As Certified Financial Planner and a business owner wanting to grow her financial planning firm, this is not the best choice for a headline, but hear me out for a minute. 

Over the course of the last two years I have pondered many times about what happened to cause the financial crisis that we are facing today. The idea that so many people were drawn into the Ponzi scheme that Bernie Madoff led and so many other scams in cities and towns across the world had me baffled.   Every local paper has their version of a “Bernie Madoff” in their area.  So many people lost their way financially, which in turn has affected everyone.

I particularly wonder about Bernie Madoff.  He was a talented, intelligent man, developing some of the first technology used in stock market trading.  Why did he do it?  Why would he have needed to take from people when he was successful in his own right and had a bright future without theft?

When I read the quote from Luis Palau’s book “Heart after God”, I get a sense of what happened and how it could happen to any one of us at any time.  In the book Luis writes “Nobody gets fat overnight.  Immorality begins with tiny things, little things.  Yet if you don’t crucify them, if you don’t bring them to judgment, if you don’t face up to them for what they are, sin, they can destroy you.  They can blur your moral judgment at a critical irreversible junction in your life.  No one sees the little flaws, but everyone sees the big collapse”.

Small little sins that put together add up to big mistakes and a completely different life than God envisions for us.  A little here, a temptation there, a decision we make that we don’t think will matter much and it is a slippery slope downward.  It can send us on a completely different path. 

So how do we avoid this?  How do we not take that one left turn when we should have gone right?  Accountability.  Be accountable to God and someone else for the choices you make.  Be accountable financially, relationally, spiritually to at least one other person.

In the financial services industry there is a saying “When the tide goes out, you find out who has been swimming naked”.   The tide went out on financial prosperity in our country.  Where are you “swimming naked” in your life?   Where is that one wrong turn setting you up for the big collapse, the likes of Bernie Madoff?

Kristi L. Andersen is the principal of Kristi L. Financial Partners, LLC.  ( Securities offered through and Registered Representative of Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC.  Advisory services offered through AdvisorNet Financial if applicable.  Financial Network is not affiliated with Kristi L Andersen Financial Partners, LLC or AdvisorNet Financial.