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Old 10-11-2009, 12:26 AM   #1
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Anyone here heard of...

United First Financial and their Money Merge system?

I've been doing a bit of housecleaning, scanning flyers and brochures into my computer so I can get rid of the paper copies. I don't remember exactly where I got this one, probably at the Home Show last spring or maybe last year.

It claims to be a way to pay off your mortgage faster without refinancing. Quoting directly from the brochure: "The Money Merge Account system is an interest-reducing program. It combines innovative software with traditional banking systems and personal coaching to minimize your mortgage interest."
It says the technique has been used for years in Australia and Europe.

Something about this sounds fishy. Comments?

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Old 10-11-2009, 12:35 AM   #2
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Check out this Fat Wallet thread. Quick summary: scam

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Old 10-11-2009, 12:42 AM   #3
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Pay off your mortgage faster without refinancing? People do this all the time. It's called pre-paying your mortgage. It's totally in your control, it's easy to understand, and it's widely accepted as an ethical and simple solution.

I would absolutely not trust someone that had a complicated (and expensive) "system" to achieve what is easily and readily available to all for free.
"You'd be surprised at how much it costs to look this cheap." -- Dolly Parton
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:54 AM   #4
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Scam, definitely.
You want to pay off your mortgage? Then pay off your mortgage.
This stuff has been around a while and is very fishy.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:04 AM   #5
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What the others said. Scam-orama.
"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means." Calvin Coolidge
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:44 AM   #6
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It looks like it combines a couple things you COULD do on your own and charges a big fee to do it, or in some cases a big fee for the special software that will help you do it. The basic idea isn't all that bad, but more risk than I care for:

Open a HELOC account that will allow checks to be written against it and plan to use this for most of your day-to-day expenses

Pay down your mortgage very aggressively. Put almost your whole paycheck and any savings you might otherwise keep into it. Remember you have the HELOC you can draw for living expenses.

In advanced versions, juggle the balance of the HELOC if it has a variable rate, or in some cases use their "secret sauce" computer program to predict when to pay more on the mortgage or more on the HELOC.

In theory, the time that monthly expense cash would have spent in your checking account it is now already applied to pay down your mortgage, so you pay off sooner. Plus you are super aggressive about paying it down, so it pays off sooner.

Hope like crazy you haven't miscalculated or you HELOC gets frozen. You have no free cash and are counting on the HELOC for all your liquidity.

If you want to be this aggressive (too much for me) then I don't see any reason to fork out thousands to do it. I think that some versions of the plan also provide the HELOC account, which is supposed to be protection against a freeze, but I'd want to really really understand the loan agreement and consider contingencies such as job loss or unexpected expense. All the versions I've been approached to join were scams of one sort or another. YMMV.

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