Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy. ~Groucho Marx
Tapped out and discouraged?
A study published in 2013 by the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows a record 28% of the respondents indicating that they have little to no confidence in ever being able to retire.
Job insecurity, inflation, tax increases, and continued high levels of debt are just a few of the legitimate concerns that keep Americans from saving for the second half of their lives.
Another contributing factor is that the same money strategies that might have worked, albeit often in a hit-and-miss fashion, in the past, simply aren’t viable in this new age of economic flux. The evidence of this failure is hard to ignore- it’s literally all around us.
I’d like to suggest that it’s time to move on from conventional financial advice that has not served you well in the last few years and acquire a more contrarian approach to protecting and growing your wealth.
If you’re like most people, you’ve been content to let your CPA, financial advisor, banker, or broker handle the details of your financial future, relying on your monthly statements or an occasional phone call from the agent.
Maybe you’ve augmented that with some iffy advice from one of the financial entertainment television shows or a newspaper column or two.
I am going to be so bold as to suggest that you need to change your money habits now, or risk being unprepared for what lies ahead.
In the future, I believe that you’ll find that more and more of life’s big decisions; decisions about everything from how to protect your cash to how to handle your health care will land squarely in your lap. You need to be prepared to take a more informed and proactive role in those decisions.
Is what you’ve “always done” working out as you expected? Are you where you want to be in life right now? Are you satisfied that you have done all you can do to ensure that you and your family have the best possible futures?
If the answer is “no” to any of those questions, then you must consider what I am about to tell you very carefully. It might run contrary to everything you think you know about money, but it might also be just what you need to hear in order to avoid making mistakes with your money from which you can never recover.
Myth Connections: How What You Thought You Knew About Money Is All Wrong
In an attempt to wring one last breath of truth out of a very tired cliché, I would like to propose that you think about building your house on a solid foundation.
I know, I know. You’ve heard it before: at church, from a relative, maybe even in school or at work.
However, truth is truth and there is no way to deny the power of a solid foundation for your financial future.
I work with a diverse client base with people in many different phases of building their own personal economies.
Yet, even if I am dealing with my richest, most money-savvy clients, I always have them begin with a stable, secure mechanism for managing cash flow.
For me, using specially-designed, “turbo-charged” life insurance policies is the ultimate way to achieve steady growth while staving off the erosive forces that destroy wealth.
Having such as means of securing cash in place ensures that, should a client decide they want to take advantage of real investment opportunities, they can do so with greater peace of mind.
I’m often asked why, if my methodology is so effective and so much safer than exposing one’s nest egg to banks and Wall Street, that more people aren’t taking advantage of it.
The biggest barrier, I think, is the lack of financial education in our country. Most Americans aren’t told the truth about money, especially when they are young.
We aren’t made aware that money is organic, that it is susceptible to erosion from forces over which we exercise little to no control.
They don’t call it a “nest rock,” but rather a “nest egg.”
Imagine you had a big box of rocks. You take those rocks to a secret location, bury them, and then return years later to collect them.
What would you find when you opened that box? Rocks- still in the same condition as when you left them.
If, on the other hand, you buried a box of eggs and then, ten years later, you went to retrieve them, what would you have?
Reeking globs of organic matter that barely resembles the original eggs!
The reason for that transformation, of course, is that outside forces, such as heat, rain, and the chemical makeup of the eggs themselves, have combined to transform them into something else; something that we’ll never be able to use.
After all, there’s a reason eggs have expiration dates stamped on the carton.
Money, too, has its’ version of an expiration date.
While you don’t actually see it printed on currency or advertised on the news, the idea that money expires becomes apparent when we don’t make good money choices; when opportunities are lost or the high price of financial ignorance, what I call the “dumb tax” must be paid.
Money only stays fresh so long. You have a limited window of opportunity after it is earned to put into place sound strategies that will help it grow safely, without exposure to risk, unnecessary taxes, and other erosive elements.
That’s why getting a good financial education is one of the best things you can do to protect your future.
In the United States (and probably elsewhere as well) people certainly aren’t given much direction as to what to do with money- how to grow in a safe, steady, and sane manner.
The results of this lack of education become apparent later in life when we are earning our own money and making our own financial decisions. This is the time when we fall prey to what I call “whizzdumb”- information doled out by our friends, family, and the financial entertainment industry that isn’t very wise at all.
We also watch television programs and read books that tell us things like “no pain- no gains.” “You have to put all your money on Wall Street to get ahead.” We learn that permanent life insurance is bad and that we should always “buy term and invest the difference.” Slick marketing campaigns have many convinced that they must always court risk to make gains, and turn to our friends the bankers when we need a loan or a safe place to put our cash.
There are dozens and dozens of money myths which I could debunk. Due to space limitations, however, I want to focus on just a couple of the most persistent and pernicious of those myths.
