20 Things You Must Not Do When Hiring Me to Retrieve Your Money or Property

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If I agree to retrieve your money...
You must promise to assist me in these ways so that I can do what you paid me to do. If your interference makes my work more difficult or impossible, I will have to stop working for you and you will have wasted your money. I do not refund retainers when the client has jeopardized the outcome I am working hard to achieve. I promise to keep you apprised of all work I do on your behalf and I will endeavor to get your approval before contacting the other party.

1. Don't call or email the person I'm trying to collect from. Your kindness or sympathy undermines my attempts to do get them to do the right thing, or your anger and emotion could stop all communication and my efforts are wasted.

2.
Don't tell all your friends my methods that I discuss in confidence with you. You don't know who they tell who might spill the beans. And I hold proprietary interest in my work methods.

3.
Don't hire a lawyer or private investigator while I'm working for you. You've hired me so you won't need to hire these extra professionals.

4.
Don't sue the person or company from whom you want me to recover your money or assets. That's counter-productive to my efforts.

5.
Don't tell the person or company you forgive them until after the money and assets are recovered. To do so too soon undermines the work you have paid me to do for you.

6.
Don't harass or threaten the person or company from whom I am attempting to collect on your behalf in person or by other methods of communication: email, phone, fax, voice-mail, online videos, podcasts, etc. This, too, is counter-productive and not the behavior I want to see in a client.

7.
Don't call the person or company to make amends or take them back just because you are lonely. If this person exhibited persistent, unconscionable behavior to you, this is not a person worthy of your time and emotion. Spend time with good friends who do care about you.

8.
Don't ask them why. If you are obsessed with finding out what went wrong, or what you did wrong (if anything), and he/she refuses to tell you, let me find out for you. If he/she has been cowardly they aren't likely to tell you the truth. I am more likely to get the truth in one of two ways. Either I can do some legal sleuthing and find out that there is another man/woman or that the person is still married, or I can ask directly. Because I'm not an involved party, it’s easier for me to obtain the truth because I have no reason to lose control of my emotions as you might. And being the recipient of your uncontrolled emotions (tears, anger, hurt, threats, accusations, etc.) is what they fear the most.

9.
Don't withhold from me important documents, photos, tapes, etc., that hold critical information needed to prove that you are entitled to the money I'm recovering. You must give me all the information you have in your possession or know how to get. Making it difficult for me only slows down the process and makes the outcome less possible.

10.
Don't slam the person on the Internet. This will work against you. This is unbecoming behavior and reduces you to their level. If you have posted nasty things on the web, show me where and then take them down. The reason I need to see it is because I may have to defend you and will need to see what we're up against.

11.
Don't expect me to search for evidence you already have. If you know where I can find specific information on the Internet it would be helpful to your case if you tell me where to find it. I would prefer to download the web pages, photos, etc., myself rather than have you send them to me. I need to see them in their context and often when you send copies, the web page URL and important contact info are lost.

12.
Don't let your friends and family members interfere. If they start badgering the other party, showing up at their home, showing up at their work, threatening, harassing or embarrassing them in front of employers or customers they may be breaking laws and this would put you in an unfavorable position. Again, not only would it not further your cause, but would very likely work against achieving our intended outcome.

13.
Do not go to the press or news media... just yet. This may tip your hand prematurely and isn't necessarily the right thing to do or the right timing. If this is something you want to do, let's discuss when the right time will be and I'll help you do it.

14.
Don't jump into another relationship right away - if that's what happened - (or back into a relationship with the one who took your money) until you understand what choices you need to make differently next time, or you'll just repeat the same scenario but with different people and slightly different circumstances... and you'll lose more money and need to hire me again. Perhaps you need to raise your standards for the character of people you'll associate with, how you handle money, or the kind of treatment from others you'll no longer tolerate. Or all of the above.

15.
Don't consider the case closed until two weeks after the check clears. You're tempting fate if you assume too quickly that the money is yours. If you spend the money you might incur an overdraft even after the check appears to be cleared and the other party puts a stop payment on it or the other party's bank says there is insufficient funds.

16.
Don't drink to excess. Keep a clear head. You won't make good decisions when you're drinking or taking recreational drugs. In fact, in my experience I find that people who drink daily lose more money than those who don't because they don't think clearly enough to manage their money well.

17.
Stop acting like a victim. I understand you are hurt, sad, disappointed, crushed, bewildered, and angry. But you need to own your actions and then move forward with determination to stop acting against your own best interests. My work is far more difficult when instead of working with me as a team, you tell me to "forget it because you won't get the money anyway." That just puts roadblocks in my path, stops the momentum I've started, and wastes time critical to our success. The more you slow me down, the more difficult it will be to achieve success.

18.
Don't keep making the same mistakes with money. Learn how to manage your money properly. I teach people how to keep a smart budget, get out of debt, and spend their money wisely. If you don't want to learn how to manage your money, there are professional managers who look after celebrities' money so they don't squander it. Get recommendations. Don't leave it to a family member, boyfriend, or someone without qualifications. In this day of accountants who embezzle their client's funds and disappear, and former NASDAQ chairmen whose hedge fund cheats people out of millions and billions, you need to be very careful whom you put in charge of your money.

19.
Don't give people money without putting it in writing. Make it clear - in writing - that it's a gift or a loan. Verbal agreements are too difficult to prove in court. Just watch a few episodes of Judge Judy and you'll see what I mean. Read my booklet, OutSmarting Sweetheart Swindlers, to see what other smart steps you can take to protect your assets.

20.
Don't make any major decisions involving money if you've been widowed within the past year. Two common things to avoid: grief-based spending on things to make you feel better, and vultures who try to relieve you of your new wealth, received through life insurance, inheritance, settlements. The best advice is to avoid all major decisions - buying or selling a home, selling cars, buying cars, taking expensive trips, etc. - for a full year. Just take the time to grieve. Buying things won't help. Handing money to friends and family members will just make you poorer, not less sad.

Help me to help you. You've hired me to get your money back for you. If you hinder the work I do for you, you are only going to lose the retainer you paid me, which means you are still mishandling and mismanaging money.

Copyright Andrea Reynolds, 2009-2010. Please do not publish or distribute this article without the author's knowledge and consent.