free dinner investing seminar

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Posts: 3298
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: In the middle of five acres of woods

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by oldcomputerguy » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:43 am

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:50 am
FIREchief wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:17 am
...
Why would it ever be necessary to follow up a "NO?" If that really happened I would think a H$LL NO would be the right response. Some of you just don't understand how to enjoy a free steak.
Because, to echo Finridge's comment above, they carefully engineer a situation in which there is a social obligation, in this case to sit and listen because they fed you. Maybe you and I won't care, but most people will. They know that. For them it's a numbers racket game.
PJW
I believe you might have used the wrong tense. In most (if not all) of the "invitations" I've received, the fine print indicated that the dinner always followed the presentation.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

SueG5123
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:41 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by SueG5123 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:55 am

Gee, guess I’m the only one troubled by the ethics of accepting a “free” meal to listen to a sales pitch I know I’d never entertain in a million years. Some poor schmo pays for that meal — and even if it is the salesman-of-few-scruples, I feel I’d have fewer scruples to take advantage of him. He’s just trying to make a living.

likegarden
Posts: 2687
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by likegarden » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:00 am

I and my wife never went to any of those. I am proud to have convinced my then young son not to go to a timeshare weekend, after having read here at the Bogleheads about those scams.
We have enough money, can pay for nice dinners in nice settings, don't need the noise of a presentation we do not care about. It is required for older people to limit noise and stress!

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 6015
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Pajamas » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:07 am

SueG5123 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:55 am
Gee, guess I’m the only one troubled by the ethics of accepting a “free” meal to listen to a sales pitch I know I’d never entertain in a million years. Some poor schmo pays for that meal — and even if it is the salesman-of-few-scruples, I feel I’d have fewer scruples to take advantage of him. He’s just trying to make a living.
Would you be troubled by the ethics of keeping a crowbar that someone trying to break into your house left on your back porch so much that you would try to return it to them?
Last edited by Pajamas on Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7774
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:08 am

I figure 20 dinners at $20 each. Someone in that room is paying the $4k plus the commissions that make it more than a break even venture for the presenter. Wife and I went to one years ago. It was clear that the presentation was pushing garbage. The wife went to the lady's room and shortly thereafter, I left for the mens room. We met in the lobby and left.

We'd done maybe a dozen time share presentations, mostly in our 20's. Never said yes. I specifically remember 2 years in a row that we attended presentations on the same island. After the required 90 minute presentation (that always takes 3 hours), and the final "no", the salesperson says that if we had no intention of buying, we would have helped him out by just saying so up front. As he says "this is how I make my living". Well, alright then. Next year we arrive at a facility where the airport flyer says in huge letters "prizes" and "romantic dinner voucher" and in tiny print "time share presentation". Ok....we arrive and while walking to the welcome center with our host, he asks "If I can show you how to have vacations every year and save money, would you consider that?". This is the first in a series of questions that are expected to be answered "yes" and are tailored to slowly shift our thinking to feel like it's logical to buy. My answer? "No". He stops. Gets all mad and says "wait here". He goes into the office. Now, this time share offered a voucher plus taxi money. We had a rental car and didn't expect taxi money. He comes back all mad and hands me the voucher and $10 in change for the taxi. Well alrighty then. So there is no winning with these clowns. Sit through 3 hours of them wasting your time and theirs or tell them right up front that there's no way you're buying and you're the bad guy either way. I expect the last guy was mad because they revolve like car salesmen and by him getting us, he'll now have to sit around for another hour before enough victims walk in to get him another chance.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

dbr
Posts: 27207
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by dbr » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:12 am

vested1 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:05 am
I occasionally indulge myself in this hobby, mainly because I feel empathy for the other seniors who attend and sit there with that deer in the headlights look. I am polite, but raise my hand and refute their claims when they are blatantly wrong. At the end of the presentation there are always several couples and singles who come up to thank me for my comments. The presenters, not so much, but in my opinion snake oil salesmen deserve what they get.

The most common characteristic of these charlatans is their ability to instill fear in the audience. It should be illegal to purposefully deceive vulnerable seniors who haven't done their due diligence prior to making life changing decisions. When eating the dinner at one of these functions, regardless of my choice of entree, it always tastes like shark.

