Financial Services

Financial Adviser’s Book Outlines ‘Gift of Money’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The desire to educate people about how to use money drove Deanna Marchionda to write a book about basic money concepts. 

“The Gift of Money” was published in March by Amazon, said Marchionda, an investment adviser representative and branch office supervisor for Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc.’s Youngstown office. 

The thrust of the 101-page book was to “teach people how to make their money work harder for them so they don’t have to work so hard for their money,” she said. 

“That’s the key takeaway: that they can get themselves in a position in which their money can do better things for them,” she said. 

While reviewing portfolios with clients, she would find there they were confused about or doubting the kinds of investments they held, she said. Many people – “even some of our most talented people in the world, like doctors and lawyers” – are confused about money because they’ve never really received any financial education. 

She wrote the book to provide “an easy way to back that up for them to understand, something that they could just grab for them for an afternoon” to reiterate to themselves what they have learned and why the investments they have are good for them. 

Also, agents under her supervision occasionally find their clients are not “too keen” on their recommendations and can give them the book, she said. “I think that they just want to hear it from another source,” she added. 

“The Gift of Money” outlines financial concepts “in a very simple way,” which she said was important. For example, the book’s preface recounts the biblical Parable of the Talents from the Book of Matthew. Chapters (or “Gifts,” as they are referred to) illustrate such concepts as the Rule of 72 – how long it takes money to double – as well as dollar cost averaging, diversification and debt management. 

“It’s a lot of what I teach people every day, so that part was easy,” she said. 

Marchionda consulted with Jeff Levitan, president of Transformation Financial Inc. in Atlanta, on the book’s contents as well as translating its complex concepts into a more understandable style. The two have known each other for nearly 20 years, since Marchionda entered the financial services industry. 

“I’m somewhat unique in that,” Levitan said. “Usually financial people make simple things complicated.”

Marchionda, who speaks across the country at other Transamerica offices is professional but also relates to the common person and inspires young people, Levitan said.  

 

Writing the first draft of the book took about a month. She finished the text in February 2016, which then had to go through reviews to meet company and industry standards prior to publication. In all, some 30 pages of disclosure material was integrated into the text. 

Further delaying release were industry rule changes that placed a hold on approval for a lot of materials for public use. 

“So it sat for a couple of years until we were able to work with some really great people at the company to go through it and get it to a point where it was able to be reviewed by our regulatory bodies,” she said. “It was reviewed and now it can be used with clients.

Levitan also is helping promote “The Gift of Money,” which he said is a “great book” for people looking for guidance and answers for retirement and financial security. He also promotes it for financial advisers to use to help “explain some of the terms and concepts from a third-party vantage point” to their clients. 

Financial advisers within and outside Marchionda’s office already find the book to be a valuable tool for educating clients.     

The book breaks down what clients can do “on a daily basis to improve their financial situation,” said Jessica Popio, an associate in the Transamerica Youngstown office. 

“I really enjoyed how Deanna lays out the concepts,” she said. “I’ve sat in with her on appointments and it is the information that she goes through with clients, but the book actually simplifies the concepts a bit further so that even an uneducated person can take away from this book highly complex investment strategies [and] just ways that they can produce for their family.”

Sean Ragland, senior marketing director and branch manager for Transamerica in Atlanta and Marchionda’s colleague for about 15 years, said he has long respected Marchionda but the book “has elevated her to another level.” He already has purchased or placed on order 30 copies of the book, which “is going to make a great tool in my business,” he said. 

“What Deanna did in that book made complex conversations and concepts easy for a person to understand,” Ragland affirmed. “People have a fear of money and banking and insurance. She did a great job of making things simple enough that a third grader could get a handle on it, or at least get inspired.” 

Marchionda will host a book launch party 6 to 8 p.m. April 30 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Youngstown Downtown, where copies of the book will be on sale. People can preregister here to attend the event as a VIP for $13.50 – the book is sold for $15 – which includes a signed copy of “The Gift of Money” and extra entries for a raffle that night. She also will do presentations on selected concepts from the book. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.