# A New Pyramid Scheme: United First Financial

• Michael Goode says:
16 May 2008

Yet another case where a little cynicism and financial sophistication would go a long way.

• Tracy Coenen says:
16 May 2008

Yet I’m being called uneducated and being told to research the product before I form an opinion. A quick bit of the right research shows this use of a HELOC is legitimate but can be done without a $3500 fee to a MLM. How much more research could I possibly need to do? LOL • Michael Goode says: 16 May 2008 At least you aren’t being called ugly: http://tinyurl.com/6635b9 • Michael Goode says: 16 May 2008 That’s a link to a Yahoo! stock messageboard regarding a company I disparaged. Gotta love those ad hominem attacks. • Anonymous Coward says: 16 May 2008 “magic debt reducer juice” … ROFL • Tracy Coenen says: 16 May 2008 If it makes you feel any better, I am regularly called ugly AND fat by MLM lovers. What a world! • Michael Goode says: 16 May 2008 Well, Tracy, that just goes to show how dumb and unobservant the supporters of MLM are. • Anonymous Coward says: 16 May 2008 Michael … maybe if you shaved the beard and got contact lenses? • Tracy Coenen says: 16 May 2008 *blush* • Michael Goode says: 16 May 2008 AC – I think taking beauty advice from random strangers on the interweb is about as foolish as taking investment advice from them. That being said, I don’t currently have the beard (although I’ll probably grow it back because my wife likes it). • Tracy Coenen says: 16 May 2008 I was hoping you’d say that Michael, cuz I was thinking “Maybe he likes a beard…. Heck, maybe his wife likes the beard.” • Tickled says: 18 May 2008 Along the same lines I am starting an MLM company to hep alcoholics quit drinking. I charge them$3500 and anytime they need a beer they don’t go to the store, they buy it from me. Then I’ll start one for crack addicts. This biz model has legs.

• Brian says:
28 May 2008

I’d rather get the opinion of the Mortgage Professionals that are putting this program on the market. So, I’ve talked to several of them and they’ve had some interesting things to say about the program.
First of all it’s not an MLM pyramid scheme. Some of the younger agents aren’t homeowners yet although they are selling the program. So you don’t have to buy it to sell it. You can be an agent and never recruit a single person into the business if that’s what you choose. You can also buy the program without ever joining the company. Therefore I wouldn’t consider this to be MLM. As far as the pyramid is concerned, it’s not structured that way at all. You don’t place people beneath you, then below them, and on the right side then the left etc. etc. If you choose to recruit someone it’s because you are building a company branch office for yourself. Then, any new business that branch creates, you can earn an override from. You get paid from your efforts. Also, if you aren’t making personal sales, you don’t get paid anything. So, if you thing you can just get in on some level and make money for doing nothing, think again… not possible with United First Financial.

As far as doing it yourself without the software… if you can do it show me that you have done it. Show me your personal results. Show me that you’ve paid off your 30 yr mortgage in less than 15 years without changing your cash-flow.
The software figures out to the day, as to when to send the extra money from the line of credit. It also figures out to the penny how much to send, so that you don’t pay too much interest on the line of credit. If you have another proven way, just show me your publications that give you praise for your program. I did the research. This company is published in Broker Banker Magazine, Mortgage Planner Magazine, Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine, and True Wealth Magazine. Not only published, but they are the cover and feature story in all of them. They are also sponsoring the National Mortgage Broker’s Convention. If they were not held in such high regard, they would not have such good credentials, nor would they be able to be a sponsor at this event.

Oh yeah… if you are a customer and do not like the results you are getting at anytime, you get a 100% refund of your money and they let you keep the program for life.

So, for anyone who hasn’t educated them self about the company, please do so before you write your terrible blogs about a great company that you know nothing about.

Please research what the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have to say about them. If it’s a scam I’m sure you will find hundreds of complaints and lawsuits sense they have well over 50,000 customers.

• Tracy Coenen says:
28 May 2008

Brian – You’re free to listen to anyone’s opinion. That’s what’s fantastic about this country. You’re also free to waste $3,500 if you like. But I’m giving you an opportunity to save almost$20k on your mortgage FOR FREE. I’m not charging you a cent for this advice: Place that $3,500 on your mortgage. That will save you$20k in interest.

Now, you may not understand what an MLM is. MLMs don’t “require” anyone to recruit anyone else. But you’ll do it if you want to make the “real” money. (Whatever of it there is to be made). You can call it a “branch” if you like, but it’s still part of an MLM. Changing the names/words doesn’t change what it is.

Doing this (paying off your mortgage early) without the software only requires simple math. PAY EXTRA EACH MONTH. You tell me how fast you want to pay it off, I tell you how much extra to pay each month. No need to change your cash flow either. Just take money that you would spend on other things and apply it to your mortgage. Same cash going out, just as UFF has you do.

The magazines you cite, unfortunately, produce marketing pieces. These are not dedicated to any critical thinking or investigative report. Just marketing.

And have you read the guarantee with this product? The only way you will qualify for the refund is if you have followed the recommendations of the program exactly. Deviate from the path in the least (even for the good) and you’re not going to get your money back. Surely you’re intelligent enough to recognize a worthless guarantee?

I appreciate your enthusiasm for the product. Unfortunately, the FTC and other government bodies are overloaded with work and can’t (or choose not to) go after each and every scam or deception that is out there. There are thousands of companies in the U.S. making false claims, but there simply isn’t enough time or power to go after all of them. Plenty of bad and fraudulent companies operate without any government intervention.

• Tracy Coenen says:
28 May 2008

Remember too… you say you want the opinion of people who are “putting this product on the market.” Do you think they’ve got an independent opinion of the product when they stand to profit from the purchase of it? Because I’ve got nothing to gain (monetarily or otherwise) from investigating and reporting on this product. Nothing at all… other than some interesting discussions on my website.

• Carrie says:
3 June 2008

This is interesting.
I sell advertising for a living and I called up a UFF agent to see if they were interested in advertising ( I didn’t know exactly what the company was). He said he was interested in advertising and wanted to meet with me, but he wanted to present his product to me as well.
We met (him and another lady) and they gave a great presentation.
(Even though it was very obvious that the girl was desparate for the sale).
I was convinced that this was a great program and I wanted to start as soon as possible. I am getting married in a week and a half. My fiance and myself are very very busy people and work a lot, but we can be poor at managing our money, so I thought this would be a great idea.
However, being the halfway intelligent person that I am :)…..I am sitting here tonight doing searches on google to find blogs and articles such as this to help me make my decision before I sign. I think the decision is made…I am finding more bad reports than good.
I definitely had my doubts because usually when something sounds too good to be true it usually is. It also made me really nervous to take out another 10,000-20,000 loan! It was suggested to me that if I could, take out up to 20,000. In the back of my mind I have been thinking to myself, “Why would I take out that large of a loan to “save” money.” It was a really odd concept to me after I gave it logical thought.
The weird thing, however, was that one of their references was the company of who did my mortgage and who I really trust. I have been trying to get in contact with him the last couple of days, but haven’t heard back from him yet. I will be interested to see what he has to say and I will post when he does.

Thanks for the info.

• Rich says:
4 June 2008

I was on the fence also but I am not going to pursue thanks for the input. I woul be interestedin hearing more if more is offered.

• Carrie says:
4 June 2008

To add to my comment above…..
I was able to get in touch with my loan officer.
He told me that they had been to his office and gave a presentation. He said that he wasn’t sure what to think of it yet. It seemed to him that it’s just the simple process of paying more per month on your mortgage to pay it down quicker, but he was going to give them the benefit of the doubt for now and see if he could learn more about it and see if there was more involved. He said, ” I would imagine that there would have to be more involved than what I am reading in to it, but I have listened to two presentations and I still haven’t figured it out yet. I will let you know more as I learn, but for now I would wait.” He also thought that the fact that it was a Multi Level Marketing program that it probably isn’t all what it is cracked up to be.

• Eric says:
11 June 2008

Actual research into the math used, beyond reading someone’s negative review of what they thought they understood from a seminar, leads to a different conclusion. First, it is more than putting a little “extra” money on the mortgage. Most people don’t have “extra”, but if they’ve had their house a while they do have equity. Second, opening an equity line is NOT getting a loan – it is opening a line of credit from which you can draw, like a credit card. The software is constantly checking between the HELOC and your mortgage to determine when to make extra payments from the money available in your HELOC – quite a bit more sophisticated than a spreadsheet – something I have quite a lot of experience in since I’ve been a working engineer for over a decade.

As one poster said – show the results if you are doing this on your own. If there is MLM related with it, so what? If you just want the product, buy it and use it. There are now over 60,000 people using this to pay down their mortgages, and the research I’ve found shows that most of them are ahead of their initial projected rates.

Why knock the guarantee. The program won’t work if you don’t do what the program says to do. That’s the whole point. If you put all of your info in it, but then don’t follow it’s instructions, you must not be expecting it to work.

Here’s a real news report about it – NOT just marketing magazines for the program: *****You’re linking to a company-produced presentation – nothing real about that!****

• Craig Hansen says:
13 June 2008

Eric,

Thanks for the comedy.

“First, it is more than putting a little “extra” money on the mortgage. Most people don’t have “extra”, but if they’ve had their house a while they do have equity.”

Which UFF agents exploit by using that equity to have the client open a HELOC and pay the $3500 fee. “Second, opening an equity line is NOT getting a loan – it is opening a line of credit from which you can draw, like a credit card.” A loan is debt. A used HELOC is debt. A used credit card is debt. It’s all debt. “The software is constantly checking between the HELOC and your mortgage to determine when to make extra payments from the money available in your HELOC – quite a bit more sophisticated than a spreadsheet – something I have quite a lot of experience in since I’ve been a working engineer for over a decade.” The MMA is a shell game, shuffling debt from the mortgage to the HELOC, making it appear like the software is doing something amazing. It isn’t. From UFF published examples, it even sucks at determining what payments to make and when, and any engineer would be able to tell you that at a glance. As long as the minimum monthly HELOC balance is above$0, this HELOC shuffle game is not optimal. UFF examples aren’t even close.

I doubt you are an engineer. I don’t know any engineers who would be sucked in by the UFF spiel or be unethical enough to sell the MMA.

Craig

• Matt Nichols says:
23 June 2008

I’m a professional real estate investor. I make a living buying houses, fixing them up and turning them into rentals. Managing debt is a huge part of my business and my livelihood. I’ve been doing this for 6 years, and the housing crunch hasn’t slowed down my business, because I analyze every deal based on risk, cash flow and future appreciation prospects.

This is a scam and a pyramid scheme. All this is is HELOC arbitrage, and the $3500 software fee is unnecessary. One key component of this is the assumption that paying down mortgage debt is a good thing. For most people, it is not. Paying off mortgage debt is like putting your cash into a savings account that you cannot withdraw from. Please consider talking to a financial advisor before embarking on any prepayment mortgage program. Instead of investing your cash in paying down your mortgage, I recommend putting that cash into an investment vehicle that suits your needs (stocks, bonds, real estate). This way, your money has a chance to appreciate. • Eric says: 24 June 2008 Since another of the author’s articles refers to Dave Ramsey and his methods, I’d point out that he would totally disagree with you on this, “One key component of this is the assumption that paying down mortgage debt is a good thing. For most people, it is not. Paying off mortgage debt is like putting your cash into a savings account that you cannot withdraw from.” This stems from the mentality that people understand how to invest (land, stocks, etc). What they CAN invest in is the equity in their home, and cutting out$100K or more in interest. You do mention real estate as an investment vehicle – how is one’s own home not that?

• Matt Nichols says:
24 June 2008

Eric,

Your response to my post, as well as your post above use faulty logic and are factually incorrect. I was tempted not to justify your post with a response, but since your points are so easy to tear apart, I’m going to do just that.

Paying down debt is not an investment, as you propose in your post. Investment is buying something in the hopes of future appreciation. Take an example of someone who is paying 7% interest. Subtracting the tax benefit of paying mortgage interest, the ‘real’ interest rate is only 4.5%. As long as that person can find another investment vehicle (perhaps through a financial advisor as I suggest) that yields in excess of 4.5%, they should always use that money to invest instead of to pay down the mortgage. It’s simple math. Bonds yield more, stocks yield more in the long run. Leveraged real estate deals yield a lot more, but those require expertise like what i;ve built up with my partners over the years.

You’re obviously involved in the UFF scam. It’s pretty sad and pathetic that you’re stealing people’s money through this ponzi scheme.

• Eric says:
25 June 2008

Matt,
You are mistaken, as others have been. It is so easy to assume someone is “involved” with something online when they don’t agree with your points. I am NOT involved with UFF. I have looked at the program and considered using it. I’m on a fact-finding mission.

ALL of the arguments against it are of the nature you have shared (ignoring the knee-jerk, “it’s MLM, it must be a scam, run for your lives” reactions.)

You point out that “Leveraged real estate deals yield a lot more, but those require expertise like what i;ve built up with my partners over the years.” Also that you have to get an investment that will yield more than what the interest pay down would yield (4.5% in your example). ALL of those things require certain things to happen for them to be better than paying off a mortgage – something that can actually be done w/o much extra thought.

What I can’t find are those people who can honestly deny that the ones using the program, and cutting years off their mortgage, are doing something beneficial. All of this “keep the mortgage, use your extra somewhere else” smacks of “you’re going to have a car payment anyway, why not lease and have something new” mentality. What happened to actually owning things?

The ONLY thing I owe on is my house. IF I could take my 29.5 years remaining on my mortgage, cut that down to 10 years, and then for the next 20 put the kind of money I’m using on my mortgage into investments, etc – like you recommend – how is that not good? I’ve have WAY more money to invest monthly than I do now. I’d also have money for kid’s college (cash) since my child is only 3 months old now.

Also, no matter how many times I provide links to this news report, they disappear. So I’ve yet to hear anyone comment on this:

• George says:
4 July 2008

Interestingly enough there is alot more research done on united first financial than I thought. What i would like to bring to your attention is like Eric said above, there are approximately 60,000 using the MMA. Common sense tells me that I would bet at least half of those people have researched the product as well. Seems to me like you’re calling them stupid. That’s rude.

• George says:
4 July 2008

My next guess is the next anti United First Financial person will say something like “Yeah, stupid enough to spend $3,500.” Predictable? Yes. • Craig Hansen says: 28 July 2008 “What i would like to bring to your attention is like Eric said above, there are approximately 60,000 using the MMA. Common sense tells me that I would bet at least half of those people have researched the product as well. Seems to me like you’re calling them stupid. That’s rude.” I don’t know about “stupid”, but I would call them “gullible”, “too trusting” and “a salesman’s dream”. The positive research done on UFF was commissioned by UFF. The industry rags that report glowingly on them are small publications with high UFF advertising content. The E&Y award was sponsored by E&Y, not investigated by E&Y. If the MMA really worked, and I wish it did, it would be huge. Think about it for a second. They’re claiming massive savings. Everyone would be demanding it. It’s been over 2 years. If you’re right and there are 60,000 clients, that’s not a lot to show for such a “ground breaking” product. But considering UFF nets$1000 per sale, they’ve made $90 million. Agents split$2500 per sale (assuming the entire $2500 is paid out). A conservative estimate is 10,000 agents. The mean average agent has made$15,000 on the MMA. Of course, a few agents have recruited well, and are doing great. As with any MLM, most agents are making next to nothing.

This is a bad deal for almost everyone involved, except a few agents and UFF themselves.

• ace says:
11 August 2008

I got this product and paid $3500. I just found out that my line of credit was suspended due to the home mortgage crisis. I have to pay off my line of credit which is$10,000.00. $3500 for the software and$7500 for the money applied to my mortgage balance. I can no longer use my HELOC until the propergy value in my area goes up. This is sick. I hope no one buys this software. I now have to deplete all of my savings to pay the 10K balance on my HELOC. I am very, very, very sad. If some sees this message, don’t buy this software or get involved with this program. Sincerely.

• fletch says:
11 August 2008

Investments fraud includes FAILURE to DISCLOSE or to tell the WHOLE TRUTH.

Reference the recent Citi, UBS, and Merril settlements for auction rate securities which had been IMO fraudulently sold as “cash equivalents” when those companies knew or should have known those instruments were not reliably cash equivalents over time without their support.

Wow, it’s eerily similar… Do the mma salesman claim a heloc debt is a cash equivalent?… that it’s not a mortgage?… even that it’s not debt? That it’s not risky? That it saves you money in NET? That it pays of your mortgage faster? Do they tell the WHOLE Truth upfront, before they “extract” their $3,500 swindle? Sometimes the law holds people who assist in furthering the fraud liable even if they did not know about the fraud. There is an imputed duty of care, in that the purveyors of investment schemes are held accountable to known even if they are actually unaware. For example, as a matter of law someone who holds themselves out to be an “Agent” for another is accountable for illegal actions in which they participate even if they are unaware, as a matter of law. To sustain a claim of fraud, it is required to prove each of the nine elements of fraud: (1) a representation; (mma saves money) (2) falsity of the representation; (it does not save money, it is a net financial loss) (3) materiality of the representation; (money savings is the reason someone buys it – “pay off in less time”) (4) speaker’s knowledge of the falsity of the representation; (intentional construction of the sales presentation, agent training, and marketing claims and intentional omission of the whole truth from those materials and presentations. Incomplete numerical comparisons that falsely and misleadingly show savings where none in fact exist) (5) the speaker’s intent it should be relied upon; (they hold it out to be true, sophisticated software, run a simulation of customer’s own data, etc…) (6) the hearer’s ignorance of the falsity of the representation; (it is somewhat complex financially due to the unnecessary heloc smoke and mirrors, etc… however proof of the falsity is obvious to educated professionals who take care and perform simple numerical calculations) (7) the hearer’s reliance on the representation; (that’s the prime reason(s) the software is purchased, why else would someone pay$3,500 for “budgeting software” )
(8) the hearer’s right to rely on the representation; and (they are being sold the product by an “agent” who represents the principal.)
(9) the hearer’s consequent and proximate injury caused by reliance on the representation. (loss of $3,500, loss on arbitrage operations, both further compounded over time!) IMO all 9 elements have been quite clearly satisfied. http://www.theage.com.au/news/property/smoke-and-mirrors/2004/09/28/1096137225560.html • Carole Steindorffd says: 10 September 2008 I purchased what was touted to be the “latest and greatest MMA” in May from a member of my church. To this day I do not have the “latest and greatest” version, but the old version which requires moving funds back and forth endlessly. I have contacted the representative and his co-horts and asked for my money back. I was told I could have it——————a month ago. No money yet. Today I received an e-mail saying that my request for a refund had been denied as United First Financial had done nothing wrong. But, I still do not have what I paid for. Has anyone been able to recoup their monies from this company? • Craig says: 10 September 2008 Carole, I doubt version 4 will be any easier to follow than version 3. The irony is the only worthwhile transaction you need are the few that are directed to your mortgage. Everything else to do with your HELOC is just a smokescreen. UFF is under no obligation to refund your money. They only promised that if you have the income and expenses you listed and signed your name to, and if you followed the MMA software directions, the MMA would pay down the mortgage as fast as your report said it would. They really only guarantee that 1+1=2. That I’m aware, the guarantee doesn’t cover upgrades, customer satisfaction, or anything of the sort. UFF strongly suggests marketing within church groups. Your agent and fellow churchgoer probably knows very little about mortgages – very few UFF agents do. UFF has some very clever marketing that impresses a lot of people. Your agent may still believe that he/she did you a service. For any hope for a refund, I suggest you contact the Better Business Bureau in Utah. Here is the UFF page there: http://utah.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Report.aspx?site=139&bbb=1166&firm=22021100 They are up to 9 BBB cases now, though they have all been “resolved”. I suspect this BBB entry of the parent company is the only one they care about. I doubt UFF will care if you make a BBB complaint against your agent – agents are like human shields to a company like UFF. I believe your only hope is a BBB complaint against the parent company. Do you have any promises in writing that were broken? Anything that refers to version 4? That will help, as your argument should be that you did not receive what was promised. That either version of the MMA is overpriced, inefficient and more difficult than prepaying the mortgage yourself makes the MMA a terrible purchase, but those points probably won’t get you your money back. Good luck, and please update us on your progress. Regards, Craig Hansen • Carole Steindorffd says: 10 September 2008 Thanks for the info, Craig. I will contact the Utah BBB and let them know that I have fulfilled my part of the bargain (that being my check!) and that I have not received what I paid for (Will I EVER???) Doubtful. Live and learn, but it is true that they do prey on those whose resources are limited. In my case, this fellow from my church held several “meetings” for teachers in our school district because we “deserved to be the first to know about this VERY fine program.” I can only hope that the BBB in Utah is on to these people and that is is not the first complaint they’ve seen. Carole • Tracy Coenen says: 10 September 2008 I urge you to NOT GIVE UP. Keep complaining to anyone who will listen until you get your refund! • TR says: 13 September 2008 Just another get rich quick, MLM scheme. Google Chad Wickline. He is in this one too. • Craig says: 13 September 2008 I Googled him, and I see he has already been prosecuted and convicted in another debt elimination scheme, but where is the link to UFF? • Charlotte says: 16 September 2008 Carole, I feel bad that someone you trusted from your church introduced you to something you found fraudulent. There are so many “schemes” out there that are only interested in your money. I found a list of laws regarding MLMs and it sounds like they were not operating within the laws of a reputable MLM. Here are the parameters for operation: You can’t make claims about money you could make until someone is signed up. Lifestyle claims are illegal. You have to have a product available with value. You can potentially earn more than the person above you. (If you can’t then it’s an illegal pyramid scheme) Front end loading is illegal. (Paying for extra product that you are not going to re-sell just to advance) Getting paid to recruit others is illegal. (If you are not purchasing the product to use and you are just calling people to get them into the business). I hope that this helps clairfy for anyone who is thinking of paying for product from an MLM. I have come across people who do some reputable MLM jobs like skin care and kitchen products and scrapbooking items so they are out there. Companies like this one make it difficult for these people to operate their business and make others suspicious about ALL MLMs. • Lee D says: 16 September 2008 The fact is, financial scams and MLM’s run riot through congregations like pink-eye at a daycare. You’re even more likely to be hosed by someone from your congregation than you are at an “investor’s club,” which is saying something! Conmen will always seek out a ready collection of trusting suckers. Despite my a-religious nature, one of my closest friends is a very serious Reverend, and such scams and the way they propagate is something that his church has trained it’s ministers to identify and deal with, just as they would with family and personal problems in their parishoners(sp?). In conversation he’s quite spirited and caustic on the impact that such schemes wreak on families and friendships. • Charlotte says: 16 September 2008 That just reiterates that you need to do your research on these companies before paying anything out. Just as someone stated in an earlier post, make sure you do your homework…even if it’s someone from your church. If it sounds too good to be true, it IS. • Kevin says: 16 September 2008 I found this site while trying to get more useful information about United First Financial. Some of the posts have been useful, but some are just negative outbursts. First of all, I read so many posts that call this a scam. What is everyone’s definition of a scam? Are some people confusing the word “scam” with the word “over-priced”? For example, I was in an upscale store last week and I saw a women purchasing some newly released designer items. I saw a women’s designer bra with a price tag of$150.00, a designer handbag for $2000.00, and designer shoes for$900.00. All of these items could be purchased at WalMart at a cheaper price. Is this a scam?? These “designer” items are advertised in glossy magazines! Are these designer items really better than the WalMart items? Is the designer store over-charging and scamming their customers?? Are the glossy magazines and the designer store’s salesperson participating in the scam? If a customer buys and then wears a $150.00 designer bra for three days and then attempts to get a full refund, will that customer get her money back? No, probably not. In addition, is WalMart scamming customers too? Isn’t it possible for us to make our own clothes and shoes and handbags? Can’t we go on the Internet and find FREE instructions on how to make your own bras, shoes, and handbags? Isn’t it possible to find the materials to make these items for a really cheap price? Go to Yahoo or Google and try, it’s easy!! I just really think there is a difference between “scam” and something being “over-priced.” In addition, “over-priced” could mean “over-priced” to ME, but my neighbor could think the same thing is worth every penny spent. Everyone seems to agree that anybody with a home loan can send in additional payments in an effort to pay off a home loan faster. That is easy, right! But what if I send in an extra$300 this year and another extra $1000 next year, exactly how much money in interest will that save me and exactly how much time gets reduced off of my 30 year loan? Who can give me that answer at 8PM on a Sunday night? Who can I call Monday morning and how quickly can my question be answered? Somebody out there, please direct me to someone that can answer my questions, right now TODAY? Give me a phone number to a specific person that will answer these questions for FREE. FREE! After you give me that phone number, I am going to give that phone number to all of my friends, family, and co-workers. Let’s see how quickly all of the calls get directed into a voicemail. How long before the number gets disconnected and the person disappears. Imagine all of the complaints that will happen as the phone number gets spread to everyone around the United States and people begin to get busy signals and no one responds to hundreds of voicemail messages. Eventually the person WORKING that FREE info phone number is going to have to charge a fee. If a real, live person isn’t doing the math to figure out the numbers I want, I need to learn on my own how to do it with a mortgage calulator or buy some type of computer program. Just because United First Financial charges$3,500 doesn’t make it a scam. Is it over-priced? Maybe, maybe not…. It just seems like expensive, designer software that costs $3,500. Somebody mentioned that there is a similar product for far less that$3,500 and therefore the $3,500 is a scam. Let me ask you a question. If you buy a brand new 2009 Ford today and then a week later you see it advertised for$2000 less at another dealer, did your salesperson and your dealer scam you? I really would like to know if the cheaper option is exactly the same as the $3,500 software? There are price differences for almost everything we buy, but it is up to the consumer to shop around. It is not a scam if the consumer does not shop around, is it? As for the “money-saving” claims, we already ALL agree that making extra payments will reduce the loan balance, the interest charges, and the length to payoff. In the end, the amount of money saved depends on the amount of extra money the consumer sends in to pay down the loan. Could someone direct me to the location on the United First Financial web site where their “money-saving” claims are NOT TRUE. If somebody wants to keep track of all of that and other credit card payments using$3,500 worth of software, how is that a scam? How else are you going to keep track of it?

As for the home equity line of credit, what is the big deal? People use home equity lines of credit to buy boats, cars, jewelry, fur coats, vacations, pay college tuition, plastic surgery, nose jobs, breast implants, lipo-suction, re-modeling and additions to homes, and many other things! In this situation, somebody is using a home equity line of credit to reduce the interest charges on a homeloan? Hello? So what?!

One of the posts mentioned that agents do not have a license and have no training. A license or training to sell software that keeps track of loans and payments? Everyone is saying how easy it is to do all of this on your own without buying $3,500 worth of software and now somebody says the agents do not have a license or training? A license for what? Someone else mentioned that the agents do not have the software or have a home loan themselves therefore it is a scam. A gas station clerk can sell diesel gas to a truck driver but not personally own a vehicle that uses diesel fuel. Right? Is the trucker going to ask the clerk if the he/she owns a vehicle that uses deisel fuel? If the clerk says, “No” is the trucker going to say “This is a scam, I am calling the Better Business Bureau?” Another post mentions MLM. MLM? If it is a legal MLM organization, what is the problem? After the company receives the$3,500 from a customer, who really cares how the money gets divided as long as it is legal. When you buy your groceries everyweek and spend about $150 –$250, what happens to that money? The cashier gets paid minimum wage and the supervisor gets paid more than the cashier and the Store Manager gets paid more with a bonus and the district manager gets paid more with a bigger bonus. Is that a scam?

If I buy software for $3,500 and it keeps track of what I want it to keep track of, should I be afraid because it is being sold by a MLM salesperson? There was another post that mentioned the Better Business Bureau (BBB). I was so happy to see the link, because I was going to check them out with the BBB. They had 9 complaints and they were all resolved. I am still confused? Why are people still saying this is a scam? Does it make sense to simply call this expensive, designer software for$3,500?? Is that a better description than scam???

• Tracy Coenen says:
16 September 2008

Everything you need to pay off your mortgage in the same amount of time (or less) than UFF will tell you can be done by getting a spreadsheet or software that costs anywhere from $0 to$99. It will tell you at any given time how much longer it will take to pay off your mortgage.

• Craig says:
16 September 2008

“In this situation, somebody is using a home equity line of credit to reduce the interest charges on a homeloan? Hello? So what?!”

No, the HELOC just gives an illusion of saving interest. It saves, at most, $25 or so per month, and are usually cancelled out or exceeded by the interest on the$3500 fee. The bulk of the savings are from simple prepayment that never needed the HELOC in the first place.

This is the crux of the scam argument – the HELOC or CC used by the MMA have next to nothing to do with the savings – they’re just there to look impressive. The architecture of the MMA is based on a lie.

Lie to get someone to spend $3500? That’s a scam. “Does it make sense to simply call this expensive, designer software for$3,500?? Is that a better description than scam???”

No, “scam” is a better fit.

• Charlotte says:
16 September 2008

Kevin makes valid points. There are some people who think that all MLMs are scams and they always will. Those are the people who miss opportunities. They just don’t get it.

In the 80s there were pyramid programs that were outlawed. The laws I stated earlier have to be followed, if they are not, they are penalized. The ones who cannot get past those old pyramid scams are the ones who miss out on some good products from the reputable MLM companies.

Have these people never purchased from an MLM? At all, ever?

• Tracy Coenen says:
16 September 2008

MLMs basically offer overpriced products. I’ve yet to find one that has anything close to a superior product. The high price isn’t because of something special or high quality. It’s because many levels of commissions must be paid.

MLMs aren’t required to follow laws. Our government has chosen to not act against MLMs that break the laws on the books. And organizations like the DSA lobby heavily to make sure it stays that way.

• Eric says:
16 September 2008

Kevin makes valid points. The strawman argument of “you can just send in extra payments” has never yet stood up. Most people have next to nothing extra at the end of the month in actual cash. BUT, with a HELOC they might be able to send it 3 or 4 times a normal mortgage payment – which makes a MUCH bigger long term dent than $100 or$200.

I’d really love to see a thought-provoking response; something beyond “MLM – run away in horror” and “just use a spreadsheet and send in some extra money.”

• Tracy Coenen says:
16 September 2008

As you know Eric, you’ve not been permitted to post here because you keep trying to post links to UFF promotional materials. This site isn’t for promotion of MLMs!

But I had to let this one slip through just to show how people believe in UFF.

You’ve used as an example a consumer with NO EXTRA CASH to send to their mortgage. Then you say that they could use a HELOC to send a bunch of money to their mortgage.

WHY THIS IS BAD: The consumer will be BORROWING on the HELOC at a HIGHER INTEREST RATE and using that money to pay down their regular mortgage that has a LOWER INTEREST RATE.

The consumer is not ahead by doing what you suggest. They get further behind because they are paying a higher interest rate.

I can hear you now: “No, that’s not how it really works.”

YES, THAT IS HOW IT WORKS.

• Charlotte says:
16 September 2008

MLMs pay direct sellers to promote in introduce their products. This saves them from having to advertise. It also give individuals the opportunity to earn more based on how many people they introduce to the product.

Have you never purchased Avon? Pampered Chef? Mary Kay? Arbonne? Tupperwear? etc?? I don’t believe any of those things are over priced.

• Craig says:
16 September 2008

Eric, if you “send it 3 or 4 times a normal mortgage payment” from your HELOC, you just created a new debt 3 or 4 times the size of a normal mortgage payment.

You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. With good timing of income and delaying expenses, you might save a few bucks.

UFF are the ones making the extraordinary claims. Let them demonstrate clearly, with all money movements out in the open, how to beat a simple DIY approach.

But first, they need to demonstrate they can beat a simple DIY approach at all. You can find examples of UFF agents losing at Fatwallet, Scam dot com, and most recently:
http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/united-first-financial-money-merge-accounts-scam-or-legit.html

Start reading UFF agent James Barnes’ challenge of August 18th, and JimmyDaGeek’s answer on August 19th. This one is nice because it buries the new “you can’t beat the MMA for multiple debts” claim.

• Craig says:
16 September 2008

Eric,

I also recently posted a conversation I had with a UFF agent and his upline to Scam dot com. In those emails, I used simple (and free) online mortgage calculators to beat the MMA claims, and the agent agreed with my numbers, until it got really embarrassing for him.

• Eddy says:
16 September 2008

Tracey,

How are your book sales going? Riding on coat tails.

• Tracy Coenen says:
16 September 2008

Why thanks for asking Eddy! The book sales are exceeding projections by quite a bit. So I guess that means I’m doing well!

• Pedro Menard says:
17 September 2008

Craig said:

«But first, they need to demonstrate they can beat a simple DIY approach at all. You can find examples of UFF agents losing at Fatwallet, Scam dot com, and most recently:
http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/united-first-financial-money-merge-accounts-scam-or-legit.html

Start reading UFF agent James Barnes’ challenge of August 18th, and JimmyDaGeek’s answer on August 19th. This one is nice because it buries the new “you can’t beat the MMA for multiple debts” claim. »

Craig also said:

«I also recently posted a conversation I had with a UFF agent and his upline to Scam dot com. In those emails, I used simple (and free) online mortgage calculators to beat the MMA claims, and the agent agreed with my numbers, until it got really embarrassing for him.

———–

I wonder if anyone still believes in the miraculous capabilities of that bogus software app.

Best Regards,

Pedro

• Kevin says:
17 September 2008

************************************
Craig wrote @ September 16th, 2008 at 7:51 pm

No, the HELOC just gives an illusion of saving interest. It saves, at most, $25 or so per month, and are usually cancelled out or exceeded by the interest on the$3500 fee. The bulk of the savings are from simple prepayment that never needed the HELOC in the first place.

This is the crux of the scam argument – the HELOC or CC used by the MMA have next to nothing to do with the savings – they’re just there to look impressive. The architecture of the MMA is based on a lie.

Lie to get someone to spend $3500? That’s a scam. “Does it make sense to simply call this expensive, designer software for$3,500?? Is that a better description than scam???”

No, “scam” is a better fit.
************************************

Kevin’s response……

Thank you for the response Craig. Thank you for everyone’s response too! The responses are greatly appreciated! [I am serious and I am not trying to be sarcastic.] This is really helping everyone take a really deep look at United First Financial and their MMA product.

Does the HELOC really only give an illusion of saving interest? Are we all really understanding the Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)? If I am not mistaken, not everyone can get a HELOC, right? A HELOC is NOT a credit card and it really should not be compared to a credit card.

As far as I know, you CANNOT get a HELOC if you do not have EQUITY in your home and then your creditworthiness will be be checked. If you DO have EQUITY in YOUR home, whose EQUITY is it? Is it the homeowner’s EQUITY or the banks EQUITY? It is YOUR equity that you built up over the years from making your loan payment and any appreciation in the value of your home.

Correct me if I am wrong, the bank charges you interest for getting access to YOUR EQUITY in YOUR home. That equity is your money, not borrowed money. The bank will not do a HELOC unless YOU have EQUITY in YOUR home, right? In other words, the equity in my home is MY money and the bank is charging me money to access MY money. Isn’t that charge negotiable especially if my credit is good?

Now, here is where I need help right now. What if I have a HELOC for $30,000 and I want to use it to make a$30,000 payment on my home loan? What piece of software, what spreadsheet, what type of calculator can I use that will show me [in plain English and Simple Math] the advantages and disadvantages? Somebody please tell me. There was a post that said the cost is anywhere from $0 to$99.00, but I did not see info about exactly how to get those inexpensive solutions.

Do you know what I mean? Of course we can get the bank to tell me what happens if I use the entire $30,000 HELOC? The bank will tell me that they would send me a monthly statement with the minimum payment amount due based on the$30,000 HELOC and the interest rate on the HELOC.

However, the problem I would still have is calculating the effects of a $30,000 lump sum payment on my home loan.$30,000 over a few months or a few years has to reduce some of the interest and the time until payoff, doesn’t it? But how much? What are the real numbers? What if the interest rate on my home loan is higher than the interest rate on my new HELOC, isn’t that possible? How do I calculate that? Who is going to show me for FREE or for $99.00? For just a moment, forget about the HELOC part [even though it is really MY money anyway]. What if I hit the lottery for$48,000 and after taxes, I ended up with exactly $30,000. Then I send a$30,000 payment to my bank to pay down my home loan. How much interest will I save and will I pay off my home loan sooner?

The answer has to be yes, right? I can GUESS that I would save a significant amount of interest, right? Is this an illusion of saving interest? Doesn’t a $30,000 cash payment have something to do with the savings in interest?? How could this be an illusion of saving interest? The only difference between a$30,000 cash payment and a $30,000 HELOC payment are the interest charges, right? As long as the HELOC interest charges are LESS and you SAVED a significant amount of money in interest charges on the original home loan, then this could possibly make sense. Yes or no? The only way to find out is we have to calculate all of this out, but how do we do it? What do we use? Here is the BIG question…… What is the easiest way to run these numbers? Can United First Financial and their MMA product.run these numbers? Do not forget this part…… everybody’s situation is different! Different loan amounts, different interest rates, different amounts for the HELOC! I do not think anyone is going to do this for FREE. It has to cost something. It has to, doesn’t it? In review, the HELOC is YOUR money anyway. You can’t get a HELOC unless you have EQUITY. We really need to know the interest rate on the HELOC and the interest rate on your original home loan. These interest rates should make a big difference, right? How can we make a broad, sweeping statement when we do not know the interest rates. If I am correct, an agent from United First Financial runs an analysis on each potential customer. The homeowner still has to qualify for the home equity line of credit, don’t they? I do not think that EVERYONE is going to be a perfect fit for the MMA product. I do not see any lies UNLESS United First Financial runs an analysis on a customer and the analysis shows NO SAVINGS POSSIBLE and then the customer is forced to buy the product anyway. Has that happened? If this has not happened, then I just do not see any lies. A scam would be if EVERYONE was given a HELOC even if they didn’t have equity in their home AND everyone’s loan balance increased EVERY month AND the software was only a blank CD-ROM disc with nothing on it. Now that would be a scam, wouldn’t it? [smile] I have to ask the question again….. “Does it make sense to simply call this expensive, designer software for$3,500?? Is that a better description than scam???”

• Kevin says:
17 September 2008

I just had a few moments to read some of the threads where a UFF was challenged.

I think I am still missing the point. Where is the scam?

In the challenge, the DIY approach beat the numbers from UFF. But wasn’t money and time saved from using the MMA product? It seemed like money and time was saved, but not as much time and money as the DIY approach. The software did what it was supposed to do, right? So where is the scam???

For example, I have the ability to wash and wax my car. However, I could pay someone to wash and wax my car. The local car wash could claim that I could save time and money by getting my car washed and waxed at their car wash for $100.00. Sounds like a good deal to me, right? Maybe, maybe not. Someone directs me to a web site that says getting your car washed and waxed for$100.00 is a scam……you could do it yourself and put the $100.00 in a savings account and let it earn interest until you retire! The local car wash didn’t tell me I could save$100.00 by doing it myself, so they are scamming me out of my $100.00. Does that make sense? Would that be crazy or what? Just because a business charges someone money for doing something you could learn to do on your own doesn’t mean it is a scam does it? Even if you could do it cheaper on your own, the customer has the option to not buy the product or service, but to call the business a scam is not right, is it? Just because the customer does not understand interest rates, mortgages, HELOCS, and they don’t know how to use a mortgage calculator doesn’t make them dumb people that got taked advantaged of. If these customers buy a$3,500 product that helps them pay off debt sooner than normal, why should they be looked upon as if someone took advantage of them.

A homeowner could have learned to do it themselves for FREE, but they did have the time or the desire. Why should they be viewed as poor, un-educated customers that were taken advantage of?? They could have saved a lot more money if they learned it themselves, but they decided to pay someone else to do it and they still saved some time and money [but just not as much money if the learned/did it on their own for FREE]. Where is the scam?? How is that a scam??

• Kevin says:
17 September 2008

A final thought……..

If you had $3,600 in cash and you were forced to spend it, what would you do? You have only one choice and you must spend the$3,600 on 1 of 2 items. Item #1 is the MMA product from United First Financial for $3,500 and you would have$100.00 left over. Item #2 is a designer shoulder bag at Neiman Marcus. It’s a Nancy Gonzalez Gathered Croc Shoulder Bag for $3,600 [yes, this item really exists! check it out on Neiman Marcus' web site]. Which product is a scam?? Are both products legit? Will both products benefit you and/or that important female in your life? If you bought the MMA product and became debt-free in 17.9 years instead of 30 years, was the$3,500 expense a good decision? In 17.9 years, you are debt-free and you mention it to your neighbor and your neighbor says, “You could have saved the $3500 and done it in 12.6 years if you learned how to do it yourself for free!” In 17.9 years, what would be the condition of that$3,600 shoulder bag?

Where is the scam? It is just how you view and value your time and your money, isn’t it?

• Tracy Coenen says:
17 September 2008

Kevin,

Here is your $30,000 HELOC answer FOR FREE….. Taking$30,000 from your HELOC and applying it to your regular mortgage saves you NOTHING. IT COSTS YOU MONEY.

With very few exceptions, the interest rate on your HELOC will be higher than your mortgage, so only an idiot would borrow money at a higher interest rate to pay on a loan with a lower interest rate.

• Tracy Coenen says:
17 September 2008

Kevin – The MMA saves neither time nor money. It does not make paying off the mortgage easier. You can spend less time to save more money FOR FREE than by paying $3,500. The$3,500 fee only gets you a more cumbersome product that will save you less money on your mortgage that if you did it on your own. So there is no real value in paying the $3,500. • Tracy Coenen says: 17 September 2008 Kevin – You keep repeating yourself. Please read the posts about UFF and MMA on this site before posting again. The answers to all your questions are here. You’re being repetitive. • WTF w/UFF??? says: 17 September 2008 I can’t help but notice that all the comments left by UFF agents and STE drones are always innumerate, semi-literate, and barely coherent, as if they never made it past the 3rd grade. Not to mention demonstrating anger and impulse control problems. Coincidence? I think not. • Eric says: 18 September 2008 Kevin is probably repeating himself b/c his basic question is never answered – only the same responses come back: “you can do it yourself” “Higher rate to pay off lower rate”, etc. I NEVER posted UFF promotional materials because I don’t have any. I did provide a link to my personal analysis they ran – a pdf file. For people to judge as they wanted to. I also provided a link to an NBC local affiliate news story (the video) about them reviewing this product and saying it worked. Those were both removed (multiple times) w/o anyone actually being able to see them. I’ll say again that it doesn’t help your case when you remove data that appears to counter your argument. The one thing nobody is responding to is the way the HELOC is used. The way it’s described is that you move all of your normal banking into it. It has to be a very specific type of HELOC to work – one that has these characteristics (as provided by the agent): -Must be an open ended Home Equity Line of Credit -Must have an interest only payment option -Must be attached to the primary residence in a second lien position -Must be a variable rate These things are ALL part of making the HELOC work to your advantage – more than “borrowing money at a higher rate to pay a lower rate loan.” This is the stuff that no one responds to on here – the actual details of the program’s application. I’m not going to go into the details of why those things are there b/c I doubt there would be any thoughtful responses. BUT there was a lot more data provided about the need for the HELOC and how it’s used that ANY response on here has dealt with. I’m, like Kevin apparently, reviewing their claims and the SW. I have not bought (so I don’t need to justify the purchase) and I certainly don’t sell the product. • Pedro Menard says: 19 September 2008 Kevin wrote: « A final thought…….. If you had$3,600 in cash and you were forced to spend it, what would you do? You have only one choice and you must spend the $3,600 on 1 of 2 items. Item #1 is the MMA product from United First Financial for$3,500 and you would have $100.00 left over. Item #2 is a designer shoulder bag at Neiman Marcus. It’s a Nancy Gonzalez Gathered Croc Shoulder Bag for$3,600 [yes, this item really exists! check it out on Neiman Marcus' web site]. Which product is a scam?? Are both products legit? Will both products benefit you and/or that important female in your life?

