Founder and President of Cox Financial Group
By: Katlin Chadwick
Jeff Cox talks about his inspiration for starting his business, common industry misconceptions and how to get around salespeople.
How did you first get started in the industry?
I first began my career as a software engineer for IBM, and then PricewaterhouseCoopers. At the time, I also was a notary and would take assignments to go notarize structured settlement sales contracts.
The first client I served as notary for was this young lady who lived in a rowhouse in downtown Baltimore. I went to her home so she could sign paperwork to receive a lump sum of cash from one of the big companies you see advertising on TV. When I walked into her home, her living conditions were just deplorable. I could see in her deal that she was just throwing money away. So I asked her if that was her first deal? She said no — she’d done three before.
It was hard for me to believe that she received a lump sum three times through the same company, and her conditions were still this terrible. But the thing was, no one had given her any financial direction.
It was then that I promised myself I was going to start a company to help people get more money than they would from anywhere else. If someone like this girl was going to do these types of deals, I wanted he or she to do it for the right reasons. Whether it was to improve their living situation, go to college, buy a house, improve their credit, or something else, I wanted them to improve their lives.
So that’s how it started for me. That was 10 years ago.
Did you end up going back to help the girl in Baltimore?
I did! I’m thrilled to share that her fourth transaction was with me, and I helped her buy her own home.
That’s quite the inspiration. So how did you go about actually pursuing the route that led you here?
It was definitely gradual. I started off as a broker facilitating deals in the industry.
Eventually, I was able to secure funding and get my clients better rates as well as better rewards.
Today, because I own my own company and control my own funding, I’m able to help many of my clients get more money than they would from anywhere else — which is the second reason I wanted to get into this industry.
What makes Cox Financial different from comparable companies out there?
Many companies give cash payments on structured settlements — and that’s all they do. What I want to drive home is that there’s more than one way to secure funding. Depending on your situation and factors like credit score, there are other methods for getting cash. Sometimes it’s a combination of things. I always want to make sure my clients are aware of every option they have available.
It’s easy to feel trapped in financial situations, and some deals you come across out there aren’t to your benefit at all. I want to help educate people on the value of their structured settlements. The more they know, the better decisions they can make for their future.
Speaking of client education, is there a principle in the industry that people often find confusing that you can explain?
I think many people are confused about the value of money and the value of their settlement in general.
For example, when you sell off future payments to receive a lump sum of cash, it’s important to understand that the farther out your future payments are due to mature, the less money your settlement is worth right now. On the flip side, the closer your payments are to today’s date, the more valuable they are right now. That’s critical to have a handle on before you make a decision. (Read more on this topic.)
What are some other commonly misunderstood terms or processes?
Two big things come to mind. The first is that the present value of your structured settlement shifts with time. With each passing day, the overall value changes, meaning your future money could be continually increasing or decreasing. What determines this? It depends how the settlement is structured initially.
The second concept is related. There’s a term to take into account with the value of your lump sum, and that’s the discount rate. This figure constantly changes and helps determine the present value of your annuity. This monthly government rate is programmed into what I do, as well as in our Online Calculator, which will help you determine that present value.
You’re based in Atlanta. Do you do most of your business there, or could someone outside of Atlanta also use your services?
I can do business in all 50 states. Though I’m particularly interested in the Atlanta markets and prefer to meet with clients face to face, I don’t mind getting on a plane to come meet with some of my clients.
Plus, anyone across the country can take advantage of our online tools.
How about your team?
Cox Financial has a solid team in place that helps people get things done. We have access to all the resources you may need — from credit repair to real estate to alternate secure funding options, and so on. But the great thing about Cox Financial is that there are no unnecessary layers between you and the person helping you with your money (me). I’m the one you’ll interact with when you pick up the phone to give us a call. In big companies, you’ll likely talk with salespeople, whose job is to give you the lowest offer possible so they can make a commission. That’s just not the case with Cox Financial.
I’ll end on a very pointed question. Why should someone call you?
First, I can get you more money than anyone else. Second, I may be able to secure alternative funding at a better rate than you could get by selling your structured settlement.