I've even paid for a course at our local community college which consisted of several weeks of classes, where the program was supposed to cover SS filing options and investing principles. I researched the presenters before I went. They were both insurance salesmen. One of them was prominent in an organization that claimed the existence of Big Foot (no kidding). They didn't offer dinner, but the free coffee and donuts were delicious. The program, which was not cheap, was riddled with incorrect information on every subject, especially SS. Just like the free dinner scam, these guys were selling annuities and whole life insurance, even though they claimed not to be. Attendees were encouraged to sign up for further "free" discussions after class. It's safe to say that I lost them a few customers. After the classes were over I filed a complaint with the college.
This is a primary reason attempting education in finance is more dangerous to the students than total ignorance.

Shallowpockets
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:26 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Shallowpockets » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:28 am

I went to one of these dinners one time. They served the dinner first, before the presentation. Of course the presentation was full of really great outcomes for your money. But, that was it. They gave out contact info. It was up to you to decide whether to call of not to set up an appt. There was no attempt at any sales at the dinner.
It is not the same as a time share. They would need an apt to go over your assets and tailor the product to you and give their pitch. No one buys anything at the dinner.
It is interesting to see the people who showed up. I think some of them were there for the free dinner. It is sad to see old people maybe getting scammed. Then again, maybe people viewed me that way.
When I get these invites I ponder it briefy, but being a successful BH I can afford my own dinner.
These free dinners are probably the easiest freebie as compared to CC points and Broker bonuses, or time share scams.

vested1
Posts: 1567
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by vested1 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:33 am

midareff wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:31 am
vested1 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:26 am
midareff wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:23 am
I've been 2 2 of them. They pitch the full spectrum of investment and tax managed investing to estate planning with everything available including wills and trusts. The follow-up is higher pressure and of course, they are closing, or trying to, from the opening. You can expect a follow-up call a day or two after the presentation to "schedule your appointment". A second follow-up a few days later with a stronger drive to which I replied I could not see them generating enough alpha to cover their fund fees and management charges, to which the caller replied, "then why did you come to the presentation?"
To see what you had to put on the table I replied.

Some folks dived right in scheduling their meeting at the dinner. Some folks probably need an advisor, Bogleheads don't.
Funny, I've never got a call back.
LOL, did U sign up there?
Yes, and I also got a promise, every time that they would follow up. Crickets.

sschoe2
Posts: 282
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:42 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by sschoe2 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:37 am

My mother got invitations regularly. I assume they are for high expense "advisory services" or annuities. We never went to one.

vested1
Posts: 1567
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by vested1 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:43 am

SueG5123 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:55 am
Gee, guess I’m the only one troubled by the ethics of accepting a “free” meal to listen to a sales pitch I know I’d never entertain in a million years. Some poor schmo pays for that meal — and even if it is the salesman-of-few-scruples, I feel I’d have fewer scruples to take advantage of him. He’s just trying to make a living.
If I could order a ribeye steak with an expensive bottle of wine I would if it would cost the presenters a fraction of what they are attempting to steal from unsuspecting seniors. I consider justice to be sadly lacking in the realm of predatory financial practices. If I can tilt at that windmill occasionally, and tip the scales slightly back to level I'll continue to do so. Everyone is allowed to make a living, as long as that pursuit doesn't involve ruining lives by stealing the life savings of innocent seniors.

chw
Posts: 471
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by chw » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:45 am

I'm with Firechief- I would go for the free meal, and enjoy it immensely, as well as analyzing the "pitch". Alas, my DW thinks since we are getting something for free (knowing we or I can resist the pitch), it's unethical to take a free dinner knowing we have no intention of attending the dinner, except for the meal. Knowing she would be disappointed if I attended such a free dinner, makes the meal harder to digest, so I just ignore these offers.

