Category Archives: Financial Services

Military Members Find Help from Some Special Financial Advisors

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Today my on-line version of Financial Planning magazine showed up in my email in-box.

As a former broker and financial advisor, I used to read everything in he magazine.  Now I read mainly articles about women and money.  However, the one today is titled “Financial Planners Help Stem the Rate of Military Suicides”. Having spent my first career working for three of the military services and then the Department of Defense, and being aware through news stories that suicide rates in the military are rising, I was curious and clicked through to the article.

Personally, I understand that some financial advisors and planners can do more than just hand out wisdom and match clients up with products.  What they can do better than most anyone else is listen to a client and then use their brains like a search engine to scan all the considerable knowledge they have about the entire financial management process, not just the lucrative and more glamorous investing component.  With their talents, a lot of patience, and a willingness to take the lead in filling out paperwork with the client, they can help make things happen.  People in trouble are too exhausted to do it all by themselves.

The article is worth reading whether you are a military member, a health care professional, a financial services professional, clergy, or just a caring person.  I am excited to learn this story of how a few risk-taking financial professionals have stepped up to the challenge and changed people’s lives.  I’m hoping they have also started a movement to expand how financial professionals are allowed to give clients what they really need.

Please click here to read this story.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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To order my book, please click here

www.financialfreedomparty.com

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A Post Office with Banking, Bill Paying, and Small Loans?

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I was attracted to a post in the Huffington Post which acknowledges that many Americans are not having their basic banking needs met by the existing services.  A few years back I probably wouldn’t have even noticed an article about the subject.  Yes, I have seen payday loan advertisements, been at the local super market where people cash paychecks, or even seen check cashing businesses in the strip mall.  However, they were just part of the background scenery. Everyone in my life knows her or his way around banks, mortgage companies, brokerages,  and all that the financial world offers.  Of course they offer it to us because it is profitable.

My perspective changed when I moved to a small town located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Texas.  The people with money are visitors, business owners, and those who own resort properties.  The local workforce includes a high percentage of low-income people or those living at poverty level.  No longer was I living in the suburbs where having a checking account with a debit card is a fact of life for high school students.  I found myself standing in line at the post office with lots of people who were getting money orders to pay bills and send money to family members.  Sometimes it actually looked more like a bank than a place to send and receive mail.  That’s why this concept of basic and uncomplicated banking services at the post office seemed logical to me.

Over time I learned a lot about why the low-income people around me avoided traditional banking systems.  One reason is that often they were undocumented and want to remain invisible.  Even if the person does have legal status, often he or she was brought up in a family where the parents were undocumented.  The children simply emulate what the parents did and the cycle of using cash, money orders, and expensive loans is perpetuated. People living in poverty or on very low incomes see banks as scary places which they don’t trust.  Even those of us who are middle-income and above often have that same feeling.  Things have just gotten very complicated.

According to the article,  collectively those households which use alternative banking products spent about $89 billion in 2012 on interest and fees. That represents a huge cost for people with lower than average incomes.

Please click here to read the entire article.  The concept of tying simple and affordable banking services to the local post office is being done elsewhere successfully.  There is a very good chance that those people currently using alternative banking methods would be more trustful of a place they have visited throughout their lives, the post office, than they would be of banks which really don’t want them there anyway.  There are benefits to the U.S. Postal System too!

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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To order my book, please click here.

Culture of Threes – #2

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This posting relates to what I refer to as our Culture of Threes. As explained in previous posts, when an idea or concept comes to me three times from totally different sources, I have learned to pay attention, process the information, and then act. 

The Culture of Threes happened to me recently concerning my Financial Freedom Party for Women.

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My Number 1 post was about the Financial Freedom Party for Women and how financial education for women meets party plans and the financial industry asks, “Like Tupperware parties?”  Please go back to my previous post for all the details.

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This post is about Number 2.  It starts with a fictional character in a novel who encounters mystery with a backdrop of relationships, relationship selling, and Tupperware.  The book is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.                        .

This is a nice mystery book and it was picked last month by one of our book club members as a reading selection.  I hadn’t heard of it before.  If I wasn’t in a book club, it is highly unlikely I would have read it.

I was reading the book quickly (it is fun and easy to read) and enjoying the story, the characters, and the setting (Australia).  My mind had shifted from business stuff, like my Financial Freedom Party for Women, to playtime.  I was so wrapped up in the husband’s secret part of the plot that it took me a while to understand that part of the story revolved around the career choice of one of the main characters.  Instead of being a traditional professional in a career we all understand, she was a successful sales representative and manager in a direct selling and network marketing company.  Yes, part of her story was about her relationships, relationship selling, product knowledge, business management, coaching, and income production as an independent representative of….Tupperware.  It wasn’t until I finished the book that I realized this is the first time I have read a novel where a character’s successful career and resulting income involved direct sales, network marketing, and party plans.  A nice experience and a good reminder that women, relationship selling, great products, and party plan selling are a nice fit.   This made me smile and re-enforced my commitment to legitimizing the use of my Financial Freedom Party for Women to an industry which is traditional and male dominated.   

