John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

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dailybagel
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John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by dailybagel » Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:54 pm

I wanted to share some breaking news: tonight's episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, airing in about 90 minutes on HBO, will focus on the retail investment industry.

During the 15-minute segment, host John Oliver will focus on how the retail investing experience is a bit confusing for the average investor. Mr. Oliver focused on the difficulties that his production company, named Avalon, had with finding a 401(k) plan that had low costs for employees, and detailed fees charged by John Hancock and an unnamed broker in the initial 401(k) proposal the company received.

Your correspondent was in the studio audience for the taping this Sunday afternoon in New York City.

Some highlights:
  • * A breakdown of total fees over 2% in a John Hancock 401(k) plan offered to employees
    * A detailing of unconvincing arguments from an unnamed broker who was receiving 1% and then 0.5% fees from the 401(k) plan
    * A discussion of low-cost index funds, and a mention of Vanguard as a good mutual fund provider
    * An excerpt from an interview with Jason Zweig, in which Mr. Zweig mentions that active fund managers often own index funds themselves
    * Coverage of a new Department of Labor rule that holds advisors to a fiduciary standard
    * Common-sense advice to start investing early, to look for low-cost options, and to look for fiduciary advisors
I'll post a link to a YouTube video when the show's official account posts it.

EDIT: here is a link to the segment, posted by the show: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gvZSpET11ZY . Language may not be suitable for all audiences.
Last edited by dailybagel on Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by JonnyDVM » Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:02 pm

Looking forward to it. His show has really grown on me.
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by MIretired » Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:49 pm

I didn't recall who he is: Oh! He's a writer who's also on HBO.
http://www.avalonuk.com/clients/johnoliver/

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by iceport » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:03 pm

Thanks for the notice! I'm looking forward to seeing it on YouTube. John Oliver is more than just witty; he really packs a lot of accurate and important information into a short, entertaining segment.

Congratulations dailybagel on seeing the show live! Was it done in one take?
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Thoughts on today's Tonight with John Oliver's retirement episode

Post by Dleex84 » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:34 pm

I found it entertaining and informative. 1. Start saving now. 2. Low cost index funds. 3. if you have an advisor ask them if they are a fiduciary. 4. As you age gradually change your stocks to bonds. 5. Keep fees under 1%. Thoughts on the episode?

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by PlayingLife » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:36 pm

Just finished the episode....it seriously comes across as a total nod towards BH's. Such a great episode...I have really come to enjoy this show big time. The fee example (2/3's) sounds really big...but still, the point is definitely made.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by Loandapper » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:38 pm

Can someone please post a link when it becomes available online?

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Re: Thoughts on today's Tonight with John Oliver's retirement episode

Post by iceport » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:38 pm

"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by whodidntante » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:43 pm

Is this a sell signal?

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by RustyShackleford » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:45 pm

whodidntante wrote:Is this a sell signal?
No. The man is a serious journalist - in the satirical news vein of The Daily Show (but better).

http://time.com/3674807/john-oliver-net ... s-america/

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by RustyShackleford » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:02 am

Can someone please post a link when it becomes available online?
Not there yet, but the "main story" segment of his show can almost always be found at youtube (just go there and search "john oliver"). Presents the basics in a very entertaining way. Send the link to anyone you know who needs really basic guidance (especially those with a short attention span).

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by Kathleen Ryan » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:03 am

JASON ZWEIG who wrote, "Here Come the Bogleheads" in Money Magazine about our second Bogleheads Reunion, was
on this episode of John Oliver. He spoke about index funds as being what financial advisors actually have in their own portfolios
but don't usually tell their customers about. John Oliver also mentioned index funds, and Vanguard. =)
Best wishes, | Kathleen

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by S&L1940 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:27 am

Oliver is building a rep for being aggressively for the people. A past show dumped on the payday and bad debt crowd. Oliver announced that they had bought a ton of delinquent medical debt that was on the market for pennies on the dollar AND that they were erasing the debt. [OT political comment removed by moderator triceratop] if you have access to HBO it is worth watching

edited once by 1530 6/13 2.30 a.m., hope it is not too off topic
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by S&L1940 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:31 am

Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:52 am

whodidntante wrote:Is this a sell signal?
Why would it be a sell signal?

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by Utetooth » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:56 am

This episode was a huge win for the Boglehead way of thinking (at least in my own home). We are in our early 30s and while my wife has always agreed with and been grateful for the BH way of finances, she has often ribbed me about it being stodgy and boring.

To see this topic brought up in such a hip and current show like John Oliver will bring so much positive attention from the generation who stands to benefit the most (and make me look less stodgy and boring).

