Women and the Green

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What do you ponder when you. think about golf? Most people picture a group of wealthy businessmen exchanging murmurs on the green and talking shop.

When I play golf it’s a different scene. Four women, crushing drives, laughing, drinking seltzers, and listening to music.

The golf stereotype is the epidemy of the relentless drive towards a never-ending lack of gender equality in the world. Now many chose to sit and dwell in the sanctity of darkness within this topic, I chose to fight back at it.

Drive further than the men, have more fun than the men, win more money than the men, then shake their hand at the end and have a beer with them.

Why in the depths of societies failures do we need to accept depressing matters in a depressing manner. My glass has always been half full, which I am appreciative of, my outlook on the world is that of the hopeful spirit and less of the dweller. I am however acutely aware of the lack of inclusion for women in a vast if not the majority of arenas: sports, finance, business and so on. Every sport I have ever played the boys team was more important, but what mattered the most to me was the inclusion and accessibility of those that wanted to play the sport. If women include women why scowl at the dugout on the boys team, when we have our own glorious corner, with much cuter outfits and more angst than 100 teenage boys.

The theme of adversity seemed to journey into adulthood when you realize not only are the sports not equal, but neither are the jobs, payroll, household roles, finances, the list is intimidating at least. In Mandela’s words, “Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.” Yet, still in 2022 we are bounded by our creation. But this does not falter me, it made me fight harder, work harder, and become more confident.

When I first learned to play golf, I felt strange doing so, it was one of the only sports I had left untouched due to the male domination, and quite frankly it looked kind of boring to me. Little did I know that the empowerment I found from swinging the club and getting those amazing moments made everyone else on the course invisible. It was for me and my enjoyment. Now don’t get me wrong, there were moments in this learning process when the sheer pressure of having to drive off the first tee in front of men with single digit handicaps had me shaking in my golf skirt, but what is a challenge without fear, and what is overcoming fear without a true challenge?

TeeMates became this character for me. An unachievable, male dominated industry, of Sports tech. Maybe that is why I was so determined to take a giant bite out of it. To pull myself up on the bar to where they could look straight at me, eye level, and to where I could climb onto their levels of minted green. Either way, I was getting it done. I was going to start creating a sports app empire and no one was stopping me. So, I dug and dug, head down until I got somewhere. This is when the challenge of the most slopped green hit me in the face. As my little golf tech baby grew, I needed money, money to keep it going, to grow it, to keep up with the small beast it was becoming. I pitched and pitched and pitched, knowing that my self-funding days were running low. Suddenly, the number 2 was thrown in my face (and not in the good Eagle way), but in the statistic way. Less than 2% of Venture funds went to female founded businesses (Hinchliffe, n.d.). I couldn’t believe the number and it made me want to start puffing on Daly’s smokes immediately. How could this be, I thought?

I had always made my own way financially, yet now you’re telling me I’m a less than 2% statistic. Because I’m a smart, hustling entrepreneur? So again, as I thought back to my own favorite life lesson, I will not dwell in the lack of female green for the love of the greens, I will fight my way to that damn ace and make them throw that money at me. This is what I did. I started Girl’s golf events, I called everyone, posted everything, made it happen. Green was my favorite color, and I was not going to be lacking in it anywhere.

Taking your finances and your financial future into your own hands means freedom, means fulfillment. The Financial Policy Council stands to protect this freedom, to fill your green with single putts. You are allowed to fight for your rights to not only be great at a sport but to be successful and financially independent. To all my strong and powerful ladies, Learn golf. It is not a man’s sport. Find ways to create multiple fairways of financial flow.

Fill your head with freedom, it is your right, and do what Tiger did, don’t give a Fuck. If he doesn’t have to why should we.

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Bucking the Status Quo

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Somewhere around 100AD a Roman named Tacitus said, “If you would know who controls you see who you may not criticize.”

For thousands of years, “citizens” of the world have been brought up with the following messages deeply programmed into our minds:

  • Truth comes from authority.
  • Taxes are not extortion, it’s a social contract.
  • Intellectual and social conformity is rewarded.
  • Non-compliance is punished.

Why is this normal? And, why should it not be?

What does that mean? Well, kids come out of college today with knee pads on – ever ready to kneel before authority; with no intrinsic need or understanding of human beings being totally free in a free market system; and with a mindset that you can’t facilitate exchange without a central planner.

