Click below to listen to Episode 69 – Finding Financial Clarity

Finding Financial Clarity

Finding C-L-A-R-I-T-Y in your financial future.

One thing Bob and Mary Jo see on a daily basis is the lack of understanding and clarity when it comes to financial matters. Are you striving to have a solid financial future? It starts with clarity of your financial life. Clarity allows us to see the truth in past matters in order to make the best decisions for the future. It’s no different for finances.

They decided in this episode to break down the word C-L-A-R-I-T-Y into financial counterparts according to each letter.

C – Cash Flow
L – Long Term
A – Advice
R – Rate of Return
I – Intelligence
T – Time
Y – You

We have several past podcast episodes discussing tips, presenting resources, and sharing advice on how to find financial clarity in your life. If you are ready to gain C-L-A-R-I-T-Y and understanding surrounding your finances, give Christian Financial Advisors a call at 830-609-6986 or visit us on the web at

Let’s make a plan together!

HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA® and Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
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Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®
13 – The Emotional Investor
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3 – Virtues to Look for when Choosing a Financial Advisor
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48 – Sudden Wealth Syndrome
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Bob: Welcome to Christian Financial Perspectives, a podcast where we talk about ways to integrate your faith with your finances. This is Bob Barber.

Mary Jo: And I’m Mary Jo Lyons.

Bob: Are you ready to learn how to apply biblical wisdom to everyday financial decisions?

Mary Jo: Join us as we look at integrating your faith with your finances. If it’s your first time listening, welcome to our podcast, and if you’re a returning listener, welcome back.


Bob: Proverbs 2:2-6,, “My son, if you accept my words in store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding. Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For God gives wisdom. From his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” You know, being a financial advisor for over 25 years, one thing I see on a daily basis is a lack of understanding, and this scripture talks about applying our heart to understanding and clarity, especially when it comes to financial matters.

Mary Jo: That’s so true, Bob. When I work with clients to explore their financial goals when we’re working on financial planning, they always seem to say something very similar. “I Want to achieve a solid financial future,” something along that line. So it may not be in those exact words, but their words always add up to something similar, almost the same thing. And I also subscribe to a newsletter from a group called Driven Professionals. They work with professionals by leveraging neuroscience to improve conversational intelligence and this combines science and intuition.

Bob: That sounds very interesting.

Mary Jo: It is. It is. I’m really drawn to the newsletter and there’s always some good tidbit in there.

Bob: So neuroscience, huh?

Mary Jo: Neuroscience, kind of how the brain thinks and how it works and you know the conversational intelligence, and that’s what we do all day long. Every conversation we have with our clients, we’re using these skills. So I thought there were a lot of parallels. So I often find good stuff in their content. This year, Driven’s word for the year 2020 is “clarity”, and that just spoke to me. Don’t we all want clarity, especially when it comes to our money. And you know how my mind goes from one thing to another?

Bob: Well yeah. Now wait a second. You say my mind’s all over the place too. So we’re both that way.

Mary Jo: I’m not too keen on Hollywood these days, but it is award season. So just kind of, you know, play along with this for a minute. We are the stars in our own movies. Our movies may still be in production, but it’s going to be an Oscar worthy performance, at least we hope it will be. And as the star of our show, we have blind spots and inherent biases. So think about the vision of your movie for a minute. What would that be like?

Bob: So you’re saying if I were in this blockbuster film, it’d be a celebration of me.

Mary Jo: Absolutely. The celebration of you, Bob.

Bob: Okay, so let me see. What would I want the script to say about me? What would I want the storyline to be about? That’s interesting. What would be my accomplishments? So gosh, I’m thinking about that to all of us. What would be our accomplishments? What would the movie say? What would somebody say about me? You know, the speech they would give about me. What would my career resume say? What would my life resume say? These are some of the things I start thinking about.

Mary Jo: I just thought you were thinking about how big that award would be for your Oscar.

Bob: Well, it’s going to be a real big one, isn’t it?

Mary Jo: Of course it is. I want to talk to our listeners. So, just think about that for a minute. Let that soak in. What would the movie about you be like? In today’s world, most of us, we’re carrying around a smartphone in our pocket. Basically, it’s a computer that literally puts the world at our fingertips, and it’s often a source of distraction for most of us. We have access to news headlines 24/7 to movies to everything that you want to look up.

Bob: Text messages, let’s see, email, social media.

Mary Jo: We’re bombarded.

Bob: Yeah, we are.

Mary Jo: In the headlines, they compete for our attention. The headlines are more sensational than ever to grab our attention. In fact, these headlines are even so sensational, they’re often far from the truth as a result. You know, they call it clickbait and I’ll click on something because I’m interested in what it has to say. And I’m like this has nothing to do with the headline that I clicked on. And so they’re really just trying to get you down these rabbit holes. And so what are the headlines going to say about your movie? I’m guessing the result will be much like today’s reality TV and won’t be very close to the truth, especially when it comes to our financial life. These headlines, they may reflect your perceived reality, but will they actually reflect your actual reality when it comes to your financial life?

