Column of “Big Joe” Clark: A little financial discipline today can avoid many regrets later | Columns


“Everyone is paying the price. Either you pay the price of discipline today or the price of regret later.

This was one of the first business quotes I took to heart years ago from the legendary Zig Ziglar. The concept is true for saving money today versus spending, but it’s also true for confidence in technology. There’s a lot to consider when balancing convenience versus necessity. Just because everyone seems to accept an idea or practice doesn’t mean it’s wise.

First, an admission about the airport: watching workers carry coffee through the security line while being forced to empty mine irritates me. I’m not a hijacker and I don’t carry a bomb. We submit to inconvenience in case the person next to us has other intentions than their morning caffeine fix. There is also the small fact that I have no choice in the decision.

Putting your information into the world of cyberspace was a choice you made at some point. Now it’s out of our control because business and government run in the cloud, including our business. The people you choose to authorize the storage and sharing of your information are somewhat limited but remain under your control. How companies decide to protect this data is also within their control, but at the cost of size and scalability.

The percentage of our revenue required to maintain security increases every year. We have weekly attempts by uninvited guests to “borrow” our family information. We are vigilant and successful so far, actually knowing and speaking verbally with people in need of deposits or withdrawals.

“Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t try to breach our data system,” said Don Hodson, EA and chief compliance officer at Financial Enhancement Group. “Our process is robust and requires constant updating and monitoring. Our success in protecting private information ultimately comes from our mandate to have transaction requests acknowledged and verbally confirmed by a “known” person.

Big companies weren’t so lucky. As businesses grow, the ability to “know” personal voices and circumstances is replaced by digital protocol. The world of encrypted, multi-process verification has helped.

Unfortunately, the enemy of privacy works just as diligently to obtain our information.

The statistics on the methodology of hacking and breaching systems are chilling and overwhelming. Just because you can build an app for a phone or start a business doesn’t mean a significant investment or interest in technology and protection protocols isn’t necessary. Protection methodologies are seemingly impractical and costly in time, energy and attention – until the unthinkable happens.

Determine the potential risk and reward, as with all decisions. The exchange of “privacy” is necessary, but you decide who gets this information and have every right to ask how it is stored and transmitted.

The processes we and others use can sometimes seem inconvenient, but the tradeoff of protection is worth the effort on your part and the expense on ours.

Joseph “Big Joe” Clark, whose column is published on Saturdays, is a Certified Financial Planner. He can be reached at [email protected] or



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