LISTEN TO EP.102
Bob Doll, CNBC Contributor and World Renown Investor Returns to Share Personal Advice on Overcoming Financial Struggles and Your Spiritual Relationship with Money, Pt. 2
Do you believe that where you spend your time and money determines what you worship? Bob Doll, Chief Investment Officer at Crossmark Global, a regular guest and contributor to multiple media outlets such as CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Moneywise, and Fox Business News, brings more than 40 years of experience to the investment process. In Part 2 of our interview with Doll, he drills down into the personal side of investing and discusses how we can incorporate faith in our financial decisions, how to steward our household finances, that money is often the greatest source of discontent, and why budgeting is important if we’re struggling. Doll challenges us to remember that when God blesses us with more we should raise our standard of giving not our standard of living, and to remember that to whom much has been given much is required.
Welcome to the Influencers Podcast. I’m Scott Young with your co-host Dave Donaldson. We are in episode two of a fascinating discovery of finances with Bob Doll. If you missed episode one, maybe you want to press pause and go back and listen to the first episode and then pick up what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about money, we’re talking about your money, we’re talking about how to get ahead with wise investment strategies in the current financial climate. If Bob is new to you, he is a, can I say it, financial genius. He’s the chief investment officer for Crossmark Global Investments. He has held similar positions at Merrill Lynch and Oppenheimer. He has an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He’s a certified public accountant. He’s a chartered financial analyst. He holds the FINRA Series 7, and he has a securities license in 63 fields. I would say he’s worth listening to. And Bob, we are glad that you’ve joined us for episode two as we talk about something that’s close to people’s hearts, their finances.
My honor and privilege, Scott.
Faith and Finances
And Bob, we know what’s closest to your heart is your faith in God. And the Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is a substance of things hoped,” for meaning that the root system of hope is faith in God. And that includes our finances. But so many people have given into fear instead of faith that God owns it all and he’ll help us; he’ll guide us to be the best stewards possible of the gift of money based on the times that we live in, and obviously it’s so uncertain. What are some ways our audience can incorporate their faith into their finances?
Well, you touched on one of them that I want to reiterate, and that is God owns it all. It is not just our money. God owns everything we are. He’s given us our bodies, our minds, yes, our money, time, relationships, and the list goes on. And the question that I ask myself and anybody who will listen to me is what are we doing with all of that? There’s a day of accountability coming. I kind of play an exercise every once in a while. Saturday afternoon, nobody else is home. And I hear a knock at the door, It’s Jesus. He said, “Bob, I got an hour. Can we look at your checkbook and your calendar?” Oh, wow. Why would you want to look at those things? Because where we spend our time and where we spend our money says a lot about what’s near and dear to us. What is it that we worship? It’s what we do with time and money and other things God’s given us. So that’s bedrock in my view.
So you are involved in a faith community. You’re part of a local church, and you don’t just sit on the benches. You are the choir director of your church. Can you tell us how that happened, how you got into that? Has music been part of your background, or how did you become a choir director?
Yeah, so way back when, second through sixth grade, my mom made me take piano lessons. And we lived in a row house in Philadelphia. And I’ll never forget, we could hear my friends outside in the alley playing ball, and I was forced to practice the piano. That’s how I got started. I didn’t like it much then, but I thanked my mom many times since. And I started playing in Sunday school. At one point, they needed somebody to play the organ. “Bob, would you give it a try?” And I’m a pretty good imitator of others. So I’ve sung in choirs, and so I kind of imitate the best of what I’ve seen in others. And I’ve been directing our local church choir now for almost 40 years.
A long time.
So you talked about accountability, and I’m just going to say as a pastor, anyone that’s faithful in service for 40 years, I think there’s a crown that’s waiting for you.
Well, on a serious note, and I think you’ll agree with this, God established the church. There’s so many parachurch ministries, and I love many of them and participate. But he didn’t formulate or establish any of those. He established the local church. So my view is all of us that name the name of Christ, our first responsibility is to do something beneficial in the local church, and then all the outreach that comes from that’s wonderful.
I’m a pastor, so I’m going to say amen.
I suspected you might.
What’s in Your Field?
Yeah, I knew he was going to say amen to that, and he’s ready to pass the offering, too. What’s interesting, even when it comes to giving, because you look at in Deuteronomy, the practice and Leviticus, it was to first all of us have a field. Even the Apostle Paul says, “We’re all a field,” and that represents our time, talent, resources that you eloquently describe. The first fruits of that field go to the storehouse, the church. And then the Bible says, “Then leave the corners of the field for the poor,” for missions around the world. And I think sometimes we either burn the corners, consume the corners so there’s nothing left; we exceed the corners with debt, but the Bible’s very clear to keep those in order, and he’ll expand our field and our capacity to give and to serve. But thank you for saying that about the local church, because that’s why our organization exists, CityServe, to really strengthen, encourage, equip resource the local church around the world, including right now in Ukraine; 1800 churches that we’re helping.
