March 6

Episode 1411: Interview with Keith Conley About Biblical Financial Lessons

Inspired Stewardship Podcast, Interview

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Join us today for the Interview with Keith Conley about how the Bible informs our relationship with wealth...

This is the interview I had with podcast host and financial advisor Keith Conley.  

In today’s podcast episode I interview Keith Conley. I ask Keith to share with you how he uses his faith to inform the financial advice he gives to others. Keith also shares with you how his unique journey prepared him for helping you with your finances. Keith also talks with you about some of the biggest money myths that Christians have about money.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1411: Interview with Keith Conley About Biblical Financial Lessons

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on Episode 1411 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:07] Keith Conley: I'm Keith Connolly. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence, and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to become good stewards of all our gifts is key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this.

[00:00:30] The Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend, Scott

[00:00:34] Maderer.

[00:00:42] When I start to work with a prospective client in my own practice, a lot of times I do what's called a financial roadmap with them. And it's there that they learn how to integrate their values.[00:01:00]

[00:01:03] Scott Maderer: Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence.

[00:01:26] So that you can impact the world.

[00:01:36] In today's podcast episode, I interview Keith Conway. I asked Keith to share with you how he uses his faith to inform the financial advice he gives to others. Keith also shares with you how his unique journey prepared him for helping you with your finances. And Keith also talks with you about some of the biggest money myths that Christians have about their money.

[00:01:58] I've got a new book [00:02:00] coming out called Inspired Living. Assembling the puzzle of your call by mastering your time, your talent, and your treasures. You can find out more about it and sign up for getting more information over@inspiredstewardship.com. Inspired Living. That's inspired stewardship.com.

[00:02:19] Inspired living as a Bible college and seminary graduate Working in the world of finance, many people think that Keith is a fish out of water. People are surprised when he tells them that he doesn't agree. He is the president of a financial planning firm called True Legacy Financial Planning that is currently merging with wealth teams during this last year.

[00:02:41] True Legacy specializes in providing clients with expert financial advice while using biblical wisdom. Most of their conversations are not about money, but about how to honor the Lord with our wealth. Sure, they do talk about investing, taxes, insurance, and financial planning, but they also talk about biblical [00:03:00] principles of stewardship and decision making, among other things.

[00:03:04] They often talk about family and the best ways to leave both a heritage of faith and a legacy of money. And it's not easy. Some of his clients are not families or people. Since he also provides advice to businesses and even manages several million dollars of investments for churches. Keith and his family reside in Southern California and he's been married for over 17 years.

[00:03:26] His wife is a stay at home mom and homeschools their daughters. They attend church regularly and find ways to be a blessing to others because they have been blessed by the Lord. Welcome to the show, Keith. Great to be here, Scott. So I shared a little bit in the intro and I know in the last few months you've had some changes come about in, in where you're at and what you're doing.

[00:03:51] We talked a little bit of the intro about that, but could you talk a little bit about your journey and what brought you to the point of. focusing [00:04:00] on financial planning and teaching these biblical principles of investing that you work

[00:04:06] Keith Conley: with. Yeah. My journey into biblical financial planning is really just been a combination of life experience and passions.

[00:04:17] I grew up as the son of a business owner but didn't really have any interest in business while I was growing up and I became a Christian in high school and I became very passionate about ministry and went to Bible college and seminary and served in several churches. But it was while I was serving in pastoral ministry.

[00:04:41] that I had some financial issues come to my, to the surface with people in the church. And I felt very certain that I could encourage them from the word of God. And I did, but I, it left a, those experiences left a [00:05:00] impression upon me because while I was able to encourage them, I didn't really know how to help them with their financial struggles.

[00:05:09] And that bothered me. And the Lord's providence. Pastoral ministry just was not my full time calling. And that set me on a journey to forget Lord, how am I going to serve you? And I became involved in the student loan industry working for what was at one time the largest student loan servicer in the country.

