Don’t Be Taken Advantage Of Financially In Networking Groups!

I am sick and tired of seeing people get taken advantage of in the financial services industry. After some particularly heinous things have happened within my network affecting people I care about, I’ve decided to write a bit that might serve as an educational guide for those getting financial advice. You can use these pointers below to know what drives the sales, what common tactics and tricks are used as well as some completely illegal scams that have been happening in great amounts through networks just like this.

What follows are some little-known industry secrets and sales tactics for you to be aware of.

How commissions work for life insurance and investments

Let’s talk about why some people get into this field for the wrong reasons, and some of the ways people convince you to let them hold all your retirement assets who have no business being anywhere near them. It starts with one word: commissions.

These can be glitzy, glittery and enormous. Oftentimes they pay “trails” in which a small percentage is kicked back to the Advisor each year that you stay in that investment. Sometimes depending on the product, the company pays this to the Advisor, and it can be a normal way that the Advisor gets paid. Other times it is taken directly out of the initial investment to buy-in to an investment such as for A-shares of mutual funds and commissions on stocks or bonds. If this is the case, they should always be clearly disclosed.

There have been several times in which I was working with new clients and they had never been told by their previous Advisor how much they were paying for the investments they were in. Sometimes we found out some very bad news, and an imminent change was necessary. Sometimes they had industrial shares and the cost was so low I couldn’t compete, and would recommend the client to stay in those investments, provided it fit their goals and risk tolerances. But having an Advisor that can show you an array of options, and be able to clearly state what your costs are, is an important indication in choosing a person to work with. Any honest Advisor with the proper education and mind for numbers should be able to clearly show you WHY they are recommending a certain investment. And it should fit your goals, timeline, risk tolerance – AND be the best value with best performance after fees are taken into account. Sadly, I have yet to see many people take this into account.

I was speaking with an “Advisor” at another questionable firm recently and asked him about the differences in cost between several life insurance cash value policies he’d been selling for a year. The answer was a laugh and “it’s none of our concern, the client is the one paying it”. He had no idea what the cost was to the client, and yet this is basic math and available on all disclosure documents one is mandated by law to give the client. The cost will come into play when calculating how much you can expect to be earning, and if this isn’t accounted for in your projections, your whole retirement plan could be completely off. This particular salesperson DID, however, know the commission he would receive, and could calculate that within seconds. There are quite a few companies that hand out luxury vacations, bonuses, promotions, fur coats, fancy watches, you name it, and this is based on COMMISSIONS.

There are also firms in which the salespeople might be on salaries and not receive commissions, but they will be unable to be promoted, obtain raises, or they could even be threatened with being fired if they don’t make a certain number of sales. Are you starting to see the potential for a conflict of interest here? Don’t be afraid to ask your Advisor how they are paid and make sure that you are satisfied with the answer. Some people are salaried, others on commission or a combination, others are a fee-for-service in which they get a flat fee from you for research, planning and recommendations only, and they do not receive any commissions regardless of what they recommend. Otherwise someone could pitch you an impassioned plea about how some investment will save your whole portfolio, but they will be internally salivating at the thought of going to the Bahamas on the company’s dime if they hit a certain number for the current month!

Red Flag – your “Advisor” is just a salesperson if they can’t tell you all the costs to you for each investment, and cannot make an educated financial plan for you taking this into account. A good Advisor will be able to manifest WHY they are recommending a certain product for you and WHY it is a good fit for your specific needs and risk tolerance. The reasoning should not be “this is a really awesome fund and they always have really high returns” (NOT something anyone can guarantee!).

“We go to church together, you can trust me, I’m a good Christian boy!”

This is my personal pet peeve, and is actually a common fraud technique. The recent CFE conference in Dallas dedicated quite a bit of time to this common practice. Playing up an affinity network is one of the BEST ways to get clients, we are all told in sales training. While it might be fine and dandy when you’re volunteering at a soup kitchen to pitch what you do, there are unfortunately many people that make an action plan out of “prospecting for clients” at church. Yes, you read that correctly. Now if you go to church with someone you know and trust, and seek them out for their professional services because of your relationship with them, that’s your choice. But BEWARE the person who goes to church with you and then starts giving you the full court press of using their services.

Some of the most monetarily successful salespeople I know utilize this technique heavily. And I’m sad to say I’ve had to report one financial firm this year to the State Insurance Commissioner and FINRA for nearly all the violations and manipulations listed in these blogs, and they are a self-proclaimed “Christian” company. Some of the worst case studies we read of fraudulent activity had “Faith-based company” emblazoned all over the website and business cards. Do not ever let your guard down, and always ask questions. If you’re getting “sold” rather than properly advised and educated, seek a second opinion.

