Table of Contents



Money is the opposite of the weather. Nobody talks about it, but everybody does something about it.

This probably applies to everyone, unless you live in sunny Death Valley, California, with 2.36 inches of rain per year. Just a tiny drop makes major headlines. But if you’re one of those people who doesn’t discuss money, that’s about to change.

As we all know, money isn’t everything; but it is right up there with really important stuff like breathing. And because the subject of money has both good and bad information being taught and even carried down through generations, you may wish to review these common statements and phrases and see if you are already subjective or biased on the subject of money.

Let’s start with a question . . .

Are you Money Savvy or Financially Illiterate?

Consider the following common statements you may have heard or said before:

  • Spend it, I’m only young once.
  • It’s only zero percent interest.
  • I work hard and deserve it.
  • I’m not sure what’s in my bank account; my spouse deals with our finances and I don’t know much about investing.
  • My parent takes care of it for me.
  • Investing is like gambling.
  • I’ll get to it later, and later never comes.

If you’ve ever uttered a variation of one of these phrases, this book is for you. If you’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and learn about your financial health, this book is for you. (The bull reference is not my idea of a financial pun, I promise. And if you don’t get that little joke, all the more reason to keep reading.)

I’ll show you that diving into your finances doesn’t have to be painful. After you’re done reading this book, big numbers will no longer scare you—at least, not too much. And you’ll know the ins and outs of your personal wealth so well that your financial advisors will wonder as to whether you should start advising them instead.

Thanks for getting my book. As I enter my 37th year as a professional, I’m proud to share with you the common financial blunders, hiccups, screw-ups, and scams we have all done, heard about, or seen on a continual basis when it comes to the Three Blind Mice. As for the Three Blind Mice, well, the beat goes on—it’s the same ol’, same ol’, as a simple shift in their practice could benefit others yet old–school practices continue at your risk.

Feel free to visit for great information and insight to protect and grow your hard-earned money.


Signed Scott McLean

With Dedication and Warm Appreciation 

Thanks, Denise, for your incredible patience and insight. To my best friend, confidant, and wife, truly the Proverbs 31 woman for her wisdom, insight, and understanding, allowing me to do what I love. Thanks to my children as my absence from writing this book has come to an end.

Dad and Mom, thanks for your tough love and guidance as you encouraged me to press on toward the higher calling so others can benefit greatly. Your sound instructions, love, and continued stern and warm proddings were appreciated. As I often think to myself, the older I get, the wiser you become. I can’t wait to see you in heaven, but there’s no rush, 1 John 5:13.

Sondra, my brilliant and loving sister with more degrees than a thermometer, thanks for your consistent encouragement to get better at whatever I tackle.

Now, thanks to all those who have truly shaped my career. Continually learning from you is a jet on the runway of achievement and personal growth. My utmost, sincere appreciation to my mentor, close friend, and “professor,” Dave Scranton, and the Advisors Academy members. Dave, thanks for partnering with advisors and me around the country with one higher purpose in mind—to help thousands of families financially sleep well at night with your sound retirement income strategies.

Also, thanks for allowing me to work with Michelle O’Halloran and Advisors Academy Press; this book would not exist without her tremendous enthusiasm and encouragement, as she saw a deep need for the Three Blind Mice to work together and get this book out there for all to benefit from. Special thanks to Bill Johnson, teacher, advisor, writer and author for your remarkable insight, guidance advice, and friendship during this journey. Can’t wait to barefoot water-ski with you.

Last but surely not least, my awesome staff. I’m so proud of them as they treat each and every client as a family member. They are so conscientious to their needs and concerns which allows me to continue to serve new and current clients as well as help train others advisors’


Heading into my 37th year in professional practice, and going strong with 60 years of life experience, this book  conceives because we all need the best advisors as we head toward retirement or are already in retirement. With 75 million baby boomers in the United States alone, we all need advisors working together, as nothing is more frustrating than paying for three different professionals who are not on the same page. No one really wants their life savings in the hands of the Three Blind Mice.

I’ve heard“knowledge is power” but I disagree…I say “applied knowledge is power.” I trust those reading this will not only enjoy this book as a valuable  experience,  reading it twice at least in order to gain deep insight and put into practice as many of the tips and strategic information as possible so you don’t easily get entangled in the financial traps that are before us, but more importantly, so you build a better mousetrap overall.

Now, I know that, as professionals, we are all swamped; so if I can persuade and encourage the lawyers, accountants, and financial professionals who work with their clients  to communicate with each other for the betterment of the client as well as the industry so they can sleep well at night knowing their financial and estate affairs hum like Beethoven’s 5th symphony ie. a beautiful financial masterpiece.