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 12955
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Toons » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:48 am

Enjoy The Meal :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

Jazzysoon
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:05 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Jazzysoon » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:01 am

I have gone to a few of these if the meal is right and location is close. There is a nice Italian restaurant close to me that is used quite a bit. There is usually info in the fine print that gives you more info about what they will be selling you. Sometimes its funny to watch and think how gullable they must think 'seniors' are, esp when given the questions they've received already the group was very informed about investing to begin with.
One of the first ones I went to I looked up the presenter on Linkedin and honestly less than 2 yrs prior he was selling cars in the 'PreOwned' dept of car deal. I wanted to ask about his years of financial experience during the 'show' but decided not to.

My other way to tell them no is that I'm an introvert and we always need to sleep on things before making a decision, that usually gets an odd look.

User avatar
fishandgolf
Posts: 368
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:50 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by fishandgolf » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:05 am

I attended one financial "Free Dinner" thing a few year back....after I found Vanguard. I did it out of respect for a friend; I had no intentions of signing up with whatever they were pitching. It was actually pretty low key.....not at all aggressive. The entertainment that I got out of this.......watching and observing the other attendees. Many were standing in line ....ready to sign up......amazing. :oops:

User avatar
DaftInvestor
Posts: 4029
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:08 am

I took a free weekend that required a 2-hour timeshare pitch once when I was younger.
I show up for the required 2-hour pitch to find out its just me, my wife, and the salesman.
I tell the salesman "If you want you can waste the next 2 hours pitching me; I will sit quietly and nod my head but at the end I will say "no thanks"; and leave; Alternatively we can stop wasting each others time now". He asked me a few questions about "don't you enjoy this place", etc. - I answered every question with "Decline to answer, not interested" - he gave up after about 10 minutes and I was back out by the pool.
Unlike a prior poster - I wouldn't ask any questions - I would just sit quietly and enjoy my steak while my mind drifts off thinking about what my next vacation plans will be. You have to attend but you don't have to absorb.

vested1
Posts: 1567
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by vested1 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:15 am

chw wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:45 am
I'm with Firechief- I would go for the free meal, and enjoy it immensely, as well as analyzing the "pitch". Alas, my DW thinks since we are getting something for free (knowing we or I can resist the pitch), it's unethical to take a free dinner knowing we have no intention of attending the dinner, except for the meal. Knowing she would be disappointed if I attended such a free dinner, makes the meal harder to digest, so I just ignore these offers.
My wife won't go with me anymore because she knows what's "on the menu" when I raise my hand. She gets enough practice rolling her eyes at home. :wink:

I'm not aggressive, merely watchful and willing to ask telling questions or refute ridiculous claims. I eat very little however, so have never actually been a "plate-licker". I don't go for the food, which I mostly ignore.

What I've found surprising is the lack of knowledge of the presenters about SS, and the nearly universal condemnation of using stocks and mainstream fixed income sources to fund retirement. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since it's so obvious that the presenters aren't really there to "help". They all claim to have a secret that they are willing to share, which will ensure guaranteed returns that will beat the markets. I will say that their cherry picked charts look very impressive.

I don't go to the time share presentations anymore, as the presenters seem rabid in their persistence. Or maybe it's because seniors aren't exclusively targeted.

rantk81
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:12 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by rantk81 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:16 am

How does one get invited to such events? I've never received any invitations of this sort. Perhaps I'm not part of the targeted demographic? (Age: 36)

dbr
Posts: 27207
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by dbr » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:18 am

rantk81 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:16 am
How does one get invited to such events? I've never received any invitations of this sort. Perhaps I'm not part of the targeted demographic? (Age: 36)
We get the stuff in the mail all the time. I suspect one source of targeting is being retired because then they can try to get your 401k funds. How they get that list I am not sure but maybe the same source as all the Medigap insurance solicitations.

User avatar
WoodSpinner
Posts: 518
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:15 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by WoodSpinner » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:25 am

FIREchief wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:28 pm
Sorry, but some of your responses are "nuts." Why not enjoy a free, high end steak dinner, at somebody else's expense? I did my first a month or so ago and have another scheduled for next week. The first steak was absolutely delicious, and the next one is at the same place. I just received another invite for the same venue, and am definitely planning to sign up. Why wouldn't a boglehead accept a free steak dinner (retail $100) for themselves and a partner, with the only "cost" being an hour of entertainment from somebody selling a product that is clearly of no interest? At the last one, I really enjoyed cutting through the BS with one simple question of the "expert" presenter. Some of you just don't know how to enjoy "free."

