Is Our Advisor Screwing Us?

it’s the weekend and you have financial
questions that need answering that can only mean one thing
it’s time for Jill on money the show that takes the mystery out of your
finances here’s your host Jill Schlesinger welcome welcome we’re so
delighted that you are joining us thanks for taking the time we are broadcasting
live from the Capital One Bank studios and it is Jill on money so okay I’ve
been like on an extended book tour and so I’m going back and forth and you know
zipping around the country and talking about my book the dumb things smart
people do with their money 13 ways to write your financial wrongs and you know
I always think about this when I get all of your emails I think off you just
bought the book you would have avoided that problem dumb thing number one you
buy financial products that you don’t understand and of course one of my
all-time favorites is dumb thing number two you take financial advice from the
wrong people and boy do we hear a lot from those of you who have done that
particular dumb thing first up Diane from Indiana she may have suffered from
that dumb thing hi Diane welcome to the program hi Jill well my father passed
away that five years ago and he was a man who worked his whole life to build a
portfolio he had a little over a million dollars when he died and my mom not
knowing what to do with it put it with a financial advisor so in the past four
and a half years it has done a cumulative 10% hold on was she taking
money out are you including that I we have that calculated he talked her into
putting some additional money in and actually she had like she had some
investments I can Vanguard in some other places so she has about 750,000 with him
mm-hmm and we have calculated for taking money out granny there’s two sit back in
so the closest we can come to is that it’s about ten and
percent cumulative over four and a half years was she saying to him don’t take
any risk or was it was her no instruction like that he has is invested
in about fifty fifty five fifty bond and bond funds to the equities in 2017 she
netted three and a half percent with him he claims that he’s wonderful
I see actually talked me into putting money with him to and after four years
of making nothing and mine with it that’s invested aggressively I took some
money out that is bizarre what are the investments well for the first several
years it was in CS a dimensional funds of America and demanded dimensional Fund
Advisors and those are great funds yes and I don’t dispute the philosophy
behind them but when they kept not making any money and he would argue but
they’re beating the benchmark my response was but then your portfolio
mixes are not set up right because they should be making money and he you know
argued we argued that argument for a few years and then I finally pulled money
out but then a year ago he switched to where he’s now buying and selling
strictly stocks and daily managing stock Oh how does he get paid
he is fee base he claims he is food to Jerry and when I say he’s selling stocks
he changed companies so that he no longer handles mutual funds at all they
do daily management of buying stocks and bonds no mutual fund my goodness and how
much is he charge for this service about one point two percent I think it’s what
she’s paying so your mom just went along with him or he had done it he’s actually
an attorney who I guess wasn’t making enough money selling trust so he started
doing financial advising too so she had her trust with him oh yeah yeah this is
so sketchy I know this is so sketchy so what so how
are we gonna get mom to get out of this arrangement what if what
have you tried so far well I’ve just been talking I mean I’ve the fact that I
have had money with him and I can show her how mine made nothing and hers is
making nothing and I’ve talked her over and over again about how she should be
and I’ve shown her what we’ve made so recently I pulled up from Vanguard
Target Retirement Income Fund account that she could safely put money in one
told her that she could at least pull half the money out mm-hmm and move it to
a vanguard managed account where they’re charging 0.3%
yep to manage it but she’s she says number one she’s afraid she doesn’t
think she can do it herself and what she doesn’t have to I mean let’s play you’re
gonna play this callback for her I hope but she doesn’t have to because if she
does if she uses Vanguard they’ll do it for her maybe one thing that’s important
to remind her if she’s unwilling not unwilling but she’s hesitant to make
changes and I understand that maybe one thing to say is that you know simply by
moving over will essentially save about 1 percent of your portfolio every year
you know or 7,500 or 10 grand which is like real money mom and you can use that
does she need this money to live on no not unless she’s 85 she her earnings
will probably got 75,000 a year counting her social securities and everything and
she lives probably on 30,000 a year oh my gosh yes she has yes she doesn’t need
the money and that she says I don’t care I don’t care if it makes anything or not
I can’t manage it myself I don’t care I know that she doesn’t
care that’s like I know I get that like she doesn’t want to deal but on the
other hand how can we guilt her into this I’m just trying to think about this
well I have tried to tell her that my dad who came from nothing than his life
trying to build a legacy for his family and to take care of her and because I am
the custodian or the executor of her trust and everything I see
responsibility to my dad’s legacy that’s pretty good
I mean that’s a pretty good guilt trip you can only do what you can do right I
mean there’s only so much you can do but I do think that maybe just saying to her
that you know what let’s just go talk to somebody else
humor me mom just humor me let’s do this together
I mean if you even if you don’t care do you care that $10,000 is being thrown
out the window every year that should catch her attention she doesn’t I’ve
told her that my best bet is recently I’ve been saying at least take some of
the money out if you take half the money out you’re paying him half yeah no and
what and did she respond to that or not he is talking about maybe taking a
hundred thousand out Hey look you know what let me just say this even if it
were a hundred thousand it’s a start so as long as you can get that party
started I think that that would really be important for you guys because I mean
you don’t have a lot of power in this I interviewed this guy he’s a wealth
psychologist he really gets brought in in family dynamic situations like this
one and I said to him what’s the best advice you can give when I get a caller
who says that like mom or dad just won’t do it and he said baby steps and if you
can start small I think that that baby step could really help you you have
siblings is it just you I mean if they could not gang up on her but at least
echo what you’re saying in terms of like just do something small let’s see how it
does like let’s make a comparison like we all think this is you don’t care but
we care and if this is for us then like let and our kids then your grandkids
then you know let’s all be in it together and see if that works I mean
look again she’s gonna do what she wants to do but if a baby step can help I
don’t know maybe that’s the way to go we’ll get back to more of your awesome
questions in just a moment so did you catch that I enjoyed this with the book
well now you have a chance to go by the book go to the website Jill on
click on the link the book and you can have your own brand new copy and you can
learn about the 13 ways to write your financial wrongs will
right back follow Jill on Twitter and Instagram for more personal finance
content just use the handle at Jill on money now back to the show you’re back
it’s Jill on money and by the way if you have not checked out our podcast which
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question really doesn’t matter any financial topic alright and then email
address is ask Jill at Jill on okay let’s start this segment it’s
Melanie who’s calling from New Jersey hi Melanie what can we do for you
hey good morning Jill thanks for having me sure so my husband and I bought a