Furthermore, regarding affinity networks, there have been a set of people within the job seeker network I volunteer at, who have been contacting people using the organizer’s name as a referral when they in fact did not endorse them. People often borrow the reputation of others in this industry so check with the references on how well they know this person and their experience before trusting anyone too much.

There have been cases of these salespeople going to the job seeker networks to meet people, ask how they can help them in their job search and offer to meet up for coffee. When an unsuspecting job seeker arrives they don’t receive any actual help in their job search, they get the low-budget PowerPoint presentation on taking out a mortgage and putting everything into life insurance, complete with scare tactics about taxes and stock market performance. Sometimes these are drawn on napkins as examples. “See here’s what all your money will do, it will GROW!” (draws a big arrow skyward, there is no x or y axis in sight… ) I worked on Wall Street and I can definitively say that proper financial planning is made on REAL graphs and Monte Carlo simulations. Not napkins.

How to choose an Advisor

When you choose someone, you need to understand that the job title “Financial Planner/Advisor/Wealth Advisor” can sometimes be very loosely applied, unlike the situation in which few people earn the job title “chemical engineer” without having a degree in a related field. Sometimes people with a very large network of friends, relatives, and acquaintances might start a second career in retirement after doing something completely unrelated, like selling swimming pools for example, and can suddenly have the “financial planner” title without so much as a high school degree. Then they simply convince all their network and friends to buy in. Not that this means a person like this won’t do a good job in certain areas, they might be a great SALESperson. However, it does mean you might want to do some research as to their background and education.

Obviously you want someone who is properly licensed. If they’re talking about financial planning and investments and making recommendations, they legally need to have a series 7 license and not just a life insurance license. The series 7 is a brutal and intense test, and you have to be sponsored by a brokerage, have errors and omission insurance, and continuing education. I cannot understate the difficulty and expense of this and the series 63,65 of 66 (combination of the 63 and 65) tests and upkeep. Furthermore you can do a ‘broker check’ on FINRA to see if your licensed Advisor has had any complaints on their record. The basic assumption in the industry is that if you can fog a mirror in some states, you can get an insurance license to sell life/health insurance.

So if your financial “Planner” or “Advisor” is only licensed to sell life insurance, you might want to ask how they are qualified to be making recommendations for all of your retirement investments. I’m not trying to be excessively snobby, and these are not mutually exclusive. For example an insurance salesperson could have a degree in finance or certifications and training in retirement projections. However, the overwhelming financial plans that I see insurance salespeople present coincidentally involve the “put every cent you have into my fine insurance policy” strategy… and the next section focuses on commissions involved in that.

One of the biggest myths I run into in the hundreds of client appointments I have had, is that knowing about Finance and Investments is an innate trait that all people, especially men, naturally know all about just by reading the investments section of the paper. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s like saying that since I read a medical journal, I can now effectively self-diagnose myself for autoimmune conditions and prescribe medications. Without appropriate education you can sometimes get lucky by gambling in the stock market, but it’s most certainly NOT the safest and most intelligent way to go about working with your nest egg for the rest of your life. I repeat myself: NO ONE NATURALLY JUST KNOWS ABOUT FINANCE. You MUST be educated in it through either company training, a degree, or advanced certifications like the CFP, AAMS, ChFC, CLU, CDFA, CFA, CRIP, etc. These are not cheap and often take a few years to complete. It manifests that whoever you choose to be your Advisor has sacrificed their time and income to obtain them. Furthermore, having these credentials means that they must be kept current through continuing education. Make sure that whoever is handling your retirement funds has something to show that they can professionally specialize in this field, and managing portfolios. This is different from someone who was good at selling pools and wants to try selling something else. A good salesman does not a good Advisor make.

Pandering to emotion to sell products

Salespeople are coached in dramatic ways to be able to sell more and make the company money. One thing that salespeople are force-fed is that certain things are an “emotional” sale. I don’t believe that this is an ethical way to approach financial planning. When it comes to life insurance, there are ways of presenting it that don’t stoop to illogical and fallacious arguments or examples, but simply focus on needs.
For example, a good planning session can calculate how much would be needed to sustain your family if something were to happen to you. Things such as mortgage payoff, debt payments, educational savings for children, child support and income replacement should be carefully taken into account to make sure that the family can survive in case something happens to someone. However, there are some unethical people out there that put Broadway actors to shame in the pleading and dramatic emotions they try to elicit.

“Imagine your wife struggling to make ends meet and becoming a lot lizard to pay the mortgage!”

“What if your daughter has to pole-dance to afford college?”

“How will you feel paying the bill each month for your child’s funeral?”

