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End of free-meal Seminars?
Old 06-04-2009, 12:22 PM   #1
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End of free-meal Seminars?

I've had occasion to attend a couple a dozen dinner/financial seminar meetings over the last few years and I've generally enjoyed the experience. I have never taken the opportunity to sign up for the "complementary in-office visit" that all of these seminars offer. I eat and flee.

Yesterday, I received another offer for a free dinner or lunch at one of three first-class eateries in town. There was a different tone to this letter however. The letter clearly states~ This is NOT a group seminar event.

If I respond to the letter and make an appointment by calling the 800#, I will be agreeing to a one-on-one meeting and a private lunch/dinner with the planner. For the planner it seems to me to be a pretty good way to sort through all of the deadbeats (like me) that have no intention of taking that all-important next step after the seminar.

Could this be the end of my free casual dining experience? Time will tell.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:26 PM   #2
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I dunno. I just got another invitation to a free-meal seminar a couple of days ago.

I never used to get these when I was in my 20's and 30's. Guess they don't have mailing lists of younger, possible ER-striving folks.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:30 PM   #3
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I suspect one of the reasons for the change is a reaction to all the negative publicity these snake oil investment seminars have been getting. Here is one example dating all the way back to 2006:

Beware 'Specialists' Spinning Bad Advice

Quote:
Senior specialists may entice you with a free lunch, but don't bite on the products they sell.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:39 PM   #4
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I used to get a lot of these invitations in my postal mailbox. I never attended one. I haven't seen one in over a year, or is it two years?

Hmmmmm...coincidence with my FIRE in 2007 or just dropped off their solicitation lists? A true mystery...
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:40 PM   #5
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I suspect one of the reasons for the change is a reaction to all the negative publicity these snake oil investment seminars have been getting.
Being the cynical bastage that I am, I was suspecting that it's harder to attend and leave the sales pitch incognito in a group seminar environment, and that a one-on-one will increase the sales pressure.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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Being the cynical bastage that I am, I was suspecting that it's harder to attend and leave the sales pitch incognito in a group seminar environment, and that a one-on-one will increase the sales pressure.
No argument here - I said "one of the reasons"...
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:34 PM   #7
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Being the cynical bastage that I am, I was suspecting that it's harder to attend and leave the sales pitch incognito in a group seminar environment, and that a one-on-one will increase the sales pressure.
I've always had this fantasy, but never acted on it, of signing up for a group or even a 1-on-1,
playing the dummy (my apologies to the ladies of the forum), and of course disclosing my widow status,
just to teach these turkeys a lesson about preying on who "they think" is uninformed and "helpless".
But then common sense kicks in and I behave myself.
I'm not saying all advisers are like this or think this way, but the reality is we all know someone who was taken advantage of. My late MIL was one of them.
I messed with the FA a bit in emails when he was trying to retain what was transferred into dh2b's very small account.
I posed some key diagnostic questions just to see what he was all about. He failed my tests miserably.
And I am no wizard at this stuff.
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:56 PM   #8
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I've always had this fantasy, but never acted on it, of signing up for a group or even a 1-on-1,
playing the dummy (my apologies to the ladies of the forum), and of course disclosing my widow status,
just to teach these turkeys a lesson about preying on who "they think" is uninformed and "helpless".
Most "investment seminars" I have attended (I get invites all the time, and go to a few incognito) are held by some slick insurance guy and equally slick estate planning attorney singing the praises of life insurance.......
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:59 PM   #9
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Most "investment seminars" I have attended (I get invites all the time, and go to a few incognito) are held by some slick insurance guy and equally slick estate planning attorney singing the praises of life insurance.......
So do you behave or gently ask key questions (heckle) ?
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:05 PM   #10
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So do you behave or gently ask key questions (heckle) ?
I wait for the spiel to end, then start a line of questioning like Columbo used to do........"just one more question".........."and one last thing".............
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:11 PM   #11
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I wait for the spiel to end, then start a line of questioning like Columbo used to do........"just one more question".........."and one last thing".............
Oh to be a fly on the wall at those events.
One of these days I may act on my fantasy. Maybe not. It all depends on how bored I get being FIREd.
And how much bail money dh2b can come up with.
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:20 PM   #12
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Oh to be a fly on the wall at those events.
One of these days I may act on my fantasy. Maybe not. It all depends on how bored I get being FIREd.
And how much bail money dh2b can come up with.
Just print off the latest guidelines from FINRA about what can and CAN NOT be said at dinner seminars. Refer to the guidelines frequently

Ask HOW they are compensated OVER and OVER again, then act surprised and confused when they try to explain it.

