Click below to listen to Episode 81 – Important Decision Making Processes with Ron Blue

Important Decision Making Processes with Ron Blue

written financial goals

Learn about Ron Blue’s 10 step process to aid in making important decisions.

Have you ever had to make a really important decision and just didn’t know where to start? Whether it was moving for a job or deciding whether or not to sell a house, we all have been there. It is usually an extremely difficult and stressful time. Well, what if there was a decision making process that you could follow to aid in your choice? Lucky for us, there is!

Ron Blue has created a 10 step process concerning decision making so that you can have more confidence in the choices you make. Ron is the founder of Kingdom Advisors® and Ronald Blue Trust, one of the largest Registered Investment Advisory firms in the United States serving thousands of Christians. He is also the author of several books, including Master Your Money, God Owns It All, and Biblical Financial Planning.

GUESTS: Ron Blue, Founder of Kingdom Advisors® and the Ron Blue Institute
HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®

“Important Decision Making Processes” PDF Slides

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
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Ron Blue
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Ronald Blue Institute
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Ronald Blue Trust
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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

Welcome to “Christian Financial Perspectives”, where you’re invited to gain insight, wisdom and knowledge about how Christians integrate their faith, life and finances with a Biblical Worldview. Here’s your host Christian Investment Advisor, Financial Planner, and Coach, Bob Barber.

Bob:
Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with Thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I love that scripture. It’s all about prayer and really laying our thoughts and all of life circumstances before God and letting that be made known to him. Today, we’ve got a really unique podcast. We’re going to be talking about wise decision making. I’ve got Ron Blue on with me from a presentation I heard at a Kingdom Advisors conference earlier this year. I think about really important decisions that all of us have to make every now. I mean, I’ve talked to several folks recently, they’re thinking about selling their house and they’re not sure what to do and should they sell it? Should they remodel it? Should they buy another one? I mean, that’s a big decision, or should I take that early retirement package? That’s really big today and going on a lot as companies are trying to figure out how to deal with this COVID-19. Should they just allow some folks to take early retirement? I get that question all the time. Another one, should we relocate to another state or city to be closer to family? I’ve got a couple that’s been with me for about 20 years right now. They live over in Houston and their kids live in Wimberley and they’ve got all their friends and their church family there. But as they’re getting older, that’s not another state, but it might as well be for them. It’s really a hard thing. These decisions are big decisions. Another one, should I take that better paying job offered to me? Or, how about this one? Should I marry that person? What a big one, or should I have that surgery? There’s just all these important decisions that come along every few years for a lot of us and can be really stressful when you think about what’s the right one. It can be difficult. It’d be sure nice to have some processes to follow when it comes to these really important decisions. So like I said, again, I’ve invited my friend and Christian brother. Many of you have known of him for years, Ron Blue. He’s been a guest here on Christian Financial Perspectives in the past. And I heard him speak on this decision making at the last conference. I thought it was such an important topic. We ought to have him on. For those of you that might not know Ron, he’s a well known speaker. He’s an author of many Christian books and Bible studies. He’s the founder of Christian advisors as well as Ronald Blue Trust, one of the largest registered investment advisory firms in the US, serving thousands of Christians. I came to know Ron many years ago. I think it’s like 20, 25 years ago. I used to hear him as a guest many times on Focus on the Family, and I’ve taught his Bible studies on stewardship many times. So, Ron, welcome back to Christian Financial Perspectives.

Ron:
Well, Bob, it’s always such a joy for me to spend time with you. So, I was delighted that we had this on the schedule and I am excited about the topic, but I’m more excited about getting to spend a little bit of time with you on the phone.

Bob:
I feel that way with you too, Ron. I mean, now we had some technical glitches this morning, but we got rid of all those. And as soon as you got on with me, I’m like, there’s my buddy. I just want to reach out and give you a big hug, but hey, that wouldn’t be allowed today with COVID-19.

Ron:
Well, that’s true too.

