Tag Archives: Financial

Growing up Is Never Easy: The Pains of Recession Should Lead to More Mature Financial Practices

St. Cloud, MN (PRWEB) March 31, 2009

Urging the country to put away childish things, President Obama could have been talking about poor spending habits. Like children, this nation demanded instant gratification. The retail concept of lay-away, so popular just 30 years ago went the way of the drive-in movie. No longer satisfied with buying only what is affordable, Americans embraced run away equity lines and defined themselves by what could be bought on credit. But those days are no more – and maybe it’s for the better.

According to Patricia Hinds, founder of Granite Financial in St. Cloud, “Faced with plummeting investment accounts, declining home values, and the real prospect of job loss, Americans suddenly are doing what they’ve needed to do all along – spend less and save more.”

In fact, in the last three months of 2008, the government reported Americans’ savings rate, as a percentage of after-tax incomes, rose to 2.9 percent. That’s up sharply from 1.2 percent in the third quarter and less than 1 percent just a year ago. Today, a shopping spree no longer appears to be the initial response to a wave of bad news. In February, the Commerce Department reported consumer spending fell for a record sixth straight month in December, dropping 1 percent amid worries about surging layoffs. The hunkering down trend likely will continue. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index plummeted further in February reaching yet another all-time low. The Index now stands at 25.0 (1985=100), down from 37.4 in January. According to The Federal Reserve, although consumer borrowing rose slightly in January, economists still expect borrowing will remain weak this year with news of the unemployment rate surging to a 25-year high.

“With pessimism about the state of the economy increasing daily, suddenly it’s chic to be cheap,” says Hinds. “Frugality is back in style and splurges on widescreen TVs, top-of-the-line kitchens, and designer clothes are out.” Across America, people have not only stopped borrowing, but they are actually paying back debt by paying down those car loans, mortgages and credit card bills. Consumers are actually talking about how to save money – with their neighbors and, more importantly, with their bankers, credit card companies, and household service providers.

The fallout from collective belt-tightening has been referred to as the “paradox of thrift.” That is, what’s good for the people — spending less, and saving more — does nothing to lift the economy out of recession. While many economists suggest that it’s bad news for our recession-battered economy when consumers pay off credit cards, increase their cash reserves, and skip a few pizza deliveries, Hinds begs to differ.

“I believe child-like spending played a role in this economic mess but our increasingly mature attitudes toward money management could make us healthier in the long run,” says Hinds. “Just as growing up can be painful, enduring the difficult repercussions of this recession may pay off by putting an end to bad financial habits.” This recession may be what it takes to help American consumers break free from a lifestyle of greed supported by excessive borrowing, leveraging and spending.

About Patricia Hinds and Granite Financial Inc.

Patricia Hinds, a branch manager for Securities America, Inc. and founder of Granite Financial Inc., has been a part of the financial services industry for over 19 years. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner and holds the Board Certified in Estate Planning (BCE) designation from the Institute of Business & Finance.

Hinds specializes in providing personal wealth management services to financially established women entering or near retirement. She uses a consultative approach to help develop and effectively implement a financial plan. Her process includes investment consulting, relationship management and advanced planning in four areas; wealth enhancement, wealth transfer, wealth protection and charitable gifting.

Hinds is a member of the Financial Planning Association, the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of Professional Women and the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. She conducts regular financial planning seminars and has contributed to articles in several leading trade publications including Wealth Manager, Financial Advisor, Investment News, Research and On Wall Street as well as consumer outlets such as Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Minnesota Business Magazine. Visit http://www.granitefinancial.net for more information about Ms. Hinds and Granite Financial Inc.

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Financial Expert Advises Consumers Not to Get Hung Up on Their Credit Scores When Deciding What to Do About Their Debts

Austin, Texas (PRWEB) September 30, 2009

When financially-troubled consumers evaluate their get-out-of-debt options, far too many of them get needlessly hung up on how a particular option will affect their FICO scores, says Michael Bovee, president of the Consumer Recovery Network (http://www.consumerrecovery.com). He explains, “Although consumers who are not in financial crisis should always be mindful of their FICO scores when they are managing their money and making financial decisions, credit scores are the last thing consumers should be worried about if they are running out of money, can’t meet their financial obligations, and at risk for losing their assets. They should focus their attention instead on determining which debt management option will work best for them taking into account the dollars and cents and the flexibility of each option. They should also consider issues like their employment status and their likely financial needs and goals over the next 5 to 10 years. For example, do they expect to be in the job market soon, maybe because their current job is not secure or because they need to earn more money; will they be applying for a federal PLUS loan in a couple years to help fund the college education of their child; is it likely that they will need to finance the purchase of a new vehicle in the foreseeable future, and so on? Consumers’ answers to such questions may argue in favor of a particular debt management option.” Bovee warns that consumers who fail to focus on the right issues risk making irrational decisions about what to do about their debts which would probably make their financial situations worse as a result.