These are all real quotes I have heard salespeople state. A real Advisor should talk to you in a professional manner and not make low-budget-local-news-style headlines to frighten you into getting a policy. Yes, insurance is an important component to your total financial plan, but your need depends on your unique situation. How many kids you have, how much liquid assets you have, how much debt and who makes the money in the family and how much apiece, for example. There are sophisticated reports to find the sweet spot for you without the emotional pleas that I’ve heard so much in this industry. It doesn’t have to win a Tony award to get you to move forward with it, it should make sense WITHOUT manipulation.

TAX RATES WILL GO UP!

I know EXACTLY what is going to happen in the market!

No true Advisor will be able to make guarantees to you about what will happen in the future to the market, tax brackets, or performance of non-guaranteed investments. In fact, Advisors are usually barred from using the “g-word” (guaranteed). The correct phrase is usually “backed by the full faith and credit of [insert insurance company/municipality here]”. For example, if the insurance company goes under and has no insurance for its business you are completely out of luck. This is why researching the credit rating of the insurance company offering an annuity or policy is important. Also shopping around is a good idea. The companies with higher payouts might pay them because they are newer companies, or perhaps they are not a strong company with high ratings. Take all this into account and your Advisor should be doing this for you before presenting options to you.

We’ve established that literally no one has a crystal ball or knows what will happen to the market, correct? Feel free to provide me with an example of someone who can consistently “beat the market” anytime, and I’d love to see it. NO ONE can consistently beat the market. Someone may get lucky with a guess here and there, or someone with insider trading knowledge could break a bunch of FINRA and SEC laws to “beat the market”, but absolutely no one knows what exactly is going to happen to the market. The best we can do is make educated decisions through research and information. If someone claims to be able to “time the market”, “beat the market” or anything like that, run in the other direction.

Tax rates – many people are speculating that an administration in the future might need to raise taxes depending on circumstances in the future. However, NO ONE can say what tax rates are going to do definitively. There’s a common scam out there by people selling insurance in which they have a pathetic PowerPoint delivering a jumbled message that tax rates WILL GO UP IMMEDIATELY and therefore you should put all your entire retirement savings in LIFE INSURANCE (because the commission they would get on this would be enormous; around $60k). They don’t care if this means that your money might be inaccessible, there would be huge fees associated with accessing it, you would have to take a loan at interest to obtain it, or only a certain amount of the total might be available to you (Depending on the company and type of policy, these could vary). They don’t care that for a policy that large you might need to manage the policy each year to avoid a Modified Endowment Contract (if you put too much in at the wrong time you would be assessed a huge fee and owe taxes to the IRS, and this requires careful planning to avoid), they also don’t care that for a contract that big you might be signing on for incredibly large monthly payments to keep the policy active ($800/month or more if you’re not an ultra-marathoner). They don’t take into account how that affects your plan for retirement. Again they’re only worried about getting that commission and moving on to the next person. Also, Financial Advisors that do not possess a CPA or are licensed Tax Advisors cannot legally provide tax advice nor hold themselves out as Tax Advisors. We can work with your Tax Advisor and discuss how different investments are treated regarding taxes, but going farther than this violates several serious regulations. Beware the former pool salesperson who can handle your taxes and investments without any prior experience or education!

In conclusion – anyone making predictions about future market conditions and tax brackets as an absolute had damn well better have a crystal ball and a fabulous gypsy outfit on. Otherwise it’s illegal to make these statements while holding yourself out to the public as a licensed Advisor.

Finding money you didn’t know you were losing through paying off your house too fast.

I don’t know where to start on this ridiculous tactic. There have been some scammers around with a low-budget power point aimed at convincing you that you’re unnecessarily making “wealth transfers” (Doesn’t that sound ominous?) of money that you didn’t know you had. They promise that they can go through your finances and find a way to uncover thousands of dollars in unnecessary spending WITHOUT your spending any less on your lifestyle! Sounds too good to be true, right? Guess where this is going…

Here’s how it will go: a real Advisor will carefully go over your budget and spending with you to see if there are unnecessary items that can be cut (gym memberships you never use, eating every meal out, buying 5 lattes a day on a credit card, etc.) and then looking at the big picture with you so that you can understand where your spending is in relation to your income. There’s no way that you can keep spending more than you earn and think that you’re going to be successful financially, and that’s the cold hard truth. You MUST live within your means. I’ve had to put people on a budget that make over $300k/yr. because they were spending themselves on a path to destruction. I’ve taken far too many calls from people in their eighties that are struggling to pay the power bill and medical costs with their retail job and social security. As far as worst-case scenarios I have enough examples of real life suffering to fill a novel, so more on that another time, but you get the picture.

