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Invitations to retirement planning meals
Old 03-12-2016, 09:06 PM   #1
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Invitations to retirement planning meals

I keep getting invites to pretty good restaurants for a "free" seminar on retirement planning. Is the hassle worth the meal? I'm pretty thick skinned and can get a good laugh at some of the "hard" sell, but still, is it worth the hassle?
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:19 PM   #2
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I felt they were worthwhile even though we chose to manage our own investments in retirement. Went to 3-4 before I retired. I learned quite a bit from going and then having a couple companies provide a retirement financial plan (requires a followup visit to their office).

Have learned as much or more from this board but we don't get good food here!
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:46 PM   #3
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I felt they were worthwhile even though we chose to manage our own investments in retirement. Went to 3-4 before I retired. I learned quite a bit from going and then having a couple companies provide a retirement financial plan (requires a followup visit to their office).

Have learned as much or more from this board but we don't get good food here!
Subscribe to the Discuss Cooking site. That is how I found out about this site
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:33 PM   #4
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I went to several (4 or 5) of these before I retired, at restaurants I would have never gone to on my own dime. A free lunch , at some really nice restaurants, during the work day. What could be better. Actually I learned a few things at the first one or two of these but after that it was much the same "pitch" and information. However all the lunches were pretty good. Going to these helped me confirm my decision to "do my own" financial management.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:34 PM   #5
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I'm very tempted to go, but I would have to go alone since DW is uncomfortable with the hard sell and scare tactics. The last few I've received were good for two couples and we don't know anyone that would care to attend. Heck, I miss the box lunch seminars that Fidelity used to offer.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:46 PM   #6
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I went to one. Food was good, not great. We were seated classroom style and they had most of the meals under heat lamps for 45 minutes so they could serve us all at once.
So, marginal food, substandard ambience, and waiting for the food during a long sales pitch made for a long evening. Glad I tried it once, but I won't do it again.
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:14 AM   #7
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It's the restaurant's fixed-price menu and you are usually crowded into a,small area or room. I've not experienced a hard sell so far and have learned a few things, though nothing earth-shattering. The meals have gotten cheaper, so we've quit going, but it was fun for a while.
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:42 AM   #8
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I've been to a couple. Sometimes interesting. It depends on how busy you are and the ability to say no.
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Old 03-13-2016, 07:59 AM   #9
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Pretty much what the others said......might be worth going to a few just to get your own perspective. You might learn a few things from the speaker and also from your table-mates if you are seated that way (most common, in my experience). The speakers don't want to waste their time either so if you just don't sign up for the office follow up, generally you'll be left alone.

One thing that is a red flag to me..........if they don't allow questions (usually on the pretense that time is short). They might fear that others might learn something from that question . Not that common, but it happens.
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:25 AM   #10
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I have been retired for 4.5 years. I have been getting invitations to these. The emails and snail mails identify me as a soon-to-retire employee of megacorp. Ha!
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:36 AM   #11
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...... Is the hassle worth the meal? I'm pretty thick skinned and can get a good laugh at some of the "hard" sell, but still, is it worth the hassle?
Wouldn't be for me but each person puts a different value on a "free meal" and the hassle of them hounding you. Have been several recent threads on this topic which have emphasized the hassle factor. There are much better ways of learning about the financial issues surrounding retirement. Participating here is certainly one of them.
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:51 AM   #12
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Went to ten or so. A few were disappointing food wise. A few were very good.
Intent was education, to become more informed of the sales pitch. Since 2014 the attraction for a free meal has worn off. Chicken or fish? Salmon was usually better. Go with that choice.
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:08 AM   #13
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I only accept invitations from Fidelity to attend seminars that are of an interest to me. Nice lunches or dinners with an open bar with no sales pitch.
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:11 AM   #14
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I thought about this a bit more. While I did attend 4 or 5, I now recall I selected those based on (1) "who" (what company) was presenting and (2) when and where it was being held. There were usually 30 to 50 people at each of these and I never felt any pressure to buy now. I may have received a followup call or some mail from a few but it wasn't much. Again for me, it was good information that helped me confirm my decision to self manage.
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:37 AM   #15
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A FIRED family friend, and maybe the biggest tightwad I know, has had 4-5 free lunches from a single real estate development for retired persons. They send him a postcard, he signs up, eats lunch and leaves just before the program. One might call it tacky, or one might call it cohones but he figures, "Hey, if they keep inviting me to a free lunch, that's their problem!" :-)
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:44 AM   #16
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Every day I get junk mail in my mailbox, advertising spam e-mails, ads on television, junk phone calls, and more. Almost the only times when we are not being pressured by advertising is when we eat and sleep.