This is against the basic laws of Entrepreneurship, Libertarianism, and human nature.

So, what is my idea of what normal should look like? It’s simple:

  • People should not be slaves.
  • Everything people do should be voluntary.
  • Don’t use violence.

I have been writing blogs and making videos for many years, getting around 1 million views on some videos, until I was criticized from a number of social media outfits for upsetting the establishment by not agreeing with their coercive point of view.

I am not alone. There are a great many highly informed and experienced people who share my views to a greater or lesser degree.

We do not agree on everything and I believe if two people agree on everything one of them is not needed.

But, apparently, disagreeing with the status quo makes us all insurrectionists and trouble makers.

And, I guess being deleted from mainstream media for questioning forced compliance and extortion makes me “fringe”.

Then so be it.

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Does the United States Still Have an Economy?

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 The US financial sector has long looted other countries. A number of participants have described the process. First a country is enticed with bribes to the leaders to take out loans that cannot be serviced or repaid. Then in comes the IMF. Austerity is imposed on the population. Public services and employment are cut to free resources for debt service, and public assets are sold to repay the loan. Living standards fall, and US corporations take over the country’s economy.

As foreign governments, having experienced or witnessed the economic carnage and fearing accountability, are less willing to be bribed into indebting their countries, American finance is now applying this technique to Americans. Contrary to the narrative in the financial press, the Federal Reserve is not raising interest rates in order to fight inflation. It is ludicrous to think that a three-quarters of one percent rise in a very low interest rate is going to have any impact on a 9.1% rate of consumer inflation or that speculation that the Federal Reserve has in mind another three-quarters of one percent possibly followed by one half of one percent comprise an anti-inflation policy. If all these increases occur, it still leaves the interest rate below the inflation rate. 

 The Federal Reserve’s rise in interest rates is just a continuation of its policy of concentrating income and wealth in the hands of the One Percent. Quantitative Easing was the cloak for the Federal Reserve to print $8.2 trillion in new money which was directed or found its way into the prices of stocks and bonds, thus enriching the small number who own most of these financial instruments. 

 Having maxed out this avenue of wealth concentration, the Federal Reserve is now raising interest rates in order to drive up mortgage costs to aspiring home owners. The Federal Reserve is driving individuals out of the housing market in order to free up properties for “private equity” firms to purchase homes for their rental values. That private equity firms see rental income from the existing stock of houses as the best investment opportunity tells us that the US economy has played out. When investment goes into existing assets, not into producing new assets, the economy ceases to grow. 

A no-growth economy is the end result of a financialized economy. With such a large share of household income spent on debt service, little is left for driving the economy forward.

Bottom Line: The world’s largest economy” (the United States)” is today total fiction. It does not have an economy.

You will never hear it from the mainstream media in the financial press, but the United States is on the precipice of economic and social collapse. And what are the fools in Washington doing? The idiots are ginning up wars with Russia, China, and Iran. 

Go figure….

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Transformational Healthcare: Reversing the Effects of a Broken System and Ill Health

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Healthcare used to be a rather simple transaction between a physician and his patient. However, with knowledge and technological advancements and the commoditization of healthcare, third parties soon realized the extraordinary amount of profit that could be made by interrupting this relationship, and shoe-horned between physicians and their patients to develop a better business model. 

These same technological advancements rapidly improved medical care and helped extend the lives of many while somewhat necessitating 3rd party intervention as no individual physician could afford these devices such as CT and MRI scanners to care for their patients though larger medical groups could. This quickly morphed into increasing governmental regulations in most every aspect that protected third party interests but limited physicians’ and patients’ abilities to autonomously interact, opprobrious insurance and Medicare contracts, hospital ownership of physicians and their practices, the expansion of non-physician providers who extended care for much less expense though at a lower quality metric, a primary focus on pharmaceutical interventions with eventual direct-to-consumer advertising, and on and on. Of course, there were benefits to each of these, but in the long run, except for direct stakeholders those benefits were significantly impacted by the negative effects caused by their implementation. That impact took the form of decreasing access to healthcare for many, decreased quality in certain areas of healthcare delivery, and significantly increased costs to the consumer to the point of being prohibitive to a large percentage.