According to Bovee, consumers have three basic options for resolving their debts. Each option has its own pros and cons when evaluated using his decision making criteria. Those options are:

Enroll in a debt management plan (DMP) sponsored by a nonprofit credit counseling organization. Typically the interest rate on the debts in the plan will be reduced, which will lower a consumer’s monthly payments. However, statistics show that most DMPs take 5 years to complete and in today’s shrinking job market it’s important to get out of debt faster than 5 years whenever possible. Consumers who take longer will be at greater risk for seeing their income go down while they’re paying on their plan, which could mean that they wouldn’t be able to remain in the plan. If that were to happen, they would lose the lower interest rates on the debts that they are paying off through their DMP and the new rates on those debts end up being higher than what they were prior to starting their plans. In fact, a 2006 study released the National Foundation for Credit Counseling revealed that only 26% of the consumers enrolled in one of its DMPs actually completed their plans.

File for bankruptcy. Consumers who are able to qualify for a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy will get most of their debts wiped out (discharged) relatively quickly although they may also have to give up some of their assets in return. The fact that they filed for bankruptcy will be in their credit histories for ten years; even so, they will be able to obtain small amounts of new credit 2-3 years after their discharge.
Consumers who file a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy will be responsible for paying off most of their debts (the full outstanding balances on some types of debts rather than something less) over a 3 to 5 year period according to the terms of a court-approved and supervised plan and may not have to give up any of their assets. (During that time the consumers’ finances will be under the court’s microscope.) Historically however, only 30% of consumers actually complete their Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

Both types of bankruptcy will trigger an automatic stay, which is a court order stopping the collection actions of creditors. Those actions include foreclosures, repossessions, and lawsuits.

Settle debts. Debt settlement involves negotiating reduced balances on consumers’ unsecured debts. Typically, settlement helps consumers get out of debt faster than filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy or participating in a DMP. As a result, consumers who pursue debt settlement can begin rebuilding their credit histories sooner and generally can qualify for new credit about 18 months after completing their last settlement. However, settling a debt won’t stop lawsuits related to their unsecured debts like bankruptcy will, although reputable debt settlement firms will work to reduce the likelihood of lawsuits.
In Bovee’s opinion, taking the math and other practical factors into consideration and putting FICO scores aside, Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides most consumers with the fastest most complete relief from too much debt. However, when DMP and settlement are compared, settlement is usually their second best option.

CRN helps consumers protect their rights when they have too much debt, make sound financial decisions, and alleviate their economic stress by providing them with clear-cut debt settlement education and advice coupled with affordable full service debt negotiation and settlement services. (CRN does not settle student loans, car loans or mortgages.) Its consumer education, coaching, and debt negotiation and settlement services coupled with its reasonable fees have made CRN a leader and innovator within the debt settlement industry, setting standards for fairness, ethics and best practices.


Despite Economy, Financial Advisor to Affluent Jeff Christenson Uses Innovative Methods, Team to Preserve Wealth, Build Award Winning Practice

Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) March 30, 2010

With over fifteen years experience working with high-level clients (successful entrepreneurs, real estate developers and well known entertainers, to name a few), Jeff Christenson knows a thing or two about managing substantial wealth. As the President and Founder of Christenson Wealth Management LLC, a comprehensive, private wealth management firm dealing exclusively with high net-worth clients, Jeff has an unparalleled reputation for assisting individuals and families in achieving their financial goals.

Jeff was recently recognized for his considerable achievements with the Advisor Achievement Award from Multi Financial Securities Corporation (Multi-Financial). This special award was given to Christenson for increasing his business over the last 12 months despite the challenges in the economy.

This is a fitting honor for Jeff, who continues to exemplify what it means to be a successful advisor and a trusted guide for his clients, said Multi-Financial President and CEO Brett Harrison. It was a challenging 12 months, but his efforts produced outstanding results.

This is the second honor for Christenson in the last few months, as he was also recently listed among WORTH Magazines national list of Leading Wealth and Legal Advisors. Christenson contributed multiple full-page editorial features to WORTH as part of the program, which educates the most affluent readers in the United Sates on diverse, sophisticated wealth strategies.

Jeff and his highly accredited team realize that these clients have unique needs, and are solidly committed to meeting and exceeding their objectives. Investment portfolios are customized based on the individual situation of each client. These clients benefit from a variety of investment strategies which can help maximize their return and which can help to keep their money in a safe place.

People dont come to us to make them rich; they come to us help keep them rich.

When someone has serious money, they need a serious money manager. If theyre going to put their trust and their financial assets in someones hands, capability is paramount. Smart, sound strategies and a holistic approach to wealth have helped Christensons clients keep a healthy bottom line, despite disaster in the economy.

