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Subject:  Re: AMEX Financial Advisor Experience and Questi Date:  3/30/2004  11:22 AM
Author:  JAFO31 Number:  40066 of 88051

0xf001: "First a little background, my wife and I are both 26, no ¡§bad debt¡¨, very decent salaries, have a house (paying a mortgage), no kids (but plans), and trying to figure out how to retire at 45 ƒº

. . .

So we gave him all our financial information and he got back to us, with a nicely bound professional looking ¡§financial plan¡¨ that showed which AMEX funds are right for me. He then started telling us that our ¡§Age and financial status gives us a unique opportunity to invest in a very special tax-advantaged vehicle, a Variable Universal Life Insurance plan.¡¨ We were so entranced by the sales pitch I almost handed over a check and signed the paperwork. But after a few questions and a ¡§what? you don't trust me?¡¨ statement we decided to sleep on it.

I have since done some digging around and it seems our ¡§unique opportunity¡¨ isn't so unique, since this seems to be the standard AMEX sales pitch, and it seems opinions are generally negative of it."

First, welcome.

Second, good for you for taking a breath and doign some research.

Third, general TMF bboard consensus is that AMEX advisors are average, and that AMEX branded funds are expensive and poor performers.

Fourth, VULs have been discussed extensively on the Insurance Board. General conclusion is that they can be useful for some people, but that they are generally not especially useful for most people.

I do not recall what the FAQ on that board says; for some older threads, see the following (unfortunately I have not bookmarked more recent threads, although I am sure that you could search for VUL):

---seminal FoolWAM post 1605 on the insurance board, and its thread (and 5046)

and especially post 1603,

---You may want to take a look at FoolWAM's post #1913 at to see if you'd be a good candidate or not.

Also 5188 at

--- "There are many things that are a consideration in such a decision.

For example:

What about a Roth IRA?
How long do you want to have life insurance?
What is your and your spouse's health history like?
How important is additional tax deferred growth to you?
Where are all your other assets?
Are you prepared to highly over fund such a policy and able to stay committed to following through with it?
What are you plans for your kids college education?
Do you have an adequate Emergency Fund in place?
What is your risk tolerance?
What is your asset allocation model like?
When do you plan to retire?
Just how are you going to use your retirement assets during retirement?
What are your plans for passing on any estate to your heirs?
What are the chances you're be receiving an inheritance and if so, about how big might that be?
What are your future carrier and income prospects like?
Do you receive bonuses? If so, in what form?
Are you aware of the caveats of using such a policy for ¡§a tax-protected means of wealth accumulation¡¨? (the main one being that the policy MUST stay in force your entire lifetime)

Well, I think you get the idea. If your ¡§financial advisor¡¨ hasn't covered these and more issues with you AND your spouse, then it's probable that the recommendation towards ¡§a tax-protected means of wealth accumulation¡¨ may not we a good fit you're a comprehensive financial plan."

TTRoberts Post 9486 Ins.

Last, one thing that you never mentioned in your post was any need for insurance. Do you even need/want permanent insurance?

I suggest reviewing the Insurance board and following the links and or posts excerpts that I provided.

Regards, JAFO

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