If you bought the MMA product and became debt-free in 17.9 years instead of 30 years, was the $3,500 expense a good decision? In 17.9 years, you are debt-free and you mention it to your neighbor and your neighbor says, “You could have saved the$3500 and done it in 12.6 years if you learned how to do it yourself for free!” In 17.9 years, what would be the condition of that $3,600 shoulder bag? Where is the scam? It is just how you view and value your time and your money, isn’t it? Any comments??? » ——————— Kevin, I have some comments for you. It’s strange you should limit the initial amount of choices in your hypothetical example to two (The MMA from UFF or a shoulder bag). Why not have a third option? Something like: “Going to your bank, consulting with your finantial advisor, and asking him how to invest 3.500$ so to become debt-free in less years”.

This third option becoming evident, of course, as soon as some UUF agent contacts you, and in case you have not thought of reducing your debt before, as this seems to be the case of most people who find the MMA a miraculous solution – they never have put their minds into the problem. It’s a simple “let’s see what my bank has to say about this – lets look at alternatives. 3.500$sure is a lot of dough! ” The MMA looks like a good decision only while and if you are not aware that you can spend much less money by not buying it.. It’s all about awareness, isn’t it? It’s not really the MMA (which is now proven to be a kind of hoax). Now you tell me this: for all the UFF sellers that have seen the math proof for the DIY method (that one that shows you how it can be done without spending 3.500$ ont he MMA), how is it that they are going to approach their future clientes and live through it with a clear conscience?

You know, this whole situation makes me think about the “energy/vitamin-drink” MLM selling industry. They will approach people who never consumed these products on a regular basis and they will try to convince them that they are good for the heatlh. However, they fail to mention that there are much cheaper solutions – being sold just around the corner – which can perfectly substitute the MLM ones. In fact, they will try to sell their vitamin drinks as if they were the answer to all health problems.

Are the MLM products bad? I think not. They are just too much expensive, considering the alternatives. Once again, it’s about awareness.

Best Regards,

Pedro

• Kevin says:
19 September 2008

Pedro,

Yeah, I know I kind of only gave two silly options in my hypothetical example. [I only made the choices like that because that is how a lot of customers make decisions. We can call customers and UFF agents stupid idiots all day long, but just look at the choices the majority of Americans have made. A salesperson can only educate a customer if the CUSTOMER WANTS to be educated.] Yes, if I added your third option, I agree 100% that consulting with a financial advisor makes the most sense.

However, I hope we all see one of the main issues. You said, “a third option only becomes evident as soon as a UFF agent contacts a customer.” How is it that the UFF agent is getting to the customer BEFORE the financial advisor gets to the same customer?? How is it that the UFF agent is getting the customer’s attention BEFORE the financial advisor?? This really needs to be explored!!! Some people prefer to post things like, “scam, stupid, idiot, etc.” However, there are some valuable lessons here about “how to sell and get a customer’s attention” and “a customer’s behavior towards price.” In this situation, the customer does not care about spending the $3500 and UFF agents are getting to customers BEFORE highly trained people like financial planners/advisors and mortgage professionals. Why doesn’t the customer care about spend$3500? Why aren’t the “smarter financial people” not being consulted for debt solutions?

The UFF agent is good at getting to the customer first, right?! After the UFF agent gets the customer to look at their debt situation, what is the UFF agent supposed to do next? A UFF agent [or any salesperson/business owner] is supposed to charge the highest price the maket will bear without lying, stealing, cheating, or breaking the law. It is the customer’s job to shop around and look for the lowest possible price for a solution to their problem. A great salesperson/business owner will know that there are cheaper alternatives to what they are selling [know your competition] and this salesperson better have an answer to handle that objection. As long as the salesperson handles the objection without lying, stealing, cheating, or breaking the law, the salesperson will have a clear conscience. Yes or no? Am I seeing this part correctly?

Here is the answer to the question you asked me. When a UFF agent analyzes a customer’s situation, it is the customer’s job to find other solutions and compare prices. If the customer decides to return to the UFF agent and says, “I think I found a way to do this on my own without paying the $3,500.” The UFF agent should compare the calculations and if the customer was able to calculate out a plan they can follow on their own without paying$3500, then the UFF agent should acknowledge the customer’s FREE plan as an option. If the UFF and the MMA product has anything else to offer over and above the customer’s FREE plan, at this point the UFF agent should detail the extra stuff the customer will get for $3500. If the customer does not see value in spending the additional$3500 above their own FREE plan, then a sale will not happen. The customer will walk, right?

Correct me if I am wrong, please. I do not know of any industry sales positions that require the salesperson to direct a potential customer to all of the places the customer could find the same product/service at a cheaper price or for free. A salesperson’s conscience should be clear if they are not lying, stealing, cheating, or breaking the law.

I agree, “awareness” is really the main issue. The customer’s “desire to be aware” plays a part too. As salespeople we can preach and demonstrate products/services all day long, but if a customer does not WANT to be aware of cheaper or better ways to do something that is an issue the customer must deal with in the end.

In the end, it is awareness. It is the customer’s duty to find alternatives. The salesperson’s duty is to try to get the highest possible price the market will bear without lying, stealing, cheating, or breaking the law. A UFF agent should feel comfortable acknowledging a customer if they are able to show better, more effective calculations on their own. There is nothing wrong if UFF has found a market for a $3500 product where the majority of their customers do not wish [or don't have the time] to be aware of FREE solutions. This is a capitalist country. A business offers their products/services in competition with other solutions. A business will stay in business long-term if they are offering the consumer long-term VALUE. If there is no value in the UFF product, it will disappear shortly. However, with today’s economy, there seems to be a huge market for people wanting to get out of debt. It looks like people have no problem spending$3500 for a debt payoff solution and they are not concerned with searching for cheaper alternatives.

• Kevin says:
19 September 2008

Tracy,

You mention that the MMA saves neither time nor money. Why are people spending $3500 for something worthless? What is it in their sales presentation that makes people think this product/service is worth$3500?

Have you sat thru a MMA presentation? I have not, but I have decided to sit thru an MMA presentation. I am not a stupid idiot for doing this, am I? I want to learn more about their sales approach and how they demonstrate value? I want to know why people are spending $3500 so easily during an economy like this? In your opinion, is everyone purchasing this MMA product because they are stupid idiots? In your opinion, if a customer uses the MMA product for all of their debts, will they pay off all of their debts SOONER than if they have no plan for debt payoff? In your opinion, do customers respond more to FREE plans and solutions or do customers really enjoy and take pleasure telling their friends, co-workers, and neighbors they just bought some new expensive, dazzling thing with lots of bells and whistles? In your opinion, would a customer rather say, “I just got back from an appointment with my financial planner. They gave me a spreadsheet and said follow that and you’ll be ok. If you don’t you will be filing for backruptcy in exactly 4.35 years!” Or, would a customer rather say, “I just bought this new software. Of course it was expensive! But this software tells me the exact date I will finish paying off ALL of my bills. Guess what! Three years from now if I make another major purchase using a NEW credit card, it will re-run the numbers and show me my NEW debt-free date! This new expensive MMA thing will even send me text messages with financial stuff to my cell phone!!” Tracy couldn’t this be a way that UFF is adding value….. As consumers some of us, we like to be dazzled with flashy, expensive things. On a first date, I could take a girl to McDonald’s on Sunday because cheeseburgers are only 0.49 cents. That is a financially sound decision, but it does not take into account the human side of the decision. Paying off debt is a financially sound decision, but for most consumers they are going to have to be razzled and dazzled into doing it in the most fashionable way possible! If they are going to pay off debt, they gotta look good doing it. If the highly trained experts in finance, mortgages, and advising want a piece of the action, they can’t call customers stupid idiots and try to make them pay attention to boring stuff for their own good! I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like the UFF and the MMA product is tuned into what the majority of customers really want. The experts and the people that really know the numbers better than some UFF agents are more concerned with how much they know and not focused on what the customer just recently realized they wanted for$3500.

The experts were not really focusing on this particular market [debt payoff solutions] until UFF came along. Financial planners and advisors usually target people with extra income to invest not over-extended consumers. The planners/advisors are intelligent enough to run all sorts of numbers like paying off debt, but their market is really different than UFF’s. The planners/advisors can tell a consumer don’t do it UFF is a scam, but the planners/advisors may not realize that UFF just identified a customer looking for a debt solution.

The planners/advisors at this point should sell the customer something comparable to what UFF is offering. The problem is the planners/advisors are not ready because their main customers are not looking for debt solutions so they don’t have a SPECIFIC razzling/dazzling product that the UFF customer was willing to pay up to $3500 for. Everybody keeps thinking price is ALWAYS an issue and that it also determines someone’s intelligence. Price is an issue SOMETIMES, but it really depends on the product. As for people in the mortgage business, they can do the numbers for paying off the mortgage, but they are in the business of creating debt!!! Are mortgage professionals now trying to advise people how to pay off the mortgage they just sold them? Mortgage professionals want customers to keep that loan for the entire term because they make more money in interest. As for banking professionals, they make their money by gathering deposits and using all of the deposits to make loans [more debt]. The loans by these banks are all debt like credit cards, mortgages, etc. Are we expecting those in banking to start advising clients how to pay down their debt when the bank actually makes more money the longer the customer keeps the bank’s loan outstanding? The only ones really competing against UFF are debt counseling places and they usually charge a monthly fee until all debts are paid. As the years go by while using their services, I am sure the monthly fees will add up to more than a couple hundred dollars. A customer could “do this themselves” without using a debt counselor, but I bet you they have a sales pitch why it is better to use them instead of doing it yourself! Isn’t UFF just going after a market using razzle and dazzle with technolgy? • Tracy Coenen says: 19 September 2008 Kevin write: “Why are people spending$3500 for something worthless? What is it in their sales presentation that makes people think this product/service is worth $3500?” Kevin, I think you FINALLY are getting an understanding! They’re paying$3,500 because they’ve been mislead about what it does. They’re paying because they don’t understand. That is the whole point of discussing it here… So that potential buyers can learn the real truth about what they would be buying with UFF… something that wastes lots of money and plenty of time.

• Tracy Coenen says:
19 September 2008

Eric – Every time you’ve responded here, you’ve provided a link to UFF propaganda, and this time was no different.

The characteristics of the HELOC that you’ve mentioned CREATE NO BENEFIT FOR THE CONSUMER. Those characteristics may be required but they don’t save the consumer any money.

I’ve discussed over and over how the HELOC is used. You should read more on this site about it. Yes, you “move all of your normal banking into it” which saves you about $20 a month BEST CASE SCENARIO. For most people, they will save less. That small savings doesn’t come close to covering the$3,500 cost of the MMA program… which is the biggest reason why IT’S NOT WORTH THE MONEY.

The money shuffle doesn’t do enough to justify the cost.

I’m sorry you don’t understand why it makes no sense to borrow at a higher rate and use the money to pay off a loan with a lower interest rate. This is a basic financial principle. Go to any finance site (or use your common sense, for that matter) and you will see that a higher interest rate costs a consumer more money than a lower interest.

No money shuffle in the world can nullify that basic principle based upon basic math. Surely you understand that?

• Eric says:
19 September 2008

Tracy, I find it interesting how you can say “Every time you’ve responded here, you’ve provided a link to UFF propaganda, and this time was no different. ” when in actual fact I provided NO LINKS in my posting at all.

You come off sounding like the broken record, stating things (multiple times) that I have not done. Even if I HAD posted a link to an NBC news broadcast (which I referenced), how can you say that was UFF propaganda? Did they pay the station to review the product, try it out and then lie to an entire network viewing area?

I highly doubt that.

• Tracy Coenen says:
19 September 2008

Eric – Yet again you provided your propaganda link, and you are officially done posting here. You are inserting your link in the website field of the comment form, even after you’ve been asked several times to stop.

The video with the news story included lots of propaganda, thus my deeming it propaganda.

Thanks for playing.

• Joe says:
22 September 2008

ok the nbc story only confirmed that this scheme works the software does what it is too do period I am more concerned that the uff agents in orlando FL are posing as sub teachers stealing phone numbers from student roles ,and targeting them as potential agents it would appear the adults are not falling for this over priced spreadsheet.

• Craig Hansen says:
22 September 2008

Joe, the MMA “works” only in that it will pay off a mortgage. It is slower, riskier and more expensive than accelerating the mortgage yourself.

What is this Orlando scheme you’re referencing? That’s Sue Copening (aka “Bob Trout”) territory.

• Tracy Coenen says:
22 September 2008

As in “Team Sue” who has tried to post numerous insults and promotional items here?

• Craig Hansen says:
22 September 2008

The same. Google her and see. She was caught posting as “Bob Trout” on Fatwallet.com.

• Joe says:
22 September 2008

well both my teenagers in high school have recived phone calls from an agent who wanted to hire them as a sales force untill they turn 18 then they can be independent agents i spoke with this man who first told me that he was a retiree then told me he was a coach at a high school not in my area then finally admited he was a substitute teacher with the orange county public school system this is the way he would have gotten my childrens names and phone number I would say this practice is somewhat unethical.

• Craig Hansen says:
22 September 2008

Likely just to distribute flyers. Targeting students as “downlines” would be low, but that hasn’t stopped UFF agents before. Who would believe an 18-year-old over their mortgage broker, anyway? Kids are recruited into Cutco to sell overpriced knives. I can’t see even the dimmest bulb buying a $3500 mortgage product from a teenager. If true, I gotta believe that would go beyond unethical – right to illegal. It can’t be legal for a teacher to access personal student information for the purposes of recruiting. But for now, it’s just an anecdote in the comments of a blog. Do you have the name of the agent? • Joe says: 22 September 2008 no no he wanted them to go out ,and make sales calls he would pay 100.00 comission on each sale i do have his name and I will have a very lengthy conversation with the district in the morning even if he got the kids to give him the phone number for what ever reason would be inappropiate • Joe says: 22 September 2008 I must also say that I had not heard of this company I have however used the method of pay a couple of hundred more on the house every month an low ,and behold you have paid it off early ,and you saved some interest I can use my credit cards for free if I pay them off each month I always thought I just had common sense with this new software I won’t have to think anymore!! • Craig Hansen says: 22 September 2008 “I must also say that I had not heard of this company I have however used the method of pay a couple of hundred more on the house every month an low ,and behold you have paid it off early ,and you saved some interest I can use my credit cards for free if I pay them off each month I always thought I just had common sense with this new software I won’t have to think anymore!!” If you bought it, I’d say your common sense escaped. • Joe says: 22 September 2008 oh please I was born in the morning just not this morning I would have to be brain dead to buy into this hog wash. • Charles says: 23 September 2008 I will say, it’s unfair for arguments sake that only one side of the argument is being linked. It’s only fair that this NBC local affiliate news story is able to be posted, because afterall, it’s not from United First Financial, it’s from the news. If that’s propaganda, then so is any link from scam.net or wherever else people are pulling things from. All I’m saying to the moderator is, this is a discussion so be fair to both parties and let them share their news links and even thier analysis with you if they like. • Tracy Coenen says: 23 September 2008 Charles – I do not allow promotional materials for MLMs to be posted here, period. The “news story” in question is a UFF promotional video that includes a news story. And as I’ve said, promotional materials are not allowed. • Craig says: 23 September 2008 Is it too much to ask for math from people who sell a mortgage acceleration product? Forget videos, forget “I’m going to pay my mortgage off in…” claims. Post examples, not summaries. Show us how this wonderful mortgage accelerator achieves these wonderful claimed results without increasing monthly payments. All I really want is all the money movements for even one month. Income, expenses, transfers between accounts, and dates on all of it. Let’s see one example month. I know the MMA software won’t give an example month, so how about a UFF agent post their transaction records for one month? No names or account identifiers required. • John McNeill says: 24 September 2008 wow, that was a lot of reading from top to bottom. when you google mortgage accelerators, there are many, and all have the same presentation, cost ranging from$325 to $3,500 and many prices inbetween, a hundred or so dollar each increments. What does the high cost one have the low cost software do not? thank you • Craig says: 24 September 2008 Higher commissions that are spread between more uplines. All mortgage accelerators are equally pointless. • Kevin says: 24 September 2008 Tracy, Here is a link that is probably not classified as propaganda… http://video.aol.com/video-detail/nbc-news-report-the-money-merge-account/352969971 Would this be considered an objective news report and not UFF propaganda? The NBC news reporter says that they have a few people testing out the software and tracking the results. Isn’t that how a product is supposed to be reviewed BEFORE “blanket statements” are made? • John McNeill says: 24 September 2008 Are they all MLM? So a guy instead of buying one for$3,500 can get the same thing for $325 and get the same results? • Tracy Coenen says: 24 September 2008 Kevin – Sure, I’ll count that as a news report. Unfortunately, they bought the UFF sales pitch hook, line, and sinker. They didn’t stop to do the math to see that anyone can pay off their mortgage faster and cheaper without UFF. So I don’t know that you can legitimately call this an “objective” report. It doesn’t appear that they looked at any alternatives. And sure, with UFF, you can pay off your mortgage faster than if you stayed on your regular amortization schedule from the mortgage company. No one is disputing that. We’re just saying that there are far better ways to do it, and they don’t cost$3,500.

• Craig says:
24 September 2008

John,

I doubt all are MLM, but that doesn’t make the product any more appealing.

“So a guy instead of buying one for $3,500 can get the same thing for$325 and get the same results?”

Better yet, pay $0 and get better results. • John McNeill says: 24 September 2008 Most all of them use the channel 3 news video too. How do we pay zero? • Tracy Coenen says: 24 September 2008 Pay$0 = Don’t buy UFF MMA and instead (for free) just apply any extra cash you have at the end of the month to your mortgage. Voila. Better results (because you’re not wasting $3,500 up front) and did I mention it’s free? • John McNeill says: 24 September 2008 Tracy that is what i kinda thought the zero was. But is all those companies whether they are direct or mlm, selling between 300 to 3,500,is it the same software with different logos or company names attached? what does one have the other does not? thank you • Tracy Coenen says: 24 September 2008 As far as I know, John, they each have their own independently developed software. BUT – The concept is the same for all of them. • Craig says: 24 September 2008 Exactly. These “mortgage accelerators” all assume you are too stupid to pay extra to your mortgage. This is an important point: Whatever you pay for a M.A., you will come out behind simple prepayment by the cost of the M.A., plus interest. If the M.A. has you using a higher rate HELOC or credit card, you will come out even further ahead of the M.A. Here is an email conversation I recently had with some UFF agents: http://scam.com/showthread.php?t=46373 These agents aren’t qualified to spell “mortgage”. Their parent companies make it painfully clear they are not “mortgage advisors”, and what little training they do have is just plain wrong. They believe a 6% mortgage rate is actually in the range of 500%. They believe mortgages are compound interest. They believe mortgages are “front loaded”. They are an army of independent contractors selling a useless product they don’t understand to other people who don’t understand. All these people need to know is the more money you can apply to your mortgage, the faster you will pay it off. Period. Buy a big screen TV? Add a month or more to your mortgage. Want to know exactly how much more? Go to an online mortgage calculator. It’s that simple, that free. • John McNeill says: 24 September 2008 craig, where do i get the DIY im not familiar with that. thank you • Craig Hansen says: 24 September 2008 DIY = Do It Yourself Basically, at the end of the month, pay your bills. Whatever amount is left over, above an appropriate contingency amount, is added to your mortgage payment. That’s it. That’s all you need to beat any mortgage accelerator. • John McNeill says: 24 September 2008 This truely is the Bottom Line! Wisdom has spoken! also a DIY is sorta like a FYI, thanks for the update, I get it! • Charles says: 24 September 2008 It will always be$3,500 is alot to pay, especially when you compare it to your $90 quicken or whatever you’d like to use. People are going to be arguing back and forth that this is a great company or that if it’s a scam and it’s going to run on and on just like any debate and not get anywhere. If United First Financial was a scam, they’d be out of business by now with how much attention they’ve attracted. • Tracy Coenen says: 25 September 2008 Charles – Really? Enron was a total fraud and they were in business for years. Just goes to show you that a scam can exist for a long time! • Craig says: 25 September 2008 Charles, by the attention argument, if the MMA did what agents say and allowed you to “pay off your home in as little as 1/2 to 1/3 the time”, they should be HUGE by now. It’s been over two years. They should be the Google of the mortgage industry. They aren’t. They’re a player in a mortgage acceleration niche that has no legitimate reason to be. If it wasn’t for misinformation, half-truths and gullible clients, the niche wouldn’t exist. I’ve heard of between 60,000 and 100,000 clients. Assuming UFF makes about$1000 per sale, the founders have pocketed the bulk of the $60M to$100M, and are laughing their asses off at their army of dim-witted “independent contractor” front-line salespeople. These agents make a few hundred bucks per difficult sale, and only their uplines see a good income.

Agent blogs are now going weeks or months without updates. The MMA community blogs like “The Whole Truth” and “Both Sides of the Coin” are equally dead. One agent I’ve been talking to has stopped selling the MMA, and is now selling insurance. Other agent sites have gone offline as they (presumably) stop paying their hosting bills.

By UFF marketing, the MMA should be huge. It’s dying. It was all hype.

25 September 2008

His 2nd sentence says it all…”I did some quick research and came to the conclusion…”

Quick research with preconceived notions by cynical minds typically leads to inaccurate conclusions…case in point.

You want research? How about a little organization called “Ernst & Young” i.e., forensic auditing and in depth analysis prior to awarding a company the prestigious honor of “Entrepreneur of the Year” That’s right the founders/owners of United First Financial have been awarded the EoftheYear in the Financial Services sector and are up for the national honor hosted by Jay Leno in November of this year.

25 September 2008

Hey Craig…did you know that Microsoft was selling its software for almost 8 years before anyone believed what Gates was saying all along…”there will be a day when every household will have a personal computer running my software on it” It’s coming Craig!

• Tracy Coenen says:
25 September 2008

Wrong – E&Y did no “auditing and in depth analysis” prior to the UFF award.

• Craig says:
25 September 2008

No auditing or in-depth analysis? Try no analysis at all. Straight from E&Y:

“You should know that Ernst & Young sponsors the Entrepeneur of the Year program but does not have any say in the selection of award recipients. The recipients are selected by an independent panel of judges. An EOY award is not an endorsement of any individual, company, product or service by Ernst & Young.

Thank you again for your report.

Andy Heaton
EY/Ethics”

E&Y sponsor the award, and UFF joins previous Utah award winner Amway. That’s great company to be in.

Feel free to contact Andy Heaton at E&Y directly to confirm.

• Craig says:
25 September 2008

AD Expeditor! I thought I remembered that name. Remember this from October 2007 on Scam.com?

“…I will be checking back during the first quarter of 2008. By then, we will all have seen/heard national news reports on the validity of this specific repayment method, and in particular the success of the UFF product and service…and there will STILL be those who interpret it otherwise.”

It’s a little past the “first quarter of 2008″. Where are the national news reports on UFF?

• Kevin says:
25 September 2008

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0974267600/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

If anyone has time, read the comments about this book at the amazon link. Is UFF and their MMA based on the teachings inside this book? One of the comments mentions that a homeowner will need discipline and some type of spreadsheet to keep track.

I have one other question……

Point #1: A mortgage from the bank charges more in interest in the early years. Why? To make as much money as possible upfront, before a customer moves and eliminates the loan?

Point #2: At the end of paying a 30 year mortgage, a homeowner will pay an INSANE amount of interest over the life of the loan.

Why does’t anyone question these two aspects? Don’t these banks use propaganda to make people believe their bank is “helping” them reach the American Dream of homeownership?

• Tracy Coenen says:
25 September 2008

Kevin -The bank does not “charge more in interest in the early years.” Let’s suppose you have a mortgage at 6%. The dollar value of the interest charged is higher when the mortgage balance is higher. (I can’t believe I actually have to explain this to you.) It’s not some evil plot by the bank. It’s simple math. Higher balance means more interest.

Banks are helping people by lending them money. Anyone who doesn’t want a bank loan doesn’t have to have one. They should simply pay cash for their homes.

For anyone who does choose a home loan, they agree to an interest rate, which is the price they pay for borrowing money.

All that said, there is still no need for UFF/MMA. Homeowners can simply make extra principal payments on their mortgages and be done paying sooner, and save some interest. For free. Without UFF and the $3,500 fee. • Kevin says: 25 September 2008 You make it sound like it is impossible for the bank and the home loan customer to agree to different terms of the repayment. Is it possible for the terms to be written so that a larger portion of the payment is paid towards the principle? • Tracy Coenen says: 25 September 2008 You may not have heard of something called a contract? It shows what both sides agreed to… which means they agree to the same terms. If your payment doesn’t pay the interest owed, and instead pays more principal, then the interest is accumulating and you’re not getting any further ahead. Kevin – Do you know ANYTHING about mortgages? I mean it sounds like you don’t, so I’m thinking you ought to first learn about mortgages before you even THINK about the UFF product. You’re clearly not in a position to make an educated decision about the UFF product. • Craig says: 25 September 2008 Kevin, you really need to learn what an amortization schedule is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amortization_schedule This is how loan payments are typically structured – equal periodic payments. Each equal periodic payment must service the debt that has accrued over each period. Early on, because the debt is highest, it also accrues the most interest over one period. As the debt is reduced, the interest portion becomes smaller, and more of that payment goes straight to principal. Really, this is basic, basic stuff. You ask: “Is it possible for the terms to be written so that a larger portion of the payment is paid towards the principle?” Sure. Have the flexibility to pay extra with each periodic payment. The extra will go to the principal. If you re-allocate money that was servicing the interest portion towards the principal, you are just accumulating interest that goes back into….the principal. What did you think would happen? The bank would forget you owe that money? • Kevin says: 26 September 2008 Thanks for the link to wikipedia. It will help get a deeper understanding. • John McNeill says: 26 September 2008 AD expeditor, what kinda software, any stocks, if a fellow had stock in Bill Gates back at the beginning….. • Craig says: 26 September 2008 Kevin, I wasn’t trying to be witty, either. I’m beyond surprised that you don’t know this stuff. You’ve been trying to debate this product for the last 10 days, and only now do we realize that you are starting from ground zero when it comes to understanding mortgages. That puts you on par with many UFF agents, but most of the ones we hear from have some basic knowledge of amortization. It’s often wrong and has been skewed by UFF redefining terms like “effective interest rate”, “compound interest” and “front-loaded” to brand new meanings, but at least they’ve heard of this stuff. I mean, you even tried to throw numbers around. They made no sense at the time, and now I know why – because you don’t understand interest or amortization tables. Why do you argue against this being a scam? How would you know? If UFF really gave a hoot about their clients, they would teach this stuff to their sales staff. They don’t. What they do teach is misinformation. They only care that their sales staff can fill in a MMA application and complete a checklist of forms, photocopies and (of course) the certified cheque to include with the application. The certified cheque (to UFF) is #1 on the checklist. • John McNeill says: 26 September 2008 craig and tracy you both have my vote, i have seen the uff, and i too have been a loan officer for refinance and i understand and agree plus you folks have better educated me! thank you • Kevin says: 26 September 2008 Shouldn’t people question and challenge everything to gain a better understanding? At some point in life, everyone will be remedial or at a basic level in something. Are you saying that these types of people should not question or challenge things for a better understanding? You are making it sound like arguments and challenges are negative things. Experts love the challenges and arguments. You are holding yourself out in the public as someone who exposes scams and fraud. What type of person do you expect to visit and contribute to your site? Only other experts? People who know nothing and don’t challenge or question anything? People who know nothing and just agree because they are afraid to ask basic/remedial questions? I have learned a lot about UFF and their MMA from this site and other sites. However, I had to swim thru a lot of stuff to get the understanding I wanted. • Tracy Coenen says: 26 September 2008 Kevin – There’s a big difference between asking a question to learn something, and arguing about something that you know nothing about. You’ve been argumentative from the start, with next to no knowledge to back up your arguments. Surely you can see the difference? You’re arguing about UFF when you don’t first understand the basics of mortgages. That would be like someone arguing with me about the usefulness of differential equations in calculus, when they don’t even understand algebra. • Kevin says: 26 September 2008 Are you really surprised that people exist who know nothing about mortgages? I’m on par with UFF agents? Ok? I guess that means that everyone in the USA that does not understand anything about a basic mortgage is “on par with UFF agents”? Ok? What is your point? My only reason for searching for more information was because of UFF’s sales and marketing techniques. I study advertisement and marketing that people respond to and we try to understand what makes people respond and buy. We noticed UFF because their sales and marketing is good at hiring agents AND getting a customer’s attention. When we searched the internet to find more UFF promotional material, we found info that said UFF was a scam. This blog says they found a new pyramid scheme. We found that to be interesting, becasue UFF did a great job of getting lots of “credibility.” Our first actions were to question those against UFF. Those against UFF must have great reasons why with examples and alternatives. You said, “Why do you argue against this being a scam? How would you know?” Hello? You are right, how would I know? That is why I am on this web site. Yes, I threw numbers around. Why wouldn’t I? We are not trying to impress anyone, but trying to gain a better understanding. It sounds like we are most likely on the wrong web site. This appeared to be a site that welcomed challenges and arguments as something positive. It also appeared to be a web site that welcomed first-time home buyers who know nothing about mortgages. • Craig says: 26 September 2008 Put another way, it would be like David Beckham arguing balls and strikes. Kevin, if you don’t know, you’re free to ask questions. You’re not free to make arguments for or against a mortgage product when you don’t understand mortgages. As for your “what type of response are you expecting” question, my answer is “I don’t care”. You’re the one arguing from a position of ignorance, clinging to opinions based on, well, nothing. I mean, you thanked me for a Wikipedia link to “Amortization Schedule”, saying it would give you a “deeper understanding”. That floored me. An amortization schedule is not “deep” at all. It is the very first thing anyone should know about mortgages. • Kevin says: 26 September 2008 The average person will never be in a position to use calculus or algebra, but the average two or three income household will be in a position to get a mortgage. They will be sold a mortgage even if they do not understand that mortgage, because they need a home. Unfortunately, we do not have to know mortgage basics to get a mortgage. You are in the public eye as a fraud authority. Part of your job is to alert and convince others that something is a scam. Nobody is going to just take your word for it. You are taking the easy way out by just throwing your hands up and saying, “….you don’t know mortgage basics so forget about it!” Why do this site if you are not going to do it right??!! You are going to get arguments and challenges from people that have little or no knowledge. This is an opportunity for you, because there are lots of people that have mortgages and know nothing about mortgages. They could fall into a scam and you are letting them by unprofessional responses. • Tracy Coenen says: 26 September 2008 “Argumentative” is bad when you’re arguing about something you know nothing about. If you know nothing, you can’t possibly take a reasonable position and support that position. Therefore, the argument itself is useless. • John McNeill says: 26 September 2008 Tracy and Craig, it is such a refreshing breath of fresh air, just dripping thick with common sence, it is like cutting to the truth with with the sharpest and finest blade ever known to mankind, you folks think good, but better than that the explainations are great, it must be frustrating when a person dont or wont get it, listening to real reason like this is great reading, besides learning, having a correct answer at the exact right time is the best, knowing for real, and truely knowing you are right and can even prove it, how can a person dispute a thing so clearly put. Do you guys right or comment on any other things besides this particular type of thing??? oops! my mistake i went back to the top of this and Tracey you have a book on corporate fraud! I also read about the author, and just like on Waynes world, when they were before the mind and music of Alice Cooper, i say the same, I am not worthy!!! you folks are fun on this here blog….now i am missing the news. thank you, again great to hear great sence , and backed up opinion. • AD Expeditor says: 29 September 2008 Tracy – you’re right…a firm like E&Y wouldn’t have a panel of judges do any research prior to handing out the Entrepreneur of the Year award…you make sense once again… I wonder how much research the ACFE had their panel of judges engage in prior to handing out the Hubbard award? Matter of fact…you, Craig and all the others who think everyone’s out to scam them are right…why would anyone in their right mind pay$3500 for a software program that claims to miraculously payoff their mortgage faster?…that’s just crazy nonsense…and you don’t want to be taken for a fool.

All someone has to do is take their discretionary (and everyone has lots of that) each month and send it to their 1st mortgage…it’s that easy, right? And if they need it back…their lender will let them take it right back out of that mortgage account…won’t they? Then all they have to do is track all their income, expenses, credits, debits, asset accounts, debt accounts, etc. on a software program…oppps…I mean a spread sheet…and their results are guaranteed!

Wow…you’ve had the solution all along…that must be why average American families are in such a great financial position and are paying off their mortgages faster and in record numbers!

You’re shrewd Tracy…I agree…everyone should stay far away from this one…and any other service or product that sounds too good to be true…and make sure to spread your wisdom thoroughly…you wouldn’t want anyone to get suckered in. After all, you’re a teacher with letters behind your name…CPA, MBA, CFE, CCS

The Golden Eagles have landed…they too are coached with a misguided approach to winning.

• Tracy Coenen says:
29 September 2008

Yes, all they have to do is take their discretionary income and send it to their mortgage. IT REALLY IS THAT EASY. All they have to do is open a HELOC (without the UFF product) and there is their fallback if they need it.

People promoting UFF want it to seem like a magic bullet that does magical calculations. They couldn’t justify the $3,500 if it wasn’t magical. But I’ve seen through it. • Duh, AD Expeditor! says: 29 September 2008 Don’t be obtuse, AD Expeditor. E&Y gave out an “Entrepreneur’s Award” not a “Public Service Award.” Clearly convincing people to fork over$3500 a pop in exchange for software that Points Out The Obvious is entrepreneurial genius. Twisted genius, perhaps, but still pretty clever.

Maybe you should spend your time on the Internet educating yourself. You can start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacies

• George says:
29 September 2008

That’s awesome you used wikipedia. That’s as reliable as the e & y award. I’m not sure how much you know about them, but do know the reason they show up almost first on “google” everytime you type something in is not for vaildity And, another tip, if you’re researching something, google isn’t always the answer….anyhow, continue on….I wish we could whine this much about gas. Oh wait, we do, we just keep buying it anyway.

• Late2Game says:
30 September 2008

As “Duh, AD Expeditor!” and others point out, the E&Y entrepreneur’s award is not a stamp of approval of any product. In fact, if you look at past award winners, you will see some surprising winners:

http://eoyhof.ey.com/SearchHallofFame.aspx

Agel (2008)
XanGo, LLC (2006)
Arbonne International LLC (2006)
USANA Health Sciences (2003)
Reliv International, Inc. (2003)
Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (2002)
BookWise (1997, CEO Richard Paul Evans)
Herbalife (1997)

and of course

Amway (1992)

MLM anyone?

• George says:
30 September 2008

I’m not sure if you’re endorsing my sarcasm or not or just repeating what others have said, but what I was saying is that e&y isn’t reliable and also that wikipedia isn’t either. I’ll educate you: just because it ends with “pedia” doesn’t mean it’s an acutal enciclopedia nor that it is reliable

• Craig says:
30 September 2008

George said:
“I’m not sure if you’re endorsing my sarcasm or not or just repeating what others have said, but what I was saying is that e&y isn’t reliable and also that wikipedia isn’t either. I’ll educate you: just because it ends with “pedia” doesn’t mean it’s an acutal enciclopedia nor that it is reliable”

UFirst is smart not to rely on outsides sources for definitions. To be accurate and consistent, UFirst defines “Effective Interest Rate” and “Interest Cancellation” themselves, rejecting such unreliable sources such as Wikipedia and Every Financial Textbook Ever Written.

• JoeTaxpayer says:
30 September 2008

Craig – they ignore more than that. They take advantage of the truth behind time value of money, yet obfuscate the meaning to suit their claims.
$100 compounded for 30yrs at 6%/yr interest will become$600. So $100 paid today, at the outset of a 30 yr mortgage, will knock off$600 due at the end, or ‘cancel’ $500 worth of interest. Now, many MMA agents will use this fact to claim “so the interest you pay is 500%” For that matter, simple calculations show me that for a fixed 30yr mortgage at 6%, the interest you pay over the 30 years happens to be 115% of the value of the original amount borrowed. So what? Is a dollar 30 years hence the same dollar as today? Hardly. Inflation to the dollar, compounded with any raises in income (above the inflation rate of course) mean you are paying back with cheaper dollars. The 115% is a figure no one actually calculates for any other purpose than to further confuse the innumerate. Joe • George says: 30 September 2008 I’d like to know how many people on here have bought the product. I’m not ignoring what you say “craig”, you’ve probably just said it so many times I don’t really care to argue. I just want to see who has had bad experiences with it, or who’s had a friend with a bad experience and if they got a refund. • Tracy Coenen says: 30 September 2008 A refund? Have you read my post on their “guarantee”??? I’m willing to bet that no one has ever gotten a refund, except under the one or two-day recission period that is required in some states. But refunds under their money back guarantee? I doubt it. http://www.sequence-inc.com/fraudfiles/2008/09/10/the-united-first-financial-limited-guarantee/ • Craig Hansen says: 30 September 2008 George, I’ve advised people at YouTube, Scam.com, Fatwallet.com, and other blogs and forums to complain directly to the Utah BBB against the parent company, where possible: http://utah.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Report.aspx?site=139&bbb=1166&firm=22021100 There are currently 9 resolved complaints there, 8 of them are related to refund or guarantee issues. United First Financial clearly hates to have BBB complaints against it, and would prefer clients complain to the local BBB of their agent, because agents are easy to replace. Have you seen all the different things an agent can do to be dropped by UFF? Talk to the media, *participate in a blog*, post videos, use phrases like “pay using the bank’s money”, and all kinds of other “infractions”. UFF uses agents like disposable human shields – fill their heads with useless marketing and lies, and when someone calls them on it, they go into hiding so they aren’t cut from the sales force. Look for the UFirst agent blog of Alex Spencer – he stated the MMA was the fastest way to pay off a mortgage. I pointed out his lie, and before we could run (another) comparison, his blog went “private”. Read about it here: http://scam.com/showthread.php?p=586977#post586977 Is this what people so when they have nothing to hide? • AD Expeditor says: 30 September 2008 Why is it that we’ve not read a post on any of these “bash-blogs” of someone using the service/software who is dissatisfied and has asked for a refund? I’ve been using the MMA for over a year…it has performed as promised. My mortgage statements bear out the results guaranteed in the initial analysis. After using the service for 3 months, my wife and I became certified representatives. We have 84 clients who have purchased the MMA and all are satisfied. People are using this as a budget tool to track income and expenses…to become financial responsible…no magic bullet…just a tool to manage their money flow and use their money more effectively. Why not do this on your own? Why pay$3500? Because very few actually do it on their own. Seen the news lately…is there a mortgage crisis in the US? If it were as easy as you make it seem Tracy, why do the statistics show otherwise? Perhaps with your income, it’s easy…but NOT for most average American families struggling to make ends meet and looking for a better way to manage their money.

If you think $3500 is too much…don’t buy it! Get over it people…it’s just another product on the market place…not a scam. It’s unfortunate that agents misrepresent its capabilities…inadvertently or intentionally…but that happens with every company offering a product or service to the public. • Craig Hansen says: 30 September 2008 Tracy, “certified representative” means they sent a certified cheque for$175 to UFirst to become agents.

“…I will be checking back during the first quarter of 2008. By then, we will all have seen/heard national news reports on the validity of this specific repayment method, and in particular the success of the UFF product and service…and there will STILL be those who interpret it otherwise.”

It’s a little past the “first quarter of 2008?. Where are the national news reports on UFF?

• George says:
30 September 2008

To answer the earlier comment on refunds, yes there are more than you do know and there are other reasons they refund money, besides people saying “oh, I changed my mind” because THEY signed the contract. Lots of that comes down to read what you’re signing! That goes for alot of things in life and comes with consequence if you don’t. As far as the “1 or 2 day right of rescission”, that is incorrect. It is 3 days I believe at least for V3 it was and I think they carried that over to 4. Also, that rule doesn’t go for “certain states”, it’s for everyone in the program. My bottom line is, if you’re going to properly go against something, do it with correct information. United First isn’t the most honest company, I agree with you on that in some aspects, but walmart isn’t fair either if you’re looking at it that way, I mean they charge $2.50 for juice! Some people might think thats cheap. It all depends on perspective. Like “ad expeditor” or whatever their name was said, it’s people’s choice to do it. Some see it as a great opportunity, and that works for them. Really, just let those people be. • Tracy Coenen says: 1 October 2008 Yeah, why tell people the facts: That they don’t have to flush$3,500 down the toilet to pay off their mortgage early. That’s just silly. We should let people go further into debt to purchase software they don’t need and will never “pay for itself.”

Note: I said STATES often require a one or two day recission period. All I was saying is that I was sure there was some sort of recission policy of some sort.

If you’re going to point the finger about “let people be,” why not ask yourself why people don’t just let ME be. If I want to inform consumers about the numbers and how/why UFF is not worth the $3,500 they’re charging… why not let me be? Who can really have a problem with me promoting the truth about this product? …. the truth that consumers can SAVE MORE MONEY WITHOUT THE PRODUCT and DO IT IN LESS TIME… Why are UFF agents so against the truth being told about what they’re selling? • Late2Game says: 1 October 2008 Criag, I also noticed AD Expeditor also mentioned the link between UFF and US Bank in that same scam.com thread here: http://www.scam.com/showpost.php?p=446718 It’s a good thing he posted that in Oct. 2007 since UFF came out with a letter in Feb 2008 to agents stating that mentioning the link between the two (UFF and US Bank) would be grounds for termination. (See fatwallet “Numbers don’t lie” thread). • George says: 1 October 2008 Of course they’re going to defend it, for some people it’s their full time job, it’s how they feed their families. If I came on somewhere saying that wherever you work is a fraud, you would, I hope defend it. You do have the right to say what you want about United First Financial, that’s what so great about the internet! Your opinion can be heard, hooray! I’m sure you’ve talked to people who actually liked the product, there are quite a few out there who it’s actually worked for. Many people use it as a budgeting tool and that works for them. Some people use cheaper budgeting tools and that works for them as well. We all differ and use different things. • Tracy Coenen says: 1 October 2008 People do all sorts of things in the name of feeding their families, but that doesn’t make it right or good. Getting a financially challenged person to waste another$3,500 is not a noble endeavor. It is shameful, and we shouldn’t stay quiet about it just because the person selling the nonsense is trying to make a living from it. There are those who make a living from drug dealing or murder-for-hire. Should we just let them do whatever they want because they’re using the money to feed their families?

Of course not. And I’m not going to sit by while MLM companies suck billions of dollars out of the pockets of hard-working people with all sorts of false claims, just so someone in the pyramid can get a commission check. MLM is unethical and unconscionable, and for that reason I’m not going to ignore it.

Nope. I’ll keep writing about it here and elsewhere.

• George says:
1 October 2008

What you used as an example, selling drugs or murder for hire is against the law. If United First Financial were doing things that were illegal, they would by now be out of business. They have now been a sucussful business for I believe, about three, maybe four years now. Had they been doing anything illegal, they would no longer exist. United First Financial isn’t “stealing” from anyone. Like I said previously, if people actually read the limited guarantee and the rest of the paperwork they sign, they would know what they are getting into. Also, as mentioned above, some people spend $300 plus on shoes which I think is a waste of money, but others whom like fashion, ha, alot think it’s an investment. Same goes for people spending$3,500 for a budgeting tool. United First isn’t a scam, it’s a business, get over it.

• Tracy Coenen says:
1 October 2008

Well maybe UFF should be illegal because it’s such an outrageous waste of $3,500 and it’s being sold with false claims. And it’s quite possible that the company may already be violating laws related to pyramid schemes… but our government chooses not to enforce those laws. So the argument that the government would shut down anything illegal is simply not true. In fact, there are frauds that continue on for years and years before anyone shuts them down. There are all sorts of examples of things that aren’t illegal and are still bad for you. UFF is one of them. It will make your pocketbook sick. I still have a right to warn others about the peril of things that are legal but bad. And shoes are no more of an “investment” than this silly software is. • Tracy Coenen says: 1 October 2008 P.S. Remember that it’s not “a business” for the “agents.” They own nothing other than the right to sell a horrible piece of software for an outrageous price. The founders of the company? Now THAT’S a business! Get uniformed shills to push your product on even more uninformed consumers. • George says: 1 October 2008 So first you said it could be illegal, then you say it’s not….so what is it according to you, illegal but not? Ha ha okay? And yes, it is a form of business for agents. I’m not sure what you do know, but alot of agents go out and actually have offices for it and….coworkers, other agents possibly below them. That’s their business and it works for them. Yes, the owners do make alot of money, as do owners and founders of other businesses. And, surprise surprise, their goal is to make money, hence why they started a business. The founders of United First aren’t my favorite people, but they have worked pretty hard to get to where they are now. My advice to you is if you ever do plan to actually take legal action (which you would have by now besides just write a bunch about it) have more of a platform besides “$3,500 is too much *whine, it’s not fair!” That won’t fly. Do a bit more research on it. There are plenty more places to go besides the internet and…dare I say it wikipedia.

