Dateline Investigates Shady Annuity Salesmen Targeting Seniors

Dateline did a hidden camera investigation into the world of shady annuity salesmen targeting seniors and playing on their emotions to lock their life savings away in funds they may never live to receive the benefit from, or pay stiff penalties, not disclosed in the sales pitch, for early withdrawal. In this clip, Dateline producers attended “Annuity University,” a two-day session run by Tyrone Clark to teach them how to sell to elders. He settled with the state of Massachusetts after he published a sales pamphlet that told salespeople to treat seniors “like they were selling to a twelve year old” and to hit their “fear, anger, and greed buttons” to make the sale. He also sells questionable self-promotional tools and services. In one of them, a fake radio guy will call up the salesperson and interview them like they’re a financial expert on the radio. The session is recorded and the salesman gets CDs to pass out, so they can pass themselves off as legitimate financial advisers. Video, inside…

So why are annuities bad for Seniors? Well, In a 2002 article, the WSJ said, “The higher fees of most annuities can often cancel out their tax advantages; most annuities lock in investors for years; and annuities saddle heirs with higher taxes, unlike mutual funds or most other investments.” Make sure to warn elder friends and family members about letting sales people into their homes, and caution them against putting the money they worked for their whole life into an annuity.

Tricks of the trade [Dateline via AllFinancialMatters]