This transcript is taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally airing on Dec. 14, 2022.  To listen to the program, please click HERE.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Well, welcome to another edition of Stand in the Gap Today. I’m Jamie Mitchell, your host, the director of Church Culture here at the American Pastors Network, and with me is my good friend, Dave Kistler. So, Dave, I usually ask you the question when we get to host together. So, here’s your question today. How much money does the US take in each year in regard to revenue?

Dave Kistler:                      Well, Jimmy, let me say this. I am not sure what the answer to that is, but I do know this. There’s a saying in D.C. You can tell it’s cold outside when the D.C. politicians have their hands in their own pockets instead of in ours, but I’m not sure what that figure is. I’d love to know.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Well, it’s $1.7 trillion, but here’s another scary figure. Dave, what do you think the United States government spends every year?

Dave Kistler:                      Well, again, my friend, I’m not sure, but I’m sure it’s probably more than they take in. That would be my guess.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Over $7 trillion, Dave. If you and I ran our households, our ministries, our businesses in that manner, we either would be in jail, be bankrupt, or both. But the federal government plays fast and loose with money and the economy and this just keeps going on and on and on. As of today, the debt clock tells us that the US is over $32 trillion in debt per citizen. We’re on the hook for over 200 grand for each household. If we continue to spend, both Democrats and Republicans being the blame, there is going to be a day of reckoning. Today, we want to consider the economy, but more importantly, how as followers of Jesus Christ we approach the economic issues in our nation and how it affects us.

Today, our guest to help us bring a unique and very practical understanding and insight is Ron Joelson. Ron has been involved in the financial world for a long time. He has his pulse on the economy really for decades. He’s a graduate of Hamilton College. He’s Columbia University Grad School of Business and Finances and Accounting, and he was responsible for $260 billion of assets under management for Northwest Mutual Insurance Company and today currently is the chairman of Northwest Mutual’s Asset Management Company.

He’s also been the Chief Investment Officer for Genworth and Prudential Finances, but more importantly, Ron loves Jesus Christ and desires to help believers understand the Bible and how to live out kingdom finance. Welcome, Ron Joelson, to Stand in the Gap Today.

Ron Joelson:                      Well, thank you, Jamie and David. It’s great to be with you both today. I’m really looking forward to this.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Ron, would you take a moment and give our audiences just a little bit of your background, specifically what your job entailed in regards to economy and what was it important for you as a student of the economy to understand?

Ron Joelson:                      Well, at Northwestern Mutual, I’ve been responsible for approximately $260 billion, as you noted, of assets under management. As a major life insurance company, we invest in assets all over the globe. So, obviously, understanding the global economy is pretty important if you do that, because of course, the global economy moves markets. When you’re investing approximately $2 billion every single month, that’s after we pay claims and after we pay expenses, then you better pay attention to those things. We’re always looking for relative value and the global economy is an important part of that.

Dave Kistler:                      Ron, this is Dave and I want to say again, it’s delight to have you on the program. You don’t know this, but my wife and I have had life insurance, some life insurance with Genworth for a while, but I never knew that I’d get a chance to talk with the gentleman who was the Chief Investment Officer of Genworth at one time. So, again, it is a delight to have you on the program. I want to ask you this question. We hear this a lot.

In fact, it’s on the news, daily concerns about inflation, deficit spending, the uncertainty of the markets. So, in other words, our economy is phenomenally fragile right now. From your perspective, can you just give us a little bit of a barometer on what the state of the US economy is right now and maybe some things we should not only be aware of but concerned about?

Ron Joelson:                      Well, absolutely, David. There is an old saying. It’s something like if you fix what’s wrong with the economy, you will fix the markets. Now normally when we talk about what’s wrong with the economy, we focus on things like GDP, gross domestic product, but today, what’s really the problem is inflation. So, we know that CPI, the traditional measure of inflation is running almost between 7.5 and 8% and there’s a lot of reasons for it. One of them is the money supply. There was a guy named Milton Freedman years ago who said, inflation is everywhere a monetary phenomenon and we have printed a ton of money. You alluded to this, Jamie, in your comments at the beginning. The money supply is up nearly 27% just looking from February of 2020 to 2021.

