Money and the Magic Pill

07/27/2010 11:51 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small. /
And the one that mother give you, don't do anything at all.
~ Jefferson Airplane

I was talking to a person in the medical profession who said, "some patients are looking for a magic pill that will solve all their problems."

I said welcome to my business. The same analogy holds true in personal finance. People want one simple idea that will make them rich -- preferably while they are lying on the couch watching television.

I've tried losing weight while lying on the couch, munching on potato chips. I can tell you that it doesn't work.

If you read The Millionaire Next Door or any book that studies how people become financially independent, they all basically say the same thing. Spend less than you make. Don't get into needless debt. Make a budget. Have a long term goal and be prepared to take years to get there.

The same thing holds true in living a healthy life. Eat less than you burn up. Count your calories or measure your progress. Plan to live to an old age and stay healthy until you get there.

The key on both health and money is focusing on the long run. There is not a "magic pill."

The reason that Wall Street collapsed is that too many companies were looking for their own "magic pill." They were focused on piling up short term profits, so they could get their multi-million dollar bonuses and didn't care about the long term.

Turns out that Wall Street had a magic pill. It was called the bailout. Thanks to their friends and lobbyists in Washington, Wall Street was able to screw up and have someone else clean up the mess.

It doesn't work that way for the rest of us. With your health, to coin an old song, "if you play around you lose your life." Same thing holds true with your money. Too many people are dying old and broke because they don't have a long term plan.

All this takes me to the "Move Your Money" movement.

I've been pushing it hard and you can read more about it at

The concept is simple. Move your money from a "too big to fail" bank and deposit it in a bank or credit union in your community.

Then get the charities you support to do the same. Then get the college you graduated from to do the same.

Then get your neighbors and your friends.

Right now, the top six "too big to fail" banks control about 70% of the wealth in America. That is WAY out of whack.

They got the "financial reform" bill watered down. The next time they get in trouble, they will just call their buddies in Washington and get another bailout. Unless we dilute their strength.

If more of our money is in local banks and credit unions, the Wall Street banks won't have the same power in Washington. They might not get another bailout. Better yet, Congress might get the backbone to actually regulate Wall Street so that they don't really need a bailout again.

I wasn't for the first bailout. I'm certainly not going to be for another one. Like all good things in life, Move Your Money is not a "magic pill." But it may be the start of getting us to a healthy future.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC of Richmond Kentucky is an award-winning financial columnist and Huffington Post Contributor.

You can read more about Don at

McNay founded McNay Settlement Group, a structured settlement and financial consulting firm, in 1983, and Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC in 2000. You can read more about both at

McNay has Master's Degrees from Vanderbilt and the American College and is in the Hall of Distinguished Alumni of Eastern Kentucky University.

McNay has written two books. Most recent is Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win The Lottery

McNay is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has four professional designations in the financial services field.