April 27, 2019

How Adventists Spend Their Money, According to Top Business Magazine

Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review

One of the top business magazines in the United States recently published a story on Seventh-day Adventists and their relation to health and money.

The 1,900-word report posted by Forbes magazine on April 16, 2019, entitled “How the Oldest People in America’s Blue Zone Make Their Money Last,” was written by contributor Richard Eisenberg.

The author visited Loma Linda, California, United States, one of the so-called Blue Zones, a term coined by National Geographic writer Dan Buettner to designate “longevity pockets” around the world. Loma Linda is considered to be one of those pockets, as a significant percentage of residents are healthy and active even in their 80s, 90s, or beyond. Many of those residents are Seventh-day Adventists, as the article acknowledges.

In his story, Eisenberg refers to how Seventh-day Adventists eat, work, exercise, and keep socially active, and — in tune with Forbes magazine’s focus on finance and investing — how they save and spend their money, especially during the retirement years.

Beyond Food Choices

Not surprisingly, the Forbes story mentions that Seventh-day Adventists — whom Eisenberg describes as “energetic, upbeat, and social” — “typically don’t drink alcohol or smoke.” He also writes that “they are frequently vegan and favor nuts.”

But the author does not dwell on food choices so much as he emphasizes many residents’ focus on exercise, recreation, and social ties. He quotes Loma Linda’s city manager, Jarb Thaipejr, who told him, “Vitality is a good term for [Loma Linda seniors]. There’s a different mindset.… Instead of competition, it’s more focused on community, compassion, and cooperation.”

Eisenberg also quotes Michael Orlich, one of the lead investigators of what he terms “Loma Linda University’s famed Adventist Health Study.” Orlich delved into research-based evidence that shows reductions in the risk of getting conditions such as cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer. Or, as Orlich acknowledged to Eisenberg, Seventh-day Adventists seem to get those conditions much later in life. “They seem to occur later,” Orlich said.

Seventh-day Adventists and Money

Understandably, Forbes discusses Seventh-day Adventists’ relation to money, especially during the retirement years. Eisenberg mentions that across the United States, running out of money before a person dies has recently been ranked as the number-one fear of seniors.

Loma Linda Seventh-day Adventists, Eisenberg explained, usually have a different attitude. “The reason they tend not to worry about running out of money … is that they’ve saved and invested diligently,” he wrote.

The Forbes article also quotes retired pastor Dan Matthews, who explained to Eisenberg how tithe and offerings work for Seventh-day Adventists. “No money we earn … is totally ours; 90 percent is ours, and 10 percent belongs to God,” Matthews is quoted as saying. “We always return … a faithful 10-percent tithe, and it probably turns out to be more like 20 percent.”

Eisenberg also stresses Loma Linda Adventists’ frugality, as they don’t spend on cigarettes and alcohol, avoid buying meat, often grow their own vegetables, and eat out at restaurants sparingly.

Where Health and Money Intersect

Forbes mentions the intersection between health and money as seen in Loma Linda Adventists. Diet and exercise, the article explains, can help keep health-care costs down.

The story also stresses the role of Bible study groups and friendship circles among Loma Linda Adventists, which, according to Eisenberg, “help relieve money concerns.”

“Loma Linda Adventists tend to be cheery and sociable, which keeps their stress levels down and, in turn, their health costs,” writes Eisenberg. He quotes 94-year-old resident Leland Juhl, who said, “Stress is definitely a killer; with prayer and turning things over to the Lord, there’s less stress.”

Imitating Seventh-day Adventists

Eisenberg’s commendatory piece calls readers to take note and catch on to some of the Loma Linda Seventh-day Adventists’ habits for healthy living and money management.

It starts, he stressed, with taking care of one’s health. According to Eisenberg, it is something that not only can save thousands of dollars in health-care costs during the retirement years but also help one to be more intentional in financial planning.

“Because the older people in Loma Linda expect to live long lives, they plan intentional ways to live them out well and not run out of money,” Eisenberg wrote.

He also calls for readers to imitate Adventists’ industriousness as a way of keeping mentally and physically fit.

“Working not only provides income; it helps you stay mentally engaged, and that’s good for your health,” Eisenberg quotes 86-year-old Loma Linda resident Bob Bass as saying.

It is an industriousness, Eisenberg writes, that includes a needed day of rest, as Loma Linda Adventists don’t work from sundown Friday through sundown Saturday.

Health-conscious living, focus on keeping and enlarging one’s social network, careful investment planning, and making the most of government initiatives for seniors can go a long way to helping people thrive in their senior years, Eisenberg believes.

Those are things that “could help people make their money last anywhere,” he said.