• Tracy Coenen says:
1 October 2008

Okay, George, I guess I have to spell it out for you. UFF may be illegal, and it may not. The fact remains that in spite of whether it is or not, it’s a bad, bad product. I’ve laid out the reasons why it’s a bad deal over and over on this blog. If you’re too illiterate to read what I’ve written and instead mockingly say all I’m doing is “whining,” then I can’t help you.

And get a clue: These “agents” for UFF don’t own a business. They don’t own a darn thing. Not a product. Not a service. Not even their downline. They own nothing, other than the current “privilege” of selling crappy software. That’s not a business owner.

• George says:
1 October 2008

You’re not really spelling anything out if you’re saying maybe it is maybe it isn’t. That’s called uncertainty. Also, what I was saying that is if you’re actually out to do good and show that United First is a bad company, use more examples than how much it costs. A big reason as to why no one has actually been able to prove United First of wrong doings is because they dwell so much on the price not what else they’re doing besides that. I’m not sure people such as “tracy and craig” know, but they are doing things that need to be paid attention to that isn’t right now. Sorry to say, I can’t say something but I can urge others to do a little more.

When I was talking about business owners, I was talking about the principles of United First Financial, NOT about agents. Simply what I said about agents is to them, they have an office, people under them, and they think that that is a business. Just listen to their voicemails.

• Tracy Coenen says:
1 October 2008

Okay George. You either haven’t read or don’t comprehend all the reasons I’ve given why consumers should stay away from UFF.

• Walt says:
9 October 2008

Hello Tracy,

It seems that you have tried to educate yourself in regards to the Money Merge Account through research of websites and articles, etc. My question to you would be what are your qualifications to grant or debunk financial advice or software? There are several mistakes that I noticed in reading your article which clearly show that you truly don’t understand the difference between compound interest and daily simple interest. I have 22 years working for the banks and real estate and mortgage Brokers in the area of finance. Anyone that understands the difference would clearly be able to calculate what they are truly paying in interest on a conventional mortgage program and realize that they are not paying 6% for instance. As an example if I wrote a 30 year mortgage at 6% on a $200,000 loan the actual amount that a customer would pay towards interest is 83% in the first year, 81% the second, etc which is why utilizing a Line of Credit that uses Daily simple interest to accelerate you through the amortization of a mortgage or other debt works so well. As far as MLM is concerned, I want you to realize that every company in America uses some sort of MLM. Some of the largest and most productive companies in this country were founded on the pricipals of MLM. Anytime you would like to talk as to how and why it works, let me know. • Tracy Coenen says: 9 October 2008 Walt – You accuse me of not knowing how interest works and then you cite lies like 83% interest in the first year. A loan at 6% has interest at 6%, no more and no less. You’re using the figure of 83% to confuse consumers and convince them that MMA does something that it does not. It sounds cool to mention compound interest and daily simple interest, except you haven’t proven anything. Interest is interest, no matter what you call it. And the money shuffle of MMA doesn’t change that. As for your false claim about many companies using MLM, you’re absolutely wrong. But I challenge you (as I have challenged others) to list 10 large companies that use MLM, and provide links to your proof. Now I’m not talking about obvious MLMs like Herbalife, Usana, and Mary Kay. I’m talking about companies that we all know as non-MLMs, but which you’re insinuating use MLM. So I challenge you to go ahead and prove that assertion. If you name companies and don’t provide proof, your comment won’t be published. So go ahead and provide us some proof. • JoeTaxpayer says: 10 October 2008 Walt, if you actually have that amount of time in the business, then you know the claim of 83% is a number with little meaning. In the first year of the ‘classic MMA example’ mortgage, in fact 83% of the payments made go to interest, and 17% to principal. So what? I have a HELOC, with a rate so low that I’m not making principal payments at all. For this loan, 100% of my payments go to interest, and will do so until I decide otherwise. Let me ask you this, if the same$200K mortgage had only a 3% (fixed) interest rate, according to your math the customer pays 59% the first year. Do you and the other agents still advise MMA or does sanity take over and perhaps suggest that building cash in 3-4% CDs might even be better?

On boards like this, it’s tough to really question one’s intelligence, I don’t know you, and likely never will. But I continue to question people motivation and intentions. I know the math. I know just where you pulled the (meaningless) 83% number from. And I know the response you hope to see from the potential victims, er, clients who react emotionally to these hyperbolic claims. Because “6%, but in your bracket 4% net” doesn’t speak with the same urgency that “83% the first year” “A full 116% over the life of the loan” and “those $250 shoes will really cost you$1500″.

Have a nice day.
Joe

• A-Believer says:
16 October 2008

Tracy,

You obviously feel that all MLMs are frauds & scams. Many are but there are ones that truly subscribe to helping people. UFF is one of those few. I’ve read through most of this negative rhetoric and find your advice fraught with anger and criticism. I guess you could not add to your credentials unless you were so critical. I also find it interesting that your credentials are nothing more than your own propaganda and your books are another form of capitalism that wholly benefits you financially. At least the good MLMs like UFF try to spread the wealth as does Senator Obama’s tax plan.

By the way, my UFF sponsor started with a 25-year term mortgage in March, 2008, and their projected current payoff date is 2.1 years from now; using the MMA for only seven months. Obviously, you do not understand (with all of your CPA experience) the difference between fixed interest rates and amortization schedules versus open-ended loans and calculated average daily balance interest rates. To cash flow, interest is not interest.

And, the largest pyramid scheme and scam of all time is working a JOB; giving your life to an employer that just takes the profits and dumps you when you’re too old or make too much money. Hallelujah for UFF and others for giving us opportunity. I could care less whether you respond to my post as I will not be reading any of your negative advice in the future.

• Tracy Coenen says:
17 October 2008

Unfortunately, UFF agents are busy lying to potential customers, telling them you need to be a CPA or a math whiz to do a quick mortgage payoff on your own. That’s simply not true.

The ability to add and subtract is all that is needed. It’s not complicated. Add up your income. Subtract your expenses. The net is what you have left at the end of the month. Use it to pay extra on your mortgage. Simple.

But if you told your victims that it was truly this easy (and it is!), you’d never be able to sell your $3,500 software. So none of that truth for you!!!! Interesting that you say my credentials are my propaganda. You clearly are misinformed, and ought to take a look at the organizations that give these credentials. They’re earned, not propaganda. Is my book part of capitalism? I suppose so. I took the initiative to do the hard work of getting a publishing contract, writing a book, and marketing it. I get paid for that. That seems like some awfully good capitalism to me: I work hard and I get compensated. It doesn’t “wholly” benefit me however. It benefits the publisher and their employees. It benefits the readers who learn how to prevent and detect fraud. Sounds like a lot of winners in this scenario! You have a victim with a mortgage that will be paid off faster than planned. That has absolutely nothing to do with UFF and everything to do with the person’s financial situation. She/he could pay off that mortgage just as easily without UFF. And that’s why I consider this software absolutely worthless. And finally, I understand interest rates all too well. And it’s precisely because I understand them that I can tell you the UFF money shuffle between the home equity line and the regular mortgage generate almost no savings for the consumer. And certainly not enough savings to justify the$3,500 cost of cumbersome software that doesn’t get consumers any further ahead than if they did an extremely simply do-it-yourself mortgage paydown plan.

• Craig says:
17 October 2008

A-Believer,

Reducing a mortgage from 25 years to 3 years? That claim may set a new UFF agent record.

Please send your upline here to explain how this is possible without a LOT of extra money coming in.

But even more entertaining than the 3 year claim, was this sentence:

“Obviously, you do not understand (with all of your CPA experience) the difference between fixed interest rates and amortization schedules versus open-ended loans and calculated average daily balance interest rates. To cash flow, interest is not interest.”

In Internet lingo, that was an “Epic Fail”.

• Tom says:
17 October 2008

I have read a ton of these postings and I am considering purchasing an aceleration product.

What no one has answered or posted is specifics and with my analysis, there are some questions that I could use help on answering.

I understand paying more toward a mortgage each month will get it paid off sooner. That’s a no brainer.
What I do see is the difference between an Open Ended loan (A line of credit) and a Closed End loan (Your typical mortgage)

I also agree that 6% is 6%.
What I see is timing and manuvering my dollars to make the best use of them each and every day.

For example, if get my paycheck and leave it in my checking account until I spend it, it gets me next to NO interest. What would be the value of those dollars put somewhere else for the time they are in the checking account? Seems like a lot to calculate. But it’s logical that if I could find a way to park them on my mortgage and cancel interest that it would get me some return greater than 0. Wouldn’t it be the same return as the interest rate on my mortgage?

That seeems to be the big claim made by these mortgage acceleration products… and it seems to be valid.

The other argument they make is that the equity in my home is dormant money. My house is worth what it is worth regardless of how much I owe on it. And if they foreclose on me the bank will take the entire home, not just part of it.
So they say, using the HELOC is a way to tap into the dormant money and put it to work.
The example given was that a large amount of money deposited in an account now, let’s say $2400 at 5% interest, would have a greater value in 12 months than if I deposited$200 a month for 12 months assuming the same 5% rate. I don’t even have to run those numbers because obviously I get interest on the whole $2400 in the first month and that interest compounds for the next 11. So if the software prompts me to draw a large amount of money and pay it to principle on my first mortgage, it make sense that it will get me greater results than if I paid an extra$200 on my mortgage each month.
And since I am trying to find out the magic in the math, I am thinking there is validity in the interest cancelation theory.

For example, if I draw $10,000 on the Heloc and pay it to my first mortgage on the 30th of the month, my mortgage company will apply those dollars to reduce my principle balance by that amount for the next month. I choose the 30th because on a closed end loan, any prepayment is not applied until the end of the month. The interest calculation is base on the end of the month balance x rate. Now that$10,000 is effectively canceling the 6% interest I would have paid on that money.
But now I have a $10,000 balance on my heloc at 6% They say the benefit is that when I get paid on the 1st of the month that I will not leave my money in checking, but instead apply it to my Heloc. The interest on a heloc is charged based on the end of the day balance. So I want to agree because when I deposit my$4000 net pay on the 1st, I now will only pay interest on the remaining $6000 for that day. I see that I will still have to pay my bills and I will pay them from the Heloc, thereby increasing my balance again… but while the dollars are parked in the heloc, am I not getting a 6% return? I have been in commission sales all my life and I have had good months and bad. When I have had good months I never paid additional principle because I was afraid I might need the money when I had a bad month. This seems to take away that problem because I can park the money on the Heloc, get the return, and if I need the money I can just draw it from the Heloc. Seems like I would have been much better off if I would have. Can anyone with some sound finance background tell me if I am looking at this math correctly and shed light on another/better way? • Tracy Coenen says: 17 October 2008 Tom- Using a HELOC to pay your regular mortgage does NOT get you a return of any sort. You’ve used debt to pay debt. And more expensive debt, because the chances of you getting an interest rate on your HELOC that is at (or lower than) your regular mortgage are slim to none. So you’ll draw off the HELOC at 7% or 8%, and use that money to pay a mortgage that was only costing you 6%. That COSTS YOU MONEY. Apparently this “closed ended” and “open ended” stuff is being used as a new tool to make the product sound valuable, since so many of UFF agents’ other claims have been thoroughly debunked. Yes, your regular mortgage is closed ended in that it has a finite payoff date if you follow the amortization schedule. Yes, the HELOC is open ended because there is no actual payoff date, so long as you pay the interest charges when due. But this difference between the two offers you no advantage in paying off your mortgage. As I said above, you can draw that$10,000 off the open ended debt (which UFF makes sound like a good thing), but 7% or 8% interest this month will cost you $58 or$67. You’ve used that money to take $10,000 off your regular mortgage, but at 6%, that would have only cost you$50 this month.

That’s not how UFF presents it though, is it? They don’t tell you that you saved $50 in interest on the regular mortgage while you cost yourself even more than that with teh HELOC. Oh no, they tell you that you’ve just canceled$X thousand of interest over the term of your mortgage. Sounds much better, doesn’t it?

But they’re being dishonest in the way they’re presenting the numbers, because they’re not telling you the TRUTH that I explained above… It costs you more to have a balance on that HELOC than it does on the regular mortgage.

Does it make some sense to put your paycheck into that HELOC while you’re not using the money? Yes, SOME sense. But as you can see from this very good article ( http://www.blog.joetaxpayer.com/archives/334 ), the UFF MMA isn’t worth the $3,500 because you’ll never earn that back simply by doing this money shuffle with the paycheck. You’re better off having your money sit in a savings account while you’re not using it. • Joetaxpayer says: 17 October 2008 Craig, the logical extreme would be this; An agent ropes in someone who just closed on their mortgage, and finds the client has the full mortgage amount available right in their savings/checking. They then brag that MMA was fully responsible for turning a 30 year mortgage into one that lasted only one day! And they take credit for the$232K in saved interest.
3 years? This means they paid $100/mo for MMA to tell them to send all their money to their mortgage. And the HELOC shuffle certainly couldn’t have much savings in so short a time. Joe • Bill says: 18 October 2008 Tracey, Have you ever sat down with a Branch Manager and had your analysis run? Bet not. If UFirst is a scam, why did Ernst and Young name it “Entreprenuer of the Year” for the Utah Region in Financial Services. Oh, I know, it’s because they are in on the scam, right? Get a taste of reality, go talk with someone who knows the program inside and out, unless you are afraid to….might hurt your pride, eh? • Tracy Coenen says: 19 October 2008 Yes, Bill, I have had the analysis. You can see my comments here: http://www.sequence-inc.com/fraudfiles/2008/09/05/united-first-financial-sell-them-with-deceit/ Ernst & Young specifically says that they do not vet the companies receiving the awards, and that they do not endorse them. (It’s been said plenty of times on this site, if you bothered to read.) Besides, it’s not really an honor to receive an award for an ingenious way to get$3,500 out of consumers for a crappy product.

Bill, I’d venture to guess that I know more about this program than 99%+ of the “agents” working for UFF. So there’s no pride issue here.

• Craig says:
20 October 2008

Bill,

I’ve sat down with an agent as well. I explained how easy it was to beat the MMA analysis he gave me, and the agent agreed. He fell back on how the MMA is a behaviour modification tool.

I explained how the HELOC generated no savings, and proved this with an example from UFF’s site. I asked him why a behaviour modification tool would need to slow down potential debt repayment, unless the HELOC was only there to make the system look like it was worth $3500. He didn’t have an answer. Good luck with your inefficient,$3500 behaviour modification tool.

• Lee D says:
20 October 2008

On the other hand, the sting of pissing away $3500 that you’ll never see again might be decent negative-reinforcement aversion therapy. Never mind that you could probably get the same behavior modification by having your spouse bludgeon you with a thirty-dollar claw hammer every time you think about putting a worthless purchase on your credit card. • Craig says: 22 October 2008 AD Expeditor Said: “BTW Craig…as previously mentioned…Microsoft launched many years prior to any noteworthy national news attention…it’s coming Craig and you’ll have to find something else you really don’t thoroughly understand to bash…otherwise this site has no reason to exist…now does it?” UFF has actually had “national news attention” from Kiplinger’s, MSNBC, Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard. All have the same opinion – the MMA is not recommended. The reason you won’t see the MMA talked about on “60 Minutes” is that it will never, ever reach that level of popularity, even if/when UFirst goes down in flames. • Paul says: 23 October 2008 I went to a presentation and I admit it was very interesting, but left feeling as though I didn’t fully understand how it worked. I wanted to seriously research the product and company. After research and reading articles like this one I have come to the conclusion that if it is too good to be true then it is. • Dan says: 27 October 2008 Tracy did great on staying on subject. About MLM in general. Definition please. While Amway certainly carries a negative connotation was their compensation structure illegal? I can certainly understand not liking a MLM comp structure but breaking the law is another matter. All the aforementioned comments got my curiosity aroused. • Dan says: 4 November 2008 Thank God for freedom of speech. On the “Do it yourself” thread of reasoning, beware! The creators of Subway are smiling all the way to the bank everyday after the naysayers said “Why would people pay$x for something they could clearly do on their own and cheaper”.

• Craig says:
4 November 2008

Dan,

What a lousy comparison. People buy subs and other fast food for convenience. The MMA isn’t even convenient – it’s more work than simply prepaying the mortgage yourself.

• Tracy Coenen says:
4 November 2008

Dan, that’s a nice try, but it doesn’t even come close to a reality. It’s not that MMA is a tool that even helps a consumer in any way. There is no convenience. So basically, you’re paying UFF to help you waste a couple of hours a month playing on the software, going through a more costly process, and gaining nothing because of it.

Instead, you could… FOR FREE…. spend 1 minute or less on the DIY system, and did I mention that it’s free… saving you not only a couple of hours a month but also saving you money?

So MMA isn’t like paying someone to serve you a meal. It’s like paying someone else so you can grow your own food and make your own meal. Who would pay a restaurant for the privilege of picking vegetables out of a garden and cooking their own food?

• Dan says:
4 November 2008

Craig,
My comment was not an endorsement of the MMA. It’s just a caution for those of you quick to use the “DIY” in relation to money matters. Financial Advisors/Planners would not have a market if everyone was sophisticated enough. Their existence is evidence that people with extra money are lazy.

• Tracy Coenen says:
4 November 2008

Dan – If they’re so lazy, they certainly don’t have the ability to use MMA. The program will take a couple hours a month (at least!) to use… while the DIY system requires about 1 minute a month or less to use! So your statement that people are lazy actually supports the contention that they should use DIY over MMA.

• Joetaxpayer says:
4 November 2008

Dan – such a choice is far more simple. The subway guy isn’t trying to sell me $3.00 worth of coldcuts and bread for$150. Nor does he claim that the Italian sub containing 7 ingredients requires one to consider 7! or 5,040 different ways to assemble it. And I never hear them say “you simply cannot do this on you’re own”. When I choose to eat a Subway sandwich, I make the choice to spend the extra $2 vs buying all the stuff at the deli counter. When someone is hoodwinked into buying the MMA service, they spend$3500 to lose not just that money but a bit more. Your analogy just confirms that the pushers of MMA just have nothing else to offer.
Joe

• Craig says:
5 November 2008

Dan, I’d like to reply directly to your comment – I really would, but I can’t top Joe’s response. Feel free to read it again (it is that good) and just pretend I wrote it. I certainly wish I had.

• Tracy Coenen says:
5 November 2008

Yeah, Joe did very well on that one, didn’t he? I’m kinda jealous he came up with it and I didn’t!

• Lee D says:
5 November 2008

Bravo to Joe Taxpayer.

• Joetaxpayer says:
6 November 2008

I am honored by these recent kind remarks. Thank you, all.

• Dan says:
6 November 2008

Y’all,
I’m honored that Joe and Tracy responded to my entry. Thank you for taking time to discuss. Hopefully the internet will remain “free”.