house about three years ago down here that are you sure primary residence and
we got in when rates were really low I think our current rate on our mortgage
is like three point six to five but fabulously the value of our home has
increased something like twelve or fifteen percent in the last couple of
years and when we first took out the mortgage we only put down I think
thirteen percent so we contained PMI the value has increased enough now that you
know if we had a refinance then we would be totally out of the PMI we’d have like
25 percent of equity in a home but rates are really high now so we don’t really
know oh whoa whoa wait a minute hi hold on higher don’t let say let say
higher let’s say that you had to tell you you’ve obviously already looked into
this so let’s do the comparison three point six two five is your rate on your
30-year fixed-rate mortgage and what would be the new rate if you
were to refinance this minute so the lowest rate that the current laurea
hunter could give us is something around four point seven five okay so about a
point higher yeah okay but you wouldn’t have to pay PMI right so how much would
your payment increase if you were to refi right now so they told us they
weren’t able to get us like a confirmed answer yet they’re still running numbers
but they thought it would break out right around even so we wouldn’t really
be saving anything so you’d lose the amount that you were paying for PMI but
the cost of the loan would rise right exactly
okay all right but that’s not so bad that’s actually a put that’s better than
I thought you were gonna say so that seems fine so let’s back up so that’s
the house itself tell me more about what’s going on in your lives we’ve got
an 18 month old daughter and you know we’re the other thing that we’re looking
into doing with the house and the next year or so is renovating the kitchen
they’re the homes in our area you know like the comps in the area they’re all
you know quite a bit higher than ours it’s just great
a lot of the stuff in our home is builder grade so we plan to stay here
probably for another 10 years but you know we’d like it to be a little nicer
so that’s one thing that we’re looking into which kind of throws another you
know variable into this whole refi should we should be not saying but other
than that you know we’re I think we’re doing pretty well our savings are pretty
solid how much do you have in savings so I’m acting out my 401 K through work
I’ve got about sixty five thousand in there right now my husband’s got up
seven thousand in his his employer his new employer has a central IRA so he’s
moving everything over right now that it works sort of in transition there we’ve
got a brokerage account with about fifty thousand and we’re how much 50 years did
you say 506 out 6o brokerage account non-taxable account yep and then we’ve
got our rainy day fund with which is just sort of cash and a savings account
that’s about 25 K okay um and any debt that’s outstanding besides that mortgage
yeah we can we both guys have quite a bit of us didn’t loan that
my husband has about 75 pay lessons student loan debt a couple of loans
there some are six and we’re variable but the highest variable is about four
point nine eight percent so we’re paying those down and I’m halfway through a
graduate degree myself so I currently got about fourteen thousand and debt but
that’s not going to be much higher I think by the time I’m out we’ll have a
total of maybe twenty and that’s it at a fixed rate as well but that’s a little
higher that’s about five and a half percent okay here’s my question to you
what’s going on with that why is that brokerage account there when I was like
16 or 17 and I had my first job my parents just told me you should set this
up and you should put something in it and ever since then I’ve always kind of
set it up so that I had just sort of an automatic withdrawal out of my checking
account so I didn’t know about it and just goes there and it sits there and I
don’t do too much with it okay so let me ask a couple of questions so I presume
because I know how old are you I’m 30 okay so the money that’s in there in
that brokerage account presumably has some low cost basis right yeah okay and
that being the case I presume when I give you the following piece of advice
you’re gonna be very mad at me which is why don’t you sell whatever is in the
brokerage account and start paying down some of that debt so that you can
basically say hey I made a bunch of money I’ll pay the capital gains rate
and be done with it and and pay off my debt my five and a half percent debt
which ain’t cheap or six percent and get a little bit of this reduced or at the
very least maybe take some of it to fix up your kitchen what do you think of
that idea we I’m totally open to it I really you know like the brokerage
account is really just there because you know I’m thinking of cable this is for a
kitchen in the future or this is for you know what you know what I mean like this
sort of up those mid term goal accounts and I just I guess I just never thought
about selling it because how much you need to do a kitchen we’re getting close
right now but I’m kind of expecting somewhere in like the thirty to forty
five thousand dollar range okay so I mean look you’re you got – you got three
basic choices let me I was going to say – alternate
I see there’s three one is let me just sell out the money that’s in this
brokerage account let me use that to pay for my kitchen and maybe just pay off
that five and a half percent graduate debt and then the husband’s debt you can
kind of would keep whittling it away and be done with it right that would be one
choice the other choice is to assume a higher total mortgage amount at 4.75%
and use that to pay for the kitchen now I don’t know if I love that and or maybe
even consider a home equity line of credit but the problem with that is that
even though that’s still deductible because under the new law you as long as
you buy build or improve a property it’s the interest is still deductible and the
third would be to borrow money from your 401k
I like the brokerage account one I mean in a weird way I’ll tell you why in a
weird way the brokerage account seems like wow that’s a very drastic decision
but it’s actually the safest decision this way what you can do is you can go
ahead and refinance your house right and get that done before you know honestly
like rates are probably generally trending higher you lock it in you’re
done and it’s no difference to you as you as you said it’s probably a
break-even but it’s fine right get rid of your PMI boom done that gets finished
and then the brokerage account you can use and – and you can use that to do the
kitchen and maybe I wouldn’t even pay down the debt just yet I might just sell
the stuff out make sure you understand what your tax liability is gonna be for
next year right keep some of that extra money aside to pay the taxes do
whatever’s left over can pay for the kitchen because you know if they say 30
it really means 45 as you said it could be 50 and then you’ve got the money and
it’s done and you’ve paid for it out of your cash flow essentially because
you’ve been saving this much money – which is great and essentially you know
that’s exactly what an on retirement brokerage account is for is to fund as
you said short to intermediate term goals so I I don’t see why you wouldn’t
do that that’s awesome I mean it sounds good to me I think the only the only
concern that I know my husband will have as we’ve spoken about this is he sort of
looks at it like 35 pieces it says well I’m not getting shorter
and my monthly payment isn’t going down what what’s the benefit of refinancing
right now well and I know hey you get rid of your PMI but I don’t think that’s
tangible enough for him okay well then just say we’re saving 250 bucks a month
and move on okay you know like because because the faster you do that the
better it’s gonna be right and then you can’t get rid of the PMI unless you
refinance at any time right right so here’s the here’s the critical issue
that you explained to him yeah I mean I know it sounds like PMI is nothing honey
but if we pay 250 bucks a month for the next 25 years that adds up all right
