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Free Meals and Retirement "Seminars"
Old 10-25-2017, 09:37 PM   #1
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Free Meals and Retirement "Seminars"

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere. I did a search, but didn't see a relevant thread.

We regularly get mail inviting us to attend a complimentary dinner with a 'retirement planning seminar', 'workshop', etc. held at a nice restaurant (Ruth's Chris, Morton's, etc.).

I look at these as kin to those "free vacations" where all you need to do is sit through a never-ending, hard sell, sales pitch for a timeshare condo. The wife, however, is of the opinion that its worth sitting through a sales pitch in exchange for a free meal at a nice restaurant.

I have doggedly said 'No' each time, but we got another invite today and she is twisting my arm again. So, this time I thought I would ask folks here.

Thoughts? Opinions? Ridicule?
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Old 10-25-2017, 09:42 PM   #2
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50/50 on here. Some like the free food and manage to sneak out soon after the meal. Others can stand them and turn them all down. I am in the second camp.
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Old 10-25-2017, 09:56 PM   #3
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The dinners are all soft sell, you can get out easy.

The rest will be hard sell you can be sure.

Try one for the wife and then complain about the food and the service and that a cheeseburger at McDonalds would have been better.

Maybe she will leave you alone then.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:01 PM   #4
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I had a work buddy and we used to go to these together and had fun with them. Was kind of a game to see which of us could spot the half-truths the quickest. Was always a nice meal and usually solid entertainment. DW has gone to a few with me and hasn't minded them and they usually spur useful dialogue between us in the days following.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
Try one for the wife and then complain about the food and the service and that a cheeseburger at McDonalds would have been better.
I like your style. I could wear my John Belushi suit and ask the guy at the next table "How much for the wife?"

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Old 10-25-2017, 10:25 PM   #6
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I had a work buddy and we used to go to these together and had fun with them. Was kind of a game to see which of us could spot the half-truths the quickest. Was always a nice meal and usually solid entertainment. DW has gone to a few with me and hasn't minded them and they usually spur useful dialogue between us in the days following.
Thanks. Despite my adolescent impulses, I'm thinking this is the way to go.

Unlike a timeshare presentation, the pitch can't last much more than an hour.

If it's a hard sell pitch, I can say "I told you so!" On the other hand, we might just learn something.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:28 PM   #7
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I get these all the time. Haven’t attended any.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:33 PM   #8
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Don't do free meals or cheap says for sitting through sales pitches. Got better things to do with my time.

We can afford to buy our own meals - even fancy ones!
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:36 PM   #9
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For me, Life is too short. Take your wife to the same restaurant minus the sales presentation.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:40 PM   #10
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Yeah - maybe the problem is the wife wants to be taken out to eat!
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:11 PM   #11
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If I need a free retirement meal I'll go to Costco with the rest of the buffet crowd.
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:12 PM   #12
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Next year win an Olive Garden pasta pass and your wife won't be looking forward to a restaurant meal after a month
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:17 PM   #13
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Yeah - maybe the problem is the wife wants to be taken out to eat!
That is definitely part of it.

The problem is "free" is her favorite item on the menu, while I have always subscribed to the saying that "If you're not paying for something, then you're not the customer—you're the product being sold."
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:20 PM   #14
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Happy wife...
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:42 PM   #15
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All I ever fell for was a free portfolio review with Ameriprise in exchange for a "free" airline ticket. Of course, they just take your information, plug it into a computer and print out a book of graphs that they don't even understand then try to sell you a more comprehensive package. Turned out the airline ticket was actually a companion ticket on a full fare ticket which I'd have to buy myself. It was actually cheaper to buy two discount tickets, so the whole offer was a scam.

I've never taken any of the "free" meal offers.
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Old 10-26-2017, 02:04 AM   #16
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All I can say is that life is too short to sit through these things for a meal. As I get older, my time has become the most important thing in my life.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:29 AM   #17
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These are now in Amethyst's Big Book of Nope.

We used to go to these occasionally, when the meals were better, they gave you wine, a second cup of coffee etc.

In the last few years, the local shills financial consultants have gotten canny cheap. They advertise the best restaurants, but you get the cheapest fixed-price group meal, no wine, and rushed/slap-the-plate-down service. And while some presenters will talk while you're eating, others make you sit through a 90-minute presentation before you are fed!
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:28 AM   #18
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As others have said, take her out to a nice restaurant. The money you save on the annuity product being pitched will buy many nice meals.
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:45 AM   #19
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Its not a free meal. You and your wife would be receiving compensation. Accordingly, you would no longer be retired but a w*rking stiff and we might revoke your FIRE status.

I agree with the others. Just take your wife to dinner. Much more pleasant option.

FN
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:54 AM   #20
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Years ago, I put myself on the "Do Not Mail" list and never got one of these, or an AARP mail. And I'm happy.

Meanwhile, DW gets these free dinner invitations at least twice a week (really) from various finance firms. She never opted out of the DMA mails.

We just shred them. No time for that nonsense. If FAs are making that much money to spend on marketing, I see that as a problem.
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