The Greatest Success in the World by Og Mandino

Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:   The Greatest Success in the World by Og Mandino

Synopsis of Content: 

This is a story within a story. Although it is written in a religious context it should not be rejected as a religious tract. It is much more than that.  The narrative is a fictitious account of Zacchaeus at the time of Jesus. Zacchaeus is mentioned in the Book of Luke of the New Testament as a tax collector who climbed a tree to glimpse Jesus as he entered Jericho. According to the biblical story Jesus spends the evening having dinner with Zacchaeus and discusses salvation.

In Mandino’s version of the story Zacchaeus is a small crippled man born in poverty and great disadvantage due to his deformities. Despite his being ill-treated and living in poverty as a child he learns to be successful – so successful that he becomes the richest man in Jericho. He is charitable and well-liked by the people, especially the less fortunate he helps. The story is narrated by his good friend and bookkeeper, Joseph. Zacchaeus teaches Joseph and others the secrets to success through example and through lessons. In time he is asked to teach the people these lessons more formally and he has them written on the wall that surrounds the city.

The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, does not like Zacchaeus’ popularity and forces him to become a tax collector or publican because he knows the people hate tax collectors. Zacchaeus does not want this job but has no real choice but to do it, and he does it with fairness and kindness as he does all his work. It is then that he meets the preacher Jesus and experiences a personal transformation.

Mandino was a devout Christian and wanted to present this story in the context of his religious beliefs and especially in the context of this encounter between Zacchaeus and Jesus. Within this story however he conveys the secrets to success that Zacchaeus taught to others. In the end Zacchaeus follows Jesus’ teaching and gives away all his wealth and resigns as tax collector. Yet Mandino never really reconciles the two great lessons of the book: the lessons of financial success that Zacchaeus taught and the ultimate lesson Zacchaeus learns leading him to renounce the wealth and the financial success.

The “ten commandments of success” that Zacchaeus lays out are familiar to anyone who has read about success. They are very similar to the lessons written about in the Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason. That book is also a fictitious story set in ancient times.

If you are Christian you may find the story inspirational on a spiritual level. If you are not Christian you will still benefit from the story – it inspires in ways beyond Christian doctrine. It is a short book, just 96 pages in paperback, but well worth reading.

What I found useful about this book:

The classic “commandments” of success are classics. They align with most of the great writing on personal success both before and after this book was published in 1981. For anyone interested in personal success they are very useful.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is well written and easy to follow. It is a story and well written stories are always easy to follow.

Notes on Author:  

Og Mandino flew in a bomber plane during WWII and went on to be a successful salesman, author and lecturer. In fact he became a hugely successful writer and speaker on success and sales.

Other Books by This Author:

Mandino wrote a number of books the most famous being The Greatest Salesman in the World.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:  

  1. Through application of the principles that lead to success even the most disadvantaged person can overcome obstacles and attain success. Those principles include hard work, patience, the need to plan, the need to save in good times for hard times, the power of persistence, the need for action to execute plans, avoid wasting time and mental energy worrying about the past or future, avoid hording possessions, and striving to be yourself.
  2. We need others to succeed and it is therefore critical to treat others fairly and well.
  3. While achieving material success is important one must also pay attention to one’s spiritual needs.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: The Greatest Success in the World by Og Mandino
Copyright holder: 1981 by Og Mandino
Publisher: Bantam Books

This review was published first on 11.06.15 as the November 2015 Book of the Month

You can buy the book here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Financial Tips for Disabled Persons

CPA Brittany Fisher sent me some websites that provide information which might be helpful for disabled persons. I have not independently verified the reliability of these sites so I suggest if you see information on them you verify the information from other sources. The sites do appear to be legitimate. I always suggest that you not rely on any one source of information for something as important as your finances. However you may find some useful information here, and some of this information is useful for persons who are not disabled.

Money Management for People with Disabilities
https://www.disabilityadvisor.com/money-management-for-people-with-disabilities/

Securing a Home Mortgage Loan with a Disability
https://www.mortgagecalculator.biz/resources/disabilities.php

Earned Income Tax Credit: Know if You Qualify
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/can-you-take-earned-income-tax-credit/

Grants for Home Modification: 16 Resources for Homeowners with Disabilities
http://www.homeadvisor.com/r/grants-for-home-modification/

VA Loan Grants and Waivers for Disabled Veterans
http://www.military.com/money/va-loans/va-loan-grants-and-waivers-for-disabled-veterans.html

A Guide for Disabled Homebuyers
https://www.redfin.com/blog/guide-for-disabled-home-buyers

A Special Needs Trust Provides for Disabled
http://www.bankrate.com/retirement/a-special-needs-trust-provides-for-disabled/

If you have questions of Ms Fisher you can contact her at brittany_fisher@financiallywell.info

Learn how to manage your money, eliminate debt and build wealth in my book, Your Financial Success.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:   The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

Synopsis of Content:

Using social media effectively to promote a business, a new book, or anything else you want to promote is an art and a collection of skills. In this book Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick provide some great and insightful tips on how to do just that.