Perspective. A truly budget conscious person might consider the extra $2.00 to have Subway make the sandwich a waste. Principle. Everyday we make choices to PAY other people to do stuff we could do on our own. I could easily go to the library and find the information contained in Tracy’s book for FREE. In fact doing the research on my own would probably benefit me more. Yet thankfully the market accepts and is large enough for Tracy’s book. Sales will depend on whether readers will find the information of value and tell their friends. I hope you are rewarded financially for your efforts Tracy. Joe. You voluntarily pay the subway guy the posted price. UFF agents do not hold a gun to “hoodwinked” people’s heads. Yes there are 7! ways to assemble the sandwich if the “hoodwinked” sandwich eater knew math.Thankfully Subway leaves that truth out of their advertising(chuckle,imagine the line behind that guy!).P.S. Burger King spent $$on creating the taste of the Whopper. The same ingredients placed in different order make a difference in the taste. Perhaps Subway could increase its price on the Italian sub by constructing it a certain way. I’m getting hungry. Let’s discuss this over lunch. • Tracy Coenen says: 6 November 2008 Dan – Your line of reasoning would only make sense if the MMA was at a price of about 99 instead. What you’re failing to acknowledge is that the MMA doesn’t really HELP with anything. You might hire a CPA to do your taxes, but they actually provide you a serivce in exchange for the fee. What MMA offers can’t really be considered a service or a benefit in any sense because of the fact that it wastes a whole lot of the buyer’s time and does not advance them financially or otherwise.The MMA simply isn’t helpful or beneficial, and is certainly not worth 3,500. You comparison isn’t valid. • Trudy says: 7 November 2008 Thank you for this website! I just got solicited this morning by a “Friend” to join this scheme. He had also hostily asked me months ago to ‘unsubscribe’ him, as I was sending anti-Obama info to him. Now all of a sudden he shows up today on my screen “Hey You” with the two websites for UFF, thank God I smelled a rat. Thank you, this is the second “friend” in so many months with a scheme, the other was for a travel MLM. So much for friends, hardwork is the only way I have ever got ahead. Continue the good detective work, PLEASE! It still is the old saw “If it sounds to good to be true it proably is!” • kate says: 7 November 2008 Just thinking about the software only, regardless of what it does or doesn’t do: is there really any software package that would be worth 3500? Unless we needed it to control the earth’s rotation maybe. • John McNeill says: 7 November 2008 This is great stuff, getting to the truth of things. I have done research of what is out there and got a couple out of ufirst. 3,500 is a lot for this snake oil, and psycological deception for a sorta logic sounding air to it, but not to those who have the capacity for reason, there is another one out there called anagram, who sells the business of selling the software and you make your own price, they want 5,000 to hook into their service, and they want 150 for each sale you would produce on top of that, besides what you would need to charge, so there is at least 150 plus what you think you need to get out of a customer. i have found a place, it is a company that sells all kinds of software, and you can have it in you hands physically, and tangable, the stuff is the same as ufirst and all these others for a whopping 49 up to 79. Thank you also tracy for this particular blog, and also enjoy craigs input always. • John McNeill says: 7 November 2008 something else i forgot to add i notice is at top of this page where it shows ads by google, there is a spot for the anagram called anagram financial. funny thing i could start my own and call it goo goo ga ga financial. putting financial behind anything makes it sound like a financial company with some sort of authority. this one guy i knew of back in 2001 had company he named pci financial originally to be a collection agency, but he figured he could make more money doing mortgage loans, keeping pci finacial, and pci meaning absolutely nothing, it just had a ring to it., ufirst had better watch out, or could they possibly be linked to the same people , they are out of utah, this anagram financial, selling to the mortgage brokers so they can sell directly to their clients, so much easier and get an extra 3,000 or so, since home company needs an extra 150 from each transaction, so a loan officer can have a little company of his own, and add to money made with trusting people getting the loan and hey lets just add the cost of this to the loan!!!you’ll be saving xxx, ya, right, like i mentioned, if a guy really needs software, you can get it for 49 to 79 dollars, i would have to look again to see which company that was, they let folks partner up with them opening there own store front wherever and sell for 49 dollars or so, like you would go and buy things at gamers. or a dvd or whatever. Ufirst with all these other vulchers trying to do the same cant last long. I explained the diy way to another friend wondering about all that software and this diy made much more sence than buying any of it at all. • Bo says: 8 November 2008 Feel free to pass my contact info out to anyone and everyone that believes UFF may work, as I have ocean front property in Oklahoma for sale, as well as bridges all across the country. Simple logic should indicate to all that it’s not possible to borrow their way out of debt, and chances are their line of credit will be a higher interest rate than their home loan. HMMM. I’ve always found things with lengthy sales pitches prior to giving simple details just don’t work. There’s reasons for those sales pitches, and it has to do with convincing people to override common sense and logic. An easy way of paying off a 30 year loan in 15 is to make the regular payment each month, along with an extra amount equal to the principle due for that month, which won’t be much in the beginning. As the principle payment goes up so will inflation, so as to offset the feel of the increased payment. • Dan says: 8 November 2008 Tracy, Thank you for your time and insightful comments. Here is a challenge. Based on what all you have said there sounds like there is a case to be made in court. Find some integrity filled lawyer and save the United States from this new pyramid scheme. Gullible people would be served the MLM industry would be dealt a blow–sounds like a win-win to me. Let the law be the judge. Adieu! • Tracy Coenen says: 8 November 2008 Really? What claims do you think should be made, and what evidence supports those claims? • Dan says: 9 November 2008 Tracy, I am not a lawyer. I based my challenge on the observations YOU made. From what you said you have thought through your arguements. If you KNOW people are being defrauded than you have the responsibility to bring to justice United First Financial. I’ve read the whole blog, your comments are cogent and well reasoned. There’s a time to talk and there’s a time for action. Au Revoir • John McNeill says: 10 November 2008 Is there any thing i can do to help???? • Tracy Coenen says: 10 November 2008 Dan doesn’t really believe I should initiate a lawsuit against UFF. He just said that to make a point. (What the point is, I’m not quite sure.) There’s nothing I could sue UFF for, so the whole concept is silly. • Joetaxpayer says: 10 November 2008 Dan’s remark does prompt the question, “what would it take to shut this scam down?” (if anything). I’d imagine an individual would have to have cause and claim of damages. Would the person (from a Jubilee example) who sent all their savings to the mortgage then have cause if their HELOC were shut down and they lost their home? After all, most MMA sites suggest their is *no* risk to using the HELOC shuffle. What are the criteria for the attorneys general to get interested in this type of issue? Joe • Jeff Keller says: 10 November 2008 This has just been forwarded to me, but, to take the sails away from the legal argument… all 50 attorney generals have already scrutinized United First Financial and have blessed it. It appears that there are some people here who need to get a job. Blogs are a waste of time, so on that note. see ya. By the way, you obviously would not be a prospect for the MMA, so why am I talking to you. The MMA is not for everyone…get over it. • Tracy Coenen says: 10 November 2008 Would you care to point us to those blessings? You can’t, because they didn’t. Attorneys general do not offer endorsements of companies because there are all sorts of legal ramifications. (Unless of course the company is Usana, and the dirty politician is Mark Shurtleff.) You’re right. MMA is not for everyone. In fact, it’s not for anyone. Thanks for reading and commenting. • JoeTaxpayer says: 10 November 2008 Jeff, I wonder what the profile of the ideal MMA prospect looks like? 1) easily confused by simple math 2) fear of being poor 3) no understanding at all of financial matters 4) impressed by terms they don’t understand such as ‘factorial math’. 5) able to pony up the 3500 fee I miss anything? • Tracy Coenen says: 10 November 2008 I think #5 is wrong. So long as they can finance that, they’re in. • Craig Hansen says: 10 November 2008 Actually, UFirst shields itself quite effectively from its own sales force. Besides only being “independent contractors”, UFF agents all sign an agent agreement. That agreement lists a number of claims that agents are not allowed to make. The list of disallowed phrases can be found all over UFF agent promotional material, but UFirst doesn’t care. If anyone were to call the agent on the claims, UFirst would just use the breech of agent contract as grounds fer terminating the agent, and the client is SOL. Let’s face it – if your sales force were as clueless as UFirst’s, you would want to be shielded from them as well. • John McNeill says: 11 November 2008 Hello, Tracy! Is that Anagram finacial, the same sorta thing??? i am thinking more than likely. Do they need the warning??? Tracy is a good source she knows her %#@. And to Joe Tax payer, you are funny, are you sure you aint really, Craig? And to Jeff Keller, sounds like you are duped!! your stuff sounds like poloticians, you aare more than likely a pure liberal> • Tracy Coenen says: 11 November 2008 Yes, same idea, different name. Where have we seen this before? From Anagram’s website: Anagram’s program contains an algorithm that systematically creates the highest interest savings possible in the least amount of time. Each individual, due to the uniqueness of their situation, requires a custom plan to achieve optimal results. Plus, if you make additional payments on a conventional 30-year fixed-rate loan, you can’t borrow that money without taking out a home-equity line of credit or a home- equity loan. With the mortgage-accelerator program, you already have the line in place. That gives homeowners confidence that they can be aggressive in paying their mortgages and still have money readily available if a financial emergency comes up. • Vince says: 11 November 2008 Some interesting points and counter points about the MMA program are here: ***Oops… no advertising or affiliate links allowed here! *** I am curious to read the opinions of anyone astute and honest enough to pour through this material and report back here. • marcy says: 12 November 2008 I have been going round and round with my mother on UFirst…I affectionately call it UF#@ked. She is an independent RELIV consultant, and once you get into one MLM, you are exposed to all sorts. She has the best of intentions in helping people, but this program is the worst I’ve seen. She sold it to her sister (AK), a woman that has worked in factories all her life, had no experience with computers, and is in serious finanical pain. She has spent over 1000 not including the 3500 for the software, just to get up and running. Unfortunately, she does not have discretionary income…AT ALL. Ufirst is touting the use of a credit card in place of a HELOC, as her loan to value is too high for another loan on the property (I was an underwriter for 5 years, I helped her get into an awesome loan, 5.25%, 30yr a few years ago) My mother, and the Ufirst agent (apparently my mother is not an agent, just doing the sales presentations????) did not calculate AK’s complete monthly expenses into the ratios. They used 180, and seem to think that she can pay off all of her debt in 10 years. Meanwhile AK is actually using credit cards to pay her gas to get to work…not making enough to pay her monthly expenses as it is. She has a couple of debts that are interest free until May. The MMA action plan is tell her to pay them off, and they total more than her actual checking account balance that is available. Oh, did I mention that she took 5000 out of her retirement so that she can have a buffer, and that the Ufirst agent is a tax accountant, and told her there would be little taxes associated with removing this money early, and that she would get back all of her investments over the course of using this software? So the MMA action plan that was set up by my mother and this agent, does not include her monthly expenses accurately, is requesting that my aunt pay more debt down than she has available, and she has been given tax advice that is inaccurate by the sales agent. And the “dashboard” on the softare is in red saying something like an amount of time in order to “exceed” Not a estimate of the time it will take to pay off the first mortgage. As a little Dear Abby, aside, my mother is so gung ho on this product that she can only refer me to the website and quote the sales pitch, AND talk about Ernst and Young AND gets so wound up in the argument that she begins to choke on her own spit. The brain washing of achieving “the dream” by selling any MLM product is so effective I am not able to have a normal conversation with her. Our last argument over the fact that she is bringing even greater financial ruin to her sister and her youngest daughter ended with a her retort that even Bank of America is a partner with UFirst. Now I am a reasonable person. I don’t have an accounting degree, but I’ve worked in the mortgage industry, and I do bookkeeping for a small business. I have helped finance and refinance my mother, her sister, and I have helped my sister get out of debt on a money management program at least once. My mother did not consult me in the slightest prior to selling these products to her family members. I’ve done some research on this, and I am in the process of researching debt calculators, amortization schedules, etc in order to prove that I can do the same thing this software can do on spreadsheets, and free online products. I have yet to see any positive comments about this product that are not directly related to an agent of the company. Are there any noteable non-associated, professional organizations that comment in a positive light on this web based software. (Oh my mother told me it was uncool that I looked at AK’s MMA…apparently they don’t even inform their inexperienced agents, that the software is web based, that it can be seen from anywhere.) And one more thing…how do I bring someone back that has been taken by the MLM gypsies…is there a de-programming facility? • JoeTaxpayer says: 12 November 2008 Marcy – it’s pretty easy to prove that with no discretionary funds available MMA simply can’t work. Your aunt is on her way to ruin, she will not have the funds available to pay the cards in full as they come due and with any balance after the payment is made, the 18% or higher rate will apply to her average balance. To be blunt, she will lose whatever pennies MMA claimed the float would gain her. If she is under 59-1/2 she pays ordinary income tax and 10% penalty on that 5000 withdrawn, and the ‘tax accountant’ should certainly know this. If you drop me a note (thru my name linked above), I will forward you a spreadsheet that shows mortgage amortization. I have nothing to sell, my web site is a hobby, more or less. Joe • marcy says: 12 November 2008 Thank you JoeTaxpayer…I Know it doesn’t work. The issue is my mother, sister, and aunt. I just need to prove the specific numbers…it’s not enough to say that there is a cheaper way to do it. I’m battling against a monster that has permanently changed my mother’s perception. So I’m going to take my time, my work experience, my common sense and lay it all out in black and white (in this case red and white) She’s lost her diplomacy. She’s lost her common sense. I love how the marketing for UFF does not include the interest paid on the 3500. I found a website another debt payment one that shows rolling up through your debts by paying the smallest debt first, I’m going to compare it to the traditional highest interest way, and prove with concrete numbers. I’m even going to wrap in the debt accrued from the purchase of the software. The UFF scheme does not use the complete numbers…it’s exceptionally fraudulent, and IMO is using the inexperienced agents to pursue their own greed. It’s capitalizing on the ignorant, on their fears, on their pain from the debt quicksand. I can’t help but wonder…being that it’s based in UTAH, are their religious implications here, like most of the debt consolidation groups. I actually heard someone say that it’s run by mormons, and mormons are good with their money. HA! What is the common thread that binds RELIV to Prepaid Legal, to UFF? The Success magazine they hand out to prospective affiliates looks the same for Reliv and Prepaid, and they have their meetings at the same hotel in my area, on the same nights. I am having an emotional response to this experience. I’m not at wits end, but I feel nauseous at the thought that someone could take and change my mother so drastically that I can’t have a conversation with her that is not MLM related. She’s gone from human being to MLM sales machine. She’s jacked up on the ginseng and B- vitamins from Reliv, and grasping for the dream that she could leave me some money. It’s not how I grew up. It’s not how I live my life. If it wasn’t affecting me personally, I’m pretty sure I could write it as a comedy and wrap it into a sitcom episode. It’s perverse. All of it. The line that “It’s not for everyone” is a disclaimer to prevent personal accountability for sellig a bogus product. I’ve finally finished reading this entire blog, and it’s so apparent that those that support are delusional, those that don’t are structured, well informed, and working for a real benefit. I’ve linked my mother to this post…I hope she reads it. Thank you all for your insight and professionalism…well those of you that exemplified those characteristics. • John McNeill says: 12 November 2008 I remeber Pre Paid Legal, Tracy! are you aware of the one called Anagam Finacial??? • John McNeill says: 12 November 2008 Tracy! I re=read … and I Agree. • Tracy Coenen says: 12 November 2008 Marcy – Sadly, even the facts may not convince her. Look at what happens on this blog: Over and over people like Craig and JoeTaxpayer have laid out the numbers in black and white that prove the UFF system is much more complex and time consuming than do-it-yourself and that UFF produces poorer results than do-it-yourself. Yet the believers in UFF close their ears and ignore these objective facts. MLM is the only industry I’ve ever seen this cultish attitude. The members are so reluctant to listen to logic and reason, and this is common across all MLMs. Others involved in consumer education on MLMs have witnessed this phenomenon as well. In a normal industry, our education efforts might have a reasonable impact. In MLM, the impact is diminished. Nonetheless, I commend you for your efforts, Marcy. • Craig says: 12 November 2008 Indeed. Thank you for your efforts to understand and present the info to your mother. I think many of us who publicly oppose the MMA started out as friends or relatives who were asked, “What do you think of this?”. Each of us were so disturbed by the predatory marketing and inefficiency of this product, that we are willing to devote some free time to debunking the agent claims and preventing more people from buying it. I think Calvin has talked hundreds of people out of buying the MMA. I’ve been in direct email contact with dozens. While I have a very good success rate talking prospective buyers out of buying it, agents are another matter. A lot of pride is on the line for anyone who has signed on as an agent. Most are also clients, and once you shell out 3500 and then convince your relatives and close friends to do the same, it can’t be easy to realize the scale of your error. Most just clam up, never to be heard from again, and even their agent sites go offline. Others just refuse to believe simple math, and carry on. The UFirst founders like Skylar and John, and the handful of top agents who have hundreds of downlines and are therefore making a killing at this, do not engage anyone online. For certain, we are massively cutting into their potential profits, but they can’t win this debate, so they settle for whatever sales they can generate with this thorn in their side. UFirst has sent a memo to all agents, directing them NOT to engage in debate on blogs, forums, or any other medium. They know damn well that their agents aren’t capable of convincing most people, and that all this negative commentary just drives up the Google rankings of Tracy’s site, Scam dot com, and other sites that UFF would love to suppress. Luckily for us, many agents don’t read these memos, or better yet, they believe they are talented enough to convince the world. Conversations with these truly delusional agents make for some fantastic reading. You can see many of their comments above. • marcy says: 14 November 2008 I wanted to give a heart felt thanks to all of the information on this website. I have just been able to take time to read additional blogs and articles on this and other sites (joetaxpayer) I’ve found myself cutting and pasting so many blog sites, highlighting text..emailing my mother. She is still unwilling to concede the success of the program or work to get a refund. I have also spent a lot time exploring the MMA. As a mortgage underwriter, not a mathematician, CPA, or any of the other highly sophisticated credentials that have provided such detailed and keen insight, I can tell you that this software has numerous failings. Recognizing what is happening in the real estate industry, and the numerous HELOCs that have been frozen (mine included) this software can in no way accomodate the change in interest free periods, the limits placed by the banking industry due to change in LTV’s, and it will never be able to efficiently navigate the pitfalls of our struggling economy. It only uses one time period… the term of the loan. It is not complex enough to recognize interest free periods, which in AK’s situation are essential to recognize. The software is forcing the payment of debts in an interest free period. This is most likely due to entry errors, but as the agents do not understand the basics of interest calculations, they have advised her against what I would consider to be common sense. It is also requesting to pay the entire reserve amount in the savings account to pay down debt. So it will leave AK, without the best safety net of all CASH. Likewise, it is not going to recognize when the interest free period on the CC ends until the statement arrives and the data entry occurs. So the MMA suddenly has an interest rate that exceeds the first mortgage by a minimum of 3%…how is this an effective debt repayment system? Nothing like digging a hole to fill the first hole. In regards to the behavior management aspects of the sales pitch, and having dealt recently with sleepless nights over seeing the financial woes of a loved one…Buying a gym membership as part of New Years resolution to lose weight, does not help you lose weight. You have to go be an active participant. Many people are dealing with financial ruin because of their lack of attention to their spending habits. I highly doubt that showing a habitual spender the impact of buying a new TV on their debt repayment plan will be a preventative measure or a successful behavior management technique. Most likely it will be just as effective as leaving doughtnuts unattended in the breakroom on February 1 right next to a treadmill. Once the romance is over, and the hard work sets in, self discipline is required. Software can not teach self discipline. And from what I hear, the assistance with the software and their 24/7 helpline is not all it is cracked up to be…It’s actually more like 9-5 Utah time, and sketchy assistance at best. • Roger Carman says: 19 November 2008 Ms. Tracy Coenen: Your research capabilities are non-existent. You’re probably comfortable with Obama. In the past, you may have done some good reporting but you really missed it with this one. I read here on your site that anyone could save 19714 NOT using the United First product. So, how much interest have you “knocked off” since your May 8 blog? The MMA product is a new and different way of paying off your mortgage and other debts. You like to throw in negative words like “multi-level” and “scam”. I’m really glad that United First gave me a chance to sell this program. They could have sold this wonderful idea to the banks for millions where it would have been suppressed and shelved thereby keeping the lid on the truth. It’s just mathematics and that is why United First Financial can guarantee the results. I don’t understand why educated people such as yourself have such a mind block when it comes to new and better ways of doing things. You and your kind can keep on with the misinformation while regular homeowner folks go ahead and live their lives free of debt. • Craig says: 19 November 2008 Hello Roger, or should I say UFirst Agent No. 864081? How is your upline Ira doing? You may want to re-think the whole “non-existent research capabilities” part. The analysis of MMA vs a very easy DIY approach to mortgage acceleration has been done to death here and on numerous 3rd party websites. The MMA is simply inefficient and dangerous in comparison. Many UFirst agents have agreed with this assessment. Also, UFirst didn’t “give you a chance” to sell the MMA – you paid 175 for the privilege. You earned 450 for your first two sales (some exceptions possible) and your uplines (like Ira, Louise, Kenna, etc.) shared in the balance of the 2500 commission. When you’re as useless as the MMA is, you need to have a big commission to pay all the levels of the pyramid. After all, 60,000 agents is a lot of mouths to feed with only 120,000 or so sales. • Roger Carman says: 19 November 2008 Craig, It would really impress me if you took your research smarts and got to the meat as to what the MMA program really does for homeowners. For a few moments, try to put aside your MLM opinions. • Tracy Coenen says: 19 November 2008 What it really does is cause homeowners to waste 3,500 on an inefficient, cumbersome program…. When they could spend nothing, and do a simple prepayment program (meaning add extra to their monthly mortgage payment) for free and be further ahead. So what does MMA do? Waste 3,500 of the homeowner’s hard earned money and cause them to waste a couple hours a month goofing around with the software. It doesn’t matter if UFF uses MLM or not. The program is bad regardless. • Craig says: 19 November 2008 For someone critical of the research capabilities of others, you seem very unwilling to read anything easily accessible on this website, or even this page. My position on this product has been explained and quantified time and again. The MLM aspect and the terrible prospects for making any decent money selling it are just the latest topic, given the release of the master list of agents that Tracy recently wrote about. What do you want to know, the exact amount the MMA trails a simple DIY approach? How much longer the MMA takes every month? The exact repercussions of having a large balance on your LOC when the bank freezes it or a family experiences a large expense or loss of income? Feel free to give me some numbers, and I’ll tell you exactly how much more inefficient the MMA is than a scrap of paper and a pencil. • marcy says: 19 November 2008 Roger, I love that you are painting the UFF group as self sacrificing and self effacing…Do you really think they didn’t sell the idea to the banking industry because it would hide the truth. Have the really adopted that line as part of the sales script? Have you taken any time to research the program outside of the sales pitch? Do you know what an amoritization schedule is? Do you understand it? Do you have any certifications that assist you in selling a product to finanically advise the purchaser? Have you read any of the posts even on this one blog? What actually goes through your brain when you see the proof that you can pay down you mortgage equally as fast by adding a few bucks to your mortgage payment? How do you justify a 3500 expense for people who are struggling financially? I could go on and on and on. Your leaders at UFF are laughing at you now. They know that they have taken advantage of you and all of your “clients.” They are laughing all the way to the bank. That’s why they didn’t sell their “idea” (which existed in Australia and UK first) to the banking industry. They knew that with the right package they could get enough Epsilon’s to fight for their place in line for the soma, prior to being either shut down or proven ineffective. (Or would that be Gamma’s weren’t Epsilon’s for menial labor?) • JoeTaxpayer says: 19 November 2008 Roger, what it seems to do is use confusing terms (such as ‘factorial math’) to convince the client of its value. Then, it offers a series of false claims (such as ‘with no change to your budget’) to lure in the prospect. The ‘meat’ of the program as you call it is the use of the HELOC shuffle, right? Without it, MMA would just be ‘pre-pay your mortgage’. Now, it’s easy to prove that the shuffle cannot save more than the cost of the program itself, which, pretty simply means that the program has no value. As agents are full of bad analogies, I offer you this one. MMA is like buying a product that improves your gas mileage, a one-time cost to add a device to your car. It works just fine, does what it says, but no matter how long you drive the car, or how many miles per year you drive, the expense is never paid off. All analogies are flawed, as is this one, I admit. You are an agent, right? Run an analysis, dropping the discretionary income as low as the program will allow. Can you go to zero? If not, why? If so, how much faster does MMA pay the mortgage off? (I mean the classic 200K, 6%, 30yr fixed example). Did you account for the 3500, or skip it? Had enough? One more question. A client throws their ‘lazy money’ from their 2% savings to their mortgage. Great move, they save years off the back end with that one check. Now, their HELOC is frozen. When the 10K emergency (I’m in the northeast so I say ‘furnace’) comes up, and they have no funds or HELOC, just a 20% credit card, how do you advise them? This turns into a hamster wheel they never escape from, the same literal hell’ that agents use to scare people into the program. Joe • Roger Carman says: 19 November 2008 Tracy, It is my opinion that you don’t know much of the MMA. If you did any investigation, you would know that the MMA is not a debt roll-down plan, or a Bi-weekly plan, nor a debt reduction plan. It’s not even a program where you send in a few hundred bucks extra to your servicing bank plan. Yes, homeowners will save interest by using these plans but the MMA is much more than that. Also, my focus is not primarily to get others involved as agents. I see an incredible opportunity for people looking to get out of debt without changing their lifestyles or refinancing their existing mortgages. If you’re a numbers guru, you’ll know that large amounts of interest is packed into the beginning few years of all these loans. I will admit that a HELOC may not be the way to go when setting up the MMA program because banks can shut down those accounts if home values in the area are deflating. A personal line of credit will have the same effect and would be preferable in most situations. I disagree, the software is not “cumbersome”. I believe the MMA software will be as popular as Quicken and is much easier to use. • Tracy Coenen says: 19 November 2008 Roger – What exactly does MMA do if not encourage a user to pay down the mortgage early? Does it “use the bank’s money to pay off your debt”? LIE Does it “use factorial math to pay off your debt”? LIE Does it “use an algorithm to pay off your debt”? LIE The only thing that pays off your debt is money. Money which you can use to pay off the debt without any 3,500 software. • marcy says: 20 November 2008 Roger- Can you explain to me what product would be better for the MMA, than a HELOC? How does the software react when the draw period ends on your MMA? If you use a credit card, what does the software do when the interest free period ends? Is there a place in the software to plan for this change in account? • marcy says: 20 November 2008 Tracy, JoeTaxpayer, Craig- In your experience/research is Harj Gill in Australia the one that started all of this? Is UFF just a knock off with added “benefit” of the CC option for the management account? • JoeTaxpayer says: 20 November 2008 Marcy – I’m more a numbers guy. Offering to discuss actual numbers and writing to show that the math easily proves it doesn’t. I have a link on my site to http://www.theage.com.au/news/property/smoke-and-mirrors/2004/09/28/1096137225560.html which is an article from 2004 in an Australian newspaper discussing what appears to be a variant of this product. MMA appears to have taking a basic concept and wrapped so many false claims around it that it’s reached scam level. Until reading Tracy’s site, the MLM aspect didn’t really come to my attention, as I was focussed on the math itself and dealing with the agents’ individual claims. Of course, the agents don’t like to discuss the MLM aspect, but given that all their individual sites have a ‘become an agent’ link, it should have been obvious to me. The Australian plans don’t have that aspect, that I can find. From what I’ve read, the banks offer these mortgages directly. Of course, that changes the numbers quite a bit. Joe • Roger Carman says: 20 November 2008 Tracy, Joe Taxpayer, Marcy and All, I read the Smoke and Mirrors article from Australia. It was an article written in 2004. The MMA came into existence in 2005 and was test marketed from 2005 through 2006 in Denver, CO to 400 homeowners with great success. In my studies to become a certified United First agent, the interest rate on the advanced line of credit (HELOC or PLOC)is not a major concern like it is in the Australian model. Marcy, I haven’t worked the MMA software with any credit cards. I prefer using advanced lines of credit–mainly the personal line of credit (PLOC). Bottom line: I have clients who use the software that are shaving 20 to 25 years off their 30 year mortgages and other debt which includes the 3500 expenditure for the program. Potential clients are given a free confidential Analysis. The end result of this Analysis is the number of months to payoff which is guaranteed in writing by United First Financial. Yes, you might be able to do this kind of interest cancellation without the use of the software only IF… 1. you have the financial discipline and mathematical skill 2. you have the right kind of ALOC 3. you are willing and able to account for every penny at all times 4. you can tally all the variables and refigure your financial position each and every day 5. you can do this day in and day out for 5 to 10 years 6. you can do this without personal support if something goes wrong or you get confused 7. you are willing to forfeit tens of thousands of dollars in monetary gains–in addition to doing all the work–all by yourself. If you’ve been throwing money away because you were not aware, that’s one thing. But now you’ve been alerted that there is more information that needs to be gathered so you can make a better judgment about the MMA. Make the decision that’s right for you. For many of us it was a SLAM-DUNK. • Tracy Coenen says: 20 November 2008 Roger – Only someone fully indoctrinated into the Cult of UFF would be silly enough to say that the interest rate on the HELOC isn’t a concern. OF COURSE IT’S A CONCERN! The MMA makes aggressive use of a HIGHER interest credit choice (the HELOC) to pay off the LOWER interest credit choice (the first mortgage). That is just plain silly. And I don’t want anyone to do “the kind of interest cancellation” that UFF does. They don’t need to and shouldn’t want to. All they need to do is simply (and for free) pay all extra cash each month to their debt with the highest interest rate until it is paid off. Then use all extra cash to pay the remaining debt with the highest rate. Lather, rinse, repeat. I’ve said it over and over here. Simple math with a pencil and paper beats UFF every time, so there’s no need to try and replicate what the wasteful and cumbersome software does. • Roger Carman says: 20 November 2008 Tracy, Did you not read what I just posted???? I have clients that are shaving at least 20 years off of their 30 year mortgages. Aren’t you going to challenge me? I can do the analysis using an ALOC with a 9% rate and compare it to one with a 19% rate. I’ll be glad to show you the difference but I don’t think. I thought there was only one kind of “interest cancellation”. • Tracy Coenen says: 20 November 2008 Whatever your clients are “shaving off” their mortgages, they could “shave off” more without UFF. Simple math proves that UFF comes out the loser. • Roger Carman says: 20 November 2008 Tracy, I’m wondering if you are using this simple math concept to save 20 years on your own mortgage. If you are and it’s getting great results I’d think you would want to share it with all of us and save us all 3500. Let’s see the your simple math. I think it is evident here that you’re not going to challenge me on any of my claims. I also expect that all my postings will be deleted in an effort to save your professional reputation. Sorry if my remarks seem hostile. I’m not that kind of man. But, you have accused me of being in a cult, lying and being a part of a scam. • Tracy Coenen says: 20 November 2008 Roger – There’s really nothing to challenge in what you’ve written. Simple math beats MMA every time. And here’s how I’m reducing the time to pay on my mortgage: 1. I don’t waste 3,500 on MMA. 2. I send all excess cash to the mortgage each month. Voila! I am mortgage-free faster than if I had paid UFF 3,500. • Craig says: 20 November 2008 Roger, Your claims aren’t unique – every UFirst agent has claimed 20 years saved, or more. We’ve done the math. If the MMA can save 20 years, a simple DIY approach can save 20.8 years. If you want links, I can publish them here again, but they’re only going to make you look bad. • Joetaxpayer says: 20 November 2008 “3. you are willing and able to account for every penny at all times” Well, Roger, even ignoring the interest cost, the MMA program costs 30 per month. Thats quite a few pennies, now, isn’t it? Have you really drunk enough Kool Aid to believe that one must pay that close attention “every penny at all times”? Seems If I leave 1000 just sitting in checking I might lose 60/yr in potential savings, and avoid paying attention every night to some piece of software that costs 6X that. In the MMA deprograming center, they force you to repeat “MMA is a cost, not an investment”. With all due respect to Tracy, the paper and pencil isn’t even needed. Just sending the extra money each month is all that’s needed. No math required. Joe • Tracy Coenen says: 21 November 2008 Joetaxpayer wrote: In the MMA deprograming center, they force you to repeat “MMA is a cost, not an investment”. LOL – I think maybe we need to do an article on key elements of the deprogramming class. • marcy says: 21 November 2008 Roger, I’m confused…First you say that the HELOC may not be the best, and now you say that the HELOC is the best. Also, you don’t have any experience on working with the CC option, and yet, that is the option that most of your agents are pushing on their unsuspecting victims. (I know that sounds harsh or aggressive, and I’m really no usually that kind of person, but I have two family members that have been duped into using this program, and they are not getting the results you keep talking about) I have seen the software, oops I mean web interface, since there is not an actual software to purchase, just the “service” (which by the way the individuals that purchased it were told that UFF kept no record of their personal information…that the information to develop their “analysis” would be destroyed. A concept that I find mildly amusing, but more importantly highly deceptive as all of their data lives on a UFF server! OH, and what an interesting concept that their original analysis gets destroyed! So there is no evidence of the deceit used to corner someone into the purchase) What is the format that is used to do an analysis…is there anything even as organized as an URLA? (Uniform Residential Loan Application) If they are using this type of format, it leaves a huge hole in the analysis, doesn’t it. If this software is supposed to track you money to the penny shouldnt’ there be a more comprehensive format that would track everything from how much one spends at the grocery store to their oil bill, in other words PERSONAL EXPENSES? Of the two reports I’ve seen, personal expenses were calculated at about a third of what it actually takes to live, therefore skewing the analysis results. On one, the personal expenses were so low that the MMA said debt could be paid off in 10 years, and yet this individual is actually charging living expenses every month. What do you suggest in this circumstance? Would you advise that this person purchased the software needless, even against the UFF guidelines…Wouldn’t you expedite a request for reimbursement? How often have you seen someone get their money back? I’m sure the rest of this group is tired of my arguments, bt • marcy says: 21 November 2008 OOps…I’m sure the rest of the group is tired of my arguments, but about to face Thanksgiving with a highly programmed, ill informed agent. She’s cooking too…do you think I’ll come back inculcated? • Craig says: 21 November 2008 Enjoy. I had my face-to-face with a UFirst agent last spring. He was actually quite agreeable in person, and agreed that the MMA was inefficient compared to simple prepayments. It was only after he invited me to direct questions he couldn’t answer to his upline, that he got upset. His upline used phrases like “no change in lifestyle” and “no increase in payments”. I called “bullshit”, and my agent contact took offense to me calling out his upline. After all, his upline is a MIT grad and worked for NASA (!) I can only hope your experience is half as interesting as mine was. Craig • Ryan Allen says: 21 November 2008 I have read over the last several comments and have come to a conclusion. There only seems to be one individual who understands that there is significant savings in a JIT inventory. This is tool that utilizes JIT inventory with money. It’s much more complex than 90% of the readers believe, but they will still be paying on there mortgage well beyond the users of the software. By the way….I’m not afiliated in anyway, but I do understand the program which most people do not. • Tracy Coenen says: 21 November 2008 There is only significant savings in JIT if there is enough money involved. The average homeowner is dealing with probably 500 to 750 a month in extra cash to apply to their mortgage. The difference between applying that today, versus 5 days ago because the MMA software said so, is negligible. It’s certainly not enough of a difference to justify flushing 3,500 plus interest down the toilet. The MMA folks are trying to make people believe that what they do is “complex.” How else would they be able to get people to pay 3,500. We’re here to show consumers that it is NOT complex at all, and not worthy of 3,500. • JoeTaxpayer says: 21 November 2008 Ryan – JIT? What I understand about MMA is there is no limit to the unrelated analogies to things that simply don’t apply. Everything from the doctor “you wouldn’t operate on your own appendix, would you?” to Tiger Woods “pays for a personal coach and look how successful he is” and ending with a delicious Subway Sandwich. No agent is capable of discussing MMA and sticking to the facts, just the facts. Tracy’s average 750 (close to the MMA classic example 1000) is worth all of 45 per year at 6%. Why not spend some time quantifying the savings that MMA produces compared to the simple “pay extra at month end” rule? When I looked at the difference between quarterly vs monthly extra payments, the improvement is minimal. Contriving to get the pennies by “looking at your money day to day or hour to hour” is akin to standing in line for an hour to get back the dime the supermarket overcharged you. Ooops, bad analogy! Guilty as charged. Joe • Tracy Coenen says: 21 November 2008 Ooh Joe – I LOVE that analogy. • Freddy says: 21 November 2008 Think Microsoft would mind if I sold Excel’s PMT and NPER functions to people for 3500? I would throw in the other 99.9% of Excel in for free. • Craig says: 21 November 2008 You really get the impression the UFirst marketing strategy can be summed up as, “AVOID NUMBERS AT ALL COSTS”. Just In Time inventory systems?!? Really? What’s next, a comparison to Canada Geese? You know, they instinctively fly south for the winter, so they have a kind of natural intuition. You could say the MMA has a sort of intuition as well. Of course, Canada Geese have a notoriously inefficient digestive system and crap all over the place, so that part of the analogy fits with the MMA as well. • Patti says: 26 November 2008 I guess then that Ernst & Young is just plain stupid. They awarded United First Financial Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 Utah Region after a thorough investigation of the company, including the claim that it is a pyramid. By the way, as an agent, I do not get paid anything when I recruit another agent (as in a pyramid). The only time we get paid is when product is sold, just like any other business. I am an agent and I can tell you that I had a lot of training to go through before I could sell anything. Also, the main focus of the company is not to recruit, but to help people out of their financial distress. That is why the corporate website does not promote the opportunity. As you say, you can do this yourself, but how many people actually do it? If it is so easy, why isn’t everyone doing it? Also, you would never be able to get the results that you can achieve with the Money Merge Account System. I think that you need to do more “Quick Research” on United First Financial and the founders. This is not a pyramid but a legitimate business that requires education and hard work to succeed at. It is not a get rich quick scheme. • JimmyDaGeek says: 26 November 2008 Gee Roger, I thought MMA software was only for the financially undisciplined, mathematically illiterate, and intellectually lazy. You claim that you can only do it yourself if you can do the following? 1. Have the financial discipline and mathematical skill You definitely need financial discipline to use MMA. Who wants to have to type in all those transactions each month? If you can add and subtract, you can do it yourself. 2. Have the right kind of ALOC Absolutely. The kind that lets you make interest-only payments and hasn’t been frozen by your bank. You’re going to need that ALOC if you aren’t saving any money. 3. Are willing and able to account for every penny at all times No more than all those transaction you have to type into MMA each month. 4. Can tally all the variables and refigure your financial position each and every day. GEE, my online checking does this for me automatically. But, who cares? You can only apply an extra principal payment to your mortgage once a month so checking it every day is worthless. And you don’t need a financial calculator tell you that every 5 spent on a latte will slow down your mortgage payback. 5. Can do this day in and day out for 5 to 10 years SEE NO. 4 6. Can do this without personal support if something goes wrong or you get confused. Why should I?? I have Calvin, and Joe, and others for support. 7. Willing to forfeit tens of thousands of dollars in monetary gains–in addition to doing all the work–all by yourself. WRONG!! MMA costs you tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your mortgage by making you pay extra interest and charging you 3500 for that privilege • Tracy Coenen says: 26 November 2008 Patti – All of your claims have been addressed on this site multiple times, but I’ll do it again. E&Y does not vet the companies they give these awards to, and even has a disclaimer to that effect on their website. Even though you technically do not get paid just for recruiting someone, the scheme you’re involved in CAN still be a pyramid scheme. Training? What training must you go through to be able to tell the lie that consumers can “use the bank’s money” to pay down their debt or that fancy “factorial math” is responsible for paying down their debt? The “agents” I’ve spoken to barely have a remedial grasp on how mortgages really work, so apparently the education UFF offers isn’t much. As I’ve stated before, if someone doesn’t have the wherewithal to write one very simple extra check a month to their mortgage (which they can do for free), then they ought not be flushing 3,500 down the toilet with UFF for access to a system that’s going to waste hours of their time each month. The more research I do on UFF and the Money Merge Account, the more I’m convinced that anyone who purchases this is a complete moron who has no idea what they’ve just bought. • Patti says: 27 November 2008 Well, Excuse me! I am sorry but I just ran across your blog, but you won’t be hearing from me again after today. I just wanted to post my opinion, but as I have read in previous postings, you don’t want to hear anything that is not in compliance with your views. America is still a free country to speak what you want and to do what you want if it’s not illegal. I am sure that even if Ernst & young did not do the actual investigation and does not endorse any company or product, they would not lend thier name to anything that even hinted at being an illegal pyramid scam (as you are so fond of calling UFF). And even with all your self professed knowledge, you still cannot come up with anything that proves that United First Financial is doing anything illegal, but you still are professing that it is an illegal pyramid scam. And you stated that the gentleman who asked that you bring charges against UFF was just kidding – I don’t think he was. Why don’t you go ahead and start a class action law suit? You know why? Because there is nothing to base your allegations on. Also, why do you let others post links regarding their negative information about UFF, but do not allow those in favor of it do the same? Are you afraid of something? From the sound of it, you think you are pretty smart, smarter that almost everyone else. You state that people who use or endorse the MMA are either stupid or dishonest. Everyone cannot be involved in this supposed conspiracy. The only conspiracy I see is what you are spouting. This is a free country where people are free to do what they wish. Everyone operates by the same rules. If you don’t want the product, don’t buy it. It is as simple as that. If you don’t read the contract, don’t sign it. If you don’t know what you are getting into, don’t do it. However, some people do spend more than they should, sign before they know, but they do it anyway, for whatever reasons they have. Why spend 250,000 for a car when you can buy another one for 18,000? Because they want to. As I said it is a free country. Another point I would like to make before I sign off for good: Americans in general are in the worst financial shape (individually) than in all of our history. People today do not think about what something will cost in the long run, they only think about how much they can afford monthly. They have no concept of what their spending habits really cost them. The MMA software will show them what the time value of money truly is. Maybe the software is overpriced as you say, but the attitude of the American public is costing people their homes, credit, and sometimes even their lives and marriages. I feel that anything that will help the public become aware of what is happening financially in their lives has some merit. These people who have the attitude that they buy now pay later are not even aware of what they are doing to themselves and their future. Perhaps they can do some research themselves and get themselves out of debt as you suggest, but I don’t think they even know where to begin. The MMA software shows them the way out. Yes, they could do it themselves if they chose to, but most people do not have the self discipline or know-how to do so and need something to give them a shove. Maybe the cost of the product forces them to actually use it to help themselves, whereas free products don’t seem “as good”. You know how the public thinks: if it costs more it must be better. Anyhow, I will sign off now, never to return. I am sure that you will again sound like a broken record. Please let me know if you do decide to go the legal route. I will be very interested in the final outcome. • Tracy Coenen says: 27 November 2008 Hi Patti – A few thoughts for you.. * You’re sure that even though E&Y doesn’t investigate or endorse the winners of their awards, they wouldn’t give the award to a pyramid scheme? Are you for real? Plenty of fraudulent companies (Enron, for one) got awards just like this. * I challenge you to find even one instance in which I’ve called UFF an “illegal pyramid scam.” You’ve “quoted” me on that, yet I’ve not actually said that. * When did I ever say that UFF was doing something illegal, as you allege? * The supposed benefits you list of MMA are all bogus: Seeing the long-term cost of something. (Can be done for free with a simple spreadsheet.) Giving the consumer some know-how about money. (Can be done for free with a simple spreadsheet.) Give them a shove. (Can be done for free with a simple spreadsheet.) The MMA does not “help” people get out of debt. It puts them further in debt with the 3,500 price tag. The only thing that truly gets people out of debt is PAYING THEIR DEBTS, which can be done much easier and FOR FREE without MMA. This is not a question of quality. But if it was, the do-it-yourself spreadsheet method STILL beats MMA because it’s easier, more efficient, and costs the consumer far less. • joetaxpayer says: 27 November 2008 Patti – I’ve seen no instances where Tracy has censored anyone’s posting (aside from attempts to promote posters affiliate links). What I do see is the typical misdirected analogies (A 250K car? I doubt this is the same person whose looking to buy into MMA) along with the emotional appeal of all the ‘good’ MMA is claiming to offer. I agree that the country is in pretty bad shape economically, but somehow the sugestion that one deplete all their cash savings to reduce the term of their mortgage and make matters far worse for themselves just doesn’t sit well with me. I also agree that people are free here. Free to be as stupid as they wish. On the other hand, I run into like minded bloggers or just people posting exposing the facts that prove MMA doesn’t break even. People who use it are worse off in both time and money than those who simply take their extra money at month’s end and send it to their mortgage. I know, this sounds very complicated, and often I need to ignore my own advanced degrees and ‘get down to the level of the reader’. So one more try; At the end of each month, you take whatever money you haven’t spent, and isn’t needed to pay a bill due before the next paycheck comes, and send it to the bank. You martk it as ‘extra pricipal payment’. You do this each and every month. There’s actually no math involved. Nada. No pencil, no paper. The spreadsheet (which I offer, gratis, 127 served up so far) can help track the amount saved off the back end, but truth is, the bank is obligated to give you an amortization table upon request and they also are obligated to give you a year end annual statement showing your balance. This is enough to track your progress. If one really needs to spend 3500 to get a shove, get my spreadsheet, and send the 3500 to the local shelter. If not, send the 3500 to the bank and watch your mortgage get paid ahead by 4-6 months with that one extra payment. On a final note, if people had 1000/mo extra, why are they in so much trouble financially? The initial assumption of MMA (these extra funds) is flawed. That’s how they get the wildly excellent results of a 10 yr payoff. The reality is quite different, most people living hand to mouth and that 3500 coming as a HELOC loan. If you really understood this, your tone would be quite different. My tone reflects how incredulous I am that PT Barnum was right, there’s a sucker born every minute. 500K new potential clients each year. Joe • Lee D says: 27 November 2008 Patti, nobody likes a whiner. If you think your little UFF hobby is being treated unfairly, start your own website where you can talk as much as you want about how wonderful you think it is. I know you’re reading this, because Internet commenters who loudly declare that “they’ll never be back” always do in the end. • scamway says: 27 November 2008 I see Amway is swooping in like a vulture to pick the bones of the near-dead with their ads on the Thanksgiving day NFL games. Were they promoting their products? No way. I’m still on the fence about these MLM schemes. Do I feel sorry for the chumps or are they victims of their own greed in thinking they won’t be the low chump on the totem pole? Some of both, I guess. • Howard says: 4 December 2008 You have no idea what u are talking about. I signed up for UFF and will hav my home payed off in 6 years not 24. How’s that! • JoeTaxpayer says: 4 December 2008 How’s that? Without even looking at a calculator, I can tell you it means you are able to send more than twice the required monthly payment to the mortgage. Good for you. Really. What it means it that you are a sucker, and while well paid to make such extra payments, likely successful in your chosen field, you are convinced that you are not really making extra payments but blindly following MMA direction, sending money from a HELOC to the mortgage (and bragging about using the ‘bank’s money) and then sending your paychecks to the HELOC, and paying 3500 to follow the HELOC shuffle you can do for free. Your loan would be paid 3 months sooner without the software. Since you are a willing, happy, victim, you don’t feel robbed. If you understood the math, you’d feel otherwise. Thank you for not saying “factorial math”. Joe • Craig Hansen says: 4 December 2008 Joe beat me to it. If you really can cut your mortgage from 24 years to 6 with the MMA, you could have done it in 5.8 years without the MMA. If you want to dispute this, post your MMA report. We’ll show you what is happening. • Hookem Lee says: 8 December 2008 Hey Before you go off trashing something you ought to know it inside aand out. The author of this blog is way off. His math isn’t even close to being right and he has no understanding of how this program really works!!! I find it real interesting how negitive people can be and not actually understand a program but want to keep others from it even though it could be a life changer. I not only am an agent with UFirst I am on the program. I got on the program and before I went out trying to sell all my friends I made ssure it works. The founders of the compnay were just given the Earnst And Young Entrepenuer of the year award for the Utah Region where the company is based. DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY WOULDN’T HAVE CHECKED OUT WHETHER OR NOT THE PROGRAM DOES WHAT THEY SAY IT DOES BEFORE GIVING SUCH AN AWARD!!! They are one of the top 5 accounting firms in the WORLD!!Whose math are you going to believe. My money is with the accounting firm and not the idot that wants to bash something he can’t comprehend!!! Want to know if its works have an agent run your numbers compare what their analysis says compared to your amortization schedule you will see that the representation of your current mortgage will match and if you follow the program you are gauranteed to pay off when it says you will in writting. The only thing you have to lose is the extra interest you are already contracted to pay to your mortgage company and any other creditors you have but you already knew that RIGHT!!!! • Tracy Coenen says: 8 December 2008 Hi Lee – Thanks for the super intellectual comment. Ernst & Young didn’t do any math or vet the company before giving the award. I am confident that I “comprehend” this UFF product quite well. And I know that the math proves that the UFF method loses every time to a simple paper and pencil method of prepaying your mortgage. UFF wastes time and money. That’s what you have to lose, and apparently you and your victims are in fact losing both. • Wake Up, Hookem says: 8 December 2008 Re: “Hey Before you go off trashing something you ought to know it inside aand out” Hilarious that you didn’t read enough on this site to know that the author of this blog is a she, not a he, not to mention that your Ernst & Young talking point has already been addressed and dismissed. Given your lack of apparent research skills and reading comprehension, it doesn’t speak well of your potential ability to check the MMA’s math. • JoeTaxpayer says: 8 December 2008 Lee, most of us understand it just fine. Ernst & Young gave an award based on entrepreneurship, they did no analysis of the program itself. But considering the state of finance in general, you might have said the same of Arthur Andersen, now defunct, or any of the agencies rating the CMOs that are now in trouble. The math required to understand that MMA cannot create enough benefit to cover its own cost is simple even for you to understand, read my guest post here regarding the “heloc shuffle”. I have been nominated for the prestigious “best guest post regarding a financial fraud award” for that one. • Craig Hansen says: 8 December 2008 Hookem, you can email Andy Heaton at the Ernst & Young Ethics Department. He specifically wrote that E&Y only sponsor the award, and did not review the nominated individuals or their companies. Also, the proper comparison is not between the MMA analysis and a straight amortization report. The proper comparison is against an accelerated payoff schedule that uses the same discretionary income as the MMA is given. Do that in any realistic scenario, and the MMA will lose every time. • Tracy Coenen says: 8 December 2008 Wake Up – I kinda thought that the picture of me over there >>>>> was a bit of a giveaway about my gender. But what do I know? • Charles McDaniel says: 10 December 2008 Another person making all kinds of comments without taking the time to take the extensive training U1st will give you for free so you can make an informed decision. Just once I would like to see one of these so called experts that make their living picking other companies apart take the time to learn from the horse’s mouth not by just checking other blogs that spew the same negativity over and over. By the way, I am a mortgage broker in 6 states, or should I say I was until the banking industry screwed up that vocation. Talk about scam’s, what do you think of the way banks take your money, but that is a subject for a different time. I find that most these people are persons that became agents who were all excited until they realize, like any business you have to do a little work. Why are you so down on Multi Level Marketing? I never see anyone knocking Amway and Avon just to name two. Most people don’t realize that they and many more like them are multi level marketing. I bought the system and am overjoyed with it, to the point that I am going to become an agent. Have I been talked into a scam? I like to think I am smarter than that. After over a year using the system I cannot say anything bad about it. You are making comments the company never makes, for one they never say this is some magical way to pay off your mortgage. They say this is just math; this is very powerful budgeting software to keep you on track with your Budget. There are bankers in this company, mortgage brokers, and insurance companies; in fact the pay system is exactly the same as any realty, or insurance office. One more point, I heard people say you can pay your debt off yourself without help from software. Two things; yes you can so why don’t you, and you can do your own taxes too but how many of you do. • Tracy Coenen says: 10 December 2008 Hi Charles – I’m “down” on multi-level marketing because more than 99% of people who participate lose money in these schemes. I’d like to think you’re smart too. Do the math. UFF loses every time. • Craig says: 10 December 2008 Charles, you wrote, “I bought the system and am overjoyed with it, to the point that I am going to become an agent.” Please see Tracy’s blog entry “United First Financial broker numbers and earnings”: http://www.sequence-inc.com/fraudfiles/category/pyramid-schemes-mlm/ In that blog entry, Tracy posts the master list of UFirst agents. Not only are you already in there – you became an agent months ago. Your agent number is 869837. In fact, since you became an agent, uFirst has picked up an additional 30,684 agents. Why must UFirst agents lie so much? Why post comments to blogs that you have just made your decision, and have decided to buy or become an agent, when the truth is you’ve been an agent for months? Is it really that much more persuasive or credible to say you are in the process of making the decision to become an agent? How credible are you now that you’ve been caught in a lie? Note to UFirst agents: Stop Lying Stop lying that the MMA can accelerate your mortgage “by 1/3 to 1/2 with little or no change in lifestyle”. Stop lying that the “effective interest rate” on a mortgage is 500%. And finally, stop lying about your status as an agent. • JimmyDaGeek says: 10 December 2008 Charles, Do you tell your clients that their mortgage is front-loaded? Do you tell them they don’t need discretionary income? Do you even tell them how they can pay their mortgage off sooner by simply sending in all their spare cash? Do you ever show them how to get out of debt using the debt snowball method? No one ever said that MMA and its ilk doesn’t work as advertised. It’s just that doing it yourself is cheaper and faster. Why aren’t people doing then? Because they’re either smarter than that, or they’re financially undisciplined, mathematically illiterate and intellectually lazy. Just the right customer for MMA and there is no shortage of them. • JoeTaxpayer says: 10 December 2008 “No one ever said that MMA and its ilk doesn’t work as advertised.” Sure I did. It’s advertised to work with no change to one’s monthly budget. That’s at best, misleading, but to be honest, it’s a lie. Also, especially with the recent market turmoil, the claim that the use of the HELOC shuffle is “risk-free” is simply wrong. I’m sure there are more falsehoods, which quickly blend into marketing hype type of claims, but I won’t go there right now. • JimmyDaGeek says: 11 December 2008 OK Joe, I meant that if a person follows the MMA recommendations to a tee, they will pay their mortgage down. I wasn’t referring to the hype and false advertising. • David says: 17 December 2008 Regardless of whether you print this or not, know that you are wrong on so many levels that it is frankly ludicrous. Don’t agree? Then have the guts to take on the conversation. Reply to this e-mail address and we can take it from there, but keep in mind, knowledge is power and you apparenly know nothing! • Tracy Coenen says: 17 December 2008 David -It’s interesting that you say I’m wrong, yet offer not one example of what I’m wrong about and proof of your assertion. As everyone can see, I’ve “taken on the conversation” here in public, and the UFF supporters have been proven wrong over and over again. Simple math wins every time over UFF. I’m not interesting in wasting my time emailing you. Feel free to look around here and hopefully learn something. • roger says: 17 December 2008 Tracy, Please direct me to the place where I can use a DIY program to pay off a mortgage. Thanks • Tracy Coenen says: 17 December 2008 Roger – The place you can do this is your kitchen table. After you pay your regular bills each month, then use any extra cash you have available to pay your debt with the highest interest rate. Repeat the following month. • The google says: 17 December 2008 roger: “Please direct me to the place where I can use a DIY program to pay off a mortgage.” Search the web for “free mortgage amortization calculator” Take your pick. • David C. says: 29 December 2008 This program sounds like all other mlms. Mlms have to work a certain way to be profitable for the companies. Generally, the products are overpriced to compensate multiple levels of commissions. Also, most products contain a lot of hype. Even for good products, a similar product can usually be found in the marketplace for much less. Anybody that has worked in banking or personal finance-related industries can quickly see that this program is not really worth it. You are really using a heloc to borrow money to prepay the mortgage. You don’t need the 3500 or 2000 programs to do that. Take that money and prepay the mortgage! • Peter Lee says: 29 December 2008 Hi i was reading through this article and the biggest thing that hits me is that there is no business knowledge behind some of the comments that are made. For example, the idea that Multilevel Marketing and Pyramids are the same thing is in itself inherently false. For one a Pyramid/ponzi scheme is illegal. And why is it illegal? Because there is no product/service backing up the money being made. Hence no product/service but making money yeah that would be a scheme and i would be wary of that. Second, MLM is a business model that many companies do use as their compensation system and business structure. If you look at it on a single tier level a broker(ie real estate, financial etc) is an example. A product is sold by his agent, the agent gets a set commision and the broker above him would also see his portion as well. That is all that a MLM business model is except that it has depth. IE you see commision off of brokers and agents under you up to a certain point as they do business. Some major companies that have successfully used the business model are Avon, Amway, Mary Kay(tangible products) and Prime America, WMA(Intangible financial products). There is no scam. It is just the compensation system that is used. If you recruit someone you dont make any money unless there is actual sale of a product. Next thing that i have seen here is that is misunderstood is the product itself. What can be a product. Most people assume it is a tangible good such as soap or a tv but that is not all that a business can provide. A business can run on many things for example I will list the basic things that a business can run on: 1. a tangible good (TV soap grocery etc) 2. a service (maid service, insurance etc) 3. storage (warehouse self storage) 4. Support (technical support , customer support etc) Next i will apply it to the product that is being discussed here. It seems the big stick up is that the price of the product is very high. But what does the product do? 1. It provides a service ie the use of a webbased money manager 2. it provides convenience ie it is a plug and use type program 3. it provides storage since the program itself is not stored in the users computer 4. It provides technical and customer support for the length of its use which the site says is for life as well as upgrades. The product is not selling a CD of a software which is what many of the previous posters have compared it to. It actually isnt even a CD but rather web based which means no downloading a software program and accessible where ever you have a computer and internet access. So in conclusion I find many of the posts biased because they do not make equivalent comparisons and make false statements with the use of generalities(ie saying a mlm is a pyramid scheme) which it is not. • Tracy Coenen says: 29 December 2008 Peter – You’re right. Many companies have used the MLM model very successfully. And they’ve done so at the detriment of consumers, who lose billions of dollars each year to these companies. The companies “sell” a money-making venture, yet 99% of people who get involved LOSE money. That’s not a noble effort on the part of the companies. And although they may skirt the laws to appear legal or they may get government agencies like the FTC to not enforce the laws they are breaking, that doesn’t make the companies good and right. Real estate brokers and financial planners do not use the MLM method. (Not the legitimate ones, anyway.) There is plenty of information available for you on this site to help you learn why MLM is so detrimental to its participants. Please have a look. • Josie says: 31 December 2008 What I think you’re all missing, PLEASE chide me if I am missing something myself, is that WHEN we pay our mortgage, bi-monthly, early principle payments, etc. 1) it’s applied MONTHLY, not daily, we lose a ton of interest offset and 2) once we pay it, we cannot get it back So, not only is our interest being lowered ‘daily’, monthly cost is huge compared to daily, small increments of using that money (lowering that principle), and 2, we can never get it back/use it. It’s as if our checking account is accruing an interest, at least equal to our mortgage payment, daily!, once we deposit it, it starts accruing (or in this case, offsetting, interest accrual of our mortgage). The longer we let it sit there, the less we are paying in interest. Our typical mortgages, now, just say, ‘thanks for the extra payment, we’re still accruing interest, as always… your dollars now are just worth more than us getting the dollars later, thanks to inflation!’ Does anybody see this? • Tracy Coenen says: 31 December 2008 Yes, you are missing a lot. Your payment is credited when it’s made. So your interest charges change each time a payment is received by your mortgage company. Now in theory, this whole money shuffle that UFF has you do with putting your paycheck on the HELOC etc, saves you money. Except any savings generated by doing that money shuffle are more than offset by two costs: 1. The 3,500 cost (plus interest if financed, like most UFF users) , and 2. The higher interest rate on the HELOC versus your mortgage. Joe Taxpayer did an excellent series on the UFF, and included there was an analysis of how this money shuffle does not save you enough money to make the UFF purchase worthwhile: http://www.blog.joetaxpayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/MMA_Analysis_Compilation_R16.pdf • Craig Hansen says: 31 December 2008 Tracy, I know you know this, but the homeowner loses out on the interest on that 3500 for the life of the mortgage, whether that 3500 was financed or not. If it was out-of-pocket, it could have been invested, or used to pay down the mortgage instead. • Tracy Coenen says: 1 January 2009 Yes, of course. Thanks Craig. • BOB says: 6 January 2009 Tracy Coenen, Your an Idiot • Michael says: 9 January 2009 Websites like this are dangerous because with very little research you label a good, solid company as a Fraud and tarnish its name. United First Financial is a first rate company – I am a Realtor of 10 years, have purchased the product for myself and have cut my mortgage payoff from 30 years to 12.3 years using the program. I would highly encourage anyone reading this site to please research what the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have to say about them. If it’s a scam I’m sure you will find hundreds of complaints and lawsuits sense they have well over 50,000 customers. • Tracy Coenen says: 9 January 2009 Hi Michael – Did you know that you could pay off your mortgage even faster WITHOUT UFF? Isn’t it a little dishonest that the person who sold you the program didn’t tell you that? • JoeTaxpayer says: 10 January 2009 Michael, what exactly will you do if the HELOC you have is frozen (i.e. canceled)? And since UFF promotes this scam with the words “no risk”, what do they suggest you do if/when this happens? How would you survive a week, a month, if you lost your job? For years, experts have suggested 6 months living expenses in cash/CDs as an emergency fund. Now MMA says send it to your mortgage, and takes credit for the time vale of those funds 30 years out. Did you know that sending the 3500 fee to the mortgage instead of throwing it away would have cut as much as 20K off the loan? I didn’t think so. I took my 3500 and split it between a big TV and expensive purge for the misses. We use the time we save not checking MMA software for every purchase to watch the TV. At last look, our retirement accounts are worth about 8X the mortgage we owe, due to both company match on our 401(k) and decent investments. Do agents warn you not to forgo 401(k) deposits which are matched and pretax? Or do they dismiss that for the one goal of having no mortgage? • CommonSense says: 15 January 2009 Does anyone else find it odd that a company “dedicated” to paying off debt quicker, actually instructs you to take out MORE debt (HELOC) and use this additional debt for your living expenses? Kind of like using one credit card to pay off another one. Except the HELOC is secured by your home and reduces your equity by that same amount. What sense does it make to get into more debt in order to pay off debt — rob Peter to pay Paul? Wouldn’t it make more sense just to live below your means and put the positive cash flow toward paying off your mortgage faster? Unless of course, you have outstanding debt at higher interest (which most debt is higher interest than a mortgage), i.e., credit cards, retail credit accounts, bank lines of credit, etc, as most people do. Then, it would be smarter to pay down/off the highest interest debt first. If UFF really cared about people living debt-free, seems their software would handle other high interest debt in addition to mortgages. Maybe it’s only for relatively debt-free people then, who carry only a mortgage? Seems those folks would already have the discipline to pay down their mortgage early anyway? I guess I’m not taking into consideration the power of the downline income stream as a contributor to the debt reduction. But, seems there are easier ways to reduce debt than to pay to join an MLM, take out HELOC, spend your nights and weekends recruiting your downline, attending conferences, buying more training materials and audio/video programs, shifting your debt from one account to another, oh, did I mention spending your nights and weekends recruiting your downline?!? • Brian says: 19 January 2009 I’m so tired of reading above that I will leave my own comment. I purchased the software and have been using it for 4 months now. I had a mortgage of 195,000 and when I started the program I had 28.5 years remaining of the 30 year note. I’m smart with my money and have saved well over the years. I cashed in 46,000 that I had in CD’s and deposited this money straight to my mortgage. This reduced my 28.5 years to a 10 year payoff. Now since starting the MMA I’m reducing my payoff from 10 years to approx 2.3 years. Granted I make a fairly decent money (NO I DONT SELL THIS SOFTWARE NOR AM I AN AGENT). After 4 months now of using the software I have paid off 2 vehicles and 3500.00 that was left on a Harley. My software tells me I have 1.75 years until I am debt free! I am not a financial wiz but I do know that this MMA is leading me too financial freedom which was not the direction I was taking before starting the software. Yes some will call me a liar but I’m saving 120,000.00 in interest fees. I frankly dont give a crap what the nay-sayers have to say. It works for me and I’m happy with my decision along with 50,000 others. If you people can be debt free without the help of this software or any other means then God help you. I will be back in less than 2 years with a smile on my face! • CANDY G. says: 20 January 2009 I HAVE SPENT TIME READING ALL THE BLOGS. I WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THE NEGATIVES OF UFF’S PRODUCT. NO ONE IN THESE BLOGS HAVE MADE A COMMENT ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY IS SPENT ON CLOSING COST TO REFINANCE A HOME WHICH JUST ADDS INTEREST ON TOP OF INTEREST. MOST OF THE HOMEOWNERS TODAY DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE FINANCIAL REPURCUSSIONS THAT CREATES. LET’S FACE IT, MAJORITY OF US WANTS A QUICK FIX TO EVERY ASPECT OF OUR LIVES. FOR EXAMPLE, WHY DO WE PAY MORE MONEY FOR A GPS SYSTEM IN OUR CAR INSTEAD OF USING A COMPASS? WHAT I HAVE COMPREHENDED WITH UFF’S PRODUCT, IT IS A FINANCIAL GPS TO HELP THE AMERIAN PEOPLE THAT DO NOT HAVE TIME OR DISCIPLINED TO DO IT THEIRSELVES. SO WHAT!! IF IT COSTS 3500. THE USER WOULD BE MORE APT TO FOLLOW THE PROGRAM THEN IF THEY PAID 99 FOR IT. AM I CORRECT? THERE IS NOTHING OUT THERE THAT IS COMPLETELY FAIL SAFE. I WISH THAT YOU “TRACY” WOULD SPEND MORE ENERGY FIGHTING THE CREDIT CARD INDUSTRY THAT IS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE CONSUMERS AND BANKS WITH THEIR SUB-PRIME LOANS. I FEEL THEY TEND TO BE MORE MISLEADING AND OJECTIONAL THAN UFF. • Craig Hansen says: 20 January 2009 Rock solid arguments against the MMA include the mathematically-indisputable conclusion that it costs more money and is slower than simple prepayments, and that it is more work and incurs greater risk than simple prepayments. But we often overlook one other important and obvious barometer that should tell us that the MMA is to be avoided: The company it keeps. The comments from people like Brian and Candy G. who have bought it and try to sell it, serve as a warning as well. Brian, you say you are one of 50,000 clients. The list of UFirst agents is over 60,000 names long. We have heard claims of as many as 120,000 clients, but even so, so in three years, UFirst’s greatest accomplishment so far has been convincing 60,000 gullible people that selling the MMA is a great opportunity, while the actual sales figures have been an absolute failure. That’s because the vast majority of people can see the scam a mile away, or at least come to the Internet for better information. Tracy is one voice who provides better information. • JoeTaxpayer says: 20 January 2009 “I purchased the software and have been using it for 4 months now. I had a mortgage of 195,000 and when I started the program I had 28.5 years remaining of the 30 year note.” Brian – If the starting balance was 195K, you’d owe about 191.3K after 18 months, and 145K after the big principal payment. A 10 year payoff from that point still requires a monthly payment higher by about 445. Wherever that 445 comes from, it’s money you need to put in. Ok, makes sense. I suppose there’s value in the advice “did you ever think to throw all of your savings against your mortgage as a principal payment?”, but is that worth 20, let alone 3500? 120K saved? The big check alone saved you that, if MMA prompts you to add that 445 (this may not be exact, as I don’t know your interest rate, but it’s close enough for my comment) then surely you know your total savings will be closer to 160K. Given that, how much of this do you attribute to MMA? Had you paid 3500 right to the mortgage on month 19, you’d have saved 15K right there. So, the correct answer is not (A) 120K, or (B) 160K, but (C) -15K, MMA has you 15K worse off. And you see, most of the savings (the 120K) came from that one check. MMA took a huge cut, 15K of the additional 40K you’ll save by making those extra payments. (I’ll not even address Candy’s note. I always imaging those who use all caps to be people shouting, and wouldn’t read my reply anyway.) Joe for whom 1+1 is still 2. • Tracy Coenen says: 20 January 2009 Joe – You’re so closed minded. It doesn’t necessarily have to equal 2. You just don’t have enough information. You’re too busy bashing alternative forms of math to understand, but trust me… I know that 1+1 can equal something other than two. And if people would just listen to me, well then I could get them to pay me thousands of dollars to lose even more thousands. Ha! • blakeg says: 26 January 2009 Wow, this is a phenomenal discussion.. Let me start by saying that just reading the posts and comments potentially saved me 3500.. As I type, I have a 3-page brochure from UFirst sitting on my desk (headed for the shredder), given me by a friend (whom I can’t believe actually suckered for this, well, actually I can) that has signed up for the program and is now “saving” money. The concept of paying down debt quicker interested me immensely but I was also curious how it was possible to do such. I stumbled across this blog after googling “united first financial”. I’d also like to give a huge Thank-You to every commenter and to Tracy, the author. I could write a long comment but my time is too valuable to do such (sorry, I’m not trying to be arrogant or rude, just honest). The gist of this all is those of us who have the discipline, take the time and are committed- and I mean life-or-death committed- to our financial success do not need UFF’s program or software. If you don’t feel you fit this category, I still do not recommend UFF but rather start by reading a few books that have helped me along on my personal journey such as… Rich Dad Poor Dad (and the rest of the series) Think and Grow Rich Creating Affluence See You at the Top The Millionaire Next Door The Millionaire Mind (or something to the effect, author: T. Harv Eker) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People How to Win Friends and Influence People ..and the list goes on and on. UFF will not change you; only you can change you. Make positive steps in the right direction today by committing your life to change and making it happen. Best wishes and again, many thanks to each of you. ps i’m 23 and well on my way to a bright financial outlook that began solo at age 15. no, i don’t have a PH.D. (Poppa Has Dough lol)- i just work very effectively (notice i didn’t say “work hard”) and have created a great stream of unearned income while continuing to work my way up at my regular job. I work in the trades (HVAC, blue collar) but purchased my first piece of real estate at 19. You figure out the rest; it’s not rocket science. Remember, 98% of the people operate in their ‘comfort zone’, while only 2% operate in their ‘effective zone’. Where are you? • James A. says: 26 January 2009 I have been using the Ufirst MMA program for 10 months. I started with 142 months to pay on my mortage, and I am now scheduled to pay it off in 67 months. If I did not use this program, I could never pay it off as quickly. If U1st MMA program is so easy to replicate, why hasn’t someone else done it? I believe that most people could not make a spreadsheet that can do the same thing, without constantly updates and reformulating each time an action is performed. • Craig Hansen says: 26 January 2009 James A., you don’t even need a spreadsheet to “replicate” the results of the MMA – you can beat the MMA with a pencil-and-paper. End of the month, after the bills are paid, take your bank balance and subtract a contingency amount. The remainder is what you send to your debts, to the highest interest rate debts first. That’s it. If the MMA has your debts being paid off in 67 months, you could be on track for 66 months or fewer without the cost and inefficiencies of the MMA. Note to UFirst agents: Come up with something new instead of another nauseating “testimonial”. Come up with the sample money movements showing how the MMA makes use of the HELOC to benefit your clients. If you can prove how these MMA-directed transfers save money over the simple DIY “debt snowball” process listed above, you will have shut up all the “naysayers”. Your colleagues have had over 2 years to try, but they have all failed. Clearly, you know better. • Lisa says: 27 January 2009 Tracey, It is so obvious that you do not understand the MMA by United First Financial. There are many nuances that you are ignoring that combined have a very powerful effect. I invite you to attend one of the upcoming events. My contact info is on my website if you would like the details • Lisa says: 27 January 2009 to blakeg You call the person that shared UFirst with you a “friend” yet you would rather listen to someone like Tracey who you don’t even know and who has her own agenda. Did you ever think that maybe a “friend” has your best interest at heart and Tracey is out to make a name for herself?? It sound like you are reading all the right books but it’s too bad that you think you already know everything. Do yourself a favor and keep an open mind. • Tracy Coenen says: 27 January 2009 Really? Nuances??? Do tell, Lisa. I invite you to list those nuances, explain them, and prove with numbers that they actually get the customer ahead. No time like the present! Ready, set, go! • Tracy Coenen says: 27 January 2009 And good try Lisa, but I have no agenda other than consumer education. I think it’s important to show consumers why this 3,500 software is a complete waste of money. I hate to see them flushing their hard earned dollars down the toilet on something like UFF. So really, I get nothing by pointing out the obvious and significant flaws in UFF MMA. • Lisa says: 27 January 2009 One more thing TRACEY and all you other Naysayers – ever heard of Ernst & Young???? They gave the founders of United First Financial the 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Award in their region. I can’t imagine them doing a thorough audit of their company and practices before doing that, can you????? • Lisa says: 27 January 2009 If you want to know about UFF, read the February 2009 issue of Success from Home Magazine available at Book-A-Million • Tracy Coenen says: 27 January 2009 So you can’t articulate any of these supposed nuances? No, Lisa, Ernst & Young did NOT audit UFF, and they specifically provide a disclaimer with these awards… that they’re not endorsing the companies who receive the awards. And the award was given for the business concept… and really speaks only to the ability of the owners to make money. It says nothing about whether it’s a good product for consumers. • Peter Healy says: 27 January 2009 Lisa – with all due respect, why are you even bothering to argue with Ms. Coenen. Use your time to help families get out of debt with UFirst. Ms. Coenen has made her mind up and I hope that works for her. Dave Ramsey had a similar blog last year on his website which went on endlessly back and forth with sily tit for tat waste of time banter. Mr. Ramsey can’t endorse UFirst because it would mean his program is a lame duck in comparison. Move on Lisa. Go spread the good word about UFirst to people that need it. There will always be non-believers with blinders on to the truth. PS: my 29 yr mortgage will be paid off in 6.6 years thanks to UFirst. It’s working just great. • Robert says: 27 January 2009 Tracy: I have been researching UFF. I have one problem with your posts. You do not come across objective in any way. You sound argumentative and unprofessional. What is your background in real estate/mortgage that allows you to make the above statements? I don’t mean to be critical, but I hesitate to follow your advice as it stands. I am looking for solid information on a company that seems to not have a single legal blemish on their record. Please help me understand where your sarcasm fits into the picture of objectivity you claim. • Tracy Coenen says: 28 January 2009 Robert – All one needs to know that UFF is not worth the 3,500 price tag is a grasp of grade school math. You don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to Craig and Joe Taxpayer who have collectively made many comments on this site. Joe has thoroughly examined that product on his own site. Read that. The proof is in the math. • Craig Hansen says: 28 January 2009 Robert – How is Tracy not being objective? She (and Joe and myself, among other “naysayers”) are the only ones doing any math here. The MMA is a financial product, and it loses to a brutally simple DIY process by every mathematical analysis made. It is faster, less risky, and easier to retire your debts without the MMA. The MMA is not worth 1. By an analysis I did with agent John Dillard on a sample case, UFirst should refund the purchase price and pay their clients about 2500 for them to come out even with DIY. That still doesn’t compensate the clients for the extra time spent, nor does it account for potentially frozen HELOCs or increases in variable rates of the LOC chosen. Again, if you want to prove the worth of the MMA, I encourage agents to try to be objective themselves and prove it with math. You can choose any number of debts along with realistic balances, minimum payments and interest rates for each. Add sample income and expenses to these numbers, and you have yourself an objective comparison and can see for yourself how poorly the MMA performs. For a simple analysis of one month, calculate the interest accrued by the average daily balance of a HELOC (which provides the best results possible with the MMA), and calculate the mortgage interest saved over one month by borrowing 1 months pay on the 31st, and then depositing pays into the HELOC on the 1st and 15th, which would again be the best possible scenario. You’re talking peanuts, if any savings at all. Then remember that you borrowed an additional 3500 for the privilege of saving almost nothing, and that 3500 will accrue interest every month. Now you are guaranteed to end up behind every month. This is what is happening with the HELOC – it saves almost nothing. It is pointless and subjects you to a (usually higher and) variable rate. The MMA savings are due to your *extra* income, which can be paid more effectively toward your mortgage every month without the MMA. This is a very simple and obvious analysis, and one which every prospective MMA client and agent should have done before signing. Many do, and don’t sign. Obviously, 60,000+ did not, or chose dollar signs over ethics and are actively seeking to relieve good people of 3500 for a less-than-useless product. If you’re from the latter group and don’t care that you’re ripping off your clients, then we tend not to care about hurting your feelings. • steph says: 6 February 2009 I am totally confused by the negative energy used in some of these email comments. For the naysayers, please provide your contact information, so that those individuals who are not able to purchase this program (which will hold their hands and guide them through to financial freedom) may contact you for that daily guidance. I have spoken with many people who stated they could themselves perform the task without the use of the software, however they have done nothing and it has been a year since they were presented with the analysis. I have also spoken with people who need the hand holding I spoke about and could not wait to get on the program. Some of these people are now on schedule to pay off there homes in under 7.7 years after they were 2 months into a 30yr mortgage. Infact, the software initially had them at paying off their 30 yr mortgage in 11.8yrs. In July they would have been on the program for only 1yr. I will be checking with them to see what that payoff time has lowered itself to at their anniversary date. It looks like the proof is in the math and the thousands of dollars in interest they have saved and will save as those years continue. By the way they were able to do the program without the use of a HELOC. • Deborah says: 7 February 2009 Lots of fear mongering and misinformation here. I have tried to poke holes in this program since I purchased it and I have not been able to find any yet. If your HELOC gets frozen which mine did, the software will convert over to using a checking and savings account. UFirst saw the writing on the wall, so upgraded for that kind of possibility. The new version deals with all of your debt, not just mortgage debt. The software is tailor made through excellent customer support to meet your particular needs. If you want money to go to investments or savings, that is put in as part of your plan of action. No agent will ever say to put all of your savings toward principal. You structure your own cushion into the program. If you lose a job, the lack of income will be entered in and the software will not prompt a funds transfer until and only when it is safe to do so. I am a customer who is very satisfied with every aspect of the software. I love how clear and streamlined it is and would recommend it (have recommended it to busy professionals and they love it) to anyone who wants to get a better handle on finances in a very user friendly format. Yes I looked at the blogs (similar to a lot of what I see in bathroom stalls) and looked deeply into the company and the Better Business Bureau and in the end am very happy with it. • JoeTaxpayer says: 7 February 2009 Deborah – the misinformation is with the way that MMA is marketed. It starts with “no change to your budget” and ends with “factorial math.” Why not look at http://tinyurl.com/mmascam and you tell me how a mortgage broker can be so ignorant as to confuse HELOC interest with principal, or interest saved. And a well known agent then claims this as proof of a working system? I’m the first to admit that higher math is beyond most people, but the power behind MMA is not a sophisticated algorithm, but simple arithmetic. You take your own money and send it to the bank as a principal payment. Not complicated and not a secret worth 3500. • Craig Hansen says: 7 February 2009 Steph, I’ve talked to many people who were considering the MMA, and I suspect I’ve been responsible for thousands of dollars in lost commissions for UFirst agents. Anyone who wants to discuss the MMA one-on-one can contact me at itscraighansen@gmail.com, which is an email address I use specifically for the purpose. Though I understand why some prefer their anonymity, I’ve never tried to hide behind a username. I’ve even met with a UFirst agent in Scarborough, Ontario. If any prospective MMA buyer wants to discuss what their agent isn’t telling them, they are encouraged to email me, or simply post here or any of the other places online where people are free to oppose the MMA. • Sarah B says: 10 February 2009 Something people should also be aware of is whether or not their mortgage contract has a prepayment penalty which means they usually charge you a percentage of your outstanding balance. Not everyone has one, bit it could really hurt you if you pay off your loan early. • marcy says: 11 February 2009 Joe Taxpayer…your link goes to Jubilee!!! • Craig Hansen says: 11 February 2009 That’s his point – that Jubilee has no clue what they are talking about. • JoeTaxpayer says: 11 February 2009 marcy – indeed it does. Specifically it goes to a letter written by a happy user, who himself is in the mortgage business. The post shows his equity line statement, and, MMA aside, the writer proceeds to completely misunderstand the facts about what is interest and what is principal. Jubilee then says “here’s proof!” I wrote directly to Jaime and spelled out the misunderstanding, but my post has been “in moderation” since September. It’s just one example (of bad math) by a well known agent of this product. • Tracy Coenen says: 11 February 2009 Oh my goodness Joe. I just read that article for the first time. For someone supposedly “in the business” to have such a total lack of understanding about mortgages and interest is scary. He has no clue that it wasn’t MMA that reduced his future interest payments, rather it was the 20k of his that he took out of savings and paid toward his mortgage. Have I mentioned that the MMA product is worthless, in my opinion? • JoeTaxpayer says: 11 February 2009 Ok Tracy – What is more scary? A) That a guy in the business is so ignorant B) That Jamie (the Jubilee owner) doesn’t see that the letter the customer wrote is factually flawed. C) That as a shining example of “proof”, the typical reader will not find the flaws obvious to you and me (and of course, the regular nay sayers that visit here). Glad to bring this to your readers’ attention. • Craig Hansen says: 12 February 2009 The final comment on this is that Jaime Buckley and his “Jubilee Project” have left UFirst, and signed up with Sydney Financial and their “WeXL” offering. Yes, the guy who argued with many of us and was the inspiration for my guest blog here (link below), has dumped the company with the amazing “factorial math” that he defended so passionately. http://www.sequence-inc.com/fraudfiles/2008/08/30/united-first-financials-new-math/ • marcy says: 12 February 2009 oops…I didn’t even read it. I thought your link got hijacked somehow. the problem with all of this is that regardless of your valiant efforts at education, the selling point plays on ignorance. And so many are ignorant as to the ways and means in the financial world. I think we, as a society are failing on so many levels by not educating ourselves…let alone our children…Remember business math in high school? The math class for those that were not math oriented? I don’t think many schools offer that anymore. We should require a class like that in order to graduate now…have it cover interest and loans, etc…Basic LIFE math. It would prevent so many of these mlm’s from taking hold! • Craig Hansen says: 12 February 2009 “We should require a class like that in order to graduate now…have it cover interest and loans, etc…Basic LIFE math. It would prevent so many of these mlm’s from taking hold!” I couldn’t agree with you more. • Greg J says: 12 March 2009 Hi Folks, I stumbled across this site and do not wish to add to the tit for tat. So here is what I have found. The MMA works hands down Can you do it yourself yes. Will the results be just as good? Maybe I do know it takes whatever happens to our budget and updates accordingly which is nice so I do not have to re-input it all into another spreadsheet, Do people stick with do it yourself programs? Usually, less than 5% otherwise this country would nit be in the debt situation that it is in. I am on the MMA and will save 56,000 and payoff in 11 years. I am a software guy. Could do it myself? Yes. Did I before getting on the MMA? No. Was it worth the money? To me and my wife it is. Am I stupid for shelling out the 3,500? Some of you might say yes, but to us the value is there and we don’t think so. Does it work without a HELOC? Yes. Does it deal with our other debt? Yes. Is United First a network marketing company? Yes. Does that bother me? No. Were we misrepresented by the company in any way? No. Do I like their product? Yes. Do most people like to argue and be right and not do anything? Yes! My Two Bits, Greg J • JoeTaxpayer says: 13 March 2009 Greg – mind a few questions? What do you mean by ‘Software Guy’? (My undergrad is BSEE, i.e. bachelor of science, electrical engineering.) Is software you field, or do you have a love of software to help you in your daily life? You mention that it works, hands down. Aside from directing you to put your paycheck into your HELOC, and then use the HELOC to pay all bills, what do you feel it offers you and the missus? Do you realize that prepaying one’s mortgage (thereby earning the mortgage rate on the money they throw in) is not everyone’s priority? At 46, I am happy to have 10 years left on my mortgage which was refinanced many times (no cost, no closing fees) down to 5.24%. I pay a lot of attention to the rest of my finances, the 401(k), IRAs, College account for the kid, etc. Do these facts suggest to you that I remove myself from this dialog? Of course I like to be right, I’d think most people would. But, I’m certainly not ‘not doing anything’, I’m just not doing this particular thing. You realize the 3500 you spent would have cut an additional 6600 or so off the back of your mortgage, just by sending it to principal? Assuming you meant 11 yrs total, not 11 years from now. • Greg J says: 14 March 2009 JoeTaxpayer – Thanks for your post. I am not sure if I should respond because, as I said, I have no interest in a tit for tat. My post wasn’t directed at you. I mentioned “most people” becuase that is what I find with my friends and acquaintances that they generally do nothing. Does the MMA work for everyone? No. Does your program? No, it is like the MMA in the sense that it doesn’t work if people don’t use it. My area is 4th GL programming and flash development, not that it means anything here. What I shared is our own experience, nuf said bout that. Greg J • zac says: 26 March 2009 So I did my research on these accelerated mortgage payment soft wares. -There are about 5 of them including, United First Financial (UFF). UFF is the most expensive at a whopping 3500. The cheapest is 995. This means a majority must go to commissions paid on tier level output. -your monthly net income must exceed your total monthly debts in order for it to work. -Need a HELOC or line a credit with a low interest rate. If you use a HELOC, there may be tax advantages. -Paying off 10-15 years faster is obtainable if your mortgage is around 200-300K and you pay an extra 400 a month. If you have a larger mortgage and pay less to principal, paying off WILL take longer. -if you suck at paying your bills on time, have multiple credit card balances at high interest rates, or too lazy to research how to help yourself then a software prgram is for you. To me, paying down your 1st Mortgage quicker does not need an software. The ONLY good advantage with the software is seeing exactly how much years you cut off by paying more principal at a monthly basis. I’m sure someone good with excel can create a formula for this (or use this website link http://www.americanfinancing.net/calculators/what-if-i-pay-more-calculator.php ) Simple rules to follow: -Consolidate all credit card debt into one low interest rate line (personal or HELOC). Credit cards can have 20% interest rate. If you have a line at 5-6%, you are saving a lot – Make a list of items you spend and from there, budget yourself. Example…eat more at home and bring home lunch, shop around for lower insurance premiums, rent movies instead of going to theater, use food coupons -keep credit card balances to a minimum or pay it all off at the end of the month -with the money extra saved from budgeting and consolidating debt, pay directly to principal on 1st mortgage. The more you pay to principal, the faster you pay off mortgage. With a little research, you can put the 3500 software fee directly to the principal and you are on your way to paying off your 1st mortgage quicker. • JoeTaxpayer says: 28 March 2009 zac – congratulations, you understand it, and saved 3500. I wrote a spreadsheet that help one track their progress. I give it away free, as it has no value, same as MMA. It does however let one track the impact of prepayments on a month to month basis. So one knows at any given time how far they are away from payoff, and how that date is impacted by current spending decisions. • BOB says: 1 April 2009 Or we could not worry about saving any money or paying off our homes and hope for change and get our homes paid off by the Obama administration. • Craig Hansen says: 1 April 2009 Or we could resort to hyperbole and insinuate that the US is turning into a communist country while flapping our arms about. Better yet, let’s keep this on-topic and discuss UFirst. • Benjamin says: 15 April 2009 Ignorance isn’t always bliss…you say that UFF Agents don’t know anything about money, and that may be true; but that doesn’t mean UFF doesn’t understand money. The results don’t lie, people are paying off their debt faster than they ever would have on their own saving them thousands in interest and payments. You can believe what you like and speak from a place of ignorance, while those who bought into the “lie” will be debt free while you’re still swimming in your debt….. • Tracy Coenen says: 15 April 2009 Benjamin – They’re not “paying off their debt faster than they ever would have on their own.” They’re paying it off much slower, because they could have put the 3,500 wasted on UFF MMA toward their debt, paying it down much faster. • Mitch says: 15 April 2009 Wow, what an articulate bunch you are. Tracy, it’s obvious that you thrive on the attention that you are getting on this website. On that note, I doubt that this post will even be published. It’s simple as I see it, and you can make it as confusing as you want, but it remains as simple as this: 1-Ufirst is an MLM company, they don’t hide that, and there is no shame in being an MLM company. 2-The MMA costs 3500, so what? Would it be more reasonable to you if they charged 50 per month? If so, a person who used the program for 10 years would have paid 6,000. Does 50 per month make it easier for you to swallow? You seem to be stuck on 3500 being such a “rip off”. Worth it? The worth of a product is only determined by the consumer of the product. I once ate a steak at Morton’s in Chicago and it cost me 57. Was it worth it? I could have bought the same cut of meat and cooked it myself and it would have been a better bargain, but worth it? No, the steak was great, and I thought it was worth it. 3-Can you do this by yourself? Yes, of course, if you had Excel super-powers, you could. Does that make Quickbooks a scam? I paid a heck of a lot for my Quikbooks Pro to run my business and I most certainly could do what it does with a calculator and a typewriter, so is it worth the$$$? I think so. If you are an Accountant, is it worth it to you? Could you do the same thing on your own?

