Are You Ready For Financial Change?

The financial marketplace is always changing and it will always continue to change. The choices, products, rates, and situations you face now will soon be different. What will you do?

Those changes can come from any direction. They can come from Washington, where new policies, laws and regulations change the way lenders and borrowers do business. They can come from Wall Street, where big institutional investors can determine which products banks keep and which ones they abandon. The changes can come from your own neighborhood, where local rules, regulations, and consumer demand can create or kill the market for particular products. And they can come from your own home, where a job change, a wedding, a leaking roof or a new family rom can change your financial needs.

The most important lesson is this: Stay informed. Be nimble. Don’t assume that what worked last year will work now. Review your situation – and the financial marketplace – regularly. Consider yourself a lifetime user of credit tools, always on the watch for the next money saving product or strategy. Build your financial literacy and become as wise in personal finance as you can.

While the marketplace will always change, certain financial truths remain eternal. Here are the principles and financial guidance that I think you should always remember as you continue to revise and improve your finances.

  • There are no dumb money questions. Ask away until you know what you are getting into.
  • The devil is in the details. Read all of your terms and agreements carefully. If a company is going to try and hide something it’s going to be in small print.
  • Follow the money. Whenever financial experts are being compensated to sell you a product they are not on your side.
  • Pay off costliest debt first. The best way to get debt free is to make extra payments on your most expensive debts first.
  • Borrow for appreciating assets, not depreciating ones. If you can afford the payments, it’s still worth borrowing to buy a home, build a business, or get a college education because those items will eventually earn money for you.
  • Don’t lie to yourself about money. You need to be clear about the situation before you can correct it and improve.
  • The bottom line is the one to watch. The true cost of debt is complex and not just the interest rate. Calculate the total cost of debt, over time, including fees, penalties, interest and opportunities lost or gained when analyzing a loan.

Don’t allow anyone – especially yourself – to make you feel bad about your financial circumstances. So many good, smart and hardworking people have gotten into money troubles that were not of their own making. Even if you have made mistakes, (and who hasn’t at one time or another?) don’t beat yourself up. Just fix them and move on.

As a personal finance expert, I advise keeping your finances flexible enough to respond to the ever-changing environment and hold these principals firm. You don’t have to do everything at once, just resolve to do a little at a time. If you approach your financial future with the right attitude, you’ll succeed and thrive.

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  • "On behalf of all of us at Organon, I want to thank you for participating in the Experts in Reproductive Medicine Meeting. Your financial planning sessions were so informative. We received wonderful feedback and a great interest in learning more about business finance as well. I know that there were quite a few physicians you were able to spend time with throughout the weekend. Many of them conveyed their appreciation for all of the help and advice you extended them. We are so appreciative and cannot thank you enough for such a great job!"

    Cathy R. Termini

    R.PH Organon Inc.

  • "Where do I begin? You were excellent at the OSC Power Meeting XXIV recently held in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The speaker evaluations proved that you were a huge hit with our members. QSC members are much better off, both personally and professionally, for having attended your program. I might add that we have never had as many requests for the recording of a presentation as we have with yours. Don’t ever hesitate to have any prospective clients contact me as a reference. Thank you again for such a positive experience."

    Charles E. Wallace, III

    Executive Director/Quality Service Contractors

  • "There is always an exception to every rule and your recent seminar to our JWT employees provided that. Generally, I believe you get what you pay for and since we didn’t pay you anything for your recent talk one might not expect the reaction we got. Instead, I have been besieged with compliments about arranging for you to speak. Our employees felt more informed and financially empowered as a result of your discussion with them. I enjoyed meeting you and will be pleased to know the face behind the column that I read in every issue of Money Magazine."

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    Executive VP/General Manager/J. Walter Thompson

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    Kathleen M. Stanley

    Executive Director/Water Systems Council

  • "The crowd was small, but the quality of your presentation was superb, addressing precisely the areas which I had hoped you would cover. It obviously had a high-interest impact upon the participants. And – it is the kind of expert contribution which makes for a successful meeting. Thank you immensely! And – thank you again for joining us at the Club!"

    Lewis O. Kerwood

    National Society for Real Estate Finance

  • "On behalf of the Take Charge America Institute, the University of Arizona Students in Free Enterprise and their Credit Wise Cats team, I would like to extend my appreciation for your wonderful keynote address last week. Our three-day symposium, “Money Talks, Think you Know? Think Again!” was a great success, largely due to the relevance of your opening statements."

    Marica Klipsch

    Education Coordinator/University of Arizona

  • "Your presentation certainly contributed to the overall success of the event. I sat in on your presentation, “Earning Fast Profits in Hard Times”, and found your presentation to be insightful, educational and thought-provoking and the topic was certainly timely. My opinion of your presentation was confirmed by feedback I received from event attendees. It was a pleasure to have you at our event and it is without reservation that I would recommend your presentation skills to anyone interested in having you speak. I look forward to working with you again."

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    VP/Director of Business Development Pensco Trust Company

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    Seattle Study Club For Dentists

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    Meeting Planner for Genentech Corporation

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    Supplier Diversity Officer/Amgen

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