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The Independent Investor: How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Multi-Level Marketing
By Bill Schmick,
03:41PM / Thursday, May 26, 2016

So you want to be your own boss, make lots of money and do it all from the comfort of your home? It is the siren song of direct sales that has recruited legions of Americans through the years. Some make it, most do not. Here are some tips to help you in your new adventure.

Whether you want to sell jewelry, vitamins, candles, cosmetics or home products, a healthy dose of skepticism should be applied to the promises these companies make on their websites. Many reports, including those filed with the Federal Trade Commission, warn that almost 99 percent of multilevel marketing (MLM) distributors lose money. In addition, the dropout rate is upwards of 60-70 percent per year. Those are

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The Independent Investor: Let's Have a Jewelry Party
By Bill Schmick,
12:43PM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Contrary to all the present and future trends in retailing, multilevel marketing (MLM) is still alive and well in this country. Exactly what is MLM and why are so many Americans enamored with hitting up their friends and relatives in an effort to succeed at personal retailing?

MLM is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for what they sell but for the sales of other people they recruit. These new recruits in the chain are referred to as the participant's "downline" and, if done right, can provide multiple streams of compensation.

Most readers are familiar with these companies. Amway, Avon and Mary Kay come to mind, as does

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The Independent Investor: Estate Planning The Final Chapter
By Bill Schmick,
12:49AM / Friday, May 13, 2016

The weekend is over. During the last two days your family came together and had that "talk," but before everyone goes their separate ways; some followup is required. Here are some of the things you should make sure are accomplished.

As readers may recall, in this series we have covered a wide variety of subjects from leaving your legacy to collecting and reviewing all of your assets. Trusts, insurance policies, tax deferred savings plans, wills, living wills and durable powers of attorney are just some of the items we have discussed.

We have talked about the family meeting and who should attend. Be sure that someone is responsible for taking notes during this event

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The Independent Investor: Giving Up Control in the Event You Need To
By Bill Schmick,
02:46PM / Friday, May 06, 2016

The more successful you are, the more difficulty you face in wrestling with one inescapable fact. In preparing to pass the torch to your heirs, you need to give them the power to decide what happens to you and your estate in the event you can't.

That's not an easy thing to get your arms around if you have been the go-to guy or gal that the family depends on when life's hard knocks come visiting. How do you entrust your own health and wealth to others? Even if you love them to death, are they really capable of taking care of you in your time of need?

No question, it is a problem that you need to deal with and resolve before that family meeting I have been writing

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The Independent Investor: What Do Prince, You and a Will Have in Common?
By Bill Schmick,
03:05PM / Friday, April 29, 2016

What do Prince, you and a will have in common? The short answer is maybe nothing, unless, like so many of us, you still have not finalized such a document. If you haven't, get on the phone with a lawyer and get it done.

The passing of Prince was a sad day, but even sadder is the fact that this week his sister just opened a probate case in Carver County, Minn., the home of the late rock star.

"I do not know of the existence of a will and have no reason to believe that the Decedent executed testamentary documents in any form," Tyka Nelson wrote in her filing.

Prince had no spouse or children but he does have several siblings and an estate valued at $300

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