[00:05:32] And it was there that my interest in finance was really peaked. I. Was reading tax returns, helping people with the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. I was doing financial counseling and then I became supervisor in default collections where I was literally garnishing people's paychecks and taking their tax refunds.

[00:05:59] And it was [00:06:00] at that point that I started reading about personal finance. I started reading about investment, stock market, retirement planning. And then I realized that the Bible has a lot to say about these things. So as I was asking the Lord, what is it that you want me to do? Because I knew I wasn't going to stay at the student loan servicer forever.

[00:06:24] I became interested in becoming financial planning, but I know. I knew at the time I didn't know what I didn't know. And so through some prayer, my wife and I agreed that I was going to buy the certified financial planner education requirement and the certified kingdom advisor education requirement.

[00:06:42] Cause I wanted a foundation in financial services before I actually got in involved a little bit of a, I don't know. It just felt like it was the right thing to do to know how to be an advisor before I became one. And [00:07:00] So I poured my life into that and worked. And then at the same time, my wife and I were fostering some kids and we actually ended up adopting them.

[00:07:11] And when we moved back to Southern California, after we had adopted the kids I like to tease that. I helped my family unload our truck with all our possessions. And I said goodbye for two months. And I studied for the CFP exam. And the CFP exam is the hardest exam in the whole industry.

[00:07:33] And I hadn't taken any investment security licensing exams, I didn't have the insurance license, I didn't have any of that, but I decided that the CFP exam was where I was going to start. I started with the granddaddy of them all, and I passed. So I went from not knowing anything, I could barely tell you what a stock and a bond was, let alone a 401k [00:08:00] and safe withdrawal rates and all that stuff.

[00:08:02] But I went from not knowing any of that stuff to passing the CFP exam. So the Lord blessed me with that.

[00:08:11] Scott Maderer: You mentioned several times in there that you your faith intersected with that journey and you felt a lot of this was a direction and a calling that you had from God.

[00:08:25] Go through that journey and how has your faith affected what you do? And then how has what you do affected your faith, if that makes sense?

[00:08:35] Keith Conley: Yeah what I have realized is that. As a very well educated Christian in, in, in biblical studies and theology, I realized that our faith, impacts everything in our entire lives, our worldview, our actions, and the way we see the world, and as [00:09:00] I saw so many things that, that Christians and non Christians alike were doing with their money that were harmful, I realized that reading God's word that the biggest topic in the Bible is money, wealth, and generosity.

[00:09:17] Now, I didn't say it was the most important issue, but it's the biggest issue. There's over 2, 300 verses that address money, wealth, and generosity. And it seems pretty important that we know exactly what God teaches about those things. If he says so much about it. What I find is, in talking with a lot of Christians in the U.

[00:09:43] S. is that we have this perception that the Bible says that we can't have God and money as our master, and the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, so I shouldn't just I should not just care about it at all. [00:10:00] But that's not what the Bible says. Yes, those warnings are very true.

[00:10:09] The Apostle Paul and Jesus did say those things, and they are God's inerrant word for us, but we're missing The complete teaching of the Word of God's teaching on money, wealth, and generosity, if we just limit ourselves to those two verses. And what I also find is that a lot of those same people who are saying those things are living like they're wealthy.

[00:10:36] They're the ones with the 50, 000 in credit card debt and a mortgage they can't afford. And so I really sat out on this journey. What does the word of God say about money, wealth, and generosity? The good things and all the warnings what let's get a complete systematic theologies per se of money, wealth, and generosity.

[00:10:58] And I really got [00:11:00] a a great segue into that through the Certified Kingdom Advisor Program. Certified Kingdom Advisors are a national organization of advisors, attorneys, and accountants. who are trained to bring biblical wisdom with their advice that they provide to their clients. And so I did the CFP and the kingdom advisor designations all at the same time.

[00:11:24] Scott Maderer: So when you think about stewardship is obviously something that I talk about a lot on the show with my brand. When you think about it from the folks that are coming to you for help, what are some of the questions that, that we need to answer? If, We're going to be good stewards of the resources that God is putting before us.