Remember what was going on. We had a pandemic. We had the CARES Act, pandemic relief totaling about $4 trillion. If you look back historically, there’s about a 13-month lag between government spending that’s out of the norm and it showing up in the inflation numbers. That’s exactly what’s happened. Now the good news is the money supply is only growing right now at about 1.3%. So, all of the things being equal, we do expect that to come down. We’ve probably peaked that will come markets somewhat, but let’s just remember we’ve had some unbelievable things happening with the pandemic.

Good spending, which normally grows at about 2% or so, popped up to about 20% as people were locked in their homes and people like Jamie and probably you, David, buying things online at Amazon. We had supply chains that were just unable to keep up with this incredible growth in spending that happened. By the way, services spending dropped completely. Nobody was going out to dinner. Nobody was flying anywhere. So, that shakes in the global economy made things extremely difficult, but what we’re seeing now is things are calming back down. Goods inflation, which was up over 12%, is probably down to more like a 5% number. Inventory has been building. Service inflation, which shot up this year about 6.5%, that’s down to almost 2%. So, things are calming down a bit.

The latest inflation number that I saw was a month over month number of 0.3. That translates to about 3.6 annualized. You’re still going to hear some frightening numbers, over 6%, but that’s because most of the media quotes it year over year. If you have a low number a year ago and a relatively high number now, that’s just going to look terrible. So, that has really roiled markets and it’s also resulted in the Fed responding with tremendous rate hikes. Remember those rate hikes, that’s a lot like what chemotherapy is to cancer. They’re trying to slow the economy and hopefully not kill the patient.

The Fed worries about your expectations. They’re worried that you’re going to expect inflation and therefore buy ahead. That could really entrench it. So, by doing things like raising rates pretty suddenly, they hope to slow things down. Of course, we’ll see what happens, but right now, the Michigan survey which tells us what expectations are-

Jamie Mitchell:                 Ron, hold that thought. Everything about life is around money. We’re going to get back with Ron Joelson when we come back to this next segment of Stand in the Gap Today.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Well, welcome back. Our topic today is the economy and how we as believers need to be responding properly. Our guest is Ron Joelson, someone who has lived in the world of investing and understanding the global markets. Ron, just as we ended that last segment, you were talking about a survey coming out of the University of Michigan, Michigan State, finish that thought up, but also, as we end 2022 and look to 2023, what should we be keeping our eye on when it comes to the economy and some things that are brewing?

Ron Joelson:                      Yeah, so sure, I was talking about the survey, which really gives us a sense as to whether investors think there’s a likely probability of continued inflation and how much. Those numbers have actually hovered around 3%. That’s a good sign. That shows that the consumer, obviously worried about inflation in the pocketbook, doesn’t think it will persist that long. However, when you asked me about what to think about for next year, I do have to say that we’re likely to be in recession. We’ll probably have fourth quarter growth that’s positive this year, but going into next year, it’s likely that we will see a recession. We’ve seen a lot of indications of it, what we call an inverted yield curve, new orders, manufacturing orders.

All of these things suggest it will happen, but here’s the number one thing I hope our listeners will remember. It is likely to be a mild recession. That is because of two things. One, we have an incredibly strong consumer with a balance sheet of cash versus their debt level that we haven’t seen in 40 years. We also have a banking system that’s very strong. When you look at the banks and the reserves that they hold, this is not like 2008. This is not like the Great Depression in the ’20s and ’30s. This is a much better situation. So, look for the recession, but don’t look for it to be too strong or too long. That’s key.

Dave Kistler:                      Ron, by the way, that’s encouraging news to hear and I’m sure our listeners would completely concur. Obviously, Ron, you’re a believer in Jesus Christ. You view everything through the lens of scripture. So, that means you look at even economic news through the lens of faith rather than just fate. So, if I could ask you this, how would you advise believers that are listening to the program today to view the economic news that’s coming at us at just breakneck speed? How do you yourself put on the lens of faith and how should believers do the same when they’re observing and listening to and watching all the economic news coming our way?

