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United First Financial Money Merge Accounts: Scam or Legit?

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A reader recently sent an email asking about a program United First Financial runs called a Money Merge Account and whether it was legitimate. United First Financial promises that the program, which costs $3500, would have you pay off the mortgage in one-third to one-half the time it normally would take. Knowing nothing about money merge accounts and knowing a little bit more about simple math, I smelled a fat $3500 scam brewing. The only scenario in which I could see $3500 cutting your mortgage in half is if you had a $7000 mortgage. But, setting my mental scam alerts aside, I did some more research about the plan.

Apparently it’s a fancy name for an accelerated mortgage repayment scheme. The first step in the money merge account is to take out a second mortgage on your home, a home equity line of credit. Then, what you do pay your entire paycheck towards the first mortgage and withdraw money from the HELOC to cover your expenses. You save a little money because the interest on a HELOC is calculated based on average daily balance rather than the final monthly balance. This lets you pay off more of the mortgage at the beginning of the month and then be charged less interest on the HELOC. (this assumes the same interest rate, which is a big flaw)

However, the plan also has a lot of other assumptions and flaws.

  1. It assumes that your HELOC interest rate will be the same as your first mortgage interest rate – very unlikely. The bigger the HELOC rate, the less you save on that difference.
  2. It assumes a single monthly paycheck so it’s a plan that loses some of its power if you are paid irregularly or every two weeks.
  3. One big flaw is that there is never discussion of HELOC fees. I’ve never opened a HELOC but I imagine it’s not free.
  4. This plan requires that you don’t save at all for anything else. Since your entire paycheck goes towards the mortgage and you withdraw expenses, it penalizes you drawing on the HELOC for non-essentials. Why pay $100 towards a 6-7% mortgage and then borrow $100 from a 10% HELOC?
  5. Finally, as if all those weren’t enough, you have to pay $3,500 for a program to help you do this!?

In researching this article I researched a lot of sites and they were nearly unanimous in their opinion that these types of programs are not worth the money (not surprisingly). They’re not scams in the sense that you pay your $3500 and they disappear into the night but it’s something you can do yourself.

This begs the question, should you use it to force discipline? I could justify paying $100 to enforce discipline because it can save you quite a bit in the long run, if you can overcome the failings, but $3500 is ridiculous. If you have $3500 and you want to pay off your mortgage sooner, send a $3500 check to your mortgage company. (if you want a legitimate and easy way to pay off a mortgage faster, consider making mortgage payments every two weeks)

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1,078 Responses to “United First Financial Money Merge Accounts: Scam or Legit?”

  1. LB says:

    JoeTaxpayer here’s the problem I’m having with your program. It is designed for one home, one loan, one intrest rate. I would agree that if things were that easy you wouldn’t need an MMA software tool. I have not paid my fee yet, but I have 14 different accounts with 10 different intrest rates and each have different term dates. It is not as simple as take your discretionary money and pay it to your highest intrest rate loan/account or pay all of my extra to my mortgage(s). I own two properties, both with different rates and a lot of moving parts. What would you recommend? Why would you not recommend MMA in my case? I am asking because I can tell that based on my multiple accounts with multiple balances that the target to maximize my “bang for the buck” could be a constantly changing target and I need a tool that takes all of those factors into account. The MMA rep also told me that the system will take into account my desire to end with $3000 in savings and $1000 in checking as I am in the process of paying all of my debt off in 14 years. Can you tell me why I shouldn’t pay for this service? I am an engineer and a project manager and can tell you, that it is not that simple with all of those accounts to just throw your money at the highest rate or highest account and that will maximize your debt reduction. Your program does not account for these complexities. Are there any other programs out there that do? I am open for any comments, thanks.

    • JoeTaxpayer says:

      LB – It is exactly that simple. If you have any non-mortgage debt, you should make the extra payments in the order of rate, highest first.
      You have 14 accounts but only two properties? Pay off everything else first.
      One of the sales tricks of MMA agents is to make the simple sound complex.
      The terms (length of each loan) don’t really matter. Don’t fall for the trick that a 5% loan for 30 years is “really cost more than a 15% credit card for 5 years. “after all, 5×30=150, but 15×5 is only 75″ Pure nonsense. Forgive me, false statement, it’s only 98% nonsense, 2% snake oil.
      You are a grown person, make your own choice.

      • biglag says:

        joe, i’ve read quite a bit of your comments and am somewhat convinced that you’re right. But…there is a similar program, moneydesktop dotcom who advises the same thing about getting a heloc to use as your checking. Their program is free to try for a month then 20/mo after that. Am I wasting my time with this as well? And no i will not spend 3500 for UFF. So if you advise against moneydesktop as well whats the best financial advise you can give me as far as budgeting software. I’m interested in getting out of debt asap. Most budgeting programs I’ve seen only track where money went and do nothing to show where to pay and when based on real time calculations. and i do not wish at all to invest money in the market for now.

        • Calvin says:

          yes, you are wasting your time with it. First, you can already prepay your mortgage for free. Just write a bigger check to your mortgage company. That’s all this is really doing. Second, turning your checking account (read: positive balance) into a HELOC (read: negative balance) incurs more risk without any real increase in reward.

          you are correct, budgeting software tells you where you paid your money. If you want to know the fastest way out of debt, follow these easy, mathematically proven methods.

          1. Eliminate wasteful spending. Figure out what is a need and a want. Cable television is a want. Food and water are needs.
          2. Pay all bills/minimums on time. Late fees add up.
          3. Order your debts, from highest interest rates to lowest.
          4. Pay any extra money you have after expenses to the debt with the highest interest rate. Pay minimums to the rest. When you pay off the highest debt, take your extra money each month and pay to the next highest one.
          5. Rinse, repeat.

          It really is that easy. No complicated algorithms, no smoke and mirrors. You can increase your effectiveness by using rewards checking accounts, but the effect is very small, just like the MMA approach. It really is *ALL* about sending your extra money to your highest interest rate debt each month.

        • NJ Blue82 says:

          Big,

          There is NO payoff acceleration pick-up by using a HELOC like it’s some magic acceleration-accelerator so even at $240 per year, you’re wasting your money. You’re just not wasting it as much as you would with UFF.

