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Should Christians Invest in Facebook?

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Cross Radio
November 19, 2021 5:28 pm

Should Christians Invest in Facebook?

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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November 19, 2021 5:28 pm

Reaching 60% of people using social media worldwide, there’s no question that Facebook has a huge impact on public perception. And often that impact is negative. So, from a moral perspective, should Christians invest in Facebook? On today's MoneyWise Live, host Rob West welcomes Robert Netzly to answer that question. Then Rob will answer your calls and questions on various financial topics.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Facebook claims nearly 3 billion monthly users and reaches 60% of people using social media worldwide. That's a lot of influence hi Rob West, there's no question that Facebook has a huge impact on public perception too often negative. Morally speaking, should Christians invest their brother naturally answers that question today that it's all your calls at 800-525-7000 800-525-7000. This is moneywise life biblical wisdom for your financial decisions for our guest, Robert naturally is this spire investing in underwriter moneywise live Robert and his team are really in the vanguard of the exploding faith-based investing movement and Robert great to have you with us today and always a pleasure think that me Rob Robert, we want to make it clear from the start that were not saying that Facebook is a good or bad investment from a financial perspective were talking today specifically about aligning all of our investments with our Christian values or the opportunity to do that Facebook has been criticized for missed dealings in user privacy, political manipulation, mass surveillance, fake news and even overestimating its number of users to increase advertising revenue and now they're in trouble again. So tell us about the latest blowup yeah will be calling Walter eternally dropped it. Poncho articles really exposing unethical and immoral and really inexcusable business practices in the vision how the running a platform EEM for instance how human trafficking they been four years profiting knowingly profiting from ad revenues from human trafficking. There is extensive internal documents that have been leaked to the Journal documenting internal conversations about the situation where in the Middle East and Africa, Asia their ad buyers are placing ads there luring people into became attractive situation you know basically that get flown to another country to do domestic work. A household have taken a later locked up, mistreated or abused or sold into slavery, and that they know who the traffickers are. They know which at our being used for trafficking and they've done nothing to stop at nothing to shut it down for years and and yet you know if some replaces you know, maybe biblical reference to marriage in a man and woman nothing to cancel immediately right shut down and yet human trafficking is allowed to run rampant on Facebook. Why because the internal document clearly show that there like Yakima drafting the bomber by their words we don't want to alienate our buyers that mean that means there there allowing him attractive to process on their platform because I don't want to lose and revenues. That is despicable. That's a strong word and use very often that is despicable and then there's drug cartels and one of the most notorious drug cartels in Mexico who actual videos of murder and torture on Instagram and uses their platform on Instagram to recruit young poor Mexican males into the hitmen boot camps they been doing it for years and Facebook knows about it. They've failed to shut them down lately tried to email in sort of a pathetic attempt to shut down the propeller that profile. And yet it still goes on, and yet they've shut down all his other content that based people like Eric Texas in open cancel and so this time it's it's a huge problem and the question we ask is Christian about the inner God please God glorified when we invest his money to a company like that too is knowingly promoting and profiting from the immorality of the most heinous kind, and the really important question for us is that modern Christians with with real money to really invest and are seeking to glorify God in all we do well we want to continue to unpack this because that is the question at hand. Whether it's Facebook or any number of other companies you we can be in a quandary having to ask the question as Christian investors. Can we in good conscience condemn immoral activities from any company and still own the stock. Can we be comfortable generating the returns from dividends and other returns. What about our role as owner of that company. We believe this is a conviction matter, but the good news is, no matter what your conviction is there are options in the faith-based investing space for you to avoid, engage or embrace companies having the kingdom impact will talk about that as we come back from this break on moneywise live stay with us moneywise live my guest today is Robert CEO of inspire investing were talking about whether Christians should be investors and companies that have objectionable values are clearly making decisions that conflict with your faith.