Here is the problem as I see it. You are all just like politicians who are arguing your case based on picking a side. Some are for, some against. What wasted time. If your site is intended to help people, I suppose it has helped (a) you, because your ego is now a bit more inflated and (b)it helped us all waste a little time reading posts that in the end, don’t matter much.

The MMA offers an organized and structured program that does several things that have automatic value no matter who you are or what your circumstances:
1-it gets you organized and forces you to look at your entire debt problem
2-it helps you to understand the effect of interest on your life by showing you exactly how much you owe, amortized out completely and it forces you to face the reality of your debt problems
3-it offers a person a great place, and a great way to manage expenses, pay bills, and understand how increased expenses can effect your lifelong effort to pay off your debt.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to spur anybody to have to respond to each bullet point, that would be exhausting. Bottom line, it offers more advantages than most would give it credit for. And yes, I know we could all create a spreadsheet, I get it. Geez, are all of you selling Microsoft products or what?

So, Tracy, I have a couple of questions for you, they are simple YES or NO questions and I don’t wish to see you type out “but…..”afterwards. So, if you have good sense, just answer these:

1-Does the MMA program ofered by UFirst Financial work to help a person reduce the amount of interest they pay on their debts overall? YES OR NO

2-Do you think that if you lined up 100 regular people at the mall or in the supermarket that more than 5 of them would know how to do this on their own, without the aid of a software program? YES OR NO

3-Do you think that it’s possible that the MMA program can help people get out of debt faster than they normally would otherwise? YES OR NO

You see, it’s not up to you to determine what is and is not “worth it” for another. I live in Idaho Falls where a 4,000 square foot home cost me $300,000 but there is no beach nearby and it gets cold in December, is it worth it? Or, is it better to live in a 900 sq. foot apartment in Los Angeles so that you can catch a Dodger game and go surfing and drive in rush hour traffic? Is that worth it? For the record, I am an Internet Consultant and I work with a lot of websites and software. I can tell you that the actual program, the software, the website, is TOP-NOTCH. Very well designed, very intuitive, and very nice. And, as I was being sold on the program, they kept bragging about customer service and how good they were at customer service. I was very skeptical until I actually bought the program and started using it. I had a question about how to enter one of my loans and I clicked on the CHAT button on the MMA page and within just a couple of minutes, my problem was resolved. They did an EXCELLENT job. So far, so good. I don’t know if their projection of getting me out of debt in 10.7 years instead of 22.4 years is going to come true. Probably not, because sure as heck, I’m going to borrow some money along the line for something and it will change the numbers and change the program. But you know what? If I can save a few years and if I can save$5,000, $10,000, or even$50,000 in interest, it will all be “worth it” to me. You know why? Because before this came along, I was like 95% of Americans, just making minimum payments, trying to stay afloat, and not really paying much attention to how the interest was hurting me. Now I am paying attention, and that in and of itself is probably “worth it”.

Thanks.

• Tracy Coenen says:
15 April 2009

1. NO – It increases the interest because it throws $3,500 down the toilet instead of applying that money to the debts which would reduce the interest expense. And most UFF users finance the$3,500, costing them even more in interest.
2. YES – I suspect all of them would know that to pay their debts off faster, they have to pay more each month.
3. NO – Same explanation as #1. The UFF costs lots of money and creates extra interest.

Your steak comparison is wrong. The right comparison would be, should I pay $57 for the grocery store steak I cook myself (that’s UFF) or a few bucks for the Morton’s steak (that’s do-it-yourself). About the only price that would be “worth it” for the UFF software is$50, period. Not $50 a month.$50 total. Anything more is a bad, bad deal.

• Craig Hansen says:
16 April 2009

I disagree with Tracy on the value of the MMA. I worked out a sample situation with a UFirst agent, and the results were that UFirst should refund the entire purchase price and compensate their clients about $2000 for every MMA “sold”. That is, I think the MMA is worth about -$2000, and I can back that up with math.

1. No, not compared to what they can do more easily, themselves, for free. The MMA is only faster than the “do nothing” approach of paying only the minimum payments. Once the homeowner decides they want to pay off the mortgage faster (not a given, even if they can afford to), just about any other approach, from Quicken/MS Money to pencil-and-paper is a better solution.

2. 100 people in a supermarket? At least 90 will immediately know to send more money to their debts to accelerate them. They rest just need to be told that, and a simple demonstration wouldn’t hurt.

3. The MMA definitely slows potential debt repayment. Could it be faster? For that, you would need to find someone who doesn’t know anything about debt, then teach them only about the MMA and avoid discussing how interest is calculated. In other words, you need to find the perfect UFirst agent.

As for your “top notch” comment about UFirst, were you around for the debacle of the version 4.0 rollout? Have you done the math to find out how inefficient the use of the HELOC/credit card/savings account in conjunction with the MMA really is? Are you aware that if you create an MMA analysis right now for a 30 year mortgage with no discretionary income, the payoff will be longer than 30 years? Far from “top notch”, UFirst is downright incompetent.

Where I do agree with you, Mitch, is that if you completely ignore your finances, you will not be in good shape. I take offense that you seem to think that giving someone $3500 in exchange for some broken software will make people pay attention. As Tracy said, you are still doing all the work with the MMA – more work, in fact, than simply prepaying the mortgage without the MMA. All that work and money, just to trail simple prepayments in efficiency. UFirst doesn’t have clients – they have victims. • Lee D says: 16 April 2009 @ Mitch: “1-Ufirst is an MLM company, they don’t hide that, and there is no shame in being an MLM company. ” That’s a bold statement. The fact is, if you’re the downline you’re a sucker, and if you’re the upline, you’re a swindler. The idea is dependant upon a whole bunch of the former trying desperately to be the latter. • JoeTaxpayer says: 18 April 2009 Mitch – Craig and Tracy gave you pretty complete replies. I’ll be brief. You refer to “excel super powers”, cute, I guess. MMA does nothing except cost you, as Craig said, more than just the$3500. Depending on whether you front load or back end the expense, it’s as high as $20000, true cost. If one follows the rule: 1) Make all minimum payments, then at month end send all extra money to highest interest debt. They will achieve superior results. At the same time I hate bad analogies, I also dream up my own. My daughter was born 5 weeks early, and I was paranoid that she’d be the smallest in her class at school. So I measured her with a magic tape measure that I was told would help her growth, every night before she went to sleep. She is now the tallest in her class, and I sell these to parent of preemies for$5K, worth every penny to them.

The above is a joke, of course, just like MMA is a joke. The rule above will have better results than MMA, and a free spreadsheet will let one track their progress. Is obsessive tracking worth even $50? Probably not. By the way, Morton’s never said “You can’t do this on your own”. Joe • It is working for me!! says: 18 April 2009 I have been on the MMA for 11 months and have already saved$35,000 in future interest on my mortgage, paid off my $14,000 car loan and$4,000 in credit card debt. I have recouped my initial cost by 10 times. And yes I am also an agent. I can tell you all this is not a scam, it works. So do not knock it if you haven’t tried it. At least have a local agent run your numbers. You will be amazed.

• Tracy Coenen says:
18 April 2009

Everything you’ve just written “It’s working for me” is a lie.

You haven’t “saved” $35k in future interest. You’ve possibly saved a small figure, but the “future” interest you think you’re saving is not yet saved and is not thanks to MMA. You haven’t paid off your car loan and your credit card. You’ve replaced that debt with other debt, on the advice of your MMA software. You haven’t recouped your initial cost. You’re further in the hole than when you started. Thanks for playing. • Craig Hansen says: 18 April 2009 IIWFM, Not bad, but in the last 11 months, I have solved world hunger, killed Osama Bin Laden, and learned how to levitate. Gosh, words are so easy. Tell you what, post some numbers. Post your account transactions for a period of a few months. Let’s take a look at how you’re arriving at your amazing claimed results. These statements could prove you to be right, and the MMA to be the greatest financial tool in history. More likely, you’re a bigger fraud than UFirst is, because they are much more guarded in what they claim. They let their independent (not employed) agents like you make the ridiculous claims. UFirst is rather clever in that way. Their agents…not so much. • It is working for me!! says: 20 April 2009 Anyone can reduce their interest on their primary mortgage by paying extra money to their principal. For example if you pay an extra$5000 to your principal of the mortgage, that is $5000 less that interest will be charged on for the rest of your loan term. If you have a financial calculator you can figure it out for yourselves. This program does work and if you don’t have anything better to do than to write bad things about companies, then to bad for you. We will all be debt free and you will still owe on your home and other debts. My original loan balance:$183,575.65
Interest Rate: 6.25%
Payment $1131.38 (no escrow) Original term: 359 months(already pd one payment before starting MMA Total Interest:$222,590.15
Total of all payments: $406,165. With MMA up to 4-1-09 Balance Now:$176,433.60
Interest Rate: 6.25%
Payment: $1131.38 Remaining Term: 322 months (use financial calculator to find this) Total Interest:$187,812.59
Total of all payments: $364,304 Summary Interest before$222,590
Interest w/MMA -$187,813 Saved$34,377
Cost of program $3500$34,377/$3500=9.936 times So if Ii quit using the program, I still have saved$34,377 in future interst on my mortgage. But I am not going to quit. I will be debt free in 5 years. Can you say the same thing?
This is not including the car loan already pd not transfered to somewhere else and credit card debt not transfered somewhere else.

You can now run this program just with checking and savings, no need for the line of credit now or a credit card, but it does work better if you have them.

This is my last post. So if you still do not believe in it, good for you. If you have changed your mind, find an agent and get an analysis. P.S. I was a lender and this does work.

• Tracy Coenen says:
20 April 2009

If you have reduced your mortgage balance by actually paying more off, good for you. That’s the right thing to do. But you didn’t need MMA to do it, and you could have $3500 more paid off without it. What you’ve skipped here is the home equity loan (or credit card) you’re using with the MMA system. What’s the balance on that? That has to be paid off as well, so any debt you’ve shifted to that hasn’t gotten you ahead at all. Any debts that you may have actually paid off…. unfortunately you could have paid them off FOR FREE without the silly Money Merge Account. • Craig Hansen says: 21 April 2009 IIWFM, No, those are just before and after summaries, and as Tracy notes, do not include your HELOC or other account used in conjunction with the MMA. Do you really think we’re that gullible? Scan and post your bank, HELOC and CC statements. Block out any personal info. If you can post electronic versions, even better. Let’s see what caused you to be$34,777 ahead after 12 months.

Also, what kind of car was it?

• KW-NashVegas says:
29 April 2009

Like Tracy I’m a CFE and a CPA and I’m also an agent for UFF just to get that out in the open. I too looked long and hard at the product to help myself get out of debt and after vetting it and trying to do it myself with a spreadsheet I found that the MMA did it in seconds and why do I want to spend my “non work time” to do something when I could buy something else that does it so easily. I saw where someone called it a scam because people don’t have knowledge about mortgages. I’m not a mortgage professional either. Is a person going to be a spreadsheet and math wiz that can figure it all out too? Lastly, all of everyone who has posted here all I have to say is I have a plan now, where I didn’t before, and I’m sticking with it. How is your plan working out for you? Are you still on track to pay off your 20 year’s worth of debt in less than 5 like I am? Well, I watch mine go down with every payment the program tells me to make. One other thing, I buy an accountant’s version of Quickbooks for @ $400 and microsoft costs quite a bit too and the yearly updates also costs you. UFF doesn’t charge you for the updates even if you end up using the program for 10 to 12 or 20 years and if you do switch properties it only costs you$120 to switch them. Now, is that too much to pay? Tracy, you say it’s easy to use a spreadsheet to do this for yourself. All I can say is please “bring your ‘A’ game and show me since I’m originally from Missouri the “show-me” state. I’ll buy your method and make you rich if you’ll show me how to do it as quickly and effeciently as UFF. I actually believe you may be showing yourself somewhat of a “fraud” by your statements unless you can back them up. So, what are you waiting for. Here’s my email address for all to see: xxxxx I’ll be awaiting your reponse and if you can show me I’ll eat crow right here but I need you to show me a “better” or at least as good of a way to get the results and I want to be able to do it in less than 15 minutes a day and know exactly how much time I have left, how much interest I am saving and if anything changes I want to see those results as well. I’m guessing you haven’t really used the program or even attended any seminar on it and had your concerns addressed. If that is the case, in political terms you would be called a “hack”, if not then I, along with others of the 60,000 who use the program want to see your program you can do so easily.

• KW-NashVegas says:
29 April 2009

After reading a few more posts, I ask all the nan-sayers to bring their ‘A’ game. I have over 10 payments to make at different times each month. Tell me how much of any extra income I can put back each month g\to apply to which payment to get to ‘zero’ the quickest. Do you know how many solutions there are in that equation? Do you know calculus? Are you an actuary?

I see a lot of hot air and puffery out there but which one of you is going to step up to the plate? Email me and I’ll meet you at the next seminar of UFF agents so you can show us how we’re all suckers. I look forward to it and if you do beat my MMA program I’ll buy yours for a price you call “reasonable” based on how much time it takes you to develop, package, patent, license, and market it all by yourself. On that note, I can do my own accounting with a piece of paper and a pencil so I guess I was scammed into buying that Quickbooks software and Excel software. Damn me and a bunch of CPA’s and CFE’s are just dummies!!!

• Tracy Coenen says:
29 April 2009

Please quit bringing shame to all CPAs and CFEs by bragging about your involvement with UFF. It’s an embarrassment to the rest of us professionals.

The spreadsheet you seek can be found at Joe Taxpayer’s site, and he’s even giving it away for free. Now I’m sure you’ll claim that it’s not enough and you can’t possibly replace the MMA software with it… which will just demonstrate even further what a moron you are.

And here’s a newsflash for you: I can tell you how to pay off those 10 debts quickest without a spreadsheet, pencil, paper, or calculator. There’s a simple rule: Pay all extra money to the one with the highest interest rate.

Now, of course, (not that you’d know this with your vast knowledge of numbers) there is the issue of tax deductible mortgage interest which should be factored into this. But since MMA doesn’t factor the tax deduction into this calculation, I won’t either, and we’ll all be even.

• KW-NashVegas says:
29 April 2009

Oh Tracy, Tracy, Tracy…..$50? Do you have on-line chat with a technician when you have a problem, available with anything you use in the way of software? Do you pay$50 a month for internet access? Is that “worth it?” Couldn’t you go to the library and use their internet access for free? I guess you probably are if now say the program is only worth $50. Do you use cable at your house? Why not just use the rabbit ears or AM radio? You still get the news. Walking is good for you. You didn’t buy a bicycle or car or truck did you!!!??? An open fire cooks as well as a stove too. Who needs a toilet? Walk outside and use nature. Tracy, bring your “A” game or you have lost a lot of credibility with me and I’ve been a fan up to this point for almost 3 years. You were one reason I pursued the CFE designation but…. I would take down this blog if you can’t cash the “check” you’ve been writing. [oh, bank accounts cost each month along with all those check so .... probably not "worth it"] Bring or game or cut your losses. You’re in a hole and you and all the others just keep digging but don’t bring anything but words. Show us what you got. Create a place where we can go see and use your method. I want to be able to use it in 15 minutes each day and enter in all my payments and have it calculate to the penny all my account balances and tell me if I’m showing I’ll be over-drawn if I don’t adjust my budget and show me all my reoccuring expenses for the next 3 months, what I have spent previously and I want to be able to see / find / search my previous or upcoming payments, etc…. • KW-NashVegas says: 29 April 2009 Okay, here comes the name calling but …. where is your “A” game Tracy? C’mon, save me some money and …. the link you use doesn’t work. You’re losing your “cool!” • KW-NashVegas says: 29 April 2009 Tracy, I’ll be waiting to see you bring your lawsuit against UFF since it’s a “scam”. I think it’s your duty to do so and save all of us “Morons”, (as you so “professionally” put it) from ourselves. Yes, losing credibility with each post I say…. • KW-NashVegas says: 29 April 2009 Yeah, being a moron, I didn’t know that paying off highest interest loans first is the way to go. I guess once the country get’s several trillion in debt it will be “too big to fail” too and we can all breath easier. I mean, being a moron and all I need to believe what the President and his administration is telling us right? I’m going to start using that “moron” tag in my practice since you like using it in your “professional” practice. I really thought we could discuss this like adults but I can see by the earlier posts that this blog really offers nothing but theory and I suppose a spreadsheet. Hey, but it’s “free!” and all morons and non-morons and use it with ease!! I’m willing to bet that all the listings from your “moron” one and later won’t show. Glad I’m copying them now!! • KW-NashVegas says: 29 April 2009 Why does the program cost$3500? Well, one reason is because you have people debating “morons” here, causing cognitive dissonance about a product that they really haven’t used, tried, or actually investigated. They also use terms like “ponzi scheme” and “scam” to try and marginalize all that would defend it. I have a newsflash for everyone out there, the majority of ALL businesses have an organization could be called an “MLM”. How about the INSURANCE business? Wal-Mart has CFO’s, CEO’s, Managers, Assistant Managers, Trainers, Purchase Managers, Floor Managers, Stock Personnel, Check-Out Personnel, Greeters, etc… and they all get paid from all the goods they sell minus their cost and overhead.

As a CFE, I know one thing for sure. You present your facts and you aren’t supposed to label or call something a “fraud” at any point. That should stand on it’s own by presenting the evidence. Shame on any CFE that does so without presenting both sides fairly.

• Tracy Coenen says:
29 April 2009

My “A” game is right here. I’m not seeking your approval, nor your continued membership to my fan club. The problem with any comparison like you’ve made (library vs paying for home access, etc) or that others have made (modern refrigerator vs ice box) is that it assumes that the UFF product provides the better value. The UFF product is portrayed as the modern refrigerator that just happens to cost more than the ice box. The reality is, however, that the UFF product is actually the ICE BOX, which costs far more than the modern refrigerator. Therefore, your comparison fails.

• Tracy Coenen says:
29 April 2009

• Tracy Coenen says:
29 April 2009

I don’t bring lawsuits against companies for being “scams.” That’s not part of my job.

• Tracy Coenen says:
29 April 2009

KW-NashVegas wrote:
“As a CFE, I know one thing for sure. You present your facts and you aren’t supposed to label or call something a “fraud” at any point. That should stand on it’s own by presenting the evidence. Shame on any CFE that does so without presenting both sides fairly.”

Please quit bringing such shame to our profession. We are not prohibited from calling something a fraud. If you’re going to try to recite the code developed by the ACFE, please try to recite it accurately.

• KW-NashVegas says:
29 April 2009

Okay, I can see you won’t bring your “A” game. You lost me on the refrigerator argument. So, people don’t really “need” to hire a CFE out there since they can do their own investigations and file their own lawsuits and collect evidence. That’s just some silly “expensive” stuff CFE’s do.

You were the one that keeps belittling others in your blog and calling them morons, saying their assertions are “a lie” but you don’t have the guts to go head to head with someone from UFF at a live meeting and show how you can do it more efficiently. I don’t have time, nor do I want to re-invent the wheel that the MMA is. Therefore I say it’s a bargain. I put in all my bills and they are tracked until they are paid and all my discretionary income is accumulated while it suggests how to use it best according to their program. It also shows me “true cost” should I want to see how a purchase will affect me in my unique situation based on MY income and MY expenses.

Call me names or whatever. I’m going to go out and buy a Cadillac today too even though I can probably get by with a 1985 Ford F150 that I saw that wasn’t too pretty but I like the reliability and comfort of the new Cadillac. (just kidding, I’m too busy getting out of debt!)

• Tracy Coenen says:
29 April 2009

Ah.. I see this isn’t a fair fight if you can’t understand the refrigerator argument. Here it is again. UFF agents have been known for saying “Paying UFF $3,500 is like paying$2,000 for a modern refrigerator versus $100 for an ice box. The cheap ice box will keep your food cold, but the refrigerator is so much more useful and therefore worth the extra money.” But you see the UFF MMA software is NOT worth the extra money paid versus a free spreadsheet or inexpensive software like Quicken. It is actually more difficult to use and gives you poorer results than the other cheaper alternatives. Hence paying MMA$3,500 is like paying $2,000 for the old ice box. Totally not worth it. To apply this thinking to your CFE example… buying the MMA product is like paying thousands of dollars for an ordinary, non-CFE to do a fraud investigation (not the other way around, as you suggest). Lots of money, little results. I know you still may not understand this. After all, you’ve paid$3,500 for a bad piece of software that is inefficient and time consuming. You could have better results for far less money and far less of a time commitment, but still you profess your love for UFF. You’re either being intellectually dishonest, or you really don’t understand why UFF is such a bad deal. In either case, I can’t help you.

Thanks for participating, and good luck peddling your UFF product.

• Lee D says:
29 April 2009

@KW: “I don’t have time, nor do I want to re-invent the wheel that the MMA is”

Clearly you have nothing but time. If you had a business to run you wouldn’t be writting reams and reams of incoherent verbiage on the Internet.

• KW-NashVegas says:
29 April 2009

Well, to be sooooo smart, like you seem to think you are, I still say YOU, with YOUR spreadsheet, doing the math YOURSELF as you keep saying “anybody” can do, can’t achieve the results I have showing right in front of me. So I still ask you to spend the time with YOUR spreadsheet and get something to work on, say… 10 different bills with and a mortgage with 25 years left on it with interest rates ranging from 4% to 24% and do the best you can with it. I’ll take your numbers and the MMA will beat yours. As for the argument from folks like Dave Ramsey, I could buy several of his books, attend a couple of his seminars, spend several hours reading his books and putting his methods to work and when it’s all said and done, I might get the same results and would have spent a lot more time doing it.

It’s funny that a lot of CPA firms do sales taxes for businesses each month and it’s not any more than just adding up their sales, making a few adjustments, multiplying their sales tax rate, putting on the state or local form and submitting it but then they actually charge MONEY to do it!!! Outrageous!!! Those businesses could do that themselves with a spreadsheet and just simple knowledge!!

And as far as being a CFE, your are constructively saying that UFF and the MMA are “frauds” and some type of a “pyramid scheme” by how you present them here on your blog but you really can’t back up those assertions in the least. I think the ACFE would find it very interesting themselves to investigate this blog and ascertain if you have violated any of their rules. Just because you and anyone else says something “isn’t worth it” doesn’t end the argument or make the product(s) or service(s) fraudulent.

As for Lee D: I’m on vacation, thank you very much, and enjoying being entertained by court jesters such as yourself. What’s your excuse for finding time to interject? I thought that the place you work doesn’t allow you to use the computer for anything but company business!!?? Yes I’ve wasted enough time here. As the old saying goes “you can wrestle with a pig in the mud but all you get is muddy and the pig actually enjoys it.” I’ll check back in a few months and see how everyone’s program that they are using (ie: those magical spreadsheets and bi-monthly or bi-weekly programs; paying the highest interest rate bills off first; making 2 additional payments a year, etc…) and see how well they are working for you. I have the financial GPS (oh!! I should have just bought some maps!!!) on my computer and I’m enjoying the ride!

Now to the ACFE website to submit someone running down a business made up of a lot of good people who are selling a service to help a lot of folks get out of debt early. Selling it in a free market where the market ultimately dictates the price based on what’s available in the market. A market where people are paid for their time and effort just like others that sell services that “we all can do” but maybe choose to use other’s ideas and innovations to make them easier to use and / or let them do those services for us.

• Tracy Coenen says:
29 April 2009

You’re right. I can’t achieve the results you have in front of you. I can do much better without the MMA. And gosh… am I supposed to be afraid that you’re going to report me to the ACFE for daring to have a blog on which I analyze and critique businesses and products and give my opinion as well as important facts for consumers? Have fun with that. Silly threats haven’t stopped me from exposing scams in the past, and they won’t now. Thanks for participating in the discussion!

