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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: The Markets Don’t Care, Crowded at the Top, and More

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

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The Investor’s Challenge: Making Peace With Doubt and Disappointment

In James Clear’s powerful book, Atomic Habits, he recalls a conversation he had with an elite weightlifting coach. Clear asked him, “What’s the difference between the best athletes and everyone else? What do the really successful people do that most don’t?”

After mentioning several factors Clear expected, such as genetics, luck, and talent, the coach added one Clear didn’t expect: “At some point it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day, doing the same lifts over and over and over.”

This notion of doing the work — of patiently working a plan and taking the right steps every day, even when you don’t want to, and in the face of a culture that is all about instant results — is how all great successes are achieved.

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Are You Making Any of These Common Investing Mistakes?

Mistakes. All investors have made a few. And many later say the lessons they learned “the hard way” have been among the most beneficial parts of their investor education.
 
Perhaps just as helpful — and certainly far less painful — are lessons learned from other people’s mistakes. So for this article, we’ve asked SMI readers to share some of their hard-earned investing lessons.

It’s an uncomfortable fact of life: We tend to learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Owning up to the ways we mess up may be emotionally difficult, but it’s an excellent path toward improvement. That’s undoubtedly true in investing. Recently we asked SMI members to tell us about their most significant investing mistakes. We’re grateful for all who told us their stories. Here are a few of the lessons they learned.

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Who Needs the Stock Market?

In celebration of SMI’s 30th anniversary, we’re highlighting core beliefs and principles that guide our work. The essential service we offer includes stock market investing strategies, so it may seem obvious that we believe in the stock market. However, especially when the market gets bumpy, as it has this year, it’s worth reiterating why we believe so much in the value of the stock market.

On February 19 this year, the S&P 500 closed at an all-time high, only to plummet 1,149 points over the next 16 trading days in a stunning -34% decline. Never before had the market fallen so far so fast. Three days later, it had regained nearly 400 points. By early June, it had zigged and zagged its way back to within 154 points of its February high. But its path was — and still is — highly volatile, with many days of triple-digit point gains and losses.

While the stock market isn’t usually this exciting, it isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, to invest in the stock market, it’s best to check your heart at the door. But not your brain. If you look at it logically, investing in the stock market makes complete sense.

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The Risk in the Mirror and Other Points To Ponder

Democratizing gambling

They make it so easy for people that don’t know anything about stocks. Then you go there and you start to lose money.”

– Navy medic Richard Dobatse, who made and then lost nearly $1 million trading stocks through the online broker, Robinhood. His story was told in a 7/8/20 New York Times article, which described the trading platform’s unique customer base: “More than at any other retail brokerage firm, Robinhood’s users trade the riskiest products and at the fastest pace…. The average age is 31…and half of its customers had never invested before.” Read more at nyti.ms/2CTd3AA.

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Money Roundup: Shiller Expects Lasting Economic Pain, The Greatest Danger for Investors, and More

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

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Took an RMD This Year? You Can Put it Back

Joseph called attention to an issue in a recent Friday roundup that we thought important enough — and relevant to enough of our readers — to warrant a separate article.

The issue? That if you took a required minimum distribution (RMD) from a retirement account earlier this year, before passage of the CARES Act, you can put the money back if you’d like to, thereby avoiding paying tax on the distribution and giving your tax-deferred account balances more time to grow.

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Money Roundup: Navigating a Scary Stock Market, A Recession Like No Other, and More

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

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The Education of an Investor

When I joined Sound Mind Investing in April 2012, I had more than two decades of experience writing and speaking about biblical money management. However, I would have been the first to say that investing was my weakest link. My education as an investor truly began when I joined SMI.

What follows are some of the main lessons I’ve learned over the past eight years. SMI’s goal is to help every member grow in the following areas, improving their financial condition as they simultaneously grow closer to Christ.

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Living Free From the Bondage of Debt

In light of SMI’s 30th anniversary, we think it’s appropriate to highlight the core financial principles we stand behind. We’ll roll them out over the next several months, starting this month here in Level One.

The Bible on debt

The Bible never describes taking on debt as a sin. However, Proverbs 22:7 warns that debt can enslave us: “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

Becoming enslaved to debt is contrary to how Jesus desires for us to live. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

The Apostle Paul reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made so we could experience such a life: “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings” (1 Corinthians 7:23).

Financially, a crucial aspect of experiencing life “to the full” is living free from the bondage of debt. With the above biblical framework in mind, let’s consider some practical applications related to debt.

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