11 Be Attitudes of Prosperity as reviewed in The Phantom TollboothIf you are looking for helpful advice about being responsible for your money, this has much to offer. It largely avoids greed.

Xulon Press

When I first saw this title, my ‘prosperity gospel’ alarm went off, making me worried that this might be another book that panders to selfish instincts by twisting scripture. In fact, this is a circumspect, practical and biblically faithful book that serves as a fine guide to a healthy approach to money.

The chapter headings mimic Jesus’ sayings from the ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ known as the Beatitudes. So White declares, “Be Grateful. Blessed are the grateful, for theirs is a life of joy” and “Be Debt-free. Blessed are the debt-free, for theirs is a life full of comfort and peace.” This biblical look at handling money calls its readers to “Be a cheerful giver” and “Be obedient.” Such ideas are hardly revolutionary, but they are vital, counter-cultural, true – and need to be said.

Once White has framed a biblical worldview in this area, laced with plenty of common sense, he uses his financial experience to hand over some more practical advice, urging his readers to be both careful and calculating with money. He tells us, for example, that $10,000 invested in the Dow Jones on May 1st and sold on October 31st each year since 1950 would have lost money over those fifty years, whereas if it had been invested on the other six months, it would now be worth over $500,000.

Other tips include starting to save early; prioritising property over pricey cars when young; owning over loaning; and using small differences in interest rates, because they grow to be huge with compound interest. He also deals with the question, “Is investing gambling?”

Readers outside the States should be aware that things like IRA, EIA, 401 (k) and TIP (dealt with during the practical pages) will probably mean nothing. The same readers may baulk at his occasional fiery bursts of nationalism, which he should also temper with a biblical approach, as Jesus was not American and no nation gets everything right.

I also have a residual concern that White makes assumptions about God wanting us to have money at all times. Jesus and Paul spoke of trusting God more than money and being content in what state we are, rich or poor, rather than depending on wealth to generate happiness. God can – and often does – use poverty.

But White is generally sound and he expresses his knowledge in an easy-to-read style that is often broken up with stories, quotes, scripture and cartoons. If you want guidance on being a steward of your money, then this is a very helpful book.


Derek Walker