They teach you how to optimize your social media profiles, tips on how to keep adding good content, the importance of frequent posting, the power of curation and more. There is a chapter on how to respond to comments including how not to – that is how not to be negative no matter what commenters say to you.

There are additional chapters on integrating your social media with you blog, how to socialize events and specifics on how to get the most out of Google +, Twitter and Facebook.

The book includes good examples. Both authors are masters at using social media with large followings. They teach the techniques on how to do this. No matter how you put it social media is a lot of work and their tips do not change that but they can save you time.

What I found useful about this book:

In addition to the great tips and examples the book gives detailed explanations on how to do things. You have to have some familiarity with social media to gain the most from this, it is not ideal for beginners, but anyone can benefit.

The book is available in print and electronically. It is full of hyperlinks that take you to a great deal of additional content. To get the most from the book get the electronic version.

Readability/Writing Quality:

The book is very readable. Kawasaki writes in a very informal style that is very easy to follow. It is also well organized.

Notes on Author:

Guy Kawasaki works for a company called Canva, an on line design service. He is a fellow at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He has worked for Apple and Google.

Peg Fitzpatrick is a social media strategist and director of digital media at Kreussler Inc. She has led successful social media campaigns for large corporations including Google and Virgin.

Other Books by This Author:

Kawasaki has written 13 books on various subjects.

Related Website:

http://guykawasaki.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Effective use of social media requires a well-designed strategy. It is not a hit or miss game. You have to develop your strategy and follow through with it.
  2. Social media is changing every day. To be most effective with it you have to experiment and keep abreast of the changes.
  3. To be effective in social media you must share good content and be yourself.

Publication Information:

Title and Author:  The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
Copyright holder: ©2014 by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Portfolio / Penguin.

Book of the Month: August 2015

Buy the book here:

 

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

How To Stay Out of Debt Forever

Warren Buffett on Credit Card Debt

Here is a talk by Warren Buffett on how to avoid debt. Buffett is one of the richest men in the world and is CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett recommends that you not run up credit card debt because of the high interest rate. If you cannot afford it do not buy it. He gives this advice in the first five minutes of his talk, you need not listen to the whole hour. This single simple bit of advice is invaluable. Every competent financial advisor I’ve met or whose book I’ve read gives this advice.

If you have a sound education plan borrowing for education makes sense. If you want to own your own home in most cases you will need to borrow to buy it. Until you can build up financial reserves you may need to borrow money for your first couple vehicles. Barring some emergency, it is best not to borrow any money after that. By all means avoid credit cards debt unless you can pay it off in a month or two.

The person with savings has a buffer against the unexpected and can build some personal wealth. The person in credit card debt is in a perpetual financial hole they cannot climb out of.

The key to avoiding credit card debt is not to buy what you cannot pay cash for. If you do not have money for it right now you cannot afford it. Follow that rule and it will avoid years of heartache, worry and indebtedness.

Learn how to manage your money, eliminate debt and build wealth in my book, Your Financial Success.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Book Review By Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Synopsis of Content:

The sub-title to this book describes its contents in one sense, “Underdogs, misfits, and the art of battling giants”. It may also have been called, “the limited power of the powerful”.

Despite myths like David and Goliath we most often assume that those in power and those with power will prevail over the weaker side in any contest. Gladwell tells us a number of true stories, beginning with David and Goliath that show how and why the more powerful side in a dispute or battle may often not win. He illustrates how the “weaker” party can use their perceived weakness as a strength and prevail. He shows how the abuse of power can be self-defeating.

He shows how a novice coach who knew nothing about basketball led his team to victory over better trained teams. He demonstrates how smaller class sizes in schools do not always provide better education. The theme continues with how attending the most prestigious universities may not be the best choice for students; the power, for some, of disabilities such as dyslexia; and struggles by those in the civil rights movement and during war that defeated a more powerful foe.