it’s all going by so fast for me it’s crazy are you thinking about what you
should do next in your financial life well now’s a good time to take stock
send us an email ask Jill at Jill on hurry up before the summer
comes you’re not gonna want to do this during the summer come on you know that
Jill on is the website shoot us a note from there or again ask Jill
at Jill on we’ll be right back with more of your
awesome questions do I invest here should I put my money there Jill
Schlesinger can help you back to Jill on money you’re back with Jill on money and
this is the program that takes the mystery out of your financial life I’ve
been Hawking a lot of stuff lately I’m gonna keep Hawking the book how long can
I hock the book for Marc like when do I have to one-year it’s kind of like a
wedding gift you got a year to give someone a wedding gift I have a year to
hock my book I have a lot of authors on this show I hock their books now I’m
Hawking my own I’m sorry it’s just the way it is anyway I’ve been also like
it’s been way top of mind because even though it came out in February I totally
been on this crazy book tour and the book tour is not like a lot of people go
on book tour and they go and they say well I’m gonna take three weeks off and
go on a book tour except that I have a real job and so I cannot afford to do
that so I’ve been spreading it out and so a lot of the questions that I’m
gonna read in this next few weeks has emerged from all these different book
conversations that I’ve had so here’s one from a woman who went because I did
a women’s networking group at one and that’s said anyway so here’s one and
here is a big question what are the recommended questions that you should
ask when interviewing a financial planner what offense has to question for
you to ask because I have the answer go to jail on there is a tab
that’s called resources and under that tab mark should we update that that we
probably should I’m going to update that making note to self standby update 10
questions update maybe I should make more questions twelve questions the
dirty dozen questions thirteen questions let’s do it remember cuz it’s thirteen
update all right so we’re gonna update the questions to ask a financial planner
it will be there and ready for you don’t worry I’ll update it before you get
there and we’re gonna make instead of ten
we’re gonna make thirteen because the book is called the smart the dumb thing
smart people do with their money thirteen ways to write your financial
live wrongs so now let’s do thirteen questions to ask a financial planner
that will be under the resource tab at jalan money calm okay further in this
question achieving the big three might require major lifestyle changes that
many people are unable to make what is your take on starting a business and
working full time in order to accomplish paying off debt and save for six months
of living expenses how have smart people used their money to grow their wealth I
mean this is right up the alley of one of my favorite guests ever and his name
is Chris Gila beau he wrote the book called side hustle I don’t think have to
start a business but to have another stream of income that is available to
help you fund those big three which is again for everyone listening paying off
debt establishing an emergency reserve fund
and trying to maximize your retirement contributions I think that’s an amazing
idea however it’s hard I mean if you have kids and you’ve got other concerns
I mean it’s hard to find the time so I just put that out there here is a
question that comes from Gabriella also known as Gabby my husband and I are
retired I am 60 and I don’t know who’s though sixty and seventy four year old
74 years old respectively we both have a secure pension and some
annuities totaling $130,000 we just sold a vacation home and we cleared ready for
this wait for it 300 grand we’re not sure the best way to invest it what’s
your advice well I mean if you don’t need the money that is sort of an
interesting question here’s what you should not do do not put it into more
annuities put it into something that is a liquid investment account some sort of
that’s called a general investing account and let’s presume that you don’t
have any debt let’s presume that you have about a year of your expenses in
the bank if not make sure that this funds at least a year of your expenses
now on top of that maybe the best idea is to do a very boring investment
portfolio where you’ve got a lot of stuff that’s in safer cash or short term
and intermediate term bonds and then a little bit in the stock market in some
sort of stock market index fund so that you can try to beat the rate of
inflation I know inflation is very low right now
that said when inflation is low it doesn’t mean it’s gonna stay low forever
so we should make plans to ensure that you are able to maintain your quality of
life in assuming that prices keep going up and one way to do that is to have
just a little bit in the stock market now I presume you’re gonna have more
questions after you hear this so let’s talk
more about you know the the $300,000 and maybe what your approach should be okay
Gabby good luck that’s a good question good problem to have right okay here is
a quick one from Alice who writes my former spouses wife has come through at
the last second to say she will help fund college I’m nervous
should they take the money or not for my kid answer always take the money I know
you can’t necessarily count on it beyond this year but I would take the money and
worst case scenario we try to guilt her into funding the next couple of years
that’s it take the money all right Laura wants to
know this here’s the message I inherited investment portfolios from my mother
last fall I folded a smaller account at RBC Royal Bank of Canada into accounts
at Morgan Stanley for 30 years I’ve had my own accounts at Edward Jones now I’m
stuck the fees are anywhere from 1 to 1.3 percent at Morgan Stanley and they
use an asset under management model to manage my accounts now it Edward Jones I
have a long-standing relationship with a broker / financial advisor and my fee is
only 0.3% last year is it I’m just wondering what else are you sure that’s
your total fees I’m not sure hmm maybe it’s because the money difference I
don’t know anyway the question is I can’t decide if I should move everything
to Edward Jones since I know that broker or maybe I like the idea of having two
different companies especially considering the failure of a company
like Lehman Brothers there’s 1.2 million dollars at Edward Jones $700,000 at
Morgan Stanley I enjoy watching you on CBS this morning thanks for your advice
you know you’re gonna have a good chunk of money almost two million dollars what
I would do is I’d go to each of these companies and I would say I got two
million dollars what’s the best that you can do for me and see what comes up but
generally if you really are only paying point three percent at Edward Jones I’m
not sure you are cuz you have to add in commissions then I might just go there
since you have comfort okay you are listening to Jill on money hey check out
our sister podcast it’s called Jill money you can get it on Apple stitcher
radio comm Google Play anywhere else that you find your favorite podcasts
we’ll be right back back to Jill on money where Jill Schlesinger helps you
take the mystery out of your finances you’re back with Jill on money have you
checked out the website when you check it out well guess what pops up
immediately a chance for you to sign up for our free weekly newsletter mark
haven’t checked in with you on this how many subscribers to the weekly
newsletter which is free that’s a nice round number
never would have thought that when we started with when do we start that a
year in some ago like a year and a half ago right
tens of thousands of people let me just say that tens of thousands let’s get to
a hundred thousand though I don’t know why because who cares except that it’s
just a way to keep score I guess with myself anyway check it out you know we
should also do mark is that we should do some of our favorite podcast people are
asking me about that sometimes to find a get a good list of us you know I didn’t
lie I had to binge watch Game of Thrones before season 8 began which I did and
