Swallow the Seminar Food, Not the Annuity Pitch: Shootin’ It Straight With Stan
Welcome to Shooting it Straight With Stan. I'm your host, Stan The Annuity Man - America's annuity agent, licensed in all 50 states. I'm so glad you joined me for a great topic. You saw it and said, "Okay, I got to see what he's going to say about this." The topic is: Swallow the Seminar Food, NOT the Annuity Pitch." Now, if you're a human being with a bank account, living in a house, you've received the postcards in the mail or seen the advertisements in the local papers, and they never say it's an annuity seminar. They say, "Come learn about taxes, Social Security, and volatility," or something that's a scare tactic.
And so you go, and then suddenly they're trying to sell you one product from one company because they think it's the best one. Typically, and unfortunately, the Index Annuity or the Variable Annuity is the typical one that's being shown out there because it's got some sizzle to it. It doesn't fall into what I like, which is contractual guarantees. We only look at what an annuity will do, not what it might do, but the seminar circuit is alive and well in the annuity industry. Going into the new year, you will be inundated by invitations to listen to the sales pitch. I've never been to one, never done an annuity food seminar. I don't have to. I do these blogs, I'm Stan The Annuity Man, but I know this, my mom in St. Augustine, Florida goes three to four times a week.
Go and Eat the Food
When it's seminar season, she's eating all the time, and she'll call and ask, "Where's it at? What restaurant? What dessert do you have?" And, of course, I tell the story, and people laugh about it. She called me one day and said, "I had the best cut of meat, Stan, filet mignon, and it was so good." I said, "Mom, it's filet mignon." She's from the south; bless her heart. Go and eat the food, but don't swallow the pitch because they will pressure you and try to get you to sign the paperwork. One of the things that drives me crazy, I hear this a lot, is they'll say, "Well, sign the paperwork and then make the decision." Never do that. Never, ever, ever do that.
"Sign the paperwork; we'll just hold on to it." No, they're not going to hold on to Jack. They're going to submit it. The next thing you know, the money's moved. Be careful out there. The other thing I don't like about the seminar circuit is typically, not all the time, you can't say that, but typically, these agents and advisors have chosen one product with one carrier that might be helping them pay for this type of seminar. And regardless of who you are, if there are a hundred people in the room, every single person will get pitched that product. Let's think logically about that for a second.
Let's say a general practitioner doctor held a seminar, and it was sponsored by one drug company, and it was one drug, and everybody got pitched that one drug, and you're like, "That's crazy, Stan. That's just a nutty thought because everyone's different. Everyone has different problems medically." Of course.
There Are Many Types
If the annuity agent is trying to sell you one product or talk about one type of product, and there are many types of annuities, you have to scratch your head and go, "Huh?" The annuity industry should follow my lead, and eventually, they will because I am trailblazing out here. The pioneers take all the arrows, but I always ask two questions, and my team does as well. "What do you want the money to contractually do, and when do you want those contractual guarantees to start?" Period. If anyone puts something up on a screen that shows hypothetical numbers, non-guaranteed numbers, back-tested numbers where they say, "Well, if you'd done it 10 years ago, this is what you'd have gotten, 7, 9, 12, 13% with principal protection."
I just hope you're not that stupid. Come on now. If it sounds too good to be true, it is every single time. I'll give you a great story. Back in the day, when I first started, I started with a company called Dean Witter. You might remember Dean Witter. Back then, you got your license, and then they sent you to the New York City World Trade Two Center before it fell, and I think Dean Witter had 30-plus floors. I don't know. It was huge, floor 60 and up, or 60 or down, and they had a stock pitching contest of which, of course, I won with 3000 competitors. I won it. And they bring me into the grand pool ballroom, and they say, "Stan, that was fantastic." And I'm like, "Thank you very much." "You need to do seminars. That's all you need to do. Buy the dinners, go to the local restaurants, and do seminars."
That's a Hundred-Dollar Steak
Even back then, I was so repulsed by that idea that I just never did it. Now, of course, they were probably right. Instead of seminars, I've done videos and blogs, but even then, I was repulsed by that, even after winning the Dean Witter 3000 person thing. Of course, by the way, the topic was Nike, and that was when Tiger Woods just signed with Nike, and I hammered it, of course. But the point is this whole bad chicken dinner seminar, expensive steak dinner seminar, and way of selling annuities is relatively new, and it's very popular with the distribution companies that have all these agents underneath them. They have these turnkey packages where the agent pays them X, they mail 5,000 postcards to their area, and then you respond, and then they sign you up for the dinner at the expensive steak dinner place that you would never go to on your own.