From these stories he argues certain principles: that there are disadvantages to advantage; and advantages to disadvantage; that challenge and difficulty can produce strength; that there are inherent limits to power; and that power itself, used in smaller doses can be more effective, but used in larger doses can backfire.

Gladwell also admits there are limits to these theories. At times the more powerful do win, perhaps in the majority of situations. But if the underdog is cunning enough and brave enough and perhaps most importantly persistent enough the underdog can often win over the more powerful foe.

The lessons offered by this book have many applications. For the parent who wants to be effective guiding children, the supervisor or manager who wants to use his authority wisely to direct employees, the government leader who wishes to mobilize support for a proposal or the person fighting the uphill battle against those with greater perceived power there are valuable lessons in this book.

The lessons here are not that the weak always prevail against the strong. In fact the author acknowledges that more often the strong prevail against the weak. His challenge to us is to redefine strong and weak. His point is that though not always, very often what we perceive as weakness can possess strength and what we perceive as strength can be weak and in those situations the weak will prevail over the strong.

What I found useful about this book:
The stories Gladwell tells us provide an engaging read that gives dimension and power to the principles he is conveying. This is not a dry book about politics or power, this is an engaging book about people and how they use, misuse and lose power over others.

Readability/Writing Quality:  
The book is very well written as with all of Gladwell’s work. The story telling makes it read much like a light novel. It is difficult to put down. He does a masterful job of linking one concept and example with another.

Notes on Author:
Malcolm Gladwell is a journalist and author. He has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 1996.

Other Books by This Author:

What the Dog Saw
The Tipping Point
Blink
Outliers

Related Website:
http://gladwell.com/david-and-goliath/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Our perception of power and weakness can be deceiving. Human interaction is complex and a “weaker” person with sufficient persistence and intelligence can often overcome or outwit a more powerful opponent.
  2. Those in power should never assume they are guaranteed to prevail because of their power. The abuse of power can delegitimize one such that one loses influence – one’s power becomes less effective.
  3. Those fighting abusive power must remember that if the persist and if they exercise flexibility and adaptability against more powerful but usually less flexible opponents they have a significant chance of attaining what they want.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Copyright holder: 2013 by Malcolm Gladwell

Publisher: Back Bay Books / Little, Brown and Company

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

What if You Do Not Have a Passion

The success gurus tell us every day on their blogs, their newsletters and their books that you must have a passion – an overriding complete and overwhelming passion for what you are doing with your life. It may be your job/career/profession/calling. It may be an avocation beyond your job. It may be a devotion to one’s children. Whatever it is it must be what motivates you and what gives you that sense of ultimate satisfaction in life.

You must, they say, have a passion.

I think not. It is wonderful if you do have a passion. It may even be better if you have one. It can also be worse. A passion can be so overwhelming and consuming that it does as much damage as good.

It is true that people often accomplish the impossible because of this all-consuming passion. It can give us a purpose in life that is intoxicating. But not everyone has such a passion. For many, perhaps most, life is about earning a living, paying the bills, making some progress and loving those we care about. For many their job is something they do to keep a roof over their heads and food on their table.

On balance I do believe that having a passion or major purpose in life is a good thing. It gives direction. It provides focus. It energizes. Properly used and controlled it can be a very wonderful thing to have. People have accomplished so much out of their passions. Edison’s passion for invention improved the world in a thousand ways. Michael Jordan’s passion for basketball made him one of the best, if not the best player ever. Steve Jobs’ passion created the most unique technology company in the world and changed all our lives with that technology.

Passion or Purpose

It is important however to acknowledge that everyone will not have such a passion. It is unique and does not visit everyone. Many people do just fine in life without such an all-consuming passion. They succeed at their work, they raise their families and they contribute to society in all sorts of positive ways. They find contentment and even happiness without an all-consuming passion and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing inadequate about that.

I suggest that what we all do need is a sense of purpose. Like many buzzwords to day “passion” is over used. Often when the word is used people really mean a purpose. Humans do not do well without a purpose in life. A purpose may also be something we are passionate about. It may evolve into a true passion.

If you do have a passion that is great. It can be very great. But not having one is not a failure. Maybe the more important question is whether you have a sense of purpose in your life. It may be to raise your children well. It may be to be a good spouse. It may be linked to your job, career or profession. Psychological research clearly shows that people are happier, more productive and healthier if they have a sense of purpose.

We are all different and what motivates us is as unique as we are. Pursuing what is important and meaningful to us may be far more important than discovering a passion in life.

