Five Core Stewardship Principles

Success in any discipline, craft, profession, vocation, sport, or any life skill requires knowledge, experience and practice of the fundamentals, or core principles, applicable to each. We summarize these core principles as follows:

Spend less than you earn.

The first step to stewardship freedom is a savings account. The first goal is to have one month of your after-tax living expenses in a savings account that is separate from your checking account. The second goal is three months. The next is six months. Some stop at three months of after-tax living expenses saved. That’s fine. The point is to save.

 

The good news is that saving can and should start at any time. Even if you are behind in your savings plan or haven’t started, you can start now.

 

Maintain liquidity for emergencies and unexpected opportunities. Once you reach your savings goal, you have enough funds in liquid savings to fund your living expenses without fret or debt. The excess can now be put to work with sound investing fundamentals, which we will talk about further below when we explain our Tax Control Savings Plan. Before getting there check out this video about saving:

 

Avoid the unproductive use of debt. Some debt is good, some debt is bad. Good debt can be for things like a home purchase, career, business opportunity, or leveraged savings or risk management. Examples of bad debt are credit cards that carry balances, new car debt, 100% financing of assets, or loans not backed by reasonably certain cash flow and an appropriate debt to income ratio.

 

Think long-term in your goals and investing. Patience is a virtue that must be cultivated, much like the gardener nurtures beautiful flowers to bloom and the grower cultivates the soil to bring forth luscious produce from the earth. Good things and good results take time. And time is your friend, if you are patient in your savings and investing goals. A systematic plan over a period of twenty years is usually sufficient to fund your living expenses needed in retirement. So think long-term in your savings and investing. Plod ahead steadily into the future in a trust-driven manner. Don’t swing for the fences in your investing. Maintain vision and prudence. You will find great reward in this kind of disciplined approach to building responsible stewardship.

 

Be a generous steward and leave a lasting legacy. Our trust-driven advisory process helps BRS clients experience a life driven by discovering the joy of giving. Our clients find that giving to others frees them from themselves and things in ways they never imagined. Even along the way of reaching their ReHirement savings goal, they realize that they are able to give more and more along the journey. And they also find that once they have converted enough earnings into savings to fully fund their living expenses through death, and thus reached Critical Stewardship Mass, they have excess savings that they can give to their heirs and favorite charities. These clients find that being a generous steward is a life practice, an ethic, that results in leaving a lasting legacy.

 


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

Relationally Focused Stewardship Cures Anxiety

When put into practice the first BRS distinctive that stewardship is primarily relational, not financial, can provide a great cure for anxiety about the future.

We help our clients focus on relationships and transform their retirement goals into a simple question:

“How much do you need in savings to fund your living expenses through death.”

Note that it’s not a net worth goal of $X million. (What’s your number?).

It’s not a goal to save enough so that you can spend an amount equal to 80% or 90% of your highest income earning years until you die.

Have you noticed how most advertisements by financial advisors and firms subtly play off your fears of not having enough money in retirement?

This is a common selling technique backed by psychological and neurological research on perennial human fears related to safety and security. The ads are designed to tap into your “lizard” brain, that deep part inside of you that reacts instinctively either with a “flight” or “fight” response.

As advisor fiduciaries who must earn your trust, we do not believe that selling ourselves or services through fear-based, anxiety-producing techniques is right. It’s not how we want to be treated by those who advise us.

And we do not believe it builds the kind of trust between an advisor and client that should be built. At the most fundamental level, we do not believe it values relationships over finances. If you think about it, you really don’t want an advisor who stokes your fears to move you to decisions that might put his financial interests ahead of yours.   

So what we do is flip the motivation for planning around by emphasizing its relational core. Instead of negative, fear-driven reasons for decision-making, we help our clients cultivate a vision of life motivated by positive, trust-driven planning.

What we and our clients have discovered is that this kind of relationally driven stewardship becomes the cure for financial anxiety. And it creates a freedom from money worries rooted in unhealthy self-focus and fears about the future, liberating clients into living a life of self-giving for the good of others.

Clients find their minds and their time freed up. Their talents and experience become more and more available to serve others. And, being assured that they have enough to live on until they die, they realize that they have much more financial and other resources available to help others, as well. Once our clients realize that they have more than enough in retirement savings to live on, they begin to experience the liberty of finding the kind of deep-rooted, soul-satisfying joy that comes from being a generous steward.

This is the cure for financial anxiety induced by the American Dream.


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First

The Relationally-Driven Life Stewardship Process

This graphic depicts our planning process. It’s a comprehensive and fully integrated planning process. We expend considerable effort, energy, and time gathering and then analyzing all facts pertinent to your planning and goals. It’s integrated with your business or profession, with your age and the ages of your children, with your values and objectives.

We help you think about estate planning integrated with financial planning. We help you think about managing potential risks of loss associated with unnecessary taxes (whether estate, gift, income, or capitals gains), premature death or disability, unwise market risk, non-exempt asset classes, and inappropriate company or corporate structures that risk the loss of limited liability.

Point A represents when you have your first dollar to save. This is the first goal. It’s the starting point in the marathon to financial freedom, to becoming a generous steward and leaving a lasting legacy.

Point B is the goal, the end line of the marathon: ReHirementCritical Stewardship Mass. It’s the point in time when you have converted enough earnings and gifts into savings sufficient to fund your living expenses through death. We calculate this number for you at regular, annual intervals along the way of your planning marathon.  

Point C represents death. It’s what we call retirement. The final rest, the end of our labors as stewards. We view life as a gift to be stewarded faithfully. And we view death, although it is both alien to the original intent of being human and an enemy that has been defeated, also as something to be stewarded. What our clients discover through applying our trust-driven process is that there is meaning both to life and death. That they can impact the future through their legacy of faithful stewardship. Hope and peace are fruits of our process and perspective.

We call the phase of time from Point A to Point B the “stewardship savings phase.” We help our clients manage the safety, efficiency, and control of the process of converting their earnings and gifts to savings.

The period of time from Point B to Point C is the “stewardship distribution phase.” During this time period, we help our clients manage the safety, efficiency, and control of the process of converting their savings into spending on living expenses and joyful giving.


We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.

Put Relationships First