Frank J. Hanna has written a thoughtful book on what it means to have money. As a successful business man he struggled with the question of what he was morally obligated to do with his wealth. Should he give it all away? Should he use it to start businesses that provide jobs for people? Save it for his heirs? He decided to look to philosophy and theology to answer this question and follow where it lead him.
What he discovered along the way is both intuitive and radical. He looks first at what it means to have possessions as a child of God. He discovers that the Church teaches that the goods of the world belong to all people, not just to the wealthy. At the same time the Church recognizes that everything belongs to God. As such, we are all stewards of the world, not the masters.
Hanna makes the argument that for many people wealth is a source of unhappiness and sin. Great evil can be done with great wealth, but it can also be a source of great waste. For people who don't know how to wisely use their money, it would be better if they gave it all away... or burned it. He advises against giving money away to family members or friends because people who don't earn the wealth that they have, whether it be from a lottery, inheritance, or any other means, generally don't know how to use it.
For people who are good stewards of their money, Hanna says that they too need to use their non-essential wealth for the betterment of those around them. This might mean starting a business that allows people to provide for themselves. It could also mean donating it to a reputable charity. What is radical is that he says you should come up with a system of getting rid of all your wealth by the time you die. This prevents the government from getting it, it helps prevent the corruption of your heirs, and it ensures that your money is being used for purposes you support.
Frank Hanna uses solid Catholic teachings to defend his theories about the purpose of money. He discusses important topics like finding the right charity to donate to, the virtues in tithing, the vocation of wealth creation and more. This book is an imporant read for anyone, but it is primarily directed towards those with wealth.
Unlike many books of this type, What Your Money Means is not filled with anecdotes. It has a few, but they're short. Instead, his writing style is dense with arguments, suggestions and quotations, yet it remains easy to read. The chapters are fairly short and peppered with comic illustrations, bold chapter sub-divisions and wide line-breaks.
You can purchase this book here.