Much like The Big Short, this episode took an ostensibly boring and complicated subject and made it funny and understandable. Well done by John Oliver and HBO. Well done Boglehead Nation.
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iceport
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by iceport » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:30 am

A direct link to this episode is here: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Retirement Plans
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by neurosphere » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:11 am

iceport wrote:A direct link to this episode is here: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Retirement Plans
A warning to some who are not familiar with the show. The segment might be considered "R" rated, with salty language and such.

I gave a one-hour talk just a few days ago to physicians about indexing vs. active funds, and the impact of fees (ERs + advisor's fees) on portfolio balances over time. Had this segment been out I could have simply played it for them. I think they would have learned just as much, and laughed a lot more. My graphs and charts and math are no match for teacup pigs.

Oliver brings up the concept of fiduciary vs non-fiduciary, which is great. Everyone should be a fiduciary. But my beef with the emphasis on fiduciary rules is that it potentially lulls investors into a false sense of security. There are certainly fiduciaries who charge high fees, give and obtain referrals, give poor advice, and can earn commissions on their advice while still acting as fiduciaries.

In any case, it was an informative piece. The bit at the end where the actor was cutting up and shortening the "retirement ribbon" to illustrate the effect of various fees was quite funny, but yet quite sad, because it's so true.
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes".

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by Lafder » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:33 am

I just watched it. Excellent!
lafder

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by livesoft » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:53 am

So how can I make sure the CEO of my spouse's company sees this?
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by neurosphere » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:03 am

Favorite line (paraphrase): "As you get older, gradually shift your portfolio to add more bonds. Do this about as often as they pick a new actor to play James Bond"

My one beef with the program was when they implied that 1% in fees was reasonable:
"Try to keep your fees, like your milk, under 1%".

I know that many people pay fees far in excess of 1%, but total fees of 1% still seems high as a general recommendation. Although ANYTHING which gets people THINKING about their fees, in general, is wonderful.

I wonder how those with a John Hancock 401k are feeling right now. The 401k plan that John Oliver's employer had was truly awful. Yikes.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by lostdog » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:09 am

This is a brilliant video!!!
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by JMacDonald » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:22 am

neurosphere wrote:Favorite line (paraphrase): "As you get older, gradually shift your portfolio to add more bonds. Do this about as often as they pick a new actor to play James Bond"

My one beef with the program was when they implied that 1% in fees was reasonable:
"Try to keep your fees, like your milk, under 1%".

I know that many people pay fees far in excess of 1%, but total fees of 1% still seems high as a general recommendation. Although ANYTHING which gets people THINKING about their fees, in general, is wonderful.

I wonder how those with a John Hancock 401k are feeling right now. The 401k plan that John Oliver's employer had was truly awful. Yikes.
I agree that !% is high compared to the .05% I pay Vanguard for the Total Stock Market Fund; but I believe once people start thinking about fees, they will question any and all high fees. That show was a big plug for index funds and Vanguard.
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by livesoft » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:31 am

neurosphere wrote:Favorite line (paraphrase): ...
I liked the termite analogy because termites are a Frequently Asked Question on bogleheads.org.
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by simplesimon » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:37 am

"Johnny O's Sadtastical Circus of Misery and Math"

I get this feeling when a lot of newbies ask me or post here about retirement and can barely afford it.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by Rob5TCP » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:21 am

Thank you - this really nails it.
John Oliver is probably the best "consumer comedians" out there.
He entertains while he informs.
I've forwarded this to 5-6 friends that have financial "advisors".
Thanks for posting it.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by beardsworth » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:37 am

It's against the rules of the Bogleheads forum to engage in political discussions, and I don't intend to do so.

However, relative to one point in the Oliver segment, already mentioned by multiple posters above, I will note that holding financial advisors to a fiduciary standard is, in my opinion, an excellent idea, but one of the major political parties is leading an effort to have Congress nullify the new Department of Labor rule on this subject.

Those interested can perform the appropriate Google searches on their own to learn more, outside the parameters of this forum.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by Tamales » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:38 am

Like some other John Oliver reports, they don't dig deep enough and mislead.

They imply if your financial advisor says they are a "fiduciary," that it actually means something of significance.

It means next to nothing (multiple threads have covered this),
and everything they disliked about their John Hancock plan is permissible as a fiduciary.
As several threads on this topic have shown, a fiduciary can profit at your expense, preferentially recommend funds they make higher commission on, can short investments they encourage you to take a long position on, and on and on. All they have to do is disclose that they can do this in the "conflicts of interest" section of the documents you got but likely did not read when you established the relationship with them.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by student » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:49 am

One of my reactions is that his company did not give the employees a 401k plan until now?

