I am looking at a solicitation from a company that helps stockbrokers sell variable annuities. It includes the following words: “Had a member call today and say that November has been the best month of his career. He actually took my advice and ordered a list of wealthy widows and IRA holders.”
List of wealthy widows? Is your mother on that list? Your grandmother?
List of IRA holders? If you are a baby boomer or a senior citizen, you are on that list.
I have found that part of what makes people vulnerable is what I call the illusion of anonymity. ”There are 300 million in the United States,” the thinking runs, “What are the chances that a salesman with bad intentions would pinpoint me for a sales pitch?”
The chances are good. This solicitation is from one company among hundreds who are in the business of producing lists of leads for salesmen to pursue. If you are a wealthy widow or if you are an IRA holder you will be targeted by many salesmen from now until the day of your death. In fact, at this very moment, it is likely that many salesmen have in their hands or on their computer screens a list that includes your name.
“That’s OK,” you say, “I’ll handle it when he calls.” That is a topic for another post. For now just know that by the time the salesman picks up the phone he will have received hundreds of hours of training and experience in how to get you to say “yes” to whatever he is selling. He is prepared for whatever objection you might raise to saying “yes,” and has responses prepared. He has done this many times and has a success rate beyond your wildest estimates. He is very good at what he does.
The only effective way to protect yourself is to seek help from an independent, unbiased source devoted to investor protection who can investigate and tell you the truth behind the sales pitch. Put a knowledgeable protector between you and the salesman.