The article below was from the first edition of the Urban Sentinel Magazine:
Creating Generational Wealth—A Financial Fitness Resolution for the New Year
By Yvonne J. Medley
It’s January, 2019. ‘Tis the season to declare improved lifestyle changes and/or to clear out bad habits. While diet and physical fitness comes to the minds of many, Douglas A.C. Eze, author of Creating Generational Wealth, will surely advise that financial fitness should be added to the list.
However, “studies from around the world show that people are more comfortable talking about sex, politics and death than their finances,” reported Kevin Voigt of NerdWallet.com [USA Today’s Star Press, January 18, 2018]. It appears that things haven’t changed much in a year’s time—or for decades.
Part of the reason for the above aversion, besides—unadulterated fear of financial bottom lines, salted by the shame of not measuring up to The Jones’—could be the stress of maneuvering through money mazes, trying to make sound decisions.
“Based on the information [given]—the way they [most financial experts] make it so complicated,” Eze, 43, explained, makes people avoid the money talk. “So the one thing that I do is to make it simple for people to understand.”
To absorb his financial logic feels like ah-ha moments for keeping more of one’s hard-earned money in his or her pocket—or purse.
“That’s why I wrote the book,” Eze said. He added that most of the comments he’s received about Creating Generational Wealth centers on how he’s managed to make it an easy read. “I wanted to write something, and teach people the way that I would understand it. Because telling me big words, and all this stuff about stocks ….” He paused for a moment and shook his head as if to slip into the shoes of a financial-novice. Then he continued, “… I don’t understand those things. So I need to talk about things that make sense.”
In his self-help offering, he writes, “It is time to unlearn all of the false information you have been told your whole life.” He reveals how it’s possible for families to find money due to common spending mistakes such as not choosing the right car insurance deductible; making income tax errors; failing to understand how best to pay one’s mortgage or pay off student loans; or not realizing the true benefit of life insurance—even if you’re single and don’t have dependents.
“Getting into the industry, and gaining more and more understanding, I got excited about helping people save money, plan for retirement, and plan for their children’s college,” Eze said with a broad, inviting smile.
A stern eye-to-eye took over when he shifted to a grim reality. “But then as I met with families and sat down with them, I realized that people didn’t have money to save [because] they were struggling with debt.”
The financial adviser-turned-author explained his revised goal. “So what I started doing is helping families find money in places they might be throwing money away, unknowingly. I had to do something different than most other financial advisers.”
The way he was initially trained was to steer clients toward only one investment or financial product without first explaining the whys or exploring his client’s personal needs to ascertain the financial product best suited for him or her. “You walk into the bank, today,” Eze, said, “and the first thing they’re gonna say is, ‘Ahhh welcome. Do you want to put your money in a CD?’”
But how does it work? Is it best for you? Referencing his clients, Eze stresses, “What we do first [at Largo Financial Services, based in Maryland] is to teach them how money works. Because you can’t put money anywhere until you understand the rules to the money game.”
He posed a hypothetical question about golf, asking what if you were a golfer, pining after a top pro-golfer’s gifts, which would you rather have—that pro-golfer’s golf clubs or his ability? “If you’re smart,” Eze advises, “you’ll pick the skill.” Brooks Koepka or Tiger Woods’ designer golf clubs won’t get you the prize, but gaining their ability just might get you the brass ring—or the green jacket.
Eze has stashed in his money belt more than twenty years of experience, but he’s not just concerned with the well-being of your right-now financial health, he’s also concerned with the financial legacy you’re living and leaving. The bookshelves in his impressive corner office are stocked full of self-help offerings authored by financial gurus. One can even find (… wait for it …) Trump: The Art of the Deal by Tony Schwartz.
For the Nigerian-born, American citizen, entrepreneurship was in his blood. “I saw my dad having his own business, having different companies, but one thing that he did not have was plan—for afterward.”
Creating Generational Wealth answers questions about retirement, creating and maintaining legacy wealth for generations of families, and more. When families don’t have a plan, when the main breadwinners/parents die, Eze explained, the government swoops in to claim a chunk of their assets. After that happens their uninformed heirs/children blow the rest.
Eze made it his business to study the Rockefellas, Bill Gates, those on the Forbes Fortune 500 list. When Warren Buffet remarks that his secretary pays more taxes than he does, Eze can point to the why and the how. He shares what he’s learned with his clients, and in his book.
A weekday ritual, for Eze, is to rise early and hit the gym around 5 a.m. During his drive to work, he listens to financial audiobooks.
He’s a divorced father of five—one boy and four girls. Two of his children are adopted. “When my brother died in a plane crash, I adopted his children.” So he has teens and tots. He also shares his good fortune with his mom, whom he brought over from Nigeria. She enjoys an active senior life and helps out with his children, especially when he travels for his business that also has satellite points throughout the country, and is venturing toward worldwide status. New for 2019, he’s created a free App to help families budget better.
And how did Eze get into the world of finance, you might ask? “I was 24 years old, waiting tables at IHOP, and someone gave me their business card. And I went in for the interview. I liked what I saw. I saw a better opportunity than waiting tables. [No offense.] I saw what they were doing. I went and got my licenses [to become an insurance broker]. It wasn’t easy to do, but I went and got it. Four or five years later, I decided to branch out with other companies, and then I decided to set up my own company in 1999. Largo Financial.”
Ironically, his main office in Greenbelt is housed in the same building as the Maryland Comptroller’s office. “But we were here first,” he said with a chuckle. He joked about wanting to put a sign out in front the Comptroller’s office, saying that his company could help folks minimize their taxes and get out of debt—if they came to one of his workshops.
To find out more, click on www.largofinancialservices.com