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Plan for the future with faith-based or socially responsible investments

Financially these are tumultuous days for our country, the world, and us, the residents of Clarksville. Throughout the the globe the past six months are conspicuous and striking by the burgeoning financial foreboding. Daily new on the monetary condition of the globe is tortuous. Car manufacturers recently reported that June was a “disastrous” month for sales. We wait with bated breath for this plight to hit bottom; instead more bad news is announced.

A recent USA Today headline proclaimed “Rising prices hammer seniors on fixed income.” Food and medication goes out of reach for some. These are troublesome times, too, for parents, single or married, for grandparents and all adults.

It is formidable for us to think about the future when the financial skies are dark, because we have a problematical, hard to solve, financial quandary. Even though it takes a Herculean effort we still need to be  proactive and have a financial in place to implement in the better days. Being optimistic is permitted, even in these times of uncertainty. With the arrival of 2008, my investments in mutual funds declined in value. Since the onset of 2008, my rate of interest in the money market has declined to the level of 2.4%. As to interest on a savings account — that’s not worth printing.

As a minister in northwest Missouri, I’ll always remember the investment advice given to me by Wilbur, a Presbyterian who owned a portion of businesses in this town of 6,000 population. When talking about his grocery store, he said, “Pastor, over the years, as a pig farmer, I’ve discovered to make money is to buy when others are selling their stock.” What my friendly Presbyterian meant was to get into investing when prices are low or declining.

This is a time to invest, or to at least make plans to invest. For your long-term plans, think about what are called “faith based funds.”

In the early years of the 21st century, investment dollars are hard at work doing a lot more than making money. They are supporting conservation measures, fueling humane labor practices, and rewarding companies for shunning groups with ties to abortion service providers.

Religious mutual funds are burgeoning. Religious mutual funds are popular with the public and one way for an investor to express their conviction on social issues. Many investors are motivated by the opportunity to be socially responsible as well as to make a significant return in dividends.

The Amana Income Fund, an Islamic fund that avoids gambling, tobacco and meat-producing stocks, outperformed 180 funds in its equity-income stock between 2004-2007. Investors have lined up to join in this Islamic fund.

Faith-based funds are opportunities for investors with a passion for putting faith into action. The United Methodists have and outstanding investment plan for their pastors and employees. Since its inception, the Methodists have appreciated the link between ethics and investing. Rev. John Wesley, founder of the Methodists, dictated to his supporters “gain all we can without hurting our neighbor.” That ethic has inspired his spiritual descendants to shun investments in alcohol, tobacco and weapons manufacturing.

Socially responsible investing is growing by leaps and bounds. It has morphed into a $2 trillion mainstream industry.

There are precautions to observe before rushing into a broker or to the computer to invest in faith-based funds.

  • Research the 10-year track record of the fund. This is a tool for measuring past success.
  • Visit www.socialfunds.com for a free 20 page “Investing in Socially Responsible Mutual Funds.”
  • As well as their success on dividends, be sensitive to their mission statement.

If contemplating such an investment, another step is to ask yourself the following question:

  • What are my financial goals?
  • What would I like my investment to support in terms of social or environmental practices?
  • Do I care about whether my fund managers are working from a particular faith tradition?

In my investment plan I use First Command brokers in Clarksville. I recommend brokers, unless you have an elementary understanding of mutual funds. My investments for the future are already set or I would explore in depth Faith-based mutual funds as an investment.  I believe this bad, sad economy will eventually be history. prepare now for a prosperous future. It may take two or three but the good times will return.

Now is the time to reserarch investing.

Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland, retired, has lived in Clarksville for seven years and holds great pride in his adopted city and its people. His one objection in Tennessee is the Hall law of taxes on dividends and savings. Charles served in the U.S. Army Chaplaincy from 1966-1986, retiring to serve as a United Methodist pastor near Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He serves on the Boards of Directors for the ARP, Roxy Theater and MCDP. Though retired, he is a regular speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. His five grandchildren, ages two to thirteen years, live in Evansville, Indiana. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and served in Germany and Korea while on active duty.


  1. There is continued confusion pertaining to the difference between socially responsible investing and faith-based investing. Your article is good as it encourages socially responsible investing. Faith-based investing focuses on moral responsible investing. Moral responsible investing looks at investing that avoids companies whose activities are intrinsically evil, meaning the activities are always immoral, regardless of the circumstances or culture, as revealed by God through time. For example, abortion, the murdering of the innocent, is always wrong and immoral even if it is legally permissible within a society.

    “Socially responsible investing,” on the other hand, is investing that avoids companies whose activities are not considered socially responsible, and tends to correlate the important issues of a time period or a current fad. For example, though certain activities that can cause damage to or are not conducive to preserving the environment may not be socially responsible, such activities are not intrinsically evil or immoral.
    As the resident authority on faith-based investing, I have helped differentiate between social and moral responsible investing. That is why I wrote The Faith-Based Millionaire.

    Jay Peroni, CFP
    Author of The Faith-Based Millionaire

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