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Life Lessons from the Lottery

Book Tour Kickoff-

Monday February 11

Joseph-Beth in Lexington   7 pm

Tuesday February 12 

Joseph Beth in Crestview  Hills  7 pm

(about two miles from where I grew up)
Adam Turner, our newly appointed Editor and Multimedia guru did a terrific job in revising and updating  Check it out. (link to website) 

Dr. James Stillwell and The Art of Divorce Recovery



Hear the whisper of the raindrops,

 Blow softly against my window,

Make believe you love me,

One more time


For the Good Times"


-Kris Kristofferson (hits for Ray Price and Elvis Presley)


"For the Good Times" hit the charts about the time that my mother and father divorced. For the rest of his life, it was one of dad's favorite songs.


In 2006, after my first marriage ended, it became one of mine. 


The song resonates because it pays homage to good memories.  


On the other hand, it's easy post-divorce to be obsessed with looking back. Although the song focuses on happiness, post-divorce reflection often breaks down into bitterness, anger, finger-pointing and name-calling. 


Not only has the divorcee gone through hell, they can't seem to get past it.


That is where Dr. James Stillwell comes in. His job is to help people learn from their past, but focus on the future.


Stilwell, based in Lexington, Kentucky, is a master of divorce recovery. 


James, a happily married grandfather and father of four children, did not learn about divorce from firsthand, but it's hard to knock Dr. Stillwell's street cred.


Along with an impressive academic background, Dr. Stillwell has helped over 3000 individuals and families through the divorce recovery process.


I have referred several friends and clients to his divorce recovery workshops and others to receive individual and couples counseling. 


All rave about his services.   


James told me that it's hard for him to go in public and not run into someone who tells him, "You saved my marriage" or "You helped me get through the worst period of my life."


Job satisfaction has to be high on James Stillwell's list. He truly makes a difference.


He is an incredibly nice man with the perfect demeanor to be a counselor. He has read and mastered every book ever written on relationships and knows when to drop his knowledge into an individual situation. He comes from a background in the ministry, but his outlook and services are non-denominational.   


He's made the transisition from being affiliated with a mega-church to setting up his own counseling services and divorce recovery workshops.  


I am sure he nails individual counseling because every divorce is different, but he has had incredible success with his group workshops.


I wish I had gone to one.


I had several chances. James and I have developed our relationship over Facebook. I can't remember when we became friends, but he has become a friend in every sense of the word. Actually more like a guiding beacon. I signed up a couple of times for his classes, but something always held me back.


Like pride.   


I equated divorce to failure. I don't mind telling the world about my business failures (and success), but there was something about my marriage ending that I wanted to keep to myself. I'm a family oriented guy and having my life upended was tough.


My mother and sister died unexpectedly within six months of the divorce. I needed group support and individual counseling, but resisted doing either.


I sank into a long period of morose. I stopped going to work on a regular basis and was bad about returning phone calls when I did. Business suffered. I didn't want to tell anyone about the divorce, even though I am a high profile figure in a small town and everyone knew anyway. I have a vast network of friends and people who care about me, but I let myself get isolated.


Divorce recovery could have helped. It certainly couldn't have hurt.


James could sense my despair through my Facebook posts. He stayed on me about attending and I kept signing up and not showing up. I was finally ready to go and then I happened to meet a wonderful woman who is now my wife. I never made it to his class.


Then, James asked me to speak to a group of widows about their finances. I was able to help them and get a firsthand look at Dr. Stillwell's unique skills and talents.


I had a divorcing friend drive me to the program with the unspoken agenda that the person would connect with James and sign up for his class. It happened and was a positive, life-changing experience.


My friend once asked how I could recommend divorce recovery when I did not attend myself. I said that I made a mistake and wanted others to learn from it.


If you are going through divorce, thinking about divorce or have been divorced for years, you need to find Dr. Stillwell or someone like him in your city.


"For the Good Times" needs to be a song about the future, not the past.


