These days, if you want the kind of prosperity, peace and hope in your life for which the Bible is a guide, you need sound financial advice, says “Money Minister” C. Ernie Nivens, (www.nivenswealth.com), author of “Baker’s Dozen: 13 Insights from Highly Successful Financial Advisors.”
“I can’t tell you how many clients have had a look of fear and dread in their eyes when I first sat down with them. They were frantic with worry about running out of money in their retirement years,” says Nivens, a 20-year United Methodist minister and global church growth consultant who has focused his passion for learning on financial issues since 1990.
“As my career as a financial planner grew, I was struck by how similar spiritual advising is to financial advising. A retiree who is running out of money and is facing the uncertainty of relying on Social Security and Medicare faces quite a crisis. Essentially, they’re wondering if they can afford to live.”
For Christians, the “good news” refers to Jesus’ message of hope. Nivens says he’d like to spread his financial gospel, which includes strategies for protecting and successfully using one’s own money.
Sound financial planning tips
Nivens cites scripture and connects it with what Americans can do to better afford their lives and financially support others.
- 1-Timothy 5:3 – “Take care of widows who are destitute.” Many senior widows face not only destitution, but also the need for long-term care. With the flood of baby boomers currently retiring, and the fact that women live longer men, scripture remains relevant to today’s most important issues, which includes long-term medical care for the elderly. About 70 percent of people over age 65 can expect to need long-term care services at some point in their lives. That varies in cost depending on circumstances, even with the help of Medicare. Consulting a financial planner about implementing wealth preservation strategies long before you or a loved one needs long-term care is a prudent precaution.
- Proverbs 23:10 – “Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines or cheat orphans out of their property ….” The Bible is filled with ethical guidelines regarding cheating people out of what is rightfully theirs. But modern estate management is rife with moving boundary lines as tax legislation changes the rules. That makes it difficult for many people to ensure they – and their heirs – keep what is theirs. To afford life in retirement and leave a legacy for one’s family, the three most important areas to understand are how estate taxes work, critical documents and management tactics. If you’re a wealthy individual, for example, umbrella liability insurance adds an extra layer of protection between your assets and a potential lawsuit.
- Acts 20:35 – “In everything I’ve done, I have demonstrated to you how necessary it is to work on behalf of the weak and not exploit them. You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.’ ” Americans are a generous people, giving an estimated $300 billion a year to charity. From veterans’ issues to ALS to children with cancer to homelessness, giving is in the DNA of those who have prospered from a solid work ethic. When giving, know how your money will be spent – ask questions. And, consider giving to organizations that need it; many universities and hospitals are flush with money. Finally, consider giving your time as well – volunteering is rewarded with great satisfaction.
About C. Ernie Nivens
Ernie Nivens, (www.nivenswealth.com), entered the United Methodist Church ministry while working his way through college. After completing his bachelor’s degree in English from Francis Marion University, he earned his Master’s of Divinity from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He retired from the ministry in 1990 and began his career as a financial professional. Nivens completed his master’s in Financial Services, MSFS, with an AEP (Accredited Estate Planner), in 2002. A popular speaker in the industry, he is also the author of three books: “Bakers Dozen,” “A Light in the Darkness: Insights of a Southern Christian Gentleman,” and “Southern Fried Hope,” a mystery.