then I found this podcast that helped fill in some of the gaps because
obviously I didn’t pay enough attention to it in many were along the way and
there’s this podcast called binge mode and they do like an hour podcast of
every episode it’s very hard I think I need a chart to keep track of it all
yeah someone’s gonna come and have to do a recap I doubt it alright let’s go to
em this is a very specific name so I’m just not going to say I’m just say em em
says I watch you on CBS I think you’ve got great advice for
people on financial issues the GOP also known as the Republican Party has come
up with an idea to have people delay their retirement and use the money now
to pay for parental leave when they become new parents CBS this morning get
a story about this recently and and and about this new proposal from some in
Congress the idea delay retirement two months for every month used now for
parental leave sounds like a bad idea what do you think it could affect
millions of people okay so what do I think about that I think that they are I
get worried when we conflate two policy initiatives because I’m a simple-minded
human being and I think most of you agree with me are we talking about
Social Security if we’re talking about Social Security which is not broke it’s
just that we have a little bit of a mathematical problem I think that we’re
going to need to shore up Social Security and the way that that’s
probably going to happen is it’s going to be some combination of a slight
increase of Social Security or FICA taxes for employers and employees an
increase in the Social Security wage base an increase in the total amount of
money that gets taxed by the government to fund Social Security and a slight
extension of the number of years worked then we’re talking about paid medical
leave I think that’s a different issue and I think that has to be a different
program and usually those kinds of programs are funded by how mark moola
taxes you and me so I think those are two separate issues and so I am worried
about conflating them and I have a feeling that that’s a great way to start
talking about the demise of using social security in general you know who I love
I’ve got to get them back on the show not him her Teresa jerod uchi Gilad uchi
who wrote that rescuing retirement book was fantastic I’m gonna get her back on
talk about some of these different policies okay here is a question from
Elle I see I don’t want to give your name if you have string
not strange not common or unique first names or at least not run-of-the-mill
okay here’s a question from Elle good morning I have investments in a Roth IRA
in a 401k I feel my growth in these investments are at most half what I see
reflected in the market how do I go about finding a different investment
consultant firm to manage my accounts to better reflect what is happening in the
market thank you listen are you sure because this could
just be that you are a balanced investor well you don’t have to move your
accounts around maybe you have to choose riskier investments maybe you have to
choose a fund that is more geared towards long-term growth and I’m not
saying you should because maybe last year when the markets were when the
stock market was down you did better than the market so I need more
information from you but honestly the easiest way for you to increase your
what your your correlation with the market is to put more of your funds in a
stock market index fund so that is kind of where we end here we don’t have to go
someplace else okay I saw your I saw you on CBS this morning
this is from sue my husband was an attorney my son’s an attorney know
everyone should have a power of attorney have all the necessary documents I was
told this week by Social Security that there is no federal agency that will
accept any form of power of attorney I learned this after being in being an
active power of attorney for my mother for a year I needed for tax preparation
purposes Social Security forms sent by the administration shows income receipt
I assumed it have been lost in the mail now have to do a jump through the hoops
just a caveat your viewers should be warned about have a great day hey you
know what sue I also learned this recently and I you’re you’re absolutely
right there’s definitely some hoops and I’m not sure what this is about I got to
talk to an estate attorney but when we tried to redeem double e bonds for my
mother-in-law we were asked for a valid ID
my mother-in-law doesn’t drive and she hasn’t traveled in like 15 years so
there’s no there’s an expired license and expired passport and we’re like oh
here’s the power of attorney they’re like nope we don’t accept that so I
don’t know what the workaround is except that they’re nasty documents so I’m
gonna explore this a little bit more you’re listening to Jill on money thank
you for that note though very important if you’ve got a question send us an
email ask Jill at Jill on we’ll be right back you’re back with
Jill on money and before we close out the first hour just want to remind you
of a couple of resources that we’ve been talking a lot about both here on the
show and if you’ve seen me on TV and got a lot of people asking about this so one
is the resource that was mentioned around helping kids navigate financial
aid it’s called money it’s money – money – and the other is beth kobliner ‘he’s fantastic website beth
kobliner with a k ko b li n ER beth kobliner comm she’s the mastermind
behind the money as you grow a website for the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau but the part of her website that I want everyone to be focused on is the
part that’s called We Need to Talk college alright so going from your kids
to your parents here is a message from Kim she writes my 90 year old mom
recently moved in with me I found out she had taken out a loan last year I did
not know about it’s from the bank my name is on her checking account and has
been for years I did sign for this loan if she passes away before it’s paid off
am I responsible for the loan balance she does not have the funds to cover it
and does not own any property we should have had this conversation a long time
ago Thank You Kim Kim you co-signed it’s yours
it’s like the exact same thing about less co-signing with your kids for
college loan once you cosign you are now jointly liable for that liability okay
so there’s nothing you can do about it except unfortunately pay it off Neal
right saw you this morning on CBS you’re so on target with comments about the
fact that people don’t record the the location of important items so that
their spouse or family can take over when necessary
I am a quote elder and through my experience I just launched my life
directory dot-com website mission is to get folks to use simple and expensive
confidential book or PDF to record location of basic details so check it
out alright I’ll check it out maybe you guys will too okay it’s Jill on money we
are broadcasting live from the Capital One Bank studios when we return more of
your fantastic questions be right back it’s the weekend and that can only mean
one thing you’re listening to Jill on money the show that takes the mystery
out of your finances here’s your host Jill Schlesinger you are back it’s our
number two of the Jill on money show okay I am so getting really over done
with my own voice and I said to mark come on we’ve got all these amazing
interviews that we’ve conducted we were trying to dig out of our email box our
inbox and I think we’ve done a good job right mark I mean we got thrilled quite
a bit so we’re gonna start playing some of these terrific interviews that we
conducted earlier this year this is an interview with a young entrepreneur he
would call himself in middle age when it comes to the actual age of many
entrepreneurs but Jay Wong is the CEO of a company called boxed so impressed with
him I invited him to come into the studio so that he could share his story
and also just give us a little bit of his journey
so let’s begin the hour with my interview of Jay Wong the CEO of boxed
what led you to this place you went to college like what’s your story so it was
a long and winding story so when my parents first came to the States we
moved to Ohio probably had brochures in Taiwan of like beautiful they were born