Why would I voluntarily subject myself to a sales pitch while I eat? Saving money is important, but I prefer to use some discretion in how I save money, and my goodness, I am not THAT broke.

I have never gone to one of these "retirement seminars" and I never will. I'll stand in line at a soup kitchen instead if I am ever that broke and hungry.
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:53 AM   #17
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That's rude, although I agree that it's really the setup's fault that he can do that.

Where we've attended, the dinners are always set up so that the speaker talks while you eat. You're free to eat and run, but you must listen to the full spiel if you want dessert.

Early on, before the presenters starting turning cheapskate, a couple of these events were seriously fun. In one case, the dinner was a nice buffet on a covered patio in summertime; just a lovely venue. In another case, the presenters actually sprang for drinks. We did not drink a lot, but some people did, and the questions got pretty uninhibited!

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A FIRED family friend, and maybe the biggest tightwad I know, has had 4-5 free lunches from a single real estate development for retired persons. They send him a postcard, he signs up, eats lunch and leaves just before the program. One might call it tacky, or one might call it cohones but he figures, "Hey, if they keep inviting me to a free lunch, that's their problem!" :-)
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:22 PM   #18
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A FIRED family friend, and maybe the biggest tightwad I know, has had 4-5 free lunches from a single real estate development for retired persons. They send him a postcard, he signs up, eats lunch and leaves just before the program. One might call it tacky, or one might call it cohones but he figures, "Hey, if they keep inviting me to a free lunch, that's their problem!" :-)

While yes that is a bit rude, part of me admires the guy. That does take balls. If they invite him again, why not keep it up!


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Old 03-13-2016, 01:52 PM   #19
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A FIRED family friend, and maybe the biggest tightwad I know, has had 4-5 free lunches from a single real estate development for retired persons. They send him a postcard, he signs up, eats lunch and leaves just before the program. One might call it tacky, or one might call it cohones but he figures, "Hey, if they keep inviting me to a free lunch, that's their problem!" :-)
Has he sat through any of them? If he has then I would say he is totally justified. He could even argue he's doing them a favor by highlighting a bug in their tracking systems.

Ooh, this imagery makes me laugh: he goes in, eats, then tells the host on the way out that he's already enjoyed their presentation, so he's on his way out. "But thanks for another lunch, I'll likely see you next month."

Now that would be moxy.
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:45 PM   #20
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Mailing lists are purchased, according to the criteria you set. Specify your message, and the printing outfit does the rest.

Maybe $1,000 - $15000 outlay total for 25-36 people.

The percentage of respondents is not large, given there are 25-36 people on average at the dinners I've been to. But of course, there only needs to be one or two fish caught to justify the dinner. Once you're hooked it will take a few years, if ever, before you jump the hook. That adds up to thousands each year in fees.

In some cases the cost of the mailing or the dinner is partially or entirely funded by ad dollars coming from the partners or other companies mentioned.

The FAs know that some will leave without a thank you or goodbye. It's part of the sell. If the room is full, it puts people at ease, don't you think?

I've met a few couples who met each other at dinners and other give-aways. It's one way they stay in touch. This makes perfect sense. LOL.

The people I've seen at these events are far from broke. People from medical and legal professions, etc.

The FAs are very outgoing, and I've thought the majority were vain, and feed off a crowd.

I'm sure my experience is tilted towards favorable since the area I live in is wealthy. Restaurants are above average. Two of 10 went out of business. Successful restaurants seem to have a regular business with FAs, and can fill rooms on slow nights.
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