Who would have guessed that Pat Robertson -- best known for waging "war" on gays, cultural liberals and anything related to the Democratic Party -- was a financial genius? Yeah, I was shocked too.

But Robertson, who once linked Hurricane Katrina to legalized abortion and terrorism, is pushing a new book on personal finance. In an interview with Time magazine, amidst the discussion about 401(k)s and budgeting, the one-time Republican presidential candidate made the following statement:

"Well, actually I manage a couple of stock portfolios or funds or whatever you want to call 'em, and I think I've done relatively well with them," the magazine quotes him as saying. "My broker says I'm in the top 1 percent of fund managers with the results I've been having."

Top one percent? Really? The question that Time should have asked Robertson but didn't was how he achieved such miraculous results. Was it stocks? Bonds? Commodities? Divine intervention? I personally have no idea (although it is a little weird that someone who "manages" his own portfolio and generates returns that would make Warren Buffett drool needs a broker).

Robertson's television network, CBN, offers plenty of financial advice. Robertson says he wrote Right on the Money: Financial Advice for Tough Times because he offers money management advice on his "700 Club" program every Monday. How valuable is the advice is tough to say.

One story on the network's website discusses how a couple used the Bible to help overcome $100,000 in debt. The article mentions tithing and studying scripture, but does not really make clear how they solved their problem. (Here is a link to podcasts of other CBN viewers who reached their financial goals with God's help.) Overall, though, Robertson's book steers clear of overt religious references. In the interview, Robertson says he was more interested in providing "practical advice on a so-called secular level."

In the end, people should follow the same rules in picking a financial advisor as they do with a religious one. Like Ronald Reagan said about the Soviets: trust but verify. And remember that your mother was probably right about not believing things that sound too good to be true.


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