medical uses of drugs

Legal, Ethical, Moral

Over the past few weeks, Sandy and I have been reorganizing our living space to create a client friendly home office where clients can discuss personal finances in comfort and privacy.  I did much of the work for this project on our front patio where the American flag flies 24/7/365.

As I was painting, sanding, unpacking, and doing other tasks on the patio, the ever-present Colorado sun distracted me by waving a shadow of the flag over the patio.  I would stop work to see who or what—unnoticed except for the shadow—was annoyingly approaching me.
As the days went by, it dawned on me that I have lived my entire life in the protective shadow of the American flag…

  • From birth, through WWII, Korea, the turmoil of the ’60s–the assassinations of John, Bobbie, and Martin–the financial and social trauma of the ’70s, Vietnam—during which I served behind a desk in Dayton, OH—the inflation ravaged Carter years, the rebirth of the American spirit during the Reagan Presidency, the extraordinary boom of the ’90s and the equally extraordinary financial failures of the 2k0s, the terror of 9/11, the historic election of a black American President in 2008, and the failure of that President to fulfill the promise his election held for America.
  • During the thirty-seven years that I have been a licensed life insurance agent, The Shadow of the American Flag has also protected the thousands of insurance and financial advisory practices that ethically and honestly serve American families and small businesses.  (The financial services industry has brought both credit and discredit to the American entrepreneurial spirit.  It has produced some of the greatest models of American ingenuity and some of its most infamous frauds.  You can fill in the names.  Regardless, ethical advisors and their clients survive and thrive.)

Now, it’s time for insurance agents, financial advisors, and their clients to assure that the Shadow of the American Flag continues to protect every American’s personal finances in the decades to come.  It is not enough to make a living or make a killing in our business and for our clients.  Insurance and financial advisors and their clients are in a unique position to raise their voices and employ their resources to revitalize America and restore the promise of the American Flag—in whose shadow we and our clients have all lived, survived, and thrived.

We can only make this real by…

  • becoming actively involved in the political process
  • supporting candidates and issues that…
    • empower individual Americans and diminish the power of bureaucrats and politicians
    • reduce the intrusion into the lives of individuals and the workings of small business by government takeovers, over-regulation, healthcare that interferes with the doctor-patient relationship and imposes an impossible burden on small business, and special treatment for large financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their Wall Street cronies

Let’s get to work.

PS – If you are not an insurance agent or financial advisor, you are likely the client of one.  Join us and pass this on.  Ask your agent/advisor to join in the effort to restore America.

Inaccurate Is Not OK…

A client recently sent me a copy of an email received from an insurance agent promoting whole life insurance policies from a specific life insurance company.  The primary goal of the original email seemed to be to demonstrate that one form of dividend calculation on whole life insurance policies is better than another.

The email from the agent was inaccurate and therefore misleading. I have no doubt the agent was convinced that the information in the email was correct or that s/he was operating in good faith.  However, my client asked me to confirm or deny the claims in the email and I felt compelled to clarify the inaccuracies as much as possible.

The exercise of clarifying the issues raised in the email are meaningful so I am repeating my response here and expanding on it as needed.

The original email content is in standard type. My responses are indented, bold, in italics, and preceded by my initials in brackets thus [JR].

Two Types of Mutual Insurance Companies…

There are two types of Mutual Insur­ance com­pa­nies . They are called direct recog­ni­tion and non-direct recog­ni­tion. I have poli­cies in both these types of companies.

[JR] Actually there are direct recognition mutual companies and mutual holding companies and non-direct recognition mutual companies and mutual holding companies.

If a company is structured as a mutual company or a mutual holding company is as significant as whether it pays dividends on a direct recognition or non-direct recognition basis.

Direct Recognition VS Indirect Recognition

Non-Direct Recognition…

Non-Direct means the pol­icy owner receives the same div­i­dend rate no mat­ter how many dol­lars he has bor­rowed from the insur­ance com­pany using his death ben­e­fit as col­lat­eral.

[JR] Well, that’s not exactly correct. Actually, the policy’s cash value is the primary collateral used when a policy loan option is exercised by a policy owner.  One cannot borrow more than a whole life policy’s currently unencumbered cash value.

Death benefit only comes into play in the event of death.

So you may have bor­rowed $10,000 whereas another pol­icy owner bor­rowed $100,000 but you both earn the same div­i­dend rate.

[JR] The statement is true as far as it goes.  However, it ignores the fact that the policy owner that borrowed $100,000 would pay a lot more interest to the insurer than the policy owner that borrowed only $10,000.

In both cases, the interest paid by the policy owners–one to a greater extent than the other–would add to the surplus of the insurer; and the company pays dividends from its’ surplus is where dividends come from

Or you may not have bor­rowed any­thing but you would still earn the same div­i­dend as some­one else who has bor­rowed and is using that bor­rowed money to earn even more profit some­where else.

[JR] The unasked question is, “Why is that a bad deal for anyone?”  Some indirect recognition companies have followed this pattern for over a century.

(As an aside, what the devil difference does it make what the policy owner is doing with the money s/he borrowed from the policy that s/he owns?  Sorta sounding like a Robin Hood argument.)

Direct Recognition…

Direct means the com­pany deter­mines the div­i­dend rate accord­ing to pol­icy hold­ers fair share

[JR] This statement is irresponsible. It assumes the indirect companies dividend paying practices are unfair to their policy owners.

Should indirect recognition companies like Mass Mutual  be ashamed after over 100 uninterrupted years paying top dividends? How unfair!

accord­ing to how many dol­lars he has bor­rowed from the insur­ance company’s gen­eral fund using his death ben­e­fit as col­lat­eral.

[JR] There you go again Mr/Ms Agent…it’s cash value not death benefit that is the primary collateral used to back a policy loan.

The higher the amount of dol­lars on loan to you does mean you will receive a lower div­i­dend rate.

[JR] Ah! A moment of clarity. It’s true. Direct recognition companies apply a lower dividend rate to those policies that have loans outstanding.

The obvious conclusion according to this agent is that a policy owner that plans to exercise the right to take policy loans granted by his or her policy–a binding contract–an indirect recognition company may not be the best option.

Now, why does this mat­ter? Well, it doesn’t really mat­ter a whole lot

[JR] Another brief moment of clarity.  Often the difference between the performance of non-direct recognition policies and direct recognition policies is not significant enough to make it a deciding factor on a buying decision.

But…if it doesn’t matter, why the epistle?

but some insur­ance agents use the fact that a com­pany is a non-direct com­pany as a sell­ing point when try­ing to sell some­one a pol­icy.

[JR] OK…now i know why. Mr/MS Agent in this epistle uses the direct recognition dividend practices to promote the sale of policies for their direct recognition companies.

The Banking Concept

But it is good to under­stand that an insur­ance com­pany makes money using the veloc­ity of cash flow,

[JR] If a policy owner-borrower is being what R. Nelson Nash, formulator of the Infinite Banking Concept™, calls “an honest banker,” the insurer has very good cash flow.

If the policy owner fails to repay the loan and the interest, the insurer uses the policy’s cash value, which was used as collateral, to repay the interest and protect the other policy owners/borrowers. If the policy cash value is all used to pay premiums and/or interest, the policy lapses.

just like a bank does.

[JR] Insurance companies, like banks, use the money that policy owners pay in premiums and interest to make loans and enter safe and conservative joint ventures. That much is accurate.

However, insurance companies do not act “just like banks.”  Banks work for shareholders not depositors.  Mutual insurance companies and a holding company’s mutual insurance company work exclusively for the benefit of policy owners.

If you have your money sit­ting in a 5 or 10 year CD at the bank, the bank knows that it has a set amount of money that it can lend over and over and over again dur­ing that set period of time. An insur­ance com­pany does the same thing

[JR] Banks operate on a completely different set of principles and rules than insurance companies.  Insurers do not do “exactly” the same thing.

Banks operate on money that they derive from depositors . In addition, they have access to a form of  ”matching funds” from the Federal Reserve Bank.  Therefore, the banks can actually lend up to ten time the amount of money they have received from depositors!

Insurance companies limit themselves to using only the money they have on hand.

The Velocity of Money – Sorta…

You pay your pre­mium and it can lend an amount of money over and over and over again for a life­time. How­ever, if YOU bor­row money from your life insur­ance com­pany, now they can no longer veloc­i­t­ize that money.

[JR] An insurance company can only lend up to the limit of its cash available excluding reserves.  Insurance companies cannot leverage FED funds to increase the amount they can lend. That’s not at all the same as a bank.

In fact, if the insurer lends money to Home Depot they cannot “velocitize” (not a recognized word in any dictionary) the money either, nor can they leverage through fractional banking like a commercial bank.

Instead, you are now in con­trol to veloc­i­t­ize your own money.

[JR] The insurance company is in fact “velocitizing” the money by charging the policy owner a competitive interest rate and—again—by contract, the policy owner is always in control of the cash value in a whole life insurance policy.

Moreover, because a whole life policy is a contract with borrowing provisions decided by the insurer, the burden is contractually on the insurer to make sure it makes money for all of its policy owners and not one more than others—and that’s true for both direct and indirect recognition companies.

The Attempted Deception Falls apart

How­ever, one must con­sider this fact. How long will an insur­ance com­pany be able to stay in busi­ness if a large por­tion of their pol­icy own­ers are receiv­ing an unfair share of the prof­its?

[JR] Hmmm – how is it possible for a policy owner to receive an “unfair share of the profits” by being charged a fair interest rate under contract terms determined by the insurer.  Robin Hood again?

Again, does that put Mass Mutual—100+ years old—and never missing a dividend at more risk than a direct recognition company like Northwestern Mutual—also over a century old with a great dividend record?

Who actu­ally owns the insur­ance com­pany again? The pol­icy own­ers. That would be YOU.

[JR] This is accurate when description of mutual companies. Although mutual holding companies “operate” as mutuals, the holding company–not just policy owners–holds significant interests in the mutual insurance company.

That is not an indictment of the mutual holding companies. It’s merely an attempt to bring clarity where none exists.

Some of the non-direct recog­ni­tion com­pa­nies restrict the num­ber of loans, or the amount one can take as a loan or the num­ber of poli­cies one can own etc.

[JR] I’ve not experienced that in 40 years of dealing with a wide variety of insurance companies of both types except when the insurance company was in receivership–and that happened only twice that I know of.

(Tell me who you are talking about so I can avoid them.)

Do you want to have a pol­icy that restricts your cap­i­tal avail­abil­ity?

[JR] This is a cheap shot and poor salesmanship.  I know of no direct or non-direct company that issues a contract that says the owner of a whole life policy cannot access to all of their cash value on demand.

Some non-direct recog­ni­tion com­pa­nies fire the agents that tell their clients about bank­ing

[JR] This too is uncalled for. If an insurance company were to take this action, it would be grounds for a significant law suit by both the agents and the insureds. The insurer cannot deny rights granted by the insurer in a recognized contract.

and also some have been bought by stock com­pa­nies and are in the process of con­vert­ing from mutual to stock because too many of their cus­tomers were bor­row­ing from their poli­cies.

[JR] I’d like to know the names of those companies so I can confirm the claim, avoid doing business with them, and make sure the agents and advisors I deal with all across the US know about it.

The com­pany I rec­om­mend is a direct recog­ni­tion company.

[JR] Well – who woulda guessed!  This agent is surely operating in good faith, but is in dire need of information, knowledge, and wisdom.

by Jeffrey Reeves MA, EUREKONOMIST™

The foolishness of refinancing to "save" money is one of the most insidious of the conventional wisdom shibboleths. Radio, TV, the internet, even your smart phones attack you with this flawed idea. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a sad day when insurance and financial advisors stoop to deception in order to sell their wares.

An agent I am mentoring in EUREKONOMICS™ principles and practices placed a well-structured participating whole life policy on the life of a small business owner.  Another agent slithered through a crack somewhere and misled the client to believe the policy in hand was of lesser value than the one the other agent is proposing to sell the client.

Here is my response to my mentee with bracketed descriptions replacing [names].

Hi [Agent,]

I’ve reviewed the “Supplemental Illustration” from [the large foreign-owned stock insurance company] you emailed to me that [another agent] recommended to [your client] as a replacement for [your client's] whole life policy.

I suggest you point out to [your client] that [the other agent]…

  • failed to show the entire illustration, which includes the guaranteed values, which is required by law in all fifty states
  • wants [your client] to contribute a total of $172,600 to a life insurance policy over 16 years
  • claims [your client’s] premium payments over those 16 years would grow to $233,697
  • says [your client] could then expect that $233,697…
    • to repay the entire amount of [your client's] contributions—$172k—in less than 7 years at the rate of $25,820 per year
    • then produce $25,820 in income each year thereafter from policy loans for as long as he lives (that assumes somewhere in the neighborhood of a 12% return forever based on a calculator on BankRate.com)

Common sense tells us that these numbers are unrealistic, but a financial calculator could tell you the precise impossible-to-achieve rate of return that the other agent is using to create these post age 72 income amounts from policy loans.

You may want to create a spread sheet showing the current actual value of the [mutual company] guaranteed cash values and death benefit and non-guaranteed illustrated dividends of the current policy compared to the hypothetical values being illustrated for [the large foreign-owned stock insurance company] product.

You could either leave the guaranteed column empty on [the large foreign-owned stock insurance company] portion or—better yet—call a brokerage house and have them run [the large foreign-owned stock insurance company] illustration showing the same results and fully disclosing the guarantees—or lack thereof—and the return assumptions.  You could then use their hypothetical numbers on your spreadsheet—with emphasis on hypothetical.

I hope this helps you demonstrate to [your client] that selling from an incomplete illustration that only shows untested hypothetical results is unethical at best and unworthy of consideration.  It’s also worth noting that it could be a reportable violation of NAIC rules and state laws.

Every EUREKONOMICS™ Agent is fully committed to adhere to the legal, moral, and ethical standards of the insurance and financial advisory vocation without, however, being restricted by the constraints of conventional wisdom and artificially imposed regulation from quasi-professional governmental and certification granting organizations that serve more to constrain creativity than to protect the public.

This post is my reply to another Kool Aid drinker that knows nothing about participating whole life insurance but is—regardless—answering the life insurance question: “Which kind of life insurance policy should the questioner buy?” The answer–in bold–is from a mortgage broker.  My responses follow.

 

Purchase Life Insurance: – I call this “Income Protection.” Only (repeat – ONLY) purchase a term life policy.

