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My free dinner and sales pitch
Old 07-12-2015, 09:46 PM   #1
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My free dinner and sales pitch

I get at least one "free dinner" invitation a week in the mail, and I routinely throw them in the garbage. But a few weeks ago, I got an invitation to a free dinner at a restaurant within walking distance to my home, which is quite good. And a chance to attend a free seminar on planning for retirement, with a promise there would be no sales pitch, just an informational session. So I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try and see what they have to say, and have a nice meal too.

So I attended the event, which lasted about an hour. The guy calls himself a financial adviser, but it became clear that he was pitching fixed income products. He spent the entire hour talking about what's wrong with stocks, bonds, tax rates, social security, blah blah blah. I can't say that anything he said was incorrect, it was just very general in nature.

I was waiting for the sales pitch on whatever product he was selling to start. So the very last slide referred to a fixed income product that he personally invested $50,000 in about ten years ago. He showed how the investment went up in value by 20% when the stock market went up 20%, but when the market went down, he did not lose any money. He said he routinely works with many different fixed income products, and he gets paid a finder fee from these companies to "write up the paperwork". He assured us the products he sells have no fees of any kind.

He never mentioned the specific type of investment this $50K was in. It was apparently just a teaser to convince us to set up an appointment for him to come to our home and review our situation. He wants to look at our tax returns and investments to help us determine if his products will be a good fit.

I found it odd that we were never invited to ask questions, and he left as soon as the presentation was over, rather than joining us for dinner. It was as if he did not want anyone to ask questions, perhaps out of fear that we might debunk his claims.

His assistant politely came over to our table and asked us when would be a good time for him to come by our home. I suggested she could call me, basically just to avoid committing either way.

My DH sat through the presentation bored to tears, but wondered why I didn't want to take the meeting just to see what this guy tries to pitch us. So far, they haven't called, so I don't know if I'll have any further contact with them.

I was definitely the youngest person there. Most of the group was in their sixties or older, and clearly had no clue about investments. Many of them had already been duped by other annuity sales people. They were confused between index funds and indexed annuities, thinking they were one and the same. I did my best to suggest a few things, including a fee only hourly financial adviser if they wanted unbiased advice. And I warned them that in my experience, any financial investment you have to purchase from another human being is generally a bad idea.

All in all, it was a very interesting evening, and I suspect if this guy ever comes over to my house to do his sales pitch, it will be quite entertaining. It's also a bit sad to see how many elderly people out there rely on a guy like this, thinking he has their best interests at heart.

I'm curious if anyone can shed some light on the investment he was referring to, and how they make these products look so great when they obviously are just high fee investments designed to make the sales people wealthy.
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:05 PM   #2
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Don't waste another minute on this.

Lot's of insurance co's and large brokerage houses have been hawking these " Hybrid " things for years. So your downside over 10 years is 0 loss of Principal, less those pesky fee$, and your upside is limited to 20% over 10 years, in a non fdic insured product.

I can't think of a worse deal, and I am far more risk adverse than most on this forum.

It's tailor made to those afraid of loosing money.

Run, away from this.
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Old 07-13-2015, 02:13 AM   #3
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More importantly, how was the food?


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Old 07-13-2015, 10:01 AM   #4
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More importantly, how was the food?


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My fish was outstanding, and the group I had dinner with was very warm and friendly. It was a really positive experience for me personally.
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Old 07-13-2015, 10:03 AM   #5
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Don't waste another minute on this.


Run, away from this.
Yes, I understand this is not a good investment option, but the curiosity in me wants to find out how a salesperson pitches a product like this to look so good when it really is not. Do they outright lie, do they only talk about the pros and not the cons...I don't know, but I just personally find it fascinating. It's similar to those time share pitches that seem to convince so many people to buy when everyone knows they are not a good deal.
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Old 07-13-2015, 10:18 AM   #6
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Yes, I understand this is not a good investment option, but the curiosity in me wants to find out how a salesperson pitches a product like this to look so good when it really is not. Do they outright lie, do they only talk about the pros and not the cons...I don't know, but I just personally find it fascinating. It's similar to those time share pitches that seem to convince so many people to buy when everyone knows they are not a good deal.
It's sales, make friends and manipulate people. They may lie, definitely paint a picture that many uninformed people find appealing. Their pitch is full of part truths and fiction. All pros and no cons, the salesperson is the only "con". Consider this salesperson is 100% commissioned and only has to say the investment was suitable for the buyer; what investment isn't suitable?

