11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Homeless with Hope
My personal journey started in 1999 from the back of a 1991 Ford Explorer where I wrote my first budget. It was written in the back of a Ford Explorer because I was going through a divorce and became a working homeless man during the process. That was where I cried myself to sleep at night.
Dave Ramsey introduced me to how the Bible teaches how to steward your finances through giving, budgeting, saving, and living debt free. This was the first time in my life that I intentionally opened the Bible to learn about anything, much less finances. The Biblical lessons on budgeting, giving, saving, and getting out of debt were crystal clear, do it, the benefits of peace and joy were not as clear until further into the journey. Investing took a bit more studying before the lessons became clear to me.
Even though I was homeless and crying myself to sleep most nights, Hope was produced when I wrote my first budget on a yellow pad with pencil from the back of that Ford Explorer and focused my efforts on building savings and eliminating debt. Each dollar saved and debt paid off was a financial and emotional victory and helped me to visualize a better future than my current circumstances.
Hope In Investing
Over time, I moved into a friend's house, shifted careers and began to rebuild my life. The budget helped me stay focused, the savings helped me sleep better at night, and eliminating debt helped me travel and enjoy life at the same time.
Eventually I began helping others by launching a part time coaching business to help marriages and individuals learn how to budget, save, and get out of debt. At the same time I began to read a lot of books on investing and found that they all had different strategies, tactics, however the vast majority gave principles without any how to. The first and only book I have read that actually taught "how to" invest" in the stock market was Rule #1 by Phil Town and it transformed how I thought about investing altogether, not just the principles of investing. His focus was to teach investors to double their investment in five years or less through stocks. It was time to invest.
A year or so later, I left my job and went full time in the coaching business. With that transition I took my lump sum that was invested through work and reinvested it into a Rollover IRA. I decided to use these funds to learn how to invest since I could not take the money out without penalty anyhow until I am 59.5 years old. The journey to follow is from those early learnings with zero additional dollars added from outside income, only reinvestmented gains.
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Hope In Investing: Learning Curve
Mr. Town gave a real lesson in investing in the book, it forced me to research terms that I never heard of and to reread some chapters twice because it was termonology thick. The investment in learning paid off in real time results. The reality is that I had some individual investments that sky rocketed and some that lost money, but most grew at a steady clip.
AFTER I began investing using the Rule #1 methodology I asked myself what does the Bible teach about investing and how does this match up. With some research I started with the investing lessons in the parable of the talents. The principles seemed to mostly line up with one exception, income, Mr. Town's advice gears around when to sell your investments for profit not holding for income. With that knowledge, I started to study dividends and dividend investing.
The next couple of years were not as spectacular on the growth side because I did not understand the lessons of the parable and other Scripture fully, however the income side took off.
Year 1: Total -5.39% growth (before I read the book)
Year 2: Total 14.22% growth (Rule #1 mostly applied)
Year 3: Total 15.48% growth (Again)
Year 4: Total 8.88% growth
Year 5: Total -1.41% growth
Year 6: Total 8.50% growth
Year 7: Total 8.51% growth
Year 8: Total 1.80% growth
Year 9: Total 73.37% growth (Understood 100 fold principle)
Year 1: Total 124.79% growth
Year 2: Total -37.39% growth (Rule #1 is all about growth)
Year 3: Total -3.76% growth
Year 4: Total -0.17% growth (Started to focus on dividends)
Year 5: Total 54.67% growth
Year 6: Total 18.89% growth
Year 7: Total 55.09% growth (Launched first class)
Year 8: Total 27.81% growth
Year 9: Total 80.89% growth (Understood 100 fold principle)
The Year NINE Difference: Expect 100 Fold Returns
The journey was and is humbling as have and continue to learn some valuable lessons. Around year seven, I expanded my studies to learn and apply the principles in the parable of the sower. The principle that good soil should produce 100, 60, or 30 times what is sown into it was a massive revelation for me. My lens was too narrow.
Afterwards, I expanded my revelation by meditating on more Scriptures and reading more books and applying them to my investing strategy. Below you will find a broad recap of the lessons that I eventually learned from seeking a deeper understanding of Biblical investing wisdom once I shifted to a heart to seek understanding instead of a mind of I know all the answers.
My heart dictates how I understand. Fear produces fearful get rich quick investing. Greed produces selfish investing that takes from others without empathetic consideration of the impact to others. Joy produces patient, thoughtful, long term, win-win investing. I must leep working on my heart to have and live in joy and the Godly/Biblical understanding of investing, and life, may be learned.
Invest to produce 100 fold returns
Invest to produce income that can be reinvested to produce more growth and income
Invest in investments that will produce gains today and last 120 years
At the end of year seven or so I started to teach a class on investing using Biblical principles. The value of having to translate investment lingo, investing principles, and practical how to steps turned out to be the best investment of time in myself. Learning how to teach it, improved my skill in doing it.
This site is a culmination of my personal experiences from my own learnings and personal results, experience and learnings from helping others through multiple classes and one on one discussions, and my heart's desire to continue investing in myself and others. The primary purpose is to provide a Biblical framework of a how to manual for investing using Index Funds and Index ETF's as the investment vehicle. The principles learned are not limited to those investments, they are simply the examples used. You can start your journey with the free book Wise Investor.
Start Your Journey With Our Free Book: Wise Investor