It is said that 80% of money managers cant beat the S&P 500, and theyre probably right. On the other hand, that means 20% do, and those managers are where we focus our attention and efforts, looking for ways to shepherd wealth with partners who have a proven track record of performance and integrity. My clients demand the best results with the lowest risk, and thats what I look for every day.

Christenson also provides his clients with special access to a unique team of top-tier professionals with national reputations to help his clients preserve their wealth in related and often overlooked areas including Asset Protection, estate planning and life insurance needs, executive compensation and business succession planning and many other areas of concern to clients in his demographic. I cant be an expert at everything, but I can assemble a team of experts, and thats been part of our success. Investment performance is for naught if my clients lose money to a lawsuit, estate taxes or other sources of spoilage. We try to make sure they have all the expert resources they need, says Christenson, who also regularly partners with other advisors across the country to help them bring the same level of service and these innovative strategies to their own clients.

Christenson is a resident of Paradise Valley, Arizona with his unbelievably supportive wife and their two children, a four-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. He also serves on the Board of Directors for national child abuse prevention and treatment group Child Help USA, a cause he describes as one of the greatest joys of his life. Its an honor which came through his professional career just another reason to love the business. My clients are the greatest people in the world, Jeff says, Literally.

For more information contact Christenson Wealth Management, LLC at:

2575 East Camelback Road, Suite 700, Phoenix, AZ 85016 call: 602.808.5580

or email: Meghan(at)habitsofwealth(dot)com

Securities offered through Multi-Financial Securities Corporation, Member FINRA/SIPC. Christenson Wealth

Management and Multi-Financial Securities Corporation are separate companies. Please consult with a qualified tax advisor prior to implementing any tax related strategy.


First Senior Financial Group Creates Christmas in March for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)

King of Prussia, PA (PRWEB) March 27, 2011

As part of their ongoing relationship with Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Phillip Cannella and Joann Small, respectively the CEO and Executive Vice President of First Senior Financial Group (FSFG), today brought a car full of toys to be distributed to the hospitals young patients.

We had originally thought about doing it for Christmas, says Cannella, but the kids already get a ton of toys at Christmas. Instead we thought it might be nice to wait till the dust settles and make it more special for them after the holiday glow subsides.

First Senior Financial Group specializes in educating retirees and other seniors about ways to crash proof their retirement by achieving asset protection and inflation-beating growth without market risk or market fees. Cannella helped pioneer long-term care insurance in the 1970s, and today is host of the Crash Proof Retirement Show, which airs Saturdays between 11 and 1.

Last September, FSFG donated $ 50,000 to CHOP as part of the 9th Annual WOGL Loves Our Kids Radiothon; the sum constituted the largest single donation in the history of the fundraiser. Many First Senior Financial Group employees participated in the hugely successful weekend, which, all told, raised over $ 490,000 for the hospital. Throughout the weekend, FSFG helped bring in over 180 monthly Miracle Makers to aid in the advancement of healthcare services for CHOP.

We all come into this world with nothing, says Cannellla, and we also go out with nothing. What counts is what you do between those bookends. If you want to have purpose in your life, help a child. When you give a child hope, you give a child a futureand what that does is like a boomerang. It comes back to your soul, it enlarges it and it helps you in the end.

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Jacksonville Conference Provides Insight Into the Minds of Child Sexual Abusers and Looks at Emotional & Financial Impact on Society

Jacksonville, Florida (PRWEB) February 06, 2012

On the same day that media focused attention on a man in a Clay County, Florida courthouse pleading guilty to the abduction, sexual abuse and murder of a 7-year old Florida girl, in another area of Jacksonville, professionals, advocates and child sexual abuse survivors joined together for the “Protect the Children Conference”, dedicated to stopping the insidious crime of sexual abuse against children.

Nora Harlow, founder of the Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute in Atlanta asked attendees of the Protect The Children Conference, “If there are 43 million victims of child sexual abuse out there, how many abusers are out there? You are not going to like it,” she explained. “The truth is that we just don’t know. We do know that only 2 million of these abusers are in the Criminal Justice System. Yet our research points to millions more out there abusing children.” Who are they?

“Child sexual abuse is a bad thing. We want the people who do it to look like bad people, but they don’t,” explained Nora Harlow. “These people show up as coaches, teachers, after school volunteers, friends, family and mentors. Not at all who you would expect them to be. Not until we put our anger aside and put the children first are we going to be able to stop this abuse.”

Who do the children tell? According to the Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute

60% will tell no one. 40% will tell an adult – but only 6% of those adults told of the sexual abuse will report it to the police. The vast majority of victims go untreated and the abusers move on to groom their next prey. Harlow asked the attendees, “If all of those same children walked into a classroom on crutches, would we ignore them? Would we as adults be so traumatized that we fail to help? Yet, in the case of child sexual abuse, that is exactly what we do, nothing.”