However, these salespeople won’t do take the time to tell you the truth if you are spending outside your means. They’ll only look at what they are licensed to sell to make more sales. Too much on Medicare Supplement Plans? Hey they’re licensed for that! Too much on your current life insurance? They sell that too! Now don’t get me wrong, shopping around every year to make sure you’re not overpaying for a uniform service is a good thing. But you can do that yourself and you can do it by checking with several other companies. There might be a chance people like I mentioned could have a lower price/better product for you. But retain some skepticism, because they’re still getting commissions on all this. Here’s where it really gets scandalous, however…

Unless you had enough spare cash laying around to pay for your house in full, you most likely have a mortgage. When you do your taxes, you usually get a deduction for having a mortgage. That’s it, and everyone does it. These scammers take this to new levels by exaggerating how much that tax deduction really is and recommend that you either refinance your home to have a much longer mortgage (keep in mind that you will pay interest over the time of the loan on the value of the house all over again, and the amount paid over time can sometimes be double or more the initial cost of the house) so that you can get this glittery deduction. Now – for a small slice of society, this move could make sense. But a lot goes into this. For example – your income, your retirement savings so far, how much discretionary income you have after all monthly bills, your total debt already, how long you have until retirement, how many children you have and how much they need for school, and your TAX BRACKET. For all of these to come together perfectly to make it worth spending double the cost of your house over time with all the interest, it would be for a very specific person and situation. I have yet to see a cost/benefit analysis of this situation that can prove that it is worth it for every single person. So while this might work for a few people, salespeople will then claim that you need to refinance your home entirely and put the ENTIRE AMOUNT INTO A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY.

That’s right. Remember the accessibility issues? Did they talk to you about how much you had in an emergency fund? Did they examine your spending and have a plan in place in case of job loss, untimely death of a spouse, medical bills or other emergencies? Did they make sure that by refinancing a nearly paid-off house when close to retirement, you would have enough retirement income to be able to pay a mortgage for another 30 years as well as increased medical costs and long term care later in life? If you have millions of dollars in the bank maybe you can afford to do this, but for the average American household, which by the way a recent survey found cannot handle a $400 unforeseen expense in a month, most likely will not be able to withstand additional mortgage payments and money locked up in a life insurance policy or annuity.

Now, why do you think these people would recommend you take a chunk the size of $300k and put it ALLLLLLLLL into a life insurance policy? Do you think commissions on that would play a role in their advice? Commissions of $60k?

In conclusion, this strategy might work for a few select types of people, such as those who are already in a high tax bracket, and are extremely wealthy. If you’re satisfied that your advisor went through every possible scenario when creating this plan as mentioned above (emergency fund, detailed budget planning, spending analysis, adequate retirement funds, diversified and appropriate portfolio, guaranteed income options, family continuation planning, estate planning, life insurance for spouses and long term care) and you can definitively prove that this strategy saves you more than you spend, congratulations. However, that’s not usually the case statistically. So ask questions and ensure that if you go through with something like this you have exhausted ALL scenarios and are sure of all costs to you. DO NOT let someone with a really passionate presentation and PowerPoint convince you that this is right for you while they salivate thinking about those commissions they’ll earn. A passionate argument does not equal a logical one.

“Just because you’re saying.. [something] louder and more relentlessly does not make it true” – Sam Harris, Author

I hope that this is helpful to at least one person out there, I encourage you to be critical and take your time when choosing where/how to invest your life savings. I’ll be writing additional posts on high-pressure sales and other topics. Please reach out if you have a specific question or something you would like to see a post about.

Financial Tips For Newly Weds

For a young couple, preparing for your wedding can be financially strenuous and life after the wedding day if not properly planned can be a dangerous. More so if the couple are not from financial buoyant families.

Have a budget, do not borrow to buy liabilities

Now that the party and celebrations of your wedding are over, it is time for reality of life after the wedding day to begin.

Here are a few tips to help you start off on a good footing:

1) Pay Off Debts: Sometimes it is possible that you have outstanding bills to settle with some vendors who offered services at your wedding. Make it your priority to pay off any outstanding debts. It is not a wise thing to start a family in debt. Off setting your debts helps you start off your new family on a clean financial slate.

2) Furnishing Your House: If you have not already furnished your house, it is wiser to start with the essentials (cooking gas, refrigerator, TV and sofa). If you earn a regular monthly income, you can approach vendors of these items for an instalment payment agreement to purchase some of these items. Most stores will agree to this because they want patronage.

3) Have A Budget: You must form the habit of having a monthly family budget to cater for your monthly needs. Include your rent in your monthly budget. Do not wait until your yearly rent is due before saving towards it. This will put under undue financial pressure. Also include in your budget a percentage for charity (no matter how small). When you give to those in need, nature has a way of reciprocating when you are in need.

