Book Review: The Urban Guide to Biblical Money Management (His Teachings)
by Oteia Bruce
Publication Date: May 01, 2002
List Price: $18.95 (store prices may vary)
Page Count: 165
Imprint: To Be Determined
Publisher: To Be Determined
Parent Company: To Be Determined
Book Reviewed by Paige Turner
"Have you ever felt like you missed out on something God had for you because you
did not handle your money matters in quite the right way? Well then, this book
is for you."
Wisdom in personal financial management is sorely lacking in American life, resulting in unprecedented levels personal debt, and in the massive stress that governs many decisions about money. Public education has had no role in teaching money management skills. Similarly churches have largely ignored the prosperity and abundance components of spiritual life — which play as great a role in one's well being as the "Thou Shalt Not" part of religion. Thus, Oteia Bruce's The Urban Guide to Biblical Money Management has a role similar to manna from heaven in filling and healing the gaping hole in life skills and spiritual development.
|Oteia Bruce has nearly two decades of experience in the financial services industry and has taught biblically based money management since 1986. She served as The Director of Affinity for Citigroup's mortgage services division in a national home ownership program. The program was targeted at corporate, government, church, community, academic and conference groups. Oteia held staff positions at various financial institutions including stockbroker with Morgan Stanley and banker with Bank One. She has managed investment training programs for several fortune 500 companies.|
There are many well-regarded books on money management (authors Suze Orman,
George Trower Subira, and Venita Van Caspel come readily to mind), but The Urban
Guide to Biblical Money Management's orientation distinguishes it right away
from other guides. This book provides financial advice for persons who want to
do it right, put first things first, and give credit and glory where it is due
— to God.
The Urban Guide to Biblical Money Management provides the personal finance basics which 99 percent of Americans were never exposed to, such as how to write a will and how to select tax professionals. The book is simple, clearly written, and easy to follow and understand. It covers a full spectrum of personal finance ABCs — from correcting credit mistakes to sheltering future income. The size of 9" x 12" gives this paperback a good feel, and makes it easy to read and work with. It is education and service oriented with word definitions and a glossary. There are questions at the end of each of the nine chapters that help readers to reinforce and internalize the information. An answer key and appendices appear at the end of the book.
Chapter 1 — The Point of Faithful Stewardship — lays a firm foundation for bible-based money management, whereas the remaining chapters highlight a single bible verse and then concentrate on the specific financial principal under discussion. But more bible philosophy would have been logical and welcome all through out the book, for example in the section on controlling compulsive spending. Also, an index, a bibliography of other resources, and a compendium of all bible passages relating to finances would have been useful additions.
The sample letters regarding credit reports are alone worth the highly affordable $18.95 price of the book. The book would benefit from case histories and testimonies, particularly on people who made financial mistakes and how they overcame them. These elements would have added to the book's credibility, and to readers' identification.
It is not clear where the "Urban" part of the title fits in, for there is no advice specific to the financial needs of some typical city dwellers — persons with low incomes, recent immigrants, and people of color who struggle with near poverty incomes, limited resources and uncertain prospects for upward mobility. There are no warnings about using check-cashing services and about ATM fees. No advice on the small personal finance decisions that, when added up, have a big impact. No advice is given on wise shopping (buying off-season, looking for deals), and on being a savvy consumer (using coupons, outlet shopping, warehouse shopping). While entrepreneurship is endorsed there is no personal money management advice for entrepreneurs who experience drastic fluctuations with their income. The book makes an assumption that all readers have stable 40 hour a week jobs with adequate benefits, which is a fallacy for a certain percentage of urbanites. However, these observations do n! ot detract from the high level of service and education that the book provides.
The Urban Guide to Biblical Money Management is one of the most excellent gifts imaginable for college graduates and persons beginning their careers as independent wage earners.
Another distinguishing characteristic of this book is its refreshing optimism and confidence that, with God as your senior partner, past financial mistakes can be rectified. A crucial element that people seeking money and personal financial education need is a feeling of trust and friendship with their advisor, and Ms. Bruce, while maintaining her professionalism provides this sisterly feeling of truly caring about her readers. "I pray for your financial success, and I hope that you will spread your success to others in your family, church and community at large."
All throughout the book Ms. Bruce provides an underlying spirit of service and positivity — a genuine desire to help better people's lives, to sow good seed on fertile ground.
"If you have stumbled along the road of money management, remember that God is a forgiver as well as a redeemer."
By authoring The Biblical Guide to Urban Money Management Ms. Bruce has rendered an excellent service and undoubtedly will be pleased with the harvest she will reap, of persons who, because of her advice, are financially stable and prosperous. This is a book that will advance readers' long term well being. Invest in yourself now. Read and follow the advice offered in this book.