Our culture often defines success in dollar amounts and accumulation of things, but true wealth comes from so much more!
Can you list 5 things you are grateful on this #ThankfulThursday?
Sometimes we focus so much on what we do not have that we miss all of the gifts God gives us each and every day.
One of those areas in which we can feel we are less than or lacking can be our financial situations.
AT THE CROSSROADS is thankful to have Lisa Hay contribute to our WHAT I WISH I KNEW SERIES. Lisa’s mission is to serve as a trusted advisor to help people find clarity, confidence and financial peace of mind and achieve their financial, retirement, and legacy goals.
Lisa combines a unique blend of professional experience and financial knowledge along with a genuine care and concern for others. Her work with clients is motivated by a deep inner calling to engage women and families to help them be free to live and give in God’s image.
As a CPA and a CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER), she states her purpose:
“My mission is to enhance my clients’ peace of mind and financial security by putting together all of the different pieces of your financial puzzle – integrating the complex world of investing, taxes, estate planning, retirement and other life and career transitions.”
As a passionate advocate of consumer financial education, she has authored six books on financial topics related to personal financial management and retirement planning, and has been featured on numerous online publications including MarketWatch, Yahoo Finance, Huffington Post, Morningstar, and Go Girl Finance.
Lisa has been happily married to her husband, Doug, for over 33 years. She is the mother of three married sons, and will soon welcome her 3rd and 4th grandchildren to the family!
We are so very thankful to learn from Lisa today about the taking the path to TRUE WEALTH!
Have you considered you might be rich? You may not feel rich.
For most people, “rich” is the other guy. “Rich” is having more than you currently have. “Rich” is financial freedom to buy whatever I want, when I want it.
I am convinced that most of us are richer than we think.
But I would like to make a distinction between being “rich” and having “True Wealth”.
So perhaps we should begin with a definition of “True Wealth”.
When getting to know my clients, I ask them what is important to them about money. The initial answers are usually similar from person to person: security, peace of mind, etc.
I then ask them why security or peace of mind or xxxx is important to them. I begin to get more varied answers as we continue to go deeper. Perhaps they have a special needs grandchild that they wish to help care for, or their parent’s marriage ended due to financial issues. Fears and dreams begin to come to the surface.
Money, you see is not an end to itself. It is merely a tool.
So back to my quest for a definition of True Wealth. Although I’m sure there are many other ways to describe it, I will define True Wealth as
a heart attitude of contentment, which allows us to experience joy and purpose through all financial circumstances.
I work with some folks that you might consider “rich”. I can tell you from experience that NONE of those people have “True Wealth” solely as a result of their resources.
Financial Freedom vs True Wealth
The phrase “Financial freedom” has always rubbed me that wrong way. Maybe it’s a matter of semantics, but to me the words connote too much emphasis on accumulation.
Our culture would have us believe that the path toward happiness is marked “more” — more striving, more money, more stuff. But looking to what we own for our ultimate happiness leaves us empty and thinking there must be a better way.
Our homes and TV screens may have grown, but our joy has not.
So many of the messages our culture sends to us about money are completely wrong! My pastor once used a visual analogy which has stuck with me. He described Satan as a “thief” who entered a department store and changed the price tags on all of the items. He put the $1.99 tags on the things that were very valuable and the $999.99 tags on trinkets that had little value.
Every day we encounter a culture where Satan has switched the price tags. We have failed to recognize his deceitful strategy – and missed the joy of things that really matter as a result.
Those deceitful messages tell us that we’ll find happiness and joy through the thing we buy and that if we own certain homes or cars that others will respect us.
But there is another way.
The Path to True Wealth
Did you know that the bible has a lot to say about money? According to many Christian financial experts, there are more verses about money than prayer and faith. (I’ll be honest, I didn’t count them myself!)
With that many verses, I think it’s safe to say that God considers money an important topic.
God is good. I think most of us would agree on that truth – at least in our head and heart.
God calls us to trust in His total goodness and provision. Again, we probably would nod our heads in agreement… until the rubber hits the road, and exposes our heart.
Am I EVER discontent? If so, how do I reconcile my discontented heart with the two truths above that I just said I believed?