Ron Joelson:                      Yeah, great question, David. I mean the first thing is we have to live in faith and not live in fear. I really believe strongly there are only two nations on earth that God has had favor on. One is Israel, because frankly, it was chosen by God, and then actually the United States, which is the only country to actually choose Jesus Christ in its formation. The founding documents are actually really clear on this. So, don’t forget, those are very important things. At the same time though, I do think we need to be active Christians. We don’t want to be holding ourselves up in our homes and our churches and waiting for the rapture.

What we need to be doing is preparing for the rapture and that is making things right with God. But our charge in Luke 19 is to occupy and that’s a military term, occupy until I come. So, while we may pray for this coming, the second coming, we don’t want to stand by idly and I believe the Lord has not done with our country yet. So, we’ve given up some things, David.

As a Christian, I don’t like seeing that we’ve given up things in the politics and education and business and media, even technology and arts and entertainment. As Christians, we need to be active in our world in this economy and not to be afraid to say what we believe. So, we need to, I guess, be more active and just remember things come in cycles in this business world. So, don’t live in fear, live in faith, and you will see things move forward even if there are hiccups along the way.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Hey, Ron. The Bible is just replete with information about finances and giving us instructions, but oftentimes, believers violate those principles. From your experience having worked with people in their finances and maybe even work with Christians, what mistakes do Christians make when handling their finances?

Ron Joelson:                      Wow, I don’t know if we have enough time, but let’s hit a couple of those. First of all, Proverbs 22:7 says, “The borrower slaved to the lender.” We have that problem in Christian circles or frankly all over this country. We try to seek God’s will when we spend money, but if we’re borrowing a lot of money and that enables us to spend, it’s really hard to say that that’s God’s will given that scripture in Proverbs. So, his provision is really in terms of what we need. When we borrow, we’re going beyond that provision and then what are we doing? We’re looking to ourselves instead of God. That’s not right. I think the other problem is most Christians don’t have a plan. They don’t even budget.

So, Luke 14:28 says, “For which of you intending to build a tower does not sit down first and count the cost whether he has enough to finish it.” So, we need to be doing that. We need to think carefully about our spending plans and make sure we have the budget to do it. Also, let’s just not forget the biggest lie I think that Christians tell themselves, and that is that we cannot rely on God for our needs. All of a sudden, when it comes to provision, it’s all about us. It’s all about what we can do, I, I, I. I just think we get on the wrong track when we do that. Proverbs 3:9 and 10 says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the firstfruits of your increase. So, your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be filled with new wine.”

So, let’s remember that there is a giving cycle that we should be thinking about. Those are kingdom type principles and I believe the Lord does honor that significantly. That first roots that I just quoted, that’s the same word that’s used in the beginning. So, the Lord has established provision for us in the very creation of the world that we live in. That word for giving is also about honor and glorifying. So, there’s a real honor cycle, glorification cycle, all of that. I think Christians need to understand that that’s an important part of their financial lives.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Ron, you used the word there and it’s the word understand. As I’ve been listening to you as well as interacting with Christians about things like the economy and those things, there seems to be a great ignorance about financial things. We shouldn’t be so consumed. That’s all we think about. That’s all we read about. We run to the paper. We get online and check things that’s happening. But there seems to be an ignorance, almost an avoidance to understanding finance and the economy and those things. Have you seen that in believers’ lives and what word of encouragement would you challenge them with in regards to becoming more aware of economic things?

Ron Joelson:                      Yeah, so I guess the first thing I would think of is really think about, “What is the part of your financial life that is not likely to be consistent with God’s will?” Some of that’s obvious, like we mentioned debt. So, asking the Lord for guidance in spending matters, it’s really important. We touch base with God a lot, but sometimes when it comes to economics, we feel like, “Well, that’s my job.” Well, it is important part of your job is to check with the Lord. You need to understand about the kingdom and also think about financial decisions that you may want to make for the kingdom. God is all about the heart.