4) Have A Savings Culture: If you have not already imbibed a savings culture, now is the time to do so. As a couple, save towards major long-term projects like purchasing a plot of land to build your own house. When you build your first house, build to accommodate tenants too so you can earn rental income which you can use for other investments like buying and developing another property.

5) Do Not Borrow To Buy Liabilities: If you have to borrow, then borrow only when you have to buy an asset that will further generate income. Do not borrow to buy a car, phone or clothes. Those are not assets. While a car is good for convenience in mobility and every family deserves to have one, it still requires maintenance and maintenance will cost money.

6) Be True To Yourself: It may sound old school but these days a lot of young people are living a lie. As a couple, you must understand that nobody really cares about how you lead your life. So do not go about trying to win the people’s approval. Stay focused on building a good family and stay true to yourself.

7) Have A Positive Outlook: Research has shown that those who keep a positive outlook in life are more likely to succeed. Always keep a positive outlook no matter the challenge you come across. challenges will make you stronger and wiser if you face the storm with optimism.

I Hate Annuities – I Love Annuities

The financial world has seen an explosion in the annuity marketplace over the last 15 years. With the Baby Boomers coming into retirement at the rate of 10,000 per day the insurance companies have not missed the opportunity to design, market, and sell record amounts of annuities – both in contracts sold and premium dollars paid – during this timeframe.

The proposals that are coming out of Washington to enhance the scrutiny of the sales of annuities have been grabbing the attention of not only the financial and political media – but also the general media. The concerns stem from the sales of annuities to those that do not fully understand all the contract language – especially the terms related to lengthy and stiff penalties if a contract owner changes their mind and wants out.

Truth is that even for a 25 year veteran of the financial services industry the annuity model of today is very difficult to understand. The complexities of how interest is calculated makes even the most seasoned veteran pause. Therefore the chance that an average consumer – even one with superior intelligence – will understand all the nuances of the contract is slim. At the beginning of my career – in the late 1980’s – an annuity application was 2-3 pages. Today they are 30-50 pages!!

When you shift through all of the rhetoric surrounding the annuity designs of today – they still offer what no other investment can – the peace of mind that a guaranteed lifetime income stream can offer. The term annuity comes from Latin which meaning “per annum”. The first annuities were issued to Roman soldiers as a way to compensate them for their service to Rome. That is why no matter what the press or competitors say about annuities – “I Love Annuities” – as long as the purchaser understands that they are getting something very special in the security of the income payment but they are also paying a price for that security – proving the old adage that “there is no such thing as a free lunch”.

The challenge for the consumer is the only way to “beat the insurance company” and “get into their pockets” is to live a long time – well past your life expectancy. A typical annuity will take the balance in your annuity policy – factor in your life expectancy (or the life expectancy of two people in the case of a joint life annuity) – and offer you a payment that you cannot outlive. Let’s look at that a little deeper.

Take for example a couple that are both 73 years of age. Let’s assume that they give $150,000 of premium to an insurance company in exchange for a monthly income check that will last as long as they do. That monthly check will equate to about $850. If you assume that the insurance company will earn 3% on the funds that it holds on your behalf – it will take just over 19 years for that pot of money to deplete to zero. One of them will need to last until 92 years of age before the insurance company is “really on the hook”. If they both die prior to that – the insurance company wins. On the other hand if one of them lives to Age 100 – this annuity might have been a wise buy. This is why “I Hate Annuities”.

In the Safe Money investing world there are a host of options that can create safe, sustainable, monthly income without the need to give up control and access to the principal. This takes some discipline and prudence on the part of the investor – not to spend foolishly – this is what the allure is all about in the annuity world – it’s like “buy an annuity and we will protect you from yourself”. This definitely appeals to some consumers – especially those that are not savers and have some issues surrounding their spending habits.

In conclusion the decision of whether to purchase an annuity or not rests more on the habits and the longevity of the purchaser. There is no such thing as a perfect investment – one needs to give to get. In the equity markets you need to give the safety of your principal to get the opportunity for nice returns. With annuities one needs to give up some control and flexibility in order to get the security of principal and the potential to receive a “check” for the rest of one’s life.

Are You Confident About Your Financial Future?

We all use it, it is the common way we acquire services and goods on a daily basis. We trade our time for it. We rely on it to provide for our future, stash it away in belief that it will still have value in the future. It is our currency be it Dollars, Euros, whatever, but it is not as trustworthy as you may think. Look I am by no means a qualified financial adviser or guru in any form, but I am going to explain to the best of my ability; that you should start looking at other forms of investment to secure your financial future.

