Month: November 2016

How To Tearing Down A Ponzi Scheme

In Miles Away Worlds Apart, Alan Sakowitz does an excellent job in putting a face to the terrible and unbelievable financial exploits of Scott Rothstein, who was running a larger than life ponzi scheme in Florida.

Mr. Sakowitz give a very detailed account of his role in bringing down a well respected man in the community. As his story unfolds we follow him as he battles his own demons and decides to do the right thing and help the authorities bring this horrible man to justice.

The author shares how in by bringing this scheme to the public’s attention, he faced challenges and danger in his own personal life. But while dealing with all that was going on, he was reminded that there are still good people out there willing to help and stand beside someone who is doing the right thing.

This book reads like a work of fiction, and ranks among authors like John Grisham, in bringing a world of intrigue and deceit to life. It is all the more relevant now that we are in the financial crisis we are currently experiencing. I wouldn’t have thought that it was possible to continue in pulling these horrible ponzi schemes after what we have witnessed recently, but this book proves that there are still people out there living like kings by taking money from people who can hardly afford to lose it.

I think that anyone who is involved in the business of finance should be required to read this story of how one brave man had the strength and morals to fight this fight. I commend him and respect his commitment to do the right thing.

All About Economic Wisdom

With the economic uncertainties in the world today, should America return to the gold standard? This controversial topic is the driving theme behind author Edmund Contoski’s book The Impending Monetary Revolution, The Dollar and Gold. Edmund, who has 45 years of experience in international markets and has conducted investment seminars in precious metals and foreign currencies, argues that “American politicians have debauched the currency for agendas contrary to our Constitution and to get themselves elected.” Whether you believe America should go back to the gold standard or not, most people would agree with the author’s statement that “governments are on the verge of bankruptcy because there is no restraint-which a gold standard would provide-on their spending and manipulation of credit.” Edmund Contoski has, with his book, made a topic I would ordinarily find dull and dry-namely, economics-one which is fascinating and interesting.

What are some of the points the author brings up to support his argument that the United States and the world should base the stability of their currency on their gold reserves? What’s happened to Greece is one of the best examples that the media and economists use to illustrate the worst that can befall a country which spends beyond its means and borrows to make up the difference. The U.S. has not yet suffered the same types of dire problems, but that’s because of the dollar’s status as a world reserve currency. This means it can pay its debts by simply printing more of its own money. However, even the U.S. cannot keep printing its own money forever without eventually its currency becoming devalued-it’s actually happening even now, to a degree.

Contoski writes in his very perceptive persuasive book how the world’s economic crisis began, how money was developed and how countries have ‘perverted” it, what the “credit bubble” is, how and why the euro arose, what some of the threats are to the world’s banking system, and much, much more, including the rise of China and India as major economic powers.

What can be done, if anything, about the growing debt that we’re imposing on our children and grandchildren? What will the dollar be worth in five or ten years? Why has the economy stagnated, and why is unemployment as high as it is? How will euro problems affect the U.S.? Why does the national debt keep increasing? These are other questions the author seeks to answer in his well-researched book.

One great aspect about the book is that Contoski tries to explain economic concepts and how they affect the average person in layman’s terms as much as possible. For instance, when Contoski refers to something called “yuan-trading hubs,” and why many countries would like to become offshore yuan-trading hubs, though only Hong Kong is one now. China, according to the author, “has been rapidly diversifying its reserves and getting out of dollars.” To you and I, this means that China is trying to supplant the dollar with the yuan as the new world reserve currency. China “believes its turn has arrived for world leadership and the United States is in decline.” Sadly, there are many indications that point to the possibility that China might be correct in thinking this, though if the U.S. undertakes certain actions, they might still retain their status as the world’s economic powerhouse.

 

When Football Meet Finance

What do you think would happen if most people spent as much time planning their retirement and investments each year as they spend watching football? I suspect we would all have a lot more money, be better prepared for retirement, and maybe even be able to afford tickets to the Super Bowl every year.

Steve Roberts, with nearly twenty years of experience in the financial industry, knows that most people – including himself – would rather play or watch football than the stock market. After all, Steve himself was a three – sport letterman in high school, lettering in football, basketball, and baseball. He was a member of Ricks Junior College football team, and today he coaches youth football. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t value financial planning and realize its importance. What it does mean is he had the brilliant idea to write a book about financial planning using football metaphors to make the topic not only more interesting but easier to understand for his many readers.

Steve breaks down his new book, “Football Financial Planning,” into three sections: Defense; Offense; and Coaches, Special Teams, and Systems. Then in each section, he discusses a valuable asset for your retirement or investing portfolio, and he compares that investment to a player in football. For example, he compares auto insurance to a defensive tackle and universal life insurance to an outside linebacker – these are players on your defense because you need them to protect your assets. Players on your offense include the center (your checking account), a right tackle (fixed annuity), and a tight end (bonds). Steve realizes that you may not always need every player on your team, but he walks you through the benefits as well as disadvantages of each player so you can decide whom you do want on your team and how you can use those players to create the best possible game plan for yourself.

I’ve read several financial planning books in the past, and they all are helpful in various ways. What makes Football Financial Planning stand out is not only that the football metaphor is fun, but that the way Steve breaks down the team makes each player or financial tool very easy to understand; because each player/investment product is a chapter by itself, the book is also accessible for referring back to and finding specific items later.

Steve makes the discussion easy to follow, and he really made me think about the different financial options out there and why certain ones would be great assets to have on my team while others would not. In the end, he reminds us that each of us is the team owner and even the quarterback of our own team, so we have to make the decisions on the plays.

As an added bonus, Steve provides play charts for avid football fans so they can see how their financial offense or defense adds up. At the end of each chapter, he also provides a short chart or worksheet for the reader to fill out, asking questions about things such as insurance deductibles, projected cash value, or income so people can write all their information down and keep it in one easy to find and remember location, as well as evaluate the different possibilities that exist for their financial game plan.

In the end, Steve’s entire system boils down to determining what system or philosophy works best for you because no one team will work for everyone. Steve highlights this point with the following story:

“To win a game (score big in your investments), it is very important to have a system (philosophy) that matches your quarterback’s abilities and talents. One university that has produced many great college quarterbacks is Brigham Young University (BYU); however, not all of BYU’s great quarterbacks have had success in the NFL. I once heard BYU’s former coach, Lavell Edwards, say that he believes Marc Wilson, one of his great quarterbacks, would have been more successful in the NFL if he had played in a different system. The point here is you need to make sure the system and philosophy your coaches implement matches your needs and abilities. There are systems out there that others are pushing and selling that work for most people, and they may work for you, but they may not be the best fit for you. Some examples of systems that people may be pushing are to buy an outside linebacker term life insurance and invest the rest in mutual fund running backs. This person’s system may also include telling you never to buy a variable annuity. Every person’s situation is different, so everyone else’s team may look a little different than yours; the important thing is to find the system and coaches that work for you.”

Whether you love football or you just want to get clear about your financial situation and be prepared to score a touchdown to win the game when it’s time to retire, Football Financial Planning can give you the tools you need now to create the investing system that works for you. Then, when the game is over, you will have a great nest egg to last you for the rest of your life.