The love of money is the root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6:10
Though that's not an idea one would expect a financial adviser to embrace, it is exactly what financial planner Anthony Moore tells his clients.
Mr. Moore brings work as a minister, studies at Trinity Ministry, and nine years of money management experience to his year-old Zoe Financial Group. He calls his money management method Biblical Financial Planning, and manages about $5 million according to the 2,050 references to personal finance he says are found in the bible.
"There is more to living an abundant life than the sheer number of zeroes behind your bank account," Mr. Moore said from his Stone Mountain, Ga., office.
Mr. Moore, 34, designed his 18-month-long financial plan in 1986. Before he started Zoe Financial, he spent four years as a trust officer at NationsBank Corp.'s private client group, coordinating the Charlotte-based bank's professional athlete and entertainer program.
Before joining NationsBank he was an investment officer and charitable trust specialist at First Union Corp.'s capital management group from 1989 until 1992.
But it was not until he opened his own shop that Mr. Moore, who readily quotes Scripture chapter and verse, was able to combine his religious beliefs and his work.
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10
"That's the lead assumption I give every client-that they're trying to build a more abundant life," Mr. Moore said. "My approach in all the advice I give is that your life is more than just a whole pile of money."
The strategy Mr. Moore lays out for clients is based on the biblical notion that we are merely stewards over our possessions and should use money as a means to an end, rather than make a goal of accumulating it.
Fifty percent of Mr. Moore's clients are professional athletes.
"They have more than enough money," he said, "and most have no purpose other than to score more touchdowns, more points, or win the next game. And that's a pretty narrow life.
"What do they do after they have five houses, four cars, and three girlfriends? There should be more balance."
In seeking that balance, Mr. Moore avoids what he calls "the obvious sin stocks."
But he does invest in mutual funds that might own some of those stocks.
According to the Institute for American Values Investing, Seattle, which screens stocks and mutual funds for companies that adhere to conservative values, Mr. Moore is not alone in his mission.
Scott Fehrenbacher, a former stockbroker who started the operation last year, said it receives numerous requests from financial planners who base their investment strategy on the Bible.
He said he hears from about 40 financial planners who base advice on scripture.
Mr. Moore does not base his investment strategies so heavily upon the values of the companies he invests in. Instead he concentrates on helping clients feel comfortable enough about their finances so they can focus on other things.
"If someone says to me he wants $1 million, I'd say: By when, and for what purpose?
"Then, I think, they would need God and a lottery-not me."