Deep Wealth: An Exploration of Money, Meaning, & What Really Matters [Book Review]

Having an active website on the blogosphere has allowed me to connect with other authors, leaders, influencers, and decision makers from a variety of sectors and industries, and from all across the globe. And since my primary focus in life, work, and ministry, is connecting the biblical principles of disciple-making movements and apostolic church planting, with the rapidly expanding mission field that exists in today’s marketplace, I always enjoy connecting with other Kingdom-minded “change agents” and believers who are positively affecting their workplace with their faith and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One such acquaintance, is Chad Hamilton, CFP ®, author of the new book, Redefining Financial Freedom: A Gospel-Based Approach to Money (PFI Publishing: Denver, 2016) and Deep Wealth: An Exploration of Money, Meaning, and What Really Matters (PFI Publishing: Denver, 2015). Chad and I share many similar interests, including both having a background in financial services, and a shared understanding of money as a heavenly resource from God, that requires intense responsibility, integrity, and stewardship.

Chad’s newest book, Redefining Financial Freedom: A Gospel-Based Approach to Money looks at three main money questions: I.) “How did you get it?” (Vocation), II.) “What are you doing with it?” (Investing), and III.) “What is it doing to you?” (Generosity). Redefining Financial Freedom is a book I’d highly recommend as it shows how true freedom is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not in the idolatry or apathy of money.

In this post, however, I’d like to dig deeper into Chad’s previous book, Deep Wealth: An Exploration of Money, Meaning, and What Really Matters. In this work, Chad focuses on the internal motivators that drive our financial decision making. He argues that economics is less about rational choice and more about emotional desire. Noting that America is the most prosperous country in the history of the world, he also cites the rising debt pandemic across our country, the increasing amounts of personal bankruptcies, and the apparent lack of planning by the senior generation for retirement.

In his comments about the abundance of financial resources and the obvious lack of consumer discipline, I was reminded of a quote by businessman and sales coach, Brian Buffini: “We are drowning in information yet starving for wisdom”. Chad’s book, Deep Wealth: An Exploration of Money, Meaning, and What Really Matters stands out as a lighthouse, providing safe direction and much needed wisdom amid the current tumultuous financial seas.

Chad notes that behavioral economics only goes so far in leading us to the answer for our financial problems. The “how” doesn’t matter until someone understands the “why”. Chad states that “When it comes down to it, you really have one of two options: You can use your life to make money (chase little dreams). Or you can use your money to make a life (follow big dreams)” (pg. 5).

Essentially, what he is saying is that the need to change has to be real, authentic, and the true motivator for change, before financial education can have the intended effect. These two questions: 1.) “What do you have?” and 2.) “What do you believe?” provide the ideological framework for the books contents.

In Section I: Human Capital (The Seed), Chad discusses key questions about our financial worldview, which include the subject of work, beliefs about money, finding true meaning in life, and discovering purpose. He argues how discerning the latter will lead to both passion and our untapped potential when we pursue inspiring dreams rather than just practical plans.

The bulk of Section II: Spiritual Capital (The Soil), centralizes on the four core “Money Personality Types”.  1.) The Pleasure Seeker: characterized by Marlon Brando, 2.) The Mogul, represented by Donald Trump, 3.) The Guardian, portrayed by Howard Hughes, and 4.) The Star, as seen in the life of Andrew Carnegie.

The Pleasure Seeker is driven by comfort and aspires to having freedom. The Mogul seeks power and wants his image or status to be displayed for all to admire. The Guardian wants control and security, and The Star’s driving emotion is approval from others and has an ultimate aspiration of love and self-worth. The historical characters exemplified in these four generic stereotypes are telling.

While Marlon Brando, is an apparent enigma, his talent was obvious. When it comes to the characterization of money and this personality type, the themes of indulgence and apathy become apparent. As Chad describes, “An endless array of possibilities and choices can be paralyzing” (pg. 69). While Donald Trump has been in the eye of a media storm for the last 12 – 16 months or so for his surprising rise to GOP presidential candidate fame, despite his over-inflated ego, his popular nomination is yet to be secured. If it will happen, our country will need to learn how to deal, and possibly even overcome, the psychographics described by Chad Hamilton in the identification of this personality. Negative character traits include narcissistic arrogance, a habit of manipulation and intimidation, the ability to provoke fear in others, and a disconnection from reality. The completive nature of pride and an unhealthy desire to win is a dangerous and often illegal combination when it comes to financial matters.

