EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I am sure I don’t need to tell all of you that The FENG is a remarkable organization. It is also unusual in its tone.

If I had to come up with two reasons why things are different in The FENG than in the rest of the world, I would start with the fact that EVERYONE in The FENG was sponsored for membership. Because we are a circle of friends and not a fee for service, many of the things that we do for each other have no price associated with them. After all, what price could one place on friendship or acts of friendship, and how would someone go about coming up with a price structure. (Such are the things that occupy an accountant’s mind.)

The second thing that makes us different is that we don’t charge annual dues. We simply ask members who can afford it to send in contributions from time to time. Sure, money makes the world go around, but by making every effort to keep our expenses low, but more importantly because we are an army of volunteers, we are able to have a considerable impact on each other’s lives at an incredibly low out-of-pocket cost. (For anyone who would like to make a voluntary contribution, instructions appear on the last page of our newsletter every night, but I digress.)

One of the features of our evening newsletter is our very popular “Members in need of assistance.” I don’t know about you, but I delight in the fact that there is a place where you can get just about any career or financial question answered. With a membership of over 37,000, the likelihood that some member of our august body will have the answer AND will contact you with it approaches certainty.

I would hope that all of you subscribe to the idea that if you draw down benefits you should make every attempt to “pay back.” As with every other aspect of The FENG, we try to make this as painless as possible, and in most cases downright enjoyable. (It won’t be like favors granted in the Godfather movie.)

The simple suggestion is if you post a request that might be of interest to others in our evening newsletter, you should do two things. First, you should thank all who call or write. This is the most important step. Everyone likes to hear “thank you,” and no one hears it often enough. If someone took the time out of their schedule to contact you, the least you can do is say thanks and follow up with a short note. (No need to blather on at length. Financial folks aren’t good at writing such notes and don’t actually enjoy reading a tome either.) If you would like to help reinforce this appropriate behavior of your fellow members so they will do more of it, this is the best way to make it happen.

Secondly, it would be nice if you paid back the ENTIRE organization by summarizing the ideas and suggestions that came your way so others could educate themselves too. Yes, some “Members in need of assistance” don’t lend themselves to this approach, and for those you get a “pass,” but for many I see in each night’s missive, there is the possibility of great substance being shared.

We should try to educate each other whenever there is an opportunity. Sharing our knowledge in the newsletter helps others make sense of what is going on, and helps you too. (A little 15 minutes of fame at the very least.) And, who knows, by publishing the results of the question you asked, you might even make a few new friends.

Take it from one who knows, you can never have enough friends. (Or be thin enough. But again, I digress.)

Regards, Matt

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