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Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 03:39 PM   #1
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Seminar Report #1

After receiving dozens of invitations to various dinners/seminar over the last several years, I finally took one up on their offer and I attended it last night. I will admit in advance that I had 2 objectives 1. Quell my curiosity about how these things worked (how the presenting organization made $$$) and 2. Eat a free dinner.

A brief summary:

Estate Planning Seminar 9/20/06

Power Point (PP) presentation led the approximately 40 attendees to consider buying an Equity-Indexed Annuity, Long Term Care policy (presented by insurance agent), and Revocable Living Trust (presented by a lawyer). 4PM-6PM. Dinner served after seminar. The affair was held at an up-scale Mexican cafe and the family-style fajita dinner was top shelf.

Each got a packet with PP slides, “Workshop Evaluation” form, CV of lawyer, copy of Dallas News article (Medicare l-t care), pamphlet re: National Ethics Bureau

Each was asked to complete the “evaluation” form and turn it in with what subjects they wanted more info on and for the “free” appointment. I did not complete

Cost of Living Trust =$2000.

They presented some good general information ideas regading Estate planning and income preservation etc.

I expect to get a follow-up call even though I did not indicate any need for their services.

I have recently signed up for 2 more seminars. I'll let you know how they differ from this one.
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 03:43 PM   #2
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Re: Seminar Report #1

mickey, how did they portray the (<puking sound>) equity indexed annuity?
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 03:55 PM   #3
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Re: Seminar Report #1

EIA "finer" points were mentioned such as: Fixed Annuity is for "chickens" ; Why risk your hard earned saving in a MF?; There is a lot of confusion about annuities, but the EIA clears it all up; with EIA you get the best of all worlds (the stock market growth as well as* "tax deferred/triple compounding"); annual locked in gains and of course "Minimum Interest Guarantee".

All of this must be true because they showed a graph indicating that from July 1998-May 2004 a $100,000 investment would end up $103,000 with S&P 500 but (surprise) $130,000 with the EIA. :
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 04:14 PM   #4
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd
The affair was held at an up-scale Mexican cafe and the family-style fajita dinner was top shelf.
Do they have a website? I'd like to find a bunch of seminars like this in my area. I figure if I can attend one per week, that would be equivalent to having an extra $50K in my nest egg.
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 04:53 PM   #5
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
..an extra $50K in my nest egg
How do you arrive at that number?
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 05:04 PM   #6
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
How do you arrive at that number?
I figure dinner for two is worth about $40.* *Once/week for 50 weeks = $2000.* *At a 4% SWR, $2000/year is worth $2000 x 25 = $50K nest egg.* *A much better deal than an equity-indexed annuity, and I'd probably meet some like-minded retirees at the events as well.*
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 05:46 PM   #7
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Do they have a website?* I'd like to find a bunch of seminars like this in my area.* *I figure if I can attend one per week, that would be equivalent to having an extra $50K in my nest egg.
Hey, didn't you get invitations to dinner at Mitzel's in Poulsbo?? * *

I attended one and concluded that the guy was new, knew less than I, and paying for the meals out of his own pocket. I didn't feel right accepting another.

If I get another invite I will PM you.
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 05:51 PM   #8
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Bet they forgot to mention that 1/3 of the s&p 500's gains come from dividends and no equity index annuity includes dividends in its computations. Damn i bet they missed that point.
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 06:53 PM   #9
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd
All of this must be true because they showed a graph indicating that from July 1998-May 2004 a $100,000 investment would end up $103,000 with S&P 500 but (surprise) $130,000 with the EIA. :
EIA's are like regular annuities in that you get ongoing payments but have nothing at the end - right ?

In above example what are they comparing ? Comparing the sum of the EIA distributions over the years with the final balance in S&P500 index fund over same period ?

Thanks
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-21-2006, 07:12 PM   #10
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delawaredave
EIA's are like regular annuities in that you get ongoing payments but have nothing at the end - right ?

In above example what are they comparing ? Comparing the sum of the EIA distributions over the years with the final balance in S&P500 index fund over same period ?

Thanks
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 06:22 AM   #11
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Lets start a new topic and rate seminars for the food they serve. So far my vote goes to david lerner and associates .
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 07:13 AM   #12
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delawaredave
EIA's are like regular annuities in that you get ongoing payments but have nothing at the end - right ?

In above example what are they comparing ?* *Comparing the sum of the EIA distributions over the years with the final balance in S&P500 index fund over same period ?

Thanks
No, these things are not payout annuities. Tey are meant as accumulation vehicles and they uniformly suck rocks.
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 08:22 AM   #13
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Re: Seminar Report #1

I've been to a few of these seminars and find the food good despite the fact that more than 90% of the time, the fare is chicken. Never had filet mignon though so I will have to keep looking.

Another benefit is that you get to meet other people and exchange ideas and experiences somewhat like in this forum. If you are not learning anything from them, then probably they can benefit and be better be prepared by you.

I find that most of the time, the speaker does not allow questions during the presentation. They request that because they have a long agenda and it is easy to get off track if questions are allowed. That is probably legitimate but, by design or not, it also is easier for them to then do a divide and conquer process by offering free private consultations because the attendees have not been given the advantage of learning from each others questions.

Once, in one of the rare occasions when such questions were allowed, (and surprisingly to me, the speaker was apparently both knowledgeable and honest), a few sharpies in the audience asked probing questions about the product and then, somewhat enlightened, more of the audience piled on as slowly bit by bit, the truth was dragged out of the speaker. I actually felt sorry for him. So these seminars might be educational for you as well, and if not, go and make them educational for others.

