In God We Trust: Morally Responsible Investing

By Lou Holtz

31 ratings - 4.1* vote

This book is both timely and timeless.In God We Trust delves deeply into current economic and market developments and reflects on how U.S. prosperity has returned in 2018, as capitalism has again been unleashed. The author says, "What a relief after eight years of economic stagna­tion and government over-regulation." Oddly, as the U.S. economy has benefited from pro-growth This book is both timely and timeless.In God We Trust delves deeply into current economic and market

... more

Book details

Audible Audio, 0 pages
February 15th 2020 by TAN Books

(first published January 18th 2019)

Original Title
In God We Trust
ISBN
1505113466 (ISBN13: 9781505113464)
Edition Language
English

Community Reviews

Grady

‘For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.’ Matthew 6:21

Michigan author George P. Schwartz, CFA has written three books that address both our economy and our humanity, a strong Catholic and proponent of ethical living and investing. He is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Schwartz Investment Counsel, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. His company manages stock and bond investment portfolios for institutions, foundations, individuals and mutual funds, including Ave Maria Mutual Funds, the world’s largest family of Catholic mutual funds. His co-author Michael O. Kenney, JD earned his degrees from University of Notre Dame and is a writer and educator in addition to his busy career as an attorney.

George is a man of strong beliefs and convictions and shares his thoughts on the manner in which we are dealing with the economic stagnation and the influence of government control of the market and the way we view investments. In a manner that is accessible he surveys the effects of socialism vs. capitalism – sharing how the concept of socialism is doomed whereas the capitalism mindset offers financial security when ethical investments serve as the source of solid income and moral responsibility.

In his Introduction George states, ‘Wise investment management is a moral imperative, Why? Because prudent investing is essential to meeting future needs and community needs, particularly through charitable giving. But there is another, perhaps more subtle moral dimension. When we invest in a company, we become an owner, and our investment contributes to the company’s success. Are we comfortable with what we own? Does the enterprise reflect our core beliefs? If not, what opportunities exist to invest in a manner that does reflect these beliefs. This book is about participating in the capital markets in a purposeful, reasoned, and ethical way to achieve legitimate investment objectives and avoid morally objectionable businesses.’

This book is rich in the history of George’s own experience in founding his investment firm that assists clients in morally responsible investments. The book addresses stingingly controversial factors such as pro-life (anti-abortion) and the proliferation of pornography – “Abortion and pornography gravely undermine the dignity of the human person.’ While some readers may not agree with these stances, the case that George makes is more focused on aiding the cause of ethical and moral responsibility in the Catholic tradition. And in personalizing his beliefs he shares many photographs of his growth as a human being as well as his stature in the realm of the economic realm. Or as a note on his website states, ‘As a lover of the free enterprise system and a portfolio manager, George Schwartz chronicles how Morally Responsible Investing is helping long-term investors put their money to work in accordance with their moral beliefs.’

This is a strong book for everyone to reconsider how investing morally can increase financial wealth while making the world more compassionate and ethical.

Susan Keefe

How to combine investing wisely with your moral responsibilities and beliefs.

What a refreshing book, I thoroughly applaud the ethics behind the Ave Maria Funds and its policy to offer investors the opportunity to invest in a manner consistent with their faith. Sounds too good to be true? Well read on, and discover how the Ave Maria Funds came to be and the values of the people who set up and manage them.

As indicated in the Forward by Lou Holtz, this is the sequel to ‘Good Returns, which he contributed to. In this new book, ‘In God We Trust the reader discovers the ever increasing more morally conscientious investors. In 2001 Gorge Schwartz the CEO of the Schwartz Investment Council Inc. was approached by Tom Monaghan the founder of Domino’s pizza and the late Bowie Kuhn Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Dedicated Catholics, they wanted to launch a series of investment vehicles – the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, which enabled investors to invest in a manner consistent with their faith. The funds would provide Morally Responsible Investing, identifying with companies which do not participate in, contribute to, or support abortion or pornography.

There are now five different mutual funds, all pro-life, pro-family, and dedicated to investing in companies which don’t violate the core principals of the Catholic Church.

