ó In his book highlighting the damage that can be
caused by swindlers and how to avoid them, author Ward
Garner included a section on family and money.
has taught him that many parents are willing to
jeopardize their financial independence when it comes to
their children ó and many children will gladly
encourage their parents to spend money on them.
can mortgage a house, finance a car and get loans for
college, but parents cannot borrow for retirement,"
said Garner, 54, a financial adviser at Bill Few
Associates in suburban Pittsburgh and author of
"How to Protect My Million: Strategies to Identify
and Avoid Swindlers."
hard to say no to your kids," he said. "Kids
can be a big swindle because they hold the keys to a
client of his ó a single mother ó inherited $750,000
a decade ago. After paying for her childrenís college
education and buying them new cars and houses, she is
left with only $250,000.
would have about $1.5 million today had she not let her
kids swindle her into believing it was OK to lavish them
with cars, college education and homes," Garner
said. "The fact is this lady will live with less in
are not necessarily interested in their parents being
financially independent," he said. "They want
what they want. Parents work until they die and thatís
how kids see it."
Garner is a financial adviser, his book is not really a
financial planning book. There are no chapters on how to
invest in stocks or mutual funds. Instead, thereís
information on spotting false promises, learning to say
no, navigating tax problems and avoiding swindles
related to aging and death.
self-published, 162-page book was released in August.
Garner said he has been generating sales of about one
book a day since September on Amazon.com, as well as
through speaking engagements where his book is available
never realized how many different types of swindlers
there are until I wrote this book," Garner said,
adding there are two general types ó the intended and
fraudster Bernie Madoff was an intended swindler. The
cashier at a big box store who asks a customer to
purchase insurance on an electronic item that costs $200
is an unintended swindler because the cashier is simply
doing was he told to do.
possible for a person to be swindled by his or her own
ego, Garner said. The ego may urge an individual to live
large today because life is short. "The ego also
doesnít allow people to take advice sometimes because
it canít admit others know more than them."
said he got into the financial services business in 1989
at age 28 through a swindle. A cousin who drove fancy
cars and oozed with success suggested he get into
selling penny stocks, which generally trade for less
than $5 a share and are typically high risk. Many
traditional advisers avoid them.
lights were bright and blinding me to the truth,"
Garner said. "But over time, the lack of a good
nightís sleep saved me and wouldnít allow me to
got out of the penny stock business within six months.
He moved to a small money management firm in Pittsburgh,
then worked at PNC Bank for a year. He has been an
adviser at Bill Few for the past 21 years, working on a
the title of his book could be misinterpreted as
targeting the wealthy, Garner said people donít
necessarily need $1 million to have something to protect
million is whatever you have, even if itís $5,000 or
$20,000," he said.