A passion is a wonderful gift we can use to achieve much. We can also achieve what we truly want in life without one. We can be happy and lead a rewarding life with a sense of purpose whether or not there is a passion.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Book Review

Review By Dr Carmen Lynne

By: Ramit Sethi (2010); ISBN 978-0-7611-4748-0; Book Price: $15.95

In this book, you can find out how to start with any amount of money and become wealthy.

Be Rich

Ramit Sethi is the founder and writer of iwillteachyoutoberich.com, which hosts over 250,000 readers every month. He is a recent graduate of Stanford University and a co-founder of PBwiki, an online collaboration company. He is a New York Times Bestselling author featured on ABC News, CNN, and Wall Street Journal, etc.

Learning to be rich

Ramit Sethi presents 9 chapters to help readers to learn to be rich. He shares on optimizing credit cards (Ch. 1), beating the banks (Ch. 2), investing (Ch. 3), conscious spending (Ch. 4), saving while you sleep (Ch. 5), the myth of financial expertise (Ch. 6), picking a portfolio that will make you rich (Ch. 7), optimizing finances (Ch. 8), and more.

Enjoy learning how money works

Ramit Sethi has a fresh style aimed at resourcing readers to enjoy the process of becoming rich. He says, “Spend extravagantly on the things you love, and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t. This book isn’t about telling you to stop buying lattes. Instead, it’s about being able to actually spend more on the things you love… ”

Ramit employs points to deliver concise keys. Discussing credit cards and winning over debt, he shares, “The Six Commandments of Credit Cards… 1. Pay off your credit card regularly… 2. Get all fees waived on your card… 3. Negotiate a lower APR (annual percentage rate)… 4. Keep your cards for a long time and keep them active… ”

The teaching that Ramit presents is punctuated with helpful hints as, “Online savings accounts let you earn dramatically more interest with lower hassle.” These hints add value to readers and keep interest high!

Potent headings as, “Investing is the single most effective way to get rich” will inspire interest and engage readers.

Sethi works hard to correct false concepts, as in frugal V’s cheap. He suggests, “… we confused frugality with cheapness… Frugality isn’t about cutting your spending on everything… It’s about making your own decisions…”

The attraction of Ramit Sethi’s teaching is his intermittent focus on benefits. He relays, “Unlike other people, who worry about money (because they never learned how it works), you get to focus on the things you love.”

Get rich results

Ramit Sethi skillfully instructs readers to get rich results while maintaining an engaging presentation of ideas. For quick wealth building ideas: http://66.147.244.54/~ryanitin/jcs/page.php?28

Success Step: Describe a simple map for becoming rich (e.g. work,

innovate, save, invest… ); Follow your map!

Article Source: I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Book Review

Book of the Month for March 2015

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Paychecks and Playchecks

Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author: Paychecks and Playchecks – Retirement Solutions for Life by Tom Hegna

Synopsis of Content:

This book focuses most on the way to use life insurance, and in particular, a life insurance annuity, to provide for a more secure retirement income. However there is more to it than that.

The first four chapters outline the limitations, risks and problems with retirement planning. He points out that traditionally a retirement plan included three legs:

Social Security, a company pension, and a lifetime of savings. He then points out the problems with all three. Social Security is beset by significant problems for the long term and will almost certainly end up paying less to retirees than it has in the past.

Company pensions are disappearing quickly and some that do exist fail. Unlike our grandparents who could work for a company all their career and then depend on a pension throughout their old age this is no longer available to most people except in a very few industries and government workers. As for government workers, he points out that the pension obligations in the public sector are not adequately funded and may also end in disappointment.

Savings have suffered a number of problems. Many people have lost a lot of money due to market corrections in the late 1980s, 2000 and 2007-2008. As a result many are squeamish about equities and have moved their money to banks where they are earning virtually nothing. The other problem with savings is that since no one knows how long they will live there is no way to calculate how to pay out savings over the retirement period so that one does not either run out of money by withdrawing too much or leave too much behind.

Chapter five then offers a solution to this by advising that people use an annuity to guarantee some income for their entire retirement period. Because of the way annuities are structured they can benefit more than one person, such as paying out to a surviving spouse. And they avoid the uncertainty of the length of life by pooling that risk among millions of people.

The remainder of the book discusses Life Insurance, Long-Term Care Insurance and Estate Planning.

The book does not discuss how much an annuity will actually cost although for illustration purposes it often refers to $100,000. Obviously this would limit who can benefit.

