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.
Anyone who has spent some time on this site knows I’m no fan of the United First Financial Money Merge Account (UFF MMA). This “revolutionary” software is supposed to help you pay off your mortgage in record time, all for the low, low price of $3,500. Unfortunately, it’s being marketed with lies, and the UFF proponents who comment here consistently repeat the lies.
The argument in favor of the UFirst MMA that seems most likely to get any traction is: “You just don’t understand the product!” I’ve been asked a zillion times whether I’ve actually used the product, and have been told I don’t really know how it works. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I don’t have to flush $3500 down the toilet to know that the UFF Money Merge Account is worthless. I know enough about numbers to analyze the program and see that it doesn’t offer consumers any savings. They’d be better off doing one simple thing: Pay the minimum on all debts each month, and use any extra cash they have left toward the debt with the highest interest rate.
UFF would have you believe that some complex “factorial math” is necessary and is what creates the savings for the consumer. But that’s a lie. Sure, there may be hundreds of different ways to pay your 10 debts each month, but only ONE way matters. Paying the minimum on all debts and using all extra cash to pay down the debt with the highest interest rate. You don’t have to be smart to do this. It really couldn’t be any simpler.
MMA proponents have often challenged me to compare the do-it-yourself (DIY) method I promote (which is free!) and the UFF program (which is $3,500) to see which puts the consumer further ahead. None of them have actually participated in their own challenges, although I’m more than happy to do so.
But we don’t need my participation. On FatWallet.com, this challenge has been completed over and over, and the UFF MMA loses every time. Here is a set of links that will show you how the MMA loses. It is astonishing that promoters of United First Financial can still pretend that their product is worthwhile:
He challenged us to see the truth. He said that spreadsheets and other cheap stuff are nothing compared to what the MMA can do.
10 different scenarios to prove that MMA is better. Different loans, different interest rates, life-changing situations.
A simple spreadsheet we created. In all 10 scenarios, the MMA was behind.
In the end, he had to admit the truth. The MMA will always lose.
The UFF agent proposed 10 different scenarios. Under every single one of them, the consumer using the UFF MMA would lose… taking a longer time to pay off their debts.
MONEY MERGE ACCOUNT START PAYOFF PERIOD 6.75 YEARS
1. PAY RAISE OF $50 BIWEEKLY – PAYOFF – 6.667 YRS 8/2014
2. SAVE $150 MO IN BUDGET – PAYOFF – 6.25 YRS 3/2014
3. SPEND $900 FRO 8.5 MO – PAYOFF – 6.583 YRS 7/2014
4. DEPOSIT 3500 – PAYOFF – 6.417 YRS 5/2014
5. SPEND 20,350 FROM EQUITY – PAYOFF – 7.167 YRS 2/2015 TRUE COST IS $28,084
6. BUY CAR-12K PAY MO. PAYMENT PAYOFF – 7.583 YRS 7/2015
7. LOSE JOB OF BIWEEKLY ———- OUT OF MONEY IN 35 MONTHS FROM EQUITY LINE
8. SAVE $500/MO IN CHILD CARE PAYOFF – 20.667 YRS 8/2028
9 NEW BIWEEKLY JOB – PAYOFF – 10.583 YRS 7/2018
10 RUN HELOC AT 18% FROM DAY ONE PAYOFF – 11.167 YRS 2/2019
Base: 5/2014 (6.5 years)
1. 2/2014 (6.25 years)
2. 10/2013 (5.917 years)
3. 2/2014 (6.25 years)
4. 12/2013 (6.08 years)
5. 8/2014 (6.75 years)
6. 1/2015 (7.167 years)
9. 4/2016 (8.417 years) (7, 8 and 9 are related scenarios.)
10. 5/2016. Note that my simulation did not get affected that much by the HELOC rate increase to 18% because I used HELOC for emergency purposes only. Total HELOC interest incurred (Cell T7, non-compounded) increased from 557.23 to 1487.94 but you are still able to pay off the loan at the same month.