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by livesoft » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:52 am

student wrote:One of my reactions is that his company did not give the employees a 401k plan until now?
How long has this show been in business? :)
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by student » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:01 pm

livesoft wrote:
student wrote:One of my reactions is that his company did not give the employees a 401k plan until now?
How long has this show been in business? :)
I believe this is his third season. Wikipedia says the first episode was on April 27, 2014.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by Elsebet » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:39 pm

I love John Oliver. He is filling the void left by Jon Stewart. While I still watch The Daily Show out of a feeling of loyalty (and the segments) it is not the same show without him. I have noticed that Trevor Noah has been changing his tone on the show, he used to giggle a lot but he is now becoming more somber and the show is starting to get better.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by mervinj7 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:37 pm

Fantastic clip! The language may not be appropriate for all audiences but the subject matter is well analyzed. Should we add a link somewhere in the wiki or is too NSFW?

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by RustyShackleford » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:50 pm

Elsebet wrote:I love John Oliver. He is filling the void left by Jon Stewart.
I wasn't crazy about Stewart. Too smug for me ("look how smart we are and how stupid those *** are"). Oliver is funny, but only at the expense of people who truly deserve it, e.g. the ripoff artists described in the piece we're discussing here.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by amphora » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:26 pm

This is great! I'm a big fan of John Oliver--I wish he had taken over the Daily Show after Jon Stewart left, though he is a strong fit with HBO.

His 5 principles are definitely bogleheadish :sharebeer :
1. Start Saving Now, Start Saving 10 years ago
2. Low cost index funds
3. If you have adviser, make sure a fiduciary
4. Adjust portfolio more to bonds as you get older
5. Make sure fees under 1 %

As said above, even 1 % fees are too high. And a fiduciary adviser can still put you in terrible investments.
But as a simple, entertaining, five-step retirement savings mantra, this is the best thing I've seen. :D

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by AllieTB1323 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:38 pm

Oliver did an excellent job of weaving the brutal 2013 PBS FRONTLINE report into his show.

BTW: I wrote an email to my Congressman in support of the new fiduciary standards only to receive a nasty response supporting the current system.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:28 pm

Love this guy. Best video I've seen in a long time. Passed it on to everyone I know.
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by triceratop » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:00 pm

RustyShackleford wrote:
Elsebet wrote:I love John Oliver. He is filling the void left by Jon Stewart.
I wasn't crazy about Stewart. Too smug for me ("look how smart we are and how stupid those *** are"). Oliver is funny, but only at the expense of people who truly deserve it, e.g. the ripoff artists described in the piece we're discussing here.
Boy, if you thought Stewart was smug (which he was, somewhat -- not enough to bother me), you should check out Maher. Now that is a smug talk show host.
livesoft wrote:So how can I make sure the CEO of my spouse's company sees this?
Throwaway anonymous Gmail accounts are a wonderful thing. Subject Line: "A little bird tells you your 401(k) plan is ripping your employees off"
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by dailybagel » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:03 pm

iceport wrote:Thanks for the notice! I'm looking forward to seeing it on YouTube. John Oliver is more than just witty; he really packs a lot of accurate and important information into a short, entertaining segment.

Congratulations dailybagel on seeing the show live! Was it done in one take?
Seeing the taping was a lot of fun. Even though audience members were pre-registered through an online process, there was a wait of around 75 minutes before being seated in the studio.

Once we sat down, an aspiring comedian did an audience warm-up for ten minutes, and then Mr. OLiver did a ten-minute question and answer session. He was quite funny and is quick on his feet.

When the actual taping began, it was done in one 25-minute take. I got the impression that they could have re-shot a line if needed, but that didn't happen.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by Utetooth » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:55 am

neurosphere wrote:Favorite line (paraphrase): "As you get older, gradually shift your portfolio to add more bonds. Do this about as often as they pick a new actor to play James Bond"
I loved this line as well. Maybe Wade Pfau will do a retrospective study of how a hypothetical portfolio would have preformed if it had a 10% asset allocation shift each time a new Bond star began his tenure.

Probably beats active management handily and maybe even does as well as Orlando the cat!
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by jharkin » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:17 am

I watched it last night.... Brilliant!

I've shared the clip to my social feeds, though I'm sure just as my friends eyes glaze over whenever the subject of finance comes up and I mention index investing, none of them will bother to watch it.

Oh well, you can lead a horse to water..............

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John Oliver on Retirement Plans

Post by turnberry72 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:21 am

As he often does very well, research & comedy the backbone of analysis that is "on the money" (pun intended): "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvZSpET11ZY"

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Re: John Oliver on Retirement Plans

Post by blueblock » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:36 am


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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by prudent » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:42 am

Merged turnberry72's post into this existing thread.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by grettman » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:50 am

I am happy that I read this thread because I pulled the plug on cable/satellite about 2 years ago and because of this thread I realized I can get some John Oliver action for free on my Apple TV. Thanks OP!

I thought the segment was great. Those prudential commercials always made me sick and I am certainly not a fan of John Hancock so I really enjoyed seeing them get punched in the face.

