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

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