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"But, I think the real idea behind it is that "retired folk" live on fixed incomes and often times need a
break"

This may be true in some cases, but it seems to me that most people between 50 and retirement are at the PEAK of their earning and many retirees are very comfortable, already own their own homes, etc., while younger people are struggling with all sorts of extra expenses like child care, saving for a downpayment, etc. These "over 50" accounts are rewarding people ONLY for being of a certain age, rather than taking into account any sort of financial condition. In fact, I'd say the real reason banks offer these deals is that they know lots of over 50 folks have lots of assets and they want their business. This is the opposite of your supposition.

AND I still don't see how this is legal.

Lara

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