Hmmm!  The mortgage broker states, “I call this….” So the millions of successful Americans that buy whole life insurance policies are wrong and the small “buy term and invest the rest” sect of Williams/Orman devotees like this one are right. No! This advice is akin to suggesting a diet composed only of Twinkies and doughnuts would produce optimum health.

 

The face-value should be an amount large enough to replace income no longer coming in due to the death, or the additional funding necessary to cover the expense of hiring someone to perform the tasks of the dear departed. If the budget permits, increase the face-value to pay off debts of #1) the mortgage, #2) creditors. The minimum policy should cover expenses to bury or cremate the deceased. The average burial costs are between $6,500 and $10,500. Cremation average: $1,250 to $6,500.

~ WOW! If only the millions of Americans that care enough about their families knew how foolish they have been to buy whole life insurance policies that actually serve the needs of the family both during their life time and after their death. After 40 years helping Americans deal with life and death issues it is apparent that more life insurance is always better than less and whole life insurance serves best. No widow or widower ever complained about receiving too much money from a life insurance claim.

 

Under no circumstances should you purchase a whole life, universal life, or any other type of policy that accumulates a cash-value.

~ YEAH, Right! More Twinkies…How about following that logic to its ultimate conclusion.  Don’t buy a car, lease it.  Don’t buy a home, rent an apartment.  Why would anyone want to build equity in real property like a home or a life insurance policy?  Shucks, why not go for the ultimate; don’t get married…

 

There are at least five (5) reasons why, as follows:

 

~ Now, the truth…

a.            Although rates are better than a savings account or Certificate of Deposit, they are still low compared to other investments

~ When this argument arises, its proponents pull out hypothetical illustrations of future performance. Facts are different than projections. During the past 100+ years, whole life insurance policies that were issued and maintained produced results comparable to “investments.” (Can’t say the same for universal life policies. That’s why I never sold that kind of life insurance policy.) Looking forward using silly assumptions is a form of dishonesty. Any return over 5% net of taxes and expenses for an “investment” is unrealistic based on the actual performance of actual investments–that’s not my opinion but according to Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett. One can–of course–use “averages” to “prove” whatever they want. I can show you how an “average return” of 10% per year leads to a total loss of your invested capital.

 

b.            The interest rate to “borrow” the money is much higher (usually 6-9% plus). Unlike borrowing from your 401k plan where interest payments go back into your account, these payments go to the institution. Additionally, it could take up to six months to receive your check

~ These assertions are incomplete, mix unrelated issues with the issue being addressed, and are at best factually inaccurate.

i. Policy loans are, in many cases, the least expensive way to finance purchases. Although it is accurate to say that the policyholder borrows money from the insurer and repays the insurer, that does not take into account that the cash value of a whole life policy continues to grow and dividends continue to be credited to the policy regardless of the loan. Moreover, the value of the GUARANTEED cash value increases and dividends–not guaranteed but consistently paid for over 100 years–often far exceed the interest charged. Even some UL policies have zero cost loan provisions that assure the policy owner/borrower that the interest paid will equal the interest credited to the policy.

ii. It’s unclear where the six months comment comes from. I and many of my clients regularly borrow against the cash value of policies and receive checks in a few days, never weeks or months.  (Most policies since the Great Depression have a rarely used provision that allows the insurer to withhold both cash accumulations and death benefit payments for as much as six months under very limited circumstances.  To suggest that is the norm is–you put your own name to it.)

iii. Finally, borrowing from a 401(k)–assuming you are following conventional wisdom and actually risking your future by buying into such schemes–is fraught with dangers–too many for this response.

c.             Although your premium does not rise, the portion that goes to pay your premium does because as you get older the rate increases. Therefore, the portion of the premium that goes towards your cash value contribution decreases as time goes on. Eventually, you are paying premium from your cash value therefore, you cash value will total zero at some future point in time

~ OK – that’s a relatively accurate description of a universal life insurance policy but does not begin to describe a whole life policy in which the premium, death benefit, and cash values are all GUARANTEED. In addition, the insurance contract–not the insurer–guarantees that any surplus/profit that the insurance company earns is paid to policy owners as a tax-free dividend. There are no outside investors in mutual companies.

 

d.            After the cash value is depleted, the policy could be cancelled (unless you are willing to pay a higher premium)

~ This applies to UL policies – not whole life insurance policies.  Whole life insurance policy premiums are guaranteed to remain level, the cash values are guaranteed to increase every year, and surpluses are guaranteed to be paid out as tax-free dividends annually. Moreover, this comment doesn’t address the question of what happens when the term insurance policy the mortgage broker recommends renews and the premium goes up 1,000% or more due to age.

 

 

e.            Upon the death of the insured, beneficiaries receive either the face-value of the policy or the cash value. In order to receive both, the agent needs to mark both on the application. They generally don’t mark both because the policy premium would be much higher.

~ This refers to UL policies only. (Isn’t it amazing that the author of this response knows how other agents think and even knows their motives for filling out an applications one way or another?)

Whole life policies that are properly structured develop an increasing cash value. Happily, I just reviewed a policy that was issued in 1976. The premium was, of course, the same as it way originally. However, the death benefit was seven times the original face amount and the annual dividend was ten times the guaranteed premium–and rising every year.

 

“Cash Value” policies should only be used to supplement retirement savings after all other retirements account contributions reach their maximum allowed by Security Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations.

~ I worry about advisors that make assertions that sound like the Ten Commandments.

This is another out of context and meaningless comment. The SEC is the puppet of the Behemoths on Wall Street and in DC. Moreover, the SEC has no authority or purview relative to insurance companies and even less regarding how and where you put your money. They are supposed to regulate and control the behavior of folks like Bernie Madoff, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the dozens of other financial institutions that the overreaching federal government either put in jail or bailed out because the SEC didn’t do its job.

Here’s my bottom line: After almost 40 years as an insurance and RECOVERING investment advisor, I have not verified from actual performance any insurance/investment strategy that performs as well as EUREKONOMICS[tm]. During my entire 40 year career and for 100 years before that, not a single American that follows this strategy has lost any money, paid or incurred any taxes on their gains, complained that the cost of their whole life policies was too expensive, or expressed regret that the amount on the death benefit check was too high.

 

GO FIGURE!

Money for Life…in good times and badthe primer on EUREKONOMICS™–is a dangerous book – in a good way.

“On the surface, it appears to be a personal finance book, and in a sense it is. It addresses such issues as how you manage your money and what you use it for. The consequences of your answers to these questions reach into every aspect of your life. And, if you follow the tenets of Money for Life, you find the magic of compounding working for you to create life-long wealth that you can pass along to your children and grandchildren, and even more importantly, you find yourself in a position to pass wisdom along to them as well.

“So, in one sense, this is a very practical book, with tactics that help you to set achievable goals and measure your progress toward reaching them, not that much different in some ways than a thousand personal finance books that came before it and a thousand books yet to come.

“But Money for Life…in good times and bad is so much more than that, and therefore, so much more powerful than most of those other books. Money for Life demands that you look to the past in order to see a clear path into the future. It expects that you’ll remember that the Money Monsters and the Behemoths (you’ll find out what these whimsical terms mean as you read the book) work for you, and not the other way around. Most importantly, it challenges you to connect your decisions about your money to your philosophy of life. If you think deeply about the book as you work through the practical, tactical exercises, you’ll find yourself rethinking your relationship with money, and by extension, with the whole economy.

“Aristotle, in his work Nicomachean Ethics, probed the question of what the ultimate good is. He had this to say about wealth: “The money-maker’s life is in a way forced on him; and clearly wealth is not the good we are seeking, since it is useful, only for some other end.” For Aristotle, the other end is the “good life,” which includes security and independence, as well as civic virtue and public service.

“There is a modern strain of this kind of thought as well. It can be found in recent discussions of “positive psychology.” This is the term used by the American Psychological Association to describe the study of what makes people happy. A recent paper describes the progress that has been made in understanding “positive psychology”. The authors studied people who described themselves as happy, to find out if they had common characteristics. Using a combination of questionnaires, surveys, interviews and human subject reports, they find “…six overarching virtues that almost every culture across the world endorses: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence.”

“The authors describe three robust, apparently universal empirical findings. For our purposes, the third finding is the most relevant. They write,

“[S]trengths “of the heart” – zest, gratitude, hope, and love – are more robustly associated with life satisfaction than are the more cerebral strengths such as curiosity and love of learning. We find this pattern among adults and among youths as well as longitudinal evidence that these “heart” strengths foreshadow subsequent life satisfaction.”

“This is quite a different view of people than that taught in economics! Economists start by assuming that rationality and self-interest are the best way of understanding why people make the decisions they make (as if people only made rational decisions!). Consumer choice theory assumes that people derive utility, (defined as well being, satisfaction, happiness, or whatever) only from consumer goods. Of course, most economists recognize that there are limits to this view, but nonetheless this is the view at the heart of most discussions of trade, and is not far below the surface in most other discussions. The economic point is that how you spend or manage your money can be thought of as an extension of your deepest self, your core values.

“And this realization lies at the core of the Money for Life philosophy. When the choices you make with your money are in alignment with your deepest values, your money and the decisions you make regarding it are more likely to make you happy. Your money, and the Economy is serving you and the ideals you hold dear, not vice versa.

“But Money for Life also serves as a financial self-defense manual. My daughter’s jujitsu instructor emphasizes the concept of situational awareness and the role it plays in preventing trouble. If you pay close attention to what is going on around you, you avoid problems. You can anticipate and prepare. The same can be said of your financial dealings. Prudent people can and do set aside money for contingencies. Money for Life helps you focus on what is going on around you, and plan for the best and the worst. Finally, Money for Life is a timely reminder that the personal and national economic gains that this pursuit engenders should be working for each of us in good times and bad and not the other way around. And that idea is what makes this book so dangerous – and so valuable.”

From the foreword to Money Now, Money Later, Money for Life–How to Thrive in Good Times and Bad

October 2007



Aristotle. Nicomachaen Ethics. Terence Irwin, Ed. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 1985. p. 8.

 

Seligman, Martin E. P., Tracy A Steen, Nansook Park, and Christopher Peterson. “Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions.” American Psychologist. Vol. 60, No. 5, July-August 2005. p. 410-421 Most of what follows relies heavily on this article.

Ibid., p. 411

Ibid., p. 412

The Debt Paradigm

Barack Obama might, unwittingly and unknowingly, be right about solving our economic problems from the bottom up.

America’s economy – and the world’s economy for that matter – runs on debt.  Just as our country and the world is addicted to oil based fuels, our economies are addicted to debt.  The government cannot impose a solution to this problem any more than a parent can coerce a child into rehabilitating from a drug habit.

Bailouts Don’t Reduce or Eliminate Debt

For the government to give money through rebates, stimulus plans, tax credits, and bailouts to Americans who have run into debt in the hopes that they will no longer be addicted to debt is just as foolish as a parent giving money to a drug-addicted child in the hope that the money would not be used to feed the addiction.

Debt, Ben Franklin, and the Declaration of Independence

Ben Franklin said. “But, ah! Think what you do when you run into debt; you give to another power over your liberty.” That same concept applies to taking government money. Accepting money from the government as a way of life creates at the very least a psychic debt and gives the government power over your liberty–the very abuse that led the Founders to revolt and write the Declaration of Independence and the amazing US Constitution. The welfare mistakes of the past have taught us this lesson several times over.

If Barack Obama expects the mythical ‘middle class’ to climb out of the dungeon of debt and lead America to a more stable future, he needs to rethink his approach.

Here’s what needs to happen.

Individual Americans and American families need to adopt a new personal economic model that emphasizes saving over debt and over investing, which is nothing more than debt in disguise. [We will dedicate an entire blog entry to this concept at some future date.]

It’s unlikely that will happen spontaneously. Americans have been bamboozled into thinking that they should relegate their cash to consumption and forfeit control of their future to the government and Wall Street.

The Financial Behemoths have buried the idea that saving is a good idea under an onslaught of advertising, misinformation, and disinformation in support of investing for the past thirty years. America has been wrongly convinced that ‘investing’ is a form of savings.  Worse, America has been misled into believing that using debt to fund investments is a wise decision.

The US Tax Code

President Obama and the Dolts in DC need to realize that top-down legislation, executive orders, and the tax code is rewarding the wrong thing when it rewads debt and investing over saving.

The tax code cannot be revised, tweaked, overhauled or manipulated.  It is broken beyond repair.  It needs to be scrapped and replaced with a more humane and holistic system.

Financial Management Principles

If you would change America for the better Mr. President, you cannot impose policies and programs that have proven ineffective failures all over the globe.  You have to rely on the economic principles and financial practices of the Founders and Builders of America that got us here in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is much talk in Washington suggesting that the Federal Government should take over businesses and social programs based on the assumption that…

  • equality of results is essential to the success of everyday Americans
  • equality of opportunity – “the pursuit of happiness” – is inappropriate for the 21st century

An economics professor once faced a group of students that insisted that equality of results, not equality of opportunity, would create a better society and economy.  They insisted that an economic model of big government, big union, and big bureaucracy for redistributing wealth, like the one the Obama administration seems to be promoting, would work better than and that promoted by the Founders.  They believed that such a model would create a society where no one would be poor and no one would be rich – a great equalizer.
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class based on a plan by which big government redistributes the wealth of the country to create equality among its citizens.  In this class – our country for this experiment – grades are the wealth.  We will average all of your individual grades and everyone will receive the same average grade.  You will all be equal. No single student will fail.”
The class agreed to the experiment.  After the first test, the professor averaged the grades of all the students and everyone got a B.  The students who studied hard were somewhat upset while the students who studied little were happy.  However, all of the students accepted the outcome and felt the experiment proved the case for redistribution.

As the second test rolled around, many of the students who studied little studied even less and the students who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied less.  The second test average was a C-!
No one was happy.  Doubts about the efficacy of the program crept in.
When the third test rolled around, the class average was F. The scores never increased after that.  Bickering, blaming, and name-calling created hard feelings.  The professor was demonized. The students, disincentivized to achieve at a high level, would not study for the benefit of everyone else. Every single student failed.

The professor demonstrated to the students that redistributing wealth – grades in this case…

  • failed to create benefits for any individual student
  • penalized every student

The experiment demonstrated that a socialist society would also ultimately fail. We have seen the results of these kinds of governments many times over during the past one hundred years in failed socialist countries around the world.  When the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great.

“When government tries to make everyone equal instead of assuring that everyone has equal opportunity, government imprisons individual liberties, shackles incentive, and no one can succeed.”