Fiat currency

All national currencies are called fiat currencies. What does this mean? Well Investopedia’s definition of a fiat currency is:

“Currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but is not backed by a physical commodity. The value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between supply and demand rather than the value of the material that the money is made of. Historically, most currencies were based on physical commodities such as gold or silver, but fiat money is based solely on faith. Fiat is the Latin word for “it shall be”.” – investopedia.com

So basically, that piece of paper you carry in your pocket is exactly that, a piece of paper that is based on your faith that it will still have the same purchasing power tomorrow as it has today. So what is wrong with that?

Fiat currency, unfortunately, has had a long history of failure. Since the Roman Empire in the first century began with the practice of debasing their currency (adding impurities to their money thereby reducing the value but increasing the amount of currency in circulation) it has led to devaluation and eventual collapse.

Maybe you are thinking that it could not be happening today, I am sorry to say that it is. Our history has had several failed attempts at using paper currency and fiat currencies have never been successful except for political systems trying to prevent the debasement of their currency by letting the printing presses run amok.

It is not all doom and gloom though. I am also not saying this will save everyone, but if you look at countries like China who are stockpiling in gold, maybe we should follow in their footsteps? We all know that gold is valuable and there is only so much of it on our planet, this allows it more stability than fiat currency. Gold has also shown a consistent growth in its life time.

Like I said I am by no means a qualified financial adviser, I am just stating my thoughts and how I feel. And I feel that there is a definite shift in the way the world economy is moving right now. I can’t say if it is going to happen tomorrow or in the next 10 years, but I am sure it will happen. So maybe it will be a good idea to create a secure foundation for your financial future. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

To Your Success.

If this article has tickled your interest and you are wondering what you can do about it. Feel free to contact me via skype at ja_holtz and I will gladly explain more.

What Traits Do Most Successful Financial Advisors Have In Common?

Experts in the financial industry usually have a lot in common. They are morning people, number-crunchers, and they all seem to really like coffee. What makes you be a successful financial advisor?

Plenty of people today want to know what traits do successful financial advisors share and what often makes them different. Although there are a lot of factors, there are several points that people found most interesting.

Common Denominators Of Successful Financial Advisors

Trustworthy – The client-advisor relationship will be based on a foundation of trust. Often, they are exceptionally trustworthy. They stick to what they utter and always keep their promises. Most of them also are naturally charismatic people. Still, following through and doing what you want them to do on your behalf is considered the most important part.

Action-oriented – They put great ideas into work. They are always ready to take action. They are fond of setting deadlines and working on making exceptional ideas turn into reality.

Always on the lookout for learning opportunities – Regardless of whether it is a free training seminar on prospecting or perhaps a thought-provoking newspaper article, they continuously look for great opportunities to learn more about the finance industry and how to successfully conquer it. They search for various resources to learn and grow. Furthermore, they constantly look for various ways on how to implement new ideas in their practice.

Very High standards – They often set unrealistic goals, and meet them. They usually make a habit of setting high standards. Against all odds, they will find a way to meet such goals. At first, you won’t believe that such goals can be achieved. Moreover, they think about their goals in terms of opportunities instead of challenges. In other words, they often think outside the box so even the unrealistic goals can be met.

Good listeners – Most people think that this is a trait that is not important for successful financial advisors. Well, it is highly emphasized that these professionals do a better job of understanding the wants, needs, pain points, fears, and motivations of their clients. Knowing the client more is very crucial. They become capable of focusing on clients during meetings and tune everything else out. Basically, these professionals become successful because they fully understand their clients. And they know exactly what their clients goals are by becoming an excellent listener.

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Financial Advisor

Managing your wealth, no matter how big or small, is a cumbersome task. Your financial advisor helps to keep your money safe while making it work for you. Before you start working with someone, ask them these important questions.

What Certifications Do You Have?

You need to know what licenses and certification your financial advisor has. Most of the top consultants are certified public accountants, fund specialists, consultants, or analysts. Some even carry a Juris doctorate and insurance licenses. While everyone has to start somewhere, you want to work with a firm that has extensive experience in the field.

What Safeguards Are in Place to Protect Assets from Fraud?

Your assets need to be protected by a reputable custodian. When you ask about safeguards, you should also ask about any infractions he or she has received in the past both with the firm and as an individual. To provide you with the best service, your financial advisor should be a fiduciary.

Consultants with a strict code of ethics have standards that they share with their clients. However, no matter their standards, they should be in compliance with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, state and regulatory agencies, and the Security’s and Exchange Commission.

What Are Your Fees?

When it comes to fees, your counselor should be 100 percent transparent. He or she needs to explain his or her exact fee structure, so you understand how you are paying. Some are fee-only, meaning they provide a flat rate for services rendered.