and they were Taiwanese born that’s right okay and they come here
because they wanted a better life yes so even before that it’s it’s a little bit
nuts and my grandparents on my mother’s side one was Japanese one was mainland
Chinese and a big deal that makes marriage right yeah and they met in the
tail end of World War two and they all ran off together and then years later
then then ran off the Taiwan so my mom’s side the families that my dad’s side the
fam had been in Taiwan for for for many generations and then when I was about
one and a half they moved here to the States and now family
unions are like the UN Security Council so you have you know it’s just like do
you have certain things that are off – off limits talking about um you don’t
they general it’s funny because even at my wedding
like the first twenty thirty minutes it was just like I see it was like silence
I was like my family’s Japanese Japanese so you had their side you had kind of
the mainland Chinese folks you had the Taiwanese but oh my god and then the
alcohol comes out and then it’s like United Colors of Benetton social
lubricant is it’s a good and then where’d you go to college I went to
Hopkins for college in Baltimore uh-huh and you’re not pre-med I was sometimes
you feel like I’m sitting in this econ classes at Hopkins and you get these
pre-meds coming in for an easy a and just like listen man you’re messing up
the curve okay you know but for Hopkins it was um you know that was a little bit
of it but the reality was and when we first moved to the States and here’s
where we can tie it all together we went from Ohio then to Baltimore for
many years and my mom was a making minimum wage across the street from
Johns Hopkins University Hospital at this Chinese restaurant as a cashier and
she would always see all these doctors come in and out and it was always her
dream and she I remember when she said you know your kids are gonna go to
Hopkins one day yeah so I always took that as I got older I was like you know
what screw this like I can go to Hopkins and even though I wasn’t pre-med you
know that was a school that I applied to early and and I got in and to this day
it’s one of the only times I’ve ever kind of seen my dad cry or you about to
cry that’s a great story okay so you get out
of Hopkins what you do I made them proud by going to teach
English in countries that Japan so this was oh three when I graduated so you’re
still kind of in that like post first dot-com like post 9/11 kind of downturn
yeah and at that time none of the banks were really recruiting at Hopkins that’s
kind of changed since then I remember going to on-campus interviews and you
know there was this program when they send you off into the countryside
teaching English for a year or three and I was like you know what let’s go for it
and so how long were you there I was there for two years Wow
yeah it was so what was instructive out that looking back like what was the
most important few lessons that you took from that experience in just managing
people and being in a place where you’re uncomfortable potentially I could name
three huge life lessons that I learned there first is that don’t ever take kind
of being in a position where you can just simply speak the language and speak
what’s on your mind for granted after living in countryside Japan where not a
lot of folks spoke English and it was a challenge to get you know your faucet
fixed or to even just order a meal coming back to the states I was like you
know like I’m on top of the world I can I can do anything you know ii was not
being afraid speaking for in front of a crowd cuz i was teaching it in a middle
school and there was nothing more frightening than 30 middle schoolers
that turn on you and so no like i’m like nothing’s as bad as that you know
and then lastly don’t ever feel like you’re wasting your time
by taking a chance so here’s what i mean that by that after coming back from
japan taught English play duck-duck-goose
you know traveled over Asia for two years most of my other friends were
either going to business school at the time or med school were starting to go
from analyst associates some are even thinking about where’s where’s my VP
title and I met a big bank so I was like oh my gosh I really wasted two
professional years going there as it turned out when we started our first
company we had just no interest in funding us but then we had some traction
with our first game we were developing mobile games for the iPhone at the time
do you know how to do that I didn’t so I was on the business side of things I
know how to play games and knew what I liked okay but started with a bunch of
high school friends um when we went to so we we couldn’t really raise money
until we got this inbound from Japan so they were there was an inbound from one
of the biggest gaming companies in Japan so they said our CEO is coming for an
investor relation store do you want to meet with her so I said yes so we’re
sitting there and was just not good you know the first few minutes but then I
was like I know how to break the ice I speak a little Japanese and then I’m
like maybe I shouldn’t have said that cuz then they’ll start to test you but
then we realized that the CEO of that company was not only one of the only
founding female CEOs of a public company in Japan one of the only now baseball
team female baseball team owners in Japan
but one of the only public CEOs that grew up in the town that I taught
English at oh my goodness that is a weird coincidence and fantastic yep and
after that raised our first almost million bucks a few weeks later okay
wait a second when you got back from Japan is that the
first thing you did like let me go hang out with my guys and my boys at the
diner in New Jersey right down on the back of the envelope what are go good
let’s do this like a mobile game and you’re like alright I’ll do that you
guys do the work and I’ll do the business cuz I look good in a suit so
they’re probably gonna listen to this and they’re gonna like bust my chops all
day because that’s kind of how it happened so we were in a diner in Jersey
and I drove by it the other week and I was like that’s the diner where you know
my entrepreneurial career starts yes okay so coming back it’s kind of what
you said before my my parents were like okay enough that’s teach English you
know doctor banker lawyer pick one and I’m like well it’s too late to be a
doctor and you know it’s probably too late to inject myself into an analyst
class somewhere it’s a bank so you know I took the LSAT and went to law school
oh you did you actually went to law school okay
so went to law school graduated started my career on September 15 2008 oh come
on the day of Lehman Brothers banker buddies right yeah I love that you know
it yes nine hours after they collapsed our firm was located in Morgan Stanley’s
building at that time so 1585 Broadway yeah and Lehman was a block over yeah
and so he REM new suit new shoes walking to work with thousands of people
streaming onto the street I don’t know if you remember that scene first
groan I know it’s crying III just I know people I know a guy who lost 20 million
dollars on that day and his entire net worth evaporated because he just sat on
that Lehman stuck forever thinking that he was going to get bailed out by
somebody not so how long were you a lawyer I was there for a little over two
years we’ll get back to jwong in just a minute we’re gonna pay some bills while
we do that why don’t you check out the website Jill on you can click
on the link that says resources you could find all sorts of great stuff
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write your financial wrongs we’ll be right back do I invest here should I put
my money there Jill Schlesinger can help you back to Jill on money you are back
to the show that takes the mystery out of your financial life it’s Jill on
money we are broadcasting live from the policy genius studios LLC genius is the
easy way to compare and buy insurance just hop on to policy genius comm so I
want to get back into our interview with Jay Wong again he is the CEO of boxed
but I love the journey of many of these CEOs and many of these companies they