Dr. James Stillwell has a Divorce Recovery workshop starting on February 25. He also accepts individual and couples for private counseling. You can contact him at  or at 859 258 2060


Mark Wahlstrom: Master of Mass Tort Administration



Mark Wahlstrom of Scottsdale Arizona is launching a new venture where he is heading up the Mass Tort Division for Settlement Professionals Inc. out of Portland Oregon.


Mark and I have a long history.   We are the same age and both of us got into the structured settlement business over thirty years.  


At one time, we were both affiliated with the national company whose leader managed to find every "out of the box" thinker in the settlement planning industry and tried to get them to work together. One of those ideas like herding cats. It looks good on paper but doomed to failure. Since we were all rebellious, "out of the box" thinkers, all of the best producers split off and formed our own individual companies.


Mark focuses his work on working with injury victims and their attorneys. There is a story often told that Mark switched from helping claims adjuster for a large insurance company after telling a claimant that the company Mark represented was ripping the man off.


Honesty is a great policy but a bad short term career strategy.


Mark lost his job, started his own company and over twenty five years later has never looked back.


In short, Mark and I have similar personalities.


I always like keeping an eye on Mark and it is pretty easy to do.   One of his better ideas, seven years ago, was to start the Legal Broadcast Network, which provides video news and commentary for attorneys over the internet.


Mark, who looks like a slightly heavier George Clooney, is the perfect host for The Settlement Channel, which is part of the Legal Broadcast Network.  


Whatever he is doing is working. When I talked to Mark last week, he told me that the network is getting ready to do a major expansion and has been a financial success.


What really spurred my call was to find out what he is doing in the mass tort administration business. It is one I know a whole lot about. I have my own mass tort company and it is a major source of my income. I was the first person to write in major legal publications about a concept called Qualified Settlements Funds (468b funds.)


I wanted to see if Walhstrom was as cutting edge as the news release claimed.


He is.



Trying to describe what a mass tort administrator does is not easy to do. You are not likely to see the position advertised on Craigslist.


Even if you don't know what a Mass Tort administrator or Class Action administrator does, odds are that you have interacted with one at one time.


According to Wikipedia,   "A mass tort is a civil action involving numerous plaintiffs against one or a few corporate defendants in state or federal court."


You've seen mass torts when products that thousands or millions of people purchased don't work the way they are supposed to.   I worked with several mass tort cases when medicines made people sicker instead of making them better.   Much of the litigation involving the BP Oil spill is related to a mass tort or class action.


How these funds are administered and what people do with any money they receive makes a huge difference.   Which is why people like Mark Walhstrom specialize in the topic.


Administering mass torts is one of those positions that every bank and financial services company thinks they can do. With millions and billions on the line, many are willing to give it a try.  


A classic case of why you shouldn't let an administrator "learn as they earn" happened in my home state of Kentucky.


Several years ago, the attorneys who settled a diet drug mass tort didn't get an outside administrator, they decided to set up a committee administering the funds themselves.


Lots of bad things happened.   The attorneys were accused of taking too much of the settlement as fee and a couple are serving long stretches in the federal pen.   Others were disbarred and nearly a decade later, the case goes on and the injury victims cry out for justice.


If a highly ethical mass tort expert like Mark had been involved, I can't see how anything illegal would have happened.


We spoke for over an hour and I am convinced that Wahlstrom keeps himself on the cutting edge of what is happening in the mass torts world.


Combined with his strong sense of ethics, he is a good choice to be at the table when big money is being handed out.


And you can follow his every move on the Legal Broadcasting Network.






Bob Babbage. Views from   Kentucky's Top Lobbyist.   





I graduated from college in 1981. At the time, my alma mater, Eastern Kentucky University, and Western Kentucky University were fierce rivals in football, basketball and everything else.    

I came back into the world of journalism in 2004, and by then Western graduates dominated the media in Kentucky.  


When one of the Western grads was gigging me about being one of the few Eastern grads in a top slot, I said, "Western has all the journalists, but the top lobbyists in the state are Eastern alums. Your grads get to write about it, but our grads get to call the shots."


