Friday, May 12, 2017

Colleges Risk Losing Alumni Funds

There was a sad showing at Bethune-Cookman University the other day in Daytona Beach, Florida. At the graduation ceremony, a bunch of students were rude and got up and turned their back on the speaker, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The President of the university quickly realized the problem with this and told the students that they risked not having the ceremony go any further.

These snowflakes, as they are commonly called, have no clue about the real world. They do not realize that alumni of that university do not want to see that kind of shenanigans go on, but would rather see a proud and respectful group of graduates.

I am personally graduating from college tomorrow at the age of 60 and I can tell you that as a soon-to-be alumni, there is no way on God's green earth that would I give a nickel to a university that had students act this way. These Bethune-Cookman snowflakes do not realize how those actions harm their proud university. Fund raising efforts, for a mainly black university no less, where it is already difficult to raise funds, is going to find that their alumni donations will stall.

In addition, if I am an employer and a Bethune-Cookman grad's resume comes across my desk, I am going to remember this event and wonder whether or not the person who is applying is going to be one of those snowflakes. The easy decision is to not hire anyone who recently graduated from Bethune-Cookman. Do you think these snowflakes ever think about things like this, before they showed their backside to Secretary DeVos? Of course not. They obviously have no clue about the real world, or the consequences of their decisions.

Before you decide to oppose everything Trump, you just might want to think about it a little bit longer. You are probably doing a whole lot more harm than you can ever imagine. Community organizers are just using you to promote their personal political agenda. They do not care about you or your success in life.

Kudos go to the President of Bethune-Cookman for recognizing immediately the error of the snowflakes ways.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Holding Pattern

Not much has changed lately. Everyone wants to see some action out of Congress. Normally, they can get away with doing nothing, but not this time. As my dad used to say, "It's time to chin the pole". In other words, get it done. I am optimistic that things will work out. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Future of Financial Planning

Imagine a future, if you will, where you can hire a CFP® professional to prepare a Goals Based Financial Plan for you. Where your identity is protected. Where you do not have to give the CFP® professional your Social Security number. Where you do not have to disclose any of your account numbers. Where you are totally protected from a Ponzi scheme.

It is kind of hard to imagine, isn't it? The reason it is hard to imagine is because you have been trained to hand over you Social Security number, make copies of all your account statements and blindly hand them over to a financial advisor so they can give you a free financial plan. You as the client hope that:

  1. That you can trust the financial advisor.
  2. They will not charge you too much in assets-under-management fees.
  3. They will not sell you too many products that pay a commission.
  4. They will not stick you in products with no liquidity.
  5. They will act as a fiduciary.
  6. And, they will not steal your money.
All that just to get a free financial plan.

Why do you think financial advisors want to see all of your accounts? The more money you have, the more it benefits the financial advisor. Further, your financial advisor may be slanted towards selling you products that pay him or her commissions, too. Of course, do not forget that you have to transfer some, if not all, of your accounts in order to get this free financial plan.

Think about this business model for a moment. Step outside of the box that we have all been taught for years and years. Broker-dealers want you to move your accounts to their firm. Financial Advisors want you to move your accounts to their firm. Insurance agents want you to move your accounts to their firm. The reason? They all want to make money from your money. This is their primary goal. Either they want to charge you an assets-under-management fee, or sell you products that pay commissions. It is all about generating revenue from you. Sure you get that free financial plan, but what is the real cost of it?

What if there was a better way? Thankfully, now there is.

At our firm, we can provide you with a Goals Based Financial Plan and we do not need your accounts. We do not need your account numbers. We do not even need your Social Security numbers. Why? Because, we are not making you move any accounts to our firm. We are not selling you any products, nor charging you any assets-under-management fees.

How is this possible? With technology. Technology that allows you to authorize us to design our Goals Based Financial Plan by sending us only what we need to design it for you. For example, when you authorize us to see your IRA or 401k for example, we only see the holdings, ticker symbols and values. We do not see your account numbers or Social Security numbers. You simply log in, create your own password, and then authorize the accounts that you want us to see in order to design your Goals Based Financial Plan. This whole process takes less than two minutes. The only thing you do is name the accounts for us, so we know what it is, like an IRA or 401k, for example. If your situation changes, like you inherit some money, then all you have to do is hit "sync" and let us know that you need an updated Goals Based Financial Plan.

Imagine the old way that most financial advisors operate under today. They commit you to the time consuming and tedious process of gathering all your information. You may not even be fully sure if you trust them yet. After all, you are handing over your Social Security and account numbers, are you not? The old ways of financial advisors have not even proven themselves to you at this point. Again, thinking outside the box, is this a good way to do business? We do not think so.

With our firm, a couple of clicks, name your accounts such as joint account, IRA, Roth or 401k, and then you are done. We can get to work right away.

Here are the pluses of our model:

  1. We act as a fiduciary.
  2. We can give you investment recommendations on the investments in each of your accounts.
  3. We design a thoughtful Goals Based Financial Plan for you.
  4. We do not need your account numbers.
  5. We do not need your Social Security numbers.
Of course, we do need your goals. Think about this fact. We have essentially removed every conceivable conflict of interest from our Goals Based Financial Planning service. If we think your Roth account is not properly diversified for example, we will give you advice on how to properly diversify it. We are not going to try and get you to move your Roth into an annuity, or an assets-under-management account. Where is the conflict of interest? There is none. Imagine it. Pure advice without any hidden agendas. Isn't this what you wanted in the first place?

I know what you are thinking. How do we get paid? It is simple. We charge a flat fee retainer of $1,200 per year to design a Goals Based Financial Plan that can be updated on the fly as your situation changes. We will even let you pay us semi-annually, quarterly or monthly. We can bill you via Square® or Quickbooks® which allows a draft from your bank account or a debit/credit card.

The only caveats are that we are doing a pilot program in Florida only right now. We will expand it to other states in the future.

Hopefully, this sounds intriguing and you will agree with this outside the box thinking. If you want to get started, then call me, Rick Johnson at 904-547-2913.