Bob:
So Ron, these important decisions, they can be so stressful and quite frankly, sometimes a little frightening because if you make the wrong decision, there can be some really tough consequences. You showed us this 10 step process for making decisions at the Kingdom Advisors conference earlier this year. I’d like you to share with our listeners, cause it really touched me. So, I guess we’ll just start with this first step and go through all 10 of them.

Ron:
Well, that would be fine, Bob, but it was really interesting because as you read through the decisions that people are having to make, we just bought a home within the last two months. I’ve helped somebody make a decision on a job going through this process and helped someone else on a relocation issue going through this process. So, very practical and very real and very helpful. And certainly the beginning point is prayer. I read in my quiet time yesterday, I think it was, we tend to kind of think our way through situations rather than pray our way through situations. So, prayer is the beginning. It’s the process. And it’s the end of good decision making. Our Lord said in his word in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask.” And every one of these situations, we’re looking for wisdom. We want God’s will and God’s wisdom. Prayer is essential and it’s easy to forget about it, but it’s the beginning point, certainly, to the process.

Bob:
And looking into God’s word, because as you’re praying say, Holy Spirit guide me to some scriptures that can help me with this, I would think, too.

Ron:
Yeah.

Bob:
Cause that’s going to point you right to God’s word.

Ron:
Yeah. I’ve found over the years, as I prayed about things and then maybe during my quiet time, God will speak to me in his word. And I say, well, that’s the wisdom that I was looking for.

Bob:
It seems always that way, doesn’t it? At least with me, it does.

Ron:
Yes, it is with me too. So we have a God who’s for us, he’s with us, and he’s in us. So we need to talk to him.

Bob:
Ron, I know you’ve made this statement many times too, and I grabbed on it when you made the statement many years ago that “all financial decisions are spiritual decisions for a Christian”. And you think about selling your home and building that new one or should I take that new job. That reminded me of that, that we got to remember that every decision that we make as a Christian is a spiritual decision. That sure plays right into it. So that takes us, I guess, right into step two, you’ve got defining your decision. What’s the question? What do you mean by that?

Ron:
Well, a lot of times, we kind of mix some things up. For example, I mentioned helping someone make a decision. When they came to me, they talked about their career options. They talked to me about the fact that his wife would like to get back near her family, talked about joining another firm. So he had career, he had location, and he had specificity in terms of the job that he was going to take. So he had multiple things there. My challenge to him was you’ve got multiple decisions that you’re trying to make at the same time. So really, what’s the decision that you’re trying to make? And can you put it down so that you have many options? So, he ended up defining his decision as choosing my next job and then vocation and career and so forth became a part of the decision, but that was not the real decision that he was making. The real decision was what’s my next career move, and then he went from there. So he said, that’s really what I’m trying to decide. And there’s a lot of things that are a part of that. So, I like to say also, Bob, that if you don’t ask the right question, you can never get the right answer. Like Judy and I, we went through a process here where we moved and the thing that started the process was talking about – I’m 78, she’s 76. We’re both in good health, but if one of us is not in good health or if one of us passes away, what are we going to do? And then that led us to making the decision through the process of selling her home and buying another home, a smaller home than what we had. So what’s the question is the step that you begin the process with after prayer.

Bob:
I’ve never thought of it like this, Ron. As an example, I was talking about my client moving from Houston to Wimberley. It’s not just the move, but it’s the new house. It’s the new church. It’s the new friends. It’s the medical facilities. It’s a lot that goes into that decision. Somebody needs to go just buy a new spiral notebook and just start writing all this stuff down, I guess. Is that what you would recommend?

Ron:
Well, people fall into one of three, what I call, traps. The most significant trap that everybody will identify with is should we do this or not? So, should we move or not? And when you ask the question that way you’ve only got two alternatives and that’s called a binary trap. And we tend to ask the question that way. For example, I’m going to come back to the career decision. What’s the next best career for me or the next best career move for me? How many alternatives do you have? You got dozens and dozens of alternatives and your decision can never be any better than the best known alternative. So, the question that you ask is important. And then the second trap that people fall into a lot of times is you ask and somebody said, “Well, why did you do that?” And the answer is, “Because I felt like it.” Now, that’s what’s called the intuitive trap.