Why don’t more children tell? Studies done by the Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute reveals that the majority of the children don’t tell because they don’t want to upset their mother. Others suffer from shame, humiliation and guilt because their abusers groom them to feel that they somehow bear responsibility for their own victimization.

The cost of child sexual abuse extends beyond the emotional destruction of its victims and is linked to immune system failure, increased illnesses, frequent hospitalization and death. According to speaker Dr. Robin Jenkins of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Juvenile Justice System the financial impact is also great. He shared a report, (Fang, Brown, Florence, Mercy: Child Abuse and Neglect: 2012), stating it to be $ 1,272,000 in lifetime victim costs, and $ 585 billion combined fatal and nonfatal child maltreatment costs in 2008 dollars.

Even with the media attention given to Penn State, Syracuse and others, people still don’t want to talk about it. People want to believe that it happens to other people and in other cities. Harlow provided startling facts to drive home her point. “In an average 8th grade class of 32 students, four girls have been sexually abused, two boys have been sexually abused and one boy will have sexually abused a younger child.”

Who is the Child Sexual Abuser? According to Nora Harlow’s extensive research: 70% are male, 90% are heterosexual, 93% are religious, 77% are married or formerly married, 69% are Caucasian and 46% are college educated. Any of these characteristics sound familiar? They should, they mirror what the United States Census bureau characterizes as reflective of the nation’s demographic. The child sexual abuser’s attraction to youth runs on a separate track from their adult sexual behavior.

How can we prevent it? By using every tool available to us so that these people don’t gain access to our children in places where they should expect to feel safe. Criminal background checks alone won’t help identify perpetrators. After years of research and study, Nora Harlow and Dr. Gene Abel, (Director of Research at Abel Screening and considered by many to be the leading psycho-physiology research in child sexual abuse in the United States), developed an assessment tool that effectively identifies a person’s inability to comprehend what proper boundaries should exist between adults and children. Called the Diana Screen

Freedom Financial Network Cautions Consumers to Be Aware of 10 Tax Changes for 2013

San Mateo, Calif. (PRWEB) February 26, 2013

“Despite the tax compromise reached in January by Congress and President Obama, taxpayers did not escape tax changes that, if not heeded, could lead to financial problems and even increased debt,” said Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network (FFN).

For 2013, individuals and businesses need to be wary of several tax increases. Some of these came from the American Tax Payer Relief Act and others from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Gallegos said. Anytime taxes go up, net income could effectively decrease. Now more than ever, consumers need to ensure they are not overspending so that they can avoid going into debt.

The tax code revisions do not affect 2012 income tax returns, although they have delayed filing of some 2012 taxes due to the Internal Revenue Services need to reprogram its computers and forms.

Gallegos pointed out 10 key tax changes that could affect consumers income in 2013 and beyond:


The Pohly Company Welcomes Nick Vadala as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer

Boston, MA (PRWEB) October 8, 2008

Customer engagement marketing specialist The Pohly Company welcomes Nick Vadala as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. The Pohly Company provides customer engagement services — including custom publishing, design communications, media sales, and communications consulting services to corporate brands, associations, and publishers. The Pohly Company creates long-form marketing programs by creating, marketing, and monetizing custom content across a variety of media channels.

In addition to taking the financial reins at the 22-year old company, Vadala will be responsible for all aspects of business operations, including IT, facilities, and Human Resources. Vadala has more than 20 years of experience in the marketing services industry. Prior to joining The Pohly Company, he was COO/CFO at Modiv Media, a digital media firm providing in-store media to the grocery industry. His other experiences include positions as COO at JLS/Direct Response solutions, where he was president of their agency services division; CEO at CPS Direct, a multi-media direct response agency serving clients in the financial services, technology, and specialty retail industries; and CFO for National Leisure Group, a marketer of leisure travel for licensed brands including Vacation Outlet, American Airlines, and priceline.com. Vadala started his career in marketing services with Rapp Collins Worldwide, one of the worlds largest direct marketing and CRM agencies, where he was Vice President, Operations and Finance.

About The Pohly Company:

The Pohly Company is a diversified marketing and publishing services company that specializes in customer engagement content and marketing: creating and sustaining customer relationships from acquisition through brand affinity. Services include communications consulting and market research, custom publishing, media sales and consulting, and design communications. The company works with world-class brands, publishers, and major associations, including Continental Airlines, Coca-Cola FoodService, UAW-Chrysler, Western Union, and the Association of National Advertisers. The Pohly Company is also the publisher of FuelNet Monthly, a Web-based information provider of smart marketing tools for the growing business. For more information on the Boston-based company, visit pohlyco.com.