Really low life scum IMHO. Those type belong on the bottom of the ocean with whale feces.
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Old 07-13-2015, 10:40 AM   #7
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I had to swear off of these as I insist on telling the presenter, salesperson, pitch person what is wrong with their product. With Timeshare folks, I point out that their model only works if long term 10% inflation happens. I also point out that 52 times the weekly timeshare cost is $600k for a condo that should be $100k. With financial folks, I point out the fee, the lack of this, that and the other. In all cases, the sales people insist on arguing forever and I cannot leave. Only way to win Global Thermonuclear War is to not play. How about a nice game of Chess?
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Old 07-13-2015, 10:50 AM   #8
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20% return over 10 years is not so great of performance. Simple rough math is 2% per year? That is not exactly something I would be bragging about. I understand the no loss risk aspect, but 2% per year is nothing to get excited about. Then no mention of fees and early withdrawal penalties. I agree the only one making money on this is the sales guy.
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Old 07-13-2015, 11:06 AM   #9
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I don't go to these as I know that I am a bit gullible.

Jerry Seinfeld said: " There a point watching late night TV that you realize that you don't have a knife that will cut a tennis shoe in half so you order the ginzo"
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Old 07-13-2015, 11:14 AM   #10
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Snake oil salesman.
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Old 07-13-2015, 02:48 PM   #11
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We went to a few financial presentations early on, but the meals kept getting cheaper and without wine or even coffee, so now we throw away the invitations. Most of the attendees seemed pretty savvy, and were probably there for the meal.

There was little to no effort to engage anyone in discussion. They only want to set up appointments. I just ask them to e-mail me.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:34 PM   #12
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Yes, I understand this is not a good investment option, but the curiosity in me wants to find out how a salesperson pitches a product like this to look so good when it really is not. Do they outright lie, do they only talk about the pros and not the cons...I don't know, but I just personally find it fascinating. It's similar to those time share pitches that seem to convince so many people to buy when everyone knows they are not a good deal.
I understand the fascination with "finding the catch". But, I'm sure I'd insist that any meeting be at his office, not at my kitchen table. That way, I can get up and leave when I'm ready.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:45 PM   #13
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Really low life scum IMHO. Those type belong on the bottom of the ocean with whale feces.
I'd rather that this guy go on plying his trade, than to go on welfare or SSDI or something. Then I become his conscripted mark. I always prefer elective theft to conscription.

Same way I am in favor of gambling. You go to the table, or you do not. In any case, at least some of the bloated cost of local government will be picked up by those who do go to the tables.

A tax on stupidity is pro-evolution.

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Old 07-13-2015, 03:49 PM   #14
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I understand the fascination with "finding the catch".
Isn't the catch written all over it? It's the same as a politician or political candidate "There is no improper sexual relationship".


Never tell the truth, dodge all meaningful questions, get the money and get out

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Old 07-13-2015, 04:20 PM   #15
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Isn't the catch written all over it? It's the same as a politician or political candidate "There is no improper sexual relationship".


