Sunday, March 9, 2014

Investing For The Long Haul

A local station broadcasts a financial adviser’s radio show on Sunday mornings.  I never (until this morning) quite saw the implications the timing of the show, which I listen to on my way to Sunday mass.  “Make money; make money; make money,” is not perhaps the best message to hear --- before I try to kneel in humility before my God.    
This morning I heard the radio adviser quote from a recently released study of mutual fund performances.  He sounded almost giddy as he said the study showed that Faith-Based Mutual Funds underperformed the average fund, by about 20%.  “Twenty percent!” he screamed into the microphone.   “Look, why don’t you invest your money in the average funds and then take those extra profits and give them to the poor ---if you are so inclined,” he said. 
And I smiled.
And then, of course, I turned off his show and the God show began as I attended mass, and there in the Gospel I heard these words: “Get away, Satan!”
And thinking back on the financial adviser’s message, I smiled again.
When I heard the financial adviser’s words this morning about the performance of Faith-Based Funds, I interpreted the results he shared somewhat differently than he did.  Rather than avoiding such funds, I now thought: “I must make sure I invest some money in these funds.” Accepting the slightly smaller returns is a small price to pay to “walk the talk,” to give public witness to my faith.  The financial adviser spoke as if money were everything, and the only thing.  By his “logic” of how I should live my faith, I could become a prostitute or a contract killer to earn more money, so that then I could give the excess to the poor.  Or perhaps I should invest in pornography or the slave trade, to earn more money for the poor.  His logic would say that I should sin and “enjoy life,” and then confess my sins at the end.  By my witness, he would have me worry more about me, FIRST, and then perhaps my neighbor.
The adviser concluded his rant this morning by saying that “we must invest for the long haul.”  I would reply to him that what we need to invest for is the REAL long haul --- and so I shall.
And then perhaps I will see him at some point at the end, and then we’ll compare the returns on our investments.  If he’s there.

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