Some investment consultants charge a commission fee. That means they make money off each product you purchase to help your investments grow. It is important to know which one you are working with, or if you are with someone who charges a fee in addition to earning commissions.

What Access Do You Have to Earning Reports?

As your financial advisor, he or she should have direct access to the top holdings of where your investments are. He or she needs to be able to tell you immediately what the earnings report is anytime you call.

At the very least, he or she should be able to educate you on your holdings before any investment of assets. By educating you on available options and what assets are invested, you can better understand what the consultant suggests.

How Often Do You Communicate

When it comes to letting you know how your money is doing, the counselor should be open to communication. He or she should send out weekly announcements about the market. Also, you must be informed of trade notifications immediately and receive an explanation on every buy and sell option. Most firms also send out information about their monthly investment outlook as well as a quarterly outlook. Brokers also offer to keep their customers informed with educational information and fact sheets.

Ask the tough questions of a financial advisor before asking him or her to manage your funds. It helps you to weed out the inexperienced and shady consultants before losing any money.

Why Money Is Worth More Than Life

It is the great trap that has misled and conditioned people since the time of the Roman Empire. Prior to this people traded in goods and clay cylinders and tablets of ancient times verify that money was never used. The rise of coins was gradual and at first untrustworthy as merchants were used to dealing in exchange. Two sheep might have been worth one cow or a sack of barley, and these exchanges are recorded as such.

Only with the introduction of iron and complex alloys could money be minted and the first coins are primitive in design and some carried the king’s likeness while others might bear other images. ‘Exchange’ is the same as ‘X-change’ or ‘changed by the cross’ and that concept needs explaining.

Following my reincarnation and with a strong link to the Spirit of the Universe, the real God, it took me back in time to the origin of religion and the first crucifixion. It showed me the Mother God of Babylon and how it reigns supreme to this day. The identity of the two beasts of Revelation was also made known and the story is now complete.

At the age shown to me between lives the Spirit commissioned me to tear down the wall of blindness manufactured by religion and bring in the harvest. We are in the last days and the prophecies are coming true.

It takes thousands of pages to explain and the Internet is the mountain of knowledge given by God for this time. It is spreading the truth as everyone has access to it and the light it exudes is rocking the foundation of the wall and ripping it down. The rest is up to people to make use of it and seek the Spirit before it is too late.

Money is the handicap, however, as the majority prefer it to their chance for eternal life. They neither understand nor care what God has revealed because their greed for wealth and man-made power is paramount. They will even die to protect their fortunes and eternal death awaits them.

Save Money – The Easiest Way To Save Money

We are consumers. We simply need things such as gas for our cars, insurance, phones, groceries, furniture and many other things. All of these things require money! Unfortunately, our economy is not good. Luckily, it’s slowly getting better. But even when our economy gets better, wouldn’t it be nice to save money on all the things we need? Wouldn’t it be nice to have an a few extra thousand dollars in our pockets each year? Well, you certainly can! The best part about it is it’s incredibly easy to do!

No more searching online for hours trying to find the best price for your purchase! The way to save an extraordinary amount of money is via saving money memberships! More specifically, lifetime saving money memberships! I am going to go over the 3 things you need to look for before getting any type membership like this!

1. Duration – You can get one that only last for a few months or years but if you’re looking to save thousands of dollars each year then your best bet is to find a one that offers a lifetime holding. Especially if you enjoy the benefits, it would be ideal to continue to enjoy it for the rest of your life. There are plenty of lifetime holding ones out there, however, if you can’t find one you like that offers that then at least look for one that has a long duration. A 10 year or even a 15 year saving money membership will do some great things in terms of adding more money into your wallet.

2. Do The Math – You have to look at the price! If you are looking to get a lifetime one, you may have to pay a decent chunk of money. But it’s important to remember that it’s a one-time payment. You also have to make sure you’ll be able to save more than you originally spent or else it kind of defeats the purpose. Doesn’t it? If a saving money membership with a lifetime holding requires a one-time $5,000 payment but you are able to save $2,000 each year, do the math! That’s a great saving money membership! You will be able to save more money then you originally spent after 3 years! After the 3 years you will be smooth sailing! Be sure to do the math before you freak out about the price!

3. Look At The Benefits – If you want to maximize your savings you’re going to have to look at the benefits! Look for a saving money membership that has a ton of benefits! If you get one for gasoline, you need to make sure you purchase a ton of gasoline each year! There are several out there that allow you to use it on almost anything! There’s no need to limit your savings! As I mentioned before, it would be nice to save on a wide variety of things and you certainly can!