As a believer, Robert. Let's talk about this quandary that Christian investors find themselves and in terms of how we evaluate whether or not to own these companies and what it actually means to be an owner of a stock of a company versus a consumer who buys the product of a company like this really is an important thing in our teammate between unit owner a company owns stock in honor of company and somebody who you shop at a company or use of the product insert your ear consumer you know you're probably on Facebook. A copy of the grant profile inscribed on by Facebook. This is the largest social media platform in the world all the detriment of their inability to people you Instagram and users can use the platforms for great things right promoting God honoring ministries and in all kind of positive thinking come out of using a platform like that, however, cannot be used for evil purposes like were talking earlier, no recruiting people in your hitmen boot camp to the drug cartel or luring people into human trafficking situations immoral uses of the platforms of the consumer you were responsible for power using the products and services that we are purchasing and using Facebook chronic God honoring universes great. If your drug cartel is not so great right and a problem however, is an investor here. The question investor can I tell Facebook to send me a note. Dividends that are coming from ad revenues. You not only of the good stuff or Miami earning money from everything that they're doing including ad revenues from human trafficking.

Add from drug cartel post from all these other problematic issues. I can't differentiate debts of the company owner and I will let stock I got the responsibility and you know that investment can talk about the tension we have evidence Christian investors of Facebook is one of those ubiquitous stock to fuel mutual funds or ETF is very likely that you own stock in Facebook Facebook is you put the F in bank stocks, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google either the darlings of Wall Street and seemed like the regular guy and if you read the news and you read articles and listen to advice Wall Street. It's very easy to come away with it the impression that you got only stocks in order to make any sort of money in the stock market everybody you know everybody."

Investing in them. And so the Christian would be good stewards and part of that is to earn the financial return right, probably with the lowest responsible and and that's a worthy pursuit if were doing so, you know, not from a modicum of greed or anything of that nature, but significant steward, but there's attention, right Rob, where is there a limit or should there be, and we have convictions about the kind of thing that we are earning money and and at the question right so the way I think about this kind of encouraged people think about this is that they would line up all the possible investments that you got, you know, obviously, a lot of them out from least God glorifying me make an illegal investment and some you know drug cartel. Okay obviously illegal lobby for tomorrow. Hopefully nobody's thinking about doing something and ended at spectrum all up to the most God glorifying investment was got glorify company you could imagine right and everything in between what we invest in right with how to make the decision what do we invest in and we go to the Bible for scripting 1031 says whatever you do when you eat or drink whatever you do it all for the glory of God.

And this should be the preeminent motivation as believers to glorify God in our investment and so you know, from that perspective I I would suggest that we look for the most God glorifying investment on detriment and put God money to those companies with the first question that comes to your mind is well. What about the other companies. Maybe they make more money. Right.

Maybe Facebook invest in Facebook about five years. You made a lot of money and a good investment gather selling ads for human trafficking and gather promoting drug cartels on their platforms make a lot of money for me is there is there room you know too well maybe invest in something is not quite of God glorifying for the potential to maybe earn a little bit more money and that death attention that I think we find ourselves with spine clearly as you even go back to the spectrum you described. What is the point at which you are not willing to own the company versus are willing to own and there are no Christian companies. There are believers and unbelievers in these companies but clearly those leaders are making decisions about not only the primary business activities of these companies, but other using their corporate profits.

The good news is a lot of that is now plain and in plain sight. As a result of a tool you build. So I called inspire insight. Robert tell us about that which I think really gives the information to the investor so that he or she can make a decision based on their own convictions, but the doctor inspire insight.com three technology that you can go out and type in a ticker symbol stock mutual fund you With the owner without the research and find all the good, bad and ugly that going on from biblical values perspective and you know we all have different convictions like you mentioned alcohol companies. A good example some folks and alcoholism.