The book does a pretty good job of analyzing the comparative strengths and weaknesses of annuities, life insurance and other investments. There is no doubt that the author, who has long been in the insurance business, is biased in favor of annuities and insurance. However he does spend some time discussing some of the risks with annuities and talks about good and bad annuities. It is about as balanced a book as one can expect to find from a cheerleader for annuities for retirement.

What I found useful about this book:

The book goes into considerable detail about the different types of annuities available, their pros and cons. It also discusses the things to watch out for, the questions one needs to ask an agent before buying and the importance of knowing something about the viability of the insurance company you buy from.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is well written and well organized. The details about annuities and different types of insurance is at times technical and might glaze over the eyes of some people who are not accustomed to this kind of financial discussion.

Notes on Author:

Tom Hegna has spent his entire career in the insurance industry, much of that with MetLife and then with New York Life where he became first vice president in 2010. He retired from New York Life in 2011 and now works full time speaking, writing and training.

Other Books by This Author:

Retirement Income Masters: Secret of the Pros

Related Website:

http://www.tomhegna.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Become aware that retirement options have changed in the 21st century. One cannot depend solely on Social Security and savings to insure a comfortable retirement. One way to augment retirement income is through the wise use of an annuity.
  1. Consider annuities as part of a risk management plan. While some are better than others they are not as a whole bad despite some bad press.
  1. Seek out a good professional who specializes in retirement planning including the use of annuities. Do your homework and if you select an annuity make sure you know as much as you can about the company.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Paychecks and Playchecks by Tom Hegna

Copyright holder: 2011-2012 by Tom Hegna

Publisher: Acanthus Publishing, Boston, MA.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Things Have Changed Dad

One of my sons reminds me frequently that things have changed. It is not the same world I grew up in, not the same world I attended college in, not the same world I built a career in. His generation faces different challenges. He suggests that many of the principles I offer are no longer relevant.

To some extent he is right of course, but in some ways, I think not.

My son got a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts with the expectation that it would qualify him for a job that paid better than minimum wage. He was quickly disappointed. He moved to a larger urban area but was still earning minimum wage. He had friends in his age group that faced a similar problem. He had been told to work hard, do well in school and you will be rewarded. He now believed that had all been a lie, or least an outdated idea. He told me that the work hard and you’ll succeed idea may have been valid when I was a young man but is no longer true.

It is painful for a father to watch his son do all the right things and then struggle with disappointing results. We all want out children to succeed. Those struggles of my son and many in his generation who came of age during a severe recession have caused me to re-evaluate my assumptions about success and the things I write about on this blog.

For some perspective I also must remember my own struggles as a young man. I graduated with a B.S. degree in liberal arts as well but back in 1976. Jimmy Carter was President and the nation was in a recession. We faced “stagflation”, a crippling combination of high inflation and a stagnate economy with high unemployment. We had recently suffered through the OPEC oil embargo, long lines at the gas station, and high fuel prices. In the summer of 1976 I found how little that four-year degree did to improve my employment prospects. I worked in a soft drink bottling plant 12 hours a day at minimum wage. Then I was a janitor. Then I worked as a dishwasher and cook.

But I had a plan. My plan all along was to use that four-year degree to get into law school and become a professional. After working for 15 months to save money to attend law school I did just that – I went to law school.  After law school, I built my own law practice from the ground up. It was a struggle. It was several years before I was earning a decent income.

My son was not impressed. Things were different now. His struggle was harder. His generation got a raw deal.

There is some truth in my son’s view. It is hard for many of today’s young people. Not since the great Depression have so many of them continued to live with parents. To be sure however many of that generation are doing well. My older son works in sales and did not even finish college. He is doing quite well.

So is my younger son right? Are the bromides of the past outdated and largely irrelevant in a changed world and a changed economy? I suggest that most of those traditional ideas about how to be successful are still valid but that many will still struggle financially despite doing the right things.

Choices

The choices we make about education, training, where we live and what career path we choose all play a large role in how well we will do. That has always been true. It was true when I was 25 and it is true now for my 25-year-old son. Choose a medically related career, engineering, sales and several other fields and success is much more likely. Young people must decide what they want to do and they must choose those careers that are in demand. A few people may carve out a niche in a field that is not in high demand and still do well, but for the majority it is critical to choose the right career. Likewise, choices about where we live, when we decide to marry and have a family also play a large role in our chances of success.

Hard Work

The willingness to work hard still provides rewards. While it is true that all hard work is not rewarded as a rule success in a globally competitive world requires hard work. Employers prefer hard workers. If someone wants to start a business of their own hard work is essential.

