在不確定年代忠心投資者的記號──MARKS OF A FAITHFUL INVESTOR IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

當整個世界在 2020 年面對 COVID-19 疫情抗疫的時候,投資界也對抗著本身的動盪。股市投資者可能永遠會記得從 2 月中旬到 3 月中旬美國股市在短短 16 個交易日內下跌了 35% ,股市從未如此快速地從歷史高點轉向熊市。

對那些想要做長期投資的人來說,還有其他令人不安的事件。隨著職業體育運動的停賽,一家體育博彩網站的創始人轉而開始投資股市,在數百萬忠實粉絲的關注下直播他的日內交易(day trading)。快速致富的畫面肯定發揮了作用,因此在 2020 年竟然有驚人的 1000 萬個新交易賬戶被開設。

很高比例的新投資者選擇了一家經紀公司,這家公司會在每個客戶成交一筆交易時,在螢幕上播放數位煙火及彩帶,讓投資看起來像是在打遊戲一般。對我來說,這種感覺很像投資變成了賭博;好像箴言 21章5節 所教導的一些原則,如:「殷勤籌劃的,足致豐裕;行事急躁的,都必缺乏。」都被丟在一旁,顯得過時、無法振奮人心,甚至完全不相干。

我們向「健全心態投資公司」(Sound Mind Investing暫譯)(註1)的網絡成員寄了一份調查問卷,詢問他們去年在投資市場的經驗。當我們詢問是什麼幫助他們渡過了2020 年初的金融大衰退時,有97% 的人同意問卷中提到「無論市場發生什麼,相信上帝會供應」的說法。許多受訪者也舉出其他具體因素,能夠起到幫助,例如做好管家的心態,以及緊握住方向盤的投資觀點。但是,對上帝的信任、對聖經清楚教導的依賴加上祈禱,得到了壓倒性的肯定。上帝子民的這種忠心做法沒有新聞會報導,但我相信上帝的心會感到喜悅。

當我們詢問成員,他們相信聖經中那些特定經文時,超過三分之一的受訪者會提供自己的舉例。當投資市場暴跌,他們當中一些人倚靠著如:「你們要將一切的憂慮卸給 神,因為他顧念你們。」(彼得前書 5章7節)和「我懼怕的時候要倚靠你。」(詩篇 56篇3節) 的經文。

當投資市場劇烈波動到高峰時,他們從聖經的應許中得到了安慰,例如:「堅心倚賴你的,你必保守他十分平安,因為他倚靠你。」(以賽亞書 26章3節),以及「我要論到耶和華說:他是我的避難所,是我的山寨,是我的 神,是我所倚靠的。」(詩篇 91篇2節)。

當數百萬人湧入線上論壇尋求快速致富時,我們的成員轉向上帝的話語,思想著這樣的經文:「有人靠車,有人靠馬,但我們要提到耶和華─我們 神的名。」(詩篇 20 篇7節),以及「貪財是萬惡之根。有人貪戀錢財,就被引誘離了真道,用許多愁苦把自己刺透了。」(提摩太前書 6篇10節)。

金融股市通常會呈現週期性循環。我們可以預備自己專注於適合我們需求的投資策略,並用上帝話語永恆的真理充滿我們的心。正如在問卷中被引用最多的一節的經文提醒我們:「你要專心仰賴耶和華,不可倚靠自己的聰明,在你一切所行的事上都要認定他,他必指引你的路。」(箴言 3章5-6節)。

註1:「Sound Mind Investing 」是基督教投資者的”消費者報告”。它們擅長簡化基金複雜性,使人易於理解。並通過客觀、經過驗證的策略,消除對投資的恐懼,讓小型投資者可以放心地操作。

@2021. Matt Bell 是 Sound Mind Investing 的總編輯。他是美國導航會出版社(NavPress) 出版的 4 部個人理財書籍和小組資源的兩個視頻的作者。麥特在美國各地的教堂和大學發表演講,他的文章被《今日美國》、《美國新聞與世界報導》和許多其他媒體引用。

