Recently I wrote about Godonomics, pastor Chad Hovind’s ludicrous book on “the biblical principles of finance” which says, in essence, that the poor are lazy and that God prefers supply-side economics. Godonomics is also a money-making system—and for the low, low price of $75.51, the Godonomics Platinum Package will teach you how to experience “the joys of both prosperity and wisdom.”
Now we find an investment advisor named Sean Hyman pushing “The Biblical Money Code,” which claims that advice “woven” into Scripture has helped him go from earning $15,000 to giving away up to $50,000 a year.
Unlike Hovind, Hyman is giving away his system for free. All you have to do is sit through an hour-long video, during which Hyman explains how “to unlock vast amounts of wealth safely and ethically.”
Fancy explanations are provided, but it’s actually rather simple. Hyman advises investors to research the company before buying a stock: “Is the business run well? Are customers happy and sales increasing?” Which is actually good advice, if not strikingly original or particular to the bible. But Hyman also urges the investor to look for “oversold” or “overbought” stocks and to watch for “large volume spikes and steep declines.”
In other words, Hyman advises the average investor to time the market—something that you will seldom hear from a reputable, disinterested investment advisor.
As usual for this sort of thing, the Scriptural support is shaky. Hyman’s proof text for due diligence is Proverbs 14:15: “The naïve will believe everything, but a wise man looks well into a matter.” Sure, okay, why not? But his other Scriptural reference is confused. Hyman reminds us that money itself is not evil—it is simply “a medium of exchange.” The “love of money” is the problem, as Paul points out in 1 Timothy 6:10. We can’t make rational decisions about money when we love it; we can only apply the “three-pronged” system to a stock when we have some critical distance from money. Thus in order to make money, we have to “un-love” money.
You might then ask, if we’re supposed to “un-love” money, then why would we bother trying to make a lot of it? And why is Hyman trying to make a lot of it by peddling his investment advice?
Another dubious trick of biblical financial experts is to stress that Jesus talked a lot about money—not because money makes a nice metaphor for spiritual rewards, but because, according to Hyman, “the carpenter from Nazareth was a shrewd businessman.”
Throughout the hour-long video I kept wondering what the angle was; it finally came, of course, towards the end of the seemingly endless 60 minutes. Hyman is selling subscriptions to his monthly “Ultimate Wealth Report”—one year, along with a bunch of “bonus reports” about capital gains and currency trading and the like—for $47. (Here I can’t resist pointing out that “bonus” is just a letter away from “bogus.”)
It’s hard to know if Hyman has actually had any success as an investor. In the video, he makes a lot of his one big win, when, late last year, he predicted that Best Buy would jump from $11 a share to $40. Currently Best Buy is trading at around $34—not quite Hyman’s prediction, but still an impressive jump.
Beyond that it’s difficult to say, though Hyman seems to have had a lot of success as an investment advisor. He claims to have more than 57,000 subscribers to his “Ultimate Wealth Report” (that’s around $2.68m) and he’s been peddling advice on currency trading, which, one assumes, has been lucrative for Hyman if not some of his investors.
And, it should be noted that in a kind of harmonic convergence of BS, the “Biblical Money Code” appears as a fake news article, or “advertorial,” on Newsmax, the semi-fake news website. Hyman in fact seems to work for the website, although his actual role is unclear—a recent bio says that he is part of its “Financial Brain Trust.”
“A wise man looks well into a matter,” Proverbs, and Hyman, reminds us. While I wouldn’t make any claims to wisdom, I will say that I have looked into it and conclude that it would be foolish to give Hyman any of your money.