Ron:
And I hear that all the time is what are you going to do? Well, I feel like I… And then they complete the sentence, but what they’re doing is they’re allowing, then, the feelings to drive the decision and the feelings may be real or not, or they may be the wrong feelings. And the third trap that people fall into is the voting trap. I make my decision. Okay, I’m going to buy that Volvo. And then you go around and you ask people, what do you think about Volvos? And what you’re really doing is justifying your decision that you’ve already made, and you do it through voting and almost never will that work really well. So, defining the decision is avoiding the traps, the binary trap, the voting trap, and the intuitive trap.

Bob:
Oh man, there’s so many traps. Because I can see where, when you’re making this decision and you start asking everybody’s opinion, and then you just start going off on these rabbit trails over and over and over. And then when you start letting your feelings get all involved.

Ron:
For sure.

Bob:
Yeah. We better get down to the next step, cause we’ll just go off forever. That step three you’ve got is clarifying your objectives and what are the decision criteria? So, I like that – clarifying – because that’s where you say you could just go off on so many rabbit trails. You’ve got to clarify this thing.

Ron:
Well, every decision that you make, Bob, is an attempt to meet certain objectives, which is why you need to get the objectives down, and the objectives may compete with one another, but that’s okay because what I’m trying to do, like let’s take the job situation. Well, it’s the working conditions. That’s who my boss is. It’s the salary that they pay. It’s the location that it is. It’s the commute that I have. It’s a career opportunity. Many, many things that are important. And so you don’t try to make your decision until you have got written down every objective that you might have. I’m looking at something in front of me that my son used. I use this as an illustration. He ended up playing tennis at the University of Texas. He went through the process. So, he had objectives like the academics. Can I have a five-year MBA? The coach, what’s his ability to develop? What’s it going to cost to go to this school? What’s the tennis budget? What are the facilities like? What’s the team cohesiveness? Is there Christian fellowship involved? What’s the location? How close it to home? And on and on, he had like 20 criteria or objectives. And now he knew what he was trying to accomplish. You just write them down. And that’s where you take the notebook and you make the list. If I had the perfect decision, what would it look like? What are the criteria that would be met?

Bob:
You must be proud of your son to do that when he was just going to college. I mean, he’s doing stuff that I’m in my fifties, I wouldn’t think about it.

Ron:
Well, he taught decision making and Michael’s a process type person. He had like a hundred schools that had approached him to play tennis because he was a highly ranked national junior player. And so he had boiled it down. He had five schools, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Texas, William and Mary, and Alabama. And those were his top five that he knew just from the visit. So, how did he decide between those five? And that’s where he put down the criteria. And he had all of those things as criteria, but you jump into the step four, then. Not all of those criteria are the same. For example, there may be something in that criteria that are must haves, like it couldn’t have been no more than five hours from Atlanta. If that was a must have, well, that would have eliminated Notre Dame, William and Mary, and Texas. You’d only have Alabama and Vanderbilt to choose from. So, it was not a must have. It was a nice to have type of thing. So, what he did and what I recommend people do is look at each of those objectives and you ask, first of all, are there any must haves? And those are the most important, and that will eliminate certain of the alternatives when you have the must haves. That determines kind of who gets in the game and who is out of the game. For example, buying a home, less than $250,000 could be a must have. That immediately eliminates everything else above $250,000. But it’s the most important thing to you.

Bob:
Many times a home is not a must have, it’s a want to have.