Integrity

Integrity is just as important today as ever. Some would say it is in short supply today though I am not sure I agree. I do see that those who are honest and have high personal integrity are more effective working with others and are more successful.

Frugality

It remains as important as ever to spend less than we earn, to save and invest wisely and to build for the future. Lifelong employment with a single company is now the exception rather than the rule. Corporate pension plans are no longer as secure as they once were. Government programs like Social Security never provide all that people need in retirement and their future is always subject to political whim.

Education

Education and increasing one’s skill sets and knowledge are more important today than ever. As my son correctly points out his generation is learning that conventional higher education may not always be the best way to go although it still has merit. Lifelong learning however remains critical to maintaining one’s competitive edge no matter where you live or what you do.

Conclusion

My son is right that things have changed. Technological change is increasingly rapid. We now live in an increasingly competitive global market. Social change is also faster than ever before. Adapting to this change requires agility and effort more than in the past. But some things have not changed. Hard work, integrity, frugality and education remain important and in many ways are more important today than they were when I was a young man.

The challenge for us all is to maintain these age-old principles while adapting to a changed world. The principles that have always contributed to success however still apply and may be more important today than ever.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Investing in Secondary Market Structured Settlement Payments by Kathy Manson

Guest Post

Many individual investors, as well as financial professionals, are unfamiliar with the opportunity to buy structured settlement annuity payments in the secondary market. While with all investments certain risks exist when buying what are often referred to as “secondary market annuity payments”, a savvy buyer might be able to find a greater return with this product than they could by acquiring annuity payments directly from annuity issuers.

At the outset it is important to review what a structured settlement actually is. A structured settlement is a type of out of court settlement of a civil lawsuit that involves the Plaintiff accepting deferred compensation from the Defendant instead of a lump sum upfront. The deferred compensation may be monthly payments, annual payments or lump sum payments due in the future. This settlement mechanism is utilized for not only the most serious cases but often in connection with basic personal injury lawsuit.  In order to effectuate the resolution, the Plaintiff requires that the Defendant acquire an annuity to pay the deferred payment settlement. These annuities are issued by companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Allstate Life Insurance Company, American General Life Insurance Company and other well-known companies. Once finalized, these annuities cannot be modified by the parties so the Plaintiff (now the “Payee”) is locked into the schedule of payments he agreed to.

The opportunity for buyers to acquire some or all of the structured settlement payments from the Payee arises when the Payee’s circumstances change and is in need of an immediate influx of cash instead of waiting on the deferred payout plan. When such a situation arises, the payee will reach out to a factoring company and the factoring company will make an offer to purchase some or all of the structured settlement annuity payments in exchange for paying the Payee a lump sum of money. If the payee and factoring company agree to a transaction, the factoring company must file the contractual documents in the county state court where the payee resides and get a judge’s approval to acquire the payments from the Payee. This process has been established by Federal law working in conjunction with statutes passed by most state legislatures.

Factoring companies, however, do not technically buy the annuity payments from the Payee. Instead, they work as brokers and after the Payee agrees to the terms of a transaction, the factoring company look for a willing buyer or “assignee” of the structured settlement annuity payments. In other words, the factoring company makes its profit by finding a buyer of the deferred payments that is willing to pay more for the payments than the Payee has agreed to sell the same to the factoring company for.

Historically, most buyers/assignees of secondary market structured settlement payments were large institutional investors including banks. These banks issued lines and the factoring companies aggregated these assigned payments until the mass of payments was large enough for a securitization. In time, individual buyers emerged as another group that wanted to acquire these annuity payments in the secondary market instead of buying an actual annuity directly from the issuer. The reason for the interest was that, generally speaking, the rate of return on payments in secondary market was substantially more than one could find when working directly with the annuity issuer.

While the rate of return of associated with these payments is appealing, any potential buyer must vet out in great detail whether this is a suitable acquisition. There are potential risks, including the creditworthiness and underwriting of the factoring company, associated with the assignment of these payments.  Any buyer would be wise to speak to multiple outlets working with these payments and gather as much information as possible before proceeding. In addition, if one proceeds it may be prudent to have a lawyer familiar with the product underwrite the file before funding any transaction.

 

Kathy Manson has completed graduation from Boston College with a Financial Management Degree. She worked for a big finance firms as Catalina Structured Funding, Inc. & SelectFunders.com She is very proactive and aware about each and every update of financial changes in the industry.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com