If you think about the reasons that you want provision or the reasons that you want wealth, think really carefully about that, because I think you can get into a lot of trouble when you start thinking about gathering wealth for your own purpose or for luxury items and things that may or may not need. But perhaps something you should be thinking about is, “How can you make a financial difference in the kingdom?” Now, I’m not saying the Lord depends on us, but he does expect to co-labor with us. So, we want to be able to respond. If we don’t respond, I know that the Lord will use others, but why wouldn’t we want to honor the Lord if we are chosen to co-labor with him?

So, I think that’s a big part of it. We’ve got to be stewards of what we have already been given. We know from the parable of gold or talents in Matthew 25, the one that invested his money, he received two times his investment and the Lord praised him. So, we also don’t want to be so afraid of spending our money and investing it wisely. We know directly from scripture that the Lord honors that, and I think that’s something Christians need to understand.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Ron, this is so practical and this is such an important reminder that we need to be good stewards and wise stewards. Wisdom comes from information, not just applications. So, understanding how to budget, how to invest, what is inflation, what is recession, those kinds of things are important. We got about a minute, maybe less, but Ron, why is having a budget so important?

Ron Joelson:                      Yeah, I mean, having a budget is so important because it gives you permission to spend. You should not be using the cash that you have in your bank and say, “Oh, I have $2,000. I can afford a $1,500 whatever it is.” No. When you have a budget, you don’t use your cash account to determine how much you spend. You use what’s left in your budget so you have that reserve for the emergency. So, you’re able to tithe when you go to church. So, you’re able to do the things that you know may not be so certain. So, having a budget, having a plan gets you away from just looking at the money in the bank and you start using the budget to give you permission to actually make the purchases that you need. Does that make sense?

Jamie Mitchell:                 It makes complete sense. When we come back, more warnings and wisdom about wealth and looking at the world’s wallet and how Christians need to walk in wisdom. Lot of Ws. Come on back and join with us for Stand in the Gap Today.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Our topic today is economic outlook and the believers’ response. Our guest today is Ron Joelson, who has spent his life analyzing and studying the economy as an investor and now wants to help believers get a handle on their resources in a biblical and Godly fashion.

Ron, here’s a question. You have worked with all kinds of people over the years, but probably more with the non-believer. How do they approach finances in general and what are their motivations? How can we glean from the unbeliever’s perspective about finance?

Ron Joelson:                      Yeah. Well, there’s a lot of things I think that unbelievers do that can be helpful, but we have to be a little bit careful sometimes of those things as well. I mean, one of the things though that is good and that we should emulate is something we touched on in the last segment, of course, which is good and careful planning. I think that Christians very often, maybe it’s because they think about the rapture too much. I’m not sure why, but I have found that Christians are less likely to do careful planning. One place that comes up, Jamie, is in retirement. I’ve actually seen pastors who literally have done nothing to save for retirement, because they’ve believed in the back of their head that they wouldn’t be around. There’d be a rapture and that would be that.

That’s really not what we’re supposed to do. We really do need to plan. The pastors who’ve never bothered to plan for retirement, that’s not what we want to do. We need to be in a right place and be able to do that. So, I think that’s one of the areas. I do think that people who are not Christians sometimes have those wrong motives and that actually hurts them more than it helps them. I found in my own walk in being a leader at a major company, when I started putting kingdom principles into place, that changed everything.

So, in terms of leadership, when I started to care more about the people that worked for me than almost any other aspect of my own personal career, that’s actually when my career advanced the most. So, kingdom principles can really help accelerate your professional career, which of course helps you in terms of your financial planning because you’re creating a bigger shovel that is more income. So, think about those principles in terms of how you behave and act in your place of work. I think the Lord will honor that in terms of how your career progresses.

Dave Kistler:                      Ron, all of this that you’re sharing on the program today is just beyond powerful. I’ve been texting back and forth to Jamie and just saying, this is great stuff and it really is. One of the things I watched my dad do and I want to share this as I pose a question. My dad didn’t have a lot of resources growing up. We did not have an enormous amount of resources when we were young, but I would watch my dad, there was a time when he only had one credit card to his name. It was a Texaco credit card, and he would purchase all of his fuel on a Texaco credit card. The minute he would purchase $20 in fuel, he would go back to the house if it was later in the afternoon. He’d take a $20 bill out of his pocket, put it in a box in the top drawer of the dresser in he and mom’s bedroom.

