Book Review: Your New Money Mindset

Your New Money Mindset: Create a Healthy Relationship With Money

Brad Hewitt & James Moline, Tyndale House Publishers


I don’t read very many books on money.  By and large, there aren’t too many secrets (at least in my opinion) on dealing with your money unless you have a ton of it to begin with.  However these were being given away by our local Thrivent chapter a few months ago and our congregational president passed on a copy to me.

The premise of the book is simple – we need to have grateful and generous hearts in order to shift our relationship with money from always wanting and needing more of it for personal gratification, and to be a blessing to others.  It’s not a complicated mindset, and sounds vaguely Biblical so it ought to be a good sell.  There is an online survey that you take as part of reading the book, and the book is really just an explication of the various survey questions and exhortation to not be so consumeristic and self-centered.

The sad thing is that Christians need to be reminded of this.  We need to be reminded that life does not consist of buying and selling, but rather of contentment in Christ expressed as love for God and love for neighbor.  If we’re always worried about the next and the biggest and the  better, we are likely being exploited for the benefit of others and this hardly counts as love for either God or neighbor.

All well and good.

However, what I find painfully ironic, is that one of the co-authors is the CEO of Thrivent financial, formerly a fraternal organization specifically providing financial services and investments to Lutherans.  However 2-3 years ago the company called for a member vote on whether to expand their services beyond the Lutheran fold, in order to provide bigger and better services to a broader range of people.  I voted against this, incidentally, but the measure carried.  What has resulted has been generally less than pleasing as Lutheran stake-holders.  The company was embroiled in some rather unsightly revelations about funding of pro-abortion non-profit organizations,  which ultimately resulted in funds being denied to both pro-life and pro-abortion organizations, to the deep anger of many Thrivent members.

In other words, Thrivent as an organization (and I’m not sure if this happened under Hewitt’s watch or not) did exactly what Hewitt advises individual Christians not to do in this book – it succumbed to the desire to get bigger for the sake of being bigger.  No mention was made of financial difficulties pushing for the expansion of Thrivent services, it was just an opportunity to get bigger, and isn’t bigger always better?

No, it isn’t.  I argued that then.  Hewitt argues it now in his book while conveniently ignoring the corporate extension of that same philosophy.  I find that problematic.

The other thing I find problematic is that the book itself blithely touts certain societal expectations and norms that have huge financial impacts on families for decades.  Namely, Hewitt never questions the wisdom of parents being saddled with the cost of their children’s college educations, or with kids taking out massive loans to attend good schools.  In fact, more than once in the book graduating from a good school is cited as evidence of your reliability of judgment.

If there’s an area of personal finances that probably deserves some long, hard looks and some counter-cultural advice from Christian financial folks, college would seem to be at the top of the list.  But it isn’t here.  I’m sure it can be reasonably argued that the book aims more at heart issues than practical ones, but I still think they missed an opportunity to provide some really good, practical advice in favor of fairly generic Biblical citations.

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