Diversification (2 of 2)
By: Tom Copland
As explained in my previous Financial Moment, God’s Word recommends the diversification of one’s portfolio into different types of investments that will likely react differently to any particular market condition.
By the way, if you have absolutely no peace in investing in equities because of the related risks, then perhaps God is directing you to invest solely in very safe categories, such as the government of Canada bonds, GICs, etc. The return on “a very safe portfolio” will be very modest, and therefore you will likely have to save considerably more money to meet future needs, compared to an investor who assumes a reasonable amount of risk within biblical guidelines.
There is no “perfect portfolio allocation” for all Christians. God’s Word provides general principles—not specific details. That’s why there is absolutely no substitute for spending quality time with the Lord in prayer, asking God for His wisdom (James 1:5) and His specific direction with respect to investing the money that God has entrusted to you. God has promised to direct us [Psalms 32:8, John 10:3, 4, 27].
Subject to God’s specific direction, and under normal market and economic conditions, the following asset allocation could be appropriate in order to achieve diversification.
Cash, T-bills, MMFs, 10%
GICs, bonds-short, medium, long–incl some real return bonds 40%
Canadian equities (several sectors incl Cdn banks & resource stocks.) 20%
U.S. equities (several sectors) 10%
Real estate, REITs and related equities 5%
International equities incl Emerging Markets & Europe 15%
Note the above is not intended to be a specific recommendation for anyone – just an example of a diversified portfolio. Be sure to obtain investment advice from a trusted advisor.
Of interest, as of the date of updating this financial moment [March 27, 2010], my own personal portfolio allocation is predominately in cash. God has specifically directed me to take a very conservative position as I sense from the Lord that the economic “recovery” in the USA and Canada will be weak and short-lived.
Again, the biblical principle is that we should generally diversify our portfolios in a manner that is consistent with Ecclesiastes 11:1, 2. However, since only God knows the future (Isaiah 46: 9, 10), then the only possible way to “time the market” with any consistency is in total dependence upon God for his specific direction (see John 15:5, John 10:3, 4, 27, Psalm 32:8). Over the years, I have seen a few situations where God has revealed the direction of markets to his children, but this is rare. God may not reveal the direction of the markets to you, but I do believe, based upon God’s Word [e.g.Psalms 32:8, James 1:5, John 10:3, 4, 27 etc.], that God will direct you as to how he wants you to invest the money that he has entrusted to you.
In summary, God’s Word generally recommends diversification of one’s portfolio into different types of investments that will likely react differently to any particular market condition. Since no human knows the future (James 4:13–15), in order to obey God with respect to investing, it is necessary to pray and listen [John 10:3, 4, 27] for God’s specific Will with respect to investing the money that God has entrusted to you.