But it's like, "Well, shoot, we're going to go to that one because we'd never go because that's a hundred-dollar steak." You have to add it up.
Why are they doing that? Annuity commissions are all built-in, so in other words, there are many different types of annuities: Immediate Annuities, Deferred Income Annuities, QLACs, which are Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts, Multi-Year Guarantee Annuities, and then there are Index and Variable annuities. Most of the time, these bad chicken dinner seminars are expensive steak dinner seminars. I used to call them exclusively bad chicken dinner seminars, but now I have to add the expensive steak because that's where they're landing. That's where many of these are happening, and I'm not going to mention the steakhouses' names, but you know who I'm talking about if you're looking locally. It is an industry. The seminar circuit is an industry, I'm not saying don't go. What I'm saying is go, go to every single one. If you have hearing aids, take them out and eat the food, and then don't take the appointment because they're going to try to sell you, and it's going to sound too good to be true that you're going to go, "Wait a minute, that sounds pretty good." No, it's not good. Suppose they say upfront bonus or anything that sounds a little wacky and too good to be true. In that case, it is because if it sounds too good to be true, it is with annuities every single time without exception. Still, I want to take a second and thank all of the agents and advisors in North Florida who have fed my mom and her friends because now her friends are in on the scam, and they go all the time. They send these postcards out, and there'll be nine or 10 friends of my mom's, and they're the sweet spot age for annuity salespeople. They're all going and eating the food and then walking the heck out because they know if they buy it, I'm going to walk in and go, "What are you doing?" But I would encourage you to go. You might learn something. Let's give the agents and advisors a break here. It might be a very informative speech, or they might have a guest speaker, but most of the time, it's a very high commission product with very long surrender charges that they're trying to jam down your throat. I think it's a "Can you take advantage of it?" Yeah, you can take advantage of it. Take advantage of the food. Take advantage of a free meal. Take advantage of a night out.
Now, for the guys who count this as a date night with their spouse. Wrong, no. Date night means you pay, and you guys talk about you and her and the grandkids, and you're not listening to some dude or dudette up there trying to sell you a product you don't need. No, this does not circumvent or replace date night. This is an additional of which you frame to your spouse and go, "Honey. This is not replacing date night because date night is something that I cherish with you. After all, it's quality time, and I want to be present. That's my present to you. But this is a free meal at a steakhouse, and I say we go, let's listen, knowing that we're not going to buy, and let's get a good meal. It is what it is. It's free. It actually is free, and we will politely tell them when they call to set the appointment that, 'You know what? We're okay. We're working with Stan The Annuity Man and his team, but we really appreciate the meal.'"
Do it just like that, verbatim. It'll be great. I'll leave you with this. And this is funny. My mom, of course, is going to all of these, and now they're starting to figure out who she is because when they call her, my mom is 84 years old, getting ready to be 85, and she is a spitfire Southerner. You know what I'm talking about. She is rolling, and she's cognitively all there. They'll call and say, "Ma'am, you came to our seminar. We really appreciate that. We want to schedule a time to either come to your home or you come to our really nice offices here." My mom would go, "I don't think that's a good idea because you might know my son; his name is Stan The Annuity Man," click.
She says it's so funny to hear their reception to that, and I think now the word's gotten out because she goes, "I'm not getting as many postcards." I'm like, "Mom, they're figuring it out." And she's like, "Will you buy me one of those filet mignons?" "Yes, Mom, I'll buy you a filet mignon. I will do that." But for you, have fun with it like my mom does, and it's just one of those things in the annuity industry. I hope this goes away. This is a trend and a fad. Eventually, this will be one of those things we look back on and laugh and go, "Oh my gosh. It's like wearing bell bottoms and big lapels. Did we really do that? Did we really do food seminars to try to sell products? Oh my gosh, how embarrassing." But until then, go to the seminar and swallow the food, but do not swallow that annuity pitch.
Hey, my name is Stan The Annuity Man. I am America's annuity agent. I am licensed in all 50 states. Go to my site and book a call with us. We would love to help you, and we'd love to have you as a client if it makes sense for you. See you next week.
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