• KW-NashVegas says:
30 April 2009

Words, just words. I looked at Joe’s amortization schedules and they are only for a mortgage. Manage one for the mortgage, one for each of your debts and have one that tells you on the date, based upon your budget items how much discretionary income you will have on that particular date to pay your payment and the extra amount. Now tell me you can do that with virtual ease. I really want to see it. I have made a lot more elaborate spreadsheets than the one that Joe has and I’m here to tell you that they aren’t that easy to use. I didn’t spend the time to add drop downs and pop-up windows, etc…. If a person has to spend even an extra 30 minutes a week for 5 years monitoring their spending, income, and bill-paying then the amount saved per hour, based on what you said was the “amount too much” (and without looking I think it was $2500), then the savings would be a little over$19 per hour. Now that’s taking into account that the person using the spreadsheet actually knows something about spreadsheets and can navigate it, input all the data along with the dates, make any corrections / adjustments, and then analyze the results in just an additional 30 minutes a week.

Since I use my program daily to stay on top of it and not have to spend very much time with it at a setting, I’ll pay the extra $2.75 per day and save the 5+ minutes by just going to one location on the web and getting it completed instead of opening 11 different spreadsheets and navigating through all of that. Plus the fact that all my transactions are recorded and kept off-site in my own account on the company’s server and not my computer. I suppose you could keep a separate list of transactions or copy your results from the spreadsheet each day but there is an additional cost to that as well. The bottom line is that you are like I was and a lot of people who have degrees and professional designations and think that you are just so much smarter than the average bear but when it comes down to it, if I put you on the stand in a fraud trial I would impeach you so fast because you really can’t tell me how they achieve their results with the math to back it up. For sure you can’t replicate it and I’ll bet any amount of money that you and Joe together (and you probably have never even met Joe) can’t do it either without spending 10 times the amount of time to do it. I can put in a$1000 purchase right now and it can show me what amount of XTRA interest it is costing ME and how much TIME it will now take me to get out of debt if I decide to purchase the item and forgo using that additional money to pay down my debt. You can’t do it. All you can do is say something “cute” and be dismissive and say “thanks for playing.” Kind of reminds me of Jenneane Garafalo or Joy Bahar. “Oh yeah?!!… well it is too so!!”

The fact remains that until you actually do it you are too full of yourself to admit that you really can’t do what the MMA can do and you certainly can’t do it better and even more importantly, you can’t sure can’t do it faster.

Have a great day! I surely am.

• Tracy Coenen says:
30 April 2009

Thanks for the continued entertainment! I didn’t “do an investigation” of UFF. I did a bunch of research, analyzed a bunch of data, and come to some conclusions. My conclusions remain accurate, and yes, I can provide you all the information you need to pay down your debts faster without MMA. You don’t need fancy spreadsheets.

You see, where you’re getting hung up right now is the fact that MMA can tell you some silly statistics about that $1,000 purchase. None of those statistics have any value to you as a consumer, but UFF has convinced you that you want and need to know these things. You really don’t, but that’s not going to stop you from pretending you’ve been given wonderful information. You can break the$3,500 MMA cost down into a “per day” cost to make it look insignificant, but it’s not insignificant. The fact remains that this $3,500 purchase will end up costing an ordinary consumer$20,000, as is demonstrated in this article:

http://www.sequence-inc.com/fraudfiles/2008/05/16/fun-with-numbers-i-can-save-you-19714-without-united-first-financial/

And no, I didn’t need much more than about 2 minutes to figure that out. Now, of course, you won’t actually believe that math or go to the trouble to figure out whether that number is right. You’ll just criticize it, because it’s too much trouble to deal in actual facts.

The fact remains that the “do it yourself” method doesn’t even take a minute a day to utilize. It is so simple and doesn’t really require spreadsheets, although the spreadsheet(s) could be used as a simple addition to the routine, and they wouldn’t add even a minute a day either. (It’s actually about 2 minutes per month total to use the do it yourself method.)

And you’re right…. I don’t allow people to post links promoting or selling UFF because that’s not what this site is about. The links people have posted that take readers to factual information are just fine and have been left here. The links to UFF promotional sites or articles, as well as to sites selling the UFF product have been removed. This site isn’t here to provide free advertising to UFF agents.

• Late2Game says:
30 April 2009

KW-NashVegas,

There are many threads and blog postings on different websites that have already done what you are requesting, showing that the money movements suggested by the MMA program are less efficient than an informed, simple prepayment Do-It-Yourself approach. Here is a link to a basic scenario (with no debts other than mortgage):

http://www.joetaxpayer.com/archives/1036

That begs the question, if the MMA doesn’t do well in a very basic scenario, do you trust it in a more complex one?

If you do, the maybe you could post your basic input numbers here or in a Google doc so we can all compare. Things like balance, rate, payment, term, etc for all liabilies along with income & pay interval. Just like in your analysis. Or you could post the last 4 digits of the Primary Analysis (UTxxxx-xxxxx) that was the basis for your MMA program and someone helpful could put your basic numbers in a spreadsheet to compare the numbers you are getting to a DIY approach.

What do you say? Are you game?

-L2G

• Late2Game says:
30 April 2009

Also,

For the record, if the goal is to pay down all debt the fastest and paying the least interest, no one is suggesting that you must have a spreadsheet to do this.

I think user “ellory” said it well in this thread (as have many others elsewhere):

>>What to payoff first? The one with the highest effective interest rate. Any other strategy will cause you to pay extra interest

>>When to make a payment? If the payment is applied based on due date, then right before the due date, as much as you can. Any other strategy either gives float to the lender or causes a late payment penalty.

>>How much to pay? As much as you possible can on the bill with the highest interest rate, and then meet the monthly payments on the others

>>No math required to implement. No time required to figure it out. This is always true

For those that like to track their financial picture, including debt, there are many options.

Some are comfortable with Excel, OpenOffice.org, GoogleDocs, etc and that is fine. There are free debt paydown templates available on the web.

Some like to have the “dashboard” feel of their current and projected finances so they purchase Quicken, MSMoney, or other off the shelf software. Either way, all these offerings are fractions less expensive than MMA (even free in some cases).

But if you like slick interface of the MMA, the off-site “secure” storage, etc., that’s fine with me.

• Wilbur says:
30 April 2009

I read this post from beginning to end. It was nothing less than tedious, repetitive, and ridiculous. The only reason I kept reading is because I wanted to see if anyone arguing against UFF had any VALID arguments to post. I still have not seen any. Those of you that fancy yourselves professionals need to first start acting professional and knock off the name-calling and unfounded attacks.

Tracy, you asked at one point to “prove you wrong.” OK, you said in an early post that “mortgages are not front-loaded as UFirst Agents claim.” If you claim to be such an expert, you just shot yourself in the foot there, honey. You had better look at the breakdown of interest vs principle on your own amortization schedule again.

Several of you also have made claims that the MMA software “takes hours a month to update.” This is clearly a statement by someone who has never laid eyes on the software.

Every post (save one at the beginning, and I suspect that one is not even a client) I have read on here by UFirst clients who have used the software as it was intended was positive. Funny how none of these posters felt scammed or defrauded.

The derogatory language and vicious attacks by The Negative Crowd give no credence to their arguments. The same dead horse is beaten over and over. Any time anyone has tried to post any kind of link or evidence that might support UFF or the MMA, it is deleted. This to me proves that you are afraid of something.

Why won’t you allow any evidence that might prove you mistaken on your site? Are you afraid that you might learn something useful? Like how to use the spellchecker?

I can’t believe I wasted my brain power reading this worthless blog, much less replying to it. Wow, I must really be bored. It is clear that you all have a nice little anti-UFirst cult of your own here, so enjoy!

• JoeTaxpayer says:
30 April 2009

KW – my ongoing debunking just published post #32, and I’ve addressed all the issues you and other agents continue to go in circles about.
Enter any extra sum into my sheet and you immediately see the remaining time on your mortgage drop and the interest saved. No, I didn’t bother going on to include credit cards, one should pay any card they carry a balance on month to month in full before they start to hack at their mortgage.
In a post a couple months back I state that no one needs MMA or even my sheet, neither adds value. “Each month, pay all minimum required payments, and any extra funds you have to your highest rate account.” That’s the only rule one needs. Now, if you wish to obsessively visit your MMA or my sheet every night to see how many days you knocked off your mortgage, all the more power to you. One agent stated that the new software would let you text MMA from your cell so it can advise you whether it’s a good time to buy steak on sale. I can’t make this cr*p up. That’s a feature? Nowhere does the software ask if your 401(k) is matched or by how much.
I find this so amusing. Even taking screenshots of the MMA demo video and demo software in action, I’m told that I don’t get it. Do you understand that when I say I know this material inside out that I’m not bragging? The arithmetic required is not beyond a fourth grader. There’s no factorials (or as some agents call it “fractional math”), no calculus, just your four basic functions.
Let me offer you this – I received an ‘analysis’ from one of my blog readers. The guy had just over a hundred dollars per month extra after bills. The software said MMA would save him nearly 18 years. Took me 9 seconds to see that the agent entered his income as bi-weekly instead of semi-monthly magically creating a raise of 8% or so. The guy that wrote to me asked how I caught that so quickly. I asked back how could the agent miss it? Let me stop right there. Most agents have such little understanding of simple math that they can’t catch an (honest) entry error that created a difference of well more than 10 years payoff.

One agent I wrote to told me that MMA didn’t need any extra money, that with “zero” extra funds, the mortgage would get paid off in under 20 years from 30. This shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how mortgages are calculated. Interesting how UFirst hides behind a disclaimer that say they don’t offer mortgage advice or financial advice, they just sell software. Yes, I posted about that, too.
A compilation of my postings is available in one tedious document at http://www.joetaxpayer.com/MMACompR32.pdf
It also contains my first ever guest post from this site, and Craig’s now famous Factorial Math post, also from here.

• Tracy Coenen says:
1 May 2009

Wilbur – It is a fact that mortgages are not frontloaded. If you have a mortgage with a fixed interest rate of 6%, you pay 6% now, and every year into the future. The only reason you pay more total dollars in interest this year versus next year or other future years, is because you owe more principal this year… and …. well…. 6% of more is more, and 6% of less is less. It’s not some massive conspiracy by the mortgage companies. It’s just simple math, and the interest rate is the same every year.

• Wilbur says:
1 May 2009

You need to check your definition, sweetie. Frontloaded means that if I pay $1000 a month to my lender, and at the beginning of the term, most of the payment goes to interest, it is frontloaded. ALL mortgages do this. The only way it would not be frontloaded is if EQUAL parts (thats$500 to principle at least, and $500 to interest or less) of the payment for the entire term of the loan. All mortgages pay off interest first. That is Frontloading by definition. You are wrong, wrong, wrong. • Mary says: 13 May 2009 Hello Tracy, I have read most of the your ongoing dialogue concerning UFF and your opening statements. I have been a user of this software provided by United First Financial longer than most. I’ve used it for 4 years now. What I’ve accomplished in these 4 years have been astounding and it has changed my world financially. For that I am most grateful. I know you think the 3500.00 is a rip off but to me it has been worth every penny. Why? Because of the financial freedom it has brought me and the position financially I am in now. I am free from consumer debt now, paid off over$43,000 of my mortgage principal and made numerous investments which I wouldn’t have been able to do without the aid of this program. I have paid the initial money needed for those investments off. I was able to pay cash for a used vehicle instead of financing it and paid that off because of the program. I have now 5 years left of what used to be a 28 year mortgage. Does it work? Yes it does. Has it been a scam for me? Not at all. Do I make a lot of money? No not really, I just try to live within my means and leverage what money I do have and allow the software to tell me when and how much to move where. If folks do not want this service that is fine. Your free along with others that question it to not participate. But for me, it has been one of the wisest and best financial decisions I ever made in my life. I have experienced the results. My mortgage statement balance says it for itself. For those of you who want to keep your mortgage you certainly can. I just happen to want to pay mortgage off thus freeing up the monthly payment to spend as I see fit and to secure a sound financial future. It makes me feel good to know that I am not alone with this experience. I have personally met hundreds of others across the country who have experienced similar results.

• Tracy Coenen says:
13 May 2009

Again, UFF did not accomplish this for you. Your debt was paid down because you took your money and paid it down. UFF did not make this possible. It was simply an expensive and time consuming tool that regularly said “pay your debts.” You can be proud of your accomplishment, but you could have paid it all off much faster without UFF.

• Mary says:
13 May 2009

Sorry Tracy I disagree. I know what I know, I’ve experienced it for myself and there is no way I would have paid this off faster myself without the program’s guidance. That’s my personal perspective. You are entitled to your opinion, so do what works for you. If you think you can pay it off faster then go for it. The main thing is to make progress in your own financial world. The more people get out of debt, the more it will help our present economy and our current state of affairs, period. But honestly and in all sincerity, this program works because I have experienced it first hand and I have no remorse whatsoever. You are incorrect when you say it is time consuming. It is not. I know, because I’ve experienced it and have lived with it for 4 years.

• Tracy Coenen says:
14 May 2009

There’s really no “disagreeing” with the math and the facts. The fact is you could have paid your debt off faster without UFF, not only because you could have applied the $3,500 directly to your debt and saved about$20,000 in interest charges. But also because the program’s money movements are inefficient. Now you can admit that you are too lazy to do something like this, which takes far less time and effort than using the UFF program. But that doesn’t negate the FACT that you could have done it faster and better without UFF.

• Mary says:
14 May 2009

That’s completely false. The programs money movements are very effecient. The MMA is like a personal coach at the click of a button. How much is a coach worth? Tiger Woods for example doesn’t need a coach. He knows his game well but yet, he still has 6 coaches. I can change the oil in my car and save some money doing it myself and apply that money for something else, or I can pay for a service and have it done quicker than doing it myself. Another example is the diet industry. It’s a no brainer,… exercise and eat right and you lose weight. So why is it a multi billion dollar industry? Tracy I think you are confusing “lazy” with smart.

• Tracy Coenen says:
14 May 2009

LOL – No, the money movements are not efficient. The software doesn’t even factor in one of the most basic things when it comes to paying down debt: whether any mortgage debt is tax deductible, and what tax bracket the customer is in.

You’re using faulty comparisons to boost the image of the MMA. Buying the MMA software is not like paying someone to change your oil. It’s like paying someone, and then doing the oil change yourself. A complete waste of money, inefficient, and ineffective. MMA doesn’t help you pay down your debt quicker. Simple math proves that it helps you pay down your debt slower: http://www.sequence-inc.com/fraudfiles/2008/05/16/fun-with-numbers-i-can-save-you-19714-without-united-first-financial/

And again, the UFF product is more time consuming because in order to use it, you’re supposed to enter all your spending in the software each month. A simple prepayment of debt plan requires none of that. It just requires one simple math problem.

You’re entitled to “like” that UFF product. But nothing that you’ve cited yet has been fact.

• Mary says:
14 May 2009

Everything that I have cited as fact has been based on personal experience. The FACT is, I am on the software and you are not. I am speaking from experience of being on the software for 4 years which I know works and experienced huge results and you are speaking of your personal opinion which obviously is ignorant of the total benefits of the MMA. I believe I’ve spent enough time on this blog and won’t be wasting anymore of my time here. You’re entitled to your opinion, I’m entitled to mine. The MMA has been more than worth it to me. Let’s agree to disagree. Bottom line, let’s make progress to get out of debt. Period. I’m happy to be doing that and achieving results utilizing the MMA tool.

• Tracy Coenen says:
14 May 2009

Mary – The only fact you’ve cited about MMA so far is that you’re using it, and that your debt is lower than before you started using it. Beyond that, I win. Your debt would be lower without the MMA if you were only willing to do one math problem a month and write one check based on that math. I’m not going to agree to disagree, because I have the facts on my side. You could be quite a bit further out of debt with out MMA. But you’re entitled to waste your money however you choose.

• Marie Schwenn says:
22 May 2009

If you don’t believe in this product I feel sorry for all of you. The Money Merge is NOT just a spreadsheet, NO you cannot do the same thing by making a double payment. My question would be are you using the program? If not, how can you say it doesn’t work and that it is the same as a spreadsheet. I’ve looked at some of the videos out there and the people in the videos are teenagers as the one who said, “and stuff like that.” This program has been used all over the country and all I have to say is, “I’m laughing at all of you because I have already paid down my bills and have already saved about $5,000 in interest just in the past 8 months and I haven’t changed the payments.” I truly believe that you all need to find something better to do than do bash a program that you know nothing about. • Tracy Coenen says: 22 May 2009 Marie – I haven’t said that MOney Merge is the same as a spreadsheet. It’s not. It’s far inferior. I could have saved you at least$20,000 without the MMA, so you’re not doing all that well.

• Craig Hansen says:
22 May 2009

Marie – the writing is on the wall. UFirst is sinking, MMA sales have stalled, and all because the MMA is a crappy product that was sold with deceptive marketing. Any result you are achieving with it is $3500 + interest behind what you could have done without it, with less work. In the not-too-distant future, you’re going to be left with an unsupported, crappy piece of$3500 software. Enjoy that.

• Tracy Coenen says:
22 May 2009

Craig – I don’t think she’ll even be left with that. If I’m remembering correctly, the software sits on the UFF servers and victims only have access to it. When UFF is gone, so are their servers and the software.

• George Fieldhouse says:
22 May 2009

The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about.

• Tracy Coenen says:
22 May 2009

Great quote George. I think it’s a great idea to research and learn about things too, which is why I spent hours researching UFF prior to writing about them, and many hours doing follow-up research and writing. Thanks for validating all the work I’ve done regarding this company!

• Craig Hansen says:
23 May 2009

Tracy – Among the many claims by UFirst agents, some say that UFirst has guarded against their own potential demise by contractual agreement with their hosting provider to keep the MMA server(s) up for years after UFirst disappears. How many years is never consistent between claims, and I don’t recall seeing such claims on the UFirst site, but I could be wrong.

And hi, George. UFirst agent #844966, eh? With a number that low, you’ve been part of this scam for a couple years now. After all that time, how come you only have 20 direct downlines? 17 of which are still lowly “Associates”, and only Hal & Teresa Hoffenberg have made it as far as “District Manager”. I would have expected more from you.

Is the scam getting harder to sell? Why do you think that is?

• Lee D says:
25 May 2009

I observed something recently that I thought was interesting. My business requires me to regularly attend consumer shows like home and reno expos. This past year I’ve seen more and more booths from MLM businesses: a real gamut from mortgage & financial ones to ones that plug juices and herbs.

Having a successful show booth requires that you staff it with happy, outgoing go-getters. That’s Sales 101, but even real businesses like landscapers or stone and tile merchants sometimes forget that. Regardless, easily 90% or more of the people I see staffing MLM booths aren’t happy, smiley, confident salespeope. Instead I see mousey, hunted, vaguely guilty expressions, like they really don’t want to be there. Which is odd, since I expect they paid the fees for the booth out of their own pockets.

My guess is that they look scared because they’re on the brink of financial ruin, but who knows?

• Tracy Coenen says:
25 May 2009

Are you sure they don’t look that way on purpose? I mean, if everyone really knew how happy and rich they were, there’d probably be a stampede with everyone at the expo wanting to sign up, dont’cha think?

• Lee D says:
25 May 2009

Reverse psychology, Tracy? Must be.

• Stephen says:
28 May 2009

You seem to be very hard on MLM companies and lump them into one catagory, BAD. How many MLM companies have you been involved in and how much did you lose? Why is it so bad that the focus is on continuing to recruit, isn’t that the way sales are done in the conventional world? In any company don’t you need to go out and continue to get new customers, why is this so bad in the MLM world? You throw around the word PYRAMID like it was some type of vodoo spell, please explain to me what any financial institution is, because if that’s not a pyramid I don’t know what is!!!
Now before you start to rant and rave let me tell you that I have been involved in the MLM world although I am a conventional businessman. I believe the MLM industry offers people HOPE and in all fairness it really is a lot more than you are offering!!!
Be a professional and keep it to the facts and do your homework before you rip apart a $100+ billion year industry that is the fastest growing industry in the world. Make it a great day!!!! • Tracy Coenen says: 28 May 2009 MLMs (thinly veiled pyramid schemes) are bad because they are not about “getting customers” like real businesses. They’re not about REALLY selling a product or service. They’re about recruiting and signing up people for a bogus “opportunity” and getting them to put hundreds or thousands of dollars into the pyramid so the people at the top can get rich. There is nothing about participating in an MLM that is remotely like running a real business. • Dan says: 29 May 2009 Just a reply to the person that claims info will sit on UFF servers if U1st went down. If you read the agreement, it says that if in any instance, if U1st went down, people will still be able to use their software and access it in the same manner. When U1st came out, they made sure to contract with a separate company to ensure their clients would still be able to use their software if anything happened to the company. • Tracy Coenen says: 29 May 2009 Dan – Are you really gullible enough to believe that? Even if the software were to stay up, would that be indefinite? And with no support behind the software, how useful would it be? How long would it take for the software to be completely irrelevant (even moreso than it is now) if it’s not keeping up with changes in technology and money? • Dan says: 29 May 2009 I actually used to work for the data entry part of U1st. It is specifically in I believe their agreement if you would like to read that, so I guess if you’re saying people are gullible to believe written contracts, there sure are alot of guiible people out there. I’m just stating the facts. • Tracy Coenen says: 29 May 2009 I don’t doubt that the agreement SAYS that. I just think common sense tells you it’s unlikely that the software will be available for long after the company shuts down, or that it will have any value even if it DOES stay available since there will be no support or updates. • Craig Hansen says: 30 May 2009 Dan, if UFirst goes bankrupt, what good is a contract with them? Perhaps they have a deal with the hosting company to keep some servers running, but for how long? One year? Five years? Clients and agents have acknowledged that the software is still buggy – what if there is a technical problem with the software, and there are no programmers? What if the hosting company goes bankrupt? If UFirst goes bankrupt, the Money Merge Account will soon be even more broken and useless than it is today. And UFirst going bankrupt is entirely likely. I’m aware of a round of layoffs back in February due to overstaffing, including COO Ted Lambert and Agent Support Manager Derek Brown. Sales figures are down, and most new sales are financed, which is something UFirst long tried to avoid. Skyler has complained of new agents that “never get off the runway”. No wonder – have you talked to the more recent crop of agents? UFirst is literally scraping the bottom of the barrel for agents and clients. • Dan says: 30 May 2009 I honestly don’t care what happens to them, I don’t represent them in any way. They were just a way to get me through school and a means to an end. I was just stating a fact, something that alot of people on here seem to miss. That’s great you can name drop and that you know who works there, good for you for keeping informed on a company you aren’t even affilated with. I’m guessing both of you have friends that have an MMA so in time you will see if they can still use their software or not, good luck with that. • Damian says: 3 June 2009 It’s interesting how everyone thinks they can do it yet no one actually is. Any one can do biweekly payments yet the vast majority of people dont. I am looking to find AN ACTUAL CLIENT that is currently using the system complain about its results. Let me tell you what it has done for me: I had 29 years left on my mortgage, The analysis told me I would be done in 6.75 years and save over 93,000 dollars. That was two years ago. I AM AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, I only have two and a half years to go, and i dindn’t have to put extra money out of my pocket into my mortgage. I have kids and can’t afford to do that. I also paid off 4 credit cards in the process. If your thrown off about the mlm thing do what i do, buy the system and dont get involved with the company in any other way. Oh yea. Within your research did you find the clip of Earnsy and young giving them an award based on there program. Or did you do what i did and actually call the magazines to verify what you were told. They all were skepticle just like I was but its winning awards for something. my accountant/financial planner friend turned me on to this for a reason. It works. And my words count more than anyone who just “did some quick research”. You should be careful. You would have turned me away and I wouldnt have tried this amazing system. My daughter is 7 yrs. old. When its time for her to go to college I will have been able to save the money she needs because i won’t have a mortgage to pay for about 8 years before she enters. • Tracy Coenen says: 3 June 2009 Damian – That fact that you mention an award from “Earnsy” doesn’t give me much confidence in anything you’ve said. The only way to get a mortgage payoff from 29 years to 6.5 years is to PAY MORE each month than your regular payment. Anyone with a brain knows this. Whatever you think you’ve done with the Money Merge Account, you could have done more without it.As for your statement that “no one” is doing it without MMA…. I actually know LOTS Of people who are, including me. So there. • Kent says: 5 June 2009 I have one question for Ms. Coenen and I would like a thoroughly researched answer from you. I am a financial adviser that sees this company as an excellent tool for many of my clients. ‘How did United First Financial get the Entrepreneur of the Year award for Utah’ in July of 2008 from Ernest and Young if the company is a hoax? From what I can see this is a very solid company that I would like to help my clients with. I know Ernest and Young does not give this award out flipently. We are talking about one of the finest accounting firms in the country giving an award to a company that claims to have excellent accounting software. They do not reward scams. Please don’t throw me some off the cuff answer. I as well as the readers on this blog need to know that you have thoroughly researched this company. From what I can see this company is poised to be one of the largest financial institutions in the country. Thank You Kent • Tracy Coenen says: 5 June 2009 Kent – Your question has been answered over an over on this site. For probably the 20th time, the award given was for the BUSINESS itself, not for the product the company is selling. i.e. The company was recognized for finding a way to profit obscenely. I don’t believe anyone has called the company “a hoax” on this site. You have your opinion of E&Y, which I do not share. The UFF software is NOT “accounting” software. You think UFF is “… poised to be one of the largest financial institutions in the country.” That’s interesting. They’re not a financial institution. I hope you were kidding when you said you were a financial advisor. • TOM CHAFFIN says: 8 June 2009 Tracy’s is a forensic account. When I hear the word forensic I picture a trained investigator using scientific menthods to determine what happened in a crime scene or in a the budget or accounts. That means gathering evidence and doing a thorough scientific analysis which may also include a review of relevant literature and publishing the statistics and equations. On several occasions when bloggers claimed success with MMA you have denied their claim stating the they could have done better on their own. Yet so far a scrutinity of the evidence and rejection or acceptance of the underlying claims has not occured. Here is an example It is working for me!! Says: 18 Apr 09 at 4:30 pm I have been on the MMA for 11 months and have already saved$35,000 in future interest on my mortgage, paid off my $14,000 car loan and$4,000 in credit card debt. I have recouped my initial cost by 10 times. And yes I am also an agent. I can tell you all this is not a scam, it works. So do not knock it if you haven’t tried it. At least have a local agent run your numbers. You will be amazed.

Tracy Coenen Says:
18 Apr 09 at 6:27 pm
Everything you’ve just written “It’s working for me” is a lie.

You haven’t “saved” $35k in future interest. You’ve possibly saved a small figure, but the “future” interest you think you’re saving is not yet saved and is not thanks to MMA. You haven’t paid off your car loan and your credit card. You’ve replaced that debt with other debt, on the advice of your MMA software. You haven’t recouped your initial cost. You’re further in the hole than when you started. Thanks for playing. WHAT FORENSIC ANALYSIS WAS DONE WITH THIS PERSONS DATA TO DETERMINE THE VERY SCIENTIFIC STATEMENT THAT “Everything you’ve just written “It’s working for me” is a lie.” • Tracy Coenen says: 9 June 2009 Hi Tom – We’ve run the numbers over and over, and that analysis proves that people are worse off with MMA than without it. • Craig Hansen says: 9 June 2009 Thomas Chaffin, UFirst agent #849723: Many of us have reviewed the MMA. We’ve seen the presentations. Some of us have even used a demo of the MMA. If you can do an ounce of math, it becomes clear that the only thing the MMA does is send more money to your mortgage, and in most cases, borrowed money. The interest saved each month at the mortgage is more than offset by the interest accrued by the new debt, plus the$3500 cost. If you finance the MMA, UFirst charges 18% interest. So much for “interest cancellation”.

So when people pop us and yell, “It’s working for me!”, then sure, maybe they’re using it to accelerate their debt retirement. What they should know, and what Tracy is telling them, is that they could have been *at least* $3500, plus interest, ahead of where they are now, with less work. It might take them a trip to their bank to work out an accelerated payment schedule, but that’s it. Simple, efficient, and free. You sell complicated, inefficient, and expensive. Good luck with that. • Tom Hensler says: 15 June 2009 I have been battling it out with UFF for over a year now with letters to the Utah BBB, Attorney Generals Office, Florida BBB (where I live and was another sucker for this scam) and Florida AG. I am so sorry that I got involved with these people and realized only a month into this program that I had been had. When the economy went south my local bank took my HELOC away and my business dried up. I was dead in the water with this MMA and was being stonewalled when I began asking for my money back. The clincher for me signing up with UFF was my agent telling me ,after questioning him about refunds for the program if the “guaranteed savings” in their contract did not materialize, “Yes, you can get your money back. LIE!!! The company says that he should not have told me that and that in spite of the fact that he was representing UFF, they will not honor his statement. Is there anyone else out there with similar experiences and have you been succesful in getting a refund? I know that I am not the only one looking for their money back. Any advice from anyone on this matter? • Late2Game says: 16 June 2009 Tom H., It is sad to hear that UFirst will not refund you. I don’t have any personal experience but I do know that some clients have gotten refunds. Many of those were during the upgrade to version 4.0 that was very buggy. (The software was reporting dates like “Jan 1, 1900″ and other blatant programming errors.) But HELOC freezings/closings have in and of themselves not been reason enough to fulfill their “Limited” guarantee. And other posters to Tracy’s site have had similar cases to yours and not gotten refunds. From what I gather, it seems like they are pushing back against refund requests. They only give refunds within 3 business days of your initial purchace (7-10 days in other states) should you change you mind (right of recission). You could contact Carol Eaquinto, with UFF’s Client Special Services: ceaquinto AT unitedfirstfinancial DOT com but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Be vocal on any other forums or websites that you can Google about Ufirst, and good luck. • Late2Game says: 16 June 2009 Also, from a post on another thread by user gr8twhyte: “If you believe you’ve been scammed or have had materially false statements made to you in your purchase of MMA software, please take the time to fill out a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission http://www.ftc.gov/ . Click on any “Consumer Complaint” link. The online complaint form is short and easy to fill out with a 2,000 character limit on a description of your complaint. All complaints will be logged but the FTC will generally not take action unless they see many complaints coming in on a problem product or company so every (legitimate) complaint counts.” It was enough complaints similar to this that got these type of businesses shut down in Austrailia: http://www.consumeraction.org.au/downloads/DL59.pdf • Tom Hensler says: 16 June 2009 Late2Game- I called Carol Eaquinto and spoke to her at length but I may as well have been talking to the wall in my office. She would not budge in their position that even though I was lied to by the agent who sold me the program and the program was totally usless to me because of the economic circumstances of the time (HELOC frozen and business shut down), UFF did nothing wrong and I was not going to get my money back. I don’t blame the company for the economic downturn, but the “guaranteed savings” as stated in their contract never materialized for us and it soon became evident that we were out$3500 that we needed for survival. UFF’s “limited guarantee” all but precludes you from any hope of a refund. They have neatly covered their asses for being liable for anything. Being told that if the program did not work for us or we were not happy with it we could get a refund by this UFF agent meant nothing to Carol or anyone else. I will definitely write to the FTC and I continue talking to the Utah BBB who will do a binding arbitration for us and UFF for a fee of $75.00. I will let you know how it all ends. • JimmyDaGeek says: 3 July 2009 “Using the banks money” – We started out by taking out a loan called a mortgage, using the bank’s money. Now that it’s time to pay the loan back, we need to get the money from somewhere. Usually, it comes out of our paycheck. But MMA claims that if we use a HELOC, we are not using our money anymore, we are using the bank’s money. But, wait, we started all this by using the bank’s money to take out a mortgage and now we have to pay it back. So that means if we use the bank’s money by taking a loan out of the HELOC, we have to pay that back, too. So all we did was postpone having to pay the bank back by using the HELOC money to pay the mortgage. We still have to pay the HELOC back. Where is that money going to come from? Out of our paycheck. So why should we spend$3500 on MMA to play a money shell game with a HELOC?

“Interest cancellation” – MMA claims that by loading up the HELOC and running our paychecks through the HELOC, we reduce the balance so much that we save lots of money that way, and that alone is worth $3500. OK, so how much can we save? Well, let’s assume our mortgage rate is 6%. That means each month, we are charged 1/2% on our mortgage balance, the whole balance. But if we are using interest cancellation, the most that we can save is whatever our monthly salary is. So, if we bring home$5,000, the largest HELOC balance we can offset is $5,000. How much will that save?$5,000 times 1/2% is $25. That’s$25 per month or $300 per year. So MMA wants you to spend$3500 upfront to save $300 per year. Do you know how much interest you would save if you just put$3500 towards your 6% mortgage? OVER $4,000. “Factorial math” – MMA claims no one except a computer can figure out the best possible way to pay all your bills and debts because of all the possible combinations. LIES. There is only one SIMPLE BEST way to pay off all your debts. You pay off the highest interest debt first and work your way down using a DEBT SNOWBALL. It only needs addition and subtraction. • NJBlue82 says: 10 July 2009 I am a 25-year veteran of financial planning and I use the MMA with my clients on a limited basis. I do not recruit agents actively and I don’t care that the sales structure is MLM (or insurance agency if you prefer). Surely, there are crooks marketing MMA just like there are crooks marketing investments, cars and dishwashers. United First’s structure and some of its agents are fair game for inspection but the MMA system strikes me as without parallel. Evidently however, my experience fails me and I am too stupid to see the light. So, I am asking for help. I just need someone to show me – and financially guarantee the outcome – how to pay off a$200k, 5% mortgage in 13.2 years and at an interest savings of $113k (as I just calculated for JoeTaxpayer on bargaineering blog; see Trackback). I assumed a 5% HELOC and that the client only has$200 in discretionary income per month.

So, perhaps I’m mistaken on this and a better financial professional will correct me but just using a simple Excel ROI calculator I find that spending (investing) $3,500 to save (return)$113,000 over a 13.2 year time horizon equates to a 30.11% ROI.

If a reply could avoid ranting about the MLM and how ever paying anyone $3,500 is a mistake (both of which just waste readers’ time) and simply tell me how to pay off this$200k mortgage faster – and on exactly what date it will be paid off and for how exactly much in interest, I’d greatly appreciate it. Oh and if the reply poster has a better “system” that’s cheaper than MMA, please also tell me how your system tells me exactly how much of a check to write from the HELOC to the mortgage. This will probably be very easy for you naysayers to do so thanks much in advance!

• Tracy Coenen says:
10 July 2009

NJBlue82 – I’d love to do that. Just email me the MMA analysis that shows the situation exactly as you described it… and I’ll take their numbers and have you paid off even faster. (And it will be much simpler and less time consuming than using MMA.)

• NJBlue82 says:
10 July 2009

I just sent the MMA analysis output to your Sequence address. Look forward to the results of your review…

• Craig Hansen says:
11 July 2009
• Frank says:
12 July 2009

You obviously know “NOtHING” aobut United First Financial. I wonder how much the Baning and Mortgage industry pays you to try to keep homeowners from paying off their mortgages early. MMA works! You are just too stupie to understand the process. I suppose you’re also discounting Ernst & Young as being too stupid to recognize UFF is a scam?
If you’re going to cut down something, DO ADEQUATE RESEARCH, WITHOUT A BIASED OPINION FIRST, SO YOU CAN BE COMPLETELY FAIR WITH YOUR READERS!

• Tracy Coenen says:
13 July 2009

Hi Frank – Math is completely unbiased. And math is all it takes to debunk UFF and MMA. Consumers are better off without it, period. All they need is one simple addition/subtraction problem done once a month, and they can pay off their mortgage quicker than with this expensive, time-consuming product. Thanks for visiting!

• Craig Hansen says:
13 July 2009

“You are just too stupie to understand the process.”
– Frank

If only I was in the Baning industry, maybe I would understand it.

• JoeTaxpayer says:
13 July 2009

Frank – your post goes into the “rant with no substance” box. Tracy gets an analysis, posts it with comment, and instead you choose to call her a (mis-spelled) name?
Funny, on this board Tracy has done far more research than any agent posting, or ranting, here.
E&Y sponsored an award, they did not, and do not endorse the product, and from what I understand, they now regret any tie-in there name has with UFirst. But that’s neither here nor there. Citing even actual endorsements is pretty meaningless. The numbers don’t lie. What exactly do you disagree with in the recent posts here? Answer with numbers, or proof, not rhetoric.

• Lee D says:
13 July 2009

I’ve got a question: do all pro-MMA commentators think that delcarates like “You’re a moron. I’m right, you’re wrong. The MMA works, don’t cloud the issue with facts!” qualifies as effective salesmanship?

• Lee D says:
13 July 2009

That word was supposed to be “declarations.” I’ve had a lot of coffee today.

• KEITH says:
22 July 2009

Hey why don’t all of you united first financial brain-washed simple minded people check out NAA they are a mortgage insurance outfit. They run meetings every week reqruit house wives whom never sold a thing in their lives, and micro manage you to death. For people whom need to feel part of something and like to believe everything they hear. Check out NAA you can cross-sell them this big waste of time system and put them in even further debt. Another CULT-LIKE experience wake up people and become leaders not followers!!!!!!!

• tom says:
23 July 2009

Let make this vary simple to pay off your Mortgage early all you have to do is send in $50.00 a month and apply it to the Principal you will pay off the mortgage with in about 15 years that is depending on how much your mortgage payments are. anyone paying$3500.00 for some software to try and reduce thier mortgage is beyond me. you can take that money and send it to your mortgage company and apply in to your Principal and you just reduced the number of mortgage paymnets by 3 or 4 months if your mortgage payment is under $1000.00 and you already have the software on your home computer to reduce you debts and budget your money thanks to micorsoft. if United First Financial was a real company they would not charge anyone to join thier company or charge you$175.00 for a website,or $3500.00 for some software that your own 10 year old kid could program at home. and they should be paying you to work for them. wake up people • Msrose12 says: 23 July 2009 I cannot believe the idiots that have written on this site. The MMA is a fantastic program that is in it’s 4th generation, with later versions in the works. All of you MORONS are stuck on the damn$3500! How much did you spend on your last car? How long did that it you? How much did it cost you? What about the big picture here? Would you drive your car without being able to see the gauges on the dashboard? Then why do you endorse people in this country making their financial decisions this way? Blindly, with no idea as to how the choices they make will impact their overall financial horizon. This is what has gotten people in so much trouble. And this is one of the main things this program provides – direction. Not only from where you are now, but all along the way. With this program you never have to make an uneducated financial decision again in your life! EVER! So, I guess that’s not a good thing? Apparently, Tracy, it isn’t to you. And your comments on here prove that anyone with half a brain – which is way more credit than you, my dear, based on what you have written about this product,are due – can post any lies they want on the internet. I wonder who’s paying you to bash this product? This program, in the past 2 1/2 years, has helped people pay off $355,000,000 in principal. Gee, I guess that’s a bad thing too? Poor people, spending$3500 when they could just do that themselves. Riiiiiight. How was that working for them? Which brings up another great feature – you don’t have to be a math wiz to use this product. Another thing: the guarantee is not “if you’re not happy with it, we’ll give you your money back”, as the gentleman above stated. The guarantee is that if you follow the prompts the software gives you and the results do not live up to the original analysis you received, THEN you are entitled to a refund. No matter if it helped save you thousands upon thousands of dollars in the meantime! Did you happen to READ what you signed??? Oh Poor, pitiful suckers, most of whom didn’t have extra money to pay down their mortgages quickly, who don’t have the time and/or knowledge to calculate the fastest way to zero (by the way, Tracy, do you?). They got suckered into spending money on a software program with absolutely amazing customer service. I was one of those people. Nothing says you can’t get a heloc unless you have the program. And you don’t need a heloc OR a credit card to run this program anymore. They are constantly adapting to the current financial landscape. And you all seem to be missing the fact that this program is usable with ALL kinds of debt, multiple mortgages, etc and that it isn’t just about paying down your mortgage faster. It’s about getting you to zero debt faster than anything else around. It’s about taking control of your financial future. It’s about having a plan and following it. It’s about NOT just paying the highest interest rate off first. Now THAT’s dumb! Tracy, I believe that’s how you said the MMA works? WRONG! If your stock broker told you he could make you $100,000 in 7 to 10 years for$3500, you’d give him the money, most likely. But there are NO guarantees there. In fact, you actually have to state that there are none! (I am a registered rep as well) But this product DOES have a guarantee and it generally does just that – or better. I use this product, I sell this product, I believe in this product. And I am, if you can’t tell, ashamed and appalled at the stupidity of the commentaries on this website. Where do you people get off acting like experts on something you know little to nothing about? Probably Rush Limbaugh fans too.

• Tracy Coenen says:
23 July 2009

Msrose – Commenters like you make maintaining this site completely worth it. Sounds like you might want to take a better look at that “guarantee.” It says nothing about not being happy with the product. In fact, it’s so restrictive that I wonder if anyone has gotten their money back?

It doesn’t take complicated math to pay down one’s debts fast. (Even faster than with MMA!) That’s what the company would have consumers believe… that it’s complicated and time consuming. In fact, it takes consumers very little time and effort to do so.

You can throw around imaginary figures about “interest saved” all you like. The fact is that whatever the real number is, those consumers would have saved even more without MMA. There are plenty of free and cheap computer programs that will help give consumers “direction” if they desier it. No need for MMA.

• stacy says:
30 July 2009

Thank you so much for this information! UFF was mentioned to me by a co-worker last week. He gave me a brief description of how it works but did not mention a fee or anything, just said to let him know if I was interested. I tend to be very cautious and it threw up red flags because:
1. The idea of a HELOC to pay bills sounded silly and
2. why would I need to contact him if I was interested.
Thank goodness I rely in the internet for information I do want to pay down my mortgage early, but I want to be smart about it and make a few extra payments a year, when I can afford it. This program just does not sit well with me. It’s like all of those “get out of debt” commercials I hear. Why on earth would I pay someone to tell me how to pay my bills if the reason I can’t pay them is I have no money? Sometimes I feel sorry for the people who fall for scams, my own grandmother has been scammed, but I figure most people have the same resources as I do to make their own informed decisions. I did not read all of the posts, but I would also like to point out that not only are amortization calculators that tell you how much time and money you save by paying extra on your mortgage all over the internet, but many large banks offer financial consulting services free to their customers and can help with these things. I have used my bank’s free services.
Great information, I will certainly visit again.

• Craig Hansen says:
30 July 2009

Stacy,

You’ve figured it out. You are remarkably brighter than your co-worker, and any UFirst agent you’ll meet.

There are many red flags with UFirst and the MMA. You’ve found a few of them. You can follow the tags and read on if you want to know more, but you have already learned enough to avoid the MMA. Posts like yours make our efforts worthwhile.

Thank you.