I also milked a LV timeshare presentation a few years ago for free show tickets, $50 cash and a free lunch. The presentation was very entertaining and memorable (but not nearly as much as the excellent show at the MGM Grand). Our personal "advisor" was a very interesting gentleman who had a long LV history to share (being a smart man, he quickly figured out who he was dealing with and didn't waste either of our time trying to sell anything that we clearly weren't buying.)

Fact: If you go to one of these things and buy in, you're buying everybody else's steak dinner.
Second Fact: If you go to one of these things and don't buy anything, you just got a totally free high end steak dinner that somebody else paid for.
I am with FireChief on this one ...

Plus its a great opportunity to review the so called pitchless pitch with my wife. We setup a rule, no buying at the presentation—EVER! and it becomes an interesting excercise in listening and analysis.

Works so far!

Early on, we were heavily courted by a FA firm, weekend galas, sports tickets, dinners and figured any firm that would waste their money like that couldn’t be trusted with OUR money. :oops:

WoodSpinner 8-)

User avatar
DanMahowny
Posts: 504
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:25 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by DanMahowny » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:29 am

Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:37 pm
My wife and I attended one at a Ruth Chris Steakhouse a few years back. I had no intention of buying what they were selling and didn’t do so. The dinner was delicious and the sales guy wasn’t aggressive at all. If he had been, that would’ve been fine with me since I have no problem saying no. I’ve also gone to a bunch of timeshare presentations and have never bought anything.

If there is even a small chance that your friend could be broken down, they should not attend. Of course, many people think they can’t be broken down but they really can. They shouldn’t be merely confident in their intentions to not sign up. They have to be absolutely, ironclad sure. And they can’t be wrong in their self-assessment. It’s a dangerous game but the steak is nice. Most people can be broken but there are exceptions to every rule.

If the opportunity came my way again, I'd sign up right away as there is nothing to lose. I know (not "think") that I won't sign up for whatever they are selling.
Excellent post. I do the same as you. I'm also 100% certain I'll NEVER buy what they're selling.

But as you know, they have a well polished, persuasive sales pitch that works on some people that had no intention to buy. It's funny to meet others that say, "I'm just here for the free ____________." And later watch them roll over and buy.

Once, I went to a time share presentation in Vegas with another couple. They got sucked in and bought. HAHA.
Funding secured

Correctassets?
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:03 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Correctassets? » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:33 am

I attended one at the Scottdale 4-Seasons resort. A 2 hour seminar followed by very nice $150 meal with unlimited wine. I sat at a table for 6 that included a retired couple from Seattle ( he was a chest surgeon ), another retired couple from NYC ( he was a Wall Street bond trader ), and a guy from Macau with a 2nd home in AZ. These table mates created a fun and informative evening of conversation. The speaker had excellent presentation skills and I enjoyed watching the polished performance. The speaker’s product was a deferred or variable annuity. The seminar’s content was all BS but presented in a most appealing manner. At the conclusion, two models worked the room approaching each of the ~70 attendees for a future one-on-one meeting. To the speaker’s credit, he did say that his program was a “waste of time for do-it-your sellers”. I told the lady that I was a DIY and she past by me in less than one second. All my table mates, and most attendees, did sign up for the personal sessions. One problem for me: after 8 glasses of wine I had to leave car and get a ride home.

alfaspider
Posts: 1532
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by alfaspider » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:52 am

I'm ways away from being in the targeted demographic for these, but it seems to me I'd have a much better time grilling a nice steak at home instead of having to listen to a pitchman for an hour.

User avatar
Nicolas
Posts: 1072
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:41 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Nicolas » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:56 am

I get these invitations in the mail frequently. I'll never attend one. The people running these things have a name for those who go just for the food. They call them "plate lickers". I'm not going to be a plate licker.
De gustibus non est disputandum.

Travel1013
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 6:32 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Travel1013 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:49 am

Friend at a holiday get together was regaling how his financial advisor had recently taken him and dw on his personal yacht to a wonderful coastal
restaurant for dinner...it was not the setting to ask him who he thinks paid for the boat...