Discontentment is the arch-enemy of True Wealth and robs us of the deep satisfying joy that God wants us to experience from the resources that He has so graciously provided.
But to better understand discontentment, we have to understand the cause.
What Causes Discontentment
At the end of a typical day, I would be surprised if you didn’t have someone (family, friends) or something (sales person, advertisement) telling you about something you “need” to buy.
When you see an ad on TV, or the new purse/car/home your friend has, our “natural” reaction tends to be discontentment. As soon as you become aware of something that you think is bigger, better, thinner, stronger, sleeker, faster, and any other adjective, you become discontent!
And our sin-nature feeds on anything that appears to fill the void of our need for security, popularity, meaning, prestige. Those things that can only be truly satisfied through our relationship with Christ.
Another story that has stayed with me, is that of a pastor saying that he can tell all that he needs to know about someone by looking at their checkbook.
This brings us to an interesting opportunity for self-reflections. Without meeting me, but simply examining how I spend my money, what would you think of me by looking at my financial records?
Am I saying that we should not prepare for the future? First, I am a Financial PLANNER by occupation. More important than my vocation is that the bible talks about wise planning in the analogy of the ant preparing for winter in Proverbs and Joseph’s preparation for seven years of famine,
Bottom line: neither hoarding money in fear of what the future might bring, nor spending every dollar that you make without planning for future contingencies is a biblically balanced
Financial Lessons Learned
I have found that discovering one’s most deeply held values, and aligning money decisions with those values, is the essential first step toward using money in a way that is meaningful and deeply satisfying.
Part of each of my days is spent reading the latest financial news and research. However, the part that I enjoy most is meeting with folks, learning about their goals and helping them design a financial plan to accomplish their most deeply held values.
Each person’s situation is unique, and depending upon whether I am working with a single divorced woman, a CFO, or a married couple who are retired from teaching, I may share different information.
Should I explain what the experts are saying about the economy and the markets, review how the stock, bond, and foreign markets have been behaving, or discuss their cash flow plan? I do all these things to an extent, but within a larger – and much more important context: helping them discover purpose in their money by relating them to their most deeply held values.
When working with fellow believers, it is my privilege to help them explore God’s purpose for the resources that he has entrusted to them.
I believe the most satisfying uses of money are those that help us fulfill our life purpose, and while financial goals tend to vary from person-to-person, purpose is something we all have in common. Researchers who have studied what makes for a meaningful life say we were all designed to live for “something larger” than ourselves, to enjoy close relationships with other people, and to use our unique gifts, talents, and passions to make a difference with our lives.
The “something larger” for many people, including me, is really someone – Jesus. My faith is the single most important aspect of my life. As a Christian and a financial professional, exploring ways that faith impacts our use of money is a passion that I get to struggle with almost every day.
In closing, I will share three things that I think are foundational to experiencing True Wealth:
- I believe our use of money has a significant impact on our relationships with other people. Those who have True Wealth use money in a way that helps strengthen their most valued relationships, with a focus on marriage and raising money-smart kids.
- I believe each of us has a unique set of gifts, talents, and passions. Those who have True Wealth understand that money, used wisely, can free us to make the difference with our lives we were designed to make.
- I believe we were designed to be generous. In fact, one of the most enjoyable uses of money is contributing to causes that matter to us. Those who have True Wealth have prioritized their use of money accordingly.
Don’t let money and possessions – whether motivated by fear and security or greed and idolatry- own you.
If you do, you will lose many opportunities to change people’s lives as well as experiencing a higher purpose and joy that can only be found through Christ, and through managing our money His way.
A verse for reflection:
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:6-11 (NIV)
Lisa believes that the TRUE value of an advisor begins with taking the time to understand what is really important to you. If you’re interested in pursuing your financial goals with the help of a trusted advisor – rather than a salesperson pitching a product – it would be her privilege to serve you. You can reach her at 330-896-6250 or online at http://ccadvisors.com/contact-us/.
Yes, her approach is different. She hopes you find it to be a breath of fresh air. If so, you can schedule a complimentary Discovery Meeting to explore whether you are a good match to work together.
(Lisa Hay is an employee of Cornerstone Capital Advisors, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Any views or opinions expressed here are that of her own and not necessarily those of Cornerstone, its owners, or employees.)
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