I remember asking him, “Dad, why are you doing that? Why didn’t you just pay for the fuel with the $20 bill? Why did you do it with a credit card?” He said, “Well, think about it, son.” He said, “What I’m going to do is tomorrow, I’m going to deposit that $20 in my bank account and I’m going to earn interest on their money for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, I’ll pay off my one credit card for my fuel purchases, but I will have earned interest on their money rather than them earning interest on my money.”

Now, I thought that’s sheer brilliance and that was the home I grew up in, so we had a pretty strong financial background. I’m just wondering if there are some other examples of advice, real practical advice, maybe even in the form of a warning that you could give to Christians in these days of not just uncertainty currently, but brewing, potential, oncoming economic uncertainty.

Ron Joelson:                      Well, David, you’re going to laugh. Hopefully, you’ll laugh at this. The first advice I’m going to give is not to do what you just talked about and I’ll tell you why. So, it is in fact mathematically correct that when you borrow on a credit card and you pay it off at the end of the month, you are now in effect getting what’s called float. That is correct mathematically, but the amount of money that you get from doing that is tiny. The problem is that holding that credit card, while you may intend to pay it off every month, too many people have these credit cards and they have the intent of doing that. What ends up happening? Oh, the water heater breaks down. There’s another problem. They end up having to borrow on their credit card.

All of a sudden, with one skipped month, you just cut through all of that float savings you may have had for the last year. So, while you’re mathematically correct and I think in the case of I think it was your father or your uncle, he probably did it right. I do encourage people not to play that game, because bad things can happen and then all of a sudden you are paying 14, 15, or even 20% plus interest.

So, just remember these credit cards, the banks make a ton of money on it. They give you lots of free things like miles and all of that, because they know that even if you intend to pay it off, there are certain times when you won’t and that’s when they make their money. So, that’s going to be a caution I’m going to say for people who are thinking they might do that. Sorry to poke that one.

Dave Kistler:                      Hey, listen, no problem, Ron. My dad was one of the most disciplined people I’ve ever met in my life. What you’re saying is obviously accurate, but he never paid interest on a single credit card purchase. He only had the one and he always paid it off at the end of the month and never paid interest. I think he’d come out of the grave and get me if I ever did the same, but most people, like you say, cannot and will not do that. They’ll fall into the trap you just very powerfully described.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Hey, Ron.

Ron Joelson:                      Absolutely.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Let me ask you, with things like the bad news we always hear about inflation and even as you’ve mentioned this possible coming recession, are there some ways to insulate ourselves or to avoid that or put up some safeguards to not be greatly negatively impacted by an economic downturn if it were to happen?

Ron Joelson:                      Yeah, I mean there are some safeguards which you’re actually getting at. For those of you who have portfolios out there, the key in this economic environment is not to invest based on your fears, but to stress test your portfolios to see how they would behave when things turned down. I had a gentleman call me and ask me some advice. He was worried about the dollar losing its reserve currency. Believe it or not, he wanted to take his entire portfolio and buy crypto, Bitcoin. This was obviously before Bitcoin exploded, but I told him, I said, “Do you really think that’s the most likely scenario?” He goes, “Well, no, but I’m afraid of it.”

I said, “Well, then the last thing you want to do is move your entire portfolio to support your fear, because even if there’s a 2% chance that happens, 98% of the time, you’re going to be in trouble. Rather figure out what your base case is, the likely scenario, and I outlined a mild recession and then see how your portfolio will do.” The reality is, for most people, if you’re holding your equities for more than five years, you’ll be able to ride out a recession, particularly the kind that we’re likely to have in the next year or so. So, I think it’s just really important to be thinking that way. Individuals shouldn’t invest based on their fear, but they should be stress testing their portfolios to understand what might happen in a volatile environment.

Jamie Mitchell:                 That’s why it’s so important to have a good coach and somebody who understands these things and to stay on top of it, not just set it and forget it as once was said. To be engaged and listen. Ron, we have a couple of minutes. In the news recently was this whole Bitcoin thing that you just mentioned, the FTX unraveling. In layman’s terms, I’m not expecting you to be an expert, what happened with that and what should our audience be aware of?

