Faith, family, finance and a familiar face

Christina Winch never set out to be a pioneer in women’s finance. She was just happy to give advice when people asked. “I was teaching in high school and when somebody asked me a question about their money, I’d give them an answer. And then another person would ask and then another and it blossomed from there,” she said. Soon, the English teacher was hosting informal financial seminars after school in the lunchroom. She loved encouraging people to take control of their finances and saw a genuine need to help people who had no idea how to plan for their retirement. So, she earned her licenses and began a formal shift into the financial world. In 1981, Christina opened a financial advisory firm and, 40 years later, many of the teachers who attended those lunchroom sessions are still her clients, along with more than 800 other people from around the country. “Christina is an energetic, gregarious person who enjoys engaging others,” said Bev Underwood, a former teacher and current client who used to attend those lunchroom sessions. “Whether teaching or financial planning, one needs to connect with people; the skills overlap.” Bev and Christina used to carpool to the high school, along with two other teachers. “In addition to being economical, the camaraderie and laughs made the journey fun for all,” Bev said. “Before leaving for school Christina would make breakfast (often pancakes) for (her kids) and leave them in that new kitchen appliance, the microwave. She wanted them to be well fed and ready to learn when they headed out to school.” Today, all three of Christina’s adult children are licensed financial advisors working in the firm. In both teaching and financial planning, Christina has enjoyed offering conventional wisdom in unconventional ways. She designed and taught “the Bible as literature” to high-risk public high school students and they loved the class. In fact, they often stop in to catch… | Read More »

Crowned with compassion and love

Seasons change (especially here in Wisconsin); technology rapidly becomes obsolete; the markets go up and down. But, one thing has remained constant in my life since I first launched this business 36 years ago: the relationships I enjoy. My clients become my dearest friends and I take this dual association to heart.  We cover finances and goals in our meetings, but we also talk about faith, family, politics and pop culture. Recently, one of my clients brought me a psalm to read that had been very inspirational to her. It touched me then, just as it did when I first read it as a 12-year old first exploring her faith. Psalm 103 reminds us that we are not alone in this world, that we are loved by a God who crowns us with love and compassion. I’m sharing it with you today because I hope, no matter what your faith, you might find it inspiring as well. As many of you know, I designed a course called “the Bible as Literature” for at-risk high school students many years ago. The class proved to be life changing for both the students and their teacher.  We learned from each other that the world need not be as scary or lonely as we may have thought. Psalm 103 also inspired me to accept an invitation to help found an organization now called Kingdom Advisors. That first year, we had 50 members, all certified financial planners seeking a Biblically-based organization that also was focused on providing excellent financial advice and guidance. Today, Kingdom Advisors has become a global organization. In fact, as I do every year, I will be attending the Kingdom Advisors National Conference in February and I know I’ll return brimming with fresh enthusiasm. If you’d like more information about Kingdom Advisors, check out the scroller on our home page, or click on this link. I hope you’ll find Psalm 103 as… | Read More »

10 ways to enjoy #GivingTuesday

In a sometimes alarmingly hash-tag driven world, we’re happy to support today’s. #GivingTuesday, a global movement to drive much needed funds to appropriate charities, backs up its social media cache with genuine results. Launched in 2012, the movement didn’t really take root until the following year, when it raised $19 million. Those funds grew 63% the following year to $45.68 million, and 145% in 2015 to $117 million, according to In addition to raising money, the #GivingTuesday movement encourages people to be kind. The idea is to share the warm fuzzies by posting an “unselfie” (a picture of you doing something selfless) and/or donating your time or money to a nonprofit in your community. You become part of the community by posting about your efforts, using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. Today, we’re encouraging each other and you, to enjoy yourself on this #GivingTuesday.  Here are some ways you can participate: Donate blood Visit a retirement center and chat with a resident there Support your favorite charity with a financial gift Help a neighbor get the yard in shape for winter Write a letter to a member of the military Buy coffee for a stranger Volunteer at a local animal shelter or food pantry Offer to drive an elderly friend on his/her errands Invite a lonely friend to dinner Write a thank-you note to someone who doesn’t expect it Of course, we encourage you to check out your charities carefully before you donate. Many companies are offering matches in honor of #GivingTuesday, so make sure you take advantage of the opportunities to double the impact of your donation as well. We hope you enjoy #GivingTuesday and join us in celebrating the spirit of kindness  throughout the holiday season.

The Richest Man in Babylon should be required reading

There’s something mystical and thrilling about books – the excitement of choosing which new book you will get to sample, the smell of the paper, the feel of the pages in your hand, the new characters that become almost friends. If you are a Nook reader, it remains just as stimulating – an awakening  where you can gather knowledge and be transported to another world, all through the power of words!  Books are my thing.  In general, I have approximately four books going at once: For the spirit Straight fiction (allowed only at the gym as motivation) Some sort of self-help To better my working financial knowledge. In all honesty, I have not been held particularly rapt by the last book category, not for lack of interest but because many of the books are simply difficult to digest.  For that exact reason, I am writing a series on financial books, to help you pick some easy-to-read and really informative financial literature.  If you have already read the book I suggest, then GREAT.  Maybe even read it again?!  If you have not read it, I hope you’ll give it a try. I believe that almost everyone age 14 or older will absorb a great deal out of The Richest Man In Babylon by George S. Clason ©1926.  In fact, I feel it should be required reading in both high schools and universities.  My copy has large print and only 158 pages.  It is a quick read, with easy to understand suggestions and practical applications.  Additionally, it is entertaining in an almost cinematic way. Overview It is a book of parables set in ancient Babylon.  It focuses on two best friends (Bansir and Kobbi) who have worked hard but have nothing to show for it.  They ask a third friend (Arkad), who has accumulated much wealth and is a happy man, how he did it.   Arkad wisely instructs his friends, “no man… | Read More »

God makes all things beautiful

I am asking you all to pray today for Syria and for the safety and well-being of Syrian refugees. Since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, more than half the population has been displaced creating 4 million refugees. The scenes have been heartbreaking – small children dying in desperate attempts to flee the war-torn region, older people begging to be allowed to cross borders, and temporary camps unable to handle the overflow. According to a United Nations report, four out of every five Syrian now lives in poverty, 30% of them in abject poverty and the country’s fundamental resources – education, health and social welfare – have all collapsed. I don’t have any answers to what’s happening in Syria, but, as I sat in church on a peaceful Sunday in Wisconsin and listened to a favorite hymn, I did have this thought:  God makes all things beautiful. What that means to me is that we should act with compassion toward the Syrian refugees, support them in any way we can, and pray for a resolution to their plight. As always in situations that garner global headlines, I caution you to vet the charities to which you donate carefully. Because more than 8,000 children have crossed the border out of Syria alone, I also support the United States Fund for UNICEF. Founded in 1947, the fund directs more than 90% of its donations to the program and only 2 percent to administrative cost. There are other worthy Christian charities as well, including Lutheran World Relief and Christian World Relief. I also will pray for the refugees and for the countries that house them.  If you don’t believe in God, send positive thoughts. As Pope Francis says, the issue is to obey your conscience. May God bless the beautiful people of Syria and all refugees.