Book Review: Wisdom & Wealth
I visited our local Christian bookstore last weekend primarily to to pickup a copy of Larry Burkett’s Debt Free Living, as I had sold my previous copy accidentally in our most recent yard sale. As usual though, I can’t help but spend time looking at other books and checking out what is new. In doing so, I found Wealth & Wisdom by Greg Womack.
Wealth & Wisdom is a new book published in August of 2007, so the information is up to date and current. Wealth & Wisdom tells you how to manage your finances and make wise financial decisions by following biblical scripture found in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and specifically the wisdom and financial advice from King Solomon.
What’s Inside Wealth & Wisdom
Overall the book is easy to read. It’s small size makes it easy to carry around and it isn’t overly thick making for a short but informative read. Here’s the chapter by chapter breakdown:
Chapter 1: The Soloman Factor: What’s Your Treasure?
The focus here is on where you place your priorities. The chapter discusses the power of money and how it can consume your life if you aren’t careful. It addresses learning to mange your money instead of your money managing you and deals with putting money in it’s proper place in your life. The teachings of Solomon are used to drive this home, and in particular Solomon’s request for Wisdom above all things.
Chapter 2: Put Your Money Where Your Faith Is
Putting your money where your faith is, is all about honoring God with your money. This is done through giving and tithing. Mr. Womack addresses topics of giving when you having nothing, whether you should tithe from gross or net income, why we need to tithe and how it honors God. Scripture is used to back up his perspectives.
Tithing really hit home for me, as to be very honest we don’t tithe like we should. That is going to change.
Chapter 3: The Simple Life
This was my favorite chapter, and deals with the topic of overspending and living beyond your means. Mr. Womack encourages us to live more simple lives by reducing our spending, tithing, saving, eliminating out debt, planning for retirement, paying our fair share of taxes, and getting insurance. He offers numerous examples on how to reduce our spending along with tips for organizing our finances, creating a budgeting, and managing our time.
Chapter 4: Drowning in Debt
Mr. Womack opens the chapter by providing statistics on the number of people “drowning in debt” then addresses the issue of whether it is wrong to borrow and examines what the bible has to say. Three wise rules for buying on credit are provided along with a step by step plan for reducing your debt.
This is a good chapter, and while it doesn’t provide any new ways to reduce your debt, it does provide another good perspective on the topic and re-enforces my position that debt is bad.
Chapter 5: Ready, Set, Strategize
This chapter is targeted at making your money work for you. He categorizes money as Green Money and Red Money. Green money is for saving, Red for investing. He argues that both are needed and serve different purposes. Provided is a checklist for the “Wise Money Manager” that contains some very sound advice.
Chapter 6: Your Financial Map: Charting Your Course
In order to know where you are going, as with driving, you must have a money map. A money map is a long term financial plan that will provide you with direction for your money. The chapter takes you through a set of questions and helps you determine you income needs for your longer term finances. The focus of this chapter is planning for retirement and determining what you long term money needs will be.
Chapter 7: Diversify
Yes, you guessed it, this chapter addresses diversifying your investments to insure you are getting the most out of your money with the least amount of risk. This a is a good chapter, and since the book was recently published the information is up to date. He even address investing in precious metals and the associated pros and cons.
Chapter 8: Home, Sweet Home
Mr. Womack states “Buying a home is one of the greatest financial investments we make”. He then spends the remainder of the chapter backing up his claim, and providing advice and insight on making smart choices with your home. This includes buying, borrowing, tax advantages, home equity, being a landlord, and even running a home business.
Chapter 9: Whistle While You Work
This was another favorite chapter of mine. Let’s face it, most people won’t win the lottery or inherit millions of dollars, so we’ll have to work for a living. This chapter discusses things you can do to increase your income, prepare for new opportunities (i.e. changes in the workplace), and how to really enjoy working. The chapter ends with some suggestions how how we can teach our children about money and how we can help them get the most income for themselves.
Chapter 10: Leaving It Behind
One of the least favorite of topics is death, but it is also one of the most important for your family members. Leaving it Behind addresses things you can and should do for your family to insure they are taken care of and to insure that things go as smoothly as possible once you “go home”.
The chapter addresses trusts, wills, probate, your legacy, and taxes. This was a very informative chapter for me personally. I honestly didn’t realize death could be so complicated, go figure!
Chapter 11: Seeking Counsel
Mr. Womack is a certified financial planner, and this chapter focuses on how to seek good financial counsel. He discusses how they are paid, what qualities to look for, the various certifications and and types of counselors. He even provides a number of questions you should ask your perspective counselor to make sure they are the right person for you. Of course another alternative is to just do your own financial planning.
Chapter 12: Final Thoughts
This is very short closing chapter, and leaves us with 7 rules for building wisdom and wealth that summarize the proceeding chapters.
Yeah or Neah
While not on my list of top financial books, Wealth & Wisdom is a really good read. Not only does it provide good, sound financial advice, the advice is fully backed up using scripture. I plan to keep in around as a good source of reference. I don’t really have anything bad to say about the book at all and honestly enjoyed reading it.
Wealth & Wisdom is definitely a Yeah for me, and I would highly recommend that it be on your bookshelf along side your other favorite financial books.
The author, Greg Womack is the president of Womack Investment Advisers, Inc.