Taking a biblical approach to investing
Q I have recently been inspired about investing and I was led to the "Motley Fool Investment Guide," by David and Tom Gardner. Their book really handles naivet and fear. But I often think about biblical admonishments, such as "Think not of tomorrow..." "Seek ye first the kingdom of God..." etc. Isn't the [investment process] displaying a lack of faith that our every need will be met?
A Motive is very important, says Thomas O'Hara, chairman of the National Association of Investors Corp., in Madison Heights, Mich.
If we are speculating, that "may be a form of gambling and greed," he says. But intelligently "investing over time" provides for our welfare and that of many other people."
"We certainly do not want to make the acquisition of money the priority of our life. But we are admonished [in the Bible] to not be lazy, to be responsible for putting our talents to use, and to provide for ourselves and our families."
Owning securities also provides capital for companies to grow, which in turn "provides jobs and income for many other people," Mr. O'Hara says.
Q How can I determine if the fees charged by my financial adviser are average or excessive?
B.R., Schoolcraft, Mich.
A Make comparative phone calls, says Jesse Arman, senior director of education for the College For Financial Planning, Denver.
There really are no standardized fee benchmarks against which to compare. So he suggests you check with various planner groups.
Among those to call: the International Association for Financial Planning in Atlanta (888-806-PLAN), the Institute of Certified Financial Planners CFP in Denver (800-282-PLAN), and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisers (888-FEE-ONLY.) Each will provide you with names and general fee structures of financial planners in your area.
One important point, says Mr. Arman, if you decide to shift your money from one account to another, you could face substantial tax-penalties, even if, in some cases, the accounts are "tax-sheltered," as with some annuities.
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