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Where is the line?
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SandonFisher
September 26th
Hello all: I really enjoyed the conversation with Jason Myhre on MoneyWise today (9/25). Mr. Myhre’s firm helps people to achieve their faith-based investing goals by avoiding morally problematic investments, and seeking out God-honoring investments. I applaud and agree with the faith-based investing goals tha Mr. Myher discussed. It does seem difficult to determine which companies are suitable for investment, and which ones to avoid. For example, it is easy to avoid investing in a company that produces evil products. However, it seems to me that most publicly traded companies use their profits to give financial and other support to ideas and organizations that are not compatible with a Christian worldview. In sum, while a company’s product may be God-honoring, the company may support things that are not. If we avoid all companies that support something we disagree with, we are likely left with a very small number of companies in which to invest, and could be precluded from investing in ETFs that track the major benchmarks. For me, It’s easy to avoid investing in a company that produces a “bad” product, while investing in a company that produces a “good” product but supports ideas that I disagree with. My problem is that I am not sure how I can justify avoiding the one equity, while investing in the other. It seems like both companies are doing the same thing (supporting something that I disagree with) just in different ways. I think part of the answer is to invest inline with the convictions that God places on your heart. However, it seems that there are some inv
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SonofSocrates

September 28th

My initial question about faith based investing has to do with how you reconcile investing vs everyday expenditures. I don't live my life wondering if the utility, phone, internet companies or places I shop, eat and get gas have ties to something counter to Biblical teachings. If I am unable vet those then why would I decide to do it for my investments. Also, I am unable to do that with the limited choices in a 401k does it matter I do it in my Roth? Or should I not invest at work, lose out on the match and just invest on my own? Once I have questions like those thought out I can maybe move closer to faith based investing.
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SonofSocrates

September 28th

My initial question about faith based investing has to do with how you reconcile investing vs everyday expenditures. I don't live my life wondering if the utility, phone, internet companies or places I shop, eat and get gas have ties to something counter to Biblical teachings. If I am unable vet those then why would I decide to do it for my investments. Also, I am unable to do that with the limited choices in a 401k does it matter I do it in my Roth? Or should I not invest at work, lose out on the match and just invest on my own? Once I have questions like those thought out I can maybe move closer to faith based investing.
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runninruth

October 1st

Wow, these are tough questions!!! But good ones. If I’m not willing to invest in a company due to a values misalignment should I even be a customer of that company? Do I just look at the products/services the company provides or also the causes and organizations they support? Really interesting questions @SandonFisher and @SonofSocrates.
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runninruth

October 1st

Wow, these are tough questions!!! But good ones. If I’m not willing to invest in a company due to a values misalignment should I even be a customer of that company? Do I just look at the products/services the company provides or also the causes and organizations they support? Really interesting questions @SandonFisher and @SonofSocrates.
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BrianCochran

October 3rd

Great question for any believer trying to be a wise steward. I don't believe there is a perfect answer. As an investment advisor, I am part of a firm that excludes "sin stocks" from our clients' portfolios. However, I recently had this approach challenged a bit by a presentation from Jerry Bowyer. Bowyer is an economist and incredible Bible scholar/teacher. He suggested that Christians use the power we have as shareholders and consumers to initiate change in companies. You might still avoid companies that directly benefit from goods and services detrimental to a thriving culture (alcohol, pornography). However, Bowyer's approach is a reminder that being a shareholder presents an opportunity to drive change. By avoiding owning certain companies we take ourselves out of the conversation. Amazon's acceptance of SPLC recommendations is a good example.
SandonFisher

October 4th

Those are great points, Brian. I have only thought about the shareholder influence issue in the context of closely held businesses (will issues arise out of being business partners with someone who doesn’t operate from a Christian worldview). I had not thought about the opportunities that we, as Christian shareholders and consumers, have to advocate for change - through traditional corporate governance, as activist investors, or through informal advocacy, to the companies that we patronize and invest in. It seems like a great, and potentially overlooked, opportunity. I really appreciate your comment. You have given me a lot to think about!
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BrianCochran

October 3rd

Great question for any believer trying to be a wise steward. I don't believe there is a perfect answer. As an investment advisor, I am part of a firm that excludes "sin stocks" from our clients' portfolios. However, I recently had this approach challenged a bit by a presentation from Jerry Bowyer. Bowyer is an economist and incredible Bible scholar/teacher. He suggested that Christians use the power we have as shareholders and consumers to initiate change in companies. You might still avoid companies that directly benefit from goods and services detrimental to a thriving culture (alcohol, pornography). However, Bowyer's approach is a reminder that being a shareholder presents an opportunity to drive change. By avoiding owning certain companies we take ourselves out of the conversation. Amazon's acceptance of SPLC recommendations is a good example.
SandonFisher

October 4th

Those are great points, Brian. I have only thought about the shareholder influence issue in the context of closely held businesses (will issues arise out of being business partners with someone who doesn’t operate from a Christian worldview). I had not thought about the opportunities that we, as Christian shareholders and consumers, have to advocate for change - through traditional corporate governance, as activist investors, or through informal advocacy, to the companies that we patronize and invest in. It seems like a great, and potentially overlooked, opportunity. I really appreciate your comment. You have given me a lot to think about!
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DonovanB

April 12th

For anyone wanting to dive into this deeper, I recommend reading Investing with Integrity by Loran Graham. It's a short but challenging read. Do the best with what you have. I think we need to have a different perspective towards "ownership" versus "consumption". But in the end everyone must be prayerful and come to their own conclusion about BRI.
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DonovanB

April 12th

For anyone wanting to dive into this deeper, I recommend reading Investing with Integrity by Loran Graham. It's a short but challenging read. Do the best with what you have. I think we need to have a different perspective towards "ownership" versus "consumption". But in the end everyone must be prayerful and come to their own conclusion about BRI.
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