Welcome to the Rat Race

Trap #1: You Can’t Be Blind as a Bat
Or Somebody Else Will Control Your Destiny

  • Common Stock
  • Common Shares and Taxes
  • Mutual Funds
  • Leveraged Funds
  • Inverse Funds
  • Open-End Funds
  • Load Funds
  • No-Load Funds
  • Closed-End Funds
  • Mutual Funds and Taxes
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • ETFs and Taxes
  • Bonds
  • Bonds and Taxes
  • Zero-Coupon Bonds
  • Zero-Coupon Bonds and Taxes
  • Preferred Stock
  • Cumulative Versus Non-Cumulative
  • Convertible Preferred Stock
  • Preferred Stock and Taxes
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
  • REITs and Taxes

Trap #2:

Perceptions and Deceptions of Risk and Reward; You May Not Want the Biggest Piece of Cheese

  • The Obscure Risk-Reward Relationship
  • Going Once, Going Twice, Sold
  • Price Is the Equalizer
  • Mousetrap #2: Perceptions and Deceptions of Risk and Reward
  • Maximize and Minimize
  • Auction Rate Securities: The Day Banks Didn’t Show

Trap #3

The Destructive Time and Money Illusion: Why One Dollar Doesn’t Always Equal One Dollar

  • Why One Dollar Doesn’t Always Equal One Dollar
  • Inflation: A Thief in the Night<
  • Measuring Inflation: The Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Trap #4

The Misunderstood Magic of Diversification: Free Insurance Against the Mousetraps

  • Free Insurance Against the Mousetraps
  • The Magic of Diversification
  • How Many Stocks Is Enough?
  • Spiders to the Rescue
  • When Risk Isn’t Risky
  • Taking Risk for No Reward

Trap #5

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men: Average Traps That Will Foil Your Financial Plan

  • Average Traps That Will Foil Your Financial Plan
  • An Average Trap That’s Not So Average
  • The Average Is Most Likely Wrong
  • The CAGR Trap
  • Lose Money by Earning an Average of 73 Percent Per Year
  • Market Volatility: The Farmer’s Plow
  • Why Three Blind Mice Miss by Miles
  • A Look at 100 Years of Returns
  • Mutual Fund Madness: The TWR Trap
  • The Beardstown Ladies Who Beat Wall Street (Almost)
  • Mousetrap #5: The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Men
  • Mice in a Maze: The Problems Begin
  • Managing Risk, Not Uncertainty

Trap #6

Hidden Costs Can Rob You Blind: The Biggest Traps Are Those You Can’t See

  • What a Difference 1 Percent Makes
  • The Cost-Efficiency of SPY
  • Turning Over More Rocks
  • Idle Cash Has a Cost
  • Mutual Funds Pay Commissions, Too
  • The Cost of the Bid-Ask Spread
  • Prices Are Slippery
  • Uncle Sam Affects Your Plan
  • Volatility: Market Whipsawing Carries a Price

Trap #7:

The Madness of Mice Versus Markets: Trying to Profit from Stock Market Patterns

  • Looking for Footprints
  • Stuck in Rush-Hour Traffic
  • Trapped in Trading Traffic
  • How Fast Is Fast?
  • Nobody Cares What You Think
  • Stock Prices Are Largely Random
  • A Tale of Two Juicy Scandals
  • The Charts (Don’t) Tell All
  • Prices Aren’t Perfect (But They’re Close)
  • The Value of Information
  • Tattered Tea Leaves and Cracked Crystal Balls
  • The Indisputable Math of Market Timing
  • Selling Stock-Picking Services
  • The Market-Timing Queen
  • It’s Harder Than You Think
  • Contrarian Versus Momentum Investing
  • Disconnected Advisors Means Unknown Risks

Trap #8:

Retirement Planning Without Plans: Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail

  • Plan #1: Get Out from the Mountain of Debt
  • A Little Extra Goes a Long Way
  • Debt Snowballing
  • Tap into Savings if Necessary
  • Don’t Stop at Credit Cards
  • Small Deposits Make Big Differences
  • Plan #2: Build an Emergency Fund
  • Plan #3: Sell Your Home and Downsize
  • Plan #4: Guaranteed Cash for Life
  • Immediate Annuities
  • Delaying Benefits with Deferred Annuities
  • Variable Annuities: Buyer Beware
  • Uncle Sam Wants His Cut
  • Plan #5: Purchase a Medicare Supplement
  • Medicare’s Alphabet Soup
  • Supplemental Coverage: Medicare Part C and Part D
  • Medigap Policies
  • Plan #6: Build a Bulletproof Portfolio

Trap #9:

Tres Ratones Ciegos (Three Blind Mice): Financial Planning Is Dangerous If You Don’t Speak the Language

  • The Fiduciary Standard
  • Fee-Only Versus Fee-Based
  • Advisors, Agents, and Brokers
  • Risk: It’s All Relative
  • Short-Term or Long-Term Risk?
  • Fund Incubation: Performance Made Easy
  • Back-Testing: Digging for Gold

Trap #10:

Planning to Retire Without Planning to Change

  • DIY: Saving on Fees
  • One-Stop-Shop Advisors
  • The Multiple-Advisor Trap: Three Blind Mice
  • Surviving Retirement Traps
  • Picking Your Portfolio
  • The Benefits of Retirement Planning
  • Mousetrap #10 Planning to Retire Without Planning to Change
  • Off to the Races

Trap #11:

Let’s Get Together Your Team and Concerns

  • Real-Life Scenarios Legal and Financial
  • Three Blind Mice, Asleep
  • Details Matter—Vanishing Inheritance
  • Portfolio—Taxes and the Will

Mice Advice