The DIY approach had a .25 year (3 months) advantage to begin with because of the $3500 software cost. From scenarios 1 to 6,the DIY approach remained between .20 to .40 year advantage (~2 to 4 months). This is to be expected since we’re supposedly running the same scenarios, therefore similar results. The variance of +/- 1 month between the scenarios would be due to the fact that the loan could be paid off in month x, but in certain instances there is some balance left causing the other scenario to finish the following month.
Our end result after scenario 9 are quite different, so we would have to look into that. As mentioned above, the DIY approach did not get affected by the HELOC rate change (Scenario 10).
JHB, I do not need to see your software as we have produced similar results (except maybe for 7, 8, 9 where you end much later). If you disagree on the result in any scenario, investigate the spreadsheet. I display ALL the data monthly. If you think I entered the wrong payment scenario (incorrect start or end month, incorrect amount), go ahead and change it and click on Calculate. It should give you the payoff date.
And now, I rest.
And it was all done with one simple spreadsheet. No factorial math. No complicated paydown scenarios. Just the simple “pay more toward the debt with the highest interest rate” plan.
More than a year after I started to write about the evils of United First Financial, its representatives are still trying to dazzle the crowds with bogus claims of factorial math.
It’s become clear that the primary method for selling consumers on this ridiculously expensive software that the consumer doesn’t even own ($3,500) is by confusing them. Prattling on about the massive algorithm used to determine the “optimal” method of paying down one’s debt to save the most money.
One of the credibilty builders (i.e. smokescreens) that United First Financial agents use when trying to sell their Money Merge Account is… “It’s based on the Australian banking system!” The claim is that this “system” has been used successfully in Australia for years, and so we should believe in it too!
However, the truth is that this “system” is all but dead in Australia because people (and regulators, to some extent) figured out what a scam they were. Here’s some information provided to me by someone in Australia who has done extensive research on the issue of mortgage acceleration:
Today a seller of the United First Financial Money Merge Account product threw out a challenge: Show him how a simple spreadsheet can pay off a mortgage faster than MMA. He said that his client owed $200,000 on a mortgage, and with only $200 “extra” cash left each month after regular living expenses, the MMA product made it possible to pay off that 30 year mortgage in only 13.2 years.
There is plenty of criticism here of United First Financial, Ufirst Financial, UFF, Money Merge Account, MMA, or whatever Google likes…
One of the arguments UFF supporters always seem to throw out is the “money back guarantee” that UFF gives. I’ve been critical of this guarantee here, because I think it’s next to impossible for anyone to get their money back. UFF has a cleverly-written “guarantee” that means you won’t get your money back. They say:
What a simple, yet eloquent explanation from one of our readers on the read deal behind UFF’s Money Merge Account (MMA).
UFF is a SCAM.
Borrowing at 8% to cover 6% loan will make you less money.
Paying down your mortgage directly (instead of using HELOC) will put you ahead.
United First Financial management has asked its agents to not participate on discussion forums, message boards, and blogs. Why? Because they’re having their hats handed to them. Simple math outdoes the UFF “factorial math” any time. Save the $3,500 and simply put your extra cash each month toward your debt with the highest interest rate. You’ll be out of debt faster than UFF will get you there, and you won’t waste hours each month goofing around with this near-worthless software.
Here’s the letter agents received, instructing them to not participate in discussions on the internet:
Today I received some interesting information on United First Financial, the company selling the $3,500 Money Merge Account. Here is a listing of all UFF agents (warning: large file download), showing that there are 59,703 agents on the rolls.
The fee to sign up as an agent is $175. Multiply that by 59,703 agents, and you see that the company has brought in over $10.4 million just in agent fees. Not a bad payday just for allowing people to sell overpriced, ineffective software.
Haven’t gotten enough of the cold hard reality that United First Financial’s MMA is inferior to a very simple (and free!) do-it-yourself prepayment of your mortgage (which only requires you to pay extra on your mortgage once a month)?
Joe Taxpayer did a five-part series on the UFF MMA, and here’s a summary: