No. of Recommendations: 1
We've attended a bunch of those as it has helped DH to have a better understanding of the investing world. He tends to glaze over when I talk about finances, and he absorbs more from those presentations, so they serve a useful purpose for us. I also find that I can generally learn at least one thing from them, or confirm my knowledge in something.
They are definitely looking for new clients, and typically ask you to make an appointment if you are interested at the end. If not, it ends right there, and most of them are pretty upfront about not feeling offended if you don't want to make an appointment because they don't want to waste either their time or your time.
I've never been harassed afterwards by any of these folks, and I have taken them up on a few of the individual appointments where they analyze your assets and investments, and come back with recommendations and a plan they'd like to put into place.
I have found that the ones that call themselves "Financial Planners" are much more likely to be selling annuities, but the ones that are clearly brokers working for a large brokerage tend to want to put you into stocks and sometimes their proprietary funds.

We've been to four over the past decade; we've skipped another half dozen "invitations."

One of them was a complete scam. we actually went to the followup invitation, where he told us he had an investment so "sure fire" it would guarantee 8-10% a year - but no, he couldn't tell us exactly what it is, had no literature, it was a "trust me" thing. About a year later the Madoff scandal broke, and I always wondered if he was bundling to send money to Bernie.

We recently went to one where the guy sonsoring it said "Here's my speaker" and then sat down. We never heard from him again the entire night, and while he was "happy" to do a "free" evaluation (which we accepted) he called to say he was taking it to a "specialist" because we had much higher assets than most he deals with, and then... we never heard from him again.

Two of them have been pretty good presentations. Nobody tried to strong arm us into buying anything right then and there. One we left and never thought about again. The most recent one was an excellent motivational speech. Not only did we get a lovely dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House, Mrs. Goofy won a $25 gift certificate (also at Ruth's Chris), I won a financial investing book, and we both won a candy bar (yum! Dark Chocolate!)

Yes, we signed up for a "follow up", which was held at their very nice, and very expensive offices. And while the strategies they offered made some sense, the fees attached were absurd, and we declined the offer of another follow-up. ((The first meeting was generic/inspirational, the second was information gathering, the third was to be "recommendations.")

[Nutshell: separate assets into three baskets: no risk, some risk, risk. their recommendations for no-risk included a special proprietary fund (no risk? really?). Some risk was mostly non-traded REITs paying 6-8%. And risk was stock annuities. Oops, think I got #1 and #3 backward, but don't want to retype. Heh.)

Anyway, I've had no problem with being harassed. I too have found some value in exposing Mrs. Goofy to financial instruments and ideas. However I will say that even with our agreement going in that "we're not buying anything" there is still a temptation to "buy something". It's only because I know how absurd their fees are that I am able to firmly say "no."

There's also the trust issue to get past. You're meeting these people for the first time, and have no measure of them. If it were Sync at the front of the room it would be quite different, I'm sure.
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