Fantastic work. The need is great as you all know, and there’s so much for us to do. And it here in the US, I’m going to sound like an old guy here, I remember when I was a kid, we were encouraged to be Christians. And then I woke up one day and we were kind of tolerated, and now it’s sort of, “You’re Christian?” And so the fighting the battles can be more uphill than it’s been. And as you said at the front end, we’re trying to be salt and light. That’s what God’s put us here to do.
How do you find living your Christian faith in the marketplace that you are living in day-by-day?
With sometimes great issues and facing difficult mountains, other times encouraged. I now work for Crossmark, which is a faith-based money manager that manages values-based products. So when I sit around the table, we’re all rowing in the same direction, the same worldview. And that’s a big change from my first 40 years in the investment management business where I would think one thing and the company might have been thinking something different. In fact, there was a time when I lost my job for sharing my faith. So it hasn’t been a smooth ride, but has been God’s ride.
Building Wealth with Conviction
You also are about accumulating and being a steward of wealth and building wealth. And sometimes in the church, there’s a hesitancy to encouraging people. How do we help our people to be wise with their money, to make sure their money is not managing them, but they’re managing their money? How do we help them to be successful in their financial world?
A couple things come to mind right off, and that is to whom much has been given, much is required. So those who have wealth have a responsibility. And at the other end of the spectrum, when God trusts us with little and we prove faithful, sometimes he trusts us with more. I mean so many Christians say, “If I only had a little bit more.” Even wealthy people that I deal with a lot, how much is enough? The answer is a little more than I have. It’s always never quite satisfied. And it comes back to recognizing what we said before. It’s all Gods, it’s not mine. If it we’re truly mine, who cares what I do with it? But if it’s truly God’s, now all of a sudden, I have an awesome opportunity and responsibility to be a good steward of that wealth as well as all the other resources God’s given us.
And I guess the other thought that pops in my mind is one of the barriers that I see for people in generosity and stewardship is not recognizing that we’re just passing through. This is not our home. If this were our home, we’d care a whole lot more about our things here. But since we’re only on this planet this long and in eternity this long, maybe longer, the perspective can be very, very different. So there are some stray thoughts to your good question.
No, no, those are excellent thoughts. In fact, I would just observe that you are into longterm investments beyond the 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 years generous. There’s longterm investments that go beyond this very brief period of time that we get.
Yeah, but the Sermon on the Mount when our Lord says, “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth,” and he gives all the reasons why, people stop there. But he then says, “Do store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” And as our friend Randy Alcorn says, “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.” And we’re trying to send it on ahead as I know you guys are, as well.
And then immediately he says, “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is.” And just with the things that you love, and you said it so well, Let me see your calendar, let me see your checkbook; it shows what you love. And when you really move away from self-love, which is I believe following the Jesus way, to move away from self-love, to loving others, to loving God and what he’s doing, I think generosity flows a lot easier. Now, Dave is a champion of compassion. He’s a champion of encouraging people to be generous. And we just are glad to be together with you, Dave.
Well, I like to say if God can get it through you, he’ll give it to you.
Yes, yes. Good line.
Bob, one of the things that troubles me as somebody who is trying to be faithful with my giving, but also challenging others to give is the amount of money that is in these donor-advised funds that is stuck there and people are giving basically the minimum. They’re giving what they made that year, the interest off of it. And yet, the principle is being hoarded. And when I’ve asked people about it, they’ll say, “Well, I’m looking for the best opportunity.” Well what are you waiting for?
You’re so right. My wife and I have the attitude that we want our last check to bounce. And so as we get older, we realize we have to accelerate the amount and the pace at which we give, because we don’t want it left to… Who knows what they’ll do with it after? First of all, we want to don’t want Uncle Sam to get any of it. And secondly, let us get the places that… If all these needs were met, different story, but not all the needs are met. So I’m right there with you to say, let’s get it going. Not just what we earned on it, but it itself.
I remember talking with one businessman who God really did a work on his heart, heart surgery, moving from hoarding to really investing in the kingdom generously. And he said, “I don’t want to be the richest person in the cemetery.”
Here, here. You know the old story about John D. Rockefeller. When he died, his accountant was famously asked, “Well how much did John D leave?” And the answer was, “All of it.” Not very helpful.
Well, I have a new life goal, I just picked it up, for my last check to bounce.
That’s brilliant. I love that.
It’s a great goal.