That ended that conversation.


Bob Babbage at lecturn for wedding of Don   

and Karen McNay,  June 2012.  


It was also a true statement. Year after year, the list of Kentucky's top lobbyists includes Bob Babbage, Hunter Bates, John Cooper and Gene McLean, who are all proud Eastern alums.


In recent years, Babbage has topped the charts every year.  Including this one.  


Babbage is the one that convinced me that the art of lobbying can be a noble profession. Bob refers to his profession as being an advocate for a cause and using strategic planning to help that cause achieve its goals.


He nailed it for me when he said that being a lobbyist was a lot like his early career on Lexington City Council. You build coalitions to get things done.  


Like any other field, lobbying can have good people and horrible people. If you read my third book, Wealth Without Wall Street, you would think that "Washington lobbyist" and "devil worshiper" were synonymous in meaning.


Maybe that was a little harsh.


I get concerned that lobbyists are paid by big corporations and not held accountable by the elected public. Then I realize that many journalists are paid by big corporations and not elected either.


A little reflection might be good before I cast the first stone.


Babbage is an advocate who can always get my time and attention.


Like any good insider, Bob has built a strong, long-term relationship with me. He has been one of my closest friends for 34 years and best man in my first wedding. He was also in the second one, over 20 years later. He was instrumental in helping me launch my structured settlement business, and I served as Treasurer, Campaign Chair and Press Secretary in his successful elections to Kentucky's Secretary of State and Kentucky's Auditor of Public Accounts.


He knows what I am thinking before I say it. And vice versa. I understood the unique traits that made Bob the top lobbyist.


Bob is fearless and possesses incredible energy. He is enthusiastic about everything he does and constantly looking to think outside the box. That energy and enthusiasm fires up everyone around him.


When we worked together, Bob constantly pushed me to broaden my thinking, expand my horizons and never be afraid of working with big dollars and important people.   Traits that have carried over to this day.


Each of Bob's three children were born during each of his three runs for statewide office and his wife Laura made a transition from CEO of a health care company to the ministry. Providing for his family became Bob's overwhelming objective in life.


It's hard to argue with the results. I was with Bob when he was inducted into the Henry Clay High School Hall of Fame a few years ago, and he said, "It's hard to believe that a nerd like me produced three of the smartest and coolest kids you will ever find."


His oldest son Robert is doing international business in Southeast Asia after going to Vassar on a tennis scholarship, receiving an MBA from Virginia and doing a stint on Wall Street. Julie is at Vanderbilt, writing for the Vanderbilt Political Review and serving as an intern in the executive office of the Ambassador in London.


Like in England. Not the London in Kentucky.  


Brian is going to Furman on a track scholarship. I'm not sure where all the Babbage children are going to wind up, but Bob is intensely motivated on giving them a big start.


He is also motivated to maintain a high level of integrity for his firm. It's a corporate-style environment focused on attracting corporate government relations people who talk their language.


I'm not sure why so many of Eastern grads wound up as successful lobbyists. Babbage, Bates and Cooper all served as student representatives on the school's Board of Regents and learned how to get things done at that level.


Whatever the reasoning, it's nice to know I have friends in high places.


And that I get to write about them.









Don at Joseph Beth  
 Life Lessons From the Lottery Book Tour Begins February 11, 2013.
Paperback will be released that day.
Confirmed Appearances:
Monday,  February 11:  Joseph-Beth Booksellers,  Lexington Ky. 
Tuesday February 12:  Joseph-Beth Booksellers,  Crestview Hills,  Ky.  (formerly the Borders store in Northern Kentucky.) 

Life Lessons from the Lottery: Protecting Your Money in a Scary World


By best-selling author and syndicated columnist Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC

The world is an increasingly complicated place, but one rule has held true for centuries: People who have financial security control the destiny of people who don't.


People who are financially secure live longer and healthier lives. They have the freedom and independence to pick what they want to do for a living, where they want to live and to create a financial legacy for their families and causes they support.


