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Crisis Behavior: Lessons Learned

For over 30 years, nearly every business day, I sat at my Merrill Lynch financial advisory desk serving our clients. I was there for them in good times and bad – especially the bad. That’s when people need their financial advisors the most. For a large majority of my career, times were good. In retrospect, my timing looks impeccable. When I was hired by Merrill Lynch in 1983, the Dow Jones Index traded at 1200. The year I retired, 2017, the same index traded at 25,000. Not bad at all. Because the Dow Jones Index tracks a diversified mix of 30 of America’s largest and most stable companies, otherwise known as ‘Blue Chips,’ it is a good indicator of the health of the U.S. and global economies. Can you just imagine if the U.S. Treasury had been smart and optimistic enough to invest a portion of its Social Security trust fund in the American economy, instead of timidly settling for the lowest return available every year (i.e. the three-month treasury bill)? In short, there wouldn’t be a chance of ever

Barry Moltz: The Unstuck Guy

Entrepreneurial success and failure have molded a man on a mission to cure the small business blues with his extensive wealth of knowledge. Barry Moltz, a small business and entrepreneur expert, has a unique talent for helping business owners regain focus and grow their potential for success. He is a best-selling author of several books on practical business advice. His first book, “You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business” is in its fifth reprint with translations in Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Thai. His books cover a range of entrepreneurial and small business topics such as reputation management, profitability, business confidence, digital strategies, customer service, and more. Getting Stuck One of his favorite quotes to live by is, “Start from where you are.” This is where the launchpad for change takes place and where the mindset for success begins. Small business owners and entrepreneurs often dive in whole-heartedly into fulfilling their business dreams, but soon realize they have shortcomings in critical areas to keep them afloat, such as finance know-how and marketing skills. He

Ivana Taylor: The DIY Queen of Marketing

This determined self-starter rocked the small business world with money-saving DIY marketing strategies. “The number one mistake small business owners make is that they think they have to sell everything to everybody. You’ve got to know who the right people are and you’ve got to stop talking about your product, selling is out, contribution is in.” Just when you thought Gary Vaynerchuck was the only online digital marketing sensation ever to set foot on the face of this earth, meet Ivana Taylor. Who is Ivana Taylor? According to Fast Company’s 2010 Influencers Project, Taylor ranked number twenty-one out of over thirty thousand internet professionals. But what is it that makes Taylor such an accomplished online persona in the digital marketing industry? Among her long list of accomplishments, Taylor is an author, publisher, content contributor, book editor, marketing consultant, and overall digital marketing.  Taylor also instructs marketing classes at Cleveland State University and Akron University in her home state of Ohio. Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com, an online digital marketing publication that specializes in helping small business owners with the

Finding Your Financial Advisors

Throughout my thirty-year professional career in financial services, I’ve earned a closetful of degrees and continuing education credits. The more notable include – JD, CPA, CLU, ChFC and CFP. They each reflect a specific area of expertise in the law, taxes, estate planning, insurance and financial planning. To my many business partners and clients, I was considered a reliable source of state-of-the-art knowledge on these critical life issues. My degrees afforded me a level of credibility and opened more than a few doors. Results over Accreditations Upon reflection, I think the degrees were just the beginning of my value proposition. My career success had more to do with the day-to-day actions I took – my ability to perform and produce results. Once the door had been opened by a business partner and I was face-to-face with a mutual client, and in the aftermath, my job was to perform – to solve problems and substantially improve the lives of my clients – and thereby my business partners as well. Since my earliest days in Long Island, N.Y., I’m told I was

Joe Pulizzi: Godfather of Content Marketing

Engaging and growing an audience is key to brand building and business success. Joe Pulizzi swears by his approach of building an audience and once that audience knows, likes, and trusts a brand, then they can be monetized. Known in the digital marketing industry as the Godfather of Content Marketing, he founded the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), an industry leader in the education and practical training of content marketing. He has since sold the company which hosts the world’s largest in-person marketing event, Content Marketing World, every year in Cleveland, Ohio. The event draws people across all industries to network and learn new methods and tactics for growing and monetizing an engaged audience in the digital world.  Big Dream Goes Big Time Before Pulizzi became a major marketing heavyweight, he was just a simple person with a big dream. He had a vision of what internet marketing would be like before it became the world’s biggest platform for marketing and selling products and services. He is known for popularizing the term “content marketing” as far back as 2001, which means growing