[00:11:46] Keith Conley: Yeah, that's such a great question, Scott. I think that there's three questions that we can answer. Who owns it? And the Bible says that God owns a cattle on a thousand hills. Everything [00:12:00] belongs to the Lord. And it really brings to the focus that we're temporary stewards. We're managers.

[00:12:06] Of God's resources. The second question is, how much is enough? And a lot of times people think that just means is there like a certain net worth that I can have? That's the most I should have. Is it 500,000? Is it a thousand dollars? Is it $10 million? What is no, that,

[00:12:28] Scott Maderer: that one, I can answer it.

[00:12:29] The amount of money that you can have that makes you unholy is exactly $2,000 more than you currently have.

[00:12:39] Keith Conley: But what I mean by that question is not net worth, it's lifestyle. Because there's really only five ways to use money. And every time you're using money, you're using it in one of these five, five ways, pay taxes, pay debt to live your lifestyle or to [00:13:00] grow or to give away it.

[00:13:03] Every time you use money, you're doing one of those five things. And so when we ask the question how much is enough we're primarily relating the question to lifestyle. And if we're living more than on more money than we actually earn and we're living paycheck to paycheck. We're missing out on a lot of blessings there and and I suppose you could address that question with how much is enough if someone has some resistance to charitable giving and generosity I think that question could certainly be a relevant one there in that respect.

[00:13:48] And I think the third question is, and this is my favorite question. Is the next steward being prepared? We've all heard. the question [00:14:00] or the issue or the saying, he who dies with the most toys still dies. And that's true. And the reality is that whether you die penniless or with a hundred gazillion dollars, you're still going to die and the money stays here.

[00:14:22] And what I have been especially passionate about, and you might have to slow me down here, Scott, is family and legacy planning. I've seen so much in my career. Mom and dad, grandma and grandpa work 40, 50, 60 years building a business or building substantial assets. And they leave it to the kids and the grandkids and the great grandkids.

[00:14:56] And then that money is sued away, divorced [00:15:00] away, addicted away. spent away, taxed away. And before you know it, a substantial amount of assets is gone. And what I've been particularly passionate about is what I call multi generational family wealth legacy planning. Having the older generation train and teach the younger generation To honor the Lord with the wealth that they will be leaving and that there's a lot that goes into that Scott a lot that it really requires Honest assessment by the older generation Of who's able to handle the wealth and who's not?

[00:15:52] It might require that they receive some of their own counseling for maybe enabling some behaviors[00:16:00] but it's also I think really the greatest place to start is by having these family mediation meetings where the older generation is able to communicate with the rest of the family about how that wealth was accumulated, talk about the failures, talk about the successes, talking about what they want to happen with that wealth when it's passed on.

[00:16:25] And from that, delineating some principles and values Upon which the family moving forward will use to make decisions about that wealth. And I also think it, it involves having the younger generations, even the teenagers, start to make some decisions about that wealth before they even receive it.

[00:16:50] And I really love. from the idea of spec of starting with the perspective of charitable giving have the teenagers and the younger [00:17:00] generations meet with the charity charitable organizations that they might want to give some wealth to have the teenagers interview the charities and have a say about where the philanthropy in the family.

[00:17:19] goes where that emphasis goes. How and another step on that, have those younger generations volunteer for those charities. If you're giving money to the rescue mission, go work in the food kitchen go clean the toilets or whatever it is that needs to be done because it's that service orientation and that generosity orientation that frees people from the love of money.

[00:17:45] And that helps them to not have that money being lorded over them in their hearts, but that they can have control, emotional control over that wealth because they start with a [00:18:00] place of service and generosity. There's a lot more that could be said, but

[00:18:07] Scott Maderer: One of the things I first off what you said about a lot of times generational wealth the joke is how long does generational wealth left us three generations, right?