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2044
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:54 am

Travel1013 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:49 am
Friend at a holiday get together was regaling how his financial advisor had recently taken him and dw on his personal yacht to a wonderful coastal
restaurant for dinner...it was not the setting to ask him who he thinks paid for the boat...
Oh, my. I would have had to walk away and stay away. Especially if I had had a holiday beverage that might weaken my filters.

gtd98765
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:15 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by gtd98765 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:59 am

Travel1013 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:49 am
Friend at a holiday get together was regaling how his financial advisor had recently taken him and dw on his personal yacht to a wonderful coastal
restaurant for dinner...it was not the setting to ask him who he thinks paid for the boat...
That reminds me of "Where are the customers' yachts?"

But more broadly, I would rather go to dinner with people I know and like and pay for it myself.

basspond
Posts: 1073
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:01 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by basspond » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:00 pm

Went to one or two and realized is was a schmooze tactic and that their clients were paying for my lunch.

EnjoyIt
Posts: 1576
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:06 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by EnjoyIt » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:06 pm

I use opportunities of poor salesmen to educate the spouse on personal finance. A dinner like this might provide lots of educational topics.

sailaway
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by sailaway » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:17 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:08 am
I figure 20 dinners at $20 each. Someone in that room is paying the $4k plus the commissions that make it more than a break even venture for the presenter. Wife and I went to one years ago. It was clear that the presentation was pushing garbage. The wife went to the lady's room and shortly thereafter, I left for the mens room. We met in the lobby and left.

We'd done maybe a dozen time share presentations, mostly in our 20's. Never said yes. I specifically remember 2 years in a row that we attended presentations on the same island. After the required 90 minute presentation (that always takes 3 hours), and the final "no", the salesperson says that if we had no intention of buying, we would have helped him out by just saying so up front. As he says "this is how I make my living". Well, alright then. Next year we arrive at a facility where the airport flyer says in huge letters "prizes" and "romantic dinner voucher" and in tiny print "time share presentation". Ok....we arrive and while walking to the welcome center with our host, he asks "If I can show you how to have vacations every year and save money, would you consider that?". This is the first in a series of questions that are expected to be answered "yes" and are tailored to slowly shift our thinking to feel like it's logical to buy. My answer? "No". He stops. Gets all mad and says "wait here". He goes into the office. Now, this time share offered a voucher plus taxi money. We had a rental car and didn't expect taxi money. He comes back all mad and hands me the voucher and $10 in change for the taxi. Well alrighty then. So there is no winning with these clowns. Sit through 3 hours of them wasting your time and theirs or tell them right up front that there's no way you're buying and you're the bad guy either way. I expect the last guy was mad because they revolve like car salesmen and by him getting us, he'll now have to sit around for another hour before enough victims walk in to get him another chance.
My colleague is like this. Gets actually pissy with people when he realizes he isn't going to make any commission off them.

User avatar
munemaker
Posts: 3454
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by munemaker » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:22 pm

During the past year, DW and I have attended 3 of these free dinners. All three were low pressure, and while they initially appear to be talking investing, the presentations inevitably have an insurance twist to them. I followed up with 2 of the three for their free meeting. In both cases, they tried to scare me, focusing on a lack of guaranteed income (pension, SS, etc.) to cover 100% of our retirement expenses; of course, this could all be resolved with insurance products. I never had any interest in dealing with either of them. I just wanted to see if they had any constructive input into my approach. They did not, of course. I would probably attend another free dinner though, if it was at a nice restaurant.

At one of these, we sat next to a retired CEO (older guy) from a local publicly traded company. We had an interesting discussion and were still talking after everyone else left the restaurant, until the cleaning people came in. He was not a client and had no interest in becoming one. His much younger wife was traveling, he lived nearby the restaurant and was just looking for a night out. Pretty sure this guy was loaded, but seemed lonely.