Ron Joelson:                      Well, what you should be aware of is that the entire environment for trading and buying those kinds of currencies, Bitcoin, crypto, it was not regulated. Therefore, the exchanges that were hosting the purchases and sales of those currencies, basically it was like the Wild Wild West and they could do whatever they wanted a as opposed to our regulated banking system, which has got the watchful eyes.

I’m not a big believer, Jamie, as you know, in over-regulation, but you need some regulation and the banking system has that. Cryptocurrency did not, and so therefore, exchanges were unable to take volume of trades. Therefore, what ended up happening is when sales and purchases were not in balance, the exchanges were unable to make up the differences. So, then you had massive bankruptcy. Of course, the danger is you have liquidity events and that could actually affect other parts of the global economy. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened.

Jamie Mitchell:                 In many respects, the fellow who’s been at the head of this really acted in the same way as we heard years ago, the Bernie Madoff’s of the world, doing almost like a pyramid scheme taking and using this money. Now, the people who did invest have nothing. Isn’t that exactly what happened?

Ron Joelson:                      Yeah, except for your use of the word invest, because I would say it’s more gambling than investing. I have a pretty good proof point of that. Somebody in my staff wrote a white paper on why we should invest in crypto, and I responded, I said, “Well, tell me if we do this, at what price would you sell Bitcoin?” They couldn’t answer the question because there’s no real way to assess fair value of a cryptocurrency. That tells you what you’re buying is pure speculation and not an investment.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Wow. Look, friends, if and when things go south financially, everyone’s going to be affected. Yet when we look to the Lord, live out his word, experience his blessing and protection, God is always in control of our finances. When we come back, some more practical steps about how to live out kingdom finance.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Today has stirred your thinking and given you some insights concerning our economy and how to respond.

Our guest has been Ron Joelson, investment expert and the champion of kingdom finance living out God’s word in these uncertain economic times. Ron, there is a listener in a home somewhere who’s trying to figure out all that’s been said here and they’ve probably said to themselves, “Where do I start?” Get really simple and practical. What first step do you take to get your finances in order?

Ron Joelson:                      Well, in the beginning, we’d like to start with an emergency fund, right? So, I’ll borrow a little from Dave Ramsey, not completely, but he’s got some good thoughts here. Have an emergency fund of three to six months. Don’t invest it, have it in cash, have it in your bank. I mean, it’s not there to earn a lot of money. It’s there to be there for you in case something happens and then only use it for emergencies. The second then is eliminate your non-mortgage debt. You really want to start paying your debts off as quickly as possible. It sometimes even makes sense to pay the low dollar amounts first and then you apply it to your next one and you just keep using a debt snowball to eliminate your debt.

Then start putting about 15% of your earnings aside for retirement in a 401(k) or 403(b) or the best is a Roth if that’s allowed where you work. Then after that, start paying down your mortgage as fast as you can. By the way, 15-year mortgage, don’t do 30 if you can do it. It’s really important. It helps you eliminate that quickly. Then and only then would I recommend serious investing, mutual funds, or real estate, but you got to get past your debt, because at that time when you ultimately retire, you don’t want to have those payments. So, when you start investing at that point, pick index funds.

Don’t do real estate unless you know what you’re doing. I happen to like it, but certainly mutual funds. If you get an advisor to help you with that, then you just want to be careful that you don’t pay high expenses on those funds, consider index funds, but really be a student. Don’t just follow somebody’s advice blindly. Find someone with a teachable spirit that will teach you how to invest so that you ultimately are responsible for your decisions. You don’t just let an advisor do whatever they want. Find that right person that will teach you.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Ron, you said the word retirement. Take one minute if you would. How should believers address this whole issue of retirement and do you approach retirement differently if the economy is unpredictable and shaky?

