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  • Writer's pictureJohn Brandy


How, oh how, will you glaze our eyes today, o maestro of mine?

You’re getting better and better at this, DT.

I know I’m getting better.

Wow, that’s some kind of conceit!

Oh, not at all. I know I’m getting better because of your advice.

Hmmm. That feels kind of warm and fuzzy, but I sense disappointment is to follow, and at least at the moment, I do desire that we may be better strangers.

As You Like It

Well, at least we got the Shakespeare thing out of the way early, and with no lampooning of

FINRA involved!


Oh, yeah, the topic of this week’s podcast.

What is it? Not an acronym again, I hope.

Sorry, DT. This is the wrong business to be in if you hate acronyms.

Close. I could be in government work, like you used to be.

True, that was pretty silly. Made me want to be Hamlet.


The acronyms from when I was in the military. All I could think was, “Bloody, bawdy villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!”

You mean that’s all Hamlet could think.


So let’s make a quick trip back to the topic. I’ll even escort your mind there.

Okay, in FIN-RA, the FIN part means…


Right, and the RA part?

I don’t know, the FIN part was easy.

Hmmm, yes. And the RA part means Regulatory Authority.

So, Financial Regulatory Authority.

Right, DT!

Okay, now what do they do and why do we care?

Real quick first, they are not a government organization.

That’s not at all the point.

True, but I don’t want to mislead anyone even a little.

Even though they make the rules for brokers?

Even though that, and that they enforce those rules in ways that can hurt.

Is there anything else they do?

Yep. They write the tests that brokers have to pass before they can sell anything.

The licensing?

Yes, that.

Or supervise someone else’s sales.

That, too.

This all sounds good so far.

As it should.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that these guys can and sometimes do go over the line.

But everyone wants fair financial markets, don’t they?

Oh, of course everyone wants that – and they should.

The stated objective of FINRA is to whip us all into submissions using at least one powerful mind exercise.

It is?

No, but I got your attention, didn't I?

They say they are around to protect investors and ensure the market's integrity, and no one really argues with that.

My concern is that, under the guise of protecting investors, regulatory groups like FINRA can go way beyond these basic protections that investors deserve and instead protect the brokerage firms from fair competition.

To heck with attainable goals.

Maybe. That might be a little strong, DT.

Well, they DO say that every securities product advertisement used is truthful, and not misleading.

That they do, and eso es Bueno. And I can’t wait for them to seriously get behind expressing it when a firm successfully avoids misleading ideas as well.

What kind of misleading ideas happen?

In my experience, since I can’t speak for others, if a financial expert so much as talks to customers on their own, FINRA acts as if he or she must be doing that to make more money.

What’s the problem with making more money?

Fixed mindset stuff. They think that there’s a bunch of rogue brokers out there with their hearts set on taking money out of the mouths of the big firms. There’s only so much to go around in the fixed mindset and you’d better be one of their approved places to get it.

As if.

That’s using literal interpretations, which is most people’s take on the sitch.

Are YOU a rogue broker?

Not in my opinion, I’m sure not! (Laughs.)

The least they could do is not be so obvious in their support of controlling firms.

Absolutely if they want to do more than just maintain a minimum of public trust.

One last question for now.

And that is?

Are they looking at anything else?

As a matter of fact, in their own words they are “becoming increasingly aware of broker-dealers' involvement in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space”.

Becoming increasingly aware?

Yes, which is FINRA-speak for waking up to reality. Involvement in the crypto space…

For crying out loud – there, I said it for you.

How can we follow what they’re up to? I'm sure they have very busy lives.

The best place besides their website is probably the latest Tweets from FINRA (@FINRA).

Do they have a Let’s Take A Break button?

Not that I know of. Maybe they’re working on one. But let’s take ours.

What is this suitability thing, anyway?

Could you be more – specific?

Okay, when I go out to find a broker, there’s a ton of advice.

Biased advice? Advice that has an obvious motive?

Not sure. A lot of it is sponsored by the CFP Board at

Do you need more help with answering that? Should I pile up some magazine cutouts for you?

You mean about bias?

I do mean that.

I guess not. Anyone who sponsors anyone should probably at least mostly agree with what’s

being said.

That’s certainly what I’d think. And I think that the CFP Board might be kind of biased toward wanting you to hire one of their own.

Especially when it’s presented as good and safe decision-making.

Earlier, when I first started in that business, “suitability” wasn’t yet a thing. Brokers were supposed to make recommendations that were clearly in a client’s “best interest”.

That’s not a whole lot less vague.

