Christian, finance

Beyond Blessed


Author: Robert Morris
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian / Finance
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1009-8
Pages: 272
Price: $22.00

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If you’d like to be more generous with your church or favorite charitable organizations, but find that you’re struggling to pay your bills, you may be wondering why God won’t bless your efforts. In Beyond Blessed, Robert Morris explains why it’s important to first get control of our own finances before we can help others.

Using biblical references and his own and others’ stories, Morris shows us exactly what we need to do to clean up our finances. Budgets have their place, and strategies are given in how to utilize them. But sometimes we’ll see miraculous intervention, once God sees our hearts are in the right place. We need to show Him that we are good stewards before He will bless us with more.

Beyond Blessed is not a boring and dry personal finance book. Instead, the reader will be excited to put these ideas into practice in his or her own life. While blessings of abundance are never promised, the peace of mind in conquering financial stress will be well worth the effort.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, finance

God and Money


Authors: John Cortines and Gregory Baumer
Publisher: Rose Publishing
Genre: Christian / Finance
ISBN: 978-1628624076
Pages: 224
Price: $24.99

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Jesus cautioned his followers against the accumulation of riches. While He never preached that money in itself is evil, the excessive love of possessions can lead to a host of problems. So how does the average person handle this teaching? God and Money provides some ideas on this conundrum that the authors have attempted to implement in their own lives.

While many use the standard tithe (10%) as a guideline for giving, Cortines and Baumer suggest we can do much better than that. In fact, they recommend people set a baseline spending amount and a reasonable and prudent savings plan, so they can give away the excess. For those in the authors’ social class, this sounds like a wonderful philanthropic goal. But for the many middle to lower class Americans just struggling to survive, this is simply not helpful or feasible.

Those in the wealthiest segment of society who are active in their church and community will find this an interesting and informative read. The rest of us will need to look elsewhere for a book that speaks to our needs.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, finance

Jesus Christ, Money Master: The Wisest Words Ever Spoken on Money


Author: W. Neil Gallagher, PhD
Publisher: Brown Christian Press
Genre: Christian / Finance
ISBN: 978-1-61254-220-1
Pages: 264
Price: $19.95

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Blessed are the poor… You cannot serve God and Mammon… The love of money is the root of all evils…” These and other verses imply that Jesus Christ frowns on money and would like his followers to be poor. But is this what He’s really telling us? Maybe not.

Using the Bible as a reference, W. Neil Gallagher shows us passages where Jesus teaches us about money. Using parables like the prodigal son, the dishonest steward, and the talents, as well as numerous other stories, he explains that Jesus doesn’t really want us to be poor. In fact, it’s only from a position of wealth that we can afford to be generous toward those most in need. Gallagher also explores various investment options and their pros and cons, and encourages us to look at our own financial planning to see if it aligns with our goals. If not, we need to take immediate action to correct it.

W. Neil Gallagher, PhD, is an expert in money management, as a former stockbroker now running a billion dollar investment practice. Aligning his expertise with the words of Jesus, he guides the reader toward better financial decisions. I highly recommend Jesus Christ, Money Master.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

finance

Winning With Money

Winning With Money
Author: Aaron Coleman
Publisher: Elevate
Genre: Finance
ISBN: 978-0-9829300-3-8
Pages: 128
Price: $14.95

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Running out of money before the month is over is a common problem. But working with a budget can be difficult and cumbersome. Winning With Money was created as a simple alternative to budgets, and it really works.

In a step by step process, Coleman walks the reader through this unique method of controlling spending each month. He provides worksheets and guidance in ensuring that this simple system can help everyone. After determining the reader’s monthly fixed costs, he explains how to determine the amount left over for spending each day. Follow the plan and never run out of money again.

I was really impressed by how easy and effective this system is for those who don’t want to be bothered with creating and sticking to budgets. The only trouble spot I see is those pesky unexpected expenses. Although saving as a general rule is covered, a “leaky roof” fund might also need to be encouraged. I highly recommend Winning With Money.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

finance

The Money Code

The Money Code
Author: Joe John Duran, CFA
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Genre: Finance
ISBN: 978-1-60832-435-4
Pages: 168
Price: $14.95

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Most people have struggled with money management at some time in their lives. Conflicts arise with a spouse, or maybe we just never feel there’s enough for all our needs. Whatever the problem, Joe John Duran believes it can be solved by finding out our own personal Money Mind, and making our decisions with a checklist.

In The Money Code, a fictitious man named Jack is introduced to the Alchemist by his sister. Using the Alchemist’s computer generated lessons, Jack learns why his past decision making process didn’t work very well. Then, knowing his own Money Mind, he is in a much better position to evaluate the financial decision he is planning to make.

This is not a dry and boring financial book. The interactive design of the lessons draws the reader into the story, making it feel as if he is looking over Jack’s shoulders and answering the questions himself. The quiz was spot on for me, and I easily saw myself in one of the three Money Minds. And the decision-making checklist is logical and helpful, without being overly burdensome.

If your financial life isn’t what you hoped it would be, I highly recommend The Money Code. This easy to read guide may change the way you look at money forever.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

finance

Money 1 & 2


Author: Jim Randel
Publisher: Rand Media
Genre: Finance
ISBN: 978-0-692-01528-5 / 978-0-9852818-0-9
Pages: 116 / 114
Price: $9.95

Author’s website
Buy Money 1 at Amazon
Buy Money 2 at Amazon

For many of us, money can be a confusing topic. We’re earning money, but we’re not exactly sure what we’re doing with it. In this personal finance series, saving, borrowing, and investing are just some of the areas discussed.

In Money 1, the basics are covered. Each of the fifty topics is touched on in a one-page summary. As with all of the “…and a whole lot more!” books, an extensive bibliography is provided for those who want more information.

Money 2 digs deeper, covering fifty more topics, including real estate transactions, the stock market and mortgages. Although these are quick “bites” of information, the bibliography will assist those serious about learning more.

Just like the “Skinny On” books, this new series is meant to provide the maximum amount of content in the shortest manner possible, both for ease of reading and succinctness. It’s up to the reader to decide if more information is necessary. If you need a financial refresher course or are just starting out, this series would be a great resource.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

finance, home

The Skinny on the Housing Crisis


Author: Jim Randel
Publisher: Rand Media
Genre: Home / Finance
ISBN: 978-0-9818935-2-5
Pages: 176
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
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Many factors were involved in the recent housing crisis. We watched the housing market crash and banks strugging with enormous unpaid debt, but few really understood how it happened. In The Skinny on the Housing Crisis, Jim Randel explains exactly what took place.

At a time when housing was booming, rules restricting borrowing were more relaxed. Even those who normally couldn’t qualify for a traditional mortgage had options available to them to buy their house. And since real estate was appreciating so rapidly, no one saw a problem with these practices, at least until real estate prices started to decline. So today’s home buyer needs to be savvy in knowing what to do – and what to avoid doing – to make the right purchase.

This “Skinny” features a stick figure couple buying their first home, and shows us the problems they encounter. While it looks a bit like a comic book, it provides a wealth of information on this important topic. And, as always, a bibliography is provided for those who want to do some more research.

Reviewer: Alice Berger