Member Spotlight: Dan Celia of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries
Michael Miller · Mar 01, 2016
Dan Celia entered the radio business “kicking and screaming” in 1997.
“I hated every minute of it,” he says.
He kept it part time at first, preferring to spend his time on his businesses, including a $900 million trust that he managed. But, in 2006, God nudged him to do the radio program full time as a use for all of the “useless information in my brain.” Information like what DuPont stock sold for five years before and what coffee futures were in previous years.
Now Financial Issues is in nearly 400 radio markets and on three television networks, putting Dan’s wisdom into potentially 80 million homes from 9 to 11 a.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday.
And he doesn’t hate it anymore.
Financial Issues focuses on the economy, politics as it relates to the economy, and individual investment strategies for people who call the program.
Most importantly, Dan, who lives with his wife, Yvonne, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, talks about being good stewards with the money God has given us.
“My goal is to teach and to encourage God’s people to be Biblically responsible with their money,” he says.
That includes prudent investment strategies and, especially, investment in companies and funds that do not violate Biblical principles.
“We can’t put our money in funds and companies that support abortion and pornography,” he says.
As a result, Dan openly promotes and partners with organizations like the Timothy Fund for investors and Samaritan Ministries for health care.
His emphasis on values has gotten the attention of major corporations when they’ve adopted policies to appease the cultural Left, too.
“In the last 18 months, I’ve spoken to seven major corporations that have called me, five of them Fortune 50 companies,” Dan says. “They would say, ‘We saw you took us off your list (of investments).”
For instance, when he met with Caterpillar Inc. officials, he told them that “All I’m asking is that you build the best bulldozers you can build. Stay out of the Left. Stay out of the Right. Let the cultural warriors on the Left and on the Right defend and fight for what they want, and you guys stay out of it.”
He’s had the same conversation, he says, with Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and DuPont.
“I think that God is using what we are doing in a powerful way, because above all else, we’re going to be a Christ-centered organization no matter what,” Dan says. “We’re doing what is right for His people and the country, and we’re going to stick to it.”
Dan has studied or managed money all of his adult life. After serving in the military from 1971-77, he studied economics and finance, gravitating toward the former.
“It’s research oriented,” he says. “I love doing research.”
After graduating with a degree in applied economics, he got a job with an investment firm and commuted from Philadelphia to New York City as a bond trader. The commuting ended with his marriage to Yvonne in 1980. He started his own investment firm and then a trust company.
“I consider myself a behavioral economist,” he says. “It’s a lost art on Wall Street.”
A “behavioral economist” looks at the behavior of corporate America, its view of macroeconomics, and how corporations are reacting to it.
“I’m doing the same with the consumer side of it,” he says. “What I try to do is keep an ear to what’s happening on Main Street. I do all the fundamental economics I have to, but I take it a step beyond that.”
Dan aims to empower the common investing Christian by first telling them it’s OK to make money, just manage it in a way that honors God. That’s done by ethical investing. Then he guides them, through his program, web site, partnership program, DVDs, and newsletter.
“I try to teach them how to be prudent, conservative, and honor the Lord with their investments, and be satisfied with what they’re making,” he says. “If they’re making 3 percent when everybody else is making 5 percent, that’s fine. In the case of 2015, if they’re making 2 percent and everybody else is losing 5 percent, they’re doing very well.”
Above all, Dan says, have firm footing on the Gospel. Without that, anyone’s investments are going to be shaky.
He says the “pivotal verse” of Financial Issues is 1 Corinthians 4:1-2:
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
“Paul is saying after a very long discourse in chapter 3, ‘OK, now that you are believers, you have a responsibility for the sacred mysteries of God.’ He’s talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you aren’t first trying to understand and look towards being a good steward of the Gospel, of your testimony, of your walk, I don’t know if you can be a good steward of your finances. You have to have a cornerstone on which you’re standing to be a good steward of your finances.”
Dan strives to stay grounded on that cornerstone. Yvonne helps.
“She is just such a big part and always has been of everything that I’ve ever done,” Dan says. “She’s my reality check for everything. She does everything she can to make sure I’m understanding that everything I have or everything I’ve done is of God and for God.
“I pray that I never ever forget what God has done.”