          I was a UFF agent and can still run illustrations. I’ll run one for you if you’d like, versus Joe’s simple Excel spreadsheet and you’ll see there’s no appreciable improvement by using the Heloc-shuffle. The Heloc-shuffle that all of these companies use to make the simple, complex is a seductive presentation but it’s YOUR money – the “discretionary income” that is paying off your mortgage faster, not the Heloc and certainly not the software.

        • sally says:

          I love my MMA. It seems that you don’t fully understand the power of the program. It does help you pay off the Heloc, also. It calculates and uses the “banks” money to make extra principal payments to your mortgage. Do you have extra money to put 1,000′s of dollars towards your principle????

          find a reputable rep for this program.

          • NJBlue says:

            sally,

            Run an MMA illustration for $1,000 a month “discretionary income” – the SAME $1,000 that could be sent directly to your mortgage company – in John & Rebecca Jones’ 6%/$200k example.

            1. MMA pays the mortgage in 10 yrs at a cost of $66,937.94 interest.
            2. Bankrate.com’s prepay $1,000/month is 10 yrs and $67,408.24.

            MMA wins! By $470. But that assumes you took MMA’s $3,500 fee from savings and did not add it to the Heloc as most people do. So in this example, you’ve paid $3,500 to save $470. Is that a good investment?

          • steve says:

            Sally you are correct that the understanding of the this program alludes most people. The answer lies in two different aspects to be understood.

            #1 Most people are paying off debts with discretionary income. That means they pay their taxes first and then their expenses. Only after everyone else has been paid do they divvy up what’s left over between savings, investments, vacations and paying down debts. This is a very low flow number. The money sits around doing noting in checking accounts instead of having the money working full time. By using an MMA account you immediately begin using the power of your ENTIRE cash flow(after tax for W2 earners). The sheer high volume allows one to pay down debt much quicker and using a MMA account keeps the money working full time on your behalf.

            #2 There’s a big differences between a Mortgage’s Daily compounding interest and a HELOCs simple interest. This is grossly misunderstood amongst highest level financial gurus. It’s nothing more than a low informational stance on interest rates that shows they don’t fully understand how interest works. The simplest way to explain it is simple interest flips the amortization schedule in favor of the client where as the a traditional DCI mortgage, the amortization benefits the bank.

            I can show anyone the numbers if you would like to see them. This program is worth every penny. Don’t let the nay sayers throw you off track. You’ll lose important time you can never get back.

    • JimmyDaGeek says:

      LB, I am with Joe on this. A lot of us have science/math degrees and have analyzed these scenarios to the nth degree over the last few years.

      What do you mean by “moving parts” and why do you say it is not that simple? There is no such thing as “factorial math”. It is very clever marketing gimmick.

      You must use a debt snowball to get rid of your loans by adding onto your payment against the debt with the highest interest rate, regardless of balance, term, or due date. Of course, if you have a balloon loan or ARM, you probably want to pay that off first, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of getting a new loan or dealing with increasing interest rates.

      It is a known fact that many MMA reps inadvertently misrepresent their findings because their analysis software can treat a biweekly income as if it had 24 paychecks in a year, with 2 extra paychecks that are applied to the debt. Also, MMA software will pay off higher interest debts first, like credit cards, and use those payments against the mortgage, too.

      Of course, the biggest challenge is being able to identify spare cash and commit it to debt reduction. Some high income posters swore that before buying MMA they couldn’t find any money for that. Go figure!

      • sally says:

        look up factorial math in the dictionary.

        • NJBlue says:

          3! is the symbol for “3 factorial.” 3 Factorial is 3 x 2 x 1, which of course equals 6.

          Does MMA do lots of factorials just for fun or is the use of factorials somehow tied to the very simple and time-tested act of prepaying a mortgage. Why does mortgage prepayment require “complex algorithms” and “factorial math?”

          Oh that’s right, it requires neither. And all MMA requires to work is YOUR own money (excess cash flow), something you can send your bank free.

    • SallieMae says:

      LB,

      Joe’s spreadsheet is for one loan, one interest rate. It is simple, and it is as simple as taking your discretionary income and paying it towards your debt principals.

      I have 7 properties, all with different rates and moving parts too. MMA couldn’t do it, even though they “said” the multiple property option was the perfect answer. Nope. The MMA program cannot handle the complex stuff. It just makes the simple stuff complex – and they call that algorithmic math.

      You might actually enjoy the MMA for the first few months since you are an engineer and project manager. It consumes your time and inputting every single purchase, payment, and transfer action is exhilarating at first, then a total burden and waste of time and energy. So you will then probably figure out how to lump actions together but you will still do double the number of transactions to get the same result.

      Why you shouldn’t pay for the service? Because you could use your money in a better way. Because you could follow financial gurus that give you great advice for the price of a book. Because you are an engineer and project manager and you should be able to figure out how to list your debts, minimum payments, highest interest rates, and pay them off by controlling your spending and using your discretionary income to pay down principals of your outstanding debt.

      Why you should pay for the service? If you like to have your hand held. They do that well. The coaches are nice people, as are the chat support folks. Just don’t ask for your money back after you decide you paid a lot of money for something you could do yourself if you had the discipline.

      It is your choice. I wish I had been like you and researched and asked questions before I bought into the program. It was an expensive mistake for me. It works for some, but not for all.

      Maybe you need to find out for yourself, and if you do buy into the program, I hope it works out for you, I really do.

  2. Late2Game says:

    LB,

    Do you mean $250 down plus 48 payments of ~$95? Also with two homes, you will likely have to pay for the multiple property option of $25 per month also.

  3. Late2Game says:

    Also, I remember reading on another board that UFirst was changing their “guarantee” to a “limited warranty”. Well, I found the document (linked at my name) and it is true. And the “warranty” terminates if the customer stops using the program for 4 consecutive months, or fails to follow the money transfers as directed by the program.

    So I guess if the MMA program suggests a transfer that would create a negative balance in an account, well, your are out of luck!

    • sally says:

      you have to use the program as they recommend to get the warranty/ duh! just like any product or program.