These mutual funds each have a different objective, they are:

Ave Maria Value Fund

Ave Maria Growth Fund

Ave Maria Bond Fund

Ave Maria Rising Dividend Fund

Ave Maria World Equity Fund

What I loved about this book is that in it George Schwartz gives his reader a real insight into his life, upbringing, and the values he has been taught, and has lived by, in the Catholic faith. It is these things which has made him the man he is today, and the help of his wife Judi of course. It is also these strong moral principles which form the basis of the Ave Maria Funds.

However, right from the very first page this book’s subject is paramount. This is investing and principally about how to invest morally and responsibly. The authors offer a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field accumulated through many years. Throughout, sound, practical advice is freely given. In a world where greed is rife and everyone is keen to make a fast buck, wouldn’t you rather invest in a fund with strong, good moral principles?

This book’s values touched me personally, although I am not a catholic, and I found it extremely thought-provoking and interesting.

Connywithay

“The heart of the matter, from the perspective of the Ave Maria Funds, involves helping pro-life investors place their treasure where their heart is and to achieve good results over time,” George P. Schwartz, with Michael O. Kenney assistance, writes in his book, In God We Trust: Morally Responsible Investing.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-seventy-six pages, this hardbound targets those interested in choosing morally Ave Maria investments in the stock market that are pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family. After acknowledgments, a foreword by Coach Lou Holtz, and introduction, it is divided into three sections that include thirteen chapters, followed by two appendices, regulatory legal disclosures, and an index.

In this quick read, Schwartz reminds the readers that we should be a nation that trusts God, even in our business and financial investments. Promoting the sanctity of life, marriage, and family, it offers specific mutual funds that channel resources while influencing corporate behavior. By explaining his mutual funds, value stocks, and financial prudence, one can invest in capital markets while avoiding morally objectionable businesses.

~ Why ~
As a born-again Christian, I am a firm believer in pro-life so greatly appreciate a book dedicated to financing businesses that are against abortion, embryonic stem cell research, pornography, and socialism. With the writer’s mentor being Warren Buffet, Schwartz does disagree with his stance on aligning with Planned Parenthood. I appreciate that the Ave Maria Mutual Funds are no-load and purposely avoid any companies that knowingly support immoral businesses.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not feel any moral obligation to society may not be interested in this read that is a promotion to buy into Ave Maria Mutual Funds. Some may find the book focuses on the Catholic Church with its 95% investors being of the religion. Others may not be interested in the information and photographs of the author’s upbringing and family dynamics that include his childhood jobs, as well as the fund’s founders, Catholic board, and its high-ranking Episcopal advisors. Little is documented about the rate of return of the five funds or what businesses they support.

~ Wish ~
Since the book covers mainly the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, it rarely references any stock companies so one is forced to call, contact, or buy into the company to learn more (I only found some notes about the actual stock companies it buys in the small print of the Regulatory Legal Disclosures at the end of the book). I wish there were less focus on the Catholic aspect and only on a non-denominational God-based stance.

~ Want ~
For those who are interested in investing in a Catholic organization that has five different morally-responsible mutual funds, this may work for you. While I agree one should be fastidious when morally investing in our world, I found the book provided little information about what companies are pro-life or not and the read is an advertisement for Catholic investing.

Thanks to Westwinds Communications and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

Stephanie H.

This book offers an in-depth look at a form of investing, called “Morally Responsible Investing”, which has been founded for investors with two very specific beliefs in common, although most specifically investors with Catholic values. It is definitely a niche book, but one which has been written well and will help its readers make significant strides toward their wealth goal without compromising their core values.

In God We Trust introduces readers to “Morally Responsible Investing”, which is an investment strategy that avoids investing in companies which support abortion and pornography. Through a mixture of personal anecdotes, history, and financial and moral advice, he takes readers through the concept, including what Morally Responsible Investing is, what it takes to partake in this investment practice, how it is different from Socially Responsible Investing, and the benefits of investing in this manner. Along the way, the author shows readers his own history with Morally Responsible Investing and how Ave Maria Mutual funds, the author’s investment fund which utilizes Morally Responsible Investing, has reached its current level of success.

