Stewardship: Integrating faith & finances
I worked in the hospitality industry for several years after college and met a lot of wonderful people who were our customers. One of these individuals worked for the firm that is now known as Everence and slowly recruited me into the financial-services business. He thought I had the right personality and work ethic. The rest is history. I have always had that service mentality, and it is very satisfying to be able to apply it on behalf of my clients in areas that are extremely important to their families’ futures.
people that have an “others mindset,” a service to others mentality. A lot of people in the traditional Anabaptist church have a culture of mission and volunteer service and want to serve others in their professions. A lot of my initial client relationships were with nurses, teachers, doctors, pastors, and so forth—people who were directly influencing the lives of others.
But my practice has broadened out now beyond the church. My prospects are generally pre-retirees and retirees from all walks of life, including many business owners. The bulk of my clients are over the age of 50 and tend to be more on the financially conservative side. Risk management is an important component of my work with clients in all areas.
A very different scenario occurred in 2007 through 2009. My primary thought then was how can we prevent this from happening again? I began looking for strategies that would help mitigate extreme market risk while still giving clients the ability to stay competitive in terms of returns. My investment philosophy has really switched to the idea that if we can avoid those large portfolio drawdowns, we do not have to take on nearly as much risk in bullish periods to achieve acceptable returns for clients.
I have never been one to passively stand still and just accept the status quo. So I sought out active money managers who could provide the type of risk management I wanted for my client base. Those managers and I share the same philosophy broadly speaking—the best defense tends to win the game over the long haul.
I also discuss what the appropriate benchmark is for evaluation of performance. This is not the S&P 500. If an index has the capability of going down over 50%, as it did during the financial crisis, how does that make sense as a standard they should be concerned with? A goals-based approach is far more appropriate.
It all depends on the client’s needs: their risk profile, their goals, and their time frame. I will often use a blend of passive, longer-term strategies, some of our own proprietary portfolio approaches, and more active strategies provided through third-party managers. So whether it’s tactical, trend following, or technical, there are all kinds of different strategies that we may use to complement a client’s core holdings. For clients that are interested in more of a values orientation to investing, we also have several ways to apply social screens to investment selections or use third-party funds that also do this.
Jay Kready combined his background in service with his interest in finances when he became an Everence financial advisor at the Mount Joy office in 2002. He is part of a larger team of advisors in the Lancaster region and appreciates “the great team approach and resources of Everence.” He also enjoys “working with clients in a faith-based setting.”
Mr. Kready has a passion for helping his clients set and accomplish financial goals, especially in the areas of retirement and tax planning. His relationship with Everence encourages a philosophy of giving back to the church and a shared worldview of being focused on the needs of others. Mr. Kready says he is “committed to service” and desires to “help people find solutions to the stewardship opportunities and challenges they face.”
A graduate of Penn State, Mr. Kready pursued studies in the areas of recreation, hospitality, and parks management. He spent several years in the hospitality industry, including time as an institutional food service director. He says his career change into financial services “was the best decision I ever made and allows me to directly make a positive difference in peoples’ lives.”
Mr. Kready and his wife, Jennifer, have three children and attend Manheim Brethren in Christ Church. In his free time, he enjoys a variety of outdoor activities and coaching his children’s sports teams.
Disclosure: Advisory services offered through Everence Trust Company and Investment Advisors, a division of ProEquities Inc., Registered Investment Advisors. Securities offered through ProEquities Inc., a registered broker-dealer, member FINRA and SIPC. Investments and other products are not NCUA or otherwise federally insured, may involve loss of principal and have no credit union guarantee. Everence entities are independent from ProEquities Inc.
Post-production note: In July 2021, ProEquities Inc. became Concourse Financial Group Securities Inc.
Photography by Jeremy Hess