Ron:
That’s exactly right. So, what he did is he established a value for each one of those criteria or objectives. And he established a value of someplace between 1 and 5. So he had two 5’s, three 5’s, and then everything else was judged in comparison to those three 5’s. And they established a value, if you will. His must haves were the academics, the coach’s ability to develop, and the total cost, those were his 5’s, but then he had others. Then he went through and he had tennis budget as a 4. The team was a 4. Christian fellowship was a 4. Location is a 3, and so forth all the way down to 1. And he’ll never live this down, but the last one on his list was women. He had a one on that one.

Bob:
Yeah.

Ron:
I was going to say, University of Texas, I was going to say, is it barbecue and good Mexican food.

Ron:
Well, but what that illustrates is anything can get on the list, but it doesn’t have the same priority. So, you make sure you got the list and then you start establishing values to those objectives. And you can have must haves, want to haves, you can establish a 1 to 10, 1 to five. However you want to do it numerically, but you prioritize the criteria or objectives, but there will always be trade offs.

Bob:
So we clarify, then we prioritize objectives. That was a fourth step and then the fifth step was identify your alternatives. I think you were kind of focusing on that as we were going through it. You’ve got all these different alternatives that you can look at. Now, some people, they may not have those alternatives, right? I mean, this job or that, or this home or that home, or is it a little deeper than that?

Ron:
Well I’ve got, and it’s hanging on the wall at Ronald Blue Trust, the three napkins where Judy and I sat down at an ice cream shop in August of 1977 and went through this process. She had a napkin and I had a napkin and then we had a joint napkin. We talked through what is the next career step for me? I wanted to make a move. I was in a ministry that I wasn’t being used with the skills that God had given me. So we defined it as what’s the next career step. And we listed all of our objectives – spiritual impact, lifestyle, free time, location, financial, travel, permanence of the move, and so forth. We listed all of those. We did all of this in a couple of hours at an ice cream shop. And then we went through and evaluated the criteria that we had, and set a value on it. For example, spiritual impact was our number one objective. We gave a 10 to that, but we also had lifestyle objectives, and that meant how much free time. We had location objectives and we said it either is Indianapolis or Atlanta. We had travel. How many nights am I going to be gone if I choose that career? Am I going to be gone any weekends? Because I’d spend about 70% of my time traveling for the prior two years when we did this. You prioritize your objectives, and that’s where the conversation really comes in. And you think of a couple of making a decision. Have we listed all the objectives that we would like this decision to accomplish and what are their priorities? And then you’re ready to begin thinking about the alternatives that you have. So, that’s step number five. But I kind of run all those together, Bob.

Bob:
Yeah. Well, you kind of do, but then again, you’ve got to run them all together. I mean, when you think about these steps, it’s not just necessarily step one, two, three, four, five. They’re all going to run together. I can see, as you’re doing this, because these are such important decisions that are being made. Like we mentioned at the beginning, a move or a new job, or that one where I mentioned that last one, that last one in the beginning was a surgery. I mean, that’s a tough one. Rachael and I were going to that a couple of years ago with her cancer. And we were having to evaluate this surgery is a very radical surgery that we had done. And that was a big decision. And which doctor. Did we choose the one that we were familiar with at MD Anderson?

Bob:
But there was another one that was right down the road from us in Austin that could do the robotic surgery, but we weren’t familiar with. We had to look at those alternatives. All this, I could see where it played into it. It was so stressful during that time having to make that decision, we prayed about it. We saw God open doors, and we knew we’d made the right decision. We ended up going with the surgeon in Austin that did the robotic surgery, which he did such an amazing, amazing job, but I could see where all this flows together, Ron. There’s 10 steps, but nine could be coming in at number two, but you’ve got to do them all to make the right decision, I would think.

Ron:
You do, Bob. And I think it’s important to stay in process. For example, the idea of step five is identify your alternatives. Most people start with the alternatives. They start, well, like you said, I could choose this doctor at MD Anderson, I could choose the doctor in Austin. Those are alternatives. But your first thing you need to do is kind of what is our decision? And then what are our objectives? I’m sure you had a lot of objectives on that surgery decision to type of surgery would be one of the objectives I’m sure you had, the hospital that you were going to choose, the location of it, the experience of the physician, how many times that they’d done this kind of surgery, and how experienced are they.