With the above in mind, the United States still had worse outcomes and spent more on health care compared to other high-income countries (i.e., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.).

Though tens of trillions of dollars have been spent on healthcare over the past few decades, and despite incredible scientific discovery and innovation, access to physicians has decreased, costs of delivery have exponentially increased (due primarily to an explosion of administrators and related costs), and quality has continued to decline in some areas while it has improved in others. Though healthcare expenditures eat up close to 20% of our annual GDP, and though healthcare is always a forefront issue in political campaigns and Congressional activities, we continue to falter in each of these three core areas – Access, Cost, and Quality, as we continue to fall further and further behind the OECD countries we refer to as comparators.

What has happened is that the message of Medicine – the message of hope and healing, has been replaced by the business of healthcare except for a cursory hat-tip to quality and patient satisfaction primarily meant to increase reimbursements. With the promulgation of chronic disease management brought on by an upside-down USDA food pyramid, we’ve also seen the advancement of forced governmental mandates, increasingly complex reimbursements, expansion of non-physician providers delivering autonomous and unsupervised care, we’ve also noted an explosion of distrust, complexity, inefficiency, and hostility resulting in a nearing implosion of US healthcare. This is being quickened by fed-up consumers, low morale among providers, unsustainable costs, and an ever increasingly overbearing regulatory environment. Despite this, healthcare stocks continue to climb and pay huge dividends.

Of course, as broken as it is, there is yet great hope and opportunity for those who understand the business side while also pivoting in their perspective of what healthcare should be. In fact, even now, our healthcare system does work and despite the obstacles above, we are still able to receive some of the best medical care in the world in the management of disease.

Though most every OECD country has lower costs and better outcomes with healthcare that is almost entirely governmentally subsidized for all citizens, access is still an issue with many long delays at the point of care. As we consider healthcare delivery in these other nations, we see variations on pretty much free and subsidized healthcare for all for even noncitizens. The United States made a move towards this model in 2010 with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by essentially laying the burden of subsidizing payment for the less fortunate on those who better off through up to tripling monthly premiums while doubling annual deductibles and heavily subsidizing hospitals to incentivize engagement. Though improving access for some, the ACA decreased it for others. 

There is a new movement that is rapidly expanding as many break free of the current sluggish and overwhelmed system and re-establish the long lost direct physician-patient relationship unencumbered by third parties. However, this necessitates 3 things.

First, the approach to healthcare delivery must change. We must shift to a model that incorporates a physician-led, patient-driven collaborative relationship that utilizes truly exciting innovations proven to significantly alter the health of all who engage. With the proactive use of rapidly expanding artificial intelligence and machine learning, nanobots, biosensors, 3D printing, stem cells and exosomes, biomes, peptides, proteomics, and unique methods of early diagnosis and therapeutics, this genetically driven precision and personalized medical approach that addresses every aspect of a person’s health will radically transform individual and national healthcare for the foreseeable future. We are shifting away from a model of chronic disease management to one that encourages prevention and disease reversal through education, behavioral change, personal responsibility, and revolutionary scientific advancements.

Second, patients must take personal responsibility and must realize that the majority of their healthcare lies in their own hand. In fact, over 70% of one’s health is determined by the personal every day decisions we make in terms of what we eat, how we sleep, and what activities we take part in. So much so that our daily habits can significantly alter genetic expression and cellular function. Patients must also break free of the mentality that their health is the responsibility of the government and realize that they will necessarily incur some personal expense for improving and maintaining their health if they want the best cutting-edged care available that enables them to increase the time they live disease-free. However, we understand that this may not be for everyone as many are either unable or are truly satisfied with what amounts to an inefficient and relatively ineffective multi-layered highly matrixed governmentally run system focused on the long-term management of chronic disease.

Third, physicians must innovate and shift their thinking from a pharmaceutically based chronic disease management style to a truly innovative scientifically-backed method focused on health. We must improve access, shift costs, and improve quality of care as we see an increase in longevity through reversing chronic disease and ageing with an improvement in health span as well as an optimization of human performance in every area from brain function to cardiorespiratory endurance to musculoskeletal strength and flexibility.

The leading causes of death in America as we age are cancer, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Not only are these all preventable, but they are also reversible. What’s coming is incredibly exciting, but it’s not just coming, it’s already here and widely available for those willing and motivated to engage.