Bob: This really has me thinking about what a movie would say about my life, Mary Jo, and if I get to write it then what I want to say about it.

Mary Jo: There you go. We’re in control of our future.

Bob: Yeah, exactly. So today’s topic, I guess we’re talking about financial. So what would it say about my financial life? What would that movie say?

Mary Jo: So let’s get some clarity on the truth about our financial life. What is your vision for your financial future? What do you want your life movie to be about? If you miss some of our earlier episodes, take a look at the podcast archives and review the previous episodes. We provided lots of great advice, tips, and resources to use to gain clarity on your financial future. Take advantage of them. Create a vision for your financial future. Don’t just let the script write itself because we all know how that will end.

Bob: Okay, so today’s podcast is really on clarity. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to take this word clarity, C, L, A, R, I, T, Y, and we’re going to break it down letter by letter and put a word or two behind each letter of clarity for financial reasons.

Mary Jo: So for the C in clarity, let’s look at cashflow. Proverbs 27: 23-24, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks. Give careful attention to your herds, for riches do not endure forever and a crown is not secure for all generations.”

Bob: Can I say an updated version of that?

Mary Jo: Sure.

Bob: Be sure to know the condition of your cashflow.

Mary Jo: There you go.

Bob: Give special attention to your bank accounts, for riches do not endure forever.

Mary Jo: No, they don’t. Do you know where your cashflow is every day, every week, every month. Where’s it going? With the technology we have today, it’s easier than ever. Here at Christian Financial Advisors, our financial system downloads your debit and credit card expenditures daily and automatically puts them into different categories like shopping, food, home maintenance, entertainment, even pets, and lets you know at any time of the month what you spend in a category and how much you have left for the month for that category. It’s really an amazing system and completely automated. It may be just the tool you need to help get your monthly budget on track.

Bob: I know I’m clicking into mine sometimes two or three times a day. I like it, Mary Jo, not only for how it helps with seeing all the cashflow and where everything’s going, but I can see all my different bank accounts so I don’t have to go to each individual one to see what the balance is and to know if anybody has hacked into any of those accounts.

Mary Jo: Oh, and that’s a good reason. That’s for sure.

Bob: All right, so for clarity, we’ve gone over the C, so next and clarity is the L. So what we’re going to do for the L is we’re going to use the word longterm. A great scripture we take from this is Proverbs 13:11, “Dishonest money dwindles away. But whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.” And that makes me think, from this scripture, of longterm. I mean this is a testimony that for most of us, lasting wealth is made slowly and methodically with discipline, hard work, and saving little by little like scripture says. You know, very few of us obtain wealth quickly, and I’ve noticed when we do, it usually goes away as quickly as it came. As I can remember so well from a few years ago with this huge amount of sudden wealth. And you know Mary Jo, you remember the podcast we did on “Sudden Wealth Syndrome”.

Mary Jo: Oh sure.

Bob: And from that oil boom in South Texas and you know, so many of those folks, they were worse off after than before because they didn’t know how to handle that sudden wealth. So think of wealth as longterm, not short term, and that it’s made over a 30 or 40 year period. I know that doesn’t set well with a lot of folks. It’s not, but it’s not made suddenly and it’s not just made over 5 years or 10 years. It’s really a longterm approach.

Mary Jo: Absolutely. For the next one, we’re going to look at A in clarity for advice. The Bible speaks many times about seeking the advice of others and godly counsel. So how we need one another and even pitying the man that has no one to watch his back and help him. But luckily you do have somebody to watch your back. We did a podcast earlier on seeking advice. It’s actually podcast number three very early on in Christian Financial Perspectives and it was “Virtues To Look For When Choosing A Financial Advisor”. So you may want to take a look at that one. As believers in Christ, we are called to a relationship and not to go it alone. We hear a lot about robo advisors these days, but you know, it’s kinda tough to have a conversation with a robot. They don’t know your history, they don’t know your family, they don’t know your values of your financial goals, and a robot can’t hold you accountable. You’re not going to have a relationship with a robot or a robo advisor. And that’s the difference maker.

Bob: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, I was looking this up, I’ve heard this so much over my lifetime. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either one of them falls down, one can help the other up, but pity anyone who falls and no one’s there to help them up. “The secular worldview for financial matters, many times, tells us that we don’t need anyone to help us. That you can manage all your investments online just like the pros that have spent decades learning how to do it. I just don’t believe that’s true. It’d be like me trying to play on the basketball floor with the Spurs. I couldn’t compete. And I guess, you know, next they’ll be telling us we can even do surgery on ourselves without a doctor. I mean, it’s just amazing. We do need one another, and scripture plays into this.