I really hope that this will help some see "the light". The segment was very effective in using comedy to educate people on something which should be very important to them. My wife, however, almost fell asleep when I showed it to her.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by protagonist » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:58 am

dailybagel wrote:
Seeing the taping was a lot of fun. Even though audience members were pre-registered through an online process, there was a wait of around 75 minutes before being seated in the studio.
Where is it taped, bage, and how easy was it to get in? Did you register the day of the show?

I watched the taping of the Letterman show (Stevie Wonder was the guest! Private concert!) ,and of the Colbert show in NYC, over the past year or so. The process of getting tickets was a bit of a hassle, but very little given the level of live, free entertainment....besides which, being there to watch how it is done behind the scenes was fascinating. It took me two tries standby, waiting on line at the studio, to get into Letterman- I got my Colbert tickets a month ahead online. Definitely worth it.

As for the effect of the show, I wonder how many people will actually be influenced. My guess is that the audience is somewhat selective, and that he is "preaching to the choir". That said, it is great that there is someone out there speaking the truth, and especially somebody as brilliant, witty and entertaining as Oliver. I don't get TV but I often watch his show on Youtube. I think just about all his episodes are on Youtube.

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by livesoft » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:02 am

protagonist wrote:As for the effect of the show, I wonder how many people will actually be influenced.
I think quite a lot of people will be influenced over the years. It is making the rounds in the news media right now. Blogs will link to this show and folks will rediscover it. There will even be a new Bogleheads thread about it in 2019.
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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by Tamales » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:54 am

I just don't get the gushing praise for this. I like John Oliver so this isn't about the person, but it's a comedy show after all, and there are about 20 minutes of comedic or satirical sidebars (unnecessarily crude in some places), and the actual content could be distilled into less than a minute.

The core content is not well-researched (a 5 second google search would turn up dozens of copies of the same advice), and leaving the impression that having a financial advisor say "yes we're a fiduciary" is somehow a fix for all issues the piece objects to is just plain wrong, if not dangerous.

People lazy enough to get their investing advice from a comedy show might unfortunately use that as a crutch and believe all the other pieces will automatically fall into place if only your FA is a fiduciary.

Given the amount of circulation this is getting, I wish they'd issue a correction stating that it is perfectly legal for a financial advisor who follows the "fiduciary standard" to have substantial self-enriching conflicts of interest. All the law requires is that they disclose them, and if you as the investor don't read them, it's on you, rightly or wrongly. Caveat emptor.

If this really counts as journalism, it's a standard practice to issue corrections when you find out you were wrong or misleading. If they need to add humor to their correction, it's right there in front of them, in the middle 2 syllables of the word "fiduciary."

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by neurosphere » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:55 am

livesoft wrote:
protagonist wrote:As for the effect of the show, I wonder how many people will actually be influenced.
I think quite a lot of people will be influenced over the years. It is making the rounds in the news media right now. Blogs will link to this show and folks will rediscover it. There will even be a new Bogleheads thread about it in 2019.
And if people take the advice to build a time machine to go back in time to start investing, there will be a Bogleheads post about it in 2009 too.
protagonist wrote:As for the effect of the show, I wonder how many people will actually be influenced. My guess is that the audience is somewhat selective, and that he is "preaching to the choir".
I'm not sure this is the kind of "choir" who watches John Oliver. His show/audience I guess would be considered on the left/liberal and probably younger end of the spectrum. But I don't think such an audience is any more financially literate than any other group.

Although, I have a friend who recently came over and we did a three hour financial check-up and education thing. Her finances, budget, investing were all things she hadn't really thought about, with no clear plan for the future, etc. So our session was basically a sprint through as many Boglehead concepts as could be crammed into that time. She "got it". It just clicked. SHE was the one who first told me about the episode. And she wrote "I was glad that for once I could watch a clip about financial planning and feel good about myself." So maybe this episode will help spur people like her to "spread the word" so to speak, to others who need to hear it. It's a great "conversation starter". "Hey [co-worker], did you see that John Oliver episode? I checked the fees in our 401k, shouldn't we see if we can get them down?"

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Re: John Oliver covers retail investment industry on Last Week Tonight

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:03 am

neurosphere wrote:
I'm not sure this is the kind of "choir" who watches John Oliver. His show/audience I guess would be considered on the left/liberal and probably younger end of the spectrum. But I don't think such an audience is any more financially literate than any other group.
I feel like I am in the target demographic (<35, liberal, and make a decent amount of money). A couple months ago a friend asked for recommendations on a financial advisor on facebook. DIY and index fund recommendations outnumbered the responses of "Our guy is nice, let me PM you his info"

My experience is that most younger people are very skeptical of the financial industry and hate paying fees. Anyone who doesn't get setup with their parents "guy" will tend towards index funds. There is hope for the future...

All I know is that I wouldn't want to be a John Hancock salesman this week.

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