Monday, November 28, 2011

Multiple Seminar Attendees Get Bad Advice

It is amazing that even when you lay yourself out there for all the world to see, people still gravitate towards the advisors (don't make me laugh) who claim to protect seniors. I recently held a seminar where I showed people my background right in the seminar. I showed them how to look up my background in several different places on the web. Further, I explained to them that I am compensated by fees. Apparently some people do not care if you are honest and upfront to them. They would rather someone lie to them and take them for as much commission as possible.

Recently, I received a call from someone who attended my seminar and they wanted to know how to get a hold of one of my competitors. This senior person was confused about who she was calling and could not remember whether my competitor worked for me or the people that ran the other seminar that she went to recently. If she is already confused, sadly this means that my competitor will likely have a field day and take her for everything they can.

This competitor is not licensed as a financial advisor but rather only as an insurance agent. They blatantly promote on their web site that they sell annuities. They also claim to offer financial planning. Here is a news flash. You cannot say you do financial planning unless you are a Registered Investment Adviser. This firm is breaking this rule big time. ( I always wonder, why is it so easy for me to find these snake in the grasses, but the regulators never can seem to find them?)

They also have video testimonials on their web site (which the last time I checked were illegal.) It is very obvious in these video testimonials that the seniors in the videos were "coached" to say certain wonderful things about the annuity sales person. The whole purpose of these video testimonials is to establish trust and credibility for the seniors that view them and sell more annuities, of course.

This firm of annuity sales people claim to have an office, but I know their office to be one of those that you just rent when you have a meeting. The sad thing is that they will not tell the seniors that they are advising that the office is not really their office. Nor will they tell them that the mailing address to this rent by the appointment office is there to imply that this really is their office.

I have an ethical question for you: Do you think it is alright to operate your business in this manner and not tell prospective clients that this is really not your office?

My answer is not no, but h**l no!

A senior who needs help planning for long term care will have a problem when they have a portfolio of annuities. Most of these annuities will have a 10 year surrender charge. This is because they pay the agent the most commission when they have a 10 year surrender charge. A lot of these annuities can be converted into a guaranteed income stream, but if they are trying to qualify for public benefits, then they will have a big problem. A lot of the annuities sold out there have a minimum of 10 years that you can annuitize. However, if an Elder Care Attorney advises that the annuity can only have a 5 year term, then this will disqualify the senior from public benefits. This means that they will have to spend their all of annuity money for their long term care needs BEFORE they can qualify for public benefits. Do you really think the annuity sales person is going to admit this potential problem when they are looking at commissions of $7,000 to $10,000 or more? Keep your assets. Take my advice. They will not tell you about this at all, because if they do, then they would lose the potential commissions.

I will keep telling people my background, disclosing all conflicts of interest, explain my fees and delivering great advice while I am up against competitors like the one described above. You see what guys like me are up against? I do not mind competition, but come on man! At least be legal and ethical competition.

Stay safe out there. Watch out for your mom and dad.