Never tell the truth, dodge all meaningful questions, get the money and get out

Ha
Should be a sig line for most FAs; "Never tell the truth, dodge all meaningful questions, get the money and get out."
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Old 07-13-2015, 04:47 PM   #16
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I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try and see what they have to say, and have a nice meal too.
I've done this a few times, but not recently. If I take an objective stance that I'm there to quietly figure out what the product is and enjoy my meal afterwards, it's a bit entertaining. What a bore when know-it-all blowhards have to stand up and challenge the presenter complicating your efforts to figure out what the presenter is actually selling and the strategies he/she is using to do so. I like it best when the pitch-man is elusive and operates unmolested. More challenging to figure what the product actually is.......
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His assistant politely came over to our table and asked us when would be a good time for him to come by our home.
At this stage I would firmly say that based on the presentation I'm definitely not interested and to please make no further contact. I don't waste the energy on challenging anything or arguing.
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Many of them had already been duped by other annuity sales people.
Do you mean that the folks at your table had been "annuity duped" based on chatting with them? Or was the whole room full of them actually wearing some kind of ID tags so you could tell at a glance?
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I did my best to suggest a few things, including a fee only hourly financial adviser if they wanted unbiased advice. And I warned them that in my experience, any financial investment you have to purchase from another human being is generally a bad idea.
For me, that would be crossing the line. I don't stand up and challenge the presenter figuring I might be ruining the experience for some other sorta savvy investor who came to watch the show, not listen to me act like a know-it-all. And I definitely don't offer advise to table-mates, even if they are expressing a desire to sign over their life savings to the presenter immediately. Not my bizness........ Not part of the game.........
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Old 07-13-2015, 07:29 PM   #17
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I've actually learned a few things from the presentations. I did not know what a preferred stock was, for instance, and hadn't heard of stop-loss orders (I know, basic stuff, but not something we'd ever looked into). I always took notes, went home and researched them online. A couple of years ago, one presenter predicted a sideways market, and by golly, he's been right so far.

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I've done this a few times, but not recently. If I take an objective stance that I'm there to quietly figure out what the product is and enjoy my meal afterwards, it's a bit entertaining. .
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Old 07-13-2015, 08:27 PM   #18
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I've actually learned a few things from the presentations. I did not know what a preferred stock was, for instance, and hadn't heard of stop-loss orders (I know, basic stuff, but not something we'd ever looked into). I always took notes, went home and researched them online. A couple of years ago, one presenter predicted a sideways market, and by golly, he's been right so far.

A.


SPY has returned 32% in the past 2 years, 60% in three years - that's 'sideways'? Let me know hen he predict an 'up' market!

-ERD50
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:07 PM   #19
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Do you mean that the folks at your table had been "annuity duped" based on chatting with them? Or was the whole room full of them actually wearing some kind of ID tags so you could tell at a glance? For me, that would be crossing the line. I don't stand up and challenge the presenter figuring I might be ruining the experience for some other sorta savvy investor who came to watch the show, not listen to me act like a know-it-all. And I definitely don't offer advise to table-mates, even if they are expressing a desire to sign over their life savings to the presenter immediately. Not my bizness........ Not part of the game.........
I did not say a word during the presentation. It's not my style to be disruptive. But after the presentation ended, the salesperson left the event, and I was left to have a 90 minute dinner at a table with a bunch of strangers. So given that the only thing we had in common was our agreement to attend this presentation, it was inevitable that the conversation about investments was going to come up. And yes, my table mates had admitted to being duped by prior annuity sales people.

His office called me today to schedule my appointment. I went ahead and set up an appointment for next week. If he has something legitimate to present to me, I'm happy to listen. But I'm also savvy enough about investments that he's going to have to answer some very direct questions about how his products actually work. We shall see.
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:39 PM   #20
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... I went ahead and set up an appointment for next week. If he has something legitimate to present to me, I'm happy to listen. But I'm also savvy enough about investments that he's going to have to answer some very direct questions about how his products actually work. We shall see.
Just remember, he's a professional salesperson, and probably quite good at it. I predict it will go like this:

1) He has a slick answer for every question, and it won't be easy to refute on the spot, and/or

2) He will figure out you are not an easy sale, and will move on to greener pastures.

So #2 could come about after some of your replies to #1. But seriously, it is so very unlikely that this is a good product for you. Do you really think there is a chance he will have something great? Wouldn't some of the successful retirees here be talking up the great plan they learned about at a free dinner? I don't recall any.

Good luck, and please report back.

Oh, and I'm disappointed that no one was wearing a "Hi, My name is ____ ____, and I've been duped by an annuity salesman" name tag. That mental image gave me a chuckle!

-ERD50
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