While the advice on investing in companies with values that match one’s own could be useful for any investor of any belief system, the vast majority of this book and the Morally Responsible Investing concept are for pro-life, anti-pornography readers. They do not have to be Catholic—in fact, the author flat out says that they do not discriminate at his fund so long as you hold these two specific values—but those whose values best align with Catholic teachings will get the most out of this book. Due to the religious, political, social, and financial views expressed by the author, more liberal readers will probably want to avoid this book, but ones who are interested in better understanding people with these beliefs might want to peruse it as well.

In general, this book is great for its niche. It contains a wealth of information and is easy to follow for the average reader. The organization leaves something to be desired in regards to the placement of the resources, but it is otherwise well thought-out and well structured. Financial/social liberals and those who do not follow the two values listed above will probably find a lot to argue with here and so should avoid In God We Trust. However, the target audience—most especially Catholics—will want to snag a copy.

Mike Ball

How to Plot Your Financial Course With a Moral Compass

Investment strategy can easily be one of the most confusing topics anyone can discuss. Investing is often seen as something that should be dispassionate and clinical, especially in this age of investment management algorithms. In ”God We Trust,” by George P. Schwartz and Michael O. Kenney, takes a dramatically different approach. The basic premise of this fine investment book – and its subtitle – is Morally Responsible Investing.

The author, George Schwartz, manages the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, a portfolio worth more than two billion dollars. A lifelong devoted Catholic, Mr. Schwartz worked with Dominos Pizza founder Tom Monaghan to establish the Ave Maria funds around the guiding principle that directing their investment dollars to companies that uphold fundamental moral ethics and family values will yield sound profitable returns, while it makes the world a better place to live. The results speak for themselves, and the Ave Maria fund has enjoyed a high degree of success since its inception.

The book is full of solid advice on how to select potential investment opportunities. The concept of Value Investing, which Mr. Schwartz describes as “thoroughly grounded in the principle of ownership,” strikes me as a brilliant way to evaluate a company. As an investor you consider every aspect of the business, pro and con, before buying in. Then once you have committed to the company, you are never disturbed by fluctuations in value; you stay in for the long run, like an owner. Interestingly, and with a wonderfully open mind, the author basically gives Warren Buffett credit for the concept.

I happen to be Catholic myself, and while I am not necessarily in total lockstep with every one of Mr. Schwartz’s views, I can appreciate both the source and moral sincerity of them. I can also appreciate the idea that expressing your deeply held beliefs through your investment strategy is a benign and powerful way to shape the world in a ethically positive direction. You will not regret reading this book.

Pamela Gossiaux

A Wealth of Wisdom!

In God We Trust is one of the most refreshing books I’ve read in a long time! I picked up this book wanting to learn something about investing in morally responsible funds, but this book is so much more. It’s not only a great book about investing, but it’s a wealth of solid fact-based information on two huge moral issues facing us today: abortion and pornography.

Written in a conversational manner that is easy to understand, authors Schwartz and Kenney give voice to what some of us have been thinking for years. Having created a set of award-winning mutual funds around pro-family, pro-life companies, they put forth a great argument as to why abortion and pornography are tearing apart not only our families but the fabric of America itself.

Drawing on history as well as facts and figures from today, this book is a masterpiece in ethical persuasion. An excerpt: Unborn human beings are an entire class of people. A discreet, defenseless demographic. Why are they bereft of rights solely because of their stage in life?

And they also discuss how and why capitalism makes American thrive, and what will happen if we turn socialist in our ways.

Their pro-life, pro-family views haven’t hurt their investments. Their mutual funds are the largest of its kind in the world, totaling over 2 billion dollars.

I am grateful to the authors for the facts and advice in this book. When so much of the world wants to turn a blind eye to the atrocities around us, it’s nice that some are willing to speak out. This is a book that should be read whether or not you are thinking about investing. If you love America, you need to read this book

Katie Lowes

Invest your conscience This is the future - why put your investments in companies you don’t believe in or whose views don’t align to your own? Be the change. Be the solution. This book helped me put the power in my own hands. Even if you don’t agree with every point, it enlightened me to organizations/companies/practices I didn’t realize I was funding.

Topics