      • SaidFred says:

        Sally,
        Some guys are never going to understand. I’m a CPA and while it may not be worth the price to some folks, I get to have the software to use until I’m completely out of debt with all updates, etc… and it’s available online so I can use it from any computer with internet access. What I like about it is that it also keeps me from over-spending as well. I may want to buy something and if I plop the amount in it may tell me that 3 months down the road, at my current spending and income levels, I’m going to be in the red so… either don’t make the purchase, cut somewhere else, or you better have more income coming in. It’s instantaneous too. I also can search for prior transactions, monitor all my account balances in one place, add other bills as they come up. I can designate the bills as weekly, monthly, bimonthly, biweekly, annually, etc… I could do something similar maybe if I wanted to create and tweak an Excel spreadsheet but why when the MMA program works super as far as I’m concerned. I heard now there is a way you can just rent it’s use like you do internet access too. That said, is internet access worth $200/ year to you? Probably. I don’t have a mortgage so I only paid like $1700 for my version but when I buy another house I will upgrade to put my mortgage into the program. With all the dates and everything included with the numbers it’s kept me on-track to paying all my debt off and I’ve rarely missed a payment or over-drawn because I can reconcile with my bank account online in minutes and continue on with my daily business with complete peace of mind that I didn’t forget to pay a bill or overspend when I had to make that car repair or lent my kids some extra money. Well worth it to me. Before I got it I really didn’t have a plan that I was sticking with. Now I have a plan and should be out of debt within 3 years. School loans, credit cards, etc… the commitment made me get serious and keeps me on track. I’ve shown it to friends and it was poo-pooed by them. They said they could do the same thing but I guarantee you in 3 years when I tell them I’m debt free they won’t even know how much more time it’s going to take them to be completely out because they are just blindly going along thinking they are smart enough to get to “0″ just by paying extra as they can and paying minimums on most things.
        Have a good day! Out of debt in 2014!

    • Ex UFirst Agent says:

      Why would it do that? It wouldn’t. And doesn’t it make sense to prescribe the way your product works and if the customer doesn’t use it in that fashion, it then becomes their problem. MMA is the solution. Get with it.

  4. Diane Talley says:

    I’m not sure exactly what you are talking about have you read the 7 money lies. Then try again to analysis if it is a scam. For the scam on you is the government.

    • JoeTaxpayer says:

      Diane, read “No one would Listen.”

      “Then try again to analysis if it is a scam.”

      What does this mean? Why do pro-MMAers have no access to spell checkers or time to proofread their own writing? What are you defending? What are you disagreeing with?
      The government isn’t the question here. No one claimed that MMA is the only scam on the planet, it’s one of many. I didn’t think there was a competition.

    • NJBlue82 says:

      Diane:

      Took your advice and googled the “7 money lies.” Nothing, sorry. Did find the 7 Great Money Lies which is a site about how no one makes money with network marketing except network marketers who follow the advice of this successful network marketer whose network of marketers can show network marketers how to better network market.

      As a former UFF agent, I suggest you do the following:

      Go to bankrate dot com and plug in 200k 6% 30 (like “John and Rebecca Jones”).

      (1) click calculate and see that $1199.10 pays off in 30, for $231k in interest.
      (2) go back and add $1,000 to principal (free), click calculate and see that this pays off in 10 at a cost of $67,408.24.
      (3) run MMA analysis for same and note that MMA pays off in 10 at a cost of $66,937.94, IF (and only if) you pretend the $3.5k fee comes from savings.
      (4) ask yourself: “Does it make sense to pay $3,500 today to save $470.30 over 10 years?”
      (5) go back to 7 Great Money Lies to learn better network marketing techniques for next “opportunity.”

      Good luck.

  5. Anonymous says:

    First United financial MMA in Utah charged me $3500 3 months ago,only after 3 days I found out it was n’t working for me,but they refuse to refund.I still struggling to ask the money back charged me.Any body has any way to get this money back?I didn’t benefit from MMA at all.

    • Calvin says:

      Within three days you were probably within your rights to ask for a refund regardless of the reasons….most states have a buyers remorse clause that give you 3-5 days. If you can prove you asked for a refund within your state’s guidelines, they might not have a choice in the matter….provided they have the money.

      People need to research purchases like this. Even 5 seconds of googling should provide all the reasons one needs not to buy this product.

    • Ex UFirst Agent says:

      You are a fool and that is probably the reason why you are having such a hard time. MMA works.

  6. J. Brunackey says:

    You are full of it. I took out my program (because that is what it is)in Nov. 09 and my mtg. was estimated to be paid off in 7.5 years @ 5.85%. I looked in to re-finance the balance owed $39,000.00 @ 6.55% + a finance charge of 5,500.00. So the UFF program looked very good to me. A no brainer. Well it is now Dec. 2010 and my est. mtg. will be 2.75yrs. Not the 15years I would have to pay if I took out the re-financed new mtg. So why don’t you get your facts straight or know what your talking about.

    • NJBlue82 says:

      J.,

      Go to bankrate dot com. Then copy and paste this “/calculators/mortgages/amortization-calculator.aspx” to that URL.

      1. Input your loan data.
      2. Input whatever amount you’re inputting to MMA as “discretionary income” into the box “Adding $xxx to your monthly mortgage payment.”
      3. Click “Show/Recalculate Amortization Table>”
      4. Note how the “Changes Paid Off Date to” result is very similar to MMA’s prediction.
      5. Note how much bankrate-dot-com’s website calculator cost.
      6. Recall how much MMA cost.

      These guys do know what they’re talking about.

    • Calvin says:

      great, yet another person that doesn’t understand they are just sending all their money to their mortgage. MMA isn’t comparable to refinancing. It’s comparable to taking every penny you make each month that you don’t spend and sending it to your mortgage. if you did that without the MMA, you’d payoff the mortgage a little faster than the UFF product would….without the $3500 fee.

      our facts our straight and we know EXACTLY what we are talking about.

      • sally says:

        Calvin, I think that you’ve forgotten that the MMA will tell you when to move strategic or extra payments to your mortgage, paying it off even faster. I love my Money Merge account. The program will help you pay off any debt,mortgage and the Heloc (home equity line of credit)also.

        • Calvin says:

          no, i haven’t “forgotten” that because it isn’t true, at least in the case of the UFF’s implementation. it isn’t even an optimal implementation of their own approach.

          the best day to move money to the mortgage….the last day before interest accrues for the month. wow, it’s just that simple. of course, they won’t tell you that because they want you to think it’s worth $3500, instead of $0.