Ron Joelson:                      No, assuming that you have a number of years until retirement. So, the best retirement principle I can tell you is not mine. It’s seed time and harvest. You don’t want to be getting into get rich schemes. Proverbs 13:11 warns us about that. Just a quick example, let’s say, Jamie saves from age 25 to age 35, only 10 years, 100 a month. Whereas David saves for 20 years, but does it at the age 45 to 65. Assuming a 10% return, Jamie will have over 400,000 when he retires, while David will only have 76,000 and he can never catch up. So, what’s the lesson there? You put money continuously over many years. That compounding effect that time lets your seed really allow you to harvest a lot in retirement. Wow. See what I did there?

Jamie Mitchell:                 Wow. Excellent stuff, Ron. You mentioned just a few minutes ago, something about a coach or getting an expert of good financial advisor. Can you give our listening audience some tips on what to look for and what you would consider to be a good financial advisor, the right person to help them bill their wealth?

Ron Joelson:                      So many people say only get fee-based planners because they don’t have skin in the game whether you actually buy a product. That’s actually also a problem. Be careful of that. That can be good advice. But if you don’t do anything with your financial plan, then guess what? You just wasted your money. More important than that is somebody, like I said before, that has a teachable spirit. They’re going to show you and give you advice and teach you about investing, which you are then going to do your own homework and study. So, you want an advisor that just doesn’t say, “Hey, don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of you.” That’s not a good advisor.

You want somebody that says, “Hey, let me show you why I think this is a good strategy,” and then you can decide on whether or not you should take it. That is far more important than whether they’re fee-based or get a commission. That’s where I differ a little bit with the rest of the world, because I’ve seen so-called fee-based planners, which are great, except nobody acts on what they say. That’s not good.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Wow. Ron, we need to have you back and we need to go a little bit deeper in some of these things. I feel like I have a dozen questions, probably, Dave, you do too, of all that we’ve been talking about here. Before we come to a close, Ron, what is one word of spiritual encouragement to people? You love the Lord. You have a heart. You’re coming to the end of your professional career, but I know your heart is now to help the kingdom. What spiritual word of encouragement do you have to our listeners today about wealth and finances?

Ron Joelson:                      You know it’s funny, it’s so important to me. We reap more when we sow more. So, I think about Second Corinthians 9:6. If you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly. So, I’m talking about the kingdom now and I’m talking about our spiritual lives. We need to be diligent, focused on God, focused on what he’s given us and how we are stewarding it. The more you look up instead of in or at your neighbor and what he’s doing, the better off you’ll be, because you know what, Jamie and David? God has got this. He is not only Lord of your life. He’s Lord of your finances. I think if you can remember that principle, that will keep you looking up and that’s the best way to succeed in a financial perspective.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Wow. Hey, Ron, if we can have you come back, would you be willing to come back for a part two and we go a little deeper in these things?

Ron Joelson:                      Anytime. I love it.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Great.

Ron Joelson:                      Would love to do it.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Great. Hey, loved ones. Listen. You know that your wealth and finances and economy is not based on what you have or how much you have, but the Bible’s very clear. It’s how you handle it. Part of that is recognizing that what you have is on loan from the one who owns it all, the Lord God. We are just stewards. He is our master. When we follow his instruction and handle our resources his way, he will bless us. I hope you’ve picked that up today. I hope as we come to the end of the year, you handle your finances in a Godly, faith-filled manner.

Don’t forget to consider giving to different organizations, ministries, ministries that reach the needy and care for those in the world. Look around. There are people who are suffering and God can use your wealth to bless people’s lives. Dave Kistler, it’s always a joy to be with you. As we come to this last minute, would you close our time and prayer and ask God’s blessing on the wealth that is in the hands of the listeners that we have here at Stand in the Gap?

Dave Kistler:                      Delighted to, Jamie. Father, thank you so much for this program. Thank you for Ron and for the years of expertise that you’ve given him, but Lord, beyond that, the spiritual insight and wisdom that you’ve given him. Thank you, Lord, that he’s willing to employ that, invest that in the lives of others. Father, I pray you’d help us to be wise stewards of that with which you’ve committed to us in every area, financially, spiritually, in every way. Father, bring glory to your name through it all. We ask in Jesus’ name, I do pray. Amen.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Hey, for Dave Kistler, Sam Rohrer, and the rest of the team, have a great day. We’ll see you back here in 23 hours for another Stand in the Gap Today.