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  • Peter August 10, 2009, 6:57 pm

    I am amazed at your patience and perseverance in your blog dealing with those afflicted with numericosis (a widely spread cognative condition whereby math skills regress to pre-school level — my definition).

    I also admire your ability to methodically prove the impossibility of the many absurd Merge Account claims of its pitchmen. I came to the same conclusions, but I simply relied on instinct honed by years of practicing math since graduating fourth grade. However, a Hungarian proverb may say it best: “One can not paint Easter eggs with fart”; i.e. something of value can not be created from nothing, especially if it stinks to start with…

    Unless funded by the Toothfairy, any significant principal reduction could ONLY come from the Merge Account scam victim, enabled by his necessarily altered budgeting (lifestyle).

    Not surprisingly, numericosis makes rational thinking impossible for those afflicted, rendering them incapable of making sound judgments whenever math, let alone the time value of money is involved. As a result, selling agents adopt the faith based hyperbole spewed by the companies behind the Merge Account scams.

    Conspicuously immune are those who embrace basic math and logic as the best known arbiters of reality.

    In my judgment, it is only a matter of time before before the largest of the Merged Account companies is criminally prosecuted.

    Best regards,

    Peter

  • Shifty (think, Band of Brothers) November 12, 2009, 4:43 pm

    Hi Joe,

    I wanted to thank you for committedly blogging about this. It’s a fresh read from the nasty comments people leave on public forums, hiding behind their anonymity. At least here we can get consistent real math examples.

    I’d love a copy of the spreadsheet I can use and the full PDF version of your blog. Unfortunately at the end of each blog entry you can’t click a link to the follow up, only to previous entries and related ones.

    Keep up the good work.

    Shifty

  • NJ Blue August 13, 2010, 7:45 pm

    Joe,

    I’ve begun marketing a great new health drink… Just kidding. I have a question for you, probably answered somewhere in the anti-MMA posts with which I was pummeled last summer but whose answer I seem to have forgotten.

    Is the “HELOC Shuffle” concept itself flawed or is the objection to MMA strictly because (a) it is insanely overpriced and (b) there’s a software glitch that changes expenses depending on pay frequency? In other words, if MMA were free and expenses were fixed, would shuffling money through a Heloc actually work better than adding the same amount to principal each month (using your spreadsheet, for example)?

    Thanks for any additional help you care to provide to cure my innumeracy. Hope all is well,

    NJB

  • JOE August 14, 2010, 9:29 am

    Good to hear from you!
    My best HELOC Shuffle explanation is The UFF Money Merge Account money shuffle explained.
    I’ll run through my thoughts here. There are really three factors, dials to turn numbers or time up/down. First is the rate of the HELOC vs the mortgage. If the HELOC is below the mortgage any decision must be the client deciding how long that will last. The risk is that rates will rise back up. Side note – I have this issue myself. My mortgage is 4.99%. HELOC 2.5% and it’s bottomed, the prime can go up .5% and HELOC is still the 2.5% rate. $50K on the HELOC would save me $1250/yr at the outset. At the HELOC goes above the mortgage rate, the other two factors come into play.
    First, using the UFirst classic example of $5K income/$4K expenses, we can see that the earlier the income is earned, the higher your average daily balance. The same effect for when bills are due. So in the extreme example I use to prove a point, If you earn the $5K on Day one, but all bills are due on the 30th, by borrowing $5K on the 30th and paying it back on the 1st, you now filled the gap, ad have $5K to send to the mortgage up front, and only borrowing this amount 12 days over the year.
    But – most people are paid over the month, and it averages mid month by definition, so even with late bills, this savings quickly dwindles. The potential savings comes from “filling gap” between the average daily balance and the total monthly income. Borrowing $2K at 6% to let you sent $5K to a 5% mortgage for example will cost you $120 to save you $250, a net $130/yr savings. A lot of shuffle for little savings, all in all.
    Make sense?

  • NJBlue82 August 17, 2010, 12:59 am

    Joe,

    Thank you for the detailed reply and sorry that I may have wasted your time. I forgot that as a (reformed, no longer practicing!) MMA agent, I still have analysis software and as such, could have – as I just did – input the parameters and run an MMA analysis against your spreadsheet.

    I used the $200k fixed-30 @ 6% standard, with an extra $500 of “discretionary income” and pay-period of semi-monthly. To remove UFF’s fee from the picture, I had it taken from Savings which I listed as a total of $3,750 so it would leave the savings account open with $250 in it (used $250 for checking also). Results:

    MMA Payoff – 176 months; total loan cost $301,804
    JoeTaxpayer – 178 months; total loan cost $302,534

    The “Heloc Shuffle” has a marginal utility of almost zero and given that there are identified glitches in the MMA software, I would not even rely on its output that shows it to beat a simple Excel spreadsheet (in this case) by $730.

    Off to dream about factorial math! Thanks again.

    NJB

  • JOE August 17, 2010, 10:53 am

    NJBlue- never a waste for me, the more I explain the system, the better off people are who read this, they can see how MMA is mostly smoke and mirrors. A $730 advantage for a $3500 cost? Where’s all the savings? They want to take credit for tens if not hundreds of thousands in savings.
    Thanks again for the visit.

  • Ron August 26, 2012, 5:22 pm

    Hi Joe,

    We recently received a UF brochure for a MMA (no real detail in the brochure) so I did a Google search to get information/public comments, receiving their link plus yours (in the top 10). I have to agree with Peter’s above August 10, 2009 comment on “your patience and perseverance” in trying to clarify the utility (or lack thereof) on these programs.

    Thank you for clearly outlining the issue/problem with these MMA “solutions”. On our mortgage, we have simply always done your main recommendation, put significant additional amount on our monthly payment.

    I would like to receive the MMA_Sheet Excel spreadsheet you freely distribute.

    Again thank your for all the detailed reviews and explanations.
    Best regards,
    Ron

  • JOE August 26, 2012, 5:25 pm

    It’s the first link on the page http://www.joetaxpayer.com/money-merge-account-links/
    Much thanks for your kind words!

  • Ron August 26, 2012, 5:45 pm

    I have downloaded it. Thank you for the quick reply and the link.

    From your home page, hoe do you find the above link?

    Ron

  • JOE August 26, 2012, 6:52 pm

    ? Now that you mention it, I don’t know. I should have it linked from each MMA article.

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