Mary Jo: Absolutely, and that speaks from a secular worldview. From a biblical worldview, it says it’s okay to seek help, a trusted financial advisor that goes by a biblical worldview for finance using wisdom, experience, and knowledge can bring clarity to your financial goals and is not a weakness, but a strength.

Bob: So far in clarity, we’ve gone over the C, the L and the A. And again, the C was for cashflow. The L was for longterm, the A was for advice, and now the R is for rate of return. I’ve got another good scripture for you, and this might’ve been one many of you have heard. It’s from Matthew 25:14-21. It talks about the parable of the talents. Again, it will be like a man going on a journey who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one, he gave five bags of gold to another two bags and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags ago when it wants him put his money to work and gained five more bags. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who’d receive the one went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five bags of gold bought the other five and he said, Master, look, you gave me five bags of gold. I’ve gained five more. The master replied, well done, good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of more things. Come and share in your master’s happiness. When we talk about the R in clarity in rate of return, you need to understand the real rate of return on an investment before putting your money into it, especially after inflation, which often is 2% to 3% a year, and that reduces that value of money as time passes, as well as taxes. So what’s left after that is the real rate of return, which can often be unimpressive after considering for the adjustments of inflation and taxes. Accordingly, investors must consider what are the risks associated, though, with the investment is appropriate given the real rate of return.

Mary Jo: Taking this a little further. Another aspect of that, let’s look at your personal rate of return. Investors typically always perform worse than the overall market due to emotional reactions. They react negatively to market volatility. They panic and then sell out at the worst possible time. This happens mostly to those investors who are going it alone. When you’re working with a trusted advisor, they can walk with you through these periods of volatility and help you maintain a longterm perspective and then that will improve your own personal rate of return.

Bob: I remember we did a podcast called “The Emotional Investor”. You remember that one? I wish I knew exactly which one that was, but if you’ll go in our archives under the emotional investor, I think we did that sometime in the last quarter of last year. So now we come to the I in clarity, and for this one we’re going to use intelligence. Always think carefully and pray about the longterm financial impact of your financial decisions and avoid making them based on feelings and emotions. And this is what we mean by intelligence. James 1:5, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he’ll give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

Mary Jo: Oh, that’s a powerful scripture there, Bob. I think it definitely speaks to that and we’ve got to seek wisdom when we fail short on our own.

Bob: Yes, we do,

Mary Jo: And for the next one, it’s for the T in clarity which is time. Understand that time is not limitless, so let’s value it. How you spend it shows what your real priorities are. When you say you don’t have the time to get your finances in order or anything else for that matter, you’re saying that it’s just not a priority for you, at least not right now. We want to encourage you to make your financial future a high priority. If you believe in family first, well getting your financial future in order is one sure way to show your family how much you value them. In Ecclesiastes 3:9-11, “What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

Bob: You know, Mary Jo, in that time, something that really hit me, and this was just a few months ago, was when I heard a guy say, “If you don’t have time for something, that’s not your priority.”

Mary Jo: That’s absolutely true.

Bob: That really hit me. He used this short story about how his little girl came up to him and she said, daddy, I want to go play right now. And he said, well, I don’t have time. Really what he was saying was, you’re not my priority right now. And that hit me hard. So, you know, all my kids are out of the nest now and I’m just thinking, Oh my goodness, I hope I never said that, but I have a feeling I probably did.

Mary Jo: There was a song it reminds me of it, back in the day, and it was by…Was it by Harry Chapin?

Bob: Cat’s In The Cradle?

Mary Jo: Yes. And yeah, that really spoke to that.

Bob: So here we are at the end of the word clarity. We’re at the Y. You know what the Y is gonna stand for. It stands for you because it’s up to you to make your financial future happen. It’s not your parents’ obligation to give you an inheritance or the government or a lottery ticket, but it’s up to you to be the best steward possible with God’s gifts. I’d like to go with this scripture for this one. It’s from Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, “So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can, and people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor for these are gifts from God.”

Mary Jo: After all, we’ve determined God owns it all. So, if you’re ready to gain clarity and understanding around your finances, give us a call at (830) 609-6986 or visit us on the web at We’re here to help. Let’s make a plan.


Mary Jo: You’ve been listening to Christian Financial Perspectives. Join us as we explore more about how to apply biblical wisdom to your financial situations.

Bob: To make sure you don’t miss any of our podcasts, you can subscribe to Christian Financial Perspectives on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher. To learn more about integrating your faith with your finances, visit out website at or call 830-609-6986.

Mary Jo: That’s all for now.


Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the hosts, Bob Barber and Mary Jo Lyons. Bob and Mary Jo do not provide tax advice and encourage you to seek guidance from a tax professional. Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.