Bob:
Your naming every one of them. That’s right. If we were going through all of that.

Ron:
Yeah, that’s right. And then you say, what are my alternatives? And here’s another trap that people fall into is they look at the alternatives and compare the alternatives against each other, but they should be comparing each alternative against the criteria or the objectives. So doctor number one, you don’t look at it and say, he’s better than doctor number two for this reason. But what you do is you say, okay, doctor number one, he’s located someplace. He’s been in this business 15 years, he’s got this reputation, and location perhaps. So, you look at the alternatives compared to the objectives rather than trying to compare the alternatives against one another. So for example, in coming back to the tennis illustration, I said there were five alternatives that he was working with. Well, he wasn’t comparing Vanderbilt against Notre Dame, for example, or Notre Dame versus Texas. What he was doing was he was saying, okay, how does Vanderbilt meet my criteria? And what about the academics at Vanderbilt? What about the coach at Vanderbilt? What about the cost at Vanderbilt? So you see that he looked at each of the alternatives, but he looked at that in comparison to the criteria or the objectives, which is the process you want to follow. You don’t want to fall into the trap of saying, well, Vanderbilt’s got this. Therefore, that’s my best choice because there’s more than one got this, if you will. Anyway. So, you identify your alternatives. And remember this, that the decision that you make is the best alternative compared to the objectives. And here’s a couple of things to think about. One is that when you’ve made your decision, I’m not going to bring surgery into this one. But what happens if at some point you made the wrong choice? Well, then you go back and look at the criteria and say, where did I miss it on the criteria? I didn’t ask the right question, or I didn’t have the right criteria. It was really interesting with Michael because by Christmas time his freshman year at Texas, he was ready to quit because he hadn’t gotten to play as much as what he thought. So he had even applied to another school. He applied to Wake Forest, which is where his brother was. And so Michael and I sat down over Christmas and we went through the decision that he made to go to Texas. And as we looked at it, it still was the number one choice. He hadn’t missed it on his objectives. Those were still his objectives. And so it was still his best choice. So he went back to Texas and interestingly enough, one of the starters on the Texas tennis team got kicked off the team in January and Michael became the sixth man on the team. And he set a record for wins as a freshmen and ended up becoming an all American tennis player at Texas. And he almost quit. But because he had gone through this process and he knew why he went to Texas, he was able to stay there. He had made the right decision, and God worked out all the details. And he met a girl from Texas. Therefore, he’s still in Texas.

Bob:
I was going to say, I was thinking about that one all along, Ron. Did he meet that girl in Austin.

Ron:
He did, he met a girl from Waco.

Bob:
Oh, so good deal.

Ron:
Yeah. They now live in Austin and she’s a wonderful woman.

Bob:
And Michael, he’s been in my office several times for the monthly study group. What is so interesting, too, as I listen to this is that you keep mentioning, you went back and you looked at that and that’s the importance. You would think this would not be the case, but I have a feeling that so many people make decisions and they don’t go get that spiral notebook and write all this out. You were able to go back to that, you and Michael were able to go back to these are the reasons that you chose this. I also wanted to say like with Rachael and I and her prayer for her cancer surgery. I mean, her reason what we chose, it came back to prayer because before we even started to make this decision, Rachael was fervently in prayer.

Bob:
I was, too. The doors opened out of nowhere for this surgeon in Austin. And then we started defining that decision, clarifying, prioritizing, and looking at the alternatives – Houston or Austin and all those things that you mentioned. So, it all played into that. But you know what, Ron, we talked about it a lot. I don’t know if we really got a notebook and wrote it out. I’m sure we wrote it out on some paper, cause that’s the way I am. But folks that are listening to this today, if you’ve got a major decision like that, take these steps. And by the way, we’re going to put all these steps on the website so that you can see them and get that notebook and write those down. So Ron, where are we at? Step number six about evaluate. I know we went through that one.