More next time about my third(Number 3) recent encounter with the power of party plans with relationship selling as successful business model which is attractive to women consumers and businesses.

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

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Culture of Threes – #1

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My last posting was about our culture of threes. I describe how when something comes into my life and consciousness for three times over a short period of time, I pay attention and act.  The next three posts are a culture of threes story.

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Recently I submitted my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women®, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition, to Amazon.com.  This will make it available to the general reading public.  It also has put the book back into my daily thoughts as I often wonder if the financial services industry is ready to change and accommodate a new  easy and fun way of teaching women about money and marketing to us.  So this represents my most recent  confirmation about the value of parties as a way to connect with women, share meaningful and life-changing information, and starting a personal connection. I count this as Number 1.

Recognizing the value of learning about party plans which are used by direct selling companies was a natural evolution for me.  My entrance into becoming an insurance agent and registered representative was through a direct selling and network marketing company. Some of my friends were very successful in direct selling and network marketing and I listened and learned from them. This opened my mind to looking at more meaningful ways of marketing and selling complex products such as investments  insurance, and financial analysis/planning.

I hadn’t grown up professionally in the brokerage and insurance industry.  This meant I  wasn’t saddled with industry paradigms and allowed me to seek out a way to really meet the needs of the women I was encountering.  Having women clients was my main goal, but I believed they should be part of the process and have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of financial management so they could be more comfortable with their decisions.

This turned out to be a more difficult goal than expected.  There are some real barriers to getting women interested in learning about financial management.  Now there are always what I call the “MBA” women or those who are passionate about financial management, but there are many women who don’t meet that description.  Women tell me that the information can be difficult to grasp at first and the presentations are pretty old school and boring.  If a woman can go do something more interesting with her family or friends, why should she show up to a boring presentation?   Think about it, going to a girl’s night out, watching sports with the family, shopping with friends, taking a walk, or just staying home and watching a DVD are way more attractive and acceptable options.  As explained in my book:

The Financial Freedom Party (FFP) was created when I found many other women brokers, like myself, were frustrated when women wouldn’t show up at financial seminars. Only 3-4 women would attend, even though we mailed invitations with plenty of lead time, followed up, and targeted our efforts to women who needed this information, and who were not already working with a financial services professional.

One evening I attended a Pampered ChefTM party hosted by my next-door neighbor. She had made a last minute decision to have the party, and gave her guests about two-day notice. Nonetheless, when I arrived at her home, there were thirty or more women in attendance, and at the end of the presentation they were all buying — and buying “lots.”  It became clear to me that we needed to change our approach in the financial services industry. From this experience and with the help from three other women brokers, the Financial Freedom Party concept began and the format was developed.

This seemed pretty logical to our team and it worked.  However, as I reached out to professionals in the investment community to share the concept and expand its use, the reaction was rather unexpected.  Some people simply couldn’t see how it would work (even after I explained it).  Some were amused.  Then there were those who asked me, “Oh, like Tupperware Parties?”  At least this gave me an opportunity to explain that it is founded on the same concept but no product is sold at the party.  So, the  Financial Freedom Party for Women is an adaptation on party plans based on sharing information and building relationships.  I found again, that some comments  were little more than subdued snickering and amusement,  However, there were some men and women  who grasped the concept, could see the potential, were genuinely impressed, and encouraging.  Overall, the people I spoke with really didn’t see a need for change. Obviously the timing wasn’t right.  So I spent time doing Financial Freedom Parties and building my business, hoping for a more positive reception at a later time.

Business leaders tend to “get it” when products or services are sold and delivered with the result being money cash flowing into the business.  Success is an attention getter.

Recently two more references to Tupperware and party plan businesses came to me from two unexpected sources.  Both reflect success for women and money for the business.  They confirmed my experience that marketing to women (and with women) is often different, but highly profitable.  More to come next time about the second reminder I received about how women and party plans connect for both the consumer and the business.

Until next time.

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Debra Hadsall

www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

Breaking Bad, Walt and Income Protection,aka Insurance

I like watching Breaking Bad.  I was on to this program from the beginning, when  critics just promised something good and it hadn’t gained such widespread fame.

If you don’t know much about the TV show Breaking Bad, you can just google it.  At the core it is a complicated, gritty, sad, happy, and intense story of how one man, Walter White, decided to make a change in his life so he could provide financially for his family because he had been diagnosed with cancer.  His choices were drastic and the impact, both negative and positive, significant

Whey am I blogging about this?  Well, it has to do with money, goals, dreams, and choices.

