LAKELAND, FL (The Register) Wednesday, 05 April 2006
The Register does news coverage / commentary on this interesting plan by noted financial advisor, John Cummuta. While Cummuta admits to being a Christian and sprinkles in a Bible verse or two, his plan is based on good financial wisdom and may appeal to all.
Register editor and writer, Gordon Watts, purchased John M. Cummuta's plan some months back and reviewed it. Below, you will find a summary of the points that Watts found important:
* Bad: High Utility Bills / Good: Proper Clothing (Notes: Proper clothing is a cheap way to avoid excess heater, air conditioner bills.)
* Good: God, Your Plan, Yourself (Notes: I don't have anything "bad" to counterbalance this entry to show contrast, but use your imagination.)
* Bad: Borrowing in General, Credit Cards in particular / Good: Paying off priority debts first (Notes: the debts with the highest ratio of "balance-to-minimum payment" is usually the one you want to pay off first. Also, Proverbs 22:7b, tells of the wise man, Solomon's, advice: The borrower is servant to the lender, -and, Watts adds, Romans 13:8a, which tells us to owe no man anything. 'nuff said 'bout this one!)
* Bad: Insurance / Good: Older vehicles, Doing your plan - that is, the plan that your "gut feeling" says is right!! - (Notes: The "insurance" part above is not intuitive, but using insurance is a losing bet in the long run: If you were not a good client, you would not get insurance in the first place.)
* Bad: Excess shopping (use a shopping list to stick to the things you need) / Good: Having a job (Notes: Using a shopping list when shopping prevents impulse shopping and saves money -it limits you to buying just what you initially needed, not eye-candy.)
* Other: Avoid the CIA trap (no, not the "Central Intelligence Agency" trap!).
* Avoid: "C" Convenience (like eating out) "I" Indulgence (just say "no") and "A" Appearance (no, you don't need a bigger house or a newer car).
Cummuta's "plan" is not one idea, but it is based primarily on eliminating credit card debt; He also throws in a lot of smaller ideas, some not listed above.
For example, Cummuta suggests other things like these four items to supplement your income, and he is careful to admit that these are NOT "get rich quick" methods: #1, An intro to e-bay and online auctions; #2, buying & renting residential real estate (the "landlord" thing); #3, Creating & marketing information products; and, #4, Online affiliate marketing business (that is, click-able referrers on your website). However, Watts did not feel these were viable for himself, when taking notes and did not include them in the list he provided for The Register. While Cummuta's company might possibly benefit from the admittedly positive news given here, The Register is not getting paid to do this, and no one in this paper has benefited in any way from his company (except that Watts was granted a refund when he returned his plan).
The news was above, and the following is editorial:
In fact, The Register feels that this might even hurt Cummuta's company, if a savvy reader chooses to read this story instead of buying the plan. Indeed, Watts was able to take good notes and return the plan. That said, however, neither The Register, nor editor Watts wishes any harm to the company, and it is even possible that a reader may purchase Cummuta's plan and benefit from it beyond the summary points provided in this editorial. Since both Cummuta and Watts are Christians, it is thought that they will be glad that their combined efforts can help a number of readers, because credit card debt is a chief cause of grief and marriage troubles and financial ruin in this once great "Nation of Plenty." Since he lays out a good plan, suggesting which debts to pay first, there is a "psychological" advantage added. (If you divide the balance by the minimum payment, generally, the one with the lowest ratio should be paid off first, but this assumes the minimum balance is based on the principal and interest and that the various companies use the same method to figure them. The Register estimates, instead, that you might take the principal divided by the monthly interest to get a more accurate figure.) Indeed, Watts reports that he needed around one week to analyze Cummuta's plan and longer to help write this story, and Cummuta has no doubt worked hard to try to help other people.
Watts admitted to the editorial board an ulterior motive in helping with this story: Watts suggested that his analysis of Cummuta's plan was very complete and that he wanted an easy access to Cummuta's wisdom beyond the notes he had taken in written form. Watts has written elsewhere on Cummuta's plan, available online in the form of book reviews. Watts provided the following book review; One copy is available here: http://www.fullcreditrepair.info/ebooks/isbn1883113105.html, which he jointly provided to the publishers:
(Title, next to a "five stars" picture) I'm eager to review the notes I took on his course.