[00:18:18] The first generation earns at the second generation. begins to use it and by the third generation it's gone is the historical thing. And some of that too, I think, is, comes from I think a lot of times we have a tendency to blame it on the generation. two and three when, like you mentioned, a lot of it really has to do with how generation one handles the situation correct.

[00:18:50] Yeah. And but we have a tendency, I think, to say, Oh look see that Nepo baby that trust fund baby, they just spent all their money and it's yeah, but [00:19:00] how did mom and dad raise them to what attitudes and culture and how did they instill on them?

[00:19:06] The attitudes around the money becomes so important.

[00:19:11] Keith Conley: Let's not be foolish here. This is a very complex, very challenging problem that needs to be addressed. And most families and most older generations just think it'll get worked, it'll work itself out. They can't imagine that their children who've always gotten along are suddenly going to start fighting.

[00:19:36] But I've seen too many families where the

[00:19:38] Scott Maderer: siblings You had enough zeros and there's a potential for a fight. Yeah.

[00:19:42] Keith Conley: Yeah. And and if the older generation knew that the strife and the crisis that was going to be generated by the leaving of that the leaving of that wealth, they may have very well done something very different with it.[00:20:00]

[00:20:00] And that wealth is meant to be a blessing, not a curse. But so often it's a curse, but that doesn't mean that there aren't. Ways to fix that and to make it a blessing. It just takes proper planning.

[00:20:14] Scott Maderer: It takes the work up front though to do it. It's not just going to happen by accident.

[00:20:18] Keith Conley: It's not just stewarding the wealth, Scott. It's stewarding the people. It's discipling the people, discipling your children, discipling your grandchildren. But most people, understandably, don't know how to do it. And sometimes you need that outside third party advisor to bring some perspective in.

[00:20:38] Scott Maderer: And I wanted to get your insight on this as well, because I, this is something I've observed but I'm curious your take on it. Culturally, in most cultures, We don't talk about money and that's not just a US thing. That's not just a Western thing. I've worked with people in multiple countries.

[00:20:56] It's pretty common, universal. Don't talk about money [00:21:00] and then I think on top of that, if you add the Christian layer, I think within the Christian community, as you said, there's this feeling of somehow talking about money is crass. It's not biblical. It's unholy, whatever, even though the Bible talks a lot about money.

[00:21:19] Somehow or another talking about money in Christian circles is almost even more stigmatized. How have you seen working with folks of faith and getting them to understand that wait, no talking about this, having conversations about this, not just generationally, but even just within your own husband and wife or mother and father and child, whatever it is an important part of that stewardship, that ministry.

[00:21:49] Keith Conley: When I start to work with a prospective client in my own practice, a lot of times I do what's called a financial roadmap with them.[00:22:00] And it's there that they learn how to integrate their values with their financial decisions. And for a lot of people, there's a disconnect. They don't see how it relates.

[00:22:15] They don't see how it relates to do I need to have 60 percent stocks or 80 percent stocks with how I want to live my life and the values that I want to convey and the principles that, that I value most. And so what we do is we start talking about, not about their money, not about their 401k.

[00:22:41] Not even about their goals because that's even really the wrong place to start a lot of financial advisors will say, you know What are your goals? I want to retire at 65 with two million dollars And eighty thousand dollars a year of income and I wanted to last for 20. That's the wrong place to start Right place to start is to [00:23:00] talk about what's important to you about money And what you find is that the vast majority of people start very surface level.

[00:23:09] I've got to pay my bills What we do is we built this staircase and what we find is that what's really important to them about money It's you know, the paying the bills and those kind of rudimentary, financial things that we all think about are important But what's really important is family honoring the Lord and these sort of things that, that we hold most dear.

[00:23:37] And it's from that, that we make, we're trained to think about how we want to view our financial goal, make goal making skills, but also how we make decisions with our wealth. in a way that will convey what is most important to us.[00:24:00]

[00:24:00] Scott Maderer: And I, so I talk to people a lot about goal setting, and one of the things that I point out to is there's a difference between a goal and the motivation or reason behind the goal the why behind the goal.

