Session 1

WHO NEEDS THE STOCK MARKET?

KEY IDEA: To provide for your family over the long-term, you will need to set aside a portion of what you earn today and invest it wisely. For most people, the stock market provides the best investment opportunities.


DISCUSSION STARTER

Introduce yourself to others in your group. Then have each person take 30-60 seconds to summarize how they feel about investing. Are you knowledgeable and confident about investing? Intimidated by the stock market? Not certain how to invest? There are no right or wrong answers. Just say what comes most quickly to mind when you think about investing. 

Part of the pre-work involved placing yourself somewhere on a 1-to-10 scale of investing experience, where 1 means you’re an “investing newbie” and 10 means you’re an “experienced investor.” Where did you place yourself and why?

You were also asked to memorize Proverbs 21:5. Would two or three people recite that verse?


GROUP PRAYER

Before watching the video, pray as you feel led, perhaps thanking God that He brought each person to this study and asking Him to use the study to help everyone become better stewards of all that He has generously entrusted to your care.



WATCH THE VIDEO

VIDEO OUTLINE

The Bible says a lot about money. An important example is found in the Parable of the Talents, where Jesus describes a wealthy person who entrusts his property to three servants while he is away.

One day the master returns to settle accounts with the three servants. Two of them doubled what was entrusted to them and the master had strong words of affirmation for them.

But the third servant was afraid of the master, so he hid what was entrusted to him and gave it back to the master upon his return. He didn’t lose any of the money, but he didn’t do anything productive with it either. Because of that, the master rebuked him.

The Parable of the Talents shows the foundation of biblical money management. God is the creator and owner of everything. You are a steward, and it is your responsibility to manage God’s resources faithfully, productively—to multiply them.

One of your specific stewardship responsibilities is to provide for your family.


Providing — Now and in the Future

While you’re working, you provide for your family through your income. In order to keep providing for your family in your later years—in retirement—you’ll have to set aside some of your income and manage that money in a way that makes it grow.

There are two key issues here:

• Setting aside enough money 

• Managing that money productively

Realistically, your retirement could last for 20 years or more, which means you’ll need to have a lot of money saved by the time you retire. In addition, old style pensions largely have been replaced with 401(k) plans, which means you’re responsible for managing your retirement account.

Stock Market Essentials 

While there are many ways to invest, for most people, the stock market offers the best opportunities.

A share of stock represents ownership in a company. The stock market is where shares of companies are bought and sold.

As you can see, the long-term returns from the stock market have been better than most other asset classes, such as bonds, gold, real estate, and cash, and they have been about three times higher than the inflation rate.1 

1In Session 2, there will be more information about building a diversified portfolio.  


‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’

Albert Einstein reportedly described compounding as “the eighth wonder of the world.” It is one of the most important concepts in investing.

To understand how compounding works, assume you invest $200 and earn 10% in each of the next two years. After the first year, you’ll end up with $220. Your $200 will have earned 10%, or $20. The next year, you won’t just earn another $20; you’ll earn $22. That’s because your original $200 will have earned 10% and so will the $20 you earned last year. That might not seem like a very big deal, but over time, the power of compounding can turn a little bit of money into a lot.

For example, let’s say a 20-year-old investor named Claire invested $200 per month, kept at it for 50 years, and generated an average annual return of 7%1. At age 70, she will have invested $120,000. But because of her 7% average annual return, the power of compounding will have turned her $120,000 into nearly $1.1 million!

How to Maximize Compounding

The keys to Claire’s success: 

• Consistent investing

• A good rate of return

• Time

As the Bible says,

All three keys are important: Investing a portion of every dollar you earn, generating a good rate of return, and giving it time. 

In Session 4, you’ll learn how to figure out how much you should invest each month to meet your retirement goals. 

1. As we just saw, the long-term average annual return of the U.S. stock market has been 10%. We’re using 7% in this example because it would be wise for Claire to make her portfolio less aggressive as she gets older (For example, moving from 100% stocks to 80% stocks/20% bonds and then 60% stocks/40% bonds), which would lower her potential returns

To illustrate the importance of generating a good rate of return, let’s compare Claire’s results with those of her friend, Alex. He got started with investing when he was 20 years old as well. He also invested $200 per month and kept at it for 50 years. However, Alex chose more conservative investments, which generated a 6% average annual return, compared to the 7% Claire earned. As a result, at age 70, he ended up with $760,000—far less than the nearly $1.1 million Claire accumulated.

To illustrate the importance of time, let’s look at another one of Claire’s friends, William, who got off to a later start with investing. Beginning at age 30, he invested $200 per month and generated the same 7% average annual return that Claire generated. However, he paid a big price for his later start. While he invested just $24,000 less than Claire, he ended up with about $500,000 less.

No matter how old you are, the sooner you get the power of compounding working for you, the better.

GROUP PRAYER

Close your group time in prayer.

HOMEWORK

Take it to Heart

One key lesson from the Parable of the Talents is that God is the creator and owner of everything, and you are a manager of all that has been temporarily entrusted to your care. To further reinforce God’s ownership of everything, read the following verses:

Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things” - 1 Chr. 29:11-12, emphasis added.


The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” - Psalm 24:1-2, emphasis added

For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it.” - Psalm 50:10-12 (NLT), emphasis added 

Take Action

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GRAND TOTAL

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2. How much are you contributing to your retirement account(s) each month? .

3. If applicable, how much are you saving for your kids’ future college costs each month? .

4. How much are you contributing to any other investment account each month? .

5. What’s the total amount you are investing each month and what percentage of your household’s monthly gross income is that? . %