- Dr Agon Fly

As the late Adrian Rogers said, “you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

EUREKONOMICSTM rests on the solid principles laid down in the Founding Documents and the two hundred fifty years of the demonstrated success of free enterprise that transformed America and other free societies into economic, social, and moral leaders.

These principles have endured, successfully overcome abuses along the way, and currently recognize the failures in the system that need attention…

  • Some businesses grew and prospered on the backs of slave labor but failed for the same reason.
  • Some businesses abused capital and took advantage of workers, and free enterprise America corrected for these errors by creating competing businesses that honored the work of their employees.
  • Unions began as advocates for employees and morphed into empires that exploit their members.
  • Groups like Acorn and AARP masquerade as advocates for members but act in their own interest or as the pawns of political groups.
  • Elected officials seem to lose their moral and ethical compasses as well as the memory of who elected them once they achieve office.

Over the past decade or so, the fallacy that home equity should be “harvested” by means of mortgage refinancing or home equity loans and converted into equity in some other investment has been foisted upon Americans as a legitimate financial strategy.

The most common presentation of these schemes suggests that home equity should be redirected into what some advisors call ”investment grade life insurance.” Other schemes suggest turning equity you control into annuities, real estate, gold, mutual funds, or some other investment – aka speculation – that you do not control.

The consistent mantra of the promoters of this idea is, “That’s what the wealthy do.”  They want you to believe that following their advice is the path to wealth that those who were already wealthy followed.

BUNK!

Each of these demonstrably unsuccessful and failed schemes relies on the flawed principle that you should convert and asset – over which you have control – into cash.  Having done that, you should then give the cash to the financial advisor/planner that recommended the transaction who will then invest your money into whatever financial product or service s/he is promoting and earning commissions from selling or fees for managing.

The results from this so-called strategy are apparent in the home foreclosures many Americans face today.  They also appear in the non-performing, under-performing, and money-losing investmentsinto which the advisors often directed the American consumer’s home equity dollars.

Average Rate of Return…

The promotional basis for most of these schemes is the mythical Average Rate of Return. The average rate of return shell game uses illustrations that show a consistent seven to eight percent return over multiple intervals – usually annual.  A typical $1,000 investment example used by this scheme with an average rate of return of 8% might look like this:

  • Year 1 – $1,000 x 8% = 1,080
  • Year 2 – $1,080 x 8% = 1,166
  • Year 3 – $1,166 x 8% = 1,260
  • Year 4 – $1,260 x 8% = 1,361
  • average rate of return = 8%
  • actual compounded annual return = 8%

However, even though this illustration shows an average rate of return of 8% over a four year period, it is unlikely, if not impossible, to earn an actual8% year upon year compounded return. (Just ask one of Bernie Madoff’s clients if you don’t believe that.)  A more honest illustration of an average 8% return might look like this:

  • Year 1 – $1,000 x + 40% = 1,400
  • Year 2 – $1,400 x + 22% = 1,708
  • Year 3 – $1,708 x - 15% = 1,450
  • Year 4 – $1,450 x - 15% = 1,233
  • Average rate of return = 8%
  • Actual compounded annual return = 5.38%

Even though the returns in the gaining years far outweigh the negative returns in the losing years, the average rate of return is still 8% while the actual compounded return is about 5.38%  It’s possible to show a much lower actual compounded return with a little bit of creative arithmetic, but this is enough to make the point: average rate of return is always deceptive, is always hypothetical, and is never guaranteed.

The fact that the returns on the investments recommended by the harvesting proponents are not guaranteed or even predictable compounds the primary deception in these schemes, which is that real estate values always move upward.

Granted, over the few years before the real estate bubble burst, the values assigned to real estate moved predictably higher.  However, the assigned values were often determined by the amount of money an advisor suggested the owner harvest and invest in the financial product s/he had for sale.  Add to that the painfully unethical behavior of the mortgage industry granting loans to enhance the compensation of executives and brokers in that industry and the outcome was predictable.

The wholesale failure of financial Behemoths like Freddie, Fannie, Lehman, and so on is proof positive that the actual values of real property were artificially inflated to accomodate harvesting equity and other schemes designed to move money from the pocketbooks of American families into the coffers of corrupt Behemoths.

EUREKONOMICS! – The Return of Common Sense

Let’s turn the equity harvesting scheme on its head.

First, I have known many wealthy people.  I have known some who harvested equity from their homes and business properties.  I have known not even one that becamewealthy by harveting equity.  However, I have known some that became paupers by doing so.

The wealthy people that have commented on or reported about this concept have harvested equity only when they could guaranteethat the use to which they put the money converted from equity would return more than the cost of converting the equity.  In their decisionmaking, it was always more important to avoid or minimize risk than to hope for returns.  They used harvested equity to get richer without risk, not to get rich in the first place.

Conversely, even considering minimal risk investments, few of the wealthiest people I have encountered over the past four decades of my career would ever consider placing a mortgage on their paid-for personal property, least of all their residences.  They worked diligently for decades to pay off their mortgages and protect their personal assets from business failures and legal actions.  Why, in God’s name, would they ever want to put those assets at risk?

What common sense program would ever warrant taking the chance that the family home would be lost to some investmentthat promises only that it promises nothing.  What about a greater return?  Think about it.  Is there a rate of return that is worth more than peace of mind, carols around the family Christmas Tree, or candle lighting at Hannukah?

If you would have a strategy regarding equity harvesting, why not consider harvesting equity from a source that you control and using it to pay off your mortgage and eliminate interest payments to the Behemoths?  Why not first build and then harvest the equity from your cash value life insurance policies, use it to reduce and eliminate debt to others, and repay the low or no cost policy loans so you can do it agian and again?  Why not learn how to BE the bank?

This is the inverse approach to risking everything you own to get an impossible maybe.  It is a way-certain to reduce and eventually eliminate debt-to-others and guarantee that the equity you build in your home, your other personal property, and the cash values in your life insurance policies remain under your control.

Finally, the most powerful argument for this approach is that it has been tried, tested, and proven over many lifetimes and generations.  It works in good times and bad.  It allows you to grow rich without risk and secure wealth without worry.

Planning vs. Management
The College for Financial Planning and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. will likely object to the statement that their business is oxymoronic.  They might be justified.  Let me elaborate.
The Oxford Dictionary defines an oxymoron as “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.”  Claiming that financial planning is an oxymoron, therefore, suggests that the terms financial and planning are contradictory.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards stated mission is “to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning.”  The CFP Board’s web site discusses and defines financial planning as “the process of meeting your life goals through the proper management of your finances.”

Here’s the contradiction.  Planning is one thing.  Management is another thing altogether.  Planning may be a prerequisite to managing personal finances but it is not the process itself.

Planning is a map-making process.  Map-making is done from an aloof and uninvolved position using esoteric engineering tools to describe real terrain in abstract terms.  Managing is what you have to do when you come to the river on the map and discover that there is no way to cross the turbulent waters at that particular point because last week’s flood washed away the bridge on last month’s map.

Financial planning, as described and defined by the CFP® training program, is akin to map-making.  The planner is not actively involved in the “the process of meeting [a clients] life goals through the proper management of [their] finances.”  The planner’s role is to recommend and sell financial products and advisory services that may or may not actually support the goals of the client during the management phase.

There are, of course, ethical standards to which each CFP® must adhere.  There are also practice standards that the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. and other regulatory powers impose and enforce.  Add to that the burden of the standards and rules of conduct imposed by bureaucratic regulatory agencies such as FINRA and these collectively impose a set of “established norms of practice” on the planner that often restrict the options the planner may present to the client.

The restrictions may not overtly deny a client the best option, but often direct the options along the “established norms of practice” and thereby deny the possibility of any other better-suited alternatives.

None of what I wrote above intends to demean either the designation or practices of those who legitimately profess themselves to be financial planners.  It does intend to clarify that the entire process of planning and managing personal finances is shrouded by an imposing oversight structure and that this structure does not always provide Americans with the most appropriate personal financial advice or products.

Case on Point…

Over the past decade, I have met with and trained hundreds of insurance and financial advisors in life insurance and Series 6 pre-licensing, and a wide variety of continuing education topics including ethics.

  • Almost every one of these professionals assumed that investing is an appropriate – perhaps essential – part of every American’s personal financial program – an idea that Behemoths in government and on Wall Street slowly injected into the American psyche over the past 30 years.
  • One-hundred percent of them assumed that contributing to a 401(k) or its equivalent was the starting point for every personal financial management program – another idea that slithered into our collective psyche in just the past 20 odd years.
  • Fewer than one in ten of these – ahem – professionals (not referring specifically to CFPs®) understood the most basic concepts relating to participating whole life insurance, mutual insurance companies, or even the life insurance products they sold most – universal life insurance.
  • Only a handful understood the most elemental economic principles that clearly indicate that participating whole life insurance is the best and safest foundation for virtually every personal financial management plan.

One can more easily grasp the reasons for this strange set of facts when one reviews the history of personal financial management in America since 1974, a history that illustrates the slow erosion of control of personal wealth from the pond of individuals to the oceans of government and Wall Street.

Conclusion…

I am often accused of being “down on” financial planners.  Not true.  I am down on lemming-like robotic adherence to “established norms of practice” that have misled Americans into a financial swamp that consumes both their money and their liberty while denying the validity of more conservative and viable financial management strategies.

Financial planning is an oxymoron when it denies the use of planning tools and strategies at the expense of individual wealth and liberty.

by Jeffrey Reeves  youBEthebank.com

 

 

 

 

The primary aim of this blog is to inform and educate Americans about ways to use the EUREKONOMICS™  model to create and manage personal economies that thrive in good times and bad.

Unfortunately, the Federal Government and the US Congress pose the greatest threat to our collective financial security.  Their greed for the accretion of power and unparalleled confiscation of our money - especially the debt they lay on us and generations yet to be born - seems insatiable.

The Principles of the Founding Fathers

That’s not how America rose from nothing to the greatest and most exceptional nation on earth.  American government and economics are based on clearly articulated ideas about limited government, personal liberty, and the freedom to create and manage our own personal economies…

  • “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” not the guarantee of happiness
  • the opportunity to succeed, not the guarantee of success
  • liberty to succeed or fail on our own without the interference of government.

“We the People…”

Today we are seeing our liberties erode from the intrusion of big government into the lives and personal economies of individual Americans.  Money and power in the hands of even the most beneficent government reduces the money and power in the hands of “We the People…”

  • Every dollar that goes to Washington DC comes out of the pocket of a working American
  • Every czar that acts as a lieutenant of the executive branch of government as an unaccountable enforcer of unwritten law drains the national treasury
  • Every trillion dollar (remember, that’s 1,000 billions) law that Congress rushes through the legislative process with the excuse that “it’s imperative” being used to bypass “We the People” steals another bit of our liberty and a whole lot of our money
  • Every surreptitious connection to…
    • big banking
    • big Wall Street firms
    • big unions like the SEIU
    • corrupting organizations like Acorn
    • pseudo-advocates like AARP, Pharma, the AMA
    • and other shadow groups that hide from the light of scrutiny

transfers money and power to the government and strips “WE the People…” of our voices, our liberties, and our ability to create and manage our personal economies.

If you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence in a while, here’s your chance.  I encourage you to take just a few minutes and consider the sacrifices our Founders made to give us today’s America…

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Ideas and Ideals of 1776

Recognize, please, that the ideas of 1776 are what makes America great.  Honestly ask and answer yourself: Is what is happening today distorting the principles in The Declaration?

Is what is happening today undermining your ability to create and manage your personal economy?

Read the Declaration of Independence [below]. Pay attention to both the principles it illustrates and the specific complaints against the overbearing arrogance of the British King.  Know that it’s time to act if that looks to you at all like the behavior of the Dolts in DC today.  Isn’t it time for modern Americans to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to save our country from a fate worse than British rule in the 1700′s?

_________________

The Declaration of Independence…

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. – Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. -

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

No matter what President Obama says and regardless of his eloquence saying it, it would be a dire mistake, completely lacking in common sense, wisdom, and – mostly – regard for the US Constitution, for “We the People” to allow or accept any health care or health insurance program created by the US Congress and run by the US Government bureaucracy.

The record of accomplishment for US Government run programs is abysmal.

  • Congress established The U.S. Post Service in 1775 – they’ve had 234 years to get it
    right.
  • o It is seven billion dollars in debt again this year and will need another “bailout” (a word that is becoming all too common these days).
  • Congress established Social Security in 1935 – They’ve had 74 years to get it right.
  • o It is broke. It survives only on funds the US Government has borrowed from the next generation of Americans.
  • Congress established Fannie Mae in 1938 – They’ve had 71 years to get it right
  • o It is broke. Moreover, it is taking millions of Americans to bankruptcy court while it survives on (here’s that word again) bailout money.
  • Congress established War on Poverty started in 1964 – They’ve had 45 years to get it right.
  • o The IRS confiscates over a trillion dollars of our hard earned income each year to distribute to Washington bureaucracies to help poor Americans escape poverty, but the poor still abound. The US Government is losing that war.
  • Congress established Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.  Both are health care and health insurance programs. - They’ve had 44 years to get it right.
  • o Both are broke. They survive only on funds the US Government has borrowed from the next generation of Americans.
  • Congress established Freddie Mac in 1970 – They’ve had 39 years to get it right.
  • o It is broke. Moreover, it too is taking millions of Americans to bankruptcy court with it.
  • In 2009 Congress established a fund of trillions of dollars in the massive political payoff called the TARP Fund.
  • o It shows NO sign of working the way the Congress and the White House (both Bush and Obama) presented it to “We the People.”
  • In the first weeks of the Obama administration, the US Congress passed an almost one trillion-dollar pork-barrel bill disguised as a stimulus package that would, we were told, moderate the recession and reduce unemployment.
  • o DUH! Did we really believe that?
  • And now—a new record: Congress established “Cash for Clunkers” (welfare for the auto industry) in 2009 and it went broke in 2009!
  • o So much for the ability of the US Congress to think ahead – it simply doesn’t exist.

 

So, with a perfect 100% failure rate, can Americans truly believe the US Government can
be trusted with a government-run health care system that the Congress designed?

 

“We the People” pay for every one of the failed programs listed above.  Add another trillion or so (remember, a trillion is one thousand billions) of our hard earned dollars to the money the US Congress can waste, and it most certainly will be wasted.

 

The health care system in America is undeniably the best in the world.  It became the best because “We the People” are in charge, and because the free enterprise system works.  However, “We the People” also know that the system is imperfect and that the delivery system for health care relies on insurance companies whose self-interest is often opposed to the interests of “We the People.”  It is also plagued by the irresponsible behavior of attornies that sue the medical commuity at the drop of a hat.

