Take Action


A brief introduction to my new marketing message.

Hi gang.  I just wanted to take a few minutes to write a quick note about my new marketing message.

In actual fact I‘ve been communicating this message to my clients for about a year now and just finally wrote it down in the form of a flyer that I leave behind with all of my meetings.  The message is direct and leaves the perspective client with no doubt about I expect from them. 

During all my meetings I stress the importance of taking action.  It is all fine and good to plan but planning is useless without action. 

Take Action Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

And what actions do I expect you to take?  It’s all laid out in the flyer I leave behind.  The flyer asks three questions:

  1. Do you have any debt?
    1. If I could show you a way to reduce the interest paid on all your debts, free up cash flow and be debt free years sooner, would that be a conversation worth having?
  2. Do you have a plan to protect and grow your assets?
    1. If I could show you a way to protect your assets from market volatility and other unexpected losses, without sacrificing growth, would that be a conversation worth having?
  3. Where do you want your money to go after you die?
    1. If I could show you a way to significantly reduce the taxes owing on your estate and increase the amount of money available for the people and causes you care about, without effecting your lifestyle now, would that be a conversation worth having?

Financial planning and growing wealth is simple (not easy).  It involves reducing and eventually eliminating debt, building and protecting wealth and leaving a legacy.  With a few simple changes to your lifestyle and thinking today you can make a significant impact on your life moving forward and well into the future, but you must take action.  The longer you wait, the harder it becomes and the fewer options you have available to you. 

So there you have it, my straight forward, no bullshit marketing message: 

Take Action Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Check out the links to the flyer above and get in touch to start taking action for your future self…

Three Key Questions Every Financial Planner Should Be Asking


I’ve been working on a new question key for customer interviews.  In my work as a Financial Advisor I am committed to speaking to all my clients at least twice per year.  I call everyone on their birthday because, well, who doesn’t like to be remembered on their birthday?  But I also call everyone on their policy anniversary.

This anniversary call is the perfect opportunity to review the client’s needs and the structure of their relationship with me.  It’s also the time when I probe for a bit more information and look for additional opportunities for us to work together.

After we’ve gone through their account and verified that all the information we have is correct I will generally pause and then ask if I can ask them a few more questions.  There are three key questions that I will ask and depending on their answers it will direct me to certain products and service offerings that we can further explore.

1 – Do you have any outstanding debts or a mortgage?

If no, then I congratulate them on being in the minority.  The average Canadian is carrying $22,000 in personal debt, not including mortgages, and over 60% are set to entire retirement while still making long term debt payments.  After I’ve patted them on the back in this made and manner them feel good about themselves I move on to the next question.

If yes, I ask them if they like paying interest and if there was a way that I could help them pay less interest and be debt free years sooner would that worth a more detailed conversation.  I offer a unique approach to cashflow management which helps people identify areas of improvement and find extra money for debt repayment and savings.  Once I have them signed up for my Behavioral CashFlow Management program we can move on until then I stay on this point.  The fastest way to build wealth is to get control of your debts so until you get serious about your debts there isn’t much else I can do for you.

2 – Do you have a plan for building wealth?

If yes, then I congratulate them again on being proactive and taking steps toward financial freedom.  At this point I might ask them if they have a projected retirement date and if they know how much money they will be able to take out of their savings in retirement.  If not there is an opportunity to review their current plan through the Behavioral CashFlow Management program and help answer that question.  Often times through that process they discover they have less than they think and with a few minor adjustments they can end up with significantly more.

If no, then we talk about why not.  Usually the answer is that they don’t think they have any extra money to set aside right now so there’s no point.  This is the perfect opportunity to help people see the value of a Behavioural CashFlow Management plan.  A properly executed plan helps people see exactly how much money they have and where it’s going on a weekly basis.  With a few minor changes it’s shocking how much money we can find to help fund savings and other financial goals.

3 – Do you expect to die with money?

This is the silver bullet.  No matter what the answer is, there is a reason for us to continue talking.

If no, we go back to question two and fix the plan.  If yes, then I ask one last killer question; do you like paying tax?

There is no inheritance tax in Canada but all assets regardless of their type and source are subject to what the lawyers and accountants refer to as a deemed disposition upon death.  What that means is that all your assets are deemed to have been disposed of for cash one minute before you die.  The resulting income must then be declared on your final tax return for the year.  There are some exceptions, like your primary residence, but for the most part if you have $1 million in investments that cost you $200,000 to purchase back when you were working your estate must declare $800,000 in income for the year in which you die.  Depending on the province in which you live the potential income tax bill on your estate could exceed 55%.

With just a few tweaks while you are still living you can move assets into tax sheltered vehicles such as Cash Valued Life Insurance or Segregated Funds and significantly reduce the taxes payable on your final estate.  In fact, if you do it early enough and are in good health you may be able to reduce the effective income tax all the way to $0.00 and increase the value of your estate well beyond what it would be worth otherwise.

