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Money Merge Account Analysis Pt 34

I’m back with another post on the mortgage acceleration scam by UFirst called the Money Merge Account. I continue to get comments on a number of my posts in this ongoing series, and even though I’ve moved on from the weekly updates, I’ll still add a post here and there when appropriate. This week, I was led to a YouTube Video. Success and Progress: Lunch. In case the video is taken down**, let me summarize this one minute clip. “If instead of spending $7 per day on lunch, you invest $2000/year at 6%, over a 45 year career, you will have $10 million.” Note, the video itself doesn’t mention UFirst, but it was linked from their fan page on Facebook, and the posters YouTube account references MMA. A very well done video, but one problem, the numbers above don’t come close to the claimed $10M. Before I tell you the return you’d get, I’ll share how close I got using my fingers. Remember the days before calculators, we counted on our God-given ten fingers. The rule of 72 says to take that 6% and divide into 72 to figure the number of years to double. So it takes money 12 years to double when invested at 6%. When you have a yearly deposit of the same amount each year, the lump sum figure is somewhere in between. In other words, that $2k/yr for 45 years will be equal to a lump sum invested over some number of years, certainly less than 45, it wasn’t there the whole time, but more than 0. Kind of obvious, no? I don’t know, really, every time I claim “obvious” I’m told the math is beyond mere mortals. Back to that 12. If the time-weighted average were 24 years, our $90K would double twice and we’d have $360K, if 36 years, $720K. No where near that $10M. Even if the whole $90K were invested for the full time, and then some, after 48 years it would be $1.4M, still hardly $10M. Note: The video author rounded $1750 to $2000, first claiming 250 work days per year, but then saying ‘about $2000’ per year. That’s okay. This is what discussion and ‘back of napkin’ math is about. 36 years of 6% will actually turn $90K into $733,252, a bit more than my $720K counting on finger calculation, a 2% margin of error. The punchline to this critique is that the result is nowhere near $10M, it’s actually $425,487. Still between the $360K and $720K as I guessed, until I had more computing power available, but a factor of over 20X from the agent’s claim. With nearly 600 hits on that video, one imagines that one of the hundreds of agents would catch this kind of error, or more so, that UFirst would notice it before publicizing on their blog. With claims that their software watches every penny, isn’t it a bit scary that an error of this magnitude slips by, and no agent steps up to correct it? For Pete’s sake, we are talking about being wrong by a factor of 20, I’m not splitting hairs here. The software has its own errors, already discussed in past posts. I’m shocked this scam continues. By the way, a 16% rate of return would produce nearly that $10M, but no one expects that kind of growth. No one. Call it a simple mistake by the video poster, I’ll accept that. It’s that not one of 600 viewers had any issue with it which concerns me. And also why no agent catches any mistake when they create their so-called analysis when roping in their next victim. (phone credit – Me. It’s my favorite calculator, small, portable, accurate. There are newer models available which help to make this scam look more like simple math and less like magic.)

Joe

** Eventually, it did come down. Some of the messages I left were removed, but others chimed in, and with no comment back to us, it was simply removed.

  • Greg May 27, 2010, 8:01 am

    Joe,

    You are assuming that there are any agents left that are actively selling it – or even looking at new marketing material.

  • JOE May 27, 2010, 8:21 am

    I’ve lost track of how few remain, yet there’s still a number out there, defending the system on the blogs and selling this scam. As you’ve seen, I’ve scaled back my own efforts and number of posts on MMA, but it’s not dead yet. UFirst just launched their blog page announced it on Facebook, and authorized these videos. The video wasn’t just a random agent, the site itself is UFirst’s doing. Clueless as ever.

  • Judy May 27, 2010, 1:56 pm

    Interesting, and interestinger. What do you think will happen if UFirst gets shut down because of their own ineptitude and lack of agents? What will happen to its current subscriber base?
    Thanks for doing the math!

  • JOE May 27, 2010, 2:13 pm

    I hope you are not one of their victims, Judy. But I’d hope that as part of the long term settlement, UFirst would be required to turn over their servers to an admin who would keep them running for the current users who prefer they keep access instead of a pro-rated refund. As with any Ponzi scheme, or MLM, it’s not as though anyone still has the funds to issue a full refund to all their victims.

    The math was as simple as I spelled out in my post. Had he been off 10%, 20%, I’d have had no comment at all. But to me, his video leads one to believe that $200/yr is all one needs to retire like a king. And UFirst was not just a reference, it seems to sponsor the videos put up under “S&P” (you think the owners of the real S&P trademark will catch wind of this?).

    Thanks for reading!

  • Roshawn @ Watson Inc May 28, 2010, 10:51 am

    Wow, what a HUGE error ($10M to $425K)! I agree that it just doesn’t pass the smell test, so with 600 views, I would expect someone to point it out. Thanks for addressing.

  • Len Penzo May 28, 2010, 8:12 pm

    I loved this, Joe! Great post. That error is so huge I am shocked nobody caught it.

    Best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

  • Late2Game May 29, 2010, 2:04 pm

    As I mentioned at Scam.com, the gentleman in the video is Todd Skousen, VP of Marketing for United First Financial. I wonder if he assumes the price of food will rise 10% per year, and the amount spent on lunch accordingly? Oh, and count yourself lucky, Joe. You are one of the 59 twitterers he is following. See link here:
    http://twitter.com/tskou

  • JOE May 29, 2010, 2:29 pm

    Late, my friend, good to see you here. I added the link to for Scam.com, to benefit readers that wish to see some of the dialog out there.
    The fact that he follows my tweets, only makes matters worse, so he’s seen my comments on YouTube and Twitter, but chooses not to correct such an error. And his own tweets are “protected” I need to get permission to follow him.
    Thanks again for the visit, and info.

  • No Debt Guy June 15, 2010, 1:12 am

    I would like to know why these guys were shut down in Alberta.

    It is pointless to try to debate this software with agents they will defend it until the are dead.

  • JOE June 15, 2010, 5:23 am

    Great news, I hadn’t heard that yet.
    Actually, I’ve turned a couple agents around. Not easy, I agree, but now and then one of them will follow my math and see through the scam.

  • SallyMae June 20, 2010, 4:45 pm

    Happy Father’s Day Joe! Glad to have met’cha! I hope people find your insight when they google search for UFF or the Money Merge Account.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • JOE June 21, 2010, 8:34 am

    Glad to have met you as well, Sally! Always welcome to visit.

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