      • Ex UFirst Agent says:

        This is actually not true. Let me explain. The primary mortgage and the HELOC are two separate entities. The HELOC performs as a personal checking account, and the clients are instructed to use it as such. All a person’s monthly, bi-monthly, bi-weekly or whatever money goes into the HELOC. Then, just like a checking account, all expenses for the month come out of the line of credit. All that a person’s discretionary income does is maintain the HELOC in a continually decreasing account balance. The balance on the HELOC goes down every month as you cycle your income and expenditures through it. The MMA is attached to all this information and calculates the precise amount of payment that it then prompts you to take from the HELOC for the purpose of placing it directly onto the principle of your 1st mortgage. “OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY” AT WORK. You are not sending all your money to your mortgage. You are using a source of credit based on the equity in your home to allow you to pay large sums of money to your mortgage principle. The bank holding the HELOC sees you making monthly payments of your entire income so they don’t care that you use your credit line for what you are using it for, that is unless they are holding the mortgage also. Then they really care because they just lost a few years of mortgage payments in one fell swoop. Oh yeah, and as far as “taking every penny you don’t spend” and sending to your mortgage. That doesn’t even come close to saving you as much as sending a couple thousand dollars a few times a year while enjoying a worry free, financially empowered lifestyle. Get a clue Calvin.

        • Calvin says:

          I love how the people that sell the product are the people that understand it the least.

          If I borrow $5000 from my HELOC and send it to my mortgage, then pay $5000 from my paycheck to my HELOC, I have effectively written a check to my mortgage for $5000, just as I have if I write the check directly to my mortgage. There is a small chance you can save a small amount of money by HELOC shuffling, but it isn’t much, and it can almost ALWAYS be beat by just using a rewards checking account, plus no $3500 fee.

          I’ve simulated this HUNDREDS of times, as have countless others who have a clue. If you care to make a wager, we can simulate this yet again. I’m always up for a sure thing. I assure you, the math will show you exactly who has the clue. Numbers never lie, UFF agents do.

          MMA = financial ignorance
          UFF = cult

      • Phillyfan says:

        I’m an x UFF agent and a user of the program. For all u uninformed people hating on the program “oh! Just send ur mortgage company ur extra money!” “It’s the same thing!” No! It’s not! Try calling ur mortgage company and say “hey, I kind of need some of that money back, something came up!” They would laugh at u!!! That’s the great thing about the HELOC, it acts as a safety net. U can borrow from it. There r no fees for the HELOC, it has an interest only payment option, which means, when I transferred $10,000 to the principle of my mortgage (reducing what I owed by $10,000) it saved me thousands in mortgage interest. My interest charge on my HELOC for borrowing that $10,000 was seriously, like $10 per month… So it didn’t matter what the interest rate on the HELOC was. If it was 7%, 17% or 37%, the amount pain in HELOC interest was well worth the amount saved in long term mortgage interest. As for the $3500? Please! Let me ask u this! Would u pay $35 for something that can save u $100? Yes! Would u pay $350 for something that can save u $1000? That answer too is Yes! Would u pay $3500 for something that can save u $10,000? Yes again! $3500 for $50,000? $3500 for $100,000? $3500 for $206,000? Yes! That’s how much I saved in mortgage interest using this program!!! It’s not a scam at all! Once u learn how the program works, u will see the truth. So, for those who spout off without even knowing or understanding the program, I suggest u do a bit of reading first before making a fool of urself. It is better to be thought of as a fool, then to open ur mouth and remove all doubt!!!

    • sally says:

      amen! FINALLY someone who get’s it!!!!

      • Calvin says:

        yes, they finally got it….they got screwed out of $3500 plus interest..plus interest plus interest plus interest….

    • Ex UFirst Agent says:

      Yeah dog! I know that’s right!

  7. sally says:

    I’m on the MMA and I love it. You obviously don’t know how it works and your list of things about it is erroneous. Good grief, if you don’t know about something don’t comment on it! A little knowledge is dangerous. Yes it is!!

    • Calvin says:

      we know EXACTLY how it works. we’ve demonstrated the approach in many a spreadsheet, and also demonstrated how simple prepayments work better. the only thing we can’t figure out is how the UFF is coming up with the exact payments they are using, because they are slower, even for an MMA approach.

      a little knowledge is dangerous. You have very little knowledge. We have a lot of proven knowledge.

      • Ex UFirst Agent says:

        you’re an idiot

        • Calvin says:

          put your money where your mouth is. let’s wager the profit from your lone MMA sale that if we simulate a simple example problem, MMA loses. I’m game if your are.

          $200k mortgage, 30 year, 5%
          $50,000 HELOC, 6%, interest based on average daily balance
          $2k non mortgage expenses.
          $5k monthly income.

          I know you will never take this bet because YOU CANNOT WIN.

          Muhahahahahahahahha.

          Seriously. Get a clue.

          • Calvin says:

            I love how the MMA supporters clam up when you try to talk actual numbers. I guess I don’t blame them.

          • Garry says:

            I’ll take your challenge, Calvin.

            But, first, you will need to also factor in all of your monthly expenses (besides the mtg loan) into the equation, as well.

            And why did you quote needing a $50K HELOC @ 6%?

            The program I use would only need a $5K (and you can even use 15% interest).

            Once you factor in your added monthly expenses – you’re traditional method won’t even be in the same park.

    • Ex UFirst Agent says:

      keep lovin’ it sally. God bless you!

  8. Ex UFirst Agent says:

    Hello everyone. I used to sell the MMA from UFF. Well, I sold one. I tried for over two years to try to sell it to people to help them pay their mortgages faster and save on the open-ended interest of a 30 year mortgage. I think the greatest problem I faced in the whole time was the constant negativity of people who can’t fathom that something as truly wonderful as the MMA is possible. “Nothing this good could be, and it certainly wouldn’t happen to me,” is the basic mindset of most people nowadays. I would write a proposal for people showing them how they would pay their remaining 26 years off in less than 5 years without a significant change to their financial lifestyle, and they would press the “stupid” button and say, “We don’t want to save over $100,000 in amortized interest. If you people on here really understood the MMA, you would do whatever it took to have one for yourself and you would probably be trying to sell it to other people. Of course, you would rather imagine the way things are and be negative and assume that it must be a scam because it sounds to good to be true like all the other losers I used to talk to who may or may not have been foreclosed on in their homes by now. In actuality, the MMA is probably the one thing that could save this country from greedy bankers and unreconcilable real estate markets. “Hmm…I think I might go back to trying to sell it. On second thought, if that meant I had to talk to morons like this blog writer, I will have to think twice.”

