Am I Hedging My Bets? (Part 1)

2019-05-23T10:57:51-07:00 February 3rd, 2017|Tags: , , |

Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

In the December 2016 issue of The Economist, Philip Coggan, a columnist, prognosticated on the financial outlook for 2017, including the price of gold. “But gold is not just a hedge against inflation, it is also sought out in periods of political risk. And with the Trump administration apparently poised to pursue a more aggressive approach towards China and Iran, it is hard to believe that gold won’t find a few moments to shine in 2017.”

I have yet to find anyone who can accurately forecast the price of gold on a consistent basis. Decades ago, I was involved in an exercise to determine whether my Project Finance team at BMO should ever structure loans the terms of which resulted in the bank’s accepting gold price risk. A committee was struck comprising staff from three departments – the Mining Group, Economics and Project Finance. Ultimately, their recommendation (I cannot remember what it was) went to the CEO of BMO who promptly dismissed the exercise as futile and ruled that this was one risk the bank would not entertain!

The article in The Economist got me thinking about the concept of hedging. Notwithstanding my foregoing musings on the difficulty of forecasting gold’s price, gold and other precious metals are viewed by many as an excellent hedge against certain risks including runaway inflation. While hedging strategies might make sense when managing money, Jesus’ command to follow him implies that we are not to hedge against the perceived risk that he might let us down. From the Bible, it is clear that God will always be there for us regardless of our misgivings.

Hedging strategies might make sense when managing money, but not when it comes to faith.

So, here is my challenge to myself and other marketplace colleagues who have trusted in Jesus.

  • Have we hedged his guarantee of meeting our needs by treating our bank accounts and other assets as Plan A and his promises in the Bible as Plan B? The degree to which we hedge in the finance arena typically affects the amount of money we give to others.
  • Have we hedged his guarantee of wise direction for our lives by treating our intellectual capabilities and life experience as Plan A and His wisdom as Plan B? The degree to which we hedge in the wisdom arena typically affects the amount of time we devote to communion with him through reading the Bible, prayer and worship.

The foregoing is not to suggest that owning assets or using our intellect are bad in themselves. As a Christian, I believe they are gifts from God that we are to use. The issue is whether we put our reliance solely upon them. In reality, most of us are located somewhere on the continuum between total trust in God and self-sufficiency. Personally speaking, my goal is to keep moving the needle in the direction of total trust in God. How about you? How much do you hedge against being let down by God?

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.