By Monroe M. Diefendorf, Jr., and Robert S. Madden
Reviewed by Jon Ford, CFP®
3 Dimensional Wealth is intended for
readers who want to make a difference in the world. It is
specifically directed to those who profess or may someday profess a
Christian faith, as its focus strikes the entire area of Christian
stewardship head-on. It is written for the general public, but
financial planners will enjoy it to the extent that the concepts
and activities fit with their faith and professional leanings. Let
me acknowledge that I fit the description of the book's intended
What I like about 3 Dimensional Wealth is its focus, clarity, and simplicity. It is more a conceptual adventure than a how-to on investing, accumulating, and dispersing money over one's lifetime. It contains four sections. The first describes the road to 3 Dimensional Wealth and the need to create a map and use a "calibrated" compass to reach a final destination. Section II lays out seven steps to 3 Dimensional Wealth, beginning with understanding yourself, and moves through the practical aspects of making change in the reader's attitude about personal, financial, and social wealth, building a foundation in each of these areas, and synchronizing and optimizing the process.
Sections III and IV clarify for the reader the importance of inheritance, but expand the notion and provide a number of excellent introspective activities associated with leaving a personal, financial and social legacy. It introduces us to the family legacy manuscript, family retreat, family values trust/family bank, family foundation and the family mission and philanthropic mission statements. It does all this within the context of the 3 Dimensional Wealth plan, a "Godly dimension," and encouragement to get started.
A very helpful concept is the authors' reordering of the familiar "earn—save first—give to others" model that most budgets promote, to a model that promotes giving to others before investing for your own future. The idea is that purposeful giving is investing and provides "out of this world" returns.
Sometimes I was confused while reading the book. For example, the Danforth Foundation presents an inspirational little book titled I Dare You to recipients of the Danforth Leadership Award. The book encourages readers to grow socially, spiritually, mentally, and physically. These are the same areas that the Bible says Jesus grew in (Luke 2:52). I wonder why the authors of 3 Dimensional Wealth chose financial, personal, and social as the focus from such a multitude of important potential legacy themes.
The title of the book is a little misleading. For me, 3-D implies spatial relations. 3 Dimensional Wealth, however, is strictly 2-D, and often uses overlapping circles to represent relationships between dimensions. Not only that, but the dimensions appear linear in that one comes before another rather than developing simultaneously. The authors' use of a "capstone" and reference to a pyramid seem a weak solution to their recognition of this problem.
The authors draw heavily from the teachings of Bill Bachrach (values-based selling), Stephen Covey (habits of effective people), and various Biblical references. Readers familiar with these sources would have found it helpful if the book clarified points it was expanding or where it changed the fundamental concepts from the original meaning. Readers unfamiliar with the Bible, Bachrach, or Covey will be spared this puzzle.
Given the limitations, 3 Dimensional Wealth nevertheless provides a novel and practical approach for others to orient their lives more around others and less around themselves.
Jon Ford, CFP®, is president of CF Financial Planning Solutions Inc. in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He writes a weekly Financial Fundamentals column for the Cedar Falls Times.
3 Dimensional Wealth Publishing: Locust Valley, NY,
$19.95 (hard cover: 132 pages)