Common Sense – Slaves to Ignorance

What if we were in control, yet we were ignorant to that fact? What if 2008 gave us a hint, but in our fear and ignorance we were too blind to see it?

Let’s go back to 2008 for a moment. I’m not interested in conspiracy theory, simply looking at what happened. What happened to the price of real estate? They dropped and in some places significantly. Why? Forget politics and use common sense. What caused the prices to go up? The availability of debt! What caused the prices to come down? The inability to obtain debt. This is simple, if we apply common sense.

You ever have someone give you a card on your birthday showing the prices of items when you were born compared to the prices of items now? Have you ever asked why?

Now, let me ask you another question. Who is helped when prices go up? Are you? Am I? As a financial planner for 18 years, helping people plan for the future, we were taught of a multitude of risks that every family has to be aware of; market risk, political risk, longevity risk, and interest rate risk. Another was inflation risk. What is inflation? What causes it?

In economics, we are taught about supply and demand. If the supply is too high with little demand, the price of an item will drop. If demand is high, but supply is low, the seller can charge a higher price. So, if dollars are easy to borrow, what happens to the price of stuff in high demand?

I’m going to continue with questions in hopes that it will cause you to think. Is it easier for us to build a house today than it was 30 years ago? Can cars be produced faster and easier now than in the past? Is it possible to achieve a college degree from the comfort of your own home?

What if no loans were available for a house, a car, or a college education? What would happen to the prices? What if were content with where we are until those prices came down? Could you be disciplined enough to as NO to any new debt?

An evil man once said, “Give me control of a nation’s money supply, and I care not who writes the laws.” Mayer Amschel Rothschild.

Again, keep it simple. Who borrows the money? We do! Then who controls the money supply? We do!

When we figure this out as a people and act on it, we have a chance to free ourselves and our children from the burden of debt. This is a fight that we can win together if we use Common Sense!

Just Me, Mickey

I look back on my life and now understand what the writer of Proverbs meant when he wrote in chapter 16 verse 9, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” If I’m honest, for the last twenty plus years, He was establishing my steps even though I had no plan.

In 1999, I joined a financial planning firm despite having no interest in the industry prior to my father-in-law asking me to join in 1998. Prior to that, I had been floundering since my business failed in 1996 that left us with a mountain of debt.

Starting in 2009, after watching people lose half of their savings, I began to pray a specific prayer, “God, I want a door out of this business and I want to know the truth.” The more I studied and read, the more truth I learned, but the door would not open for another 8 and ½ years. When it finally did open, my faith was tested like no other time in my life.

Within two days of walking through the door, September 30, 2017, my dad went into the hospital and passed away on October 13, 2017. From October 2 through early November I would spend about 5 days at my house in Kansas and the rest of the time with my mom in SC.

On November 5th, while driving back with my oldest son from Oklahoma City after baseball, my wife sent me a text that read, “We have a new leak.” This would be the beginning of a disaster in our home that forced us out of our house for almost a month and to this date, May 7, 2018, the work that was supposed to be done, still isn’t finished.

On top of that, our youngest son has a condition called P.A.N.D.A.S., Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections. It’s a condition that we didn’t know existed until 2014. This is a condition that I would not wish on any child. Because of this condition, he has practically had to be home schooled since January.

This was not what I expected when God finally opened the door for me to get out of the business. Many times I even found myself questioning God and questioning myself. Did I not do what you asked? Was that really a door that opened or did I force it open? Then, I realized that had I not walked through the door, it would have been difficult to be with my dad when he breathed his last breath. I couldn’t have been with my mom while he was in the hospital or for the time after he passed.

For an entire semester of school, I’ve spent time with my son that I couldn’t have if I hadn’t walked through that door. And, despite the struggles, he continues to get better and one day, he may have the opportunity to help more people than I ever could.

What about the house? It’s just a house. We have a roof over our head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and a family that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

So, what now? I believe that each and every one of us have the opportunity to make the lives of others better because of what we’ve lived through and what we know. For me, that’s 22 years of debt and 18 years in the financial industry. And, only God could have orchestrated that. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” One thing I know, is that I love God, and I believe that I’ve been called according to his purpose.

When I began to pray for a door out of the business, I thought it was because I hated the business. As I was approaching my last day in the business, the truth was, I didn’t hate all of the business. I really like helping people, but I was limited in how many I could help when my income was dependent on money under management.

How could I share my knowledge in a way that would benefit people? What was it I could do to get their attention? What should I call it? Complete Fitness? Mission Freedom? Today, I write to you as nothing other than Mickey Ellison, Me.

The knowledge that I gained in over 18 years in the financial industry has given me knowledge that could save people thousands of dollars in fees if they knew where to look. It has given me knowledge on how to help young couples prioritize in a confusing and overwhelming arena. Information that can help people make educated decisions when they change jobs or retire.

Most of the financial advisors that I know are good people that do want to help their clients achieve their goals. They are also people who have a built in conflict of interest because their income is usually derived from gathering assets or commissions and not advice. What I believe most people could use is a coach. Someone who’s income is not tied to how much money you have.

Think about it. Would you buy a house without ever seeing it? Would you pay $250,000 without having it inspected? Yet, that’s close to what most people do when they retire or invest money for any other reason. They hear terms that they don’t understand in a language that seems foreign, and assume it’s too complicated to understand. When the truth is, it is much simpler than most believe and taking a little time with someone to become educated may save you thousands, and prevent you from becoming a “victim” because you didn’t understand.

