Fiduciary or Suitability? SecureFamily or not so Secure?

I have recently seen a spate of advertisements from “” that attempts to discredit the work being done on pending fiduciary rules and regulations. Since […]

Obama is Only Half Right – $17 Billion is the Tip of the Iceberg for Investors

When Obama recently spoke before the AARP he called for higher standards on stockbrokers who provide investment advice and services for retirement assets. His comments […]

Bad Investments – Running Out of Time to Recover Losses

The stock market has a long history of volatility that can send wild speculators to yacht dealerships and conservative retirees back to the workforce. The […]

Is a 100 year old Widow a Sophisticated Investor?

In the hundreds of cases we have handled for abused investors the one constant in virtually every case is the defense that our client is a “sophisticated investor.” The specifics become comical, ludicrous and infuriating. In one case, our client was 100 years old when her portfolio was loaded up with highly risky “alternative investments” that became worthless. The defense was that she had 40 years of investment experience at the time she was sold the product and that her earlier holdings in diversified mutual funds qualified her as a “sophisticated investor.” […]

By |December 12th, 2013|Categories: Scams|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

When a ‘Retirement Specialist’ offers a Free Dinner – Run!

At least once a week, I get a fancy looking invitation for a free dinner.  The sponsor usually paints himself as a ‘retirement specialist.”  He may say he is endorsed by a religious organization.  The invitation may include a free seminar on retirement planning.

If you are a recipient of one of these invitations, you are probably retired or approaching retirement.  Before taking the bait, however, please consider the following:

First, there is no such thing as a free dinner.  You are being targeted as part of a sophisticated marketing scheme.  The sponsor has targeted you for a reason and that reason has nothing to do with world hunger or doing a good deed.
Second, remember that Jesse James robbed banks because that is where the money is.  Financial planners target retirees because that’s who has investable money.  In addition, most retirees converting a 401k plan to an IRA have little or no experience managing assets.
Third, be under no illusion that the purpose of the dinner is to peddle some type of investment product to you.  Be assured that the sales pressure will continue until you buy something.  The sponsors of these dinners know that most people view dinner as a social event.  People tend to let their guard down.  They may also feel a sense of obligation in accepting something for free.  The sponsors of these dinners are playing a psychological game where the rules have been stacked in their favor.
Fourth, the product most often sold at these dinners is something called a variable annuity.  A variable annuity is a costly and complex insurance product that is one of the most abused products in the financial services industry. […]