Stewarding Finances Wisely in the Digital Age

Written by, Jonah Giller, Senior Financial Planner

I’ve become convinced that technology has stunted my spiritual growth. There are endless statistics out there about how long the average American spends on their phone and on social media, but here is one statistic I’ve heard recently that was particularly eye-opening. Human beings in the modern age typically lose focus after eight seconds, meanwhile the goldfish, famous for a short attention span will lose focus after nine. [1]  As I am typing these words, I’ve already checked my phone multiple times in between sentences. This attention deficit often impedes our ability to follow the command of the Lord “be still and know that I am God.”

Why am I as a financial planner so worried about this? I believe that our technology being designed to capture and hold our attention makes it even more difficult than it already is to be a faithful steward.

Think about this statistic: In 2022 Google made almost 225 billion dollars from advertising.[2]  Companies paid Google the equivalent of the gross domestic product of Finland to hold our attention so that they can sell us something. Social media is designed to be addictive for that reason, and one might say we live in the most consumeristic culture in history.

Technology has the ability to pull us away from a stewardship mindset and into a secular, consumeristic mindset. Not only do we consume countless ads every day, but we also consume an extensive amount of content in which our friends or celebrities show off their latest purchase, their latest trip, or their latest accomplishment. All of these things have the potential to turn a sinner’s heart down the path of envy and greed. When we desire more, it often results in being less generous.

Technology is not inherently bad, and there are aspects of technology that may even help us be better stewards. For example, budget tracking apps, giving online to organizations, apps that lead us in guided prayer, and instant access to the word of God are all ways technology benefits us. But as with all double-edged swords, it’s important that we are aware of the dangers.

So, what can we do about it? Naming technology as a temptation is a great first start. As a financial planner I feel like I am constantly talking with clients about the need for accountability. Let someone into your finances, someone who you trust that can see it from an outside perspective and hold you accountable to what you say is most important to you. Use a budgeting app on your phone to set limits to what you will allow yourself to spend.

Slow down, take some time away from your phone, and practice rest. I think of our society like cars on an oval track. We go around and around, moving at increasing speeds, but we don’t realize that the speed is increasing because everyone else is doing the same thing. We can only realize how fast we are going by removing ourselves from the situation. That’s how lifestyle creep can be resisted. Take a step back every now and then from technology to assess your mindset and desire for wanting more.

If you would like to learn more about stewarding your God-given resources, please reach out to us to speak with one of our advisors at info@bluetrust.com or by calling us at 1-800-987-2987.

[1] “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” by John Mark Comer
[2] Google Annual Report

 

 

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