THE COUNSEL OF MANY
Selecting Your Personal Advisors
Gary A. Sallquist
Dimensions for Living, Nashville, 1999, 103 pp.
Sallquist has been a businessman, a pastor, and a financial planner. His interest is in helping professionals and businessmen to “integrate their spiritual goals and values into every aspect of their lives” and to steward their resources for the benefit of the Kingdom. The book is obviously written for people at the upper end of the financial scale, for it would seem to take the whole income (and much of the time) of ordinary people to employ so many advisors.
Wisdom is gained not simply by following our instincts or by trial and error but from God’s Word and from wise teachers (Proverbs 2:2a, 4-5). (9)
“God can do awesome things through believers who work together, believing God’s promises and seeking God’s will.” “God intends for us to use what He provides wisely and in a way that honors Him.” (13)
One of the benefits of an advisory team is the integration of the many facets of life. To reap the full benefits, cultivate your relationships with your advisors. (13-14)
Look for professional competence, personal compatibility and spiritual compatibility. (14,17)
“Seek referrals from friends and colleagues, and research and study the potential advisors’ professional credentials.” “You may set up an initial interview or meeting to discuss your needs and decide if the potential advisor can help you meet those needs.” (15)
Find advisors who share or at least understand your values, goals, and needs. “Because you will come to them for their wisdom and experience, your spiritual advisor and your career mentor should be considerably older than you. Your other advisors should be closer to your age.” (16)
Key advisors for a Christian man’s personal advisory team:
· a spiritual advisor,
· a career mentor,
· a financial planner,
· insurance advisors,
· an accountant,
· an investment advisor,
· an attorney, and
· a doctor. (18)
“Your advisory team can help you put your faith into action in every aspect of your life.” (20)
To find a spiritual advisor, 1) identify people whose spiritual life you admire; 2) pray for direction; and 3) ask the person. (22) “Consistency, trust, and prayerfulness are foundational to any spiritual advising relationship.” (24) Begin by defining a spiritual path, set mileposts, and plan a timeline. (25) Accountability is an essential element. (26)
Accountability group. “At each meeting, every member has a chance to talk about his struggles and successes. The other members of the group listen supportively and nonjudgmentally, offering feedback, encouragement, and prayer. The group members hold one another accountable in specific areas of struggle by asking one another pointed questions. See Character Counts by Rod Handley. (28)
Suggested accountability questions (from Handley): (29)
1. Have you spent daily time in Scriptures and in prayer?
2. Have you had any flirtatious or lustful attitudes, tempting thoughts, or exposed yourself to any inappropriate materials which would not glorify God?
3. Have you been completely above reproach in your financial dealings?
4. Have you spent quality relationship time with family and friends?
5. Have you done your 100% best in your job, school, etc.?
6. Have you told any half-truths or outright lies, putting yourself in a better light to those around you?
7. Have you shared the gospel with an unbeliever this week?
8. Have you taken care of your body through daily physical exercise and proper eating and sleeping habits?
9. Have you allowed any person or circumstance to rob you of your joy?
10. Have you lied to us on any of your answers today?
“Your spiritual advisor will offer specific direction and advice rather than simply listening to you and affirming you.” “He is a teacher and a guide.” (31)
“What ultimately determines the effectiveness of the mentoring process is not a person’s style or skills or temperament, but a person’s character, commitment, and love.” (36) “A mentor’s love encompasses the qualities of availability, openness, directness, nurture, respect, and credibility.” (36)
“To be a mentor, one must invest substantial time in another person’s life.” (37)
“Your career mentor sees and appreciates what you are currently achieving and recognizes your potential for achieving even more. Your mentor respects you and loves you because he or she sees in you all that God created you to be.” (38)
“But your mentor will probably make the most profound impact upon your life when he or she isn’t even trying to be a mentor. You will learn from your mentor primarily by watching him or her in action.” (40)
This person is responsible for helping you frame the ‘big picture.’ He or she will provide referrals to other consultants and specialists in insurance, investments, accounting, etc. The financial planner is the quarterback of the planning process, directing you to the professionals who can help you achieve your goals. Look for one who is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Get the list from 215-526-2500. (44)
You must be committed to responsible financial management. Get out of debt. Spend less than you earn. (47)
The most important part of your financial planner’s job is to help you give the resources God blesses you with back to God. (48)
“Most men’s greatest financial resource is their future income stream. Consequently, it is important to decide what percentage of your income stream you want to protect for your spouse, your children, your business partners, and your charities in the event of your death.” (56)
“Whether your finances are very simple or very complex or somewhere in between, a certified public accountant (CPA) can help you manage them properly.” “Seeing an accountant three or four times a year is helpful eve for men whose finances are very simple.” (65-6) Your accountants should be good listeners and good communicators. (67)
Your Investment Advisor
God expects us to invest what we are given wisely, not hoarding or being greedy and ungrateful. Investing can be a way of giving back to God. (69) The best way to find the right advisor is through referrals, interviews, and observation. (70)
Christians have two basic goals for investing: to take care of themselves and their families and to give back to God. Look for an investment advisor “who believes in these goals and will not be focused exclusively on accumulating wealth.” (73)
“If you show me a man’s checkbook and his calendar, I will show you his heart! (74)
In some technical matters we need expert law guidance to be faithful to God’s call. (75) The attorney frequently interacts with each of the other advisors. “All roads lead to the attorney’s office.” (76) Most men need an attorney in drafting the legal estate documents. (78)
“Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion of you are inclined to doubt your doctor’s advice.” (83)
“Even if you don’t like to see a doctor, do so! You have a moral obligation to those you love to stay in good health.” (84)
“I have learned that I have to be increasingly intentional about exercising.” “The longer one is sedentary, the more painful it is to get back in shape, so the less likely one is to do so.” (85)
Find a doctor that cares about you. “The gap between the hurting patient and the caring physician is, unfortunately, getting wider and wider.” (87)
“Healing…is as much a spiritual process as it is a physical one.” (87)
Your Secondary Advisors
There are even more!