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Matt Bell

Matt Bell

Managing Editor

Matt joined SMI in 2012. He leads SMI’s content strategy — managing the company’s monthly editorial calendar, writing many of the articles, sourcing content from outside the company, and either writing or overseeing much of what appears on our website. He also represents SMI in various radio guest appearances.

Prior to joining SMI, Matt was an independent biblical money management writer and speaker. He is the author of four personal finance books that were published by NavPress, including Money and Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples and The Grad’s Guide to Money (written for high school seniors and college freshmen). He does some outside speaking as well at churches, universities, conferences, and retreats throughout the country. Matt has been involved in stewardship ministry since 1990 when he began serving in the Good $ense ministry at Willowcreek Community Church.

Matt earned an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University and a graduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from DePaul University, where he wrote a thesis about the history and influence of our consumer culture.

Matt and his wife Jude have three children at home. 

Most Recent Articles

Money Roundup: A Bucket Portfolio Stress Test, The Greatest Strength of an Investor, and More

Some of the best recent investing and personal finance articles from around the web.

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Health Savings Account Benefits Still Underutilized

The use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) is growing rapidly, but users are not taking full advantage of all that the accounts have to offer. Those are some of the key findings in the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s (EBRI) fifth annual study on the state of HSAs.

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SMI Introduces Multiply: A Biblical Guide to Investing

We’re excited to announce the release of Multiply, a four-part video-based study designed to equip people with the knowledge, confidence, and biblical foundation they need to invest well. Intended for use by small groups or in a workshop setting, Multiply marks the culmination of many years of prayer and hard work.

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How to Navigate a Bumpy Market and Other Points to Ponder

How to navigate a bumpy market

“While no one ever knows for sure how long the volatility will stay with us, it’s important to remember that your actions aren’t nearly as important as your reactions during a bear market.”

– Ben Carlson, in a 12/27/18 post on his A Wealth of Common Sense blog, reminding readers that during times of market stress it’s especially important to be proactive in following your long-term strategy rather than reacting to big short-term market moves. Read more

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Money Roundup: Whether the Bucket Approach Destroys Wealth, What Will Set You Apart as an Investor, and More

Some of the best recent investing and personal finance articles from around the web.

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Will Retirement Change Your Identity?

A recent Harvard study found that new retirees often face not just a challenge about how to spend their time but an identity crisis as well. A Harvard Business Review article about the study opened with two key questions the author said are common among the newly retired: “Who am I now?” and “When people ask me what I do, what do I even tell them.”

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Money Roundup: Planners Have an Edge, Information Overload, and More

Some of the best recent investing and personal finance articles from around the web.

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Filling in the Missing Pieces

A comment made by comedian and actor Kevin Pollack — “nobody dabbles at dentistry” — has been making the rounds on the blogosphere, highlighted by marketing blogger Seth Godin and investment blogger Tadas Viskanta in recent posts.

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Money Roundup: Strong-Economy Selloffs, The Lessons of Market History, and More

Some of the more interesting/helpful recent investing and personal finance articles from around the web.

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What to Remember at a Time Like This

"People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed." – Samuel Johnson

For some investors, the last few months have been unsettling. After reaching an all-time high of 2,931 on September 20th, the S&P 500 has fallen 20%, closing at 2,351 on Christmas eve.

At times like this, it’s helpful to remember:

For a very long time, the market’s trend has been positive. (Read Investing With the Long-Term in Mind.)

One of the best tweets I’ve ever seen that makes this point so well is this one from Morgan Housel.

The market’s upward path has not been smooth. Instead, the stock market cycles between bull markets and bear markets. It’s just how the market works. And, while past performance doesn’t guarantee future performance, it is helpful to remember that bull markets have lasted longer than bear markets and they’ve added more value than bear markets have taken away.

Attempting to time the market is unwise, and unnecessary. (Read Resisting the Temptation of Market Timing.) Relying on hunches, intuition, or any other subjecive criteria to make changes to your portfolio is usually a recipe for financial and emotional pain. The objective signals built into Dynamic Asset Allocation and now Fund Upgrading 2.0 that tell you when to change asset classes (in the case of DAA) or move to cash with a portion of your portolio (in the case of Fund Upgrading 2.0) make such guesswork completely unnecessary.

Loss feels worse than gain feels good. (Read Learning to Accept Some Losses.) I don’t know why God designed us this way, but it’s a demonstrated fact that most people feel worse about losses than they feel good about wins. Keeping that in mind can help us feel the pain of a market downturn and keep moving forward with our plan.

Our investment portfolio is not the source of our security. (Read The Importance of Thinking Really Long-Term.)

At times like this, I take comfort — and I hope you do as well — by remembering:

  • That the market’s long-term trend has been positive.
  • That the market has achieved its long-term gains not by taking a smooth upward path, but by cycling between bull markets and bear markets.
  • That attempting to time the market is unwise, and unnecessary.
  • That it’s part of our human design to feel the pain of loss more acutely than the pleasure of gain.
  • And most of all, that for those who have placed their faith in Christ, our ultimate security is not found in our investment portfolio; it’s found in our relationship with Jesus. He assures us that He knows our needs and He promises to provide for us.

What have you found helpful in navigating the market’s recent volatility?

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