Re EIAs which seem to be the product that most of these seminars are pushing, in one of the rare occasions when I disagree somewhat with Brewer, I believe these products can be both accumulation (deferred) and, if annuitized, income vehicles. They seem to be very individualized (never the same product when offered by different companies) and incredibly complex (devil in the details).

EIAs (which should probably be a separate thread on this forum) basically are marketed, as mentioned previously in this thread, as being the best of all worlds.....participate in market up moves, but not in the down. Supposedly a floor is set whenever the market goes up so that you don't lose your gains if the market goes down. In the seminar that I mentioned above, the biggest eye opener to me was: the speaker tells the truth but not the whole truth......the statement about how gains/losses were treated was apparently true only if the EIA was annuitized (you gave them control of all the money). If you were in the EIA only as a deferred annuity, and decided to take your money back, a whole new set of rules-----much less generous, of course----applied.

Of course, each offering from each company could be different. You can only hope that when you ask your probing question that it is thorough and complete and that the answer is honest and correct. Otherwise you will have to dig through the 100 page prospectus
to find the answers to market participation rates, max caps on participation rates, whether the caps apply monthly or yearly, whether deferred and annuitized terms are different, etc.
Can they change the terms after you take the plunge? I think I found one where they could change the participation rate after you invested.

So go to these seminars with hearty appetites and an open, but skeptical, mind and keep your hands on your wallet. There probably are situations where these products might be appropriate but be sure you understand everything before you commit.
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 09:23 AM   #14
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Hmmm, you should look a little more closely at the details of EIAs. They typically:

- allow the insurer to change the participation rate every year
- cap your gains regardless of what the index does
- hit you with a 10+ surrender penalty period ( I have seen 15 years at 15% penalty)
- are almost never annuitized by their owners

These things are a really bad deal.
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 09:35 AM   #15
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Re: Seminar Report #1

EIA's suck...............I have reviewed portfolios where people have all their money in them.............with 15% surrender penalty in the first 5 years.............

What you went to may have been called an "estate-planning" seminar in name, but it really was an insurance agent looking to buy a new house and join a country club...............
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 10:46 AM   #16
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe
I've been to a few of these seminars and find the food good despite the fact that more than 90% of the time, the fare is chicken.* * Never had filet mignon though so I will have to keep looking.
Schwab had a couple nice dinners in Oahu in 2003-4 and invited FIL who brought me. We had filet mignon at one of them but, since we never purchased anything or invested more, we haven't been invited back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe
I find that most of the time, the speaker does not allow questions during the presentation. They request that because they have a long agenda and it is easy to get off track if questions are allowed. That is probably legitimate but, by design or not, it also is easier for them to then do a divide and conquer process by offering free private consultations because the attendees have not been given the advantage of learning from each others questions.
Once, in one of the rare occasions when such questions were allowed, (and surprisingly to me, the speaker was apparently both knowledgeable and honest), a few sharpies in the audience asked probing questions about the product and then, somewhat enlightened, more of the audience piled on as slowly bit by bit, the truth was dragged out of the speaker. I actually felt sorry for him. So these seminars might be educational for you as well, and if not, go and make them educational for others.
Although their presenters generally didn't take questions during their dinners, they'd hang around afterward. Schwab would also put a couple sales reps advisors at every table for 10. (They even had a Mandarin-speaking linguist for one of their more "distinguished" customers.) As the presentations unfolded you could start a conversation at your table that would also reveal their customer-service policies. This was back during the post-crash recovery when Schwab's "A" list of stocks & funds had woefully underperformed their "F" list so there were a lot of pointed questions about their research.

The interesting thing about the dinners was (1) in one year the Oahu Schwab office had nearly 100% turnover and (2) the speakers were all from the Mainland, which was taken as an indictment by Schwab that their local people didn't know anything.

Fidelity has mentioned that they're having an investor dinner on Oahu this December. Hawaii is one of the few states without an investor center and our Fidelity reps are in Washington so I don't think they come out here much. AFAIK they haven't done any presentations, let alone dinners, on Oahu this millenium. Anyone been to one of their affairs recently?
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 11:20 AM   #17
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Re: Seminar Report #1

This reminds me, I'm so bummed.

My FIL gave me an invite he got in the mail. It was from a local Merrill broker who was having a seminar at Morton's steakhouse.

Too bad I had to work. I missed out on

1. Free $100 dinner
2. a TERRIFIC steak
3. A good laugh
4. Finally doing to Merrill what they do to their clients


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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 12:06 PM   #18
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
This reminds me, I'm so bummed.

My FIL gave me an invite he got in the mail.* It was from a local Merrill broker who was having a seminar at Morton's steakhouse.*

Too bad I had to work.* I missed out on

1. Free $100 dinner
2. a TERRIFIC steak
3. A good laugh
4. Finally doing to Merrill what they do to their clients

Send me the invtie next time..............
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 01:00 PM   #19
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Re: Seminar Report #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude

Send me the invtie next time..............
Maybe we can go together next time? We can pose some questions from the audience
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Re: Seminar Report #1
Old 09-22-2006, 06:36 PM   #20
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Re: Seminar Report #1

I can afford to buy dinner when I want it. My time in retirement may not have much financial value, but it is still too important to me to spend it listening to a sales pitch.
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