It truly is a fool who doesn’t want to be wise or receive wise counsel. However, I know from experience that wisdom is not the highest thing on the agenda for many people when they look for an investment advisor. For many, what they are looking for is someone who will make them rich — and that generally doesn’t happen.
A wise advisor knows the greatest thing he has to offer is wisdom. I know most financial advisors want to be sure to limit that statement to “financial wisdom,” but I say, that’s not possible. Wisdom in life, in general, will determine wisdom financially. For example, foolish decisions regarding marital faithfulness are very costly financially if they result in divorce and the dividing of assets. Ask any of your friends who have gone through the loss of a marriage, regardless of whether it was due to unfaithfulness.
The book of Proverbs in the Bible is known as the book of wisdom. If you want some good “quotables,” spend a little time reading it. You will find plenty. Here is a good one:
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30:7-9
Agur, the author of these words, has a two-point prayer request of God:
- Remove far from me falsehood and lying”
- “Give me neither poverty nor riches”
I suggest that might be a good description of what you should look for in a financial advisor: Don’t lie to me or feed me a bunch of falsehood about my financial realities and what I can expect from an investment plan, don’t lose my money, and don’t swing for the fences with the investment strategy. Just help me to prosper and do well in life.
Agur goes on to express his motivation in these requests. It is all about his relationship to God. He is concerned that if he prospers to excess he will feel he is independent of the Lord. That is always a temptation for the wealthy and why Jesus said it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom. He didn’t mean that a rich man can’t go to heaven. That is clear from many other Scriptures. For example, Abraham was “very rich” and is known as the father of the faithful. So, what is the problem? When money becomes your idol, you can’t worship God who gave you the power to get wealth. That’s the problem.
The other problem is poverty. Agur is afraid that if he suffers from poverty, he might not have adequate trust in the Lord’s provision and would steal and profane the name of God through that act of sin.
God is at the center of Agur’s request regarding his wealth. He didn’t want his wealth to become an idol and take away from his worship of the Creator and Sustainer of all things and his redeemer. He also doesn’t want poverty to sway his faith so he sins by stealing and resulting in a poor reflection on the name of God, his Savior. Agur seems to understand that his purpose in life ultimately is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
Bottom line: There is something you should look for in a good financial advisor that goes beyond technical competence. That something is wisdom. Be sure your advisor has it and can deliver it.
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