User avatar
flamesabers
Posts: 1743
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:05 pm
Location: Rochester, MN

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by flamesabers » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:31 pm

rantk81 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:16 am
How does one get invited to such events? I've never received any invitations of this sort. Perhaps I'm not part of the targeted demographic? (Age: 36)
I was wondering the same thing. While getting a good free meal sounds enticing, it's probably a good thing that I'm not getting such invitations. I don't like getting solicitations for overpriced and/or unwanted products.

njuser
Posts: 160
Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 11:10 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by njuser » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:37 pm

Scrapr wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:23 pm
Got a postcard in the mail. Estates & trusts. FREE dinner!!! Normally I would toss without a thought. Then I look at the date. Feb 14th. Hmmm, why is that familiar? Ohhh, Valentines Day!!! Free dinner on the busiest night of the year for couples? This is either going to be great...or a disaster. I'm in!!!

It's going to be a insight into the human condition. Guy is driving 2+ hours to do this. Who schedules a seminar on VD? Better question...Who goes to this on VD? Well, I'm going to find out. It's going to be fascinating. Mrs Scrapr will always remember this Valentines day
Having it on Valentine's Day, that kills me. I would consider something like that.

I get these offers pretty regularly. I do always read through to see what is on the agenda and what's for dinner. In the end though, I think of the yucky moment when I will realize how bad the presenter is and how the hey am I going to make my exit. Plus I can't trust my husband for a quick and direct 'no'. It will be a meandering, maybe...no.

We went to a time share presentation while on vacation in the Caribbean. This was years ago and the salesman started out at 10k for the week and got down to 5k. He was pretty good. My husband was caving; my death stares weren't working. "Maybe we should do it". :shock: :oops: This cost us precious minutes of vacation time. At the end we got our meal voucher and I have to say, it was a really great meal. Never did a presentation like that again though.

I might do a future one, in the interest of reporting.

User avatar
munemaker
Posts: 3454
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by munemaker » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:49 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:31 pm
rantk81 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:16 am
How does one get invited to such events? I've never received any invitations of this sort. Perhaps I'm not part of the targeted demographic? (Age: 36)
I was wondering the same thing. While getting a good free meal sounds enticing, it's probably a good thing that I'm not getting such invitations. I don't like getting solicitations for overpriced and/or unwanted products.
I don't know where they get the names, or whether it has to do with a certain age, a certain job title or a certain net worth. One of the invites came in my wife's name and she is a teacher, so we were puzzled about that.

I started getting these invites in my mid 50s and never was able to attend because the times were not convenient. Now that I am retired, I have been going. I don't get a lot of these though...maybe 2 or 3 per year. There are not THAT many financial advisers in our area, so I expect these will drop off going forward.

Teague
Posts: 1141
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Teague » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:53 pm

When I was younger and a bit more adventurous, I and a friend were hit up on the streets in Honolulu for a timeshare presentation. The prize for enduring the pitch was a catamaran dinner cruise.

I instructed my friend (whom the sales force mistook for my spouse, and I did not correct them) to say nothing and let me do the talking. The group sales pitch took about 60 minutes, after which we were directed to an individual "counselor" or something, for further "information."

I listened to our counselor intently and nodded frequently. After an we had been properly educated about the amazing product, the salesman moved in for the big close. I nodded some more. Paperwork was placed before me for review. It was then that I informed our esteemed P.T. Barnum Jr. that I was under close scrutiny and investigation by both the IRS and the SEC (no truth to that, of course) but would still love to move forward with the timeshare, if that was still possible. Our counselor didn't seem to think that would be too much of a problem, but called a senior salesman / supervisor over just to be sure. I repeated my tale of woe, explaining my purported financial straits, and for good measure hinted at my pending incarceration.

You'd think I'd turned into high-level radioactive waste. They couldn't wait to get rid of us. Mr. Senior Pitchman even looked like he had the slightest touch of sympathy for my plight - maybe he had been through similar trials himself. In any event, the dinner cruise was very nice.
Semper Augustus

wolf359
Posts: 1378
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:47 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by wolf359 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:23 pm

miamivice wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:42 pm
I've never gone, but yes I would assume they are financial instruments designed to profit the person paying for the free dinner. I would expect everyone in the room attends for the free dinner with no intentions of purchasing, but enough sign up to justify the free dinner. Your friend very well may be the one that signs up. (They also want your wives to go, if applicable, and sometimes your wife has a bit of

I would never go to one of these. I went to a timeshare for free show tickets in Vegas, and it was always difficult to say no. They offered a timeshare for $100,000 which was easy to say no. Then the price was lowered, and at the very end of the presentation they offered it to me for $10,000. It sure sounded like a heck of a deal and I'm not one to pass up a good deal....we did say no but if we didn't have iron clad resolve we might have signed up.