  9. Newbie says:

    So a couple of newbie questions here no seems to be asking…

    I see the MMA using the HELOC as the “checking account” so to speak (however I’m still not convinced it works as advertised).

    Questions: In today’s real estate environment, what if you don’t have any equity for a HELOC?

    Also, unlike a credit card, doesn’t the HELOC start accruing interest immediately once a draw is taken? In other words, there is no grace period on most of these loans, right? How is it possible to use “other people’s money” if interest starts accruing on the first draw?

    • Calvin says:

      Yes, the HELOC starts accruing interest immediately, unlike a credit card.

      This is NOT, I repeat NOT, other people’s money. It is your money. All they are doing is adding a middle man loan. whether you pay your HELOC, then use your HELOC to pay your mortgage…or use your paycheck to pay your mortgage, you are still using YOUR paycheck..ie YOUR money.

      UFF agents are just, well, dumb, to put it lightly. The reason this moron could only sell one is he could only find one other moron. He complains about the negativity on the net, but it is juts honesty. Honestly, using the MMA versus merely making the minimum mortgage payments will accellerate your payoff greatly at the expense of your discretionary income, just like merely sending in extra payments will. Only difference is that you are spending an extra $3500 to do it, plus extra interest on that $3500 each and every month til you are paid off. There are threads at fatwallet finance and scam.com that have links to real mathematical simulations that demonstrate exactly what the MMA is doing and exactly why it is slower than merely making your own extra payments. We “negative” people show the numbers and the math. The UFF snake oil salesmen just say “trust me”, it works, never understanding WHY it works and how 4th grade math will outperform it by an average of $5,000 to $10,000 over the life of the loan.

  10. Late2Game says:

    Wow. Looks like MMA sales were down enough that UFirst is having to take a “New Direction” by joining with anonther MLM, Market America. Details are still emerging, but George Veronis, a higher up UFirst Agent, said:

    “This was a bit of a shock but I believe was the best move for all of us and the company.

    Sales are way down, the outright life time purchase price is difficult in this environment and the Ufirst name on the internet was hard to overcome.

    Some are still doing well with the direct sales but overall, most agents are not making money.”

  11. D says:

    While the MMA may not be perfect one thing it did was create a mutually agreed upon plan for my spouse and I to handle our finances. And while there may have been better plans out there, at the height of our financial feuding, we weren’t aware of them. So to its credit, the MMA actually helped save my marriage. We’ve been using the plan for two years and there is no more fighting over money. That in and of itself makes the cost worthwhile ‘to me.’ Plus we see improvement in our overall debt situation, we have a clear understanding of where we are monthly, we know what the big picture impact of future purchases are, and it’s an easy system to follow. We had none of this prior to MMA. Maybe it is an expensive tool, but I liken it to paying for education. A lot of people pay for college and come out with useless degrees and a ton of debt. Here I paid for an education and have been able to practically apply the knowledge. Are there other ways? Sure. But none have been timed so right or worked so well for me.

    • Calvin says:

      I’ll tell you to pay your bills on time for $500. Er wait, i jsut did that for free. Dang it. OK, I’ll tell you that paying more towards your debt will pay it down faster for only $250. Dang it, I did it again.

      You claim you paid for an education, yet you still use a slower way to pay down debt. What exactly did you learn besides how to give away $3500 plus interest?

      • Chuck says:

        @Calvin – What I can’t understand is why are you so angry that I chose to spend my money on a program? It was my money, not yours. And why are you so angry that UFirst was the first to tell me about this and charge me for teaching me about P & I which I never understood? And why should you be angry because you have discipline that most people don’t have? It was my $3500 to give away, not yours. I don’t have this discipline that you have Mr. Calvin, but for the life of me I don’t understand why you are so angry at the fact that I gave away $3500. It was never about the $3500. For me it was about the $189,683.00 dollars worth of interest I was going to pay at the end of my loan. Where were you when I was giving the bank 80% of my money and not knowing I was doing that? You probably don’t even have a mortgage. I can say this. After 19 months of being in the program I am now on payment 139. I don’t care how you slice it Mr. Calvin, there is no way in HELL I would of done that on my own. Being a creature of habit, I would of rather kept the money in my bank account instead of giving it to the mortgage company. And it’s NOT as easy as you think. People won’t let their money go that easy. I let mine go to UFF because I couldn’t figure out how to make it work with my Quicken program. So really I don’t care what you say because if you do the math, in 19 months I have eliminated 120 payments. That number times $1060.23 will tell you what I have saved. All I pray for is that I don’t falter and back slide and continue what I have started. It is hard as hell to do and you should know this the way you talk. Our country has a debt of $14 trillion and the President is trying to raise the debt ceiling and you go around attacking people who are trying to lower their debt and pay off their bills and your only defense is, you can do it yourself!!? Well if we knew that we would of done it already!! It takes a discipline to do that and, like me, most people don’t have that discipline.
        I have been keeping a quarterly report on what I have been doing so I have numbers to prove everything I say. My number is .4375%. My $192k loan is now down to $149k and some change. I now have $100k of equity in my home that will be mine when I sale the place, not the banks. The bank is only giving me .4% on my money. The credit card are taking 11% and you are pissed off at who? Sounds like the Jedi Mind Trick is on YOU dude. My 401k lost thousands of dollars and my variable IRA which I found out is an annuity, is not moving upwards at all and you are angry at UFF??? You have GOT to be kidding me. There are a lot more people you should be angry at then this company. I am sorry that people get in and refuse to put the correct data in or refuse to follow the instructions but that doesn’t make the company nor the program a scam.