Yeah, it is, to just be a wise steward of our life. And just the perspective of that you bring that our lives are not our own, that we are managers and not owners really helps people. And I think that in a materialistic society, how do we break or change the view from materialism, from stuff being important to the spiritual aspects of life being important? How do we shift people’s view?
It’s a matter of the heart as we know. So we have to convert their hearts, which means, I think of Romans 12:2, “Don’t be conformed to the image of this world. Be but transformed by the renewing of your mind.” And if our minds are transformed, there’s a good chance that they’ll be moving in a direction where, “Well, it’s not really mine and he needs it more than I do. Let’s start giving it away.” But if we don’t seek consciously to be transformed, we will be conformed to the image of this world. And that just happening way too many people, Christian and non-Christian alike.
So our influencer family that’s listening, they have some resource. Every week, some money comes in. How do people decide how much of that should be given away? What’s a good benchmark? How do we sort of say, “Okay, am I being generous, or am I being stingy?” What percentage of our resource should we be given away?
So at the end of the day, all of it, and I reverse the question. If it’s really God’s, my question is not how much should I give, it’s how much should I keep?
We received, my wife and I, an example of somebody when we were in our 20s of a couple who said, “Bob, you’re on Wall Street. You’re probably going to make a lot of money.” Cap your lifestyle, and as God prospers you with more, raise your standard of giving, not your standard of living. So that’s one thing I would share with people to think about what that means for them. And then we go back to where Dave talked about some of the things in the Old Testament. The tithe was the tax. It was the minimum, and then the offerings on top of that. Was that a double tithe? I’ll bet there’s some people listening that maybe can be reversed tithers. That is keep 10% and give away 90%. That’s a wonderful exercise to try, obviously with careful thinking. I’m not saying be reckless about it. But usually we all can give a little more than we are. The old, what’s sacrificial giving to us in materialistic America?
I love what you said about it. It’s a heart thing. I got to tell you, when I get up in the morning, I have this phone in my hand right here. On this phone, it has all my stocks, but it also has my Bible. And it’s so tempting, Bob, to go straight to the stocks-
… instead of the scriptures.
Yup. The temporal versus the eternal, my friend.
Overcoming the Financial Struggle
Let’s talk a little bit about people that don’t have much money and are struggling. They’re not even making ends meet, they’re not making, it’s putting a lot of pressure on their marriage. It’s bleeding into every part of their life. How would you advise them? I mean, we know a lot of marriages are in trouble right now. People listening right now, their marriages are on the rocks because of the financial strain.
I have found that rich or poor, often money is the biggest source of discontent and argument among married couples. But to the lower end, if you will, make sure you’re trying to have a budget. I know that’s easy for me to say, but if you don’t have a budget, you’re likely to get into more trouble than if you do have a budget. Sit down and figure out what is it that we absolutely have to spend to live, and what does that look like compared to the income I’m getting, whether that’s from a job or social security check. How does that all work? And I often say also sit down with somebody who knows what they’re doing, who’s done it before. A financial advisor and a financial planner, they’re the people that can be more objective. They’re not living in the shoes of the guy or the gal or the couple that’s really struggling. They can provide a little more objectivity. So there are a few practical thoughts, I hope, to get people going.
And as a pastor, getting people out of debt is… They’re just eaten up by living beyond their means, and they get into a trap that they need to, a cycle they need to break out of. So that budgeting to get out of debt and to move forward in their life is incredible. Dave, do you have any more questions?
No, I think it would be good for us to push the pause button and to pray right now. And Bob, would you mind leading us in prayer for our listeners?
I’d be thrilled to. Let’s pray. So Father, we come to you as needy children needing of your grace and mercy. And we thank you for your provision of that. Father, we’ve been talking about things you’ve given us. Yes, money, but more broadly, everything we have, our bodies, our minds, our IQs, everything, our relationships, yours. And so when it comes to money, Father, help us to be prudent souls that seek to satisfy you, recognizing that it is not ours but yours, and what a privilege and responsibility, therefore, we have. So make us good stewards. Help us to appropriate the lessons in your word, to follow hard after you, so these things get to the point where someday we’ll hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” It’s in Jesus’s name that we pray. Amen.
Amen. What wisdom we have had. Episode one, very financial. Episode two, the foundation of life, the spiritual foundation. I want to encourage you to listen to both of the episodes with our incredible guest, Bob Doll. And also in the show notes, connect with the newsletter that he gives out, Doll’s Deliberations, which is filled with wisdom. And we really encourage Dave to read his Bible before Doll Deliberations, but I know he has an avid reader. And as he began, he said he’s a fan, and I can see why. Friends, what wisdom. Bob, thank you for coming to share with us. You help us to increase our influence, which is what this program is all about. Thank you, thank you, Thank you.
My joy and privilege.