Christian financial advisors are money management professionals that provide assistance in arranging personal and corporate financial matters utilizing the tenets of the Christian faith. Advisors of this type are often helpful for Christians of any denomination who wish to conduct their investment activity, budget planning, and general use of financial resources in a manner that is governed by understandings of stewardship, as outlined in Christian thought and practice. While the majority of Christian financial advisors are associated with a particular Christian denomination, most are aware of the different interpretations and emphasis on financial stewardship found in various church bodies, and can aid clients in utilizing those interpretations to best advantage.
One of the most common services provided by Christian financial advisors is in the creation of a realistic budget for the home. Here, the advisor helps clients to accurately assess the current status of debt, the amount of income that is available on a monthly basis, and how much of that income is necessary to meet those current expenses. Within the framework of creating the budget, the advisor will often help clients understand the difference between basic living needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter; and wants, such as meals out or various forms of entertainment. At the same time, the advisor can also educate clients on the difference between fixed and variable expenses, and how to manage both types of expenses competently.
Since the counsel of Christian financial advisors is based on Christian beliefs regarding stewardship, a counselor will often find it necessary to adapt the budget to the particular understandings held by the client. For example, if the client is a member of a denomination that stresses the importance of tithing, the advisor will incorporate that into the overall framework of the budget. For clients who belong to churches that emphasize giving through an annual pledge, the advisor will also provide counsel on how to determine the amount of that pledge, and how to arrange the budget so that pledge can be honored.
Along with helping to create workable home budgets, Christian financial advisors often provide assistance with the selection of retirement plans, savings programs, and investment opportunities. Often, the advisor will be as concerned with the business of a company that offers shares of stock as with the performance of the shares themselves. For example, if a company produces and markets products that are not considered in keeping with the beliefs of the client, then the advisor will locate and recommend other investments that are in compliance with the values espoused by the client.
As with many faith-based services, there are those who call themselves Christian financial advisors, but do not have the background, certifications, or educational requirements that indicate they are capable of providing sound financial advice. For this reason, potential clients should not make assumptions about the competency of an advisor simply on his or her religious affiliation. With a little investigation, it is possible to determine if the advisor has both the background and the grasp of Christian beliefs to provide competent financial services that are in keeping with the various expressions of the Christian faith.