Bring enough storage containers and fill them up with desserts for use later.

Ask LOUDLY whether your attorney AND CPA can attend the followup meeting, as those folks are your CLOSE trusted advisors.

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Old 06-04-2009, 02:44 PM   #13
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I've had occasion to attend a couple a dozen dinner/financial seminar meetings over the last few years and I've generally enjoyed the experience. I have never taken the opportunity to sign up for the "complementary in-office visit" that all of these seminars offer. I eat and flee.

Yesterday, I received another offer for a free dinner or lunch at one of three first-class eateries in town. There was a different tone to this letter however. The letter clearly states~ This is NOT a group seminar event.
...(snip)...

Could this be the end of my free casual dining experience? Time will tell.
On the other hand, maybe they're on to you, mickeyd, and your name is on their "double secret dirty rotten freeloaders" list (kidding, of course--I bow to your success and the financial planners should point at you as an example of how to live well in retirement!)?
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:23 PM   #14
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So do you behave or gently ask key questions (heckle) ?
My experience with the seminars that I have attended is that the FA will not encourage any questions during the presentation or will state that the question asked will be answered during the office visit. They try to stay on the script and give all in attendance chance to sign up and then they disappear and dinner is served. One common statement is~ "We will not be discussing any individual products tonight."
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:54 PM   #15
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If I respond to the letter and make an appointment by calling the 800#, I will be agreeing to a one-on-one meeting and a private lunch/dinner with the planner.
Are you sure that your name didn't end up on one of those matchmaking dating contact lists?
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:09 PM   #16
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Are you sure that your name didn't end up on one of those matchmaking dating contact lists?
I'm not that kind of boy.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:16 PM   #17
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Have been to a half-dozen or so of these since the beginning of the year. I don't consider this a real sample, but I haven't detected anything patently dishonest yet. In fact, for the last two I intend to go one on one so that I can provide more in-depth details to AARP's No Free Lunch program.

We've surmised and guessed and listened, and think the following is in play:
- The major companies (like Ameriprise) actually seed this money to the franchise as advertising dollars.
- The advisors realize that out of 50 attendees, maybe 1 or 2 will end up in a relationship. My guess is the meal costs $20-50. The advisor is looking for someone with at least $1M. The payout is about 10K for a year. So the $2-5K spent on the dinners is well-rewarded. There is a good chance that the fish who goes for the bait will be in the pot for 5 years (til the next bear). So, one new client has potential to deliver 50K to the advisor's business.
- Most people are there for the free meal. It was funny to discover this. One couple we met also told us they had been doing this for more than ten years. They also go on the time share outings.
- We are in a densely populated area. There seems to be no shortage of advisors and free meals. It seems like the advisors are just swapping clients.
- At only one dinner have I heard "tough" questions. The answers came across as very good advice. Remember, most in attendance have no idea what an asset is.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:43 PM   #18
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I get offers all the time . The only one I went to which was not a mailed offer . It was on a website of an attorney I was interested in going to for estate planning . The lunch was informative and made me feel comfortable selecting her for my estate planning .
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:47 PM   #19
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Just print off the latest guidelines from FINRA about what can and CAN NOT be said at dinner seminars. Refer to the guidelines frequently

Ask HOW they are compensated OVER and OVER again, then act surprised and confused when they try to explain it.

Bring enough storage containers and fill them up with desserts for use later.

Ask LOUDLY whether your attorney AND CPA can attend the followup meeting, as those folks are your CLOSE trusted advisors.

the last slide...
ANY QUESTIONS?
Call 1-800-RIPMOFF

Disclaimer: Sorry, folks, but I'm on a chicken wing high tonight. I fell off my diet wagon and ate greasy, hot sauce soaked Buffalo wings. I dipped them right in the bleu cheese dressing. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:50 PM   #20
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Free meal seminars seem to be a very popular activity for retirees around here... They have them almost every week!
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