 

The health care and health insurance challenges that face America in 2009 have many more workable and less expensive solutions than the ones the Washington insiders are promoting.  None of these alternatives requires giving the US Government another opportunity to fail.

 

This blog is too short to enumerate them.  I encourage you to do some research on the internet where you will discover that the systems being modeled in Washington…

  • are failing across the globe
  • are loaded with political payoffs

By Jeffrey Reeves MA, youBEthebank.com, ltd and Ron Jennings, http://www.moneylearningcenter.com/

“The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Cometakes the form of a grim spectre, robed in black, who does not speak and whose body is entirely hidden except for one pointing hand. This spirit frightens Scrooge more than the others, and harrows him with a vision of a future Christmas with the Cratchit family bereft of Tiny Tim. A rich miser, whose death saddens nobody and whose home and corpse have been robbed by ghoulish attendants, is revealed to be Scrooge himself: this is the fate that awaits him.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol#Stave_IV:_The_Last_of_the_Spirits

There are many promises from the Congress and the President about how wonderful Insurance Reform (formerly Health Care Reform) will be for the American people.

If we want an insight into what will likely happen if these folks get their way, we need only look at what they are doing right now.

Over ten million American seniors – myself included – are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.  These are plans that mirror the program the proponents of reform say the “government option” will look like.  So, you’d think the Pres and Pelosi would hold them out as a stellar example.

Not so.  Instead they want to elimimate them and toss ten million Americans out on their keesters – OUCH!  What;s going on.  Here’s a program that delivers ALL of the benefits that are claimed to accrue from “reform” but the reformers want to terminate – along with a bunch of us old folks – because the program is “too expensive.”   Just like the hip replacement I anticipate in about ten years when I’m 80 will be too expensive because the wonderful government program needs the money for something else.

Wake up America!  The issue isn’t helath care, cap and trade, or immigration, the issue is LIBERTY.  The Founders of America broke with England because the British government confiscated the liberty of individuals through oppressive legislation and governance.

While we all want improvements to the way we deliver and pay for our health care, few truly want the Government to take over.  Say NO to any national health insurance scheme that directly or indirectly through “co-ops” cedes control to any agency or organization other than YOU and your family.

Beware of promises that are promised only to win your support.  If the Pelosi/Obama plan passes your future health care will be diminished as will you LIBERTY and your personal economy will suffer severly.

For a workable alternative that doesn’t allow the federal governmant to take over, seeNO! below or view the diagram at Adobe.com

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”  Cool Hand Luke, 1967

The US Congress and the Executive Branch of the US government are not listening to America.  America wants “soulutions” to problems not government take-overs.

Put this simple diagram of a Universal Health Care Program, which is being ignored in DC, in the hands of every American you know.  Maybe, just maybe, someone will pay attention.

Dennis Prager recently commented that he has been carrying American values around in his pocket for his entire adult life.  To clarify he reminded his audience that those values appear on the coins and currency of the United States: Liberty, E Pluribus Unum, In God We Trust. He referred to these values as the American Trinity.

These observations seem most appropriate at this time in the history of America.  It’s also most interesting that Dennis Prage linked these values to the US of A’s coinage and currency.  Particularly, the idea of liberty relates directly to money.  When the government controls the money that Americans rely on for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, those inalienable rights of Americans are diminished.

In fact, throughout the recorded history of mankind, when governments control the citizenry by controlling the money that those citizens produce, those governments become facist, autocratic, repressive – even murderous.  We need only observe what’s going on in Zimbabwe, Venezuala, Iran, and North Korea today.

What’s going on in Washington DC is also disturbing.  America is on the brink of the greatest loss of liberty in its 233 year history; a loss that would be mourned equally by Democratic icons Jefferson and Jackson and equally by Lincoln, the soul of the Republicane party.  The more of our money that the US Congress and the Executive Branch controls, the less liberty we have.

It makes me proud to see and hear American citizens shouting down the puppets of the political parties and demanding the transparency and honesty we were promised during the 2008 campaign.  It will make me ecstatic when the US Congress backs away from the failed strategy that is on the table now, August, 2009.

That will only happen if Americans continue to challenge the Washington oligarchy that continues to deny we the people our voice.

Ron Jennings, a successful Money for Life Guide in West Chester, Ohio, emailed this Adrian Rogers quote.  While you are reading it, reflect on the policies and practices of the federal government during the Great Depression.

“You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”– Adrian Rogers, 1931 – 2005 

 

The most prosperous decades in American history for the common citizen occurred in the late 20th century when the Federal Government reversed the policies of the Great Depression and reduced its meddling in the personal economics of the American family.

Unfortunately, those also turned into the decades of the greatest financial frauds in American history.  Not the least among these frauds (but the least recognized and reported) are the pork-barrel projects of the power and money hungry Dolts in DC.

The problem we Americans face today is that our personal economies are being attacked by the cons in Congress and White House Wonks.  Their attack is based on the false premise that Adrian Rogers stated so clearly just a few years ago (above).  The saddest aspect of the current attempt to reduce the individual liberties of every American by a small majority of committed liberals is that it failed in the 1930s and it won’t work today.  Moreover, the elitists in Congress are unwilling to apply to themselves the same standards they want to apply to unsuspecting Americans – that includes you and me.

The greatest attack on your personal economy comes from the proposed National Health Insurance plan.  The simple reality is that the “plan” is more complex and convoluted than even Medicare and Medicaid – both of which are riddled with fraud and neither of which has reached a level of fiscal discipline needed to become a model for all of America.

Even worse, the “plan” favors big unions, big business, big government, and big bureaucracies at the expense of everyday citizens and small and micro businesses like the Avon lady, the child care center, the local independent insurance rep, small manufacturers and distributors, the local plumber, electrician, and heating contractor, and too many others to mention.

The greatest fraud, however, is that there is not a single congressperson that has read and evaluatedthe several 1,000+ page bills that are being bandied about the halls of the Capitol; nor will they.  They plan to lift our liberties right out of our pockets and they don’t care enough to know all the details.

By Jeffrey Reeves, MA

 

 

 

Jobs in the 21st Century

Change We can Believe In?

NOT!

Chains We Will Grieve In?

INDEED!

Chains on the Citizens of America?

President Obama and the Democrats in the US Congress are tinkering with the motherboard of economics without knowing anything at all about the printed circuitry that makes it work.

Chains on Jobs

They have to stop!  They have to stop BEFORE they takeover health care.  If they don’t, pretty soon the only jobs in America will be…

  • government jobs
  • jobs for businesses that the government runs

That’s not Free Enterprise.

That’s not “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

That’s not the America envisioned by the Founders.

That’s not the America Americans want.

It has been said the greatest volume of sheer brainpower in one place occurred when Jefferson dined alone…

HOW DID JEFFERSON KNOW???
Especially read the last quote from 1802.

“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.  A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks (and the Federal Reserve IS a private bank) to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered..”

And, just for kicks, Mark Twain said this: ‘If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.’

“The National Association of Fixed Annuities, Milwaukee, has voiced that concern in a member alert…

“NAFA sees the proposal as “a clear attempt to take control – read collect fees – on all product recommendations,” including recommendations involving life insurance, long term care insurance, health insurance, property-casualty insurance, savings accounts and fixed annuities, NAFA officials say.”

http://www.lifeandhealthinsurancenews.com/News/2009/5/Pages/NAFA-Pans-FINRA-Draft.aspx

Maybe the answer is for independent insurance and financial advisors to relinquish S6, S7, etc. registrations and quit selling securities. Few Americans are truly qualified investors and most annuity buyers are not.

Whole life, health, and annuity products are usually more than adequate to secure the wealth of the typical American and her/his family and they grow and secure family wealth without risk and without worry.

Pretty soon we will allow the Feds take every authority away from us and our freedom will go with them. Life, health, and annuity agents should not be worried about fixing the system that’s gotten us into the mess we are in now; the same mess that allows the power-hungry in the FED and in DC to grab control. We should be looking for a “soulution” that lets the state insurance departments maintain authority and control.

Perhaps, therefore, the answer to the ongoing challenge of FINRA and the power-grabbers in DC is to withdraw from their area of control. The fewer professional insurance and financial advisors (yes, you can be a true financial advisor without any securities registrations) they control, the less power they wield.

A Disorganized Conspiracy…

America is prone to adopt ideas that are popularized by the advertising and indoctrination of Behemoths (big business, big unions, and big government) regardless of the intrinsic value of the idea itself.  The idea that average Americans should be investing is such a disorganized conspiracy.  Its premise lacks intrinsic value.

That doesn’t mean Americans are all lemmings and sheep.  Even those on the inside of a disorganized conspiracy, such as the one that is damaging Americans’ personal economies today, are unaware of the untruth that supports the manufactured myth.  That lack of awareness gradually creates a shibboleth – an oft-repeated idea that the public as well as the purveyors come to perceive as truth just because it is so often repeated by so many.

The idea that most Americans should be investing, is such a shibboleth.  It is time for insurance and financial advisors to begin demonstrating the untruth of that idea.  It is time to challenge the ethics of selling investments to their friends, neighbors, and clients.

The Challenge…

The argument against investing begins with a clear understanding.  What most Americans believe to be an investment is really a speculation, i.e., a gamble.  Benjamin Graham said it best when he stated, “An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and an adequate return.  Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.”

Mutual Funds and 401(k)s…

Does anyone believe that buying a mutual fund promises safety of principal?  Is a sixty percent loss of value an adequate return?

Mutual funds and their counterparts inside 401(K)s and equivalent tax qualified plans are inscrutable, they defy analysis, and certainly do not promise “safety of principal and an adequate return.”  In other words, they are speculative; they are gambles.  Their only promise is that they promise nothing at all.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  It’s especially untrue for tax qualified retirement plans, which promise future taxation at a potentially much higher rate than the deduction rate available when contributions are made.

Free Money…

“Yes but…” what about the matching from the company?  Doesn’t that free money make up for possible losses?

It does, but only to the extent that the tax rates do not increase between now and the time you begin taking income from your retirement accounts.

If you follow the conventional wisdom and contribute the maximum to your retirement accounts, the employer portion represents a minimal amount of the total in the account.  If you choose to contribute only as much as qualifies for the employer match, the entire amount of your future income will still be taxed.  If that amount happens to be 50% of what it was last year, you’ll end up paying tax at a potentially higher rate on significantly less money.

From a different perspective, the amount of the tax deductions you receive currently constitutes a lien against your future earnings.  However, unlike the lien on a property, the contributions to a tax-qualified plan do not diminish your liability.  Additional contributions increase it.  If tax rates also increase, you will experience the negative effect of compound interest.

More Myths…

There are a few myths that the Behemoths promote as part of the foundation to the shibboleth that all Americans should be investing.  One of the most pernicious of these myths is the idea that a family only needs enough ready cash to cover three to six months of income or living expense.

The reason this myth was born was to free up more of your money for investing.  Ready cash of three to six years of income or living expense is much more reasonable and is entirely achievable when saving replaces investing as a part of your personal economic picture.

“Yes but…” what about the rate of return?  Can’t you expect a greater rate of return from investments than you can from savings?

NO!  That’s another myth.

Recent studies demonstrate that money in safe bonds, which reflect savings returns, perform as well over the long-term as investments.  This is significant because the insurance companies that we recommend tend to rely on the Prudent Man Rule and low risk financial vehicles for your money.  The author just completed one study that compared the returns in a whole life policy to those of the Dow Jones Industrials over the past ten years.  The whole life policy outperformed the DJIA by almost 130%.

A third myth, implied in the previous discussion and designed to tempt you to gamble your money, is that investing is for the long-term.  However, individual investors do not produce the same results that the Behemoths have promoted and advertised to induce Americans to invest – aka, gamble – their money in the markets.  The Behemoths speak only of averages.  They focus your attention on the top of the mountain and fail to point out the chasm that looms immediately ahead.  (You know that’s true today more than ever.)

The Question…

The purpose of this article is to raise the question: “Is it ethical to sell investments – especially inaccessible tax qualified retirement plans – to Americans that have auto loans, credit card debt, mortgages, lines of credit, and only a few months in cash reserves?”

Consider how many Americans today are unemployed and raiding their retirement accounts to keep up with debt payments or to deal with another of life’s surprises during what is going to be a very long and painful recovery.

Consider the recent revelations about the greed for your money found on Dull Street (formerly Wall Street) and in the halls of government by the Dolts in DC (all 535 in Congress and the 43,000+ lobbyists that feed them).

Can we afford to be silent about the conditions that have led so many to or over the brink of financial ruin?

Isn’t it time for Americans to withdraw from tax-qualified plans, get their money out of the banking, investing, and tax systems, and put it where they and they alone have control?

By Jeffrey Reeves MA, youbethebank.com

This post is mainly a link to a powerful assessment of conventional wisdom about the future of the US and the world economy by Jim Welsh, an investment advisor/economist that has been right more often than wrong.

Jim Welsh of Welsh Money Management has been publishing his monthly investment letter, “The Financial Commentator”, since 1985. His analysis focuses on Federal Reserve monetary policy, and how policy affects the economy and the financial markets.

This newsletter is dense, loaded with statistical data, and won’t be an easy read for the casually interested.  It is worth the time and energy you’ll need, however.  There will be a follow-up to this post that will deal with the Ethics of Advising Investing to Middle America – or something like that.

By Jeffrey Reeves, MA, Master Money for Life Guide, youBEthebank.com, ltd.

The MoneyforLife Blog will keep you posted on the progress of the almost century old Shenandoah Life Insurance Company as it emerges from receivership.  What’s important to note is that this relatively small mutual insurer seems to have invested prudently and responsibly based on the support the US Congress gave to publicly held Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Shenandoah Life has limited resources and cannot invest in large scale projects the way the Behemoths do.  It must invest its capital based on generally available information from what it – and most others – would consider reliable sources.  In this case the US Congress and the finance committees of the two houses were “sleeping with the enemy.” They were receiving significant campaign contributions from Freddie and Fannie and, at the same time, were aware of the great risks associated with the lending practices and portfolios of these two Behemoths of the mortgage industry.  The committee power brokers intentionally withheld that information from the public – and Shenandoah Life and its policyholders are part of the public.

While dozens of financial institutions - mainly banks – are failing due to the irresponsible behavior of the entire industry and the failure of the Congress to exercise adequate oversight (not control), Shenandoah Life is the first casualty among life insurance companies. (No, AIG is not a life insurance company.  It is a conglomerate Behemoth that owns life companies.  Those life companies are doing OK.)