I understand the value of insurance for a variety of purposes, including life insurance which creates an instant estate to provide for those left behind.  Of course buying life insurance requires some awareness of the value of purchasing it, and must be done while someone is healthy enough to qualify.  Life insurance companies wouldn’t stay in business if they took on someone like Walt after he had been diagnosed.

I have met with many clients over the year and helped them make life insurance purchase decisions and then placed them in an appropriate product.  It sounds pretty boring when explained this way, so I was simply inspired by an article I read in a professional website.  It draws a parallel between Walter White (a TV character of course, not a real person), his late life career choice, and how different things could have been with some insurance planning and purchase.

Please click here to learn more. A great way of tying things together and the Breaking Bad franchise presents the last episode this evening.

Enjoy!

Until Next Time

Debra Hadsall

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What Do You Really Want?

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What do you really want?

As a financial advisor, this is a question I spent a lot of time asking my financial services clients.  The answer to this question is really where all things start in our personal, professional, spiritual, and financial lives.  However, in our sound bite world most people seem to skip the first part of the process and jump over to making decisions and taking action, not always based on a foundation of understanding first  “what I really want”.

What Do You Really Want is also the title of a book  which is targeted to teens and written by Beverly K. Bachel.  I didn’t know anything about this wonderful book until it was shared with me by one of a woman who works on a volunteer project we lead.  Our activities involve some wonderfully talented young women who may not have always had the opportunities we had.  So, the volunteers simply spend some time with the students and teach life skills.  For the high school students who are seniors, Ms. Bachel’s books seems perfect.  It formalizes the topics we have discussed over the last three years and gives them an easy way to roadmap their lives…based on their hopes, dreams, and goals.  It encourages them to focus on what they want, not necessarily what their friends, families, or boyfriends want for them.

As I started planning how to compress all this wonderful information to make it meaningful  in a lunchtime setting, I was struck by how valuable it is for not only teens, but for all of us.  Parts of it mirror conversations and processes which are in my Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women.

I encourage you to check out Ms. Bachel’s book ( mine too!) and consider sharing  it/them with the young people in your life.   Not only will they learn things and have a process to record them, you will probably learn a lot about yourself as you lead them through the book (s).

Until Next Time

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

The Bright Side-2008 and Now

In 2008 the financial markets were suffering, and so were we.  The media reporting of the Dow was continuous and we were given minute-by-minute micro reporting about the state of our economic system here in the U.S.   The only ray of sunshine I found in the reporting was from an article called “The Bright Side”.  To learn more, please click here.

This might be a good time to reflect on how you felt in 2008 and to think about how we all arrived to 2013 (when the Dow hit 15,000).

Money is not all about numbers, it is also about feelings and emotions.  Please read the article and enjoy.

 

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Debra Hadsall

My Monkey Mind-Twizzlers, Man of Steel, and Marketing

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My monkey mind postings relate to Buddha’s description of the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, and carrying on endlessly. These postings come from my monkey mind.
 

Twizzlers®, those red twisted sticks of chewy strawberry delight, are addictive.  My family calls them red licorice, even though we debate whether or not real licorice can be anything that isn’t black and tasting of licorice extract.

Personally, I think Twizzlers® sell themselves and don’t need to be advertised.  I have given up my other addictions, like chocolate chip cookies, chocolate, and Diet Coke.  Red licorice is my controlled indulgence. Even so, it just doesn’t seem fair that Twizzlers® are now advertised and repackaged in interesting ways to further seduce us into buying them.  For example, today I was walking through a Walgreens store.  It was my first visit there because we just moved to a new city.  I know to avoid the candy aisle, but those tricky product placement folks had Twizzlers® displayed on the main aisle in the middle of the store.  This is the wide high-traffic aisle where we shoppers go to get from place to place. As I glanced at the bags of temptation, I noticed something new.  Now we can buy Twizzlers® in extra-long sized pieces.  I stopped and picked up the bag. Those extra-long pieces look like they are at least a foot long.  Not fair.

I should have known something was going on with Twizzlers® when I saw a TV ad for the movie Man of Steel.  According to the publicity, Twizzlers® has teamed with The Man of Steel movie for an “invincible summer”.  The ad ends with pieces of Twizzlers® woven to create Superman’s emblem. Maybe it took those extra-long sticks of Twizzlers® to make that happen. 

I admire the mighty creative marketing staff who found a way to turn Superman’s chest into advertising for Twizzlers® . Undoubtedly the results will be  consumers heading to the candy counters at the movie theaters, or into the local stores. I am working hard not to be one of them!

The marketing of Twizzlers® is pretty awesome.  However, it is only marketing of a candy product and a movie.  This got me to thinking (a monkey mind thing) about just how powerful the results would be if the financial services industry could be as creative in marketing the information and products it provides. I am ready to be a part of that process. 

For the moment, I am staying away from Walgreens, and trying to visualize the Superman emblem when the focus was on Christopher Reeve’s chest.  Keeping my Twizzlers® consumption down is my version of an invincible summer.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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