start with maybe one type of business it moves into another business you know I
remember reading the story about slack the office communications program they
really developed slack as a way to communicate about a whole different
business and then they’re like wait what we’ve just created this thing called
slack which is kind of like an instant messaging for intra-office they
discovered that that was the better business than the one that they had
developed well so too with Jay Wong and some of the folks he started up with
when he was creating an app what they learned why they sold and what happened
next here’s more of our interview with Jay Wong so how long did that app
business last it lasted how long did it take you to burn through your million
bucks that’s a better question so we had
almost no funding in the beginning so if you count that aside we went from
raising that first kind of almost million bucks yeah to Zynga acquiring us
in a little under 11 months wait a minute so she got bailed out she heard
that she made mine our you met you made a few shekels oh
absolutely please did well at that point are you a Zynga employee yeah afterwards
for how long we were there for a little under two years again did you have any
student loan debt at that time uh yeah absolutely
did you pay it all off most of it cuz but then the other the rest of its like
1% I was like you know okay so that’s good so you paid off the higher interest
and you put some money in the bank we worked at Zynga you made a decent
salary was it fun it was one of the most educational experiences of my life but
it was also one of the most heart-wrenching why cuz you go from
extreme kind of independence you know being your own boss living the dream to
then work sitting back in an office and working for the man again and you’re
like wait a minute but also it’s doing so we ended up
forming their New York mobile gaming studio so we were just like a factory of
games so the heart heart wrenching part was you know we IPO at 10:00 it went up
to 16 bucks and then within three quarters we were
trading at a dollar 85 or something like that so I don’t I never went to business
school but I feel like that was my hard knocks MBA and I realized a line I
learned so much were you able to sell after the IPO or were your shares tied
up most of our shares were tied up and so it was really tough just to see it
you do do that game like my net worth on paper and you start tracking it and then
all the sudden it goes the other direction you’re like I’m never looking
at this again it’s cold early yeah and so I remember you know because you know
I was running the studio at the time and everyone was on like Yahoo Finance and
like you know like Google Finance like refreshing the stock price and then I
got up in front of everyone I was like next person that I see on Google Yahoo
Finance it’s not gonna end well for you hmm
and then I go back to my desk I’m like Google Finance it really is hard not to
I get that so after the Zynga experience what happened next
we felt like mobile game developers had this really deep intuition about how
mobile customers behaved and so could we take that knowledge and apply it to a
new and bigger industry let’s take even a bigger shot and so co-founders left we
all took some time off and came back together to make a box so we
wanted to take our mobile knowledge and go after consumer packaged goods and
food retail so what is box and I’ll tell everyone why I fell in love with che in
a second so box is an online warehouse club so you know you get you take all
the big things that you could buy at you know Costco BJ’s and Sam’s Club except
you know all the heavy stuff we deliver right to your door two days or less for
90 plus percent of our customers free shipping for ninety seven percent of our
customers and overnight shipping for forty three percent of our customers
across the country so it’s kind of like bringing that warehouse club experience
to your pocket for you when you first started the barriers of entry are low
but the barrier for success is kind of high because you are basically competing
against Amazon and everyone else so talk about that a little bit yeah so I look
back and I just think what were we thinking you know in a lot of ways you
know she’s I mean we’re a little bit naive probably a lot of stupid and went
after it and just by sheer luck I feel like the tail winds of change within
food retail within consumer packaged goods kind of blew in our favor and by
year three year four and now you’re five we’re at a decent scale in a rapidly
changing industry and how is that changing like if drill down to the
consumer like if I want to get a bunch of paper towels and I go on Amazon Prime
and I click how is that different than my experience with box so on Amazon
Prime and Amazon general you you don’t really get like the large items that you
would see in a Costco or BJ’s you get bigger ones but not the full pack size
and a lot of times that they’re not the real value like generally if you shop
with box we don’t lead with price but you will save money over Amazon shopping
with box on the unit price we also don’t make you kind of build this weird box
like prime pantry does you have to add the right amount of stuff if you had too
much you get hit with another $5.99 yeah too little you’re like oh man I had to
pay shipping on this so we also don’t don’t don’t ask you to
do or play that game so who are your customers generally speaking we’re a
wholesaler so a large portion of our customers are actually b2b customers
really take small to medium sized businesses it’s now in vogue to not only
provide coffee but snacks as well but once you get to like 30 40 50 people
in your office it’s unfair to let the office manager know or put it on their
plate to go to Costco with their own car and to buy snacks for the company but
you’re also too small for say a I don’t know a Cisco to come and cater for you
or Sodexo um so that’s been a niche for us as well the other folks are our folks
who don’t have the time the means or the patience regular consumers to go to a
warehouse : yeah I went to mark is raising his hand mark have you ever been
to a warehouse club never that’s amazing you don’t enjoy the lines mark I went I
listened I bought a house almost ten years ago and I’m like oh maybe I should
join one of these warehouse clubs you remember which one I used but one of
them whatever I was the worst warehouse shopper in the world because I literally
would go in there and like meander around and be like oh oh yeah maybe I do
need that like I just it was so bad and overwhelming but if you are looking at
the business going forward where do you think the growth is derived mmm very
good question so b2b has been a real good growth engine for us even if you
think about large companies we’re starting to to win go after and win some
of those contracts even here at CBS I mean probably no one asked but where
does the coffee where does the creamer come from you know I mean zome
absolutely b2b but also consumers as well because the kegger of the entire
industry the the compound annual growth rate of the whole industry is just at a
rate word even if we do nothing we’d grow at a pretty decent clip you have
something before about like what has changed in those last five years to
enable our growth well five years ago we used to get emails all the time saying
you guys are psychotic I’m not putting my credit card in a mobile device oh let
alone by grocery on a mobile device wow that was five years ago but now it’s
like it’s a no-brainer why wouldn’t I get my spring water in my paper towels
delivered instead of slapping at home that that is so interesting and so you
can do it from a desktop but it’s mostly mobile that’s right yeah the majority of
our sales come from mobile so here’s how I fell in love with Jay I was asked to
moderate a panel sort of being like a workplace issue panel
and it was so interesting and lively and I was really taken with some of your
description about how you have managed some of your workplace issues and this
is why I wanted you to come on this program not just because you’re very
sparkling personality but also because of the way you run your business is
different so how many employees do you have now