The personal history of the family history may have nothing to do on the street completely valid perspective on the other hand, there are others who may not have a problem with alcohol industry and maybe there's a Diane winery and they have stock well and have a problem investing those in those companies where others might so inspire insight give you exactly that insight into what's going on that investment so you can invest current your convictions and you biblical convictions. The next step. It also provides inspire impact squarely put together that it really is that after make it easy to identify the company that you know have you know are lower on the scale you let God glorifying, or even in extremely problematic for moral perspective initial iconography filling portion drug and if you like me talk about Facebook to those other companies. See how the looking for a cure for cancer. In this operating with ethics and morality and to get back to this tension could I don't want to leave people hanging there in the word of God speaks directly into this topic and says, and 60 Robert 16 eight better. The little with righteousness and great gain of injustice and clearly did the thing that there is a there's two options in front of you. One of them is clearly more God glorifying any other, but the left outsourcing option seems to offer the promisor potential for higher returns. We should always choose the more righteous option is better than little with righteousness and great gain of injustice and we should never compromise God's glory in order to chase higher financial returns. The good news is that now, through faith based investing. You have the opportunity to avoid these companies that your convictions by using a tool like inspire insight.com. Or perhaps you want to advocate for your Christian values through direct advocacy or by owning one of a number of faith-based funds that do that on your behalf. Or maybe you want to embrace companies that are actually making a social or a kingdom impact in the world.

It's all possible. Now today through faith-based investing. Robert Netzel is better. Yesterday CEO of inspire investing Robert.

We appreciate you stopping by my pleasure thinker had an all right here goes and asked 800-525-7000.

That's 800-525-7000.

This is moneywise live biblical wisdom for your financial decisions will be right back with us today moneywise live around West your host phone lines open today for your calls and questions we'd love to hear from here's number 800-525-7000 800-525-7000 before we go to your phone calls this afternoon. I was talking to a good friend who's in the Christian financial planning space sees the founder of one of the largest Christian financial planning firms in the country and using it around. I concluded recently in Sheridan a talk that I just gave to a group of believers that two keys to being a steward, an effective steward of God's financial resources are number one that we apply biblical financial principles that we take the counsel of God's word we apply it to our financial decisions and I would agree with that, he said. Number two is that we are held accountable and we can't do that ourselves. We can't really hold ourselves accountable and so that's where either having a financial advisor like a certified kingdom advisor who can hold you accountable or moneywise coach. You can also hold you accountable I think is so key because when we apply God's principles and then we are held accountable to live those out as were making decisions as our income is increasing perhaps as we get a windfall along the way as we go through a difficult stretch where we don't have a whole lot and were trying to figure out how to navigate that having accountability in our lives is always good in every area but certainly that also applies to this area of financial stewardship. So if you're looking for somebody to journey with you as you apply these principles, we teach here on moneywise live to your financial life. I direct you to our website where you can find a certified kingdom advisor.

If you need professional financial assistance or moneywise coach defined a CK just click find a CK when you hit the website moneywise live.org if you want to connect with a coach. One of the great ways to do that is if you become a pro subscriber to the moneywise app you can schedule 30 minute virtual sessions with the coach should know cost and they can really work with you to set up a spending plan. Figure out how you can apply these principles in your life and make the decisions you have before you. We have a special offer going on right now for you to become a pro subscriber at the lowest price we've ever offered it. You'll learn more@moneywise.org/Pro encourage you to check it out today. Arlette said to the phones will begin today in New York State hi Noah, how can I help you yes hi Rob, thank you for taking my call. So I got married this past year and my wife Warren and we've never been homeowner owners before and I was just curious as to how we would calculate as to what mortgage we could afford to get a house and would be the best fixed term to have going forward with the mortgage. Yeah, that's great.

Well first of all, congratulations on your recent marriage that's really exciting and wonderful season you're entering into and as you think about becoming a homeowner.

I'm glad to hear that you're really thinking thoughtfully about how much you can afford because last thing you want to do is by too much house.

Especially early in your marriage. You don't ever want to buy too much house. But just as you're getting started. You know, with this being the largest transaction will likely ever have.

You want to make sure you get into something that really fits well within your spending plan so that you don't really cause challenges in terms of accomplishing your other goals you're giving first and saving for the future and all the other things I'm sure you and your wife would like to do as you look at this I think number one, you've got to have a spending plan. So you gotta know exactly what's coming in every month. What do your fixed and discretionary expenses look like. Secondly, I would say you want to try to arrive at a monthly payment for a mortgage that includes your principal, interest, taxes and insurance of preferably no more than 25% of your take-home pay. That's going to ensure that there's plenty left over for everything else.