The cautionary tale here is that the 31 State Guarantee Associations will protected and preserved the personal wealth of Shenandoah Life policyholders.  The federal folks, who contributed so significantly to this unfortunate failure will beat their chests, complain about executive compensation and divert attention away from their past and ongoing failures.

Stay tuned.

Here’s the Notice of Receivership…

“On February 12, 2009, pursuant to Title 38.2, Chapters 10 and 15 of the Virginia Code, the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond issued an Order that appointed the State Corporation Commission of the Commonwealth of Virginia as Receiver of Shenandoah Life.

Receivership is a protective measure established under Virginia law to protect policyholders in the event an insurer experiences financial difficulty. The Circuit Court for the City of Richmond found Shenandoah Life in a condition where any further transaction of business would be hazardous to the policyholders, creditors, members, and the public. Both Shenandoah Life and the State Corporation Commission determined that the receivership was necessary to protect the interests of policyholders and creditors.

For additional information regarding the receivership, please visit our web site www.shenlife.com, or you may contact Shenandoah Life at 1-800-848-5433.”

by Jeffrey Reeves – youBEthebank.com

An article, Turmoil Spooks 529 Holders, published in the National Underwriter on 4/20/2009 By TREVOR THOMAS indicated a flight to safety by some parents and grandparents that were putting money aside in 529 Plans for the college educations of their children and grandchildren.

This is one more indicator that America is waking up to the reality that Wall Street and the Dolts in DC have been telling us to “save” but that what they are really telling us is to gamble.  Investing is clearly very risky.  Investing that is disguised as saving is clearly a con of the lowest character.  Putting your children’s or your grandchildren’s future at risk based on a con game that you or they cannot win is foolish.

Of course, the con-artists don’t tell you that.  They project 8% gains year upon year and proclaim it the truth.  They ignore actual investor performance history and substitute generic stock market statistics that support their sales proposal.  (Sales proposals are OK when they are sales proposals.  They are a con when they are packaged as sage personal finance advice.)

A truly sage advior told me today during an interview that he makes sure his college funding proposals incorporate cash value life insurance, which is not counted when seeking financial aid, and rely on gurantees that are –>

  • truth based
  • objective
  • verifiable

That kind of advice might just lead to reliable wealth creation and wealth preservation, intelligent legacy planning, and the perfect investment.

You might want to evaluate529 Plans that way, too.

by Jeffrey Reeves – youBEthebank.com

This post recounts an email exchange with a credentialed financial advisor.  The content has not been modified but the name has been changed and the credentials eliminated to avoid implying that there is any relation between one advisors opinion and the position that might be taken by the credentialing body.

Stephen,

Thanks for your comments.

Although they do not open a discussion but rather, close the door on dialogue, I am responding in detail.  [As you will likely recognize, Stephen's mind was made up before there was a chance to respond.]

Stephen The Stepford Advisor wrote:

“YouBeTheBank site recommends that individual purchase life insurance policies to accumulate funds which are then used to fund future activities.”

Specifically we recommend that clients purchase permanent cash value life insurance. We recommend further that they choose dividend paying policies from mutual companies. Please, take the time to read further in the blog and you’ll discover that we justify this approach in some detail. Better yet, order copies of Money for Life! How to Thrive in Good Times and Bad by Jeffrey Reeves [that's me] and Becoming Your Own Banker by R. Nelson Nash.  You’ll discover the amazing power of this approach, as many other credentialed advisors have done.

Stephen The Stepford Advisor wrote:

“It fails to mention that the costs of owning the policies will be substantail,(sic)”

There are – of course – costs. Substantial? You might want to define that for yourself first and for your practice second. Many advisors find the approach not only helpful but essential to their practice and do not see the costs as either substantial or burdensome.

There is another aspect of this that you may want to consider. There are many different forms of permanent cash value life insurance available in the marketplace. Some carry a heavy cost burden while others do not. If you don’t know which policy is being used you do not know whether or not the cost is “substantial”. Whole life policies from mutual companies tend to be less costly. Universal lifepolicies tend to be more costly – especially when they are improperly funded.  Term insurance policies tend to be the  most expensive.

Stephen The Stepford Advisor wrote:

“as will the restrictions on the availablity(sic) of cash.”

Again, Stephen, you may not have all of the information you need. My clients can access all of the cash in their policies whenever they want it. There is a bit of a lag – a day or two for processing and mail time – since the request must be made through the insurer. Immediate needs are satisfied with overnight delivery. This is not uncommon for mutual companies that are responsible only to their policy owners and not to shareholders or other outsiders.

Stephen The Stepford Advisor wrote:

“The accumulation of funds should never be done with life insurance as the primary choice.”

My Grandpa told me to “never say never and always avoid always.” Your statement is a shibboleth – an oft repeated mantra that contains no truth but that has been repeated so many times that people assume it must be true. In 1492 the world was thought to be flat.

To a thinking person who truly explores this approach to creating and managing a personal economy, the opposite is true.  Whole ife insurance belongs in the foundation of every personal economy.  That was the opinion of most financial planners prior to the advent of EF Hutton creating UL, A. L. Williams brainwashing amateurs, and Wall Street’s merchants of misinformation misleading America into the  mutual fund swamp beginning in the 1980’s.

For over 150 years, and still today, dividend paying whole life insurance has been and is the single best place to put the money you use as a foundation for your personal economy and wealth building system.

Stephen The Stepford Advisor wrote:

“Individuals who truly fear banks should buy treasury securities instead. There are no costs as a practical matter.”

Nowhere in our blog or our book do we state or imply that you should fear banks. In fact, the practices of Money for Life are based on the banking model. Treasuries, like all investments, are for the limited few who have already established a foundation. In addition, there are always (sorry Grandpa) costs.  Most commonly ignored by Stepford Advisors is lost opportunity cost.

Stephen The Stepford Advisor wrote:

“Yet the fact is, if the bank is insured via FDIC, then for all practical purposes, the initial $100,00 is not at risk.”

True. FDIC insures up to $100,000.00 per account. But, again, we never suggested that money in banks is at risk. Also, are you aware that the 50 state insurance guarantee funds typically insure about $250,000.00 per policy?  Are you aware that no whole life policy holder in the history of the insurance industry in the US has ever lost even one dollar of their guaranteed values? Banks can make no such claim. Mutual funds fail this test.  Stepford Advisors run and hide.

Stephen The Stepford Advisor wrote:

“Almost no one needs that amount of money to fund future plans.”

Of all your comments, Stephen, this is the one that challenges me the least. I’ve been serving clients for over 35 years. During that time every one of those clients encountered a financial need so great that they had to invade their retirement accounts…every one of them. Here are a few situations that demand even larger amounts of secure money.

  • Fidelity Funds reports annually on the unfunded medical expense needs of a couple that will retire in that year. In 2007 that was $207,000.00. That’s the out-of-pocket after insurance payments have been made.
  • Another fund company (Vanguard, I believe) projects the long term care needs of retiring couples – for 2007 it was $350,000.00.
  • One of my best friends has two Down Syndrome children. I expect they’ll continue to need that $100,000.00 almost every year.
  • Kyle was injured in a skiing accident and after months in a body cast, two years of physical therapy, and $125,000.00 in debt he is back to work. Seems each of these adds up to more than the $100,000.00 that “no one needs”.

Stephen The Stepford Advisor wrote:

“You should reconsider your recommendation as it fails every reasonable test of jusgement.(sic)

Stephen, the recommendation and my judgment are just fine.

Moreover, the processes and practices that we talk about on YouBeTheBank.com and TheMoneyforLifeBook and blog are tried, tested and proven to produce results that are guaranteed – a word that Stepford Advisors are not allowed utter.  ”Guaranteed” is entirely legitimate in the context of dividend paying whole life insurance from mutual companies. I can assure you that “every reasonable test” of judgment supports what we teach and practice.

I can further assure you that the advisors who apply these practices in their planning help more people  than those who don’t. One of our understudies (a former Sr. VP with a major, well known international brokerage with a large ad budget) proposed his first case last week to a very sophisticated investment client and it passed “every reasonable test” of judgment for all parties – advisor, client, attorney, accountant and family. Imagine that.

Stephen, I want to end with a word of thanks, again. My mission is to educate and inform.  Your comments give me that opportunity. I urge you to learn more than you know, earn more than you imagine possible, and begin to question the shibboleths.

Financial Literacy in Disguise

Television is a great teacher.  So is the internet.  That’s only true, however, if you pay close attention to the advertising and not the shows that are supported by advertising.

Advertising costs money. Lots of money.  Businesses that can afford extensive TV and internet advertising need to be making lots of money.  Advertising also tells you what’s at the front of the minds of Americans.

Here’s a few of the general business catagories that are currently spending millions – probably billions collectively - on TV and internet ads:

  • Credit repair
  • Credit negotiation
  • Credit watch
  • Bankruptcy
  • Tax mitigation
  • Class action law suits
  • Auto insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Investments
  • Sham WOW! [just threw that in for the fun of it]

It’s All About Selling Products

Of these, life insurance and investment ads bear special meaning for me.  For almost 40 years, I’ve been helping people understand their alternatives when considering insurance and investment decisions.

During those almost 40 years I have studied economics, insurance, investments, and all of the topics that insurance and investment advisors must study to earn and keep their licenses, registrations, and appointments.  I have also studied the various selling strategies that insurance companies and investment houses use to entice you to buy their products.

It’s important to remember that these companies are selling products.   The products are packaged as “peace of mind,” “wealth creation,” “future security,” “best savings account,” or “concern for your family.”  They are still products.

Be Aware

What is a Product

Products aren’t bad things.  However, when you follow a link or respond to an ad that points you to a web-site or a toll free number for advice and guidance, be aware that the company sponsoring the ad wants to sell you their products: life insurance, mutual funds, investment advice [yes, advice is a product whether you pay for it by means of fees or by means of commissions].

Beware of Good Intentions

Often the web sites contain “calculators” that are supposed to help you arrive at a decision, while the advisor on the other end of the toll free number claims to aim at the same thing.  Putting aside good intentions – paving material for a very unsavory place – the result of these calculations and advice will always be the same: “Buy my product.”

The product that the site or the advisor recommends may or may not be your best choice.

  • My expectation, based on experience, is that it is not even close to your best choice.
  • My advice, based on experience, is that you find an experienced advisor that is not affiliated with just one company and that does not ascribe to conventional wisdom – doing what the rest of the industry does because that’s what the rest of the industry does.

Changing Your Mind About Money

Very often your best choice is not goin to be a product at all.  Rather, it is going to be a change in your approach to creating and managing your personal economy and your personal wealth; changing your mind about money.

By Jeffrey Reeves MA, EUREKONOMIST

Our thinking about America’s failed health care system is devoid of innovation.

The system that delivers health care in America is broken – everyone recognizes that. What the current proposals ignore is that the current system is shattered beyond repair. America’s health care delivery system won’t fix itself by making the federal government the captain of this Titanic or rearranging the deck chairs. The ship will still sink.

I know Sen. Obama, Sen. McCain, and the candidates for other federal and state offices act in good faith when they tour the country and listen to the stories of our fellow citizens. It’s important to recognize, however, that solving the individual problems embedded in those stories doesn’t solve the real problem. It puts a few extra folks in the lifeboats but the Titanic American Health Care System will still sink.

I have been in the insurance business for almost 40 years and spent at least half that time dealing with the health insurance issues of small businesses and individuals; problems that were often caused by the failed system.

The Kennedy plan, Hillary Care, Obama Care, the McCain plan – each of these has relied on the premise that the current system is fixable. It isn’t. Every one of these ‘solutions’ fails to address the core problems of structure and responsibility.

There is at least one solution to the health care delivery system failure that serves the people first, as well as providers, insurers and government. I’ve studied this problem for thirty years as a consumer, a salesman, an advocate, a public servant and an advisor to insurance companies. The politicians, insurers, lawyers, and providers will never act to create real change without a paradigm shift. They will never act until Americans demand it.

· First, they have to admit that the structure that forces employers to manage the health care needs of employees is outmoded and decaying rapidly. It is putting the future of American businesses and their employees at extreme risk.

· Second, Federal and State governments need to recognize that solving the problem doesn’t mean taking over the system. Perpetuating a failed program with a new boss – especially one that demonstrates ineptitude through prior failure – is dumber than dumb.

· Third, insurance companies can’t expect to manage risk – the primary function of insurance – when they spend so much of the premium they collect on administration and paying for pre-paid services that are mandated by government or market demands These pre-paids do not represent true risk.

· Fourth, the providers of health care charge more than they need to because the system puts them at risk of loss due to trivial law suits for errors that ignore our human limitations and imposes administrative overhead caused by the cumbersome structure of the insurance, legal, and regulatory systems.

· Fifth, the American consumer of health care fails to realize that the system is the problem. They blame the problems they face on government, insurance companies, or providers. They demand service and take little personal responsibility because they believe that the system should care for them.

A completely new model that addresses these five key issues and costituencies by restructuring the way we provide health care is entirely within our reach. Such a system would have these elements:

· First, employers would not be required to provide health insurance to their employees but would receive tax incentives – deductions and/or credits – to provide basic services such as annual physical exams, routine childcare, innoculations, preventative care counseling, etc. The federal agency that acts as overseer of this program would decide their exact makeup based on a wellness model. Local health care professionals could provide these services economically on a contract basis.

· Second, federal, and state governments could provide individual Americans with guaranteed coverage in the event of catastrophic illness that incurred expenses above a certain limit. This also allows the insurance carriers to provide coverage to everyone regardless of their medical conditions.

· Third, federal, and state governments in partnership with insurance companies could fund this program by creating a pool of money to that end.

o The federal government could provide funding through taxation.

o The state could supplement the federal contribution and provide oversight and administration.

o The insurance carriers could select a limit for the coverage that they would provide for all of their insured clients [not based on individual considerations] and pay a per-capita premium into the fund accordingly.

· Fourth, the system would protect health care providers from frivolous lawsuits and extraordinary malpractice insurance claims, lowering their cost of doing business and therefore the cost to the consumer and to the system.

· Fifth, every American could receive a small – perhaps $1,000.00 – subsidized medical savings account at birth that the federal and state governments and the insurance carriers would fund from the pool of money discussed earlier.

o The money in these accounts would escape all federal and state taxation during the life of the individual account holder.

o The money in these accounts would pay for medical expenses that insurance or employer wellness plans didn’t cover or for expenses incurred during periods of unemployment.

o Each individual could make additional contributions of after tax dollars at will. Others could make contributions of after tax dollars as gifts. At death, the individual could pass the money that remained in the account tax free to another person’s or several other person’s medical savings accounts.

