fbpx
U

Dateline and Equity-Indexed Annuities

April 22, 2008

NBC's Dateline: Tricks of the TradeChris Hansen from Dateline NBC devoted an entire hour on April 13, 2008 to the topic of equity-indexed annuities and the unscrupulous tactics sometimes used to sell them to seniors.

(Recognize Hansen’s name? He’s best known for his work on the Dateline NBC television segment To Catch a Predator. These controversial investigations revolved around catching Internet sex predators using a sting operation.)

This week’s segment, titled Tricks of the Trade, used a hidden-camera investigation to see what insurance agents say — and what they don’t — when they think they are alone with a senior. The show promised, “Join us in a ground-breaking hidden-camera investigation, as we go behind the scenes to uncover the techniques they use: inside sales meetings — where we catch the questionable pitches; inside training sessions — where we discover agents being taught to scare seniors; and, finally, inside senior’s homes to reveal the tricks some agents use to puff their credentials to make a sale.”

If you would like to see related articles and follow-up from the show, you can watch the segment online, read on the official transcripts, or visit some of their recommended links:

My First-Hand Experience with Equity-Indexed Annuities

Interestingly, my very first Money Guy podcast covered this exact topic. I based the discussion on an article in the December 14, 2005 Wall Street Journal titled, Why Big Insurers Are Staying Away From This Year’s Hot Investment Product.I’ve also had experience dealing with individuals who have been sold unsuitable products.

In today’s show, I revisit the Wall Street Journal article, discuss my impressions of Dateline NBC’s recent investigation, and share my experience dealing with the fallout from inappropriately sold equity-indexed annuities.

Postscript: In today’s show, I mentioned a widow who came to me after investing all of her liquid assets into equity-indexed annuities. Since many of you have asked, I’m pleased to report that there was an unexpected but happy ending. Most states provide a small window of time after an insurance contract is issued for the purchaser to change their mind. This individual fortunately came to me during this period and we were able to undo the damage.

If we’d missed that window, I would have first recommended that she contact the corporate office of the insurance company that issued the product. Then, I would have suggested engaging a lawyer and filing a complaint with the state insurance regulator.

Note: Please know I’m not trying to pick on insurance agents. I’m a big fan of insurance and always recommend dealing with a reputable agent as part of an overall financial plan. Unfortunately, many agents either don’t understand their products and appropriate uses or don’t care about doing what’s right for their client.

My advice? Find a local agent you trust, check their credentials and references, ask specifically how they get paid, and challenge their advice with informed questions. Checking prices with an online service can also be helpful, but I prefer to do business with a real agent. In an emergency, you’ll find this can make a big difference.

FILED UNDER: Podcasts

Most Recent Episodes

Top 4 Financial Mistakes We Saw This Year! (2022)

We saw some wild financial mistakes this year during the bear market. From making extreme changes to portfolio allocation, chasing the hot dot, and using too much leverage, we’ll talk about some of the biggest financial mistakes we saw in 2022 in this episode.   In...

How Millionaires Build Wealth! (With Dave Ramsey)

Join us for a very special episode as we welcome personal finance radio host and influencer Dave Ramsey to The Money Guy Show! There’s so much misinformation out there about building wealth. We had the pleasure of having a great conversation about how millionaires...

Do These 4 Things with Your Finances BEFORE 2023!

There are unique financial opportunities available at the end of the year - especially this year with the market down. In this episode, we’ll talk about what you need to do with your money BEFORE 2023! In this episode, you'll learn: What you need to do with your money...

How to Win When the Financial World is Burning!

Lately it’s felt like the financial world is in chaos, with rising interest rates, a falling stock market, and high inflation. Let’s talk about how to focus on what you can control and how to minimize the time spent worrying about what you can’t control. In this...

Financial Advisors React to RIDICULOUS Money Advice on TikTok!

The most powerful time to get serious about building wealth is when you’re young. So, what is the younger generation learning? Financial Advice (good and bad) is being produced in massive rates across online platforms and TikTok is the new frontier. Is there good...

Loss Harvesting: Why Wealthy People Love It (And You Should Too!)

Tax-loss harvesting: what is it and should you be doing it? In this episode, we’ll cover everything you need to know about tax-loss harvesting, including whether it makes sense for you, how much it could save you in taxes, and how to eliminate the downside of loss...

The Market is Crashing! (Where Should You Put Your Money?)

The stock market has not had a great year so far. You might be asking yourself, “Since the market is crashing, where should I put my money now?” In this episode, we’ll discuss how to invest when the market is dropping and how to make the most of your money. In this...

Will Rising Interest Rates Tank the Economy?!

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to combat inflation, and many are concerned about how it will affect the economy. In this episode, we’ll discuss what rising interest rates means for your wallet and how to make the best of it. In this episode, you'll...

How to Be Wealthy By Age! (Can You Catch Up?)

How much does it take for you to meet your retirement goals by age, and what are some common traps your peers fall into? Learn more about how to be wealthy, mistakes to avoid, and exactly what a little extra saving can do for your retirement income. In this episode,...

Can Money Buy Happiness? (Here’s the Truth)

Money and happiness aren’t directly correlated, but they are intertwined. Some believe that once they have a large, pie-in-the-sky amount of money, they will finally be happy. Others are working towards a more specific retirement number they hope will bring happiness....