No, it’s not. But everyone’s acting like they’re in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and pretending that it looks good and makes sense.

And complete disclosure?

Another unassailable piece of cleverness.

“Full Disclosure” has become a catch phrase where people happily tell you that there is some sort of possible conflict going on.

It’s only done to calm the listener. There’s often no real action behind it.

What about account agreements?

The story isn’t a whole lot better there. I’ve been in situations where a customer has opened an account, after which I get to tell them that I have to give them an acknowledgement of that along with some rules.

Sounds simple enough.

Yeah, except that the rules are in size 2 font and yet still take up 4 or 5 pages.

That’s broke.

Yeah, it’s broke unless you’re a big regulatory authority like FINRA, where caring is optional as long as the T’s are crossed right.

And so everyone turns to this advice pod, signaling a return to sanity.

That’s beautiful, DT! It makes my eyes water.

And you’re breathing hard, like you need a break.

If you insist on one, let’s do it.

So FINRA is really more interesting to brokerage firms than it would be to individual investors.

Probably yes. It’s very possible that my having been an individual broker working for one of those big firms has colored my outlook.

So you're not going to hear a lot about them as an investment necessarily. But you should be aware of:

Of what?

Of what they are, what they want, what they purport to be, and what they really are. and adjust any investing plans that you might have accordingly.

And then?

And then we get back to our focus.

And how do we do that?

First, You Believe


Then, You Practice


Of course, You Repeat…

Of course…

And when you do that enough, then You Achieve.

Just like if you pass tests at school, you might earn a degree.

Yes, DT! Something very much like that anyway.

That makes for a better vision. At least I think so.


Yes, why?

Have I told you about our vision document yet?

No, but I can certainly smell THAT rat!

It’s not a rat, some of the world's most influential thought people like Deepak Chopra and Oprah, for starters all agree: It's wholly possible to turn your dreams into reality.

Sounds likemanifestation.

Well, that and hard work.

It's not total magic, though. And it's not something that happens overnight.

You have to act on your faith or belief.

Right! For success with manifestation, you have to set a definite purpose and goal, like Napoleon Hill says, then set your intention and believe that it will become a reality!

And then?

And then take active steps towards making that idea come true. No matter what your goals are.

This is like a poster board or a vision board, then?

Yes, or a dream board. Almost the same thing. It’s a word doc, but it’s a word doc that talks about the future as though it has already happened. Mine has a pile of images in it to go along with the words.

Sounds pretty woo-woo to me!

Oh, this is NOT a mood board. It’s not about how a person feels.

Oh, it’s what you think is possible!

Right. And if you think vision boards are bogus, then they are.


But the joke's on you.


Because they really do work, and there's actually a really simple explanation of why they work so well.

Which is?

They go right along with what a life coach like me will recommend for you.

When you create a space that displays what you want, then you bring in all the life categories.

Visualization is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do to further personal goals as well as career goals. According to the popular book The Secret, "The law of attraction is forming your entire life experience and it is doing that through your thoughts. When you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the Universe."

Olympic athletes have been using visualization for decades to improve performance, and Psychology Today reported that the brain patterns activated when a weightlifter lifts heavy weights are also similarly activated when the lifter just imagined (visualized) lifting weights.


Oh yeah, and that’s been shown in other areas, like piano scales. People who visualized practice improved almost as much as people who really practiced.

So when you say practice and repeat?

It’s even more powerful, because you can see it working in your mind’s eye.

And this ties into investing?

Of course it does.


I’ll describe it. I have a vision to build a large and impactful organization around financial freedom and literacy. That involves people, places and things.

Our vision doc, which I’ll be pointing to a lot in connection with the financial topic of the day, goes into a lot of detail about how things will change for the better, and it’s growing and living, so the document itself CAN change.


One of the things I drive home to all the people who follow this on a regular basis is to write down your vision of how you’ll be invested in a month, six months, a year, five years, and so on.

Different times in the future.

Right, and in alignment with all the research on vision, they’ll find as I’ve found.

Me, too.

Yes, sorry, DT, and you too…that they are pre-writing a script for how things will turn out.

The pre-mortem thingy is actually built-in from the start!

Yep, sure is!

Can you give me a quick example before we go today?

Of course, DT. Take Bitcoin.


Right, take Bitcoin again.

You envisioned something about Bitcoin?

Yes, I envisioned being invested in it, not just reading the hype.

I made it real, like I wish regulatory agencies like FINRA would do sometimes.


You could say that, and you’d be right.

I practiced.

And that’s all you need to do, right?

After which?


¡Gracias por escuchar! ¡A la prochaine!

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