Sure was a nice timeshare.
The best way to resist the timeshare deals is to look up the price of the exact same timeshare on the secondary market. If the salesperson can beat that price, we might think about it.

The last time we went, there were multiple people willing to sell for $1 if we took it over. That gave us plenty of resolve.

SueG5123
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:41 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by SueG5123 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:28 pm

The ethics of picking someone else’s pocket before he picks mine — again, I wonder, why even go there? Let the wolves fleece the sheep, and I will be happy not to be among them... instead of lining up for free sheep food.

Fallible
Posts: 6494
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:44 pm
Contact:

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Fallible » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:30 pm

vested1 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:05 am
...
The most common characteristic of these charlatans is their ability to instill fear in the audience. ... [/quote]

Many of those attending will be fearful going in, but in case they aren't, this seminar's agenda appears designed to do the job, probably including or starting off with the latest market drop - a perfect opening for any sales pitch. Same with other agenda items such as the national debt/deficit, economic recovery (what recovery?), and risk assessment (just the mention of "risk" will do it). All can work well by playing on the emotions of those poorly informed on these issues.

I've even paid for a course at our local community college which consisted of several weeks of classes, where the program was supposed to cover SS filing options and investing principles. I researched the presenters before I went. They were both insurance salesmen. One of them was prominent in an organization that claimed the existence of Big Foot (no kidding). They didn't offer dinner, but the free coffee and donuts were delicious. The program, which was not cheap, was riddled with incorrect information on every subject, especially SS. Just like the free dinner scam, these guys were selling annuities and whole life insurance, even though they claimed not to be. Attendees were encouraged to sign up for further "free" discussions after class. It's safe to say that I lost them a few customers. After the classes were over I filed a complaint with the college.
[/quote]

Some community education classes are like this, taught by salespeople for various products. I once contacted the community ed folks to ask why they didn't include the backgrounds of these "teachers" in their directories listing the classes. They said they couldn't do that because identifying them and their firms would amount to advertising them. Fortunately, I was not the only one questioning this and there have been no such classes listed in the directories for a few years now. Maybe the salespeople just moved on to the community college?
Bogleheads® wiki | Investing Advice Inspired by Jack Bogle

miamivice
Posts: 961
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by miamivice » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:38 pm

SueG5123 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:55 am
Gee, guess I’m the only one troubled by the ethics of accepting a “free” meal to listen to a sales pitch I know I’d never entertain in a million years. Some poor schmo pays for that meal — and even if it is the salesman-of-few-scruples, I feel I’d have fewer scruples to take advantage of him. He’s just trying to make a living.
I don't see it as an ethical issue.

The thing is, few to no people attend these things planning on signing up. Many/most go for the free dinner. A few of those, including those who felt never in a million years would sign up, do indeed sign up. For whatever the reason, the sales pitch rings true to them.

As long as a person is respectful during the presentation, and gives the presentation a reasonable consideration, you are not abusing the free meal or other gift. (I wouldn't go back to the same rep though even if I was invited for a second free meal. I'd consider that a one time offer per rep.)

HIinvestor
Posts: 1652
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:23 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by HIinvestor » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:53 pm

H and I invited our neighbors to one of these presentations which was held at a nice hotel. If I recall it was a pitch from Ameriprise. None of us was interested or could really figure out exactly what was being sold. My neighbor won the drawing for a free AmEx gift card for $50 it $100. We never got any follow up contact.

The food was fine. We get invitations to these types of events fairly often as we must be in some database. We haven’t gone back as we feel our time is worth more to us than a neal among strangers we don’t care about.

We have never attended a timeshare presentation and face no particular interest in wasting our or their time.