Ron:
No, wait. We are at step six.

Bob:
We are at step six. Okay. There’s so much. This is so deep. Ron, nobody talks about this by the way. I am amazed when I heard you speak about this decision model, I have never heard anybody put it this way, ever. I’m glad we’re covering it. I’m glad you’re here to help me.

Ron:
I just went through the process with a fellow that used to work for Ronald Blue Institute. He called me. And he said, if we go through the decision making process, will you help us think this one through? And I said, sure, I said, sit down and you and your wife fill out the matrix because we have a matrix that you can fill it out. Step one, step two, step three, because his wife wanted to move nearer to her twin sister in Kansas. He had a retirement package that was being offered to him by his current employer. He had opportunities to take that retirement package and then go to work for somebody else, but where do they go to work? And what are the important things? We worked through that and I had several telephone calls with him. He ended up making, what I felt like, was by far the best decision for him. So he’s taking a retirement package. He’s staying in Indiana because he has a lot of contacts there. And he’s going to work with a firm that will develop him professionally, but he didn’t even have that firm on his list as an alternative when he went through the process. What you do is you look at each one of these alternatives and you look at them compared to your criteria and give them a value. Every one of them may have a five when it comes to academics. Maybe every one of them has a five when it comes to the coach. So there’s no elimination there, but it says that I’ve got five schools here where the ability of the coach is strong enough to develop me. The interesting thing was the only one – he had all academics and they all had a five with the exception of Alabama. So, any Alabama people listening, things have changed, though, since coach Saban got there in terms of the academics, even, at Alabama. So, so what are the facts? Give it a value. And now if you add up the score of each one of the alternatives, you’re at step seven. You’ve got a preliminary decision. So, staying with the tennis illustration, Vanderbilt had a 33; Notre Dame a 27; Texas a 41; William and Mary a 26; and Alabama 26. Well, clearly Texas was above the rest of them by quite a bit. The only thing that it didn’t rate high on was it was more than five hours away from Atlanta. And he wasn’t sure whether he would get to play his first year. Other than that, it met every criteria that he had. So, it became an obvious choice. And so that was a preliminary decision and that was step number seven, but then you’ve got a step eight. So, if you’re ready to go to step eight or we can stay at step seven.

Bob:
What could go wrong?

Ron:
That’s right. Step eight was what could go wrong. What’s the worst thing that could happen? And the only one that you asked that question of is the choice that you’ve made. You don’t even ask it for the rest of them, because you’ve already made a preliminary decision. Assessing the risk is really an important part of life, if you will. I counsel a lot of people when they’re doing estate planning, for example, and they’re making the decisions like how much their children are going to get. You have to ask the question, well, what’s the worst thing that can happen?

Bob:
So you’re saying Ron, there’s always going to be risk.

Ron:
Absolutely, absolutely.

Bob:
You’re not going to take away the risk. The risk is always going to be there. It’s just minimizing that risk as much as possible.

Ron:
Let me go back to the decision that Judy and I made. Both of us, individually, kind of ranked the alternatives. We had five alternatives. We had four alternatives to begin with. We could go to Africa with Campus Crusade. We could go to their headquarters at Arrowhead Springs at that time in California. We could stay where I was with the ministry, or I could go back to Indianapolis with the CPA firm. And both of us when we evaluated our alternatives, the best alternative was to go back to Indianapolis and rejoin the CPA firm, until we got to step eight. We said in step eight, we said, what is the worst thing that could happen if we go back to Indianapolis, even though it met most of the objectives that we had? Well, the worst thing that could happen was that we could get back into a materialistic lifestyle that we had left. And when I left my CPA firm, I was making over a hundred thousand dollars. I was a millionaire by the time I was age 35, and I walked away from the salary and the value in the firm to join the ministry. And we said, if we go back, we could fall into the same lifestyle that we had come out of and we could lose one or more of our children to materialism.