Yes, there are holes in this system. Most challenging is what to do about those who refuse to join the program, non-citizens that are in America illegally, and people who just don’t have any money to pay the insurance premium. It will take the work of dedicated actuaries, analysts, and rate-makers to flesh it out and make it more than a sketch on a napkin. But, this is America. We solve our problems. Perhaps a Steven Jobs, Walton Family, Bill Gates, Oprah, or Warren Buffet will come forth, as T. Boone Pickens has with the energy problem, and champion a paradigm change that will once again make American medical care the envy of and model for the rest of the world.

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Wall Street, 1987

The SEC is a Behemoth that works for other Behemoths, in particular the major Wall Street firms and their minions. The SEC, along with its junior partner FINRA, wear the mantel of a Robin Hood while concurrently robbing everyone in the neighborhood by supporting the self serving aims of the Behemoths. Now they want to get control of another bag of money.

‘Sheryl Moore, chief executive of AnnuitySpecs.com, estimates there were $25.1 billion in indexed annuities sold in 2007, down about $2 billion from their peak in 2005. While sales decreased, last year total indexed annuity assets reached $123 billion according to the SEC.”

Furor builds on SEC indexed annuity oversight plan
By EILEEN AJ CONNELLY, Associated Press http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2008/09/08/ap5400800.html

The SEC claims that its aim is to protect consumers by further regulating an insurance product on the rather flimsy claim that Indexed Annuities are funded by investments.

DUH!

All insurance products are funded by investments. The simple fact is that the Wall Street wizards, who brought you the current credit and housing crises, now want to ‘fix’ the indexed annuity market.

BUNK!

The Wall Street Behemoths, who will be no more open and clear in their explanation of this product than current state regulations require, want to capture all that annuity money for themselves.

Consumers will actually lose since the Wall Street wonks will dishonestly demonstrate that these products don’t perform as well as the failed mutual fund industry, ETF’s and fee based advisors, thereby recovering the $123 billion that Wall Street’s Behemoths have been unable to get their greedy hands on.

American’s have been duped into believing that the SEC/FINRA are the watchdogs they were originally intended to be. They are not. They have morphed into watchdogs for the Wall Street Behemoths and their aim has become protecting the Behemoths from lawsuits by consumers as opposed to protecting consumers from the subterranean subterfuges of the Wall Street Behemoths.

Having said all that, it is clear also that the Indexed Annuity business is plagued with charlatans and snake oil sales reps that create a problem for the majority. The states have been too slow to effectively regulate these products and the people who sell them. The answer, however, is not to add a layer of bureaucracy that answers to the Behemoths.

___________________________

www.YouBeTheBank.com

Here’s a story that should make you madder than h… and wake you up to the reality that is the credit card business.

A businessperson applied for and received an Advanta credit card with a low permanent rate of 7.99% – not an introductory rate, a low permanent rate.

  • The card was used to pay all of the businesses expenses and was paid in full periodically as cash flow allowed; ususally each month or so.
  • All payments were made on time and the credit limit was never exceeded.
  • There were no cash advances taken and the “courtesy checks” that came with almost every bill, and which carry usurious rates, were summarily shredded as they were received.
  • The businesspersons’s credit score was in the high 700′s and the business itself had never had any kind of negative report from any credit reporting agency or vendor.

So, what did Advanta do? They raised the rate to over 20% with a two week notice and with no justification other than “We adjust rates based on a variety of factors.”

Here’s the reality.

  • You have NO CONTROL of the money that is tied up by credit card companies or of the rates they can charge you for the use of that money.
  • Credit card issuers can raise your rate for NO REASON AT ALL and with minimal notice.
  • Unlike the fixed or variable rate mortgage on your home, the terms of the mortgage on your paycheck that credit card companies hold can be changed by them without cause or limit – that’s right, they can charge you 100% if they wish.

Credit is a trap. You cannot win the credit game and you cannot escape unless you learn to be your own credit grantor; to be your own bank. It’s not as hard as it sounds or appears. You have to change your mind about money and adopt The Money for Life Plan thatl lets You Be The Bank. I know this is a commercial of sorts, but I also know that those who follow this approach are rocking comfortably on the front porch while others are sneaking out the back door to avoid the bill collectors.

By the way, the businessperson cancelled the credit card, paid off the balance and now relies entirely on her own bank.

____________________________

www.YouBeTheBank.com

____________________________

The Money for Life Plan

America is addicted to investments they can’t control and debt they may never repay.

As you will see shortly, T. Boone Pickens has committed $58,000,000.00 to promote a plan to wean America from foreign oil in ten years.

The Money for Life Plan weans individual Americans from the Debt Paradigm almost immediately. [It's not as expensive.]

In both cases the process begins when a person – or in the case of the Pickens’ Plan – when a country changes its mind.

The Money for Life Plan lets YouBeTheBank and gain control of the money that flows through your life. It relies on the individual family re-thinking what works and what doesn’t regardless of the “conventional wisdom” that the Behemoths – large government, unions and business – want you to believe.

The Pickens Plan flies in the face of the “conventional wisdom” of Washington DC. The Pickens Plan aims to keep American money in America by converting electric power generation from natural gas to power generated by wind and solar, then converting petroleum driven vehicles to natural gas.

Both plans rely on the same principle.

The Pickens Plan believes that it’s essential for our nation to regain control of its energy and stop sending  $700,000,000,000.00 of our wealth oversees every year.

The Money for Life Plan believes that it’s essential for individual American families to stop putting their money into investments they don’t control and debt they may never repay.

Below is a detailed description of the Pickens Plan. I encourage you to read it, recognize the wisdom it contains, and sign on to support it. It is worth your time and attention.

I also encourage you to visit www.YouBeTheBank.com and learn about The Money for Life Model. I don’t have $58,000,000.00 to promote this idea and the book that describes it Money Now, Money Later, Money for Life! How to thrive in good times and bad so I’m hoping you’ll discover some value there and tell a friend.

The Pickens Plan

America is addicted to foreign oil.

It’s an addiction that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. It touches every part of our daily lives and ties our hands as a nation and a people.

The addiction has worsened for decades and now it’s reached a point of crisis.

In 1970, we imported 24% of our oil.
Today it’s nearly 70% and growing.

As imports grow and world prices rise, the amount of money we send to foreign nations every year is soaring. At current oil prices, we will send $700 billion dollars out of the country this year alone — that’s four times the annual cost of the Iraq war.

Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion — it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.

America uses a lot of oil. Every day 85 million barrels of oil are produced around the world. And 21 million of those are used here in the United States.

That’s 25% of the world’s oil demand. Used by just 4% of the world’s population.

Can’t we just produce more oil?

World oil production peaked in 2005. Despite growing demand and an unprecedented increase in prices, oil production has fallen over the last three years. Oil is getting more expensive to produce, harder to find and there just isn’t enough of it to keep up with demand.

The simple truth is that cheap and easy oil is gone.

What’s the good news?

The United States is the Saudi Arabia of wind power.

Studies from around the world show that the Great Plains States are home to the greatest wind energy potential in the world — by far.

The Department of Energy reports that 20% of America’s electricity can come from wind. North Dakota alone has the potential to provide power for more than a quarter of the country.

Today’s wind turbines stand up to 410 feet tall, with blades that stretch 148 feet in length. The blades collect the wind’s kinetic energy. In one year, a 3-megawatt wind turbine produces as much energy as 12,000 barrels of imported oil.

Wind power currently accounts for 48 billion kWh of electricity a year in the United States — enough to serve more than 4.5 million households. That is still only about 1% of current demand, but the potential of wind is much greater.

A 2005 Stanford University study found that there is enough wind power worldwide to satisfy global demand 7 times over — even if only 20% of wind power could be captured.

Building wind facilities in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota could produce 20% of the electricity for the United States at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns.

That’s a lot of money, but it’s a one-time cost. And compared to the $700 billion we spend on foreign oil every year, it’s a bargain.

An economic revival for rural America.

Developing wind power is an investment in rural America.

To witness the economic promise of wind energy, look no further than Sweetwater, Texas.

Sweetwater was typical of many small towns in middle-America. With a shortage of good jobs, the youth of Sweetwater were leaving in search of greater opportunities. And the town’s population dropped from 12,000 to under 10,000.

When a large wind power facility was built outside of town, Sweetwater experienced a revival. New economic opportunity brought the town back to life and the population has grown back up to 12,000.

In the Texas panhandle, just north of Sweetwater, is the town of Pampa, where T. Boone Pickens’ Mesa Power is currently building the largest wind farm in the world.

In addition to creating new construction and maintenance jobs, thousands of Americans will be employed to manufacture the turbines and blades. These are high skill jobs that pay on a scale comparable to aerospace jobs.

Plus, wind turbines don’t interfere with farming and grazing, so they don’t threaten food production or existing local economies.

A cheap new replacement for foreign oil.

The Honda Civic GX Natural Gas Vehicle is the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle in the world according to the EPA.

Natural gas and bio-fuels are the only domestic energy sources used for transportation.

Cleaner

Natural gas is the cleanest transportation fuel available today.

According to the California Energy Commission, critical greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas are 23% lower than diesel and 30% lower than gasoline.

Natural gas vehicles (NGV) are already available and combine top performance with low emissions. The natural gas Honda Civic GX is rated as the cleanest production vehicle in the world.

According to NGVAmerica, there are more than 7 million NGVs in use worldwide, but only 150,000 of those are in the United States.

The EPA estimates that vehicles on the road account for 60% of carbon monoxide pollution and around one-third of hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions in the United States. As federal and state emissions laws become more stringent, many requirements will be unattainable with conventionally fueled vehicles.

Since natural gas is significantly cleaner than petroleum, NGVs are increasing in popularity. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach recently announced that 16,800 old diesel trucks will be replaced, and half of the new vehicles will run on alternatives such as natural gas.

Cheaper

Natural gas is significantly less expensive than gasoline or diesel. In places like Utah and Oklahoma, prices are less than $1 a gallon. To see fueling stations and costs in your area, check out cngprices.com.

Domestic

Natural gas is our country’s second largest energy resource and a vital component of our energy supply. 98% of the natural gas used in the United States is from North America. But 70% of our oil is purchased from foreign nations.

Natural gas is one of the cleanest, safest and most useful forms of energy — residentially, commercially and industrially. The natural gas industry has existed in the United States for over 100 years and continues to grow.

Domestic natural gas reserves are twice that of petroleum. And new discoveries of natural gas and ongoing development of renewable biogas are continually adding to existing reserves.

While it is a cheap, effective and versatile fuel, less than 1% of natural gas is currently used for transportation.

The Mechanics



We currently use natural gas to produce 22% of our electricity. Harnessing the power of wind to generate electricity will give us the flexibility to shift natural gas away from electricity generation and put it to use as a transportation fuel — reducing our dependence on foreign oil by more than one-third.

How do we get it done?

The Pickens Plan is a bridge to the future — a blueprint to reduce foreign oil dependence by harnessing domestic energy alternatives, and buy us time to develop even greater new technologies.

Building new wind generation facilities and better utilizing our natural gas resources can replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports in 10 years. But it will take leadership.

On January 20th, 2009, a new President will take office.

We’re organizing behind the Pickens Plan now to ensure our voices will be heard by the next administration.

Together we can raise a call for change and set a new course for America’s energy future in the first hundred days of the new presidency — breaking the hammerlock of foreign oil and building a new domestic energy future for America with a focus on sustainability.

You can start changing America’s future today by supporting the Pickens Plan. Join now.

Generally this blog deals with issues relating to money, saving, investing and the general economy and how that relates to your personal economy. Today’s blog digresses a bit from the norm but not really too far. It recounts a story I’ve heard several times about how one man used some of the money in his personal economy with great results. It inspires me and perhaps it will inspire you too.

RED MARBLES

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprizing a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes, but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

‘Hello Barry, how are you today?’

‘H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good.’

‘They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?’

‘Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.’

‘Good. Anything I can help you with?’

‘No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.’

‘Would you like take some home?’ asked Mr. Miller.

‘No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ‘em with.’

‘Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?’

‘All I got’s my prize marble here.’

‘Is that right? Let me see it’ said Miller.

‘Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.’

‘I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?’ the store owner asked.

‘Not zackley but almost.’

‘Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble’, Mr. Miller told the boy.

‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.’

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.’

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles. Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one.

Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the Funeral Home we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts…all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the Funeral Home awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller.  I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles.

With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size….they came to pay their debt.’

‘We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho’.

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral : We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.

Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

_____________________________

Wishing you Health, Abundance, Love and Light…

_____________________________

 

 

“There’s no crying in Baseball!” A League of Their Own, 1992

The baseball season is long and strenuous. Players, coaches and teams have to pace themselves. They recognize that one game in a long season – win or lose – is less important than consistently winning more than they lose. More importantly, a team has to win more than the other teams in their division if they want to get to the playoffs, compete for the league championship and make it to the World Series. We’ll get back to that in a paragraph or two.

The baseball season is like your financial season from the time you wake up to the reality that your financial future is in your own hands, till the time you pass on to the next world and pay forward the wisdom and wealth you accumulated during your earthly existence. So, like baseball, you don’t expect to win every time you make a decision about money and investing. What you aim for is consistently winning more than you lose – right?

Wrong. In many baseball seasons a team that lost its opening game and chanted the mantra, “It’s a long season; you can’t win ‘em all,” ended the season one half game out of first place, missed the playoffs, the league championship and the World Series. Every game counts and every financial decision counts.

Moreover, when a team prospers through the season and gets into the division playoffs, they are subject to defeat in the short term. And so it goes through division play and into the Series; victory or defeat is just the swing of the bat away. There are thirty teams in Major League Baseball but only one winner in the end.

So, also, when you get to the point where you want to live off your money and investments instead of your labor, you can have a great season right up to the end and lose in the short term. So, conclude for yourself that the short term is both more important and more manageable than the long term. Having money that you control in the short term is more important than having “long-term” investments that you don’t control, and that someone else – perhaps with motives that don’t serve you - does.

Every baseball team knows that winning or losing a single game could well leave them in front of their TV instead of in the dugout during the playoffs. Americans need to recognize that managing their money so that they don’t lose it is more important than hoping that some investment over which they have no control will miraculously get them into the playoffs and make them winners in the World Series of wealth building.

America has been duped into believing that is OK to lose money, that waiting out ‘the market’ is a strategy that serves them; that the future is assured if only they ‘stay the course.’

BUNK!

Americans need to wrest control of their money from the Behemoths that have seduced them into believing that bigger is smarter or better than they are, and that the Behemoths should be the custodians of Americans’ money instead of the individual Americans themselves.

_____________________________

www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

_____________________________

“Go ahead, make my day.” Sudden Impact, 1983

It’s the 4th of July weekend and I’m getting pretty darn mad at the 535 Cowards in Congress. We Americans are willing to follow leaders who look out for us and the country but are tired to the bone of the Dolts in DC who spend most of their time and much of our money trying to damage the opposition and get themselves re-elected.

Gas prices are going through the roof. Food from afar – and every other item that arrives in a truck, plane, train, or automobile – is going up because gas prices are going up. Iran is threatening to squeeze the supply routes and put severe economic pressure on the world. Saudi Arabia refuses to increase production. Hugo Chavez is a fruitcake in a bowling shirt and wants nothing more than to prove that socialism is somehow better than democracy, state run everything is better than liberty and watching America suffer is better than TV.

The world – not just America – runs on oil. America currently consumes more oil per-capita – than any other country, but that is rapidly changing. China and India are increasingly demanding more oil and putting serious pressure on the supply and demand equation. Europe wants to become the dominant economic power in the world and needs an ever-increasing supply of oil to do that. Developing countries want and need more oil to build their economies.

So, here are the oil producing countries staring down America and Americans – and the rest of the world too – and threatening us with subtle and not so subtle “Make my day” threats while Congress debates and discusses what the rest of the world has proven;

  • nuclear energy works safely,
  • deep water drilling is economical and safe (Katrina proved that),
  • shale oil is extractable economically and ecologically,
  • ANWAR can be explored and could produce enough oil to take care of America for the decades it needs to develop alternatives that are less invasive – and fund the salvation of the polar bears in the process if that’s truly needed
  • and, finally, if we have leaders with the will, America will rise to the occasion and become the world’s leader in those alternative forms of energy

What does all that mean for us? American’s are going to suffer economic hardship in the short term because of the inaction and ineffectiveness of the Cowards in Congress. This problem’s been with us since the 1970′s and the Dolts in DC could have solved it ten times over if they had the courage to do so.

There’s darn little that individuals can do about it in their personal economies other than adopt a conservative financial strategy that cuts back on

  • consumer goods spending for cars, furniture, and luxuries
  • and puts
  • saving money
  • buying a house
  • paying off the mortgage

at the top of the list, while other costly practices like

· investing in maybe-it’ll-grow mutual funds,

· the latest “Whatever 101″ miracle money making scheme,

· can’t-lose annuities that tie up your money for years, if not decades,

move to the dustbin.

Remember, when times get rough you need ready cash money and not the maybe-money from investments that guarantee only that they guarantee nothing.

_______________________________________

by Jeffrey Reeves, MA – www.youBEthebank.com

_______________________________________

Wisdom???

Forbes.com

Liz Moyer, 06.26.08, 3:00 PM ET

Wall Street’s Widening Credibility Gap

The carnage spread across the financial sector. Fortis was down 19%, Lehman down 6%, National City (nyse: NCCnews - people ) down 7%, MBIA (nyse: MBInews - people ) down 11% and Washington Mutual (nyse: WMnews - people ) down 6%. The Keefe Bruyette & Woods (nyse: KBWnews - people ) index of bank stocks, the BKX, was off 3%. Financials dragged the S&P 500 17% below the record it set back in November. [Emphasis added]

http://www.forbes.com/2008/06/26/banking-earnings-goldman-biz-wall-cx_lm_0626credibility.html?partner=yahootix

The wizards of Wall Street can’t figure out how to take care of their own money much less yours. It’s time for every American to take back the control of their money, and there’s a simple, age old, tried, and tested formula you can apply that allows you to do that - http://themoneyforlifeblog.com/?page_id=69

The Debt Paradigm Isn’t Working…

I know this may seem blatently self serving and it is to an extent. On the other hand, the paradigm that controls America’s thinking about money management, saving and investing just isn’t working and needs to be changed. Money Now, Money Later, Money for Life…How to thrive in good times and bad offers a simple, sustainable, common sense set of strategies and practices that allow Americans to wrest control of their money from the Behemoths that demonstrate only greed and lusting for your money and neither wisdom nor compassion for you.

Peace of Mind Is the Payoff…

American’s who have read Money for Life, and who are applying the principles it teaches to their personal money management practice, are experiencing peace of mind about money that seemed out of their reach only a short time ago. You owe it to yourself to learn the Money for Life secrets that have been practiced since Biblical times and which were abandoned in the late 20th century.

Avisors with decades of experience who read Money for Life write comments like this:

“I Read your book it was great!! I am a financial advisor and have been doing a lot of research about banking concepts. I like the way you introduced the concepts and I am going to institute them into my practice. It is a shame the home office doesn’t teach these concepts to their agents. The more I read and test the more I like the concepts and the less I like what I’ve been taught by those that aren’t as wise. I would very much enjoy the opportunity to find out more about what else I could be doing for my clients. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.”

Thanks for your patience and understanding. America needs to know what’s in this book, not because I wrote it – I’m simply the voice of the many who preceded me – but because the ideas, principles, and practices it presents are essential to their success with money.

Jeffrey Reeves

_____________________________

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Gone With the Wind, 1939

It appears that the mutual fund industry is very much like the Congress. Proof again that Americans are being bamboozled by Behemoths whose only interest is in moving money from your pockets into their own accounts. This isn’t a personal opinion but the opinion of a mutual fund industry watchdog as Gary Halbert reports in his newsletter this week! Here are a few excerpts and a link to the full text.

Gary D. Halbert Forecasts & Trends E-Letter

A Shocking New Morningstar Study!

by Gary D. Halbert

June 24, 2008

“…Morningstar released a study last week showing that many mutual fund managers have little or none of their own money in the very funds they manage

“Yet the new Morningstar study shows that about half of the mutual fund managers they track have NONE of their own money in the funds they manage. ZERO.

“Morningstar found that 47% of US stock funds and 61% of foreign stock funds have no investment of the manager’s own money. Bond funds fare even worse with 66% of taxable bond funds, 71% of balanced funds and 80% of municipal bond funds having no manager investment…

Perhaps the most interesting part of the study was Morningstar’s analysis of its own Picks and Pans. This is a service provided by Morningstar where they select funds that may be good long-term investments (the Picks) as well as mutual funds to avoid (the Pans). When analyzing management investment in these two groups, Morningstar found that the Picks had a median manager investment of $430,000, whereas the median investment by the fund managers in the Pan category was $0…Get the message?”

Here’s the link to the whole article; http://investorsinsight.com/blogs/forecasts_trends/archive/2008/06/24/a-shocking-new-morningstar-study.aspx

______________________________

There are better ways to handle your money that the Behemoths won’t, don’t, or can’t talk about. www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

______________________________

 

This post from May 9 is becoming more relevant every day…

Friday, May 9th, 2008

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Gone With the Wind, 1939

The Congress doesn’t “give a damn.” It has completely abrogated its sworn responsibility to provide vision, wisdom and leadership. Some in Congress have given their votes and their minds over to the insane claims of fringe groups who really hate America. Others have relinquished their power to the Behemoths; corporations, unions, lobbyists and 527′s that disguise themselves as spokespersons for some group or cause, and government agencies whose only function is self preservation regardless of the cost to the Country and its People – that’s you and me and 300 million other Americans.

America is committing suicide by Congressional Cowardice!

All in Congress have put political party goals above the needs of America.

The presidential candidates are members of Congress, too. Each of them has “caved” to one or more of the caveats of their constituents during the campaign. All of them have failed the “vision, wisdom and leadership” test when it comes to recognizing and dealing with the realities of the 21st century.

Obama naively clings to an exclusive far left agenda while promising to be a uniter. McCain offers only partial insights into his thinking and programs as he tries to convert his image from that of an independent minded conservative to that of a ”sorta” party loyalist.

There are two intimately related issues that should drown out the cacophony of claims by the crazies and the wimps and overshadow every other concern:

  1. America is at war. Insane Islamic zealots believe that only they possess the truth, and that destroying the western world in the name of Allah is the path to their heaven. It’s war declared on America - not criminal activity.
  2. America’s – and the world’s – economy is based on oil.  If America doesn’t tap into its own oil reserves – as every other country in the world is doing – America will soon become a slave to the OPEC nations like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – the birthplaces of the Islamic and other crazies. At the same time, America needs to have the vision to commit significant resources to oil alternatives.

If our leaders deal with these two issues, every other concern will resolve itself.

Some will argue that the current economic malaise is driven by failures in both the oil and the financial industry. The financial industry, however, is becoming more and more dependent on oil rich countries to supply it with the fuel for its engine, and that means dependence on oil by proxy.

Your personal economy depends on America being a leading economic power. If America fails to maintain its status as the engine of liberty through its economic strength, you and I will become servants to some foreign power.

We need to elect leaders who recognize and deal with these harsh realities instead of those in Congress today who pander to every Behemoth that promises a contribution to their campaigns to stay in office – translate that as “to stay in power.”

__________________________

In the meantime, find ways to save money that allow you to control the money in your life. At the micro level you can switch to energy efficient light bulbs, drive more slowly and less often, buy more fresh food and less prepared food; that will help you and the rest of us too.

At the macro level you need to gain control of your money, to apply principles and practices that have been tested and proven over centuries and millennia and that apply equally today.

_________________________

www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

_________________________

Honest Abe Would Be  Appalled…

“You can fool some of the people all of the time,
and all of the people some of the time,
but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
- Abraham Lincoln

 

President Lincoln didn’t live in the information, advertising and propaganda age we inhabit. Everything from politicians to religious beliefs, hamburgers to health care, infant products to investments are presented to the public every day in one form or another and all are distorted to support the presenters’ aims.

 

If Abraham Lincoln spoke his famous line today – especially if he worked in the financial markets – it might go like this:

 

“Advertising and propaganda can fool many of the people all of the time,

and all of the people most of the time,

but it still can’t fool all of the people all of the time;

but don’t worry about it, the fines will be much less than the profits.”

 

This is especially true of financial products. Americans are bombarded daily with information, advertising and propaganda about new financial products and services. The Behemoths and their minions cleverly disguise sales pitches as planning strategies. The financial press follows the lead of the Wall Street Wonks and supports every ENRON type shibboleth as if it came directly from the Lord.

 

A Case Study from 2007…

 

Here’s a case on point. Tom bought a hot new indexed universal life insurance contract. He was told that if he paid $20,000 a year into the contract for five years – $100,000 total – and then let the money grow for another five years he could expect to draw $18,000 per year from the policy for as long as he lived and the beneficiaries of his policy would still receive the full death benefit when he died.

 

When this product was presented to Tom by a well known insurance and financial “advisor,” Tom bought it on faith. There was also a printed illustration from the insurance company that made the numbers look legitimate. Two years and $40,000 later Tom realized that the “advisor” exaggerated the earnings and possible income and at the same time gave little attention to the probability that the actual results would most likely fall way short those exaggerated claims.

 

Caveat Emptor?

 

This is not a case of “caveat emptor.” Sophisticated information, advertising and propaganda presented by a “professional” is readily believable and not so readily debunked by an untrained buyer. Tom was hoodwinked by a dishonest and unethical sales rep who cares more about the sale than the client.  (As a note, that salesman was recently indicted.)

 

“Trusted advisor” is a term that is claimed with about the same weight as “nice tie.” Americans need more than the claims of a well dressed salesman and a compliant illustration from a mutual fund or insurance company. If you want to dodge the “dodgers” then you need a way to measure and manage your money that lets YouBeTheBank and lets you control the money that flows through your life.

 

Here’s my first recommendation ever on this blog; find an INDEPENDENT advisor that is not bound to one of the Behemoths and who understands that keeping YOU in control of your money is the most important role of an advisor.

 

Jeffrey Reeves

“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” The Graduate, 1967

Major consumer product retailers (one in particular), make-up and perfume makers, and every other advertiser to one extent or another, employs skinny models to sell their products. I was watching one of those ads on TV yesterday evening and it dawned on me that most advertising for financial services and products employ skinny money to seduce you into buying what they have to sell.

I’ve made the point before that whenever you buy something that’s called an investment – stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, annuities, gold, Euros – the company that sells it to you keeps some of your money to cover their costs and pay their sales force. Nothing wrong with that unless you allow yourself to be seduced into thinking that what you buy can make you rich.

Wealth is the result of saved money. Investements are skinny money; they offer no guarantees, can disappear in a flash (Enron, MCI, 1929, 2001,etc.), are not under your control and, if investments are all you have when it’s money you need, your losses could easily lead to starvation.

America has been led – or misled – to believe that investing from income is wise and proper. American”s are encouraged by mindless pundits that call themselves financial gurus to invest lots of money into their 401(k)s. IRAs or equivalents. These unwise advisors don’t tell them that the money they are stashing is nothing more than a loan from the IRS that will be collected when they retire.

Several popular – not necessarily bright – TV and radio talking heads tell Americans to be sure to have an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months expenses. They don’t tell them that many – if not most – who experience one of life’s surprisingly unsurprising surprises like job loss, disability, medical emergencies, family crises and so on, need enough ready cash to support themselves for 3 to 5 years.

Skinny money like skinny models may be seductive to some, but for me and my clients it’s foolish and downright scary to face the future with debt, unsesured income, limited liquidity and no assured legacy. It’s a heck of a lot better to face the future with the confidence that comes with control of the money in your life than to look back with regret because you relied on information from TV pundits and the advertising of the Behemoths to build your personal economy.

Remember, like Mrs. Robinson, they are trying to seduce you. Avoid the seduction and the pain that it leads to and build a solid foundation and framework for your personal economy BEFORE embarking on an investment program. Discover how –> www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

____________________________

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Gone With the Wind, 1939

America is committing suicide by Congressional Cowardice!

The Congress doesn’t “give a damn.” It has completely abrogated its sworn responsibility to provide vision, wisdom and leadership. Some in Congress have given their votes and their minds over to the insane claims of fringe groups who really hate America. Others have relinquished their power to the Behemoths; corporations, unions, lobbyists that disguise themselves as spokespersons for some group or cause, and government agencies whose only function is self preservation regardless of the cost to the Country and its People – that’s you and me and 300 million other Americans.

All in Congress have put political party goals above the needs of America.

The presidential candidates are members of Congress, too. Each of them has “caved” to one or more of the caveats of their constituents during the campaign. All of them have failed the “vision, wisdom and leadership” test when it comes to recognizing and dealing with the realities of the 21st century.

Obama naively clings to an exclusive far left agenda while promising to be a uniter. Clinton is strident as she proposes specific, liberal, tax-increase based solutions to every imaginable challenge masked in so much detail that even an advanced degree in economics wouldn’t help one understand – or believe; just like HillaryCare of 1993. McCain offers only partial insights into his thinking and programs as he tries to convert his image from that of an independent minded conservative to that of a ”sorta” party loyalist.

There are two intimately related issues that should drown out the cacophony of claims by the crazies and the wimps and overshadow every other concern:

  1. America is at war. Insane Islamic zealots believe that only they possess the truth, and that destroying the western world in the name of Allah is the path to their heaven. It’s war declared on America - not criminal activity.
  2. America’s – and the world’s – economy is based on oil.  If America doesn’t tap into its own oil reserves – as every other country in the world is doing – America will soon become a slave to the OPEC nations like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – the birthplaces of the Islamic and other crazies. At the same time, America needs to have the vision to commit significant resources to oil alternatives.

If our leaders deal with these two issues, every other concern will resolve itself.

Some will argue that the current economic malaise is driven by failures in both the oil and the financial industry. The financial industry, however, is becoming more and more dependent on oil rich countries to supply it with the fuel for its engine, and that means dependence on oil by proxy.

Your personal economy depends on America being a leading economic power. If America fails to maintain its status as the engine of liberty through its economic strength, you and I will become servants to some foriegn power.

We need to elect leaders who recognize and deal with these harsh realities instead of those in Congress today who pander to every Behemoth that promises a contribution to their campaigns to stay in office – translate that as “to stay in power.”

In the meantime, you need to find ways to save money that allows you to control the money in your life. At the micro level you can switch to energy efficient light bulbs, drive more slowly and less often, buy more fresh food and less prepared food; that will help you and the rest of us too.

At the macro level you need to gain control of your money, to apply principles and practices that have been tested and proven over centuries and millenia and that apply equally today. This blog attempts to shed light on them. For a fuller understanding –> www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

_________________________

While those in the US Congress – three running  for president – are proposing a meaningless gasoline tax relief program, it’s important to remember that it won’t effect them at all and won’t really help the average American.

http://themoneyforlifeblog.com/?p=119#comment-29

Gain control of your money before the Behemoths do –> www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

_______________________________

The Role of Government

“Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinkin badges!” The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948

The people in the Capital of the United States of America and in the capitals of the states and territories are elected to conserve the American capital that supports the government that serves the people.

Civil servants manage that capital based on the guidance provided by the executive and legislative branches of government, but they can only conserve what the law allows. Many of our elected officials in Washington and in the 50 states are not even trying to conserve America’s capital.

Civil servants occasionally fall to their own greed and ego. Elected officials and their appointees do it on a regular basis. They feel that they don’t have to justify their greed and their egos. They hide bribery dollars in their freezers and complain when the FBI finds them. They carry on affairs with their lovers and appoint them to sensitive posts and feel fully justified. They support prostitutes in criminal enterprises that they are sworn to destroy. They coerce legislation for bridges to nowhere.

The list goes on. They “don’t need no badges!”

The Role of “We the People…”

Meanwhile the American people are struggling to pay their mortgages, buy groceries and gasoline, and create enough capital of their own so they don’t have to rely on the government.

Kevin and Cindy

Take Kevin and Cindy. At he young age of 60, Kevin fell to a disabling disease. Cindy, who was semi-retired, had to return to full time work to maintain a health insurance plan to cover Kevin’s substantial medical and medication costs.

Fortunately Kevin was granted Social Security disability benefits after 18 months and became eligible for Medicare. That saved Cindy the almost $300.00 she had to pay each month to have Kevin on her health plan. But their future isn’t all that rosey. Cindy will have to work for at least another five years before she can claim her retirement benefits at a level that will support the couple. If Kevin’s condition worsens, as it likely will, then the family may have to liquidate most of their meager assets and move him to a Medicaid long term care facility.

America is the richest country in the world and Americans, even those at the lower income levels, live better than folks in other parts of the world. Our elected officials, however, willingly waste the capital of the country on

  • foolish projects,
  • their own re-election campaigns,
  • prostitutes
  • their personal aggrandizement and securing their own futures,
  • kowtowing to business lobbies (like the oil interests) and rabid America haters in fringe groups (like those funded by George Soros) and, perhaps worst of all,
  • they use all of thier left over energy - and our financial resources - trying to defeat and embarrass those they do not agree with in other branches of government.

“We the People…” Deserve Better

Kevin, Cindy and the rest of us deserve better. If America’s legislators were honest in their dealings, they could allocate America’s capital to assure that every American is able to care for themselves and their loved ones when life delivers a surprise at their front door. They could allow us to control of the money that flows through our lives and care for ourselves without government intervention.

The Safe and Easy Path to Prosperity

You can do this for yourself today by following the principles and practices of EUREKONOMICS™ found in Money for Life…how to Thrive in Good Times and Bad

by Jeffrey Reeves MA, EUREKONOMIST

____________________________________

Now accepting orders for Money for Life…(Thrive) in good times and bad –> www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

____________________________________

“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” The Pride of the Yankees, 1942

The final proof of Money for Life,,,in good times and bad was sent to the printer today. Now the work of getting this amazing document that recalls the teachings of the world’s wisest financial minds from millennia past into the hands, minds and hearts of Americans begins in earnest
Thanks to all who read this blog for your support and encouragement.

I am exhausted today from the emotional and intellectual effort of proofing so I am ending this blog post early.

______________________________

Money for Life…in good times and bad – How to Thrive in the 21st Century will be released on May 1st, 2008. Everyone who buys the e-book version before May 1st will also receive an autographed copy of the paperback when it is release. No special codes are needed. Don’t be an April fool; make the purchase before April 30th. Shipping and handling charges will still apply. –> www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Love Story, 1970

The second question that came up about Flo, Many Jane and Vern was, “What happens to the relationship with the kids if Mom uses a Money for Life Guide instead of Vern, who is in a competitive position?”

Vern worked for a Behemoth – a large publicly held corporation or government agency. He was bound to a set of practices designed by his employer. The Behemoths and their minions generally have three goals built into whatever they do.

  1. Get as much of the customer’s money as possible into the Behemoth’s coffers
  2. Sell investment and insurance products that produce the highest income for the Behemoth
  3. Restrict the activity of its brokers to avoid law suits by disgruntled customers

The Money for Life Guide might have been able to explain the principles and practices that s/he used to create the foundation and framework for Flo to Mary Jane and Vern. It’s more likely that the peace of mind and security that accrued to Flo by following the Money for Life Guide’s advice would have been evident to the kids and caused them to learn more.

In any event, it is seldom wise and never the responsibility of parents to conduct business with children – especially when the future security of the parent is at stake, as it was with Flo. If Mary Jane and Vern were honestly concerned about Flo and her future they would recognize this themselves and accept Flo’s decision.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

___________________________________________

SPECIAL OFFER! -> The paperback version of  Money for Life…in good times and bad – How to Thrive in the 21st Century will be released on May 1st, 2008. If you buy the e-book version before May 1st, you’ll also receive an autographed copy of the paperback when it is released. No special codes are needed. Make the purchase before April 30th. Shipping and handling charges will still apply. -> http://www.themoneyforlifebook.com/

Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:04pm EDT By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The personal wealth of members of the U.S. Congress has soared in recent years, leaving lawmakers on average far more well-to-do than most Americans as of 2006, said a study on Thursday.

The median net worth of senators was estimated at $1.7 million and House of Representatives members at $675,000, said the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington watchdog group that monitors the influence of money on government…”They have millions of dollars invested in politically influential industries that they also regulate,” such as real estate, banking, pharmaceuticals and energy, the center said.

http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USN1330776120080313

________________________________________

Gain control of the money that flows through your life before your Congress Person does –> www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

________________________________________

I am grateful that I live in America where I can complain without recrimination about paying money to the government in taxes .

I am also grateful that the government to which I pay those taxes protects me from crime, foreign invasions, charlatans of all kinds and – at times – from myself.

The taxing business of paying money for taxes results from our always-self-interested elected fools – especially those in DC – who are spending our tax money to get re-elected. I wish the dim-wits in the US Congress…

  • ~ would eliminate the IRS,
  • ~ enact a flat tax of some sort,
  • ~ enact a balanced budget amendment,
  • ~ give the President the line item veto,
  • ~ fix Social Security (including placing themselves and all other federal workers in the system),
  • ~ commit to energy independence,
  • ~ solve the illegal immigration problem,
  • ~ figure out a free enterprise solution to the health insurance mess…

In other words, our legislators should solve our country’s problems instead of spending their time trying to demean and impeach each other for the sake of their own perceived political gain.

The US Congress has become an impediment to solving the problems of the people they are sworn to serve. It is they who have divided the country. It is they who have thrown the gauntlet and created the duel between the branches of government. It is they and their political agendas that have stymied progress in so many areas. It is they who are wasting our money and making the business of paying taxes – taxing.

The behavior of the US Congress is unethical and immoral. I’m not talking about the few who stashed money in their freezers or took lobbyist money and got caught or behaved badly in some airport. I’m talking about the entire US Congress that is stealing from America and putting America at risk by ignoring the people’s business in favor of partisan infighting and personal aggrandizement.

We can rant about the Collective of Clods on Capitol Hill and hope our words sting some enough to create the substantive change America needs. We can’t create that change.

We can individually create the changes in our personal money practices that allow us to maintain peace of mind about our money regardless of the shenanigans of the Weak-Backed Wimps in Washington. I encourage you to discover how –> www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

_______________________________________________

Eliot Spitzer, soon-to-be former governor of New York, spent most of his recent professional career tilting against windmills on Wall Street and chasing the operatives of organized crime. He won a few battles and gained power in the process. Money wasn’t an issue for this privileged man who is heir to a $500 million estate. The money allowed the public man to erect a facade of rectitude while the private man supported criminal institutions - his real crime – by spending tens of thousands of dollars – perhaps even some of the people’s dollars – on high priced prostitutes.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” The historian and moralist, John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902), who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887. Eliot Spitzer could be the poster child for Lord Acton’s assertion.

There is a lesson we can learn about our own money from Spitzer’s downfall. I don’t buy the claim that this is “a personal matter”, which implies that it affects only the person who abused. When money is misapplied – as was the case here – it demonstrates disrespect for spouse, children, co-workers, the law and lawmakers, bureaucrats and enforcement personnel, and the people – that’s you. That’s far from “personal.”

It is important to respect money just as we respect other property and persons. When we misapply our money  we adversely affect others. We create dependency on others, which deprives them of resources. We create a downward financial spiral. Following the Debt Paradigm is a form of disrespect of money. It creates a facade of concern about self and family but is really self indulgence, fired by basic human tendencies and desires. But, just as Spitzer deluded himself into believing that he could evade reality, that his behavior was just a “personal matter,” so we delude ourselves about spending practices that incur debt and that serve the aims of Behemoths instead of ours and those of our families.

Money for Life…in good times and bad is a book about money and – tangentially – about morality. It deals with ways to respect yourself, your family, your life and your money with the certitude that such respect requires and reinforces ethical behavior. Take a look at the Table of Contents for the book at www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com and see if there isn’t the glimmer of and idea there that might be of interest to you.

See http://themoneyforlifebook.wordpress.com/about-money-for-lifein-good-times-and-bad/

_______________________________________

PS – Pointing at the ethical and moral failures of others is risky business since no one – excepting a few saints – is free of failure or perfect in execution. I have made my share of mistakes in life as have most. I use Eliot Spitzer’s failures as the example instead of my own because his high office and visibility add drama and credibility to the point being made that an obscure financial writer and guide cannot equal.

________________________________________

PPS – I believe passionately that people who follow the practices described in Money for Life…in good times and bad will reap benefits that diffuse throughout their lives and will create abundance for them, their families and their heirs. — www.TheMoneyForLifeBook.com

________________________________________

America’s Security at Risk…

The National Debt…

Can you say trillions? A trillion is one thousand billions.  A billion is one thousand millions.

The true national debt at the time of this writing is fifty-five trillions; that’s 55,000 billions or 55 million millions.  That means America will pay China, the Oil States, and others not so friendly to the US $3.5 trillion in interest alone–not counting what we pay to buy their products and oil!

American’s misuse of credit looms as the single largest threat to our economy and therefore to our security, for it is our economy and the freedoms upon which it is founded that draws the world to us.

Shock yourself.  Visit http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Our Personal Debt…

While it is the nation’s economy that keeps America secure, it is our industry as individuals that keeps America’s economy strong.  Over the past forty years Washington and Wall Street have used Madison Avenue advertising to mislead Americans into unmanageable debt.  Take away the incentive to work by overpowering an individual with debt – particularly unsecured credit card debt – and you have the likelihood that such a person will give up and give in.

It’s time for every individual American family to address the Debt Paradigm.

Credit card debt is huge.

Here are a few statistics from early 2011…

  • Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $14,750*

  • 609.8 million credit cards held by U.S. consumers. (Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)

  • Average number of credit cards held by cardholders: 3.5, as of yearend 2008 (Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)

  • Average APR on new credit card offer: 14.73 percent (Source: CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report, Feb. 9, 2011.)

  • Average APR on credit card with a balance on it: 13.67 percent, as of November 2010 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, November 2010)

  • Total U.S. revolving debt (98 percent of which is made up of credit card debt): $796.5 billion, as of November 2010 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, March 2010)

  • Total U.S. consumer debt: $2.40 trillion, as of June 2010 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, November 2010)

  • U.S. credit card 60-day delinquency rate: 3.23 percent. (Source: Fitch Ratings, January 2011)

  • Read more: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-card-industry-facts-personal-debt-statistics-1276.php#ixzz1H9tdTWho (You need to scroll down to bypass the offers.)

    Too Late To Wait…

    American families must rein in the use of credit or embrace the reality that other nations–some not so friendly to us–will soon be in a position to deny us the American Dream and dictate how we live our lives.  It’s not enough to blame the Congress and the President–although they certainly deserve it.

    Every American needs to discard the conventional wisdom of the failed Debt Paradigm and re-awaken to the economic principles and financial practices that the Founders and Builders of America paid forward to us in the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and works like Benjamin Franklin’s The Way to Wealth.

    Until common sense about financial management returns to the psyche and the front-of-mind of everyday Americans, we will continue to send Debt Paradigm Dupes to DC; stimulus laws that only stimulate  bigger unions and bigger government; budget cuts that are cosmetic at best; bridges to nowhere built with money America doesn’t have–all, at our own peril.

    Health, Abundance, Love and Light