[00:24:12] And it you're talking about the same idea of, it's all really, and the reason I know something is a goal versus a motivation is a goal has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I have started trying to work on the goal. I've worked on the goal. I've accomplished the goal or I started trying to work on the goal.

[00:24:29] I've worked on the goal. I didn't accomplish the goal. It's a beginning, a middle and an end, a yes or a no, where motivation tends to be no, it doesn't really if you're motivated by getting freedom and flexibility. It's not like you suddenly get enough where it's it's done it may came to have different flavors.

[00:24:50] It may look different for you at different phases of your life. What freedom looks like when you've got three little kids at home is very different than what freedom looks like when you're an empty nester. But there's [00:25:00] still that underlying drive of that. What does freedom look like for me at this point in my life that lasts a lot of times throughout your whole life.

[00:25:10] So what do you see as some of the biggest you mentioned earlier that, that Christians have a misunderstanding of money that, that comes out of it, what are some of the big ones that you see causing roadblocks for Christians, whether it's myths or misunderstandings about money that they have that come out of their back, their faith background?

[00:25:32] Keith Conley: Yeah. I think that a lot of Christians have a lot of. feelings of shame in talking about money. They think it's somehow unholy or not Godly to think about money. But what I have tried to explain to people is that when God created man, [00:26:00] He created them to flourish and to multiply and part of flourishing is building our kingdom as God's image bearers were little or God's representative on earth and were to reign over the over the earth as his representatives.

[00:26:28] And I had mentioned Jesus's words in Matthew six earlier in the podcast and what I have. really sought to convey is that, notice what Jesus didn't say in Matthew 6. He said that you can't have both God and money as your master. But if I'm really stewarding and I'm planning on what to do with my wealth and how to grow it, it's not mastering me, I'm mastering it.[00:27:00]

[00:27:01] And so I've actually thought about my own podcast calling it Masters of Money. I ultimately decided against that name, but I definitely have talked a lot about what does it mean to be a godly person who's mastering my money rather than it mastering me? And so there's a lot of shame and guilt for success.

[00:27:25] I don't always see that. There's a lot of Christian business owners that I work with that are great, so grateful for the success that they've worked really hard for and want to do a lot of great things with it. I think that there's misperceptions also around the area of debt. While I'm not saying that debt is a always a good thing or someone should jump head first into it, I think that there's perce this perception that debt is always wrong, and so that they're afraid to do things like buy a house [00:28:00] or have some decision making that they're afraid to do because they don't wanna make a wrong decision.

[00:28:07] And so all of these things really need to be, whether it's debt or some other risk taking venture, it really needs to be done with a lot of wisdom, which the word of God says, we can ask for wisdom. And God has given us resources. I think the book of Proverbs is probably just as good as any MBA.

[00:28:31] personally. And whether

[00:28:35] Scott Maderer: it's, and you'd get an MBA with a minor in finance too, cause it talks a lot about money and management of resources.

[00:28:44] Keith Conley: It's just built with such great wisdom. And some other perceptions that I've seen out there I work a lot with ministers.

[00:28:58] I love working with [00:29:00] ministers just because of my own background in ministry And I've really been, impacted by these godly servants who are really afraid to talk about money and and they give their lives to God's people and feeding God's sheep and they don't take the time to think about their own needs and their own family's needs and.

[00:29:31] I have really loved working with these folks and helping them open up their perspective on how that they can be masters of their money and their wealth and it's not ever going to be, a huge, magnificent net worth for that family, but having the freedom to, not be dependent upon a paycheck and later in life, it will [00:30:00] open up opportunities for them to serve later in life.

[00:30:05] Scott Maderer: So I've got a few questions that I like to ask all of my guests, but before I go there, is there anything else about the work you've been doing that you'd like to make sure the listener hears?

