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Schedule A Roundtable
   An easy way to learn about Self-Empowered Banking (SEB) and what it can do for you, your family, your business and your colleagues is to schedule a roundtable. 

This informal gathering offers the opportunity to see how SEB works, ask questions and hear how actual clients have used their SEB systems to:
  • get out debt, 
  • save for the future or
  • finance a home, car, business equipment, a college education or whatever you need or want.

To schedule a roundtable: JULIE ANN

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No Secrets

If you are reaping the rewards of Self-Empowered Banking, don't keep us a secret.

Refer your colleagues, family and friends to Julie Ann Hepburn.
Building Wealth ... 

   There's been a lot going on recently with the economy and in the financial world. If it seems to you, from your own personal experience, that the recovery is moving slower than it ought to be - you're right! It's not a figment of your imagination. Read on to discover why, and then, find out how you can help yourself and the economy recover.
Recovery Slower ...

     The recovery that seemed so robust at the beginning of the year is not as deep as it seemed. The 2012 Annual Report released late last week by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis indicates that Americans have yet to recover more than 55% of their pre-recession wealth.  


     Earlier this year, the Fed indicated that on the whole Americans had recovered more than 91% of their losses but this figure was based on aggregate household-net-worth data. This earlier data does not take into account such things as inflation, population growth and changes to the marketplace, which occurred during the past six years.


     The St. Louis Fed report says that approximately two-thirds of the increase in aggregate household wealth is due in large part to rising stock prices. This has primarily benefitted the richest households with 80% of the stock held by 10% of the population. The rest of us are still digging out.


     Unlike the wealthiest Americans, who have diversified portfolios, which spread their wealth across many investment options, typical middle and lower-income Americans have most of their investment dollars in real estate - usually their personal home. This investment sector was the hardest hit in the recession and has still not returned to pre-recession levels - if it ever will.


     High debt levels and the problems this causes in rebuilding net worth are key reasons for the slow recovery. The people who were hit hardest were those who suffered job losses or reduced income. Unfortunately, at the same time, they were also the ones who had higher debt loads from having borrowed cheaply to buy houses well beyond what they could afford. Most affected were young people, African-Americans and Hispanics - all who have low savings and high debt, with most of their wealth based on housing.


     Read the full report at: ST. LOUIS FED FULL REPORT

     Read a summary at: ST. LOUIS SUMMARY 

To Pay or Not to Pay ...

     The St. Louis Fed report called into question whether it is prudent for the economy overall for people to pay down debt - deleveraging - in financial terms. 


     Since the beginning of the recession, the mantra of the Fed is that we can somehow spend our way out of debt.


     Accordingly, by paying down our debt (instead of continuing to spend) we are causing the economy to recover less quickly, and so therefore, we should just simply keep spending.


     Somehow, this seems counter-intuitive, and in light of the principles of Self-Empowered Banking - it's just plain crazy. You cannot spend your way out of debt unless you are planning to go through a bankruptcy to clear your debt, a choice which we do not advocate. 


   Better still, the prudent action is to take more control over how you manage and use your money before bankruptcy is your only option. Someone will always be performing the banking and financing functions with your money, and it might as well be YOU!


     Here is some thought-provoling information based on what Americans think they can do about their debt from a survey by

  • 50% of Americans will pay down their debt in 5 years or less
  • 10% of Americans think it will take more than 20 years to pay down their debt (It will if they keep spending!)

     How are people planning to get out of debt?

  • 79% will budget their way out of debt
  • 52% will increase their income with a second job
  • 13% will declare bankruptcy
     This sounds a lot easier than it is - especially if those deep in debt continue to use the same principles and methods that brought them to this place to begin with. Those in the first two percentages (79% and 52%) don't realize that Parkinson's Law is in full operation -- as they reduce their debt, they will fill the space with something else. For those 13% - they will most likely end up back in bankruptcy because rarely do they change their spending habits. 

    It takes courage, persistence and a different path to turn the corner on debt. Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing, the same way, and expecting to get a different result. 


     For those who attended any of the Your Financial Destiny sessions - you may remember that Dr. Robert Murphy explained very clearly that the economy is fueled by savings, not by constant debt creation. And, that calls for a different method of handling your money.  

To Pay or Not to Pay Down Your Debt - That is the Question?


    So, if you're wondering whether you should pay down your debt or join the Fed in jump-starting the economy by continuing to spend at pre-recession levels - the answer is PAY DOWN YOUR DEBT as quickly as you can, and then save your money. 


   Did you know you can do both (save and reduce debt) at the same time? And, did you also know, even if you have have no cash flow due to your debt, if you have income there's a way to redirect your dollars to save and reduce debt?


     If you're lucky enough to have a Self-Empowered Banking system - the next time you need to finance something you want - you'll have the money and the system in place to finance the debt and capture the interest you would have paid the credit card company, the bank, or the loan shark. 


     Oh, you'll also be helping to jump-start the economy with your purchases, you just won't have to be subject to the whims of the financial marketplace.

    If personal or business debt is still causing you sleepless nights then maybe it's time to explore the alternative path. Let's talk about how you might use a Self-Empowered Banking system to get yourself out of debt and begin to rebuild your net worth. Contact me via email or by phone 312.957.9400.

All the best,
JAH New Signature Photo
Julie Ann Hepburn
National Private Client Group LLC

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