Please know, that everywhere you sign or initial on an investment application means something. Don’t sign it if you don’t understand it. I saw this hundreds of times while I was in the industry. Many times the advisor takes the blame but the reality is when you sign it or initial it, they assume that you understand. The book, prospectus, that they give you when you make an investment, should have every fee that you could possibly pay in it. On that application, you are signing that you’ve read that book and you understand.

The issue is, who can you ask that doesn’t have a vested interest in you making the investment? Maybe someone with 18 years of experience in the industry. Someone that was a Certified Financial Planner and had 4 different securities licenses.

Those 18 years of experience also had a direct relationship with 22 years of debt. Because of what we have had to go through with debt and my experience in the financial industry, I have an understanding of debt that most do not.

Debt is where the idea of Mission Freedom came from. Debt enslaves people, not only those that are in debt, but those that have no personal debt. My hope and prayer is that, we as a nation will gain an understanding of this because it very well may be the greatest threat to our freedom that exists, and there’s very little understanding of how. If we did, we would be doing everything we could to eliminate our own debt and joining forces to eliminate each other’s debt. And, I believe that can start within the church.

So, no more catchy names. It’s just me, Mickey.

God Bless!

Education is Key: Victims of Ignorance

We are all vulnerable when we are ignorant. History if filled with stories of people who suffered because of their ignorance. Slaves in the United States were purposely kept uneducated by their owners. Products are sold to people with marketing techniques that are purposely used to manipulate.
Let’s face reality, it is impossible to be an expert in everything.
Personally, I would not consider myself to be an expert in many things, but education and experience has made all of us experts in something. There are a few things that I consider myself well versed in: Debt, financial planning, and baseball. In this blog, I am going to focus on two of them: Debt and financial planning because they work hand in hand. Both of these, I have learned more about through personal experience and education.
First, let’s look at financial planning. In 1999, I moved from SC to Kansas and began my financial planning career. It wasn’t a career that I sought, but the opportunity was presented to me and I accepted. From October 1999 until September 30, 2017, I learned things that I know can help people when they need it the most. Helping young couples when they are first married. Those same young couples as they start a family. People who have received an inheritance after the death of a loved one. Others who have lost a job and have retirement money that they need help with. Older couples as they were approaching retirement, and a host of other reasons why someone would seek a financial planner.
This world of finance can be a confusing world and it is ripe for those that prey on ignorance. In truth, most people that work in that industry are honest, hardworking people that want to help others. The problem is knowing who is and who’s not. To make it more confusing, there are celebrities that have made a living bashing the industry as a whole, and while speaking, they give generic information that sometimes can be harmful while lining their own pockets. Most often, people become “victims” because of their own ignorance.
In September of 2017, when I left the industry, I didn’t leave because I hated all of it. In fact, helping people is something I love, and I could see where help was needed but my income was dependent on selling investment products.
One question I began to ask myself was, “Why do people hand over a lifetime of savings to an adviser or broker and have no idea what they are investing in?” They are given a large book that describes what they are being sold and never read it. The interesting part is, the person selling the investment often times has not read the whole thing themselves. Think about it, you are 65 years old, you have almost a million dollars in a retirement account that has to last you for the rest of your life.
Would you buy a house for $500,000 without seeing it or having it inspected? Yet, people go into financial planning offices every day, hand over money, and never seek advice from someone that isn’t getting paid to sell the product. Some people are true victims of fraud while most are victims of their own ignorance and often their own laziness.
Eighteen years in the industry has given me knowledge that can save people thousands of dollars in fees that they don’t know they are paying because they chose not to read the prospectus or they didn’t know where to turn when they read it and didn’t understand what they were reading. Some of the most important advice I can give is, do not invest with anyone until you know what you’re investing in and how much you are paying for that investment. Not what the adviser is making! What you are paying! The two are different.
For younger couples, what should you focus on? The answer differs from couple to couple. What products to be aware of because they can be your first sign of a planner to stay away from if you know what to look for.
This is knowledge that I hope to share with anyone seeking help. Information that can prevent you from being a victim of ignorance.

Now to debt.
For 23 years, debt has been a part of my life. Ours came from a failed business. For others it could be from student loans, auto loans, mortgages, medical bills, or credit cards. Going back to the young couple and even those younger. STAY AWAY from debt at all costs. Debt is an area where not only do I have experience, but I absolutely hate it. By working in the financial industry, I saw just how devastating debt can be. The fact is, if you were alive and an adult in 2008 during the financial crisis, you have seen just how destructive debt is but you may not know how or why. Financial giants disappeared; Lehman Brothers. And others, should have.
Have you ever wondered why those that were underwater in their mortgages were not bailed out, but those that loaned the money were?
Our everyday lives in America and around most of the globe are impacted by debt, even when we personally do not have debt ourselves. The prices of houses. The cost of cars. Especially the cost of college.
Many have offered classes to help people get out of debt. They’ve sold books, video and CD’s. None of which are bad, but we still have millions that are in debt. What I hope to start is not another class. Rather, I hope to start a debt revolution. And, my dream is a debt free body of Christ. Maybe one day, thousands of churches will join hand-in-hand to fight this beast and together we can slay it.
Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance leads to slavery.

Mickey Ellison