• Corey says:
4 August 2009

I am using the software, i have been for the last 2.5 years. I do agree with most people thinking they can do this themselves but I do not believe I can. I move money around quite a bit it seems but I have saved close to 64,000 so far on my home loan and I am on target to pay it off at least 17 years earlier than expected. I also like the personal coach feature so I can call the company up anytime and they help me out. Another thing I like is the ability to be flexible. If something comes up you simply place that change into the system and it refigures all the numbers. Imagine how long your financial advisor would do that if you need changes reguarly. Although I didnt benenfit from this feature but I have referred my brother to the program and they company now takes a payment plan for the $3,500 which they include as part of the system so he will pay roughly 3,800 for the program over two years. I would also like to point of the fact no one complains about this system if they actually use it. Most people who have complaints on here are those who believe they have the secrets to being debt free. I would at least like to see them try the system before they say it does not work or they explain to you how easy it is to build youre own system. There is a reason people are looking into this software and it is because they either have a need for help or they know someone that does. I dont know if this program is for everyone but it has and it is continuing to work for my family. • Corey says: 4 August 2009 In addition, sure banks will give you information… But remember the bank profits from the majority of the time you are in youre loan. The government is giving banks ballout money left and right because they have no idea what they are doing but we believe they are still the answer? ITS NOT MAGIC, ITS MATH!!! • JoeTaxpayer says: 5 August 2009 Corey, you’d be ahead by nearly$4000 more had you not bought the program. $64000? That came from your savings or income, but it was due to you, not MMA. No one complained about Madoff for 25 years. In fact I had to listen to someone brag about his superior returns for over a decade until the news broke. The system is broken, Corey, it will have you pull too much money out of the HELOC, and pay more interest than you should, not less. • Omar L. Branch says: 7 August 2009 I usually just suck it up and drive on, but this time I will not. This company uses unethical practices to make a dollar. The product is nothing new or unique, and you can get the same or similar results from most financial advisors for a cheaper fee. I just got scammed by them and will report them to the BBB of Utah. I sincerely urge you to listen to the people who are talking about this company before you sign on with them. I cannot attest to the product’s worth as I purchased it and attempted to get a refund, and what I got was the run around and ‘read the fine print’…for an unused product! I never activated the program, it was activated by the ‘independent agent’, and I never opened up the package that was mailed to me. Ladies and gentlement, buyer’s beware. We are in a recession and the carpetbaggers are out and about. • Sandy says: 14 August 2009 Has anyone been able to get a refund for this program? My financial planner recommended it, so I took the bait and signed up. Now I regret it and I don’t like the program at all. I have contacted customer service to inquire about a refund, and they will call me in a couple days to “talk about it.” I know they will give me a difficult time. So I’m anxious to hear if anyone was able to get a refund, and if they did, how were they able to do it? • Late2Game says: 15 August 2009 Sandy, If you aren’t within the 3 days (Right of Rescission, or 7 in Alaska I think) then you are going to have a hard time getting any money back from them (from what others have said). Carol Eaquinto, in UFF’s Client Special Services (ceaquinto AT unitedfirstfinancial DOT com) has been pretty stingy with refunds. (I read somewhere that there were about 50 refunds a year ago in July versus only 2 this July). Some were able to get progress by making their case to the owners. Others by filing official complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Good luck either way. Some financial “planner” you had, suggesting the MMA. Was this planner a UFF agent also? • Sandy says: 15 August 2009 I no longer have that financial planner, but he has worked with the agent before. I think I was one of the agent’s first clients. Neither the financial planner or the agent used the program, which should have been a red light. I’ll definitely go the BBB route if I need to. I’ll post here and let you know what happens. I’m not looking forward to this phone call. They were a hard sell in the beginning, and I’m sure they will be even worse when it comes to keeping my money. • JoeTaxpayer says: 17 August 2009 You say “financial planner”. What were his credentials? No CFP who earned his letters should fall for this scam. • Sandy says: 18 August 2009 Okay, so the result is … they are keeping my money. They said I signed the papers, and all the details are there. I was (nicely but firmly) told that their guarantee is not a satisfaction guarantee, it’s a performance guarantee. Even though the prompts would have me overdrawing my checking account, where all my bills (including mortgage and credit card) would bounce. So … their 3-Day guarantee is all you get, but you don’t get your login until after the 3 days is over. Neither my former financial planner or the agent, who both told me this was sooo great, use the program themselves. I hope my experience will help others make the right decision. By the way, the company is rated C- by the Better Business Bureau. Wished I had known that before. Lesson learned! • Late2Game says: 18 August 2009 Sandy, Are you saying you didn’t even get to log in to your MMA until after the 3 day recission period was over?!? That is sneaky! And the money moving prompts it would have you do would overdraw your checking account? That sounds like “performance” failure to me, although I’m sure their “legalese” and fine print cover their liability in case of bank fees and the like. I would email the founders, and tell them your case. If they still didn’t budge, I would file a formal complaint with the BBB (Utah), FTC, and Utah Division of Consumer Protection. You could also file a complaint at cfp.net on the “financial planner” if he/she is certified. • Ron says: 31 August 2009 Just a little history in homeownership in America, back in 1929 only 2% of homes in America had a mortgage against them. 98% of homes were mortgage free. In 1962 98% of homes had a mortgage against them and only 2% are mortgage free. This trend from 1962 has been ongoing till present day in 2009. It’s funny when people ask me if I’m a homeowner. I had to to think about that for a while. I am not a homeowner until you make your final payment to the lender, so in reality until I make 360 payments to my lender then I can finally say I am a homeowner. Some people say, Well, if you’re making mortgage payments on your home, you have “In Real Estate Terms” interest on your home. Yeah right Buddy!, I have to pay huge “INTEREST” payments to my lender. For the people on this site who have the answers in paying their mortgage off quickly please share it with the families who are making their mortgage payments on time and please share it to the millions of families who have lost their homes due to foreclosure so these families don’t make the financial mistake in the future. For the people who are trying to get their money back from “United First Financial” Why would you want to get your money back right away if you haven’t tried the program. The agent that sold you the program, did he or she not explain the benefits of saving tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest saved on your mortgage which leads to true homeownership. If you need help with account, you need to call customer support with your problem. With everybody saying the “Money Merge Account” program doesn’t work and it’s a scam. Well, tell that to the 60,000 plus homeowners who have paid down$355,712,634.00 additional principal debt in only the last 3 years. This statistic is as of May 31, 2009.

Bottom line, people need the “MMA” service why, because only 2% of homeowners are disciplined in adding extra money to their mortgage. The other 98% percent will take their discretionary income and spend it on other investments or on other things.

So, why not sign up for a service the will make you debt free. I signed up my parents on the program. They have invested into real estate throughout the years and now have 8 properties total. The downfall is they still have 26 years combined to pay off these 8 properties. The “Money Merge Account” program reduce their 26 years pay off down to 8.9 years, saving them over a million dollars in interest saved. Tell me where can you find a do it yourself program that can save you this much money. The best thing about this is they don’t have to change their lifstyle.

I believe that “United First Financial” are one of the few companies that are out there helping families in America and Canada become debt free. The United States of America is already in a economic crisis. “United First Financial” is helpling families become debt free, the numbers show. If you can imagine having more debt free families in the U.S.A., if we can accomplish this, then we can become a debt free nation which means prosperity for our future generation.

• Tracy Coenen says:
1 September 2009

Ron – UFF doesn’t magically create in people a desire to pay off their mortgage. In fact, it puts them $3,500 behind (actually alomst$20,000 behind if they finance the $3,500). Those who suggest that this software is creating this desire are delusional. If someone needs software to help them budget their money (which is really all UFF is doing, at best… and doing a very poor job of it), then they’re better off with$60 Quicken software.

• JoeTaxpayer says:
1 September 2009

Ron, do you know how to divide? $355,712,634.00 divided by 60,000 (plus?) is$5928. But that’s over 3 years. It’s less than $165 per month extra principal. That extra principle, when applied from day one to the classic example mortgage,$200K 6%, would drop the payoff from 360 months to 265 or 22 years. A far cry from the 10 year payoff UFirst brags about, and not the $1000/mo extra principal UFirst felt appropriate to use in they examples. Why not sign up for such a service? Be cause one can make extra principal payments and come out ahead. One needs no math at all to do it. None. • Ron says: 2 September 2009 So…Tracy Coenen & Joe Taxpayer, you two seem to know the number one answer to our economic crisis in our country, which is “DEBT”. Please, can the two of you who are “MATH EXPERTS” put your heads together and write a book or make a dvd for millions of people who are buried in DEBT. Joe & Tracy, the two of you keep bashing on United First Financial, stating the MMA program doesn’t work. Come on you guys be a little open minded about what this company is about. This company is about getting people/families out of “DEBT”. Do you think United First Financial was created to steal/scam people/families’s money? The answer is NO, United First Financial was not created to steal/scam people’s money. It would not make sense for this company to steal. If that was the case the company would have been shut down and the owners put into jail back in 2006, when they first went into business. Now after three years into business they now have 60,000 plus customers and growing. The owners of United First Financial are Skyler Witaman and John Washenko. They own a company called, “Accelerated Equity And Development Inc.” in Bluffdale, Utah. This company has been in business since 1997 and has an A+ rating with 1 complaint with the Better Business Bureau. So having a A+ rating with 1 complaint as of today reflects a high credibility in their business. These two owners are the founders of United First Financial. Now, with United First Financial shows a C+ rating with the Better Business Bureau as of today. The reason for this rating is because 25 complaints were filed with the company and all 25 complaints have been resolved. Just like any company you will always get some type of complaints, but you need to compare 25 resolved complaints to 60,0000 plus customers. This shows that owners or United First Financial are serious in resolving their complaint. People are saying United First Financial is a pyramid scheme. People need to due their due diligence in researching what a true pyramid scheme is. Just because United First Financial are looking for agents/salesman to sell their product doesn’t make the company a pyramid scheme. We do not make a commision when we recruit an agent/salseman into the company. The way Ufirst agents are paid is same way an insurance agent gets paid in an insurance company, so there is no pyramid schem there. If you research pyramid scheme,it is illega to do this kind of business in the United States. Well it’s been three years now since 2006, were still up and running and the company is still growing. My final words on this matter, Let’s get Americans/America out of “DEBT”. This is the only way we can get the American economy back on its feet. Thank You • Tracy Coenen says: 2 September 2009 I agree that Americans need to get out of debt. They can do so much faster and cheaper without UFF. The program is a waste of money. It’s just that simple. Either consumers want to pay their debt off or they don’t. If they WANT to, they can do it much better without UFF. If they do NOT want to, they won’t pay it off using UFF or not using UFF. • Craig Hansen says: 2 September 2009 Ron, UFirst is shrinking, no growing. Call the head office and ask for Derek Brown, Agent Support Manager. He was laid off, along with dozens of his co-workers, since early 2009. Why? Sales are down this year. Seriously down: Jan 3,473 Feb 2,177 Mar 2,428 Apr 2,058 May 1,353 Jun 1,092 Jul 849 This is why you see once-visible UFirst agents like The Jubilee Project, Jarrett Holmes, Jennifer Hartman, etc. jumping ship or offering newer MLM pyramid schemes, like Dubli (eBay killer!), iJango, LocalAdLink and (I kid you not) BSkinny Coffee. It’s also why UFirst is trying desperately to package their agent contact software with a “tax deduction” component to sell to business owners as “BizPack”. The MMA is circling the drain. • JoeTaxpayer says: 4 September 2009 Ron, I’ve written many posts on UFF, and proved using their own video and web site that the math is flawed. The sales pitch isn’t just exaggerated. It’s a lie. Those who need to get out of debt can ill afford to spend$3500 on a flawed piece of, er, software. You an agent? You seen my free spreadsheet? Beats MMA every time. Don’t confuse free will having no value. It’s worth $20,000, give or take. That’s what MMA’s “true cost” is. My$500 grill, on the other hand, is an investment, it saves me eating out, and pays for itself and them some. The scammers have it backwards.

• Sandy says:
8 September 2009

For those who think the program is so great, I’d be happy to sell you my login and password! I’ll even give you a discount!

Unlike a lot of people on this board, I am someone who tried it. I was really open-minded and tried hard to make it work. But … I REALLY didn’t like it for several reasons, tried to get my money back and can’t. They simply won’t refund your money. As I was told, it’s not a satisfaction guarantee. Once they get your money, you can’t go back. Yes you get three days to change your mind after signing the paperwork, but you don’t get your login until after those three days are over. Try to get your money back and they blame you for it not working. I was told, well blah blah percent of people love the program, making it sound like something was wrong with me. I am so tired of them throwing statistics at me. I think that must be a part of their training.

You can blurt out all the statistics you want. I have the experience with the program and I think it’s a horrible waste of my money. If the program was so great, then why won’t they give a SATISFACTION guarantee? Why is it impossible to get a refund? And why don’t most of the people who sell this program actually use it themselves? My “agent” didn’t use it, and neither did my former financial planner, who talked me into doing it.

Some of the responses above sound like the sales pitch that I got in the beginning. They are a hard sell. A lady from UFirst actually thought it was CUTE that her clients didn’t understand the program. She laughed, “You don’t know how a car runs, but you get in and it works.”

If I had followed the program as I was told, I would have emptied out my bank account completely and would have bounced payments on my mortgage, credit card, utilities and so on.

You read lots of hype, but this is from someone who has been there, and feel like I was robbed.

Those on here who work for UFF, if you think your company is honest, then help me get my refund!!

• Craig Hansen says:
9 September 2009

“Those on here who work for UFF, if you think your company is honest, then help me get my refund!!”

Excellent, excellent point.

How about it, UFirst agents? Help Sandy get her money back.

• Late2Game says:
10 September 2009

Sandy,

Also, did you pay for the MMA with a credit card? If you did, some CC companies can help you dispute the charge. Google for “credit card dispute charge” or something similar to read how. And if you didn’t pay by CC, I still recommend filing a formal complaint with the Utah Better Business Bureau.

• Sandy says:
11 September 2009

If I remember correctly, they don’t take credit cards. I had to get a cashier’s check. I’m going to start with sending a letter, though I am guessing their response will be full of statistics.

• Craig Hansen says:
11 September 2009

Sandy,

I was about to link you to the Utah BBB, but I can’t find the UFirst listing there at the old link. A BBB Utah search for “United First Financial” turns up a blank page. Interesting.

L2G or anyone else, can you confirm?

• Late2Game says:
11 September 2009

I just go to the national bbb.org site, select USA, then search for Business/Charity and enter “United First”. The corporate United First Financial, LLC always comes up first for me (26 complaints in last 36 months, now). The other listings are usually just other agents.

• Late2Game says:
11 September 2009

Sandy,

UFF does take credit card purchases now. Agents may not tell you first off, since they get a smaller commission. But there have been users of the MMA (and Bizpack software) that were able to dispute charges through credit card companies.

Anyway, I would try the BBB complaint route. They can be filed online in a matter of minutes. The company will then have a timeline to respond.

• Todd Pillows says:
15 September 2009

I can’t believe any would pay $3,500 for a calculator which http://www.moneydesktop.com offers for$19 a month.

• Craig Hansen says:
16 September 2009

Not another one….

Todd, go shill for your software elsewhere. It’s still too expensive, still would have a homeowner use a HELOC as a checking account for no little real benefit and lots of risk, and still a bad idea.

• LXY says:
5 October 2009

I recently submitted a resume to yahoo.com on hotjobs so that I could be contacted by employers. So far I have only really received feedback from pyramid scheme companies, or the like. So to make sure I do some research and I eventually will find something shady about them. Anyhow, this is what was recently e-mailed to me by a regional recruiter from UFF:

I have received your resume that you sent to me in response to our opening on Yahoo.com Hot Jobs and would like to talk with you regarding a position with our company. I have several full time as well as part time positions open at this time.

I am looking to bring on the smartest and most talented independent SALES AGENTS in the country that are willing to work from a home office, part time or full time marketing three cutting edge programs. The three programs will:

1) Save our customers in many cases in excess of $100,000 to$200,000 on their home mortgage without having to refinance.

2) Teach people how to save money on their taxes.

3) Develop banking strategies that will save finance charges on their vehicle purchases.

Our company is very well accepted in the marketplace, and the demand for our program is exploding with growing momentum. The company owners last year were awarded the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award by Ernst and Young in their sector of Financial Services in their area.

This is a “Commission Only” position, and the income ranges from $1000 per sale to$1500 per sale and could include residual income. With bonuses, many of our agents are earning six figure incomes within the first 24 months. Management bonuses are easily above 6 figures. Our part time sales agents are earning $2000 –$3000 part time per month.

Please let me know when it would be a good time to talk with you, and I will be happy to provide you with you more information regarding this. I look forward to hearing from you.

Paulette Gibbs
Regional Recruiter
United First Financial
(949)872-3759

At this point I think I will most likely become a rockstar instead and set aside the resume…haha

• Sandy says:
8 October 2009

Wow. I think if the company is that successful, then it shouldn’t be a big deal to refund those who have issues with the program. The sales people are looking at big dollar signs but have no experience with what they are selling since most do not use it themselves.

I may write a story about my experience, though it’s not over yet. Hopefully it will be soon. Hey, maybe I can sell my story for $3500 • JoeTaxpayer says: 9 October 2009 “2) Teach people how to save money on their taxes.” The UF disclaimer specifically says they do not offer financial advice, they only sell a software product. Has their stance changed? Are they going to screw up not only one’s mortgage payoff but ‘all’ the clients’ finances? • Ale Brown says: 22 October 2009 Well, I went to one of these workshops in July 08 because some friends of ours became agents (I attended out of courtesy). My husband walked out of the meeting w/in 5 minutes when they said the company originated in Utah (we brought our 1 yr. old as the perfect excuse!). I stayed, again out of courtesy, and w/in 10 minutes I could see that you can do this on your own, w/o having to spend the$3,500. I have been doing what they mentioned there for years, like using my CC to pay all my expenses, paying it off in full at the end of the month and taking advantage of the points to pay my home and car insurance every year (called cash flow management). I have a HELOC that I use the same way they explain (my HELOC is 2.25% vs. my mortgage which is 4%). I don’t move to a variable mortgage or charge my mortgage in full to the HELOC because I’m a risk-averse person and I like the predictability and assurance of knowing how much I pay. I know that I’m losing a chance to save even more but that’s the price I put to my peace of mind.

I created a simple spreadsheet where I put different scenarios on how and when to pre-pay my mortgage. I will pay-off my mortgage in 11 yrs (as opposed to 25), expected in 2015 (bought my house in 2004) and so far I’m right on track.

I link this product to all the “lose weight w/o changing your lifestyle” products. They may work as long as you follow the basic premise: eat less than you burn or spend less than what you make.

I wouldn’t use a HELOC if it were more expensive than my mortgage, I really thought that was a very basic and easy to comprehend premise. I guess for some people it is not. I’m sure some people require the guidance of software to get their act together but behavioural patterns are hard to break and what I’ve found in postings everywhere is that people that are not very disciplined w/their money buy into this product. Well, with or without it they are not going to change their patterns and at the end they will be $3500 further back. Sad to see, really. And when reality hits, it’s easier to blame everyone around rather than take responsibility for our own choices. And just as a rule of thumb, as my grandmother used to say “if one person tells you you’re wrong, ignore it, if it is two, think about it, more than two pay attention, because you are definitely wrong”. I’ve seen more negative posts than positive all around. That should tell people something. • Lawrie Paul says: 24 October 2009 There are two (2) ways to introduce UFF’s MMA. The right way and the wrong way. The reason that the Network Marketing opportunity is not “up front” on their website is to sort out the “real” people from the “MLM Junkies”. I work for a Financial Services company in Southwestern Ontario who uses this program as a second step to a completely eliminating our client’s mortgage in the time estimated by the MMA program. AND…we only let them proceed if they want to AND…only after they run it by their lawyer, which is the law in Canada on any mortgage whether it’s their first one or it’s a refinance. The cost of the MMA becomes part of the first step in refinancing their mortgage using traditional sources….LIKE A BANK….which get’s rid of the Credit Card debt and takes advantage of the lower interest rates. Then and only then, are they asked it they would like to proceed with the MMA. I am guessing that most of the posts to this blog are from skeptics who have become cynical where anything to do with MLM, especially if it also involves any kind of financial product (and I agree we all must be careful where that is concerned). Most of the complaints are coming from a lack of understanding – such as the post about having 2 loans, a mortgage and an HELOC. That is the case, BUT the algorithm that deals with paying your obligations requires that you have a cash flow that is from a JOB, or a steady flow of income from another source such as an investment that is producing an income. The KEY here is the program only works if there is a cash flow. Do the MATH as someone said using the DEMO on the site. It requires that you put in your monthly income as part to the equation. Do that and then post your comments again. BTW – I have several clients using the UFF MMA and they are thrilled with how it is actually working. • Tracy Coenen says: 24 October 2009 Lawrie Paul – We’ve already run the numbers over and over on various sites, and UFF loses every time. Even if it wasn’t an MLM, it’s still not worth the$3,500. In fact, it’s not worth $1. As for trying out UFF’s site…. I did that, and UFF’s results were a lie. Read all about it here: http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2009/07/10/the-uff-money-merge-account-fraud/ UFF is not to be trusted. Their software either can’t do the basic math needed to make these calculations related to mortgages, or the company is willfully having the software generate fraudulent results. Either way, I wouldn’t want anyone working with them!!! • Tracy Coenen says: 24 October 2009 P.S. I wonder how “thrilled” your clients would be if they knew that with a lot less effort than they’re putting forth with UFF MMA, they could be thousands of dollars further ahead. • Joe the Public III says: 1 November 2009 This program is probably good for a complete idiot who can not manage even a dollar but for the rest of the world who has more than 2 brain cells its a rip-off pure and simple. The worst part of it is how the rep’s use phony math to confuse people. I watched a prresentation once and I felt so dirty after that I had to go home and shower and I was not even a rep myself! Bad sales, lies and just total fraud. I really hope this company gets in trouble one day so more people will not have to get hosed by these “snake oil” sales people! • Jim Pelletier says: 3 November 2009 ANYONE RESEARCHING THIS CAN LOOK TO EARNST AND YOUNG FOR THEIR OPINION. THIS MOST REPUTABLE AMERICAN FINANCIAL INSTITUTION THINKS VERY HIGHLY OF UNITED FIRST FINANCIAL. ALSO SEE SUCCESS FROM HOME MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2009. THERE ARE 2 REASONS FOR THE$3500. ONE, SO THEIR SALES FORCE CAN MAKE AN ABOVE AVERAGE WAGE – $2250 OF THE$3500 IS PAID IN COMMISSIONS. THE OTHER $1250 IS ADMINISTRATIVE, BUT POWERS A CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CLIENT TRAINING FORCE THAT IS AVAILABLE 14 HOURS A DAY 7 DAYS A WEEK. One of the differences of the money merge account is that it is NOT a disk that you load on your computer and then good luck. The company stands very strongly behind its clients and agents. My wife and I were well on our way to being out of debt – having only 8 years left to debt freedom, but purchased this anyway. When we started the system told us that we had 2 years left, but now after 1 month, we have just over 1 3/4 years and we will more than double our investment in the interest we save. As far as speaking to our intelligence, you decide if this was a good investment. As I said, we were close by all standards (at age 39) to being out of debt. Now we are 3/4 of the way closer, because the things we were doing to pay down our debt were not nearly as powerful as this program! I wish someone had given this to us as a wedding present 11 years ago. • Tracy Coenen says: 3 November 2009 Jim – Sorry to say that this was NOT a good investment for you. If you were going to be out of debt in 2 years with MMA, you could have been out in less than 2 years without it. You only get out of debt because of your own ability to do so either with your earnings or savings. (MMA doesn’t “create money” as they falsely claim. Check out some of the common UFF lies here: http://www.sequence-inc.com/fraudfiles/2008/05/27/misleading-consumers-in-the-marketing-of-united-first-financial-money-merge-account/) So you’ve now gone from a 2 year payoff schedule to a 1.75 year payoff schedule? There’s no way you can save interest equal to or greater than the$3500 that you paid to UFF.

And Ernst & Young didn’t give an opinion on UFF, and Success From Home Magazine is a biased publication which UFF paid to get praised in. Neither of these things mean anything.

• Sandy says:
24 November 2009

Has anyone gone through the arbitration process with UFF and the BBB? I’m wondering if it’s a fair process, or if the BBB will tend to rule in favor of the companies.

• Frank says:
24 November 2009

Well Tracy,
All I can say is the proof is in the puddin’. We have been on the software for almost a year. When we ran our analysis it looked as though we would go from paying off our home, cars and credit cards in 29 years to paying it off in 11 years. Turns out almost one year later that we are projected to be debt free in 7 years. I was happy with 11 but I am much happier with 7. True to UFF’s promise or guarentee when we come up on our 1 year anniversary if it isn’t working I will ask for my $3500. back and put that toward my debt reductions as well. Don’t see how I can lose Tracy but you keep looking out for those of us who are just too ignorant to figure things out for ourselves. • Tracy Coenen says: 24 November 2009 Well Frank, the proof IS in the puddin. If you’re happy with being debt free in seven years, then you would have been even HAPPIER being debt free in LESS THAN seven years, which is what you could have done without UFF. But who cares, right? You didn’t have anything else you could have spent that$3500 on anyway.

And don’t worry… there’s absolutely no chance UFF will refund your $3500 under any circumstances. You’re stuck with their junk whether you like it or not. • Sandy says: 24 November 2009 Frank – I’m curious as to what you believe UFF’s guarantee is? Because when I had major issues with the software and tried to get my money back, I was told, “It’s not a satisfaction guarantee.” And that seems to be what you believe it is. They said the only guarantee is that you have three days after signing the paperwork to change your mind, and after that, there is no other guarantee. Did they really give you a 1-year satisfaction guarantee? If they did, I’d love to see that in writing. I suggest you call customer service and ask them exactly what the guarantee is. If they say it’s a satisfaction guarantee, get that in writing right away. • Ephraim says: 29 November 2009 1st of all I am an agent my mother was my first client & in 6 months reduced her balance of around 247k by$4,500 period end of discussion. I HAVE SEEN HER WORK THE PROGRAM W/ MY OWN EYES. As for this article if anyone would notice the comments at the begining it is clear that by the time stamp on them the same person was making those comments. I mean come on the comments are literaly by the minute!! Always there is no way they got The Ernest & Young business of the year award plus many mortgage but are a fraud???? To the person who wrote this who the hell are you again? Oh yea YOUR math does not add up do some reseach if you have 3 credit lines (mortgage, car loan & credit card) there is over a million different calculation to pay the least amount on that debt good luck guessing which one.

• Tracy Coenen says:
29 November 2009

You caught us Ephraim! How dare I have a conversation with two of my readers, in which we reply to each other every few minutes! Scandalous!

There are not a “million” ways to possibly pay three debts. But I will agree with you that there is more than one way. Except the catch is that only ONE way is the way that will save you the most money, and it’s simple. Pay the minimum due on the two debts with the lowest interest rate. Pay all the rest of your available cash to the debt with the highest interest rate. Period. End of discussion.

Just think… without MMA your mother could have paid down $8,000 of her debt. But what’s$3,500 wasted between family anyway. At least you got a commission off your mother, right? Shame on you for helping her waste $3,500 when she could have gotten out of debt faster and with less effort without MMA. • Craig Hansen says: 30 November 2009 Ephraim, Tracy posted just 4 minutes after you. How do I know you’re not Tracy? Actually, that’s easier than I first thought: Tracy can do math. The UFirst marketing deception you’re trying to quote is “3.6 million different ways to retire 10 debts”. You’ve reduced that to 3 debts. Want to know how many ways you can order the repayment of 3 debts? 3!=3x2x1=6. Six. Six ways, not one million. But as Tracy said, the best way is to order them from highest rate to lowest rate. Service the minimum payments on all, then send all extra income to the highest rate debt. Period. You just cost your mother$3500 needlessly. You made $450 from the sale, which you should give her right now. You can refund her the rest of her$3050 by getting a real job that doesn’t involve scamming people.

• Steve says:
5 December 2009

I can’t believe I made it to the end, it was like looking at a traffic accident, I just couldn’t look away. There are a lot of negative people on here. If the program helped some people pay down their debt, great. MMA is only a tool. There is no magic. I bet the same people that put all these negative comments are the same ones that put negative comments on everything. I’m glad your so smart and can do the math on your own to pay off your debt. wooohooo your so smart. Give me a break.

The program helps people stay focused on their finances. Great!!! At least they ufirst is raising peoples awareness and getting them to take action. Sometimes people get overwhelmed and don’t do anything because they don’t feel like they are making a dent in their expenses, so they kind of give up. Then something like this comes along and opens their eyes and causes them to do something. Can you put a price on that?

Sure $3500.00 is a lot of money, but if it gets someone to take action and excites them, then$3500.00 is nothing.

All the negative people on here are the same people that would climb Mt. Everest and say I can’t believe all that work for this view, I could of flew in an airplane and had a better view.

And for the people that can do it on your own, good for you. Most people can’t and need a helping hand. I did like the one website the moneydesktop, but did not like the one article that tells people to open more credit cards to build up their credit. I understand what they are saying but they need to provide some guidance and training on what could happen if you open to many and how hard it is to get caught up once your behind.

Just like telling someone they need to invest, everyone knows that, but look at how many people lose money in the stock market. This doesn’t include the people on here that are so smart and can do it on their own. There needs to be guidance for most people.

• Steve says:
5 December 2009

I forgot one thing, all you fat people out there that hired a personal trainer and you lost more than 50lbs. You wasted your money, you could of saved the money and just ate less and worked out more would give you the same results. Who cares that losing 50lbs gave you an extra 10yrs to live, gave you more energy to enjoy life everyday. Gave you more confidence. You could of done it on your own. You should of saved your money.

• Tracy Coenen says:
5 December 2009

Steve – Someone doesn’t have to be “smart” to be able to pay off their debt without the MMA account. MMA is a complete waste of money… $3500 that could go to their debts. If you can add and subtract, you can pay off your debts without MMA and get there$3500 faster. (Actually, $3500 plus whatever interest you paid on financing the$3500.)

• Steve says:
5 December 2009

Tracy

I know what you’re saying. People just need discipline and focus on paying off their debt. Whatever you focus on, you tend to get results from. If you focus on what you eat and exercise, you will lose weight. But, using a Heloc or line of credit to help maximize that, just gives it a little boost. And if it helps someone focus on their debt is that a bad thing?

• Steve says:
5 December 2009

Tracy, have you ever used the MMA? Do you own it? I don’t recall from above post.

• Tracy Coenen says:
5 December 2009

Yes, wasting $3500 to theoretically bring “focus” to your money is a bad thing. The lame software doesn’t cause you to focus. You could focus for free. And for those already having problems with debt, fooling around with a heloc (or even worse, credit cards) to do the MMA system is ridiculous. No, I am not so dumb as to pay$3500 to UFF. I do not own the software. Yes, I know exactly how it works.

• Craig Hansen says:
6 December 2009

Steve, the HELOC or Line of Credit does not maximize savings. In published examples, and from using the demo MMA account, we know that the MMA is broken. Even with all the bells and whistles, the MMA costs the user thousands of dollars over time, even if it were free.

So, it’s a slower way of paying your debts, it’s awkward to use compared to Quicken or MS Money (and costs over 35 times more), and it’s sold by an army of financial illiterates. I could go on.

It’s just a terrible product, and that’s why it isn’t selling any more. Monthly sales are down 89% since the beginning of the year. UFirst has been laying off staff all year. And still, we get a trickle of agents (probably like yourself) who think they can salvage the reputation of the MMA.

You can’t. UFirst and the MMA are done. Go buy into your next MLM. I hear there are a lot of wildly overpriced fruit juices that you could be selling, at the expense of alienating any friends and family who still take your phone calls.

• Wardent7 says:
12 December 2009

I must say there is a lot of negative feedback and bashing of UFF. My wife and have been on the program for 4 years now and it has worked wonderfully for us. I have never taken the advice of traditional banks or mortgage companies (Look at the last 2 years in that industry). It takes a very diciplined person who is in complete control of their finances and flow of money for this program to work. I read several posts on hear about how people are going to their “financial advisers” for advice and to look at this program for them. I have one question, how have your advisers programs and investments paid off for you during these volitile times? I truly believe in the program because I have used it and it works. It really is just that simple…

• Tracy Coenen says:
12 December 2009

Wardent7 – You apparently have what it takes to focus on paying off your debt. If that’s the case, you could be thousands of dollars ahead without UFF and without any help from any financial advisers or bankers. If you think that the program “works” because it helped you reduce your debt, just know that NOT using the program would have WORKED BETTER and gotten you out of debt faster.

• Craig Hansen says:
12 December 2009

Wardent7, UFirst agents have to pass a multiple choice test to sell the MMA. If they fail it, they simply retake the questions they got wrong until they pass. No diploma, degree, or any true test of competency required. They redefine financial words at random, and can’t even use basic English, often using the wrong words in general, such as mistaking “hear” for “here”.

UFirst agents, as a group, are perhaps the least intelligent people working in the “mortgage” industry today.

• hm says:
23 December 2009

Who cares, they’re going bankrupt anyway. Their owners are slime and their idea was good but they got too greedy. Sure it’s a great idea but $3,500 is way too much for anything. Gladly, they finally are going under because of the economy and some crappy crappy decisions made when they switched to V4 which lost many customers. But I think the main one is the money. They say you’re paying the$3,500 for customer support but when they go under, that’s not going to be there. Yeah, you will still have the software, they did at least make sure that was contracted to a third party in case they went under. So….the question now lies, if you payed 2/3 of that money for customer service…shouldn’t you get that money back since that won’t exist?

• Craig Hansen says:
23 December 2009

Their idea was a scam from the start, and when they go bankrupt or simply shut their doors, I have my doubt about the software being accessible. It might be hosted on a server somewhere, but if there is a technical issue that crops up later, don’t expect it to be fixed. A few thousand people will be holding login credentials that are even more worthless than they are today.

• hm says:
24 December 2009

No, it’s not just on a server located somewhere, it’s contracted out to another company. So people aren’t confused, the software will still work. Whatever U1st goes out with will be the last “version” so obviously no touch ups will be made. Another issue that possibly can turn up would be bugs in the software, but I’ve heard they now have a V4.2 or something which apparently got rid of those previous bugs. Basically you will still be able to use your software but no changes can be made to it, as far as I know anyway. Just think of it as Windows Vista U1st style But it will be usable. If you do happen to be a customer, give U1st a call and ask them that concern 866-307-3201. For all i know, the third party hosting the software will be able to do some updates, but I know just as much about that fact as the people bashing United First on here.

• Tracy Coenen says:
24 December 2009

And will this hosting company continue to host the software into infinity after UFF is bankrupt? Doubtful. Sure, there may be a contract and a payment in place to guarantee the software is operational for a period of time, but it’s not going to go on forever. And isn’t that what consumers are being marketed? A $3500 piece of software that they can use forever? • hm says: 26 December 2009 That’s why I’m urging people who do have the software to call and ask if that is a concern for them (and hopefully it is). No one on here can say if it will work or not with sufficeint proof until it actually happens. • Craig Hansen says: 26 December 2009 Why do you assume UFirst will suddenly start looking out for their clients *now*? If this was a legitimate product, they could market it differently, sell it for a reasonable price, and be the darling of the personal financial software industry. They aren’t. They’ve sold very few MMAs, at hyper-inflated pricing, and the only legitimate media coverage warns against the MMA. The magazines that promote the MMA exist to promote products – not provide consumers with unbiased advice. Even if the servers remain powered up, there is no reason to assume they will remain up and running. Databases require maintenance. Web apps require fixes as small bugs are found. When UFirst goes, so do their employees, especially their IT staff, as incompetent as they have been shown to be. So with them gone, nobody can expect the MMA software to stay online for more than a few days or weeks. • hm says: 26 December 2009 I realize you haven’t bought the product so you haven’t delt with some of the U1st customer service. I know quite a few of the reps that were back in the day and they did take care of customers who called in. With that in mind, you can’t say they haven’t taken care of customers, because they have. As I mentioned already, you nor I know what their plan is, as we don’t work for them so you’re assumption is just as valid as you state mine is. It is stated in one of the contracts signed by customers (I think) or in some of the paperwork shown to customers that it will stay up and running. And I’ll say it for I think the thir time, if you do doubt that statement, give them a call and ask particularly about that, because I would imagine by now they have recieved numerous calls about that particular problem. Also, please don’t bash their IT staff. Those problems had to do with owners decisions and their inability to plan, not IT. They did an excellent job mopping up after all the problems owners have caused. • Craig Hansen says: 26 December 2009 Put simply, when UFirst goes bankrupt, any agreement with them won’t be worth as much as the paper it is written upon. How do you get a hosting company to fix your bugs? That’s not what they do – they host servers. You seem to know some people in CS, and you also seem to know the department was gutted by layoffs. The writing is on the wall. Sales are down 89% since January 09, and they still have rent to pay and a payroll to make. As for the IT staff, perhaps you’re right. Version 4.0 may have been rushed and poorly planned. But even before the bugs, it was a slower way of repaying debts. A simple “pay discretionary income towards your higher interest debts” approach beats the MMA by months and thousands of dollars, even if the MMA were free. Why couldn’t the MMA have simply done that, instead of insisting on some intermediate account? The answer is simple – it would be easy to see what is happening, and it would never sell. This is not a company worth crying over when they are gone. • hm says: 27 December 2009 If you read what I said before I wouldn’t have to repeat it. There could possibly be bugs later on, but people will still be able to manage their accounts, as they previously did before V4 came out and supposedly that has been fixed, as customers haven’t been complaining about those particular problems. Also, don’t throw percentages at me unless you know they’re correct. Those aren’t. Instead of telling customers on here that they’re stupid for purchasing the software, why don’t you try to bash a company worth bringing down such as aol? • Tracy Coenen says: 27 December 2009 We don’t “bash” any company on this site. We provide information to consumers… the information that the companies selling sham products and services don’t want them to know. HM – You are simply guessing about what will happen when the company goes under. You know no more than we do about that. You don’t even know what the contract says, but you assume it says something about that. You want us to ask the company what will happen. What do you think they’ll so? “On yes, if we go out of business, the software will be even more useless than it is now.” LOL – Please find something constructive to add to this conversation. And if you’re interested in talking about AOL, go start your own website and do that. • hm says: 27 December 2009 You’re also guessing. That is the point I’m trying to make to you. You have said alot of things off of assumption on this site. Both of you aren’t directly calling people stupid but are making the notion that they are. They alerady made the choice to buy the product. Just give them a break and lay off. • Craig Hansen says: 27 December 2009 No, the people who bought this are victims, and I would never denigrate them, and I’ve advocated on the behalf of a few. One client is on the payment plan, and his request for a refund was denied. He has cancelled his credit card, and will now wait to see if UFirst does anything about it. If they don’t, that will be good information for a lot of people. They aren’t stupid – they just don’t know much about mortgages, and they had a moment of weakness in front of some slick salesmen. Happens to the best of us. Many of the agents are also victims, as only the top ~1% of agents make a living at the typical MLM. We know of agents who have fallen on hard times because they thought the MMA would be the “business” for them. Ex-agent Jaime Buckley recently lost his house. As for the numbers, MMA sales have been leaked almost monthly, almost all year long: Jan 3,473 Feb 2,177 Mar 2,428 Apr 2,058 May 1,353 Jun 1,092 Jul 849 Aug 710 Sept 583 Oct (no data) Nov 369 That represents an 89% decline since January. If you choose not to believe those numbers, fine. You know there have been massive layoffs, and entire departments have been gutted. You know the CEO, CMO, COO, two lead developers, and other top-level people have left, and no replacements have been announced. That UFirst is on life support is obvious, and the source of the numbers above has always been correct before. Further, we have no reason to lie, and we have not lied in the past. • Steve says: 5 January 2010 curious you say that United First is going bankrupt. I have been told they practice what they preach and are totally debt free as a company. I can’t find any news about them going bankrupt or having financial difficulties. Are you speaking in the hypothetical? I have worked with a number of software companies and all of their clients would be in the same boat if any of them went bankrupt – but I have never heard of any that are debt free. Surprising that a company with the reputation of Ernst and Young would give this company an award if what they provided was suspicious. Looking forward to hearing more as I am considering their offer. I have too many years of trying to ‘do it on my own’ and finding little success. My intentions are good and I am more disciplined than most but life has a way of taking over. • Tracy Coenen says: 5 January 2010 Steve – I’m afraid that if your problem is “life taking over,” that UFF MMA will not solve that problem. Life will happen, and you’ll just be$3500 more in debt. MMA doesn’t stop life from happening.

• Sandy says:
6 January 2010

Ernst and Young did not choose them for the award — they just sponsored it. But UFF will mention this award several times in their sales sessions.

If you decide to us the program, keep this in mind … (wished I had known this before wasting my money)

Anyone can be an agent. They do not have to be licensed or certified. Get an agent who actually uses the program themselves. Good luck.

Your agent and sales people do not work for UFF. They can tell you anything, and UFF will not back them up.

You are not buying software. You are buying a login to UFF’s servers. If the company does fold, then you no longer have the software. And the folks at UFF can see every move you make with the program.

Ask about the guarantee, and make sure you understand what it is. If they tell you it’s a satisfaction guarantee, don’t believe them. Call UFF directly and ask about them about the guarantee. You need to be okay with no chance of a refund after handing over your money, no matter what happens.

Document everything. Get everything in writing – every problem you have, every phone call, every question, every promise made to you. Know that UFF keeps a record of every phone call made to you, and if you don’t answer (like if you’re working or whatever) it’s noted that you were unresponsive.

Read the contract. Note that it is against your contract to save a screen shot of the program. So if you have a problem, you will have a hard time proving it. Don’t let anyone change anything on your program to fix the problem until it’s resolved and you are satisfied, or your proof is gone. Make sure UFF documents the problem in your records and get them to send you proof. They probably won’t, but you may need proof later.

UFF got down to a D- rating with the BBB in 2009. That’s another entire issue. Filing a complaint to the BBB will not get you a refund if you have issues with UFF.

You also need to be okay with your bank account getting down to zero, and living off borrowed money.

It’s not as easy as they make it out to be. Every time you spend money, pay a bill, or move money around (and you will move money around a LOT) you have to document it. You will constantly be thinking about money. Maybe that’s good for some people, but it gets old real fast. And it takes time, much more than you are told. And you’re doing this every day or every week for years.

You CAN do it yourself. Even UFF says on their QA that you can. If you take all your leftover money at the end of the month and send it to the bank, you just did it yourself. Ta-Da!

• steve says:
7 January 2010

The complaints about United First Financial are interesting and yet the specific situation is no different than what we daily face with many other companies. Getting a password to use a piece of web based software is a technology that many companies use It goes by various names like SAS software as a solution, Data Centers. hosted software etc. Many insurance agencies for instance now store all of their data, which is your personal data, off site on a server provided by their software vendor. Welcome to the modern age of technology. United First Financial does not have any of its clients account data only the balances in their accounts I am told. My guess is anyone reading this column is a regular computer user and has probably purchased items over the Internet. given your credit card numbers and even the security code – either to a person directly or typed it onto a form. Sounds like we all put our trust in businesses and people on a routine basis.
Not sure what Sue means about Ernst and Young awarding versus sponsoring – they both sound like an endorsement to me.
Bottom line – if people could do this on their own – why are we so in debt? I have a very solid hand on my finances, always have, and while I am not in debt to the level of many folks who are losing their homes I have been hoodwinked into believing that a low monthly payment and low interest rates are where I should be focusing. My banker and mortgage lender and even the guy who sold me a car with financing had me focusing on the monthly payments, not the total cost of ownership. If you are mature enough to own a home you should be smart enough to understand an amortization schedule and realize that refinancing is not the answers to all your worries. Paying interest to third parties is what is robbing you and I of realizing our dreams and goals. Heck it is even in the bible for those that lean that way.

• steve says:
7 January 2010

Also – I checked the Better Business Bureau in Utah about this company and they have a B+ rating and the complaints are minimal – it is important – especially in researching a company with forensic detail – to be truthful and honest. Due to the person hosting this column I would hope the information could be more factual and less emotional which is why I choose to refer to this website

• Sandy says:
7 January 2010

I stand corrected … UFF got down to a D+ rating with the BBB in 2009, not a D- (sorry, a typo). Then later it went back up to a B+.

I doubt everyone who had a problem with UFF filed a complaint with the BBB. It’s a long process and not much gets resolved. Even a “resolved” case may not mean it’s resolved to the satisfaction of the consumer.

• Judith says:
7 January 2010

I’m in Iowa. I ‘bought into’ the MMA idea in August of ’08. The ‘agent’ didn’t know how to explain the system to me (found out later she didn’t even use it herself) so she just said, “You’ll understand it once you start using it “. I’m a real estate agent, commissions only! After getting all my numbers into the program, she came over to ‘attempt’ to help me get going. Well, she did something that erased ALL the numbers!! We called the company. They re-entered numbers but they were wrong. When the light went on and I realized how the program was intended to work, I also realized that it wasn’t a program that I would be comfortable with. If I had extra to put toward my principal (which I rarely did), there was no guarantee I wouldn’t need that ‘extra’ money just to live on the next month! I tried to ‘talk’ to someone at UFF about a refund but got nowhere. I did the lengthy BBB complaint and got nothing there either. I just spoke to someone again tonight and am getting NO PLACE with them. I may have to get an attorney involved. Any suggestions?