The Guardian, illustrated by the late and equally erratic, Howard Hughes is another portrayal of rich dysfunction. Of all the obsessive compulsive idiosyncrasies of Howard Hughes, Chad focuses on the billionaire aviator’s desire for control, to the point of an attempted avoidance of any contact with germs. He makes the point that “Having money can create the illusion of being in control of a life or destiny” (pg. 77). This is, of course, ludicrous. Only God is in control.

The Star, as represented by the rags to riches story of steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie is a great tale of the need for approval many feel. Even as an accomplished industrialist, and at one time, the world’s richest man, Carnegie still collected a number of newspaper comments that he kept in a file labeled “Gratitude and Sweet Words”. I suppose some people just need their ego stroked every now and then. Bit in the end, our affirmation should not be determined by our asset sheets, bank accounts, or stock options. Instead, our identity comes from Christ, and Christ alone.

In Section III.) Financial Capital (The Green) Chad begins to connect the financial nuts and bolts with the philosophical principles outlined in the first two sections. In this third part, he covers the topics of investing with conviction, portfolio construction, retirement and estate planning, and insurance.

Finally, in Section IV.) Social Capital (The Fruit), Chad uncovers the myths of the self-made man, stresses the point of being a part of a larger story, and admonishes a form of servant leadership, perfectly displayed by Jesus Christ with a parallel of qualities from Jim Collins’ Level 5 Leader in Good to Great.

Again, the themes of biblical stewardship, hope and freedom in Christ, run throughout the book. Deep Wealth: An Exploration of Money, Meaning, and What Really Matters by Chad Hamilton, CFP ® is a wonderful guide that can really help millions of people understand how their money matters to God.

You can read more about Chad’s newest book, Redefining Financial Freedom through my review here

And here is my author interview with Chad

Deep Wealth

Advertisements

Money Talks – So What is It Saying About You? [Book Review]

Having an active website on the blogosphere has allowed me to connect with other authors, leaders, influencers, and decision makers from a variety of sectors and industries, and from all across the globe. And since my primary focus in life, work, and ministry, is connecting the biblical principles of disciple-making movements and apostolic church planting, with the rapidly expanding mission field that exists in today’s marketplace, I always enjoy connecting with other Kingdom-minded “change agents” and believers who are positively affecting their workplace with their faith and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One such acquaintance, is Chad Hamilton, CFP ®, author of the new book, Redefining Financial Freedom: A Gospel-Based Approach to Money (PFI Publishing: Denver, 2016) and Deep Wealth: An Exploration of Money, Meaning, and What Really Matters (PFI Publishing: Denver, 2015). Chad and I share many similar interests, including both having a background in financial services, and a shared understanding of money as a heavenly resource from God, that requires intense responsibility, integrity, and stewardship.

Chad’s new book, Redefining Financial Freedom: A Gospel-Based Approach to Money address, what I think, is one of the most critical factors in stewarding finances, namely, the issue of idolatry. Jesus said you can’t serve both God and Mammon (or money, see Matthew 6:24), and in fact, our Lord actually teaches more about money and stewardship than he does even prayer.

Jesus knew that we become like what we worship. If we worship the Lord and handle our money in a biblical, God-honoring way, then we are more closely being made into His image. Its Christ’s character formed in us. If however, we idolize money, putting its attainment and accumulation as the centerpiece of our heart, then the Scripture is true that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25, NIV).

Not only does Chad’s book tackle the thorny issues of idolatry, but he also teaches how when the pendulum swings the opposite direction, that apathy can creep in. He argues instead for a “Gospel-Based Approach to Money” which will lead to increased faith and freedom in following God’s intentions for our financial futures.

The three big money questions that Chad uses to structure his book are Section I: How Did You Get It? (How we think about WORK) This part deals with the often neglected discussion of vocation in wealth building. Considering some of the recent works I’ve read on discerning God’s calling on your life, I found this section particularly helpful. The two ends of the spectrum, or pendulum –the metaphor Chad uses, is “Apathy”: I work in order to do the things I really want to do, and “Idolatry”: What I do is who I am.

As Christians, our identity is first and foremost wrapped up in who God says we are i.e., his beloved children. We have been adopted by our Heavenly Father through the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus. When we rethink our vocation, as the voice of God calling us into our deeper destiny and purpose in life, we understand then that our job is really just another form of stewardship. It is a ministry and a vehicle for adding value to the world while proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed. This is the middle-ground of Freedom that Chad advocates. It’s seeing work as a vocation or calling to serve someone else, not a chore, burden or curse.