  12. jason says:

    i used to promote the UFF MMA system. then i got my mortgage license and found there is a loan out there that does what the MMA would essentially do, minus the cool software part. its called Mortgage Accelerator by CMG. the Australians already have loans like this.
    i believe the software and the CMG loan work.

    i say to any nay-sayers out there who say you can do it yourself: if people could do it themselves, why aren’t they???

    its about having a plan to keep you motivated to pay your mortgage off. if you had a great plan you wouldn’t be listening to the MMA sales guy anyway. for $3500 you can have a plan that will pressure you to follow so u can save $50,000+ in interest and save you (10+ years in) time and free up your cash flow which u can use to make investments

  13. Barbara Miner says:

    i feel that before you report thing you should know what you are reporting aparently you do not it a shame you did not take the time to learn more about u first if you had you know it works

  14. gloop says:

    This stuff is that in where?

  15. Cam3ron says:

    I wrote code for UFF’s MMA program (and have backup copies of it).

    Yep, it’s a scam and John Washinko knows it.

    And by the way, there was never a NASA mathematician or anyone with such credentials verifying the math. It’s all marketing!

    • Chuck says:

      Well if it is a scam the scam have saved me over $127k in less than 2 years, so thank you for the scam!

      • Calvin says:

        Paying ahead on your debt saved you the money. You could have done that for free and been even further ahead. The math is quite simple.

    • Craig Hansen says:

      Cam3ron,

      Say it isn’t so! ;)

      Yeah, I was forwarded some of John’s emails, specifically about him wanting to pull out of Canada, back when they were telling Canadian agents that they were working on becoming compliant with Canadian (Competition Act) regulations about making unrealistic income claims. They weren’t working on squat, of course.

      Tell me, how does the algorithm decide how much to borrow from the LOC or other account to prepay the mortgage? Seems almost random to me. It’s definitely too much to be efficient, but it looks good to the ignorant, which is obviously what John was more interested in.

  16. Debtfree says:

    My brother-in-law got me hooked up in UFF and it was the best thing ever! Some people here thinks it is easy to just put extra money down on my bills to pay them off faster. That in itself is true, but how much extra did I ever have? At best I would be able to throw $100 – $200 extra towards my bills. With the HELOC, I was able to throw 1.5 to 2K towards my mortgage… I would have never had that without the HELOC. 8 years later and my mortgage is paid in full. So UFF has worked for me… so screw your numbers game Calvin because your way works… but not as fast as UFF!

    • Calvin says:

      Another clueless user. Sorry, it’s just the truth. You cannot throw anymore money to your *DEBT* with the UFF’s software than you can without it. You can put more to your MORTGAGE by using your HELOC, but guess what your HELOC is….DEBT.

      If you only have $100 extra a month for your bills, that’s all you are putting towards your debt with or without the UFF’s software…. except with the UFF, you will spend 35 months paying off the additional debt you incurred buying it.

      You can laugh at my numbers all you want, your problem is math is math. I have proven time and time again that the UFF’s method is slower because of the $3500 anchor of a signup fee to do nothing more than make extra payments on your mortgage….something you could already do for free.

      Yay for you that your mortgage is paid off. You did it with *YOUR MONEY*, not the banks. You actually used more of your money than you had to. Probably about $3500 more, plus about $500-$1000 in extra interest. BTW….8 years….what was the UFF called back then?

      Sorry you got duped. You’ll notice that the UFF is pretty much gone from the net. Their website is still up, but the agents have vanished. Can’t sell on the net when everyone and their brother can see through the scam… and let’s potential customers in on the truth.

  17. TD says:

    I like Calvin’s conviction, and for the most part he’s correct.

    I’ve done the numbers over and over in many different scenarios.

    My cousin is working with vipfinancialeducation dotcom and is very pleased. He’s been pushing me to do it. I went to one of their classes and it was really good.

    Unfortunately Calvin is giving far too much credit to Joe and Jane Consumer and the fact is there is just no fiscal responsibility in the US.

    If there were, our Country wouldn’t be melting down right now. If there were, everyone would be listening to the advise on this page, pro MMA or NOT. Everyone would be debt free like so many are in other parts of the world.

    What we really need is accountability. Financial fitness is no different than financial fitness. Hard to argue that a fat-ass would probably benefit from discipline and a plan. A trainer perhaps and/or a nutritionist. Guess what, so would someone who is financially flabby. If it takes a $3500 investment to get a good plan that someone can stick to then it’s probably money well spent.

    If you can do it on your own then more power to you and NOW IS THE TIME TO START!

    The fact is, the rules most people follow are the banks rules and that is by far the worst option.

  18. calvin says:

    I’m not giving credit to Joe and Jane consumer. In US, they definitely need a huge slap in the face wake up call. But the problem with the UFF is the price makes it a huge financial mistake.

    the product is not an educational tool, it’s a black box sold by liars and/or idiots. Why is making a bad financial decision to “correct” a bad financial decision a good idea? Remember, not only is MMA slower than pre-payments, it’s riskier.

    If you look at the anti-MMA stuff across the net, people are looking to actually educate potential customers, not just tell them not to waste their money.

    As for your last comment: “The fact is, the rules most people follow are the banks rules and that is by far the worst option.”

    Care to explain that? Prepay or MMA or monthly minimums…. you still play by the bank’s rules. No one is changing any rules. And also keep in mind that debt, in and of itself is not bad. Poorly managed debt is *very* bad. Properly managed debt is *very* powerful and can take you very far.

    • Chuck says:

      Explain to me how a single parent with two kids can qualify for a mortgage of $800k! Then she ends up going into foreclosure because somebody gave her the wrong advice and the banks approved the loan!
      Can you explain to me about your comment: “And also keep in mind that debt, in and of itself is not bad. Poorly managed debt is *very* bad. Properly managed debt is *very* powerful and can take you very far.”
      You sound like you work for bank! I guess you’re calling the $7 trillion dollar debt the U.S. owes China a properly managed debt. Mr. Calvin, as far as I am concerned debt is debt, whether it is bad or properly managed! Maybe you can also address the $127 trillion dollars worth of unfunded debt the U.S. has as well since you understand this debt so well.
      I feel like an indentured servant being in debt with the banks. They have me because the collateral is my home and if I loose my income they have my house. That’s what I understand. And for some reason it seems to me that the banks want me to fail. They take a lot of the income I make. You seem to not have a problem with that. I don’t understand why you don’t have a problem with that. I figured in the next 10 years the bank would have teken $90k out of my pocket from my properly managed debt. Even if I could save $5k a year for the next 10 years, I would still be $40k in the hole! So why would a bank give me a loan for $192k, tell me it’s for 5.25% and then when I send them 1060.23 they put $840 in their pockets and only put $220 dollars to my debt of $192k and you don’t have a problem with that? Jedi Mind Trick dude.
      This is the THIRD house I have bought. The 1st house I figured I lost $124k after selling it for 17 years! I only walked away with $22k. I should have walked away with at least $124k. The 2nd house, after 14 years, is still $153k in debt. Does this make sense to you? I’m sure you are ok with this because you consider it properly managed debt! Mr. Calvin, debt is debt and it robs average people of a good life. If I understood and knew how to do this I would have done it on my first house! Who in their right mind would voluntarily give away $124,000 dollars??? I was HAPPY to get the $22,000 but now I know I was ROBBED Mr. Calvin and I will never forget this.