if you count fulfillment Center folks were probably into between four to five
hundred on any given week which is unbelievable the cheese and the the
fulfillment center people are they full-time employees are they more now so
we offer when you start as you generally start as a temp but right there on the
cafeteria tables same ones that I dine at you see just the path towards w2 and
what you get if you work hard and you actually become a full-time employee and
that’s stock options benefits you know all this other stuff that want you and
401k after a certain period of time we don’t match across the whole board but
you do get the ability you get use it we’ll get back to our interview in just
a second hey you all know what you can do during the break how’s about you
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okay we’ll be right back do I invest here should I put my money
there Jill Schlesinger can help you back to Jill on money your back it’s Jill on
money hey you know something interesting in a tight labor market what is the
difference between you being able to snag a great employee and maybe that
employee going somewhere else well I think it has a lot to do with the
culture that you create and you know in this day and age where there’s so much
information about every employer I think that you got to know that that culture
will follow you for good and for bad when I interviewed che Wong I was very
impressed with the way he spoke about his employees and how he found it to be
helpful to make sure that these employees had to say so here is more of
the way that che Wong the CEO of boxed thinks about his employees one of the
things that you talked about was really trying to manage how the voice of the
people who work for you is really important so would you mind telling the
story about the pink tax and how you responded to that we have a wonderfully
robust and wonderfully strong group of women that work at boxed very vocal
about all sorts of issues ones that affect them ones that don’t affect him
one morning when I was coming to work I was trying to get to my desk didn’t have
my morning coffee yet and Natasha met out there she’s
listening to this and she’s like yes that was me it stopped me and said what
are we gonna do about the pink tax and I’m like sorry I was not this activists
at that time where I was like what are we gonna do Natasha I was like I have no
idea what you’re talking about like let me get to my desk and then let’s talk
about it but even a lot of women don’t know this but in over thirty states
women are still taxed on FEM care products like pads and tampons as if
it’s a luxury good item which is nuts because you know I’ve passed it through
my own BS filter and I was like okay if my wife called and said hey hon can you
bring home some pads on the way home and if I said you know hey have you seen the
GDP report you know it’s it’s it’s not that you know the economy is not that
strong but next month I promise will go for right that’s a luxury
yeah exactly there’s no you know she wouldn’t let me back in the in the
apartment and so how come those items are taxed and in some states like
condoms are not it just doesn’t make sense and so from that period on we
started this program called rethink pink and so if we have to unfairly collect
the sales tax from you as a customer will rebate it back in savings because
you have to if you’re doing business in that state that state law you have to
comply with that absolutely so we collect the sales tax but we give you a
discount so as if you’re not paying the sales tax out of your own pocket if
there’s a pink razor that costs 50 percent more or sometimes a hundred
percent more than a blue racer we’ll also lower the price so it’s the
same price as a blue razor and so the woman a box now fly all over the country
testifying in front of state legislatures trying to get the pink tax
abolished and so the most recent one we testified in was Nevada and in the
recent election they voted it down so in a good way there’s no more pink tax
there are no more tax in in Nevada oh that’s a good story okay the other thing
that you talked about was you have a unique policy about family leave can you
talk about that because that also I told that I came back here and told that
story over and over so people are like I want to work there so why don’t you
explain what your policy is so we’re trying to scale these as fast as
possible even for you know leave maternity and paternity leave you know
its unlimited paid unlimited you know here’s the great thing when you when you
treat folks like adults generally there isn’t abuse of the programs well that
was what was interesting because when I first when you first talked about that
we had a phone call and you told me this and I’m like it’s unpaid right and you
said no no it’s paid and so talk about some of those results when you say to
people take as much time as you need now what have you found we found that
the shortest leave that anyone took a maternity leave was little over a month
okay that’s pretty quick yeah that was super so quick that I was like you
should take more time you know yeah you know I need adult interaction so you
know the longest was 10 months but the the most common like the median note
would you say that is probably like four to five months or so
and so you’re giving these people time off they’re getting their families on
track but they’re coming back and you’ve already invested a lot in them yep do
your investors think this is a crazy policy yep quite a bit what I always
tell them is that there’s certain things you can’t debt that are not only the
right things to do but also that benefit the company without being a specific
line on a P&L I guess in these respect you can kind of
say you know it shows back up in kind of when you recruit folks getting great
talent or by not having potentially as much kind of turnover and right I have
to imagine that retention is really good because of this I treat you nicely so
you come back I hope the folks listening to this don’t think oh you know it’s
just their policy is just to give everyone the the stars in the moon and
and – and to track folks that way that’s not our policy our policy because we
also have strict policies for other stuff it’s like 25% time for example so
we do not have a policy like a lot of other startups that you know like 25% of
your time you can work on your own side project or you can do this or that and
we get that yeah so you know we’re like we pay you to be here right now
we love your skill set you have to focus your professional energies on on this
and you also said like the hours like you basically said hey if everyone in
the warehouse has to get in this time like the rest of the professional staff
like get your butts in your seats by that time totally so it’s it was a
problem well we we had kind of the office employees kind of strolling in 15
minutes after they should be 30 minutes but the fulfillment center employees
they don’t get a pass now get written up if you’re 5-10
minutes late a few of those strung together then then you won’t have a job
when you hire in a warehouse are you paying $15 an hour you paying whatever
the minimum wage is like what’s your game plan on that absolutely not
minimum wage you know it’s very hard to make a living off of minimum wage so
definitely not minimum wage but it depends on now that we have fulfillment
centers all over the country it depends on where you are so some you’ll start at
you know 12 13 others you’ll start you know elsewhere but never minimum wage
what is the hardest thing about your job
right now the hardest thing about my job is probably the people aspect I don’t
purport to be the the person with all the solutions on how to solve HR issues
because you’re not at the end of the day when I put my head down and I think
about work and what’s come up coming for work I always think about the people
problems first we don’t operate at Utopia people fight you know people
snipe at each other at a company oh yes like any other group of humans and so
that bothers me the most because if you think about it it from a CEOs
perspective I don’t hear about it if someone just made a snarky remark in a
meeting I hear about it when two folks like if you turn off the lights they
