the areas of our life.

I didn’t realize Billy Graham shared so much wisdom about how to use money:

“God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.”

We would do well to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35 ESV).

During this weekend, remember your priorities! Will you give on Tuesday based on what’s left after Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Or is Giving Tuesday more of a priority?