So, if you are looking to save an extraordinary amount of money each and every year your best bet is to look into a saving money membership! However, don’t get one without looking into it first and getting some information! Make sure that it has a high duration (preferably lifetime), do the math and make sure that you are going to be able to save more money then it took to get the membership in the first place, and finally be sure to look at the benefits so you can maximize your savings with a wide variety of things!

The Origin of Monetary Exchange

Money is an amazing phenomenon that allowed the world to develop into the tragic and disastrous state it is in today. Money is an invention designed for power and control and its origin is in the Islamic practice of crucifixion of god-men. These Avatars were to rise to heaven to marry Mary, the Mother God of that region. Her symbols include the sun-star depicted on the flag of Islam and the five-pointed star that sits over the systems that comprise the World Order as well as the cross.

Following my reincarnation and with a strong link to the Spirit of the Universe, the only real God (Isaiah 45:4-8) it commissioned me to tear down the wall of blindness and bring in the harvest. We are in the last days and the Internet is the Mountain of God promised to appear at this time to spread the truth over the world (Micah 4:1).

It was foretold that God will speak through the voice of a woman (Isaiah 42:14) to address a huge controversy (Jeremiah 25:31,33). She is called the daughter of Zion (Micah 4:8,10) and it is she who will expose the work of the 2 beasts of Revelation 11:3ff (Jeremiah 31:22).

The wall was built by the first beast of Revelation 13 and it comprises the blind and deaf effects of religion (Isaiah 29:10-12). It was a condition set by God to hide the truth (Job 12:5ff) and money is designed to enhance its effects.

Mary is the first beast and it was ‘she’ whom men thought they could ‘marry’ by dying on crosses at dawn. This would allow them to rise with the sun into the heaven where they would supposedly live forever. It gave them the notion that they are made in the image of God, that is as a star, and that on death that part of them, the ‘sol’ (sun) would be released.

The other aspect of their sacrifice was to exchange their lives for more fertility on the earth. This is the origin of the ‘man in the eye’ or ‘mon-eye’ which is the origin of ‘money’. The stiff corpse or ‘dol’ is interpreted as ‘feed circle of god’ and the flesh of the god-man was eaten to imbibe his spirit. It’s the origin of the communion service in Christian religions.

He was also the ‘b-el’ or ‘b-a-el’ which is ‘bearer of the power of God’ which is noted in prophecy as the ‘lord of the day’ (Amos 2:5). From ‘ba-el’ came ‘bull’ and exchanging him for goods gave rise to ‘bullion’; the unit of monetary exchange.

Pay For Delete – Does It Really Work?

When you read the forums on personal finance, debt and credit help, lots of people advise you should demand the collection agency remove your account from your credit report as part of the negotiation. This is called “Pay For Delete”.

In theory this sounds great. Pay less than what you owe and have all traces of this debt removed from your credit report. There are even dozens of sample letters available online to help you work the magic and make the collections account disappear. But how often does it really occur?

It occurs much less frequently than those forum posters make it sound like! According to Allie Johnson at CreditCards.com, only about 10% of collection agencies will agree to a Pay For Delete. So for every successful story of a Pay For Delete there are nine other stories of rejection.

Why such a small percentage of success? Let’s look at this from the standpoint of the credit bureaus and the collection agencies. The collection agencies are paid members of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). All members of the credit bureaus promise contractually to report accurate credit information. Whether positive or negative data.

If you were a member of a credit bureau and you were considering loaning money to someone, wouldn’t you want to know the whole story about the person wanting to borrow your money?

The credit bureaus expect 100% honest reporting from their members. When a collection agency deletes negative information falsely (technically a Pay For Delete is a lie) it risks its membership being terminated by the credit bureaus. No collection agency wants that to happen.

Then why do some Pay For Deletes occur? The agency needs to collect money to remain in business. They either are splitting whatever they collect with the original creditor (an assigned debt) or they paid money and bought the debt from the original creditor (a purchased debt). In either case money needs to come in to keep the doors open!

So if you have a large debt (say $2000), the agency might risk an angry call from the credit bureaus if you were to pay them $1000. After all, cash talks! But if you have a $100 debt, it is doubtful that any agency would risk its membership if you offer $50 for the Pay For Delete.

Your chance for a successful Pay For Delete can increase if you can prove that you never got the bill. For example if you have a medical bill which was mailed to an old address and you can prove you were at a new address when the bills were sent out, then there is a legitimate reason for the collection agency to delete your account from the credit bureaus once you pay.

Pay For Delete was a popular trade many years ago but is very rarely accepted today. Collection agencies and creditors are required to remove inaccurate data from credit reports. But they are not required to remove accurate, negative data from credit reports.