By Gillian Doucet Campbell
In our contemporary culture, there are many of Christian faith (or not) who can quote Scripture related to money. Perhaps you’re thinking of some verses now, like:
- “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matt 19:24)
- “Blessed are the poor.” (Luke 6:20)
- “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Tim 6:10)
- The story of the widow’s mite in Mark 12 as well as Luke 21
- “The measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Luke 6:38)
It almost seems scripture is saying wealth is not something God-fearing people are supposed to have. Or, in plainer terms, “Money bad: God good”—which sets up the notion that God doesn’t like money. This can often lead some people to think, “Rich bad; poor good.” (I’m grateful to Demi Prentiss and their book, Making Money Holy, for this thought.)
Our relationship to money is influenced by our upbringing, our culture, our values, and how we interact with it. How we view money influences us, for better or for worse, in how we give, share, and use money.
Giving financial gifts to charity, including to our church, is a demonstration of our beliefs, hopes, vision, values, and life goals. That’s why giving a financial gift to a charity is not a monetary transaction like purchasing groceries. It’s a heart transaction.
Giving financially is a statement of our beliefs and values. This is why many people plan their financial giving, like when they fill out their pledge or commitment form each Fall for their parish. Through this form, one is indicating that they believe in the mission and vision of their parish and want to support its good work. Even when choosing to give by pre-authorized giving, you can change the amount to be bigger or smaller depending on your financial needs as well as priorities and commitments. You can grow your giving or reduce it.
This is why financial planning is a great tool. Not only does it help you understand your finances, but it lets you see where your priorities lay. It can also help you plan your charitable giving—not to mention for that kitchen renovation, retirement, or looking at tax advantages when moving from RRSPs to RRIFs at age 71.
A Financial Advisor can help you plan a charitable gift, be that now, in the future, or even through your will. If you’re experiencing debt, they can help you create a plan to get out of debt and ways to support you in staying with that plan.
Overall, a Financial Advisor will create a detailed financial plan with you, which may involve:
- assessing your current situation;
- determining your present and future goals and needs;
- providing advice on the financial products that may be right for you; and
- reviewing and update your investments periodically if that’s part of your financial plan.
Often, what stops people from working with a financial advisor is they don’t know where to find one. One place to start is by asking friends or family for a recommendation. Overall, though, choosing the right advisor depends on the support you need and want. If you need specialized advice, look for an advisor with expertise in that area, such as life insurance or investments.
It is a good idea to meet with several potential advisors to choose one that has the experience, expertise, and credentials to help you reach your financial goals. If charitable giving is important to you, make sure the advisor understands that and will work with you on a plan to provide for the charities you care about. It is also best to check if a financial advisor is registered. By law, sellers of mutual funds, stocks, and bonds must be registered with a provincial or territorial securities regulator.
Paying for a financial advisor depends on the type of service they provide. For example, you may pay:
- an hourly fee to an advisor helping you create a financial plan;
- a commission or a trading fee to an advisor buying a stock for you; or
- a percentage to an advisor based on the value of the assets they manage for you.
While most advisors aim to give good advice, some may be influenced by outside factors. For instance, advisors paid by commission have an incentive to encourage you to invest where they will earn the highest commission. Those on salary may have an incentive to promote the products and services their employers offer.
If you are experiencing debt and are looking for support, the CRA has a list of debt counselling recommendations, including Credit Counselling Canada and the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services. Again, understand what type of financial counselling the advisor offers and be clear about what you’re signing up for. God calls us to steward the resources we’ve been given and to generously live our lives for others. Much of the joy of Christian life comes from discovering that through our generosity we can connect with God, creation, and the broader world. Money is simply a tool for our generosity and a response to God’s gifts to us.