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Compliance – Not Technology – Crowns FinTech Champions

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Technology advances have simplified the process to offer digital services through embedded finance. Any company can choose to pivot or complement its core business to become a FinTech, but succeeding takes more than technology alone, writes Vlad Lounegov, CEO of Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) provider, Mbanq.

The Rise of FinTech

The march of human progress is visible through its technology, and I am privileged to have a close-up view of an industry that is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in business. FinTech is an industry moving at lightning speed, which disrupts traditional financial services through technology to improve the use and delivery of finance to consumers.

Progress and innovation in FinTech is in step with internet infrastructure and increases in computer power. Consumers have benefited from advances – from secure internet shopping and stock investing, to easy and cheap international payments and remittances, as well as blockchain-based smart contracts and cryptocurrencies.

Every aspect of peoples financial lives is in their pockets, on the go, secure, accessible and instant. All because technology has made it so.

It is also much easier and far less capital intensive to set up and operate a digital bank than before. Technology and operational costs have plummeted, and new markets have opened up across the USA and the rest of the peaceful world. Whether it is an unbanked, low-income segment of a nation, or a niche, highly-competitive industry sector, such as transport, music or crypto, a digital bank or Credit Union can step in to provide highly-targeted financial services.

Non-Finance is Waking Up to FinTech

The ease of implementing financial services, especially digitally, is not lost on established non-financial companies and organizations. Today, companies such as airlines, healthcare providers, supermarkets, clothing retailers, fast-food franchises, sports teams and educational establishments are waking up to the possibility of creating new revenue streams through a newly emerging FinTech trend – embedding financial services into existing product offerings.

Finance is a lucrative industry and the advantages of success are a clear temptation. Corporations already have relationships with an existing customer base and plenty of market data and industry knowledge. They can effectively predict what financial services their customers are interested in, and they already have the marketing processes to target consumers effectively.

Types of services they can offer include a mix of traditional and innovative – Buy Now Pay Later, checking accounts and debit cards, payments processing and foreign exchange, crypto investments, various loans such as consumer, automobile or mortgage lending, and bundled products such as insurance, to name a few. All of these are profit powerhouses if implemented successfully.

Technology stacks to offer such services are already mature and accessible, in some cases off the shelf, from FinTechs, so there is no need for a development team or for huge operating budgets. Embedded finance requires relatively straightforward technology to implement and provides a big win if successful.

Regulators Are the Reality Check

However, despite the euphoria, embedded finance is actually far from being the new wild west of business for one simple reason – finance is a highly regulated industry.

All financial services in the USA, including banking and FinTech, are directly or indirectly regulated both at state and at federal level. For a company new to financial services, just making a list of financial regulators and understanding what they require is, quite frankly, a daunting endeavor.

For example, the organizations they need on-side include the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), as well as various State Bank Regulators, depending on where they are operating.

Additionally, applying for and being approved for a banking license or Credit Union charter is only the beginning of the journey because compliance is an ongoing process.

Reducing Regulatory Pain

Applying for a bank license or Credit Union charter, complying with laws to prevent money laundering, managing risk of fraud and monitoring lists of entities and individuals who are banned from engaging in financial activities in the USA are all highly specialized processes.

Luckily, just as the technology to create financial services now has a much lighter footprint and can be outsourced, so too can regulator relations and the compliance process as a whole. In some cases licensing itself can be simplified greatly by working with an established bank to provide a licensing shelter. Additionally, external teams of compliance experts can manage the entire day-to-day regulatory and compliance process.

In conclusion, I have observed that being mindful of the compliance process is just as important as choosing the right technology for operational success as a FinTech.

Just as technology has changed society, FinTech has changed the financial world and the businesses and consumers it serves. Businesses themselves are adapting to integrate FinTech into their product offerings as embedded finance. They have a choice of great technology options to integrate into their core offerings. But the real differentiator is the regulatory and compliance aspect. 

Those companies that seek to provide financial services need to be aware they are entering a highly regulated environment which serves as a great filter. Any mistakes are punished harshly – from fines to business closures and even to jail time. But don’t let that scare you, because regulators are a vital part of the financial safety mechanism.

In the spirit of the Financial Policy Council (FPC) insight and outlook – those that get it right will reap the rewards.

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