Bob:
Right. Wow.

Ron:
And so we said, well, okay, that’s the worst thing that can happen. And then the second question was, well, how serious is that? And we said, that’s really serious. And the third question that we asked when you’re assessing the risk is what is the probability? So, let’s take an airplane. Let’s say, how am I going to get from San Antonio to Austin. I could take my car, I could walk, I could ride a bike, but yet somebody offered me their private plane to fly me up there. Which one should I choose? Okay, well I choose the airplane. Well, what’s the worst thing that could happen. Well, the airplane could crash. Well, how serious is that? That’s really serious. But the third question then is, well, what’s the probability? And the probability of that is so small that it’s not very risky. It’s serious, but it’s not very risky. In our particular case, the probability of losing one or more of our children to materialism was very serious. The probability of it was very high. It was so high that we said, we’re not going to do that. And then, and here’s something that is really important, I think, is what we did is because we had listed all of the criteria effectively, we designed a job and the job we designed became Ronald Blue and Company. It was at the encouragement of Dr. Howard Hendricks from Dallas Seminary, who had asked me today to look at his finances. But now, I knew what was important. I designed a decision given the criteria. For example, we said, we can start a financial consulting firm. I had the experience that I could do that, but I’m not going to travel more than two nights a week at the most. And it got down to the point, what did we mean by travel? And if I was not home by six o’clock for dinner, it was a night gone. So I designed my trips that I would leave after breakfast, for the most part. And I would be home before dinner the next night. So, I was gone what would normally be considered two days, but I missed one dinner and one breakfast. We got down that far in our thinking because we knew what was important to us. We knew that if I was gone a weekend, the rule was I didn’t travel the week before or the week after. So anyway, because we had the criteria, we were able to design the job. One of the other things that I did, Bob, was I said, I will never bring work home. I will always be home by six o’clock for dinner. I will not ever work on the weekend unless I’m traveling. So that meant that I could only work about 50 hours a week.

Bob:
I’ve had the same thing in my own life. In this industry, people want to meet you at night. Finally, I said, that’s not going to happen because I’m going to be there for my children. People kind of accused us all around here. Y’all are like the leave it to Beaver family. And we were, and we always we had all our meals together and we turned the TV off and put the cell phones aside and had great times. A lot of their friends loved to come over for that. Ron, what I was thinking, too, you’re talking about your wife a lot. And of course, Rachael and I have been married 35 years, a long time too. You’ve got to make sure when you’re making these decisions that that both of you are on the same page. I could see where there could be some where both spouses are not on the same page and you’ve got to backup at that point, I would think, and do some reassessing.

Ron:
Absolutely. In fact, that could be one of your criteria. We both have to be in agreement on the decision, which gives either one of you the power to veto the decision. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Again, Dr. Hendricks always said, God didn’t give you a spouse to frustrate you, but to complete you.

Bob:
That’s good. That’s good. So, we’re down to our last two steps of making a big decision. That’s making that final decision and then this is interesting, testing it. So, you make that final decision. This is what we’re going to do. And then you test it. Now, wait a second. Shouldn’t you test it before you make the final one. I mean, I’m looking at these. I’m going, they’re kind one in the same in a way. I mean, I would think you’d want to test it first, but tell us what you mean by that.

Ron:
Well, is it confirmed by God’s word? That’s the first test, really. Do I have a promise from God that affirms this decision and the idea of husband and wife agreement is a test of the decision. You could get somebody’s opinion. At this particular point, you could ask a person’s opinions, but you’ve made your decision. All you’re really wanting to do is to find out is there some risk that I’ve forgotten about?

Bob:
Something that I have not heard you talk a lot about is asking other people’s opinions. I can see where you’ve gotta be careful that cause you can sure get a lot of opinions. Do you need to be very careful of that when you’re making a decision, is asking other people’s opinions? Cause you’re sure get a lot of different ones.

Ron:
Well, you can ask their opinion. It’s like this guy that called me. He wanted my opinion, but he also knew the process. And I said, I’ll give you my opinion when you go through the process.