      • Calvin says:

        Wow, you sound extremely ignorant. Guess that’s why you were drawn to the UFF discussion.

        I sound like I work for the bank? Um, no. If I worked for the bank, I would be advertising. And also not telling people how to cheaply pay down debt.

        Please tell me how I call the federal debt “properly managed”? I just said debt can be properly managed. The funny thing (sad for you) is that a mortgage can be a great example of properly managed debt. If you have only $20k in savings and want to buy a $200k house, with the proper income, you can buy the house without having to save up $200k first. Imagine that!

        “So why would a bank give me a loan for $192k, tell me it’s for 5.25% and then when I send them 1060.23 they put $840 in their pockets and only put $220 dollars to my debt of $192k and you don’t have a problem with that?”

        Because $192k * 5.25% / 12 = $840. It’s simple math. That’s how much 5.25% interest is. Just like if you had a savings account that paid 5.25% interest, they’d pay you $840 in interest the first month for depositing $192k. What about the math confuses you?

        As for how much you owe on your house “making sense”, it depends. Some people pay nothing extra on their mortgage because it’s VERY cheap money and they can use it better elsewhere. Some people use their extra money to invest in equities, bonds, real estate, etc. If someone can make a 10% return on their money while holding a 6% mortgage, that means the best thing they can do is string out that mortgage debt as long as possible.

        I’d go into further detail, but I’m guessing you are already foaming at the mouth ready to spout off more ignorance. You were robbed, but not by the bank, rather by your parents and your teachers robbing you of an education and simple knowledge. At least you aren’t alone in your ignorance.

  19. Kent says:

    Agent Greg Incardona and his sidekick I thought I could trust led me down the path of debt. After using the MMA and 3500 dollars and talking to financial advisers plus some bank people finding that this money merge account from U-First wasn’t for me.

  20. Ann says:

    I have read many of these comments from Calvin and all. Thank you for all your comments. UFF is now having a special for $2000 not $3500. That is why we have been considering it, change of price. But Calvin and others make sense also by saying, we can do it all for free. Its just figuring out if you can do it on your own and be committed to it…especially in this world of buy now, pay later, credit, credit, credit.
    Good comments… I hope we do the right thing.

    • Calvin says:

      I hope you do chose to do it on your own. Whether it’s $1, $100, $1000, or $3500…you are just paying them so that they can tell you to spend all your money on your debt. That may not even be the best financial decision for you. If you have no savings (or “negative savings” as they have you do), and you lose your job…you have to buy everything on credit….if you have it. If you have $20k more in 5% mortgage debt (costing you ~$85/month in tax deductible interest), but $20k more in savings, that savings may help you weather stints of unemployment, reduced pay, etc. so much to consider… risk, debt, savings, income, costs, etc.

      these are all the things that the UFF DOESN’T tell you about. UFF agents are some of the most financially illiterate people out there. it’s pathetic.

    • Craig Hansen says:

      UFirst terminated their entire sales force of independent agents back in the spring of this year due to hugely declining sales. It was carnage. The MMA is now sold through Market America for $2000, and an uber-ignorant sales group that are known by the name of their sales technique, “The P.I.L.L. Method”.

      It is also being sold through a devious direct mail campaign (http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/8776705577/4) that starts by offering a low cost “mortgage audit” by Accelerated Cashflow Technologies (ACT), which is just Accelerated Equity and Development (AED), which is the old company name belonging to Skyler Witman and John Washenko. In these direct mailings, no company name is given – just a phone nunmber. Skyler and John are just run-of-the-mill scammers.

      If you need a software coach, grab a copy of Quicken. It will do a much better job, because it will cost you less than $100 (95% less than the $2000 MMA), and it is a much more refined and efficient product.

      Everything Calvin has said in his comments is true. Don’t be fooled by the Money Merge Account. It’s not worth $1. Working through a sample $200,000 mortgage with an agent, we worked out that the agent should have refunded the $3500 and paid his client an additional $2000 as compensation to make up for the inefficiencies of the MMA.

  21. Beau says:

    Just stumbled upon this site and felt I needed to say something to clear up some of the confusion regarding the value in the MMA program. I’ll start with an illustration….anyone here a Dave Ramsey fan? Well I am. Dave Ramsey however teaches to destroy every credit card and never use a credit card again. Now I happen to own 3 credit cards. Does that mean I’m not fan or beieve in his teachings? Not at all….I believe his teachings benefit millions of americans who for some reason are UNABLE to apply the discipline needed to not spend any more than you would without it, and to pay your balance in full every month. For me, that’s easy and I enjoy the convenience of the card & the cash back incentive programs.
    Now, lets move on to the MMA program. I am a Ufirst MMA owner/user (not a seller/agent). I believe this program is perfect for a certain category of people. I don’t dispute any of the mathematitions on here….I analized it real well myself before I purchased it several years ago. Here’s what I know….If you really want to pay off your house sooner & If your income sometimes fluctuates & if you are not easily able to budget extra funds to pay down your mortgage…it’s great! Here’s why…I may have discretionary income anywhere from $20 to $400 a mth (money that would likely be spent at starbucks, gas station stores, etc.). Though I’m well disciplined, I typically would not try to squeeze any of this inconsistent income into a budgeted item. The program calculates this and forces me to use these funds productively which otherwise would have been just pissed away. I could try to accomplish this myself, but what a hassle…the program can tell you the optimum time & the optimum amount to do your funds transfer from your aloc to give you the most bang for your buck. For every person that has told me that you can do it yourself, I DON’T KNOW OF ONE WHO HAS (not to say you can’t…but until a person can afford to easily budget the extra funds, to me it’s not worth the calculated effort & time involved). I look at it like this……I spent $3500 to save about $136K in interest. Definately worth the trade off for me! (knowing I would have most likely done nothing otherwise)

    • calvin says:

      TONS of people have paid ahead on their mortgage without ridiculous $3500 software. It’s easy. Figure out how much leftover money you have each month. Write a check. Boom. Done. No “optimizing” software needed (that doesn’t optimize a dang thing at any level).