By asking those three key questions, along with a bit of clarification along the way, I can almost always find a reason to continue talking to a client.  Everyone wants to increase their wealth, and nobody likes paying interest or tax.  By answering these three questions we can almost always find a way to save significant money and increase your savings.

So, tell me – should we continue talking?  Reach out in the comments or directly via email on my contact page.

Re-launch of Financial Coaching Service – Part One


“Back in 2005 I was a financial basket case!”

Coming sometime in the last week of October (exact dates haven’t been worked out yet) I am re-launching the “6 Steps to Financial Freedom – Financial Coaching Program”.

About 18 months ago I wrote a series of posts on this blog called “The 6 Steps to Financial Freedom” where I laid out what I believe are the most important things everyone must do if they hope to gain a life of financial security. Out of that series came the e-booklet “6 Steps to Financial Freedom – The Meekonomists Guide to Getting Out Of Debt, Building Wealth and Leaving a Legacy” and a clear focus on what it is I hope to accomplish with this site, my financial practice and indeed all of my writing.

It was through that blog series that I also began to develop my mission statement.

The Meekonomics Project exists to: Help people reconcile their relationships with God and Money, To Teach people to live Debt Free, Build Wealth and Leave a Legacy.

The animated video above is the first in a series designed to introduce you to the newly revised and re-packaged “6 Steps to Financial Freedom Coaching Program”, go back and watch it now if you haven’t already.

Next week I will release the second video in which I will go into more detail about what each of the 6 Steps are and how you too can live a debt free life while building wealth and planning for a lasting legacy. The following week I will release the final video where I will explain how to join me for some group interactive coaching on-line and possibly become a one-on-one coaching student.

Stay tuned! If you haven’t already done so, please watch the video now and send me a comment either in the comment stream below, on YouTube or directly via email at themeekonomicsproject@gmail.com

I love comments!  I read and respond to each and every one.

And if you would like your own copy of the 6 Steps e-book put, “E-Book Request” in the subject line of your e-mail and I’ll make sure you get a copy within 24 hours.

See you soon – Lauren!

Jubilee


Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.  The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines.  For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. [Leviticus 25:10-12]

Have you ever wanted a do over?  How many times have you said that if you had it do over again you would never have sold that piece of land that had been in your family for generations or you would never have moved away from your home town, away from your friends and everything you’ve ever known?  Maybe if circumstances had been different you would have chosen a different career, married your high-school sweetheart or taken a risk and started that dream business.

We all know that there are no do overs in life but in the year of jubilee, it’s as if the entire community hits the reset button on God’s Perfect Economy and a whole generation gets a giant do over. Oh and while you’re at it, why not have a year-long party to celebrate?!

When you consider that when this law was first introduced the life expectancy of the average person was barely 50 years to begin with it’s not really mankind who gets the do over then is it?  The do over really belongs to God, as does everything else, and the jubilee is meant as a permanent reminder of just that fact.   It’s is as if God is saying, here’s your land, here’s your inheritance, do with it what you will.  Work the land, develop the land, use the land as collateral, even sell it to your neighbor if you need extra cash but at the end of the day, or more accurately at the end of your lifetime, I’m taking it back and giving it to the next generation intact in exactly the same way as I’m giving it to you.

Jubilee is the single most counter intuitive economic principle in the history of the world.  Nothing ever conceived of is more flagrantly subversive to either our ruler or caregiver mentality than the idea that all transactions of real property must be reversed every 50 years.  The only thing that comes close in any other human culture is the Native American practice of Potlatch found mainly among various groups concentrated along the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada.      

Potlatch has as its purpose the redistribution of wealth.   At the end of the growing, or hunting season, typically in the winter, the entire community would gather together and the wealthier among them would make gifts of food, canoes and slaves (but not income generating assets) between themselves and the lower classes.  In this way they supported their community while not damaging their ability to maintain their position within the tribal hierarchy.  But as with everything instituted by mankind alone, potlatch was open to corruption and many wealthy members of the community used their lavishness at potlatch to enhance their prestige and power.  It was not uncommon for some very wealthy families to literally potlatch themselves into poverty simply for the prestige they would receive from the community. 

Ironically Potlatch was banned by European settlers in the 19th century mainly because of the horror it caused in white missionaries sent to evangelize and civilize the savages.   One famous missionary, a Mr. William Duncan, wrote to parliament in 1875 that potlatch was “by far the most formidable of all obstacles in the way of Indians becoming Christians, or even civilized.”  What could be less “Christian” than releasing your hold on material goods for the collective good of your community? 

Now to be clear potlatch is not the same as jubilee but I hope you see the inherent problem here.   Both are counter intuitive to a ruler or caretaker mentality and only make sense if your core motivation is other centered love.  The fact of the matter is that apart from the legal definitions and descriptions set down in Leviticus there is not one reference to jubilee actually taking place in any of the historical accounts of the Jewish people after that.  Why that is should be fairly obvious by now, not only is it counter intuitive to us today, it was counter intuitive to the Jewish people then and they simply ignored it.