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Free financial Seminars?
Old 03-12-2017, 12:04 PM   #1
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Free financial Seminars?

I get these offers in the mail for free investment or retirement seminars with a free dinner at a local restaurant. I've attended 2 or 3 of these and usually learn a little something.
I have serious trust issues about letting anyone other than myself manage my money.
Is it ethical to go to these things just for whatever info is learned and the dinner, if I have no intention of becoming a client?

The second part of the question is am I putting myself at risk by attending these things.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:09 PM   #2
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Ask the same question regarding the ethical part to the people who provide you free dinner. Is it ethical for them to provide free dinner and then fleece people off? If the answer is no then you shouldn't feel guilty.
I personally never gone to any free dinner but I've done focus groups and walk away with $200. That's the time they pay for me spending 2 hours there. Fair exchange I think.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:09 PM   #3
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Is it ethical to watch a TV show paid for by commercials if you have no intention of buying those products?
Same difference IMHO.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:12 PM   #4
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Is it ethical to watch a TV show paid for by commercials if you have no intention of buying those products?
Same difference IMHO.
+1
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:14 PM   #5
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Its ethical to go.

I'd fact check everything you think you are learning! These people have one goal, turning as much of your money into theirs as the law allows.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:18 PM   #6
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There is nothing unethical about it in my opinion. They are hoping that 20% of the attendees would sign up for their services which would be worth the cost of dinner for the other 80%.

I never attended nor plan to attend any of these seminars. 20 years ago I've paid a nominal fee for a seminar at the local library without purchasing a service or a product.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:20 PM   #7
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I get these offers in the mail for free investment or retirement seminars with a free dinner at a local restaurant. I've attended 2 or 3 of these and usually learn a little something.
I have serious trust issues about letting anyone other than myself manage my money.
Is it ethical to go to these things just for whatever info is learned and the dinner, if I have no intention of becoming a client?
It's not a matter of ethics. Ethics don't figure into it. They're doing what they want for whatever reasons they're doing it. They invite you so you go along for whatever reasons you have to go. None of this has to make sense. They say: "Hey! Lookie there. A simp/rube/potential customer!" You say: "Hey! free food/something interesting I might learn from." Both are just looking at what's lying on the ground and picking it up.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:27 PM   #8
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By all means, if you don't mind listening to a 2 hour sales presentation after a mediocre supper, knock yourself out!

We went to one - time shares in Maui. One was enough -
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:37 PM   #9
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I see no issue at all. They invite you, and you attend. Perfectly fair.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:43 PM   #10
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1st question, Yes, 2nd question, yes, you might sign up for their services.

Also, they might be selling your contact info to other marketers if you don't buy their services.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:43 PM   #11
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By all means, if you don't mind listening to a 2 hour sales presentation after a mediocre supper, knock yourself out!

We went to one - time shares in Maui. One was enough -
I went to a timeshare once, almost bought something, but rescinded as we were to take off from Maui. But my kids kept referring to it as the timeshare trip. Never again.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:23 PM   #12
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There is nothing unethical about it in my opinion. They are hoping that 20% of the attendees would sign up for their services which would be worth the cost of dinner for the other 80%.
+1
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:23 PM   #13
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We quite enjoyed the last free dinner. We enquired if the same meal was on the regular menu. It is. We seldom go to this restaurant because of the cost, but this is one of their lower cost entrees. The seminar invite we just received is for the same meal at the same place.
If the presenter doesn't have a established local office I wouldn't go.

We used to be accosted by timeshare sales people on our winter Florida trip. Vacation time is just too valuable to give them even a few minutes. I avoid them like the plague. It's not vacation time anymore, but travel time is also too prized to give up any for a sales pitch.

I don't remember where I read this but some entertainment executive somewhere once said that skipping through commercials with your VCR or DVR while watching a TV show was theft of service.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:29 PM   #14
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Its arguably mildly unethical to go with ZERO intention of using their services, or you wouldn't be asking. But it's minor at best. If the presenters had a valuable service, they wouldn't need to offer customers free dinners. Sadly, maybe the interested audience and the presenters deserve each other?

It's not worth a free dinner to sit through the spiel to me. I can't imagine what I'd learn of any significant value.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:46 PM   #15
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I'm tempted, especially if I have the chance to ask questions- but in a previous discussion someone reported that no questions were permitted and the presenter disappeared afterwards, leaving his assistant to sign people up for follow-up appointments.

In the trade freeloaders are known as "plate-lickers". I once saw that in a banner ad in a trade web site, advertising sales leads. The pitch: "Eliminate plate-lickers once and for all!"
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:57 PM   #16
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By all means, if you don't mind listening to a 2 hour sales presentation after a mediocre supper, knock yourself out!
I'm not sure how mediocre they are though. The last one that came through the mail had two different evenings offered each at different high end French restaurants in the south bay area. I've been to one of those restaurants in the past and it was very good. The other I've never been to and thought about going to try out the restaurant for free but I was worried about the hard sell. Is it mostly just a talk during the dinner? If so, it wouldn't be any worse than any number of business dinners at expensive restaurants with a presentation going on while we ate.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:02 PM   #17
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Maybe it's most ethical for as many people to go who actively plan on not purchasing anything to make it not worth their time to try to swindle so many people?
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:11 PM   #18
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I get these offers in the mail for free investment or retirement seminars with a free dinner at a local restaurant. I've attended 2 or 3 of these and usually learn a little something.
I have serious trust issues about letting anyone other than myself manage my money.
Is it ethical to go to these things just for whatever info is learned and the dinner, if I have no intention of becoming a client?

The second part of the question is am I putting myself at risk by attending these things.
I never go because SOMEBODY must fall for their line of BS, or they wouldn't be doing it. I don't want that somebody to be me, and I can get the same dinner for $20 without having to go to a seminar and listen to a jerk. It's much more fun to eat at the same restaurant at a table for two with Frank instead, no seminar, and to enjoy some great conversation with the meal.

On the other hand, plenty of people go and aren't persuaded, I suppose.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:49 PM   #19
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I attended one of those steak dinners. By comparison, you can learn much more here than there. Take the extra $ you'll earn from sharing in the knowledge here and buy yourself a better cut of meat.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:01 PM   #20
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I attended on of those dinners last year, and I wrote about it in a lengthy post here. In general I enjoyed meeting a bunch of people who sat at the dinner table with me. I had no interest in buying fixed indexed annuities, which is what the presenter was ultimately pitching. But I'm glad I went, and I would consider going again, even if I know I'm not going to buy their products. I have no ethical issue with it at all. They invited me to go, and I accepted the invitation. The invitation clearly says nothing will be sold and there is no requirement to purchase anything just for attending the dinner.
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