• George says:
8 January 2010

Hi Steve,

quote I have been told they practice what they preach and are totally debt free as a company. unquote
quote United First Financial does not have any of its clients account data only the balances in their accounts I am told unquote

Curious who told you this? and why you would necessarily believe them?

Steve are you a u first agent? Coz if you really were not, and you have spent the effort to find this site and have read all of the various posts here I find it hard to believe that you or anyone would still consider u first as a legitmate business opportunity or product offering.

Oh and by the way, that Ernst and Young plug that all the agents keep going on about. Do a little research to really find out what that is all about. Its been brought to light here that it is really nothing more than a sponsered promo. In fact, its a bit of an ongoing joke that probably half of the companies that are nominated for these awards end up bankrupt within the next year or two following. Now I can’t back this up but it is has been a bit of a joke in the business community since the high tech melt down last decade.

yours truly Geo

• NN says:
1 February 2010

Anyone who makes assumptions about something without first hand knowledge has about as much validity as an apple complainging about being an orenge.

• Tracy Coenen says:
2 February 2010

NN – Then thank goodness that I have plenty of firsthand knowledge about the UFF product, how it works, and how it is being marketed.

• shirley says:
11 February 2010

You ought to be ashamed of yourself, presenting yourself as an authority on the Money Merge Account and United First Financial, if you are not going to do any more due diligence than you have. I am a client and agent of the Money Merge Account and have been for 3 years. You have so misrepresented the program, the business, the company, the financial position of the company, the owners, and the endorsements. You have taken what you consider enough information to formulate your own faulty conclusions and have totally misunderstood and misrepresented the program and what it does and how it works.

What saddens me is that by being so quick to express your opinions and faulty conclusions, you may have kept people who really need and could benefit from our program from even considering it. If you’d bothered to find out what motivated the founders to produce and market this program in the first place, if you’d spent time with them and listened to their heart and allowed them to really understand how this works and why they’ve chosen the marketing program they have (which by the way is a an agency model with a few benefits that have been borrowed from MLM models and ONLY works if the produgt is sold, no matter how many agents are recruited).

I hate to even post on your site, because in doing so, I just add credibility to what you do.

• shirley says:
11 February 2010

I must have hit the enter key before I finished my post, so here’s more… you would never be able to say most of the outrageous things you have touted in your blog.

I’m tempted to pick each of your conclusions and give a rebuttal, but I’m not sure you really want the truth. At least that’s the impression I get when I read your blog and all your responses. If you’d sincerely like to understand the Money Merge Account, I’d be happy to spend the time to help you see where you are in error. Email me and we can set up a time to talk on the phone.

• Tracy Coenen says:
11 February 2010

Shirley,

What do you mean by the statement that I “would never be able to say” the things I’ve said here. Since I’ve said them, then clearly I’m able to say them.

The problem with your rant is that you haven’t even pointed out one factual inaccuracy in my article. Not one.

I know why those guys started UFF – to make money for themselves. They don’t use an “agency model,” they use an MLM model. There is a big difference, specifically that in MLMs, multiple levels of people are recruited.

Now. I’m not interested in wasting my valuable time of the phone with you. However, you are free to point out any inaccuracies in my article. Be forewarned,.. you must back up whatever you say with real facts and real proof. Show us the numbers! Show us the hard evidence. If you do not come with substance in your response, it will be deleted without anyone ever seeing it.

• JoeTaxpayer says:
11 February 2010

Shirley –
Tracy and those of us who have spoken out against this program know more than we need to know. There are multiple posts within this blog that can show you that. The “Factorial Math” post by Craig Hansen, The “HELOC Shuffle” post by yours truly.
It’s easily shown that one can use an amortization table or spreadsheet (or actually, nothing, just prepayments) and beat MMA. MMA is nothing more than a calculator with some faulty assumptions built in, otherwise, how is it that when I ask an agent for an analysis, tell him he’s welcome to ignore the $3500 fee, it still fails to match simply prepaying? Let me close with this rhetorical question: UFirst has a disclaimer “United First Financial does not provide accounting, tax, legal, real-estate, mortgage, or investment advice.” Since agent are so big on analogies, I’ll ask, “If you went into a doctor’s office and saw a sign in the waiting room ‘Dr Rosencrantz does not provide medical, health, or any advice pertaining to your physical wellbeing” would you stay or find another doctor? With all due respect, this disclaimer is enough to warn off anyone with a lick of common sense. • lilly says: 24 February 2010 Ok I know the software very well. I am 33 yrs, I bought my first house wen i was just 25. My husband and I did the math our mortgadge was$1200.00 amonth, we multipli it by 30 it came out to be$432,000.00 in 30yrs so i bought the house for 160.00 so if you come to see the bank is getting$272,000 in profit , commond sence is 160k you could pay it off in 9yrs why our we getting so ript off?
now we all know that if we send a little bite more to each payment it will be paid off faster. but we are human that some times we dont understand that. so to me UFIRST has help not only me but my friends and family is a great investment in the feuture. we need some thing or some one to remember use how ti di the things that need to be done. is note about the money that is coust to by the program is a program that will help us save money and get out of debt faste dont you think? is like we get a credit card with a limite of 500 and our monthly payment is 25.00 dollars now you are getting interest raite on the rememining of what you barow. if you use 50 dollars then pay the 50 dollars back is simple. thats why american today are full in debts and consolidating. if you look on how u save money then waist wt would you choose? spend alittle bit now or waist more on 30 yrs? and to say that is a busines aportunity yes it is. wen u start a busines you are better of starting from the bottom and knowing the busines the starting from the top and falling down. every thing in life is a pyramid you may not see it know but it is.

• Craig Hansen says:
27 February 2010

Lilly, that was completely incoherent. If you need a plan to follow, then get something like Quicken to show you how to retire your debts quickly, and spend $100 instead of$3500 on something that is much, much less efficient and more awkward to use than Quicken.

It is obvious that you don’t understand the first thing about money, so take the time to talk to your bank or lender. Set up automatic extra payments that you know you’ll have to meet. Perhaps that’s all you need.

But to go an additional $3500 in debt, just to let the MMA to tell you to send more money to your debts, is one of the dumbest decisions you could have made. • sally says: 4 March 2010 Praise for Shirley who does know how the MMA works. You other people have no idea!! I’ve recently helped 5 people with the MMA. One of them has 3 credit cards, one mortgage, college education debts for her kids. They are in their late 50’s and just refied to a 28 year mortgage. Their debts totalled over 600,00. They are on track to pay off all this in just 10.3 years! With my clients I help them weekly until they get into the flow of how it works. NO more checkbooks!! There’s always customer service,also. There are terrible agents in any biz, why pick on United First Financial? If you don’t understand something how can you make these comments? Unbelievable! You know that phrase “a little information is dangerous….” So true. Thank you Shirley for your heartfelt comments. AS you know we teach, Time value of Money, Interest Cancellation, and Strategic Payoffs. And other banking strategies not known to us regular people!! I’ve also been a Financial Advisor for 8 years and love helping people. This product has just enhanced how much more I can help others. Get a life! • Tracy Coenen says: 4 March 2010 You TEACH “interest cancellation”??? Really? What is there to teach? That’s just an invented phrase that means… if you pay your debts earlier than scheduled, you’ll pay less interest. That couple didn’t need MMA. In fact, without it, they would be out of debt months sooner. Throw away your checkbook? Hardly. And certainly not because you’re using MMA. • Richard says: 17 March 2010 Tracy, thanks for the breakdown. I bought into the MMA as an agent through a friend, and can attest to the low-caliber quality of the certification exam. I can’t vouch for the character of other agents as I’ve only communicated with two: My friend who got me interested in 2007, and my “Branch Manager”. My friend is a survivor who has effectively reinvented himself more than once in order to provide for his family. My “Branch Manager” was (or still is) a largely inaccessible Oz-like being with whom I managed to speak only once, and I seemed to interrupt his socializing when I did. Even as an agent, I was difficult to get the help I needed to sell the product. But my question to you (as I’ve been completely inactive with MMAs since the first half of ’08) is: What condition is the company in now? Are they going the way of Ameriquest? Lastly, I had always planned to get on the MMA as a client once I landed a house, myself. No more. It’s nice to know there are better, simpler ways to get the same results. Many thanks – -Richard • M Laws says: 18 April 2010 I drank their kool-aid for 2 years and sold money merge accounts and to date, I don’t know of anyone still using it. What I hate most is that I sold it to people that I knew. I started to expose the truth, got terminated AND they still owe me over$2,000 in commissions. To add insult to injury, United first Financial sent me my 1099 form AFTER April 15th forcing me to file an amended tax return.

This is a slim company!

• JR says:
22 April 2010

So did you make any  selling it?

• Mark says:
6 May 2010

Tracy,

I bought this software about 4 years ago. I am not an agent, but I love telling people about it. It is working for me. In your article, you even mention that “It’s more complicated than it needs to be, but mathematically the process can help you pay off your mortgage sooner.” So, it can work, right?

I don’t know much about the company, it’s founders, it’s status, etc. I disagree with the company marketing it as being able to do it “without altering your current standard of living”. Yeah, if you’re saving all the money you don’t spend, then sure, this will take advantage of it. But most people I know spend almost all of what they earn, even if they don’t have to. This seems like “altering your current standard of living.”

I also agree that the principle of the program is the most valuable part of it. However, If the software truly does “optimize” the principle, based on your mortgage, income and expenses, then it could make the software worth it. If this optimization saves you even a few months on your mortgage, then it seems to me it is worth it.

I enjoyed reading Shirley’s post, but I wish she would have come back with some inaccuracies in your article.

First, the first comment you quoted, about the person who sat through a meeting, is not entirely accurate. The “program”, either the software or the principle of it, does not have you make extra monthly payments. Or at least for me it doesn’t. If the program knew that I had $2,845 extra per month, to put to my mortgage, then it would tell me to transfer much more than that from the HELOC to the mortgage. Probably$10K plus, but that’s just an estimate. But because they said this, and because you used them as a knowledgeable source, I’m left to conclude that neither of you really know how it works.

Second, you dedicate a whole paragraph to explaining that agents are not knowledgeable or trained. That may be entirely true. I don’t know. But that doesn’t mean that the program/software doesn’t work. Perhaps the owners of the company should make sure that their agents are more qualified.

Third, as I mentioned above, you can learn the principle of the program for free, but if the software really does optimize the principle, then it would be worth it, right? Now whether or not it optimizes the principle is a whole other conversation.

I hope I’m coming across as kind. I know a lot of people think this program is a scam. Thatdoesn’t make sense to me. 5 years ago I bought a home, and after making a large downpayment, I started with a balance of $132,000 and now it’s down to$77,000. It would take me until 2025 to be there, if I just made regular monthly payments. At this rate, I will pay it off in another 4-5 years. I’d like to hear your response to my thoughts.

• Tracy Coenen says:
7 May 2010

Mark – My thoughts are simple: You spent $3500 to have a piece of software tell you to pay more on your mortgage than the minimum each month, so that you could pay it off sooner than if you had just paid the minimum. This “optimization” is a myth, and even if it does work to “optimize” things, your savings from that are not enough to outweigh the$3500 you paid for the software. The bottom line is that you should have paid the $3500 toward your debt instead of paying it to UFF. You paid$3500 and got no value, just like everyone else who buys the program.

• Mark says:
7 May 2010

Tracy – Okay, so you do agree that the principle of the program works? But you don’t think that the software is necessary/worth it? Is that correct?

I’m going to proceed as if I’m correct in those two statements. You can tell me if I’m wrong. You said, “This “optimization” is a myth, and even if it does work to “optimize” things, your savings from that are not enough to outweigh the $3500 you paid for the software.” First, I think we both agree that the principle of the program works. (please tell me if that’s wrong) It’s the software that we don’t agree on. So, let’s say you decide to do it without the software. You go out and get a HELOC. The first time around, how much should you transfer from your HELOC to your first mortgage?$4,000? $8,000?$12,000? $25,000? You want to transfer as much as you can, but not so much that you won’t be able to pay it off in a reasonable (aka “optimal”) amount of time. Remember, you’ll want to consider your income, expenses, mortgage (balance, etc) and HELOC (balance, etc). So what’s it going to be? I know you’re smart, but if your decision isn’t optimal, then you could be missing out on saving yourself months, or even years, by the end of your mortgage. The software has functionality that considers all of these things. If you are a mathematician, then go ahead and write algorithms that take in all the variables and optimize the amount you should transfer. Or just take a good guess, but that could be costly. Second, consider that it does “optimize” things, you can’t just say that those savings don’t outweigh the$3,500 I paid for the software, can you? Unless you know how much the optimization is saving me. If I told you that the software was saving me $10,000 in interest, then you would agree that the software is worth it, right? If you told me that the software is saving me$1000 in interest, then I would have to agree that the software is not worth it. Question is, how much does it really save me, if any?

How much does it save me if I payoff my home in 9 years as opposed to 10? If the software does that for me, is it worth it? What about 8 years, instead of 10? What about 9 years and 6 months, instead of 10 years? It seems to me that you need to determine if one, the software does optimize and two, how much it optimizes and is that much worth it?

Then again, you weren’t even agreeing that it can optimize. You were just saying that if it could, it still wouldn’t be worth it. But how did you come to that conclusion?

• Tracy Coenen says:
7 May 2010

Mark – It’s not a “principle of the program.” It’s just simple math and how mortgages work. If you pay more than the minimum, you pay it off faster. There’s nothing special about that, but if you want to pay UFF $3500 to tell you that, God bless ya. As for your rambling about how the software works… I’d suggest you take a look at the following article, which will tell you why the silly money shuffle is a waste of time and almost worthless. http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2008/09/29/the-uff-money-merge-account-money-shuffle-explained/ You do not NEED to do this silly “optimization” as you call it. All you need to do is take any extra money you have each month (above and beyond all your minimum required debt payments) and apply it to the debt with the highest interest rate. And here… I’m going to give you over$19,000 and not charge you a dime for my advice:

http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2008/05/16/fun-with-numbers-i-can-save-you-19714-without-united-first-financial/

So NO, the software doesn’t “work” because it doesn’t actually do anything of value for the user. It just costs them money and forces them to spend a longer time paying off their debt than if they had done the simple do-it-yourself method I mention above.

• Craig Hansen says:
7 May 2010

Mark,

The classic analogy is the energy-saving stick. This stick allows you to turn off the lights you’re not using in your house. Here’s how it works: Before you leave a room, pick up the stick and use it to switch the light off. You’ll save thousands of dollars over the long run, compared to leaving all the lights in your house on, all the time.

Is this stick a good deal, or is it a scam? Remember, everything I wrote above is true – you can save thousands, if you use the stick to flip light switches off.

What you bought, is a $3500 stick. Accelerating your mortgage is easier without the MMA. With a few minutes of simple instruction, anyone can see that they need to reduce spending and increase income, where possible, to accelerate a mortgage. Then, when the regular mortgage payment is due each month, take an accounting of how much extra money you can afford to throw at the mortgage. Easier than the MMA,$3500 cheaper than the MMA, and faster than the MMA. Enjoy your expensive stick.

• Mark says:
7 May 2010

Tracy (and Craig, and Joe, etc),

At this point, the most important issue to me is what I refer to as the “principle” that the software is based on. That you take out a HELOC and that you transfer a certain amount of money from that HELOC to your 1st Mortgage. The amount you transfer is several times the amount of your discretionary income per month. Then, all of your expenses come out of that HELOC and all of your income goes into it. This only works if you make more than you spend, because that’s what helps paydown the balance on your HELOC. After you make that first transfer, you continue to make regular monthly payments to your mortgage. Nothing extra. After several months, the balance on your HELOC should have been reduced to a low amount. Then you transfer another large amount. Then you repeat this process. The benefit of this is that instead of prepaying month by month, you prepay several months at a time, then pay down that HELOC balance every month. That way, your regular monthly payments go further for you because more of it goes to principal and less to interest.

Are we all on the same page with this? From your comments, I get the idea that you think this process of transferring from the HELOC to the 1st Mortgage occurs monthly. That is not it. Joe’s post about “Money Shuffle” describes it as, “the shifting of funds from a checking account, to a HELOC, and then to a primary mortgage.” That is not it either. The HELOC serves as a checking account. Unless things have changed in the last 4 years, there is no need for a checking account.

Joe then says, “MMA software then suggests you borrow another $2500 from your HELOC, and send the entire$5,000 to your mortgage as a principal payment. At the 6% mortgage rate, the $5,000 will save you$25 per month, but even if the HELOC were also 6% (it’s usually at an even higher rate), half of that is lost, so your net gain is only $12.50 per month.” I get a little confused by this, but if it’s saying what I think it is trying to say, then I think it is right. It’s confusing because you don’t borrow money from your HELOC, then add it to some other money, as this suggests, then send it to your mortgage as a principal payment. There are two accounts. Your HELOC (serving as Checking account) and your 1st Mortgage. If you decide to send$5,000 to your 1st Mortgage then that all comes from your HELOC and creates a balance there. Then, as Joe mentions, because you paid down your 1st Mortgage by $5,000, you save$25 in interest each month thereafter. And yes, you also pay some amount, perhaps $12.50 a month, in interest on your new HELOC balance. So as Joe says, that is a net savings of$12.50 a month. But he stops there.

If you continue the process, that HELOC balance will eventually be paid down enough that it is smart to transfer another $5,000 from the HELOC to the 1st mortgage. What happens then? You save another$25 a month in interest on your 1st mortgage, bringing that now to $50 a month in interest savings on your 1st mortgage. The once again, you minus the interest per month on the HELOC which should still be about the same, since your balance is back to where it was.$12.50 a month. Now that’s a net savings of $37.50 a month. And as you continue the process, that net savings gets bigger and bigger. Yes, it takes time. And what’s not mentioned, and perhaps even more significant, is that you also skipped several months of payments all together. How much interest is saved by skipping all those months? Please don’t respond with the attitude that no matter what, you’re right and I’m wrong. That won’t get us anywhere. • Tracy Coenen says: 7 May 2010 Mark – I can’t force you to be right or wrong. You are what you are, and it’s wrong. It’s simple. A HELOC has an interest rate that is higher than a regular mortgage, so it never makes sense to borrow from the HELOC to pay down the mortgage. So what about using your paycheck to make a mortgage payment sooner? Well if you have the money to do so, then do it. You don’t need to do some silly money shuffle with a$3500 piece of software to do it. You’re pretending that the MMA allows you to do something special. It doesn’t. It just costs you money.

• Craig Hansen says:
8 May 2010

Tracy is right. You can write reams about this, but it all boils down to a scam. Borrowing from a HELOC in the second position will almost always result in a higher rate of interest than your primary mortgage, and borrowing at a higher rate of interest to pay a lower rate mortgage never makes sence. Mathematically, you’ll come out behind 99% of the time, and that 1% where arbitrage interest savings from a average-daily-balance HELOC outweighs the interest savings of the lower rate mortgage, amounts to a few bucks at most. Nowhere near the savings UFirst agents like to claim. Those savings were due to simple prepayment – plain and simple.

And the sales figures point to a population that has figured this out. 2009 saw monthly MMA sales drop steadily by 92% from January to December. Here in Canada, sales have been suspended in Alberta because of regulatory issues, and Alberta was about the only province in which sales were being made.

Unfortunately, you bought into a scam. Everyone else now realizes that. At some point, you’ll realize it and stop using the MMA as well. At that point, you should have some big questions for your agent.

• Mark says:
8 May 2010

Well, I guess this where this conversation ends. All you can do is tell me I’m wrong, but nothing you have said points to that. I’ve tried to be constructive, but you keep making this about the MMA software and the company that sells it. My last comment didn’t even mention the software nor the company.

“A HELOC has an interest rate that is higher than a regular mortgage, so it never makes sense to borrow from the HELOC to pay down the mortgage.” Wrong. How much is interest on $200,000 at 6%? How much is interest on$5,000 at 10% (or even 20%)? Come on, Tracy. Don’t let your readers down. Pay interest on one to get out of more interest on the other does make sense.

“Borrowing from a HELOC in the second position will almost always result in a higher rate of interest than your primary mortgage, and borrowing at a higher rate of interest to pay a lower rate mortgage never makes sense.” *Same response*

I thought for sure by the end of this, one of you would give me some accurate data that may help me rethink this. So far you’ve just strengthened how I feel about it. Maybe I should start a blog.

• Tracy Coenen says:
8 May 2010

Mark – You’ve fallen victim to one of the lies used to sell MMA. Someone has convinced you that because 6% on $200k is a larger number than 20% on$5k, then the MMA works. Unfortunately, this comparison means absolutely nothing. This comparison is NOT what is happening when you use MMA.

The one real principle underlying the MMA is that you save interest if you pay down your mortgage faster than your amortization schedule. And this is true. If your monthly payment is $1,000, and you pay$1,200 each month, you will indeed “cancel” interest and pay less money over the life of your mortgage.

How do you pay your mortgage off early? You need money to do that. There are only two possibilities:
1. You have cash in hand. Maybe you have $5,000 sitting in the bank. You can use that to pay off part of that 6% mortgage and you will save interest. You don’t need MMA to tell you that you can do this. Save your$3500 fee and pay the $5,000 on your mortgage for free! 2. You don’t have the cash to pay down more of the mortgage, so you have to get it from somewhere. MMA will have you take$5,000 from that 10% HELOC and use it to pay down $5,000 on your 6% mortgage. And that costs you money. Surely you see that 10% interest on$5,000 costs you more than 6% interest on $5,000. All you’ve done is replaced cheaper debt with more expensive debt. MMA agents will tell you that somehow MMA creates money for you. No, it does not. There is the money shuffle that might provide you with$10 or $20 of interest savings each month by “optimizing” when you make your debt payments. But that savings is more than canceled out by the$3500 fee that MMA charges to use the software.

If you honestly don’t understand the above, please tell us what is confusing you. The above is simple math and I’ll try to help you understand it. What you’ve been told, and what you’ve recited here is based on faulty logic.

• Mark says:
9 May 2010

Well folks, I’m now about 95% sure that I’ve been wrong this whole time. I know what you’re thinking, why not 100%? I always felt like, sure, you may have like $575, or something, in discretionary income, and you can have that automatically go to pay down your mortgage each month. But what if one month you don’t have$575 extra and having it go to your first mortgage causes you to overdraft from your checking account? That’s not good. So this HELOC way really takes advantage of all of that extra money. But the simple answer to overdrafting is just to pad your checking account a bit to avoid those ups and downs.

Now, how did I conclude that I was wrong? Well, sorry guys, it wasn’t what you said. Sure, you were right, but the way you said it didn’t really click for me. I sat down at my computer an hour ago and started preparing my next comment. But this time I was going to go “all out”. I was going to compare an amortization schedule with extra monthly payments and one that follows the HELOC pattern and compare the two to show you that it does work. Unfortunately, it didn’t. I don’t know why I ever thought it did, but I was a big fan. It may have been because I was so sold on the fact that it was going to take advantage of all of my discretionary income. At that point, I was making extra monthly payments, but not equal to the amount of all of my discretionary income, because I thought that would be dangerous. So the HELOC thing was a great solution to that. But in the end, not necessary at all.

Now, could I be wrong again? Perhaps. That’s why I say 95%. But I’m pretty sure this program is all wrong.

I do have to say that doing the HELOC/MMA thing really propelled me into hyper-drive with paying off my mortgage. I don’t believe I would be where I am, on my mortgage, without this having given me the sense that it would really help. So, i guess that’s the only positive that came out of it. $3,500 to get me moving fast, even if I could have done that for free. Thanks again, guys. • Joel says: 10 May 2010 To all of you with the negative comments about the MMA software and the HELOC, I say keep looking and do the math but you will never beat the MMA software it is amazing. Have you tried it? Did you run an analysis to see if we you could beat our numbers. By the way how many of you are paying off your mortgages in 6,8 or 10 years. If you are not, don’t talk like you know it all because you are living proofs that you cannot come close to what this program can do even for people that have just a few dollars left at the end of the month! The company is debt free, they have been hiring more employees and support coaches every year and 80% of their clients keep their MMA program because they see their payoff date approaching before their eyes with the software. Most clients that cannot benefit from this are either unable to bring enough income home or just too lazy too to work with the program. For your info, most people on the MMA program actually do even better than their first analysis predicted. I used to think I knew all the tricks and the methods to save on interest but this is overwhelmingly so much more powerful! Tracy, obviously you have not done your homework about using an HELOC to cancel interests. This method is widely used in Australia, and in Canada Manulife Bank uses this method. When you combine interest float, interest accumulation, interest cancellation and stategic payoff like United First does: you win! Tracy, do like the other smart people in accounting, real estate, banking, and financial planning; try it and see for yourself. Then, and only then you will have a real opinion on the issue and you will save yourself a lot of money. It’s up to you! Yes United First Finacial is set up like an MLM company and the insurance business ect… so what.. They are legit and they have been praised by Ernst and Young, and recommended by Broker Banker magazine and it’s executive publisher Brian Topor as” the real deal”. 80% of their clients will tell you that their accountants, bankers, and financial planners planners are blown away by the results because like most of you out there they cannot do the math. Too bad, I wish you all could benefit from this amazing system. All the best, from an agent. • Tracy Coenen says: 11 May 2010 Joel – Many spreadsheets have been made, and MMA loses every time. Have a look! http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2009/12/21/any-way-you-slice-it-the-uff-money-merge-account-loses/ • LeeD says: 11 May 2010 Joel is about a year late the party. Every point he brings up has already been said before by previous UFF agents, and thoroughly disabused many times over by Tracy and others. Did you even read anything on this page, Joel? • Mark says: 11 May 2010 Joel, I’m not sure if you read my comments or not. If you’re going to stick around, I’d be glad to show you what I came up with. I’m not an agent, but I was a very happy client. Don’t take that “was” as if I hate the company. I’m still trying to figure out what I think. Here is the one thing I think I misunderstood and it’s not necessarily the company’s fault that I misunderstood it. I thought that if you had a monthly discretionary income of$500 a month, that paying that as an extra monthly payment to principal was not as good as paying a large chunk up front, from a HELOC, then using the $500 a month to slowly pay that HELOC balance down. Then, while you paydown that HELOC balance, you continue to make regular monthly payments and that payment goes further for you than it otherwise would, because you lowered the mortgage balance right off the bat. I’ve looked at it several times now, with a mortgage calculator/amortization schedule, and can’t find a way where paying it up front is actually a lot better, like I thought it was. That’s where I thought the magic was. But you tell me if I’m wrong. I’ve been wrong before. There is still one thing I’m trying to determine. In the above example, you have$500 a month extra in your budget. Well, some months it may be $450 and others it may be$550. It’s hard to know what the actual number will be and if you’re like me, you want to setup an automatic monthly payment of $500 so you don’t have to figure it out every month. Doing that may put you in a tight spot, unless you pad your checking account with a good chunk of money as a safety net to protect you from the monthly ups and downs of life. If you lessen your automatic monthly payment, to be safe, then now it’s not comparing apples to apples. This is where the HELOC becomes somewhat appealing, because it can more easily withstand the ups and downs of life. If one month you don’t make what you thought you would, it’s not the end of the world. Conversely, if one month you make more than you thought you would, then even better, the HELOC takes advantage of that. All this being said, if you’re not careful, the HELOC could also be more dangerous for you. Does all of that make sense? I’m totally open to hearing your thoughts on this. I try not to make this about the software. I just focus on whether or not the HELOC method works or not. • Tracy Coenen says: 11 May 2010 How does your$500 per month “go further” if you replaced debt with debt, and the new debt has a higher interest rate? Your $500 actually does less for you. The HELOC is not a good option because the debt is more expensive than your regular mortgage. If your extra money each month varies, then do a manual payment each month. Unless you want to spend$3500 just so you can a) pay more interest, and b) waste a ton of time entering things into the MMA software, and c) not have to do that manual payment.

• Mark says:
11 May 2010

Tracy,

The $500 a month doesn’t go further with a HELOC, like I thought it did. Why did I think that? When you send$500 extra to your mortgage, the next month your regular payment “goes further” for you, right? In that monthly payment, the amount that goes to principal is more than it would have been had you not made the extra $500 payment. In my case, it would be like one dollar more. Doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up (and reduces the length of your mortgage). Each month you do this, you reduce the length of your mortgage in two ways. One, you skip monthly payments. Two, your monthly payments “go further”. This is something we all agree on, right? That making extra monthly payments helps reduce the length of your loan, thus reducing the interest you will pay on the loan. My thinking with the HELOC was that instead of doing it month by month, you do a large chunk up front. Let’s say,$6,000, since that’s what you’ll pay after 12 months, doing it month by month on the previous example. So, on your next regular monthly payment, more goes to principle than just an extra dollar or two. It’s more like an extra $20 or$25. Joe Taxpayer mentions this in his “Heloc Shuffle”. I thought that this difference would mean that the HELOC “goes further” than the other option. But as Joe says, their is not really much of a benefit to doing it that way. I also tried the numbers in an amortization schedule and it didn’t really seem to save more than a month or two by the end of the mortgage.

So, seems best to do the month by month option, if indeed you do send all of your discretionary income to your mortgage each month. Yes, you can even calculate how much discretionary income you have each month and manually send it to your first mortgage, but I prefer setting up an automatic option with my mortgage company. I may not “maximize” it that way, but it sure makes things easier for me.

• Tracy Coenen says:
11 May 2010

Mark – Even if you DID “maximize” it, the small savings from that maximization is not even enough to cover the $3500 the MMA costs. Joe Taxpayer has done the calculations about 100 times with a bunch of different scenarios, and the MMA loses every time. I wish MMA didn’t lose. I wish people got value for their$3500. They simply don’t.

And it’s hard to convince people. We have nothing to gain by telling the ugly truth about MMA. But those selling it certainly have something to gain by getting you to believe it works. Yet it’s still so hard to make users of MMA believe us, when we have no self-interest whatsoever.

• Honolulu Sally says:
18 May 2010

Tracy, I wish I had read this earlier, like 2 months earlier. I did a Google search for paying down mortgages, and came across UFF’s Money Merge Account. I looked through the website, testimonials, etc. I was sold before the agent even contacted me. The agent was excellent. Young, but excellent. Totally different circumstances of life from me – I am much older with many more accounts, loans, investing vehicles. I was told that there was a “Multiple Properties Option” – I figured “PERFECT!” and signed up all enthused, fired up, ready to go.

It was a painful process getting my accounts in order, figuring out monthly expenses, entering up to date balances of all my credit cards, checking account, mortgages. I spent SO much time the first month just getting it all lined up and accurate, and being a very anal Virgo, everything had to balance to the penny. In the process, I found that my HELOCs couldn’t be used because of the limit on number of checks that could be written, and thus was put into a checking account – savings account instead of checking – HELOC, and because I can’t write checks from my savings account, I opened another checking account and named it savings for the MMA. The “Multiple Properties Option” was a joke, no one really knew what it would do, it would cost me $29/month more forever, and would mix personal checking/savings with investment income/accounts. A big no-no if you ever have business income and expenses. Well, here I am, 2 months later, experiencing on-going problems with the program such as it going change crazy when I executed actions out of order (like paying a bill too early) or executing actions in the exact order listed (like depositing paychecks to the checking account, then paying or transferring funds from the checking account), Really! Sometimes the program would red light and show a budget meltdown if I paid an installment for my daughter’s college tuition (even with available funds in accounts). I would have to wait until customer service chat line or phone service was open (I am in the Hawaii time zone) and they would say hold on, and then do something on their end to fix it, and even though I asked them what they did so I could duplicate it myself, I was not taught – even though I also signed up as an Agent. Okay, so now you might think I must be really dumb. You may think that, but I am actually very good at numbers, figuring things out, and easy to teach. Where I am foolish is hopefully believing that companies like United First Financial are in business to help others, not just take their money. Long story short, I asked for a refund, and was told NO because there is no satisfaction guarantee. The guarantee is that the program works. I asked for a 16 year detailed “Action Plan” to prove the payments/deposits/transfers would work as projected. The current Action Plans only carry forward for 3 months at most. I have received zilch. I am still fighting the denial, and the “Client Special Services” has twice denied any refund based on the “senior committee” decision. I wrote a very decent letter and asked that it be forwarded to the higher ups, and have been ignored. For$3500 and only 2 months of use, I really must be a dummy.

If anyone has been successful in getting a refund (someone mentioned 80% have kept it, so does that mean 20% have been refunded?) please let me know how. Or, if anyone knows how to contact the higher ups in that corporate ladder, please send me the contact info. It seems like a gated fortress and no one is willing to open any doors once they have your money.

Thank you Tracy, for exposing companies that rip people off. I am embarrassed and pissed off at the same time.

• Sandy says:
19 May 2010

Honolulu, thanks for sharing your story. I had major issues with the program as well, and of course was denied a refund. The only thing you can do is get your story out there so that others who are considering the program can learn what it’s really like before they buy into it. If UFF gave us a chance to try the program before we bought it, or gave a money back guarantee, they wouldn’t make any money. You’re not alone!

• Gabriel says:
27 May 2010

I am not an agent however I got my mom into the program since I have a mortgage back round. In six months she reduced her mortgage by $4,500 she owes about 240k bottomline I have seen it w/ my own eyes & am considering selling the program myself no matter what you say Tracy. Oh by the way last year I met a guy from New Zealand who told me a 1/3 of the people in Australia pay their mortgage this way when he heard me talking about it on my phone. His qoute was” Look kid it sounds like you got a winner there. We have been doing this for over 13 yrs. you americans are far behind”. I have seen a newscast by a “legitimate” tv station in NV showed that it worked & had people at their station who used it. Tell me who benefits by this program failing to sell??? I am not accusing you however just like any other buisness If I were the major banks I WOULD PAY PEOPLE LIKE YOU TO WRITE BLOGS LIKE THIS TO CREATE CONFUSION. Since it is the major banks who really stand to lose on MMA’s success. Just a thought. Again I am not an agent yet just a guy doing mortgages for 7 yrs got my mom on it & SEEN IT WORK W/ MY OWN EYES NO MATTER MUCH YOU SAY OTHERWISE Tracy. Nice credential Tracy. The perfect mole is I was a major bank. I say that because you question the math. So either the math is right or wrong. Either UFF is legit or you are right & they somehow have convinced even some attorney generals in some states to use the program. Interesting • Craig Hansen says: 31 May 2010 “I am not an agent however I got my mom into the program since I have a mortgage back round.” Hands down, the best opening line from a UFirst shill, ever. Tracy, how can you compete with Gabriel’s logic? He has a mortgage back round, fer cryin’ out loud. You’re only a CPA with an MBA – that’s no match for a mortgage back round. The ending is almost as good. I haven’t heard the “attorney generals in some states use it” claim since 2008. It’s so obviously false, I don’t know where to begin. Thanks for the laugh, Gabe. • B Shelley says: 7 July 2010 I have been using the service and today the site is Down! Have I(we) been scammed? I would not care to believe it do to feeling like a fool for signing up for the service!. • Jose Medina says: 22 July 2010 Very odd, I have a friend who is a rep there, she is making money off the program hand over foot by people signing up for the program. Funniest thing though, her own home was just foreclosed on and her credit is a train wreck. They use failed real estate agents and lenders that no longer could make a buck in their fields and scam the consumers who are already struggling to get ahead, into signing up$3500, what a joke. Most of the people involved have no more than a year of real estate experience and plenty of displaced homemakers working for them.

• Craig Hansen says:
22 July 2010

Jose, how is she “making money off the program hand over foot by people signing up for the program” when “her own home was just foreclosed on and her credit is a train wreck”???

The answer is, she’s obviously not. The 70,000 UFirst agents are making approximately 200 sales per month now. Nobody is making good money selling the MMA any more.

• Beth O' says:
25 August 2010

Well, just because you are degreed doesn’t mean you are a mathmatician, does it. This simple software solution takes advantage of reducing debt by eliminating the interest rates on cards and loans by paying the bill before the newest interest accumulation hits. REal Hard to figure out how that affects interest on a large sum of money….HUH?????As a REal Estate Broker in 2 states I find the
software refreshing! How do you call yourself a forensic accountant much less a cpa and not be able to see how absolutely exciting this is for homeowners! And Yes, the cost sounds expensive, but it does the work for you!…whILE YOU ARE EATING, SLEEPING ETC….who wouldn’t want to see their loan expire with blessingsofcash fall out of the air?Quite frankly the person who sold him the software cold have shown the man above how to fix his problems….And while it doesn’t take a rocket scientitst to figure out that paying more down on your loan will pay it off faster, it might , in this case, take a rocket scientist to figure out that a software program that does the computations for you may actually be a more precise form of cost figuration…which may actually save you thousands of hours of your time and money. Here you don’t have your marbles in the right bag.
??? Shame on you ! DUH! Throwing stuff at people who know what they are doing just because you didn’t figure this out. I do agree the cost is high but for ten years of free phone calls, what the heck. All nice people wo really see the benefit of helping people! Bet you are too gutless to post this.

• Beth O' says:
25 August 2010

It is unfortunate that you have the right to post fraud on your website for people to believe you ,tracy.

• Tracy Coenen says:
25 August 2010

Beth – Paying a debt before the next due date doesn’t eliminate the interest owed for that period. You still owe interest for the days outstanding, even if you pay it before the next “accumulation”. You’ve been sold a bill of goods. UFF loses every time against a simple, uncomplicated, do-it-yourself method.

• Craig Hansen says:
26 August 2010

Beth, I’ve seen a lot of mind-numbing diatribes from UFirst agents, but yours probably ranks in the top 10.

The formula for paying off your mortgage faster is simply to make additional payments with every regular payment. Basically, pay as much as you can with each mortgage payment. That’s it. You typically can’t apply additional payments against your principal at any other time. If you don’t understand that, you have no business being a real estate agent, because you have no ability to understand your client’s ability to afford a home. Hell, you don’t even understand enough about mortgages to own a house yourself.

• Mr pay it fast! says:
18 September 2010

And for you.Tracy Coenen Mrs forensic accountant and fraud examiner in Chicago and Milwaukee who investigates white collar crimes, including cases of financial statement fraud, embezzlement, tax fraud, and insurance fraud.WHY DON’T YOU CALL OR VISIT THE EARNS AND YOUNG COMPANY WHO IS THE SECOND LARGEST ACCOUNTING COMPANY WORLDWIDE WHO HAPPENS TO BE THE ONE THAT GIVE UNITED FIRST FINANCIAL THE AWARD ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR IN 2208 FOR WHAT THEY ARE DOING FOR THE PEOPLE HELPING THEM BECOME DEBT FREE THE FASTEST WAY POSSIBLE! CAN YOU THING OF A BETTER WAY TO HELP PEOPLE OTHER THAN PUTTING DOWN A COMPANY THAT REALLY,REALLY IS TRYING VERY HARD TO HELP USA WITH THEIR FINANCIAL SITUATION.
THANKS
FER

• Mr pay it fast! says:
18 September 2010

“Correction” United First Financial received the Award in2008
not in 2208 sorry for the mistake.
Thanks
Fer

• Craig Hansen says:
23 September 2010

Mr pay it fast,

You unleash a torrent of nonsense, half in CAPS, and hopeless spelling and grammar, and your apology is for a typo?

• Matthew Collier says:
28 September 2010

My wife and I have been on the program since Feb 2010, and it does exactly what I was told it would do. For people like my wife and I it does help us stay on a budget, as hard as we tried before on our own, this is by far the best program we have been involved with and well worth the money.

• Craig Hansen says:
30 September 2010

Matthew,

Were you told that the MMA is hopeless at determining “optimal” timing, uses a pointless intermediate account, and actually costs you interest over a very simple debt snowball approach? Because that’s what it is doing.

If you need help with budgeting, get a budgeting tool. The MMA isn’t a budgeting tool. If you need help deciding how much extra to send to your debts, which debts, and when…that’s simple: First, determine how much money you need aside for contingencies. Second, send everything above that amount to your highest rate debt every month. Finally, send the extra mortgage payment with your regular payment.

That’s it. That simple approach would have had you $3500, plus interest, plus MMA inefficiencies, ahead of where you are today. • Kristi K says: 1 October 2010 I financed the MMA software and am paying a good bit monthly. I know there was a 3 day rescission period, but does anyone know a loophole to break the contract. I feel so bad for those who paid the full 3500 up front and cannot get refunds, but if there is a loophole to help people in my situation to break the contract, ( I even told my salesperson to just close my account and keep the money they have made off of me, but he would not) it would be nice to know. Thanks! • S Kirk says: 7 October 2010 I have the same question as Kristi K, How do you get out of the contract? I am also paying the monthly fee. Can anyone provide the info on that? • Craig Hansen says: 7 October 2010 I absolutely feel for both of you as victims of this scam. Problem is, I don’t know a way out of your contract, after 3 days have elapsed. One person wrote in here months ago, and said he was going to cancel his credit card. Until he did that, he couldn’t get any answer out of his agent, but he sure got a call back after he threatened to cancel the card. I don’t know what happened after that. I asked him to report back on what transpired, but he never came back to the site. I think it was this site, but I can’t find it now. Your best outcome, may be to hope that UFirst folds up shop. They have been looking for a buyer, as Tracy reported a couple months ago: http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2010/08/07/united-first-financial-is-being-shopped-to-private-equity-groups/ Without some fresh capital, this company is probably doomed. Sales are around 300 per month, down from ~3000 per month back in 2008, and 200 of those 300 are financed, like yours are. So, perhaps the “do nothing” approach is the best policy, or perhaps you could cancel and not have them come after you, if they don’t have the resources to do so. However, please consult someone knowledgeable about this sort of thing before you do anything like cancel the payment. • Calvin says: 13 October 2010 Wow, agents are still making the same tired arguments…. “It does the work for you”….yeah, the simple income-expenses=payment.$3500 for grade school math?

“Ernst and Young gave us an award”. No, they did not. They sponsored an event where they had nothing whatsoever to do with the nominations, selection of judges, or judging process. They wrote a check to sponsor many events. That’s it. Nothing more. Feel free to write/call E&Y, they will tell you exactly that.

This company really needs to fold soon. To everyone looking for a refund….doing nothing isn’t your best option. Spend time fighting with them. Anything that causes them to expend more resources only leads to a quicker demise of this sinking ship.

• Frances G says:
23 October 2010

If you can’t keep up with the program…like, maybe you lose your job and your source of income…you are in deep do-do. Similar programs can be gotten for a lot less  or even free, try Dave Ramsey or Crown Financial.

• Roger Batchelder says:
15 November 2010

I got taken for a ride with this company! It sounds too good to be true and believe me – it is! My agent did nothing for me accept get me signed up and take my money. I am not a happy customer. After loosing my job I went back to them and asked to be taken off the program to eliminate my monthly payment to them, and they would not do it. I had “signed the agreement” so I am out of luck. So much for debt reduction. I would not recommend U first to anyone.

• Cam3ron says:
17 November 2010

You want to jab back at UFF? If you all stop paying (work together), do you think they will have the resources to pursue all of you? Do you think washenko has THAT expense budgeted in his MMA?

• Craig Hansen says:
18 November 2010

I don’t really recommend people violate the terms of a contract they signed, even if they did sign on to a scam, but Cam3ron has a point. UFirst are on their way out, and the more people who stop paying, the faster the demise of UFirst.

• Charlene says:
10 December 2010

Hi Eric,

In response to you and to several others who had asked if anyone knew of people actually being able to pay off their own mortgages early w/o professional help…

I was talking w/ my supervisor at work and asking for advice right before I got married earlier this year. We talked about mortgages/debt/budgets etc, and I asked her how her family became debt free. She told me her secret was that they took their extra cash at the end of the month and put it towards their debt. She paid off her 30-year mortgage in 10 years that way.

Seems simple enough.

• Bill says:
8 February 2011

If paying it off were that easy for people, we wouldn’t all be in so much debt. Easier said than done, folks which I understand. I’m sure the U1st gimmick worked for some as some sort of expensive motivation (afterall, people do the same with diet gimmicks and pay money when all they are really doing is eating better and exercising while eating a placebo of some sort) but it absolutely screwed alot of people which I am sorry to hear.

I am very interested to hear if “holding out” really worked. Keep us updated, there could still be hope for those that it hurt.