So why do so many people who "have it made" run through their money and wind up broke? Why do the majority of lottery winners, injury victims, professional athletes and people who receive an inheritance run through it all so quickly?


A better question: How do you keep it from happening to you? How do you protect your retirement, injury settlement or inheritance in a way that will keep you financially secure for life?

In his fourth book, best-selling author and financial guru Don McNay offers concrete solutions to those questions.

McNay draws upon his internationally recognized expertise on what to do when you win the lottery and his 30 years experience as a structured settlement consultant to show people how money can provide them with happiness, security and peace of mind.


Although McNay has a strong academic background with two master's degrees and four financial professional designations, the book is written in a style that  everyone can grasp and understand. He breaks the book into five sections, based on the five rules of thumb that he gave to lottery winners in his 2008 bestseller, Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win the Lottery.


McNay said that his book is about financial freedom. "Real freedom means stability, security and independence," he said. "It means never running out of money. It means never having to work at a job you hate, because you can't afford to quit. It means never becoming a slave to your creditors. It means having control and stability in your life."

Life Lessons from the Lottery: Protecting Your Money in a Scary World is the road map to finding that kind of freedom.






Don McNay, best-selling author and financial columnist, is a structured settlement consultant and one of the world's leading authorities on how lottery winners handle their winnings.


His syndicated financial column appears regularly in The Huffington Post and in hundreds of publications worldwide. McNay also has appeared in several hundred television and radio programs, including CBS Morning News, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, ABC News Radio, BBC News, KPCC-Los Angeles, WLW-AM-Cincinnati, Al Jazeera-English, CBC Television (Canada), CTV (Canada) and Radio Live (New Zealand).


His insight has been sought by hundreds of print publications, including the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Forbes.


He founded McNay Settlement Group Inc., which is part of the McNay Group ( organization is considered one of the world's leading experts concerning structured settlements, mass torts and qualified settlement funds. His company has been noted for its work with special needs children, along with injury victims and lottery winners.


A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, McNay was inducted into the Eastern Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1998. McNay has a master's degree from Vanderbilt University and a second master's in Financial Services from the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. McNay has four professional designations in the financial services field.


McNay is a Lifetime and Quarter Century Member of the Million Dollar Round Table, signifying that McNay met the organization's highly selective standards for service, production and ethical behavior in 25 different years.



For more information:  

Don McNay,, (859) 353-4598 or (859-626-3600 ext. 225)















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Author,  Syndicated Columnist,  and Financial Commentator

Don McNay is an award winning syndicated columnist and commentator.  He is the author of two bestselling   books:  Son of a Son of a Gambler:  Winners,  Losers & What to Do What to Do When You Win the Lottery and The Unbridled World of Ernie Fletcher.

McNay  writes for the Huffington Post and has appeared on hundreds of television and radio programs around the world.  

McNay was a pioneer in the field of  helping injured people and lottery winners handle large sums of money.  He founded McNay Settlement Group in 1983 and is  considered one of the world's leading structured settlement consultants.

McNay is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, and  a member EKU's  Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

McNay has a Master degrees from Vanderbilt University and a second Masters  from the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

McNay has four professional  designations in the financial services field.

Don  received the  Certified Structured Settlement Consultant's (CSSC)  designation from Notre Dame University.  He is  a  Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU),  a Chartered Financial Consultant, (ChFC) and has the Masters of Financial Services (MSFS) designation.   He is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table.

McNay is  Treasurer of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and  a former director of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association.

Mr. McNay has been featured in publications such as Forbes Magazine,  New York,   Registered Representative Magazine, and Financial Planning Magazine.  
A prolific author and lecturer,   McNay has  spoken to legal and financial groups throughout the United States,  Canada and Bermuda.  He has published research  articles in publications such as Trial,  Best's Review, Trial Diplomacy Journal, and National Underwriter.


Don McNay

P.O. Box 747, Richmond, Ky. 40476-0747

1-800 Mr. McNay or  (800) 676-2629