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The Path Towards Wealth Without Wall Street

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FINANCIAL INDUSTRY

I'll find somebody new and baby we'll say we're through.
And you won't matter any more

-Buddy Holly

I have a book coming out this fall entitled, Wealth Without Wall Street, A Main Street Guide to Making Money .

It's a book I felt compelled to write.

We've had a number of government bailouts and "stimulus" programs in recent years. Trillions of dollars have gone down the drain.

Like many, I am angry. Washington and Wall Street are tied at the hip and spend most of the time talking to each other. They have social and economic connections and media outlets devoted to promoting their philosophies.

Wall Street and Washington are not impacting my world in a positive way.

With the public outraged about out-of-control bonuses and out-of-control lobbyists, I keep waiting for someone on Wall Street and Washington to get it. I don't think they ever will. Politicians make gestures to keep us from rioting, but as soon as our backs are turned, Wall Street goes right back at it again.

Wall Street and Washington developed the saying "too big to fail." The idea is that big institutions must stay in business, no matter how badly they screw up.

The Soviet Union operated on the same premise.

Wall Street and Washington do not understand that entrepreneurs and small-business people have been the economic-growth engines of the past few decades.

Advances in technology have made it possible for smart people living in Kentucky, Oregon, India, and China to compete with any business that Wall Street has to offer.

There has been a long and irreversible trend toward small, entrepreneurial businesses located far from money centers.

Yet, Washington has kept throwing money at these "too big to fail" money losers.

As noted, the Soviet Union is a good example of why this doesn't work.

After the Depression, we learned a lesson and put a variety of regulations in place. That worked well for more than 50 years. Then "deregulation" became the hottest fad and gave us companies such as Enron.

After the Depression, banks were relegated to banking and insurance companies to writing insurance policies.

In the modern world of deregulation, Citibank, a bank, was allowed to merge with Travelers, an insurance company. The new company, Citigroup, had to suck down billions in bailout money to survive. I'm not seeing the advantages that this "too big to fail" business model brought to us.

One of the reasons Main Street gets overlooked is that they don't know anyone in Washington or on Wall Street. We really don't really want to. Our customers are local, and a lot of them, such as me, deal with local and regional banks that know them and their business.

If Wall Street knew a lot about their customers, they would not have spent billions on credit default swaps and mortgage-backed derivatives.

People starting their own businesses don't need bailouts. Businesses in a startup phase aren't in need of tax cuts. Small businesses need cash flow, access to capital, mentors, and guidance.

The most important thing they need is the proper mindset. People who work for large companies expect employers to look out for their concerns. If someone is going to be an entrepreneur, they have to look out for their own concerns.

After years of massive layoffs and cuts in employee benefits, workers at many corporations "get" that their company doesn't really care about them. The corporation's only concern is making Wall Street happy.

Many people are looking at entrepreneurship because they lost their job and big companies aren't hiring. As Bob Dylan said, "when you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose."

I started my structured settlement and insurance consulting business at age 23. I had finished most of my graduate work at Vanderbilt University, but the only job I could find was on the cleanup crew at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Cleaning up after horses will make you rethink your career options.

Starting my own business was a good move. January 2013 will mark my 30th year in business.

The goal behind Wealth Without Wall Street is two-fold. One is to give people some ideas for making their economic lives better. The second is to take power away from Wall Street and Washington so they don't have the ability to do all the horrible things they have done for the past 30 years.

The phrase 'think globally, act locally" is overused but a good principle to follow. When you look at how Gandhi and Martin Luther King made such a big mark on society, it was by inspiring individuals to take small steps that collectively made a huge difference.

Wealth Without Wall Street can be summed up as follows:

1. Move your money from a "too big to fail" bank to a bank or credit union in your community.

2. Tear up your credit cards. Eliminate debt. Stay away from the "legalized loan sharks" such as payday lenders.

3. See if you have what it takes to start your own business. Some people do and others don't. If you are self-motivated, you can make a huge difference for yourself and society by owning your own business.

4. Although I don't like Wall Street, I like large insurance companies. They get lumped together and shouldn't be. Insurance companies are regulated at the state level instead of at the federal level. I'm also a big believer in life insurance and annuities.

5. "Think globally, act locally" is what Wealth Without Wall Street is all about. If you follow the steps I outlined, you will be improving yourself and improving society.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC of Richmond Kentucky is an award-winning financial columnist and Huffington Post Contributor. He is the author of the upcoming book, Wealth Without Wall Street: A Main Street Guide to Making Money.

McNay founded McNay Settlement Group, a structured settlement and financial consulting firm, in 1983, and Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC in 2000. McNay has Master's Degrees from Vanderbilt and the American College and is in the Hall of Distinguished Alumni of Eastern Kentucky University. McNay is a Quarter Century member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has four professional designations in the financial services