The second question is Section II: What Are You Doing With It? (Considerations for INVESTING) which offers some amazingly practical observations on the so-called sacred-secular divide, the real purpose of business, and the role Christian values and a Christian worldview should play in investing.
The third and final money question is Section III: What is It Doing to You (The Importance of Giving & Generosity). This crucially important, and often overlooked, last topic discusses the effect our views and actions with money have on us spiritually. Chad shows how the “Apathy” angle creates in us a need to feel in control and self-reliant, counter-themes to the New Testament; while the swing to the other side, to “Idolatry” creates an expectation for money to fulfill your deepest needs and desires. He also mentions briefly four common financial motivators, including control, comfort, power, and approval, and shares a story of what he refers to as a “Miracle in the Free Market”.

Essentially, the message of Redefining Financial Freedom is that our only true hope is found in Jesus. The money will eventually disappoint us, elude us, and create a false sense of security. Christ is our salvation. He is our Rock and our Fortress. We should be generous because God was radically generous to us, giving up his one and only son to death on the cross, only to be raised again so that we may join him in an abundant and eternal life. Our generosity in financial matters and the way in which we live our lives can truly have an enormous impact on others around us, and actually, yield eternal rewards in heaven.

With personal and professional experiences from the trenches of financial services, Chad Hamilton, CFP ® offers incredibly practical insights and some penetratingly deep truths about the spiritual consequences of our potential financial behavior. With a focus on what Scripture teaches, and references from the likes of C.S. Lewis, Richard Foster, G. K. Chesterton, and Jacques Ellul, the reader is surely in for a treat. Redefining Financial Freedom is a book I highly recommend.

You can read more about Redefining Financial Freedom through my author interview with Chad found here: https://joshualeehenry.com/2016/06/27/redefining-financial-freedom-author-interview/

Redefining Financial Freedom - Book Cover

Are You Doing Things ‘to’ Your Leaders or ‘with’ Them? [Guest Post]

Leaders Ready Now

 

(This post is an excerpt from the introduction to Leaders Ready Now.)

Are You Doing Things to Your Leaders or with Them?

As a business leader, you may speak frequently to individuals or groups of executives about the future of the business, and perhaps you review key leaders’ development plans or even act as a mentor. All these activities are useful, but they are not what accelerated learners really want and need most from you—and they are not the activities that generate the greatest amount of energy in an acceleration system.

Ask any motivated, emerging leader what would truly ignite his or her energy, and the answer will likely involve working with senior leaders to solve current business dilemmas. As one acceleration-program participant put it, “The leadership training is good, but what I really want is a piece of the action.” She wasn’t talking about more money; she wanted a piece of the business action—to work more closely with leaders who were in the thick of it.

This doesn’t mean that you have to put core businesses at risk by giving junior executives too much responsibility—it means that top leaders need to reframe the ways in which they spend time with accelerated learners and create development experiences that are truly transformational. Instead of offering a problem for an individual learner to solve alone (with tips and guidance from a senior leader), the organization needs to pinpoint a problem that a senior leader or team currently faces and then enlist the accelerated learner to help solve it. Leaders and learners should work on business challenges together, learning and growing simultaneously.

To learn the game, one must play the game. If you aim to prepare more leaders—and do it more quickly—you must put them in the game, and much sooner than what might feel comfortable. You must play with them, learning and growing together, faster than you otherwise would.

*****

Matthew J. Paese, Ph.D., is Vice President of Succession and C-Suite Services for Development Dimensions International (DDI). Matt’s work has centered on the application of succession, assessment, and development approaches as they apply to boards, CEOs, senior management teams, and leaders across the pipeline. He consults, coaches, speaks, and conducts research around all those topics and more.

Audrey B. Smith, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President for Global Talent Diagnostics at DDI. Audrey’s customer-driven innovation and global consulting insights have helped shape DDI’s succession, selection, and development offerings, from the C-suite to the front line. She has been a key strategist and solution architect, encompassing technology-enabled virtual assessments and development aligned to current business challenges.

William C. Byham, Ph.D., is Executive Chairman of DDI. He cofounded the company in 1970 and has worked with hundreds of the world’s largest organizations on executive assessment, executive development, and succession management. Bill authored Zapp!® The Lightning of Empowerment, a groundbreaking book that has sold more than 3 million copies. He has coauthored 23 other books, including seminal works on the assessment center method.