Now that's just a rule of thumb, and that's all it is.

But it's a good one to come to get you pointed in the right direction. So what that would mean Noah is that you need to start looking at some calculators online and there's been a number of them. If you just google mortgage calculator to try to determine what size mortgage you can afford, so that the PI TI is 25% or less of your take-home pay. The other thing I would put alongside that is, I'd love for you to go into this home with a 20% down payment at a minimum that's going to ensure you have good equities of the housing market were to take a dip.

You're not gonna be in a situation where your upside down. It's also going to ensure that with a conventional loan you don't have any private mortgage insurance which is an unnecessary added expense.

It does nothing for you, so that may mean you need to delay this purchase. If you don't have that saved up beyond your emergency fund until you get to the place where you got 20% for a down payment and then the resulting mortgage payment after the 20% down again with a principal, interest, taxes and insurance payment of less than 25% as to the term. Obviously, the shorter the term the better. But you know you may find that getting below 30 years is going to either push you out of the market. Or, you know because you have to wait a considerable period of time, but if you were in a situation where you could do a 20 or 25 year mortgage. Obviously, I'd be thrilled with that is all that makes sense and tell me what questions you have makes sense and actually we do have a savings and an emergency account already built. Often we would have been offered 20% down payment and I was doing, but the bank we were talking Kyle said one question about she mentioned there would be an escrow account. I was curious as to what would that basically what that means is a lot of mortgage servicers will require that you escrow or set aside as a part of your payment every month.

The amount needed to annually cover the property taxes and the homeowners insurance because they know as the owner of that property field. The fact that that may not get paid is a risk for them, so one of the ways they can ensure that that gets paid every month or every year is by escrowing that in the making the payments themselves that will change each year as your property insurance or property taxes and homeowners policy change over time you follow. You're welcome and I don't have any problem with them. Escrowing, in fact, most mortgage companies today inquiring that they stay on top of it and make sure not collecting more listen. All the best to you guys in the days ahead will I will send you a great book called money and marriage God's way can help you guys started on the right. This is moneywise live. Thanks for taking the moneywise live biblical wisdom decisions got a few lines open. Would love to hear from you today what's going on in your financial life let's move together apply God's word help you make decisions and confident. Here's the number 800-525-7000 folks standing by to take your call as we speak, but said right back to the phones, Indianapolis, Indiana hi Jeremy, how can help us or my call.

I just invested in my 401(k) at work.

I maxed it out and I've maxed out my Roth IRA. I'm trying to see our get advisor guides to what else is out there where I could invest in other things because I have sent on a date and amount of cash and I like to get it get to work to our can start making some money there gets. I think the first thing Jeremy would just be to do some planning to make sure that you know what your target is I like to call it a financial finish line.

And we don't want to just and I'm not saying you're doing this. Perhaps you started later or you know any number of things could be going on but we don't want to just accumulate for accumulation sake want to know what our ultimate goal is in terms of long-term. In this case, retirement savings and then we can determine are we on track ahead or behind in terms of what we want to be saving.

That's a very freeing exercise because we know how were progressing. Number one, we have a plan that says okay we want to maintain this lifestyle in retirement. And here's what we need to do that, but it also frees us up to give more right now because we think about really the only thing we can do with money is there's money we live on this money we give. There's money we owe for debt and taxes and then the money we grow and as we move through our financial lives. Eventually, we Are lifestyle and say I really don't need anymore and so don't. More reason to add to that we pay off all her dad so there's no reason to spend more and owing, and you know hopefully over time, her taxes are declining.

Thirdly, you were growing but at some point we at least on track to save as much as we need.

