Thursday, June 8, 2023

Don’t forget to “Count Your Beans”



By Natalie Strom

Let’s face it. Most people who are fortunate enough to buy a second home on Marco Island have been pretty smart with their money. Dr. Richard J. Van Ness, a part-time Marco resident has shared his secret to success in his new book, “Count Your Beans!! A Pathway to Riches.” Through the knowledge provided in Van Ness’ book, anyone at any level can achieve monetary success.

“Count Your Beans” is co-authored by W. Ralph Sommers, M.A. and has been endorsed by William D. Danko, Ph.D. Danko co-authored the New York Times best seller, “The Millionaire Next Door.”

According to the authors, “Count Your Beans” offers a solution to financial problems in a declining economy. Having more than six decades of financial experience between Van Ness and Sommers, the two professionals claim that, “with the current uncertain economic climate, guiding oneself to financial stability is the safest thing to do.”

Richard J. Van Ness, Ph.D. has served as a professor of finance, accounting and management courses for more than three decades with the State University system of New York. He has recently co-authored two other books: “Life After Layoff: Six Proven Courses of Action” and “How to Succeed With Online Learning: Techniques That Work.”

He currently serves as a management consultant to various businesses.

W. Ralph Sommers, M.A., has extensive tax experience spanning more than three decades as a tax accountant and enrolled agent who practices before the IRS. He is nationally certified to present federal tax topics in New York state with the National Association of Tax Professionals. He is also a financial consultant to individuals and small businesses.

The idea behind their book is pretty straightforward. As Van Ness explains, “we have seen too many cases of predictable but unintended consequences of lifestyles absent a financial plan. Our book offers readers the opportunity to get on track and be proactive for a better future.” The book offers exercises, practices, plans and strategies for wealth building that are easily discussed and understood. “Readers are also given the chance to learn a behavior modification approach and take the journey to reach and maintain their desired financial comfort zone.”

In an uncertain economy, it is hard to find the right financial plan. “Nationally, unemployment is down slightly at 8.3%. These percentages do not take into account the underemployed or those who have given up with the job search. Savings interest rates are in the tank. The stock market is at times a wild roller coaster ride. Many homeowners are ‘underwater.’ Our country is 15 trillion dollars in debt! That’s over $135,000 per tax payer according to the Federal Reserve. Further, the world economy is not encouraging and obviously negatively affects the U.S. economy,” Van Ness explains.

“Count Your Beans” is designed to help anyone in any financial situation. It encourages the reader that wealth building is possible even in troubling times. “Wealth building is a process and it includes myriad actions. However, if I were to choose the most important thing, it would be disciplined behavior modification,” adds Van Ness. “There are also many suggestions offered on our website, CountYourBeans. org.”

The inspiration behind Van Ness’ writing comes from traveling to Third World countries for research on international trade. During the mid-nineties, “I witnessed the enormous extent of poverty and deplorable conditions endured especially by women and children.”

He began writing for Pact, “a non-profit, mission-driven organization delivering support to those most in need while building the technical skills and capacity of those people to help themselves. Pact believes that the best assistance leaves behind knowledge, expertise and a framework for people to pull themselves out of poverty.” Van Ness’ writings for Pact were adopted by non-government organizations (NGO’s) and the United States Peace Corps to train people in the basics of capitalism for micro-enterprises.

In 2000 Van Ness began researching the economic conditions of the United States, which led him to co-author his three books. He is currently working on his next book that will be geared towards personal finance for high school students. “There is national recognition that financial planning is a necessary criterion for young people to reach and sustain a desired financial comfort zone,” he explains.

Van Ness is highly dedicated to helping people of different ages, nationalities, and financial backgrounds, find their own “pathway to riches.”

Richard J. Van Ness, Ph.D. lives primarily in Clifton Park, New York. He spends his winters here, on Marco Island. “Count Your Beans!! A Pathway to Riches” is available for purchase in paperback through and is also available in Kindle versions. Visit to learn more. 

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