備註:如果你手上有聖經,想要閱讀更多經文,請參考(因篇幅有限,請參閱未列出之經文詩篇37:34;以賽亞書40:31、41:10;耶利米書29:11;馬太福音6:24-34)
詩篇 37篇3-7節
37:3 你當倚靠耶和華而行善,住在地上,以他的信實為糧;
37:4 又要以耶和華為樂,他就將你心裏所求的賜給你。
37:5 當將你的事交託耶和華,並倚靠他,他就必成全。
37:6 他要使你的公義如光發出,使你的公平明如正午。
37:7 你當默然倚靠耶和華,耐性等候他;不要因那道路通達的和那惡謀成就的心懷不平。
耶利米書 29章11節
29:11 耶和華說:我知道我向你們所懷的意念是賜平安的意念,不是降災禍的意念,要叫你們末後有指望。
耶利米書33章3節
33:3 你求告我,我就應允你,並將你所不知道、又大又難的事指示你。
馬太福音 6章19-21節
6:19 「不要為自己積攢財寶在地上;地上有蟲子咬,能銹壞,也有賊挖窟窿來偷。
6:20 只要積攢財寶在天上;天上沒有蟲子咬,不能銹壞,也沒有賊挖窟窿來偷。
6:21 因為你的財寶在哪裏,你的心也在那裏。」

反省與問題討論

  1. 疫情和長期的經濟動盪對你個人的財務狀況有什麼影響?在面對最糟糕、最不確定的時期,你的應對又是如何?
  2. 在動盪的時候你會轉向誰?你是否會找可信任的朋友互動和諮詢,或尋求其他資源的引導呢?你會轉向聖經和上帝的許多應許嗎?請解釋你的答案。
  3. 聖經中通用、廣泛的應許如何能夠應用在特殊的狀況呢?例如疫情、全球封城和對金融界的整體影響?你覺得面對這些情況,相信聖經的應許有效嗎?請解釋你的答案。
  4. 閱讀完本篇週一嗎哪,你熟悉哪些被引用的聖經經文?你有發現任何對你特別有意義的經文嗎?是哪些?為什麼對你有特別的意義?

MARKS OF A FAITHFUL INVESTOR IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

By Matt Bell

As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the investing world grappled with its own upheavals. People who had money in the markets will likely long remember the period from mid-February to mid-March when the U.S. stock market fell 35% in just 16 trading days. Never before has the stock market so quickly switched gears from an all-time high to a bear market.

For those seeking to take a long-term approach to investing, there were other unsettling events. With pro sports shut down, the founder of a sports betting website turned to the stock market, live-streaming his day trading as millions of loyal followers tagged along. The prospect of quick riches surely played a role in an astounding 10 million new brokerage accounts being opened in 2020.

A sizable percentage of new investors chose a brokerage firm that made investing seem like a game by showering digital confetti on the screens of members who made a trade. To me, this felt like investing was becoming gambling; the principle that “steady plodding brings prosperity, hasty speculation brings poverty,” as Proverbs 21:5 teaches, was being cast aside as quaint, uninspired, and irrelevant.

We sent a survey to members of our Sound Mind Investing network, asking about their experience in the investment market last year. When we asked what had helped them navigate the big financial downturn in early 2020, 97% agreed with the statement, “Having faith that God would provide, no matter what happened in the market.” Many respondents cited practical factors that helped as well, such as good stewardship, and a steady-hand-on-the-wheel perspective about investing. But trust in God, reliance on the sound teachings of the Bible, and prayer were overwhelmingly affirmed. This faithful approach of God’s people never received any news coverage, but I am confident it delighted God’s heart.

When we asked about particular passages from the Scriptures our readers turned to, more than one-third of respondents said provided examples. As the market plummeted, some of them relied on verses such as, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7), and “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).

As the investment market’s volatility spiked, they took comfort from biblical affirmations such as “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3), and “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2).

While millions rushed to online forums in a quest for quick riches, our members turned to God’s Word, meditating on verses such as “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7), and “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).

The financial stock market move in cycles. We can be prepared by committing to a strategy that fits with our needs, and by filling our hearts with the timeless truths of God’s Word. As the Bible reminds us in the most-cited verse in the survey, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

© 2021. Matt Bell is Sound Mind Investing’s Managing Editor. He is the author of 4 personal finance books published by NavPress and two video-based small group resources. Matt speaks at churches and universities throughout the USA and has been quoted in USA TODAY, U.S. News & World Report, and many other media outlets.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. What was the impact of the pandemic and the long period of economic upheaval on your own financial situation? How did you react during the worst, most uncertain times?
  2. Where did you turn during that time of turmoil? Did you interact with and consult with trusted friends, or seek other resources for guidance? What about turning to the Bible and God’s many promises? Explain your answer.
  3. How can general, broad promises in the Scriptures be applied to specific situations, such as the pandemic, global shutdowns, and its overall impact on the financial world? Do you think it is valid to do so? Why or why not?
  4. Reading the Bible passages cited in this “Monday Manna,” which are you familiar with? If you found any to be particularly meaningful, which ones were they – and why?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
Psalm 37:3-7,34; Isaiah 40:31, 41:10, Jeremiah 29:11, 33:3; Matthew 6:19-21,24-34


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