would start shaking each other what they’re like you know kitchen utensils
you know at that point is when it bubbles up to me and it’s so hard to
unwind that you know it’s so hard to fix that innit that’s what grates on me the
most I think well thanks so much to Jay Wong he’s the CEO of boxed go check out
the website and after you’ve done that why don’t you just go on over
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do that all right we’ll be right back 401ks IRAs refinancing she covers it all
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it’s Jill on money and lots of ways to get in touch with us the easiest thing
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free weekly newsletter and buy my book the dumb thing smart people do with
their money thirteen ways to write your financial wrongs all right let’s get
down and deep into some of these questions because I’m still I tell you
the truth every time I feel like I’m caught up you guys send in a ton more
fantastic questions and they’re great it’s just that I get inundated and
writes that she is 69 she’s single she’s retired she’s got an annual income of
$15,000 after mortgage taxes and living expenses which I’m comfortable with I
have an annual income what does that mean means that she has net income
leftover of $15,000 after paying for everything is that what you think she
needs I think so okay she’s got an extra 15 grand after she
pays for her stuff good all right she’s got a 1 and a half million dollar
property with a five point 1 to 5 percent loan two hundred thirteen
thousand she’s got 98 grand in cash she says I have to roll over a two
hundred twenty one thousand dollar 401k account shall I do that into a
traditional IRA yeah why not just do a direct rollover and go into a IRA
rollover account done she’s also inherited two hundred thousand dollars
from her mother’s estate she parked it in the savings account trying to figure
out what to do with it I’m thinking of opening a fidelity account geared
towards Kappa preservation maybe a little growth but I
don’t know what those investments would be since I’m far from being well-versed
in investments the result I’m stymied on the best way for median for me to invest
and move forward I’ve always been conservative with my
money expect some growth but mostly I want capital preservation thanks for
your consideration you know there are a couple of choices I think that I’m sure
the fidelity does fidelity have like an active Robo advisor with advice mark or
not I don’t think so either I think that what you may want to check out is both
Vanguard and Charles Schwab have these services where they are able to provide
some financial advice and it’s usually online some of them by phone and also
they’ll manage your money and it’s somewhere between a quarter of a percent
or 0.3% annually so I think I would check those out first and then you could
combine your two needs which is some hand-holding advice strategy with the
investments so check out those I should write down the name of what the they all
have different names to these services but I know that it’s Vanguard and Joie
both have these services and they are automatic platforms I think Vanguard is
personal yes personal service advisors personal
service advise I’m writing a down mark so I have it
PSA personal service advisors I’ll find out what the Schwab one is called and
we’ll let you know but anyway that’s what I would do
okay oh here we go this is from edy is it possible to get a bankruptcy off my
credit report unfortunately had to file a few years ago
and I’m in fourth year of the of the bankruptcy and I want credit like I used
to have hmm you’re not good well it stays on for seven years usually it can
come off sooner but you got to work hard to rebuild that credit one of the easy
ways is to use a secured credit card which
it’s kind of a credit card but not it’s more like a pre-funded credit card but
usually bankruptcies stay on your credit report and your credit record for seven
full years and you’ve got to work hard to just pay your bills on time that’s a
biggie and and then also establish credit by
using a security card Carl writes he’s 75 and his required minimum distribution
is fifteen thousand dollars he says can I take that money out of my RA and put
it in my Roth I am retired and my income is around $60,000 do you mean your
income from your portfolio you have to have earned income to make a Roth
contribution so you can’t take the fifteen thousand and put it in let’s
presume that you had earned income you could if you had earned income take
seven thousand dollars and make a Roth contribution you could do that because
you’re over the age of 50 so it’s six thousand plus the thousand catch-up but
if you’re just saying you got income meaning portfolio income passive income
rental income then no you cannot do that so it really does depend on the nature
of your income more than anything else how much time in under one just a quick
here are some thoughts from Justin this is just like like the uncertainty around
being a CFP is hard for women who are considering to do that i watch my single
mother struggling to support us and this is all just thoughts about men and women
going to go through the process of becoming a CFP she doesn’t want to give
us a heart attack mark by telling us how much she owes alright anyway it’s very
hard to start your own business it’s hard for women it’s hard for men but
yeah it usually is harder for women because they often are the primary
caretakers in their houses and for their kids so I get that thank you for your
note when we return more of your fantastic
questions its Jill on money you can read listen watch sign up for our free weekly
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back it’s Jill on money if you’ve got a financial question give us a holler ask
Jill at Jill on here’s what Joni writes
good afternoon my daughter and I would like to meet with you regarding a solid
financial plan I’m seriously concerned because my daughter does not appear to
worry about the future hey listen she’s a kid we have some savings were only
all-caps only interested in meeting with you not another representative we live
in Miami please contact us I trust you and she’s on board we hope you have an
office in our area Joanie and everyone listening I do not see clients for a
living anymore it has been more it’s been like a dozen years since that has
happened and so I appreciate that you trust me and that’s lovely maybe what
you want to do is to find a fee-only financial planner you could do that by
going to naphtha and AP F try to do that but also if it’s for your
daughter and I don’t know how old your daughter is maybe you can use one of
these online platforms and that could be like Vanguard personal service advisor
it could be Schwab it could be betterment it could be one of those
types of places where she could get some help so I think that that’s something to
consider a lot of people have asked me this question so I think it’s very it’s
very common to say that like hey you’re on the radio you you actually do I don’t
do it but I do know a lot of people and I do have a lot of resources so maybe we
can help you out laughs this hate to end on a down note
mark but we’ve got someone who had irresponsible parents and feels used and
unloved says hey I don’t know what to do what should I do about like taking care
of my parents who were like kind of crappy parents it sounds to me not like
a financial question mark are we gonna send this person to a shrink I think so
I think there’s a shrink question and I’m so sorry
so I wish you the very best of luck I get it I’ve seen it so there you go a
shrink will help you okay it’s Jilla and money it’s been a great show and thank
you so much for listening anytime you have a question just shoot us a note ask
Jill at Jill on and don’t forget to go onto the website Jill on you can buy the dumb thing smart people do with their money
thirteen ways to write your financial wrongs that’s the book and I thank you
so much it has been a delight we have been broadcasting live from the policy
genius Studios here in New York policy genius is the easy way to compare and
buy insurance see you next week you

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