[00:30:16] Keith Conley: Yeah. So for the last several years, I've been operating under the name true legacy financial planning. And I was telling you before we were recording Scott that, I'm going to be actually moving my practice over to a large RIA which is called a registered investment advisor firm here in Orange County.

[00:30:36] And so that's going to be a pretty exciting move. And and I'm looking forward to bringing all my clients over with me and doing a lot of great work and helping Christians and even non Christians think about stewardship issues and about and think about how they can invest in a way that will be [00:31:00] wise and to think about their financial planning, their retirement and their legacy.

[00:31:05] So all my work is going to continue. I'm just going to be under a a bigger firm, which is going to give me more opportunities to do a lot better things for my clients.

[00:31:14] Scott Maderer: That's awesome. So my brand has inspired stewardship. Like I mentioned earlier, and we talk a lot about stewardship and what it is and what it looks like.

[00:31:25] And yet that's one of those words that I've learned over the years. A lot of people. and they hear different things. They have different understandings of that word for you. When you hear the word stewardship, what does that word mean to you? And what does its impact of that, that meaning had on you?

[00:31:42] Keith Conley: Yeah I think of stewardship as just managing God's resources for his purposes. Whether we are. Living paying our bills, keeping the roof over our [00:32:00] head, feeding our family paying for education, or even recreation. Those are things that God has given us for his purposes.

[00:32:12] And even recreation we, that, that seems like a bad word in the Christian world. We're not allowed to have, we're not supposed to be over, giving ourselves to too much entertainment and becoming too worldly. But even entertainment, recreation. Can be done with godly and with godly purposes.

[00:32:31] And so whatever we, it is that we have, we're managing for him.

[00:32:37] Scott Maderer: So this is my favorite question that I like to ask everybody. Keith, imagine for a minute that I invented this magic machine and with this machine I was able to pluck you from where you are today and transport you into the future, maybe 150, maybe 250 years.

[00:32:55] And through the power of this machine, you were able to look back and see your entire life, see all of the [00:33:00] connections, see all of the ripples, see everything that you've left behind. What impact do you hope you've left in the world?

[00:33:08] Keith Conley: I want to see families united. Multiple generations of the family living with one another, maybe not in the same home necessarily but they live among each other.

[00:33:22] They're honoring and worshiping the Lord together, and they're united over their wealth rather than divided over it. So

[00:33:32] Scott Maderer: what's on the roadmap? What's coming next? As you go into the second part of 2024.

[00:33:42] Keith Conley: I really envision working with more clients to help them think biblically about their wealth.

[00:33:50] I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work with more business owners and helping them think about succession planning and continuity and [00:34:00] family legacy issues the opportunity that I'm having to go into this new RIA. Is giving me a lot more tools and I'm just looking forward to meeting more people and helping them to have impact upon their own lives and those whom they care about.

[00:34:24] Scott Maderer: You can find out more about Keith Conley over at TrueLegacyFP. com and that'll always be up. It'll give you a pointer to where you can find him now is that merger that we were talking about continues and gets finalized. And of course I'll have a link to that over in the show notes as well.

[00:34:43] Keith, is there anything else you'd like to share with the

[00:34:45] Keith Conley: listener? Absolutely. I look forward to working with more people and if I can ever be a resource, you're welcome to reach out. Even if you don't ever become a [00:35:00] client, I'm happy to do that.

[00:35:02] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much.

[00:35:08] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode. Please do us a favor, go over to inspired stewardship.

[00:35:32] com slash iTunes rate, all one word iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest your time. Your talent and your treasures develop your influence and impact the [00:36:00] world.


In today's episode, I ask Keith about:

  • How he uses his faith to inform the financial advice he gives to others... 
  • How his unique journey prepared him for helping you with your finances...
  • Some of the biggest money myths that Christians have about money...

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

I make a commission for purchases made through the following link.

When I start to work with a prospective client I do a financial roadmap with them and it’s there that they learn how to integrate their values with their financial decisions. – Keith Conley

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About the author 

Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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