One of the speakers I had the pleasure of hearing at IPC’s annual conference in September was Mitch Anthony. Mitch, based in Rochester, Minnesota, is the founder and president of Advisor Insights and the Financial Life Planning Institute. Mitch’s challenge to primarily a group of secular advisors at the conference was to focus on Return on Life vs. Return on Investments. He provided tips on how to change the focus from such things as investment returns, charts and graphs to what really matters when advising clients.
As Christians’ we know that God owns it all. We are stewards of what he’s given us and every spending decision is an eternal decision. Matthew 6:20-21 reads:
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.
As first world Christians we understand this passage intellectually, but it can be difficult to practice. So, how can we increase our Return on Life?
One area is contentment. Mitch made the point that comparison is the killer of contentment. Sometimes we don’t think we need that newest thing or gadget until we see our neighbour or friend having it. In 1 Timothy 6:6-7, Paul writes:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it”.
A helpful practice is to stop comparing yourself to others and work towards being “content whatever the circumstances”.
Another area is generosity. Ask yourself this question “What is my plan for supporting the organizations and causes that I care about in the upcoming year?” Regular tithing is a big part of the equation, but it also may include contributing your time and talents. If applicable, I would encourage you to include your spouse and family in this discussion. Studies have been done on how generous people learn to be generous. Most say they learned it in their families making the point that generosity is better caught then taught.
I’ve been blessed to work with many of you whose focus is on Return on Life. I look forward to journeying with you as we achieve your life planning goals.
Jim Hummel, CFP®, CKA®