Bob:
Okay. Well, 9 out of 10 people you ask, Ron, they’re not going to have a process.

Ron:
That’s exactly right, but I had his matrix in front of me and I had talked to him two or three times. To me, the decision became obvious as he went through it, but it took him probably a month to make the decision. He was offered a job in Kansas city that he had to go evaluate, which was within an hour of where his wife’s twin sister lived. So, there was a strong pull towards Kansas City, but because he had his other criteria, he didn’t have the career opportunities in Kansas City that he did in Indianapolis. And that was so important that they chose to take the early retirement and go to work in Indianapolis for a firm. So getting opinions, what you want to make sure that you’re doing is you’re letting the people help you think through your criteria. When they know your criteria, then they can give you some objective advice on it. For example, the question of the surgeon that she picked. Let’s say you went through the process, you picked the surgeon, and now you want to test that. One of the things you would probably test is what references do they have? What experiences do they have? Do I know anybody else that’s gone through that surgery with them and what was their experience? You do get other people’s opinion, but you don’t start there. You end there. You want to make sure you know what you’re doing first. And then you end with maybe getting some people’s opinions.

Bob:
Wow. We’ve gone through a lot. There’s a lot to this, Ron. I was telling you before we started today, you need to write a book on this. And he said, well, this is in several of your books. One that you wrote called “Faith Based Finances”. This step process is in there.

Ron:
Yes.

Bob:
Okay. All right. So that’s one, was there another one of your books you put this in there, too?

Ron:
Well, “Master Your Money” was the first book I wrote. And in reality, I built the financial planning firm using the decision making process. And the advice that we gave, financial planning was really decision-making, because people trying to do something with their finances. They have objectives with their finances. So what are those objectives? You know that so many people don’t know, they don’t have objectives. And so your job as an advisor is to help people think through the objectives that they have, and then you can talk about how we meet them financially. If you think of somebody thinking, okay, I want to plan towards retirement. Well, what are the criteria? You go through all those criteria and you can make a decision. Okay, we’re going to aim to have our house paid off by the time we hit retirement, for example. Well, now then, I’m doing something to meet a longterm objective that I’ve got in the financial planning. But financial planning is really financial decision making when it gets right down to it.

Bob:
So, Ron, while you were talking, I’ve got my bookshelves next to me. I just reached up and grabbed it. I got “Master Your Money” right in my hands when you redid it with Michael. I’m looking for that. Where is that in here in this book? I know what’s in here. I’ve read the book. I know it’s in here, so I’m going to go find it.

Ron:
Now, there should be a chapter on that. I don’t know it. No, I don’t.

Bob:
Okay. Alright. Well, I’ll look that up, but either way, I want all of you that are listening to know that we want to help you with this process by giving you these 10 steps and really giving you a criteria based decision model, as Ron calls it. Such an important subject. Ron, thank you for taking time out of your day, once again, to be on Christian Financial Perspectives. Hopefully, we’ll have you back some more. I mean, there’s just so much wisdom that you’ve gained over the years, and I love you, brother. I appreciate so much. You have been such a mentor to me, and I appreciate you being so obedient to the calling of God.

Ron:
Well, you’re very kind. One of the great joys that I’ve had is to be able to meet and work with people like yourself that are really serious about their faith and are really serious about serving their fellow man. I know that to be the case with you, Bob. This is not a job. This is a calling that you’re in.

Bob:
Amen. Amen to that. The last podcast was all about that – your calling. We all have a calling and a purpose and we need to find that, and God has that for us. So Ron, have a good rest of the day, have a good weekend, and I appreciate it. Until next time, you take care.

Ron:
Okay. Thank you, Bob. Good to be with you.

[CONCLUSION]

That’s all for now.

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[DISCLOSURES]

Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor. 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 host, Bob Barber. Bob does not provide tax advice and encourages you to seek guidance from a tax professional.