As it is, I attend drug rep meals periodically to hear what they gave to say. The meal and conversation doesn’t influence me either.

mouses
Posts: 3719
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by mouses » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:08 pm

I would not go to any of those things. I would view it as stealing the cost of the dinner, etc.
Last edited by mouses on Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Nicolas
Posts: 1072
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:41 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Nicolas » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:08 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:31 pm
rantk81 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:16 am
How does one get invited to such events? I've never received any invitations of this sort. Perhaps I'm not part of the targeted demographic? (Age: 36)
I was wondering the same thing. While getting a good free meal sounds enticing, it's probably a good thing that I'm not getting such invitations. I don't like getting solicitations for overpriced and/or unwanted products.
You have to be of a certain age and perceived net worth and/or income because obviously they want to con you with ripoff retirement pitches.
De gustibus non est disputandum.

njuser
Posts: 160
Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 11:10 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by njuser » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:29 pm

mouses wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:08 pm
I would not go to any of those things. I would view it as stealing the cost of the dinner, etc.
Someone is inviting you to an informational seminar that is aimed at making them money. They just want you to come and listen to what they have to say, and I'm guessing that they know that the only way they can get you to do that is to offer up some tasty treats. Nothing wrong with them inviting you; nothing wrong with you deciding to go.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3541
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:32 pm

My Grandparents used to go to these type of things all the time. They never bought anything. If you are bored and want a free dinner and can resist the sales pitch, I see no problem with it. By not selling anything do they mean a product or products and services? I can see them offering financial planning and saying they are no selling anything. Someone is obviously paying for the food/event space.

The ones my Grandparents went to ran the gamut from estate planning (put on by lawyers), financial products/services, insurance products, long term care facilities, etc.

Fallible
Posts: 6494
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:44 pm
Contact:

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Fallible » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:34 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:28 am
I went to one of these dinners one time. They served the dinner first, before the presentation. Of course the presentation was full of really great outcomes for your money. But, that was it. They gave out contact info. It was up to you to decide whether to call of not to set up an appt. There was no attempt at any sales at the dinner. ...
I would consider the unsolicited mailings, the free meal, a presentation on money outcomes surely written to favor the presenters, and giving out seller contact info all part of the overall sales pitch.

It's all about selling to benefit the sellers. All of it. Every bit of it.
Bogleheads® wiki | Investing Advice Inspired by Jack Bogle

HJG0989
Posts: 154
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 2:18 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by HJG0989 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:21 pm

mouses wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:08 pm
I would not go to any of those things. I would view it as stealing the cost of the dinner, etc.
I would view it as an exchange of my time for a meal. If they offered a good vegan meal I might attend.

User avatar
Nicolas
Posts: 1072
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:41 am

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Nicolas » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:59 pm

[deleted]
Last edited by Nicolas on Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
De gustibus non est disputandum.

User avatar
KlingKlang
Posts: 702
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:26 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by KlingKlang » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:10 pm

Be prepared to get a cheap, overcooked chicken dinner followed by at least a hundred follow up phone calls.

User avatar
FIREchief
Posts: 2681
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:40 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by FIREchief » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:39 pm

KlingKlang wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:10 pm
Be prepared to get a cheap, overcooked chicken dinner followed by at least a hundred follow up phone calls.
I got a delicious Filet Mignon steak dinner at a high end steak house ten minutes from my house. I never received any follow up phone calls. Sounds like you just picked the wrong one to attend.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

blmarsha123
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:23 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by blmarsha123 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:42 pm

KlingKlang wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:10 pm
Be prepared to get a cheap, overcooked chicken dinner followed by at least a hundred follow up phone calls.
Au contraire.

My first seminar was at one of the top steak houses in the city, and dinner included a very nice selection of wines. Another at an Italian restaurant that we happen to enjoy, and got to take untouched leftovers home for dinner later in the week.

Shameless or frugal? You decide.

Dottie57
Posts: 4454
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: free dinner investing seminar

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:53 pm

mouses wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:08 pm
I would not go to any of those things. I would view it as stealing the cost of the dinner, etc.
If I am willing to listen and be respectful, i see no problem in taking the free dinner. But I wiil be sceptical, since every one involved in the product wants a profit. Quite estions about payment and profit are well within bounds.

Post Reply