I almost didn't consider a review, but in my online research for info about Mr. John Cummuta, I found this link, and recalled I could submit a review, and felt the obligation; I ordered the course he offers, so I am guessing that the book here was in the course -or is very similar to it, so my review of his course will give you an idea of how the book is. (I did online research to see what was up with his course and if I should return it & get my money back or keep it.)
Anyhow, some "oldie but goodie" ideas include the simple but reliable adage to NOT be in debt. Mr. Cummuta tells the reader (or listener in my case; I had CD's) early on that you gotta cut up that credit card. He makes his case well, and as a person who has used credit cards successfully for many years, in college and since, I say from experience: He is right. Most of the time, I had not problems with using my credit card, but recently some emergencies have pushed my balance up to about 5,000 dollars, and let me tell you: The interest of about $50.oo per month is eating me up because (as I'm sure you know) you don't pay on the principal owed until AFTER you've paid that interest.
Suffice it to say that he is right. After he makes his case, he casually mentions another wise man, Solomon, the author of Proverbs, whose proverbs caution the reader to NOT be in debt. (Yes, I was surprised to here him quote the Bible, even as a person who believes in it, but he is right, and he is careful to acknowledge that some people might have different religious beliefs. He is careful to not offend the reader, but merely offer this as supplemental info for the curious; He does well here!)
The elimination of credit card debt is not the only thing he has to offer, but there were new things in his packet (which may or may not be in this particular book; I don't know). He lists four (4) different ways to supplement your income, and is careful to admit that these are NOT "get rich quick" methods. The four he lists are: #1, An intro to e-bay and online auctions; #2, buying & renting residential real estate (the "landlord" thing); #3, Creating & marketing information products; and, #4, Online affiliate marketing business (that is, click-able referrers on your website).
Those were a refreshing addition which stimulated my imagination, but the **main** focus he makes is to pay off your debts in a "logical" fashion, prioritizing the "most important" debt first. He shows the reader how you divide the balance by the minimum payment that the creditor sets, and you get this figure for each debt, that tells you which one is a priority. I think that the smaller the balance in comparison to the payment, the easier it is to pay off, and should be prioritized, with the other debts receiving the "minimum monthly" payment. This is "logical" because the "spare cash" you'd have after that debt is paid can go to the other debts.
He also has a laundry list of tips to cut corners, and some of them are good, like getting a used car, which would cost much less yet be still almost as good as a new one. I think (but don't recall) that he advocates using a clothing line instead of a dryer, still a good idea.
One of his strengths is knowing when add-ons to your insurance are good, and makes the case that a higher deductible is not unsafe, because the insurance company would NOT insure you if THEY thought you were a risk, and he suggests you trust the insurance company, as it is comprised of experts. (John surprised me with his attention to detail: He correctly points out that using spare money to pay off debt is better than investing it, due to the comparison between the two interest rates!)
Well, they offered a money back guarantee, and I strained my brain listening to this guy's CD's. He sure can talk, and talk, and talk, and he makes sense, so his book is probably not bad.
All in all, since I knew some of this stuff and took notes on the rest, I feel that I don't need his course, but he is "old school," and will guide you right if you need to get out of debt. My online research confirms my feelings that he is trustable.
Although I am returning his course to get my money back, I nonetheless recommend it for you because his ethics are HONEST: His methods is based on the premise that you don't get something for nothing. When he suggests that you put your credit card in water, and then freeze it, to eliminate "impulse" usage (except for emergencies), you will know what I mean: If you don't get his book or course and are still in debt, don't blame Gordon Wayne Watts of Lakeland, Florida, USA -because he has told you -as one who has experience in credit cards -both good and bad experiences.
My review is meant to be helpful, and I sign with my real name to show I'm not some paid advertisement hack. Even though I'm returning it, I am VERY grateful that I was able to review it (and take good notes). Since I am eager to pour over my notes, this is a good indication that my "5-star" review is accurate: Yes, I highly recommend the John C. Cummuta book.
Gordon Wayne Watts, Lakeland, Florida, USA
LINKS OF IMPORTANCE:
Gordon W. Watts, Editor-in-Chief, The Register
"First, they [Nazis] came for the Jews. I was silent. I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists. I was silent. I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists. I was silent. I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me. There was no one left to speak for me." (Martin Niemoller, given credit for a quotation in The Harper Religious and Inspirational Quotation Companion, ed. Margaret Pepper (New York: Harper &Row, 1989), 429 -as cited on page 44, note 17, of Religious Cleansing in the American Republic, by Keith A. Fornier, Copyright 1993, by Liberty, Life, and Family Publications.