Jim Rooney: An Amazon-Sized Awakening

While Consuming, we should also be Producing and Investing Our poor decisions and moments of regret can often carve pathways to future triumphs. If, that is, we engage in clear and self-effacing thinking. If we critically assess our errors, learn the lessons and make proper adjustments, we will begin shifting our mistakes and temporary failures into stepping stones to future opportunity and success. My subject herein is investing. In my 35 years in the business, I’ve experienced both exhilarating successes and humbling failures, and along the way made every poor decision and mistake known to humankind. Here’s one that still resonates today: In the early 2000s, I began shopping at Amazon.com. I bought a few books and music CDs (remember those?) and within the week the soon-to-be ubiquitous box was on my doorstep. Their software worked perfectly and provided better complimentary product recommendations than any store clerk I’d ever encountered. Thus, I often bought more than I’d intended. It was easy, convenient and life-changing. In the nearly two decades since, as Amazon has vastly expanded its retail footprint and influence,

Peter Shankman: PR Superstar

How one man turned a deficit into an asset and blossomed into a worldwide sensation. Definition of Success Some people let labels hold them back, others use them to push forward. Peter Shankman is of the latter group. Diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in his mid-30s, he got tired of being misunderstood. His desire to talk to people, need for stimulation, and pursuit of creative outlets, became the impetus that catapulted him into the multi-million-dollar success he is today. Just ask him, and he’ll tell you – he wouldn’t be who he is today without ADHD. Help A Reporter Out (HARO) Unique is one way to describe Shankman. He’s fearless, and has no problem creating his own lane. He’s the founder of The Geek Factory, a boutique PR and marketing agency that’s worked with bigwig clients like American Express, Snapple, The US Department of Defense, NASA, Royal Bank of Canada, Sheraton, Napster, Walt Disney World, Harrah’s Hotels, and others. While running The Geek Factory in 2007, Shankman ventured out to create Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a revolutionary

Dynasty Trusts: The Ultimate Family Plan

Preserving family wealth can last forever with proper estate planning. At one time or another, many of us have heard the term “dynasty trusts” and dismissed the thought, certain that it is the exclusive domain of those with extraordinary wealth, or those wishing to pass assets to grandchildren rather than children.  This could not be further from the truth. Generation-skipping does not refer to skipping your children, it’s about skipping the payment of estate taxes, possibly for hundreds of years! As a matter of fact, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way, and you might just learn that a dynasty trust might be perfect for your estate planning.  For those who have managed to accumulate sufficient assets for retirement and, in all likelihood, will be leaving some of their wealth to their children, there are some choices: Most people leave their assets outright, or directly, to their heirs, giving them the freedom to do what they want whenever they want with the assets. These people typically believe that leaving assets in trust for their heirs creates restrictions and

Mike Michalowicz: Entrepreneur

Simple Strategy, Remarkable Results Most of us are competent enough to spontaneously host a successful social gathering. On the spur of any moment we can muster a compatible blend of friends, making sure to include the storytellers, the witty jokesters, the drinkers, especially those who bring along great wine (thank you, Uber), the energy sparks, the intellectual (one is usually enough), and the ones who always help out in the kitchen. Once that perfect mix has been assembled, we throw together a simple menu, tidy up, get the tunes ready, and the evening takes care of itself. But, what if we’re planning our daughter’s wedding, or hosting one of our Throomers dream dinner parties? What if we wish to deliver something extraordinary, world-class, an evening so impressive that it will be gushingly recounted forevermore? This would require an entirely different process, would it not? To accomplish such a feat, we’d need to follow time-honored procedures. We’d begin months in advance by consulting with event-planning experts. We’d then follow their clear, concise, well-articulated guidelines. In short, we’d do everything in our power

BILL BOERSMA: LIFE INSURANCE & ESTATE PLANNING

What to do with existing policies As might be expected, I’m getting more calls lately from advisors and policy owners asking what should be done about life insurance no longer needed for estate liquidity purposes or due to a change in planning.  Sometimes it’s because the kids are out of the house and that house is paid off and retirement has arrived.  Other times it is because the policy hasn’t performed very well and they have no interest throwing more money at it. I generally answer the same way every time: “Let’s evaluate the policy and then talk about options.” Depending on the client situation, the first issue I discuss with the advisor is what happens when the current estate tax law sunsets, and does your client really want to bank on what the tax laws will be, 17, 28 or 42 years from today? With life insurance, it seems many people will jump on a reason to walk away.  The people I deal with are big kids so if they make a decision and regret it later, they can