And so that really just leaves this fourth bucket which is our giving bucket and then it gives us the opportunity to put more and more there. So all that to say I would just make sure you're doing some planning so you know ultimately what your target is now assuming you are still needing to add additional savings annually to this long-term savings bucket called retirement savings, then to your point when you max out your 401(k) and your Roth IRA where you go I would say you've got a couple of options. If you want to keep it invested and if you want to do it on a tax-deferred basis. You could use an insurance product so you could use a fixed income annuity. Perhaps you know somebody like you is looking to grow. This would want to use something like a variable annuity where a portion of the funds are allocated to different asset options like stocks and bonds and mutual funds. You can also use variable universal life were you had take a portion of an inputted into different investment options and you not to be taxed on your earnings and then the cash value of your policy is invested in separate accounts and when you take it out of but eventually you know all the growth and and so forth, is taxed as ordinary income, but it's a way to get more money working for you on a tax-deferred basis. Even though an insurance product is not my first go to. It is an option that comes into play when your other tax-deferred vehicles.

You have been fully maxed out beyond that you could look at another asset class so you could say were sitting on a pile of money fully. You know invested in terms of what were contributing annually in 401(k)s and Roth IRAs. You know, should we look at real estate and you know this could be a great time to pick up an investment property and diversify you know among different asset classes. Another opportunity that doesn't apply to everyone would be a health savings account. As always, you have a high deductible health plan and you can put in a health savings account. If that fits if you're in good health and relatively young max that out every year that can become a very powerful tool in your retirement arsenal down the road, where beyond a certain age you can even use those funds for non-medically related expenses. So I think you got a menu of options here to choose from. And again, I think it all becomes a part of the plan that ultimately you know describes where you go from here. Tell me your thoughts on all that. I guess I need to get sit down with somebody really feel my plan on 39 are homes paid for where debt free and I'm just trying to I don't want to work until on a like retiree. We both would select that our ultimate goal. Keep keep investing as much as we can and working now to hopefully more like 55. We can exit the workforce. So I think you're exactly right you do need to sit down with a financial advisor. I can tell you there's some wonderful certified kingdom advisors right there in Indy, I'd find two or three interview two or three of them find the one that's the best fit for you and the goal for that session would not be that necessarily turn over your investments to somebody to manage it really is a planning session to say okay were 39. We want to redirect her time and energy and the Lord service to something else, perhaps outside the workforce at age 55. What we need to maintain her lifestyle from 55 forward and at least then you have a target and you can run some scenarios to say based on what we currently got and accumulating each year plus some of these other vehicles that I mention what is it gonna take to get there and I think what you have that plan. You'll have a lot more clarity in terms of where you're going and what tools you need to utilize to get there so I had to our website Jeremy moneywise live.org click find a CK you can find again two or three right there in Indianapolis and I think that'll give you what you're looking for and we appreciate your call today to Carbondale, Illinois hi Christine, how can help you all about teaching well-being were given to many from family that 92,000 count when both retired and Lyons have any contact at Kaiser, wondering if I should just don't know that God can sync gaps and inventive putting on have to cry savage scale of combat Can't count me to skip 10 or so security both the press about 1300 elite. I'm not telling anyone that I don't give something just can't get linking. I see no that's a great question, let me ask you. Apart from this 92,000 Christie, what do you have in emergency reserves in savings that can Okay and What Are You All Spending per Month. About 2000 2500 Maybe I Will Total of Your That's Okay. What Are Your Total Expenses for a Month Now We Get 2500 and Where Mean We Have One Car That It Can All Car Problems and Sure to Carol's House and Something Happens I Came in a Couple Hundred Last Night That Okay. I'd Love for You to Have between Six and 12 Months Expenses in Savings That Be between 15 and 30,000, and I'd Love for You to Have That in Addition to Any Known Repairs.

You Need to Do on the House, Given It, and I Probably Set That Aside Savings Account Then Take the Raskin Rest of Look at Putting That against the House at Some Point If You Needed to Cast the Mortgage to Bring the Payment down Based on This Much Lower Balance and Has an off, so I Think the Key Is Sure of Your Emergency Fund Get the House Repair Fun Funded and Then Put the Rest against the Mortgage Stay in the Line. We'll Talk More Specifically