The Prosperity Blog

Bankers Gone Bad: How Wells Fargo Created a Culture of Fraud

“For $124.6 million and no risk of going to jail, I think I could probably sign my mother’s name to a MasterCard application when she wasn’t looking… If mom finds out what I did to her, I can always buy her a city block in Manhattan to make up for it.”
– blogger Martin Andleman, referring to the compensation of Carrie Tolstedt, who headed the Wells Fargo division that opened unauthorized accounts.

wells-fargo-fraudLast week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Wells Fargo was being fined $185 million because bank employees had created millions of fake accounts (using real customer information) to meet sales quotas. It’s the largest fine ever levied by the CFPB. But will it matter? And what, exactly, went wrong at Wells Fargo?

Sadly, the fraudulent activity making headlines in the last week has gone on for years. As reported on, federal banking regulators admit that at least as far back as 2011, Wells Fargo employees were issuing unauthorized credit cards, setting up sham accounts, and signing up customers for online banking services… without customer consent. Some customers were merely annoyed (or unaware), but others were severely impacted, owing fees and suffering from damaged credit ratings when unpaid fees on fraudulent accounts were sent to collections.

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Laughing All the Way to the Bank: Money & Humor

Laughing Piggy Bank On White 1If you think your finances are no laughing matter, you might be spending too much time watching the news or reading financial prospectuses. Because lately, we’ve noticed a lot of laughing going on as comedians talk about money, and people in the financial world using humor to communicate about financial topics. In this article, we profile three examples of people who are connecting money and humor, plus a fourth well-known comedian who gives us a worthy financial example to follow.

“The truth is funny,” insists Kathryn Cicoletti, aka Ms. Cheat Sheet, who spent over 10 years as a hedge fund insider. Working as a research analyst and then moving into a sales position, Kathryn created custom portfolios for institutional investors. A top revenue producer on her team, Cicoletti says that “commissions were good… but life was not.” Her lack of work-life balance crushed her spirit, and not even her half-a-million-plus annual income could resolve her growing dissatisfaction.

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5 Ways to Use Leverage In Your Wealth Strategy

One of our favorite CPAs, Tom Wheelwright of ProVision Wealth, agreed to let us share the following article. Tom is author of Tax-Free Wealth and the founder of Wealth Strategy U, a membership site that answers tax and other wealth-related questions. Here’s Tom:

How To Add Leverage To Your Wealth Strategy

LeverageLeverage is simply doing more with less.

When I mentioned leverage in this context, money is what people think of most often.  Loans, mortgages, other people’s money – all are forms of leverage based on money.  While this type of leverage is important, it is equally important to use other forms of leverage in your wealth strategy.

Here are a few examples of other forms of leverage to use in a wealth strategy:

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Taming the High Cost of a College Education

“Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.”
– Sir Claus Moser

how to avoid college debtA high school senior, Delilah Moore, was accepted to her dream school, Oberlin College. And after days of soul-searching, number crunching, and seeking advice on Reddit, she turned down her #1 pick. The reason? According to the April 28 Yahoo! Finance article, “I Decided Not to Go to My Pricey Dream School and I’m So Happy About It,” the decision “came down to the money.” This is financial planning for college students at its best.

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7 Reasons to Keep a Mortgage As Long As You Can!

Should you pay off your mortgage early, or use those additional dollars to save and invest?

While the American Dream has been to own a home and pay it off completely, ideally before retirement, is that actually the best strategy? 

Mortgage concept by money house from the coinsThis week, we are sharing a guest post from our friend, Matthew Coyle of Sovereign Wealth Solutions in the Minneapolis – St Paul area. We love the fact that this article busts one of the popular financial lies of our culture – that you should always pay off your mortgage as quickly as you can. Matthew explains why you don’t need to be in a hurry when it comes to getting rid of your mortgage. 

We’ve added our own comments in italics for additional clarification. 

7 Reasons to Love a Mortgage

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9 Common Bookkeeping Mistakes Even Smart Business Owners Make

9 Common Bookkeeping Mistakes Even Smart Business Owners MakeThis week, we’ve asked an essential member of our team, our bookkeeper, Carrie Putnam, to share some of her wisdom. Carrie is the founder of Bookkeeping Helpers, Inc. and our personal CFO. She has been our bookkeeper for 20+ years, and we have no idea what we would do without her! She makes it easy for us to stay focused on business while she tracks the details.

Carrie has also had the unpleasant task of trying to “fix” messes that other bookkeepers have left some of her other clients. Today, she shares how to avoid those messes in the first place! 

After 20 years of experience, I have seen just about everything, when it comes to bookkeeping. And unfortunately, I’ve seen some mistakes made again and again! As I have observed, the biggest bookkeeping mistakes business owners consistently make are these:

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Recapping The Summit: Lessons from the Mountaintop

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

2016-the-summit-imageWe just returned from the third Summit for Prosperity Economics Advisors, an event that my husband Todd and I host each year for professionals in our industry. We spent three-and-a-half days in beautiful Park City, Utah learning and sharing together with wonderful speakers, food, friends, weather, and more!

It takes a lot of time and effort to put on an event like this, but the energy and gratitude we get back makes it so worthwhile. Our theme this year was “Be a part of something bigger.” And indeed, something bigger than any of us is arising in The Prosperity Economics Movement. The movement is gaining momentum, and we are so proud to be a part of it.

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