1. All you need to retire is to fully-funded your 401 K
When the current economic crisis hit, millions of ordinary Americans saw their “safe and secure” 401 K accounts losing hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars.
Unfortunately, a lot of those people were at or near retirement and had little time to recoup that lost money.
Those same people also discovered another dirty secret:
Many 401 K plans contain hidden, but very costly fees that some financial advisors fail to take into account when designing plans for their clients.
If you are one of the rare people who actually read your monthly statement, the fees may not seem significant enough to cause worry.
However, just 1% in excessive fees can hurt you… big time!
To further compound the problem, there are many plans where the fee is charged based on a percentage of your balance. This means that becoming a diligent saver actually HURTS you.
What if there was something you could do to help you avoid paying unnecessary fees and help you get back some of the thousands of dollars you’ve been giving away simply because you don’t know the alternatives?
Would knowing this information help you reach your goal of having a safe, prosperous retirement?
I believe it WOULD…
That’s why I sponsor webinars and workshops to educate ordinary people on how they can become their own sources of financing for major purchases, business expansion, college tuition, etc.
Using a simple, but effective system, you can accumulate wealth more quickly and safely than you ever thought possible, and accelerate the process of getting out of debt.
Bad advice and myths share something in common: when either of them is repeated often enough and by the right people, they become so ingrained in a culture that anyone challenging them is seen as a virtual heretic.
In the world of personal finance, as in other areas of life, myths can do a lot of damage, causing people to make decisions that, given the right information, they would never ordinarily choose to make.
Another one of the most common, and in my opinion, worse pieces of financial advice I have heard over the years is the venerable and oft-repeated mantra:
2. “Buy term life insurance and invest the difference”
You’ve heard it on TV from those talking head financial gurus.
Or maybe it was your mom or dad, looking stern and waggling a finger in your direction as they repeated it to you.
Your significant other swears that “Warren Buffett does it this way.”
Your hair stylist, auto mechanic, the guy down at the grocery store, are all true believers in the idea that buying term and investing on Wall Street is the way to achieve financial security.
“Buy term insurance and invest the difference” sounds logical, doesn’t it?
However, when you dig a little deeper, there are issues which “buy term and invest the difference” doesn’t address.
1. Most of the term policies advocated by financial “experts” do not increase the death benefit level during the policy term. This means there is no remedy for inflation. (and I believe that inflation is bound to be much higher in the future!). Bestselling author (Bank on Yourself) Pamela Yellen did the math and she figured it out:: A $250,000 20 year term policy, adjusted for 4% inflation, will have lost 56% of its’ value! Even policies which include an “increasing benefits rider” may not increase at a rate that will overcome the erosive effects of inflation.
2. What if you lose your health during your insurance term? Some term policies are written so that if your health deteriorates during the policy term- your renewal rates increase. If you don’t renew and try to seek coverage elsewhere, you might discover that you are uninsurable- at ANY price.
3. You can invest the difference easily enough, but you can’t “time the market” or accurately predict how much money will be in your account when it comes time to retire. No one can possibly know the future, which, according to best-selling author Barry Dyke (Pirates of Manhattan) is one reason that Wall Street investing is so risky and usually ends up losing you money. With the types of accounts I design for my clients, they always know exactly how much they have at any given time, which is absolutely crucial to planning one’s financial future accurately. My clients don’t have to worry about timing the ups and downs of the stock market and they have access to their money, when they need it.
4. “Buy term and invest the difference” advocates usually know nothing about the specially-designed whole life policies I use to structure my financial plans. The reason for this is that these policies are only written by a few select companies and have special provisions which are unlike those of traditional whole life. insurance policies. Any advisor who assists his or her clients with this type of specialized policy must have thorough training and must also be willing to forego the usual high commissions on whole life in order to make the plan work for their clients. Thus. policies used in building your own personal bank are far beyond regular whole life policies in both complexity and purpose.
5. Most financial gurus fail to factor in the tremendous amount of money saved on interest and fees that results from implementing this type of plan. By financing your large purchases (ex: your car) yourself, you avoid having to pay thousands of dollars in interest and fees. (my clients LOVE this!)
Now, just for the record…
I believe that everyone who can afford to do so should have as much life insurance as possible.
Term IS a great way to get more coverage for less money and if you can get term- you should have it.
However, the primary reason for getting one of the specially-designed whole life policies has little to do with the death benefit.
Instead, the idea behind these policies is to provide you with a savings and cash management vehicle that gives you growth, stability, and safety in sharp contrast to the ups and downs of the stock market.
Also, you will be able to pay YOURSELF the interest you used to pay when you borrowed from banks or loan companies, enabling your account to grow at a much faster rate than ordinary whole life…
The permanent insurance you also get is just icing on the cake…
You can find out more about how to avoid paying too much money to banks and finance companies.
There are lots more financial myths that threaten your savings. Do your own research and take action. You can start by getting my free report and other valuable financial planning information now. Just visit our website and fill in the form to request your financial education materials.