      There are examples of people that got HELOCs for their UFF crapware and ran up debt. Nothing in the software prevents that just like nothing in the software prevents you from buying starbucks coffee everyday, etc.

      And yes, we know you aren’t a UFF salesman…. they fired them all because the jig was up. Their agents took a giant crap all over the internet with bogus claims and outright lies to fool dumb people into paying $3500 to do something they could already do for free.

  22. girl says:

    you have it all wrong buddy. It’s working for me!I hate when people talk about things when they don’t understand them.

    • calvin says:

      it works, it just do anything different than just paying your extra discretionary money each month towards your debt, except for adding $3500 more debt, plus the added interest to pay that money off, plus added expense of it’s inefficiencies.

      Many people, including myself, have demonstrated the math behind the program, and shown full prepayments to be thousands to tens of thousands more efficient.

      We understand it just fine, you merely saying we don’t doesn’t change that proven fact. Math never lies, UFF salesmen almost always did. Of coursem the salesmen are gone now because they shat on their credibility so thoroughly on the internet…. company fired them all ’cause sales dropped to a tiny fraction once the jig was up.

  23. Tom says:

    In the last 2 years, I have reduced the principal balance on my mortgage by over $ 40,000.00 and have paid less than $500.00 in total interest on my HELOC during the same two year period. If you are disciplined and stick to a budget, this plan is a gold mine. The $3,500.00 investment is a drop in the bucket compared to the tens of thousands I will save in interest by paying off mortgage twenty years ahead of schedule. Without my HELOC, I would not have been capable of paying approximately $ 20,000.00 in principle each of the past two years. My credit union did not charge me anything to set up my HELOC.

    • Calvin says:

      “Without my HELOC, I would not have been capable of paying approximately $ 20,000.00 in principle each of the past two years.”

      Except that the additional principal you paid over those two years came from your income, so you were capable of it. Your UFF criminal agent just didn’t let you know this, rather he took your $3500 and let you think you couldn’t do it.

      It’s ironic that you say “if you are disciplined, this is a gold mine” given that if someone is disciplined, they can do this more efficiently than the HELOC shuffle…. for free.

      The math is simple. The UFF lies are not.

      • Allan says:

        @Calvin,
        You have to remember that not everyone understands how money works like we do. To a normal Joe Blow that doesn’t have time to crunch numbers, doing what the program says to do gets them the result they want. Sure, I would NEVER do this program, it wouldn’t help me at all, and YES, a waste of money for me (and you). The bad thing about this is that the sales people try to ‘sell’ the program to those that cannot make it work, making it hurt them more than help. If people came to me to consult on debt management. I surly wouldn’t charge them $3500, but advisor fees could be comparable in some cases.

  24. Sanjy says:

    Calvin,

    We’ve got a new MMA clone on the scene: debtplanningrelief-dot-com.

    Same hollow but seductive promises & same faulty math assumptions. Only question is whether it’s similar in the Ponzi-scheme compensation system…

    • Fat Clemenza says:

      DPR is such an overt rip-off of MMA that I’m surprised DPR has not been sued. Then again, there may be no one left at United First to sue anyone. For a while – if not still – DPR was actually using MMA’s “John and Rebecca Jones” example; didn’t even bother to change the sample names on their rip-off!

      Related company to DPR is CPR which promises to reduce college expenses but in reality, is a marketing tool to capture retirement assets and sell variable annuities and life insurance. Run.

  25. Allan says:

    I am a financial advisor. I think these arguments are very comical. The U-First program can be a very valuable tool for those that aren’t familiar with financial planning or don’t want to take the time to analyze their debt payoff strategy. True, you can do the same yourself without using the program and not have to pay the $3500 or $300 (copy product that does the same thing). The thing that bothers me about it is how much the sales people hype it up saying how much faster you pay your mortgage off. If you pay down the house with all your income, and then use that HELOC to pay all your expense, you’re not really getting anywhere. The investment is only as good as the interest rate on the mortgage. If you’re still in a 10% interest rate mortgage, it would probably behoove you to pay down the mortgage faster (On your own or with the program). But come on, with interest rates down under 5%, There are many investments out there that average 8-14% return annually. Putting money into that kind of growth would reach the amount to pay off the mortgage much faster than using the MMA program. But with all that said, if the $3500 helps you pay off the mortgage faster than otherwise on your own, then it was a good investment.

    • Craig Hansen says:

      Allan, if you read above, you’ll see thata the MMA has always been hopelessly inefficient and is so bug-ridden that it has left several users without enough money to pay the bills. Plus, it has always been sold at a massive cost. If people need a software coach, they can use Mint or Quicken for a very small fraction of the cost, and outperform the MMA every time.

      This is a scam product that has never had a reason to exist outside of making money from people who are scared of finances. It has never had a positive review in any legit publication, but did get a negative review in Kiplinger’s. It should be avoided at all costs.

    • Fat Clemenza says:

      “There are many investments out there that average 8-14% return annually.”

      Have you been a “financial advisor” for ten minutes or a full twelve minutes? And you seem also to have no understanding about how high fees dramatically effect ROI. In other words, keep cold-calling and pushing Wall Street’s latest skimming-operation products (VAs, “managed money”); you’re off to a great start in investment product hucksterism..

    • calvin says:

      Any “financial advisor” that calls this program a “good investment” is not a financial advisor that anyone should be using. I real qualified financial advisor would simply explain to anyone considering the product that they can easily do the same thing without the program, save $3500 plus a decade or more of interest on that fee and come out a year or more ahead.


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