How to succeed in
business by really trying

Business & Careers, Finance & Legal, Life | by Ray Lang ”Your Advocate” A shopkeeper was dismayed when a brand new business much like his own opened up next door and erected a huge sign which read “BEST DEALS.” He was horrified when another competitor opened up on his right, and announced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading “LOWEST PRICES.”  The shopkeeper panicked, until he got an idea. He put the biggest sign of all over his own shop. It read: “MAIN ENTRANCE.” If it was only this easy for your business to successfully compete. Millions of us put in hard work and our sweat and tears into businesses, only to struggle to make ends meet and eventually falter. From the very beginning you are in a survival mode, rarely reaching a place to excel. In fact, according to statistics compiled by Intuit, 31% of all small businesses fail within two years and more than half won’t even last for five years in our country. It is not a matter of how hard you work or how good your ideas in America’s current economy, it is how long you can avoid big business interests from slaughtering you. There are over 27 million small businesses in the US creating over 70% of all new jobs in our country. You would think our elected representatives would be working hard to defend and protect you as a small business owner. Instead, they create regulations making it too expensive for you to operate profitably and then deregulate big business enough so they can monopolize your markets.
Over 43 million Americans make a living by operating or working in small businesses receiving an annual payroll in excess of $1.5 trillion. So how come the federal government plans to spend only about $1 billion on Small Business Administration (SBA) of the approximate $1.3 trillion in discretionary spending in the 2012 federal budget?  Why is it like breaking in to Fort Knox to get any of it? When I went to the SBA for funding for my law practice and some of my small business clients, I was advised to work through my local business banker. When I went there, I learned that there was no government funding available for me or my clients, and if there were, they did not know how to get any. However, if we had assets valued at multiple times...

Saving Your Home – What the
banks don’t want you to know!

Finance & Legal, Life, Coffee House, Estate Planning | by Ray Lang ”Your Advocate”                         Two lions were walking in the jungle when one started to lick the rear end of the other.  The lion getting licked asked why the other lion was doing this. He said “I just ate a mortgage banker and was trying to get the bad taste out of my mouth.”  The taste was sweet when money was free flowing from your local mortgage banker.  But as we now know, it quickly soured for many of us. The housing crisis is no joke and without an end in sight.  It’s well documented that Wall Street made obscene profits from mortgages, while the government did not regulate the industry.  Mortgage loans were given out like candy to a baby; only the candy has turned out poisonous for many of us.  After the mortgage bubble blew up in 2008 leaving most of the banking industry in financial shambles, the government partnered with the banks and not only bailed them out with our tax dollars, but also gave bankers another big payday. To save face, politicians put programs like HAMP and HARP in place and encouraged lenders to modify mortgages in order to make them affordable.  Unfortunately, so far, our federal and local governments, along with the courts, have not had much success in getting banks to give out fair loan modifications.  Because homeowners do not have the funds to fight lenders in court, federal guidelines change frequently and lenders are given a great latitude of discretion in evaluating loan modification applications , it is not surprising federal governmental programs are failing. I worked on Wall Street for over twenty-five years at some of the most top financial institutions in the world.  My resume includes structuring complex derivative transactions as a corporate attorney and originating hundreds of millions in investment banking deals as a banker.  I know what I am talking about when I speak of Wall Street’s “creative greed” that created the financial problems we are facing. Today, I am dedicated to being your “advocate” in the struggle to save homes.  I’m up to my neck in battling foreclosures, as our nation continues to labor in an economic mess, no matter what your elected politicians tell you.  If you’re not having trouble paying your bills, you...

Can “A War on Drugs” Really be Won?

Education, Health & Wellness, Life, Coffee House | by Ray Lang ”Your Advocate”                       A seventeen year old boy arrested for illegal drug possession once told me that he began self-medicating when he was fourteen. He would take some pain killers out of the medicine cabinet that were prescribed to his father by a doctor for back pain. He confided that he thought that the pills were safe since they were manufactured by a well-known pharmaceutical company and approved by the government.  Less than a year later, I shockingly learned that this young man had died by overdosing from this same safe, government approved pain killer. Most of us likely know a family member or friend caught in the clutches of the deadly disease of drug addiction. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2011 an estimated 22.5 million Americans (8.7 percent of the U.S. population) aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users. Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs is costing our Nation over $600 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and healthcare. Billions of dollars are made by those involved in producing, prescribing and distributing dangerously addictive drugs. Pharmaceuticals, psychiatrists, doctors and healthcare providers substantially benefit from sales of extremely addictive painkillers, anti-depressants and anxiety treating medications. Worse yet, the illegal distribution of these dangerous drugs and other illegal alternatives such as heroin, make billions more for organized crime. In light of the temptation of substantial payoffs, powerful political lobbying and lucrative job opportunities offered to FDA employees it is difficult to wage any kind of  “War on Drugs”. As dangerous drugs fuel the addiction frenzy inflicting our neighborhoods, our courts are becoming filled with those accused of drug related crimes. If you are arrested and charged with drug possession, before deciding how to proceed you have an important question to ask yourself. “Am I a drug addict?” Before you answer that question, you need to be totally honest with yourself. If you believe you are an addict, you should view your arrest as an opportunity to deal with your problem. Rehabilitation If you say “yes” to the question of addiction, you should know that most jurisdictions have courts offering programs geared toward treatment and rehabilitation. If you...