Sunny Prospects

Jonathan Clements

“NICE OFFICES,” OFFERED the 30-something investor, as he cast a wary eye across the corporate art, barren desks and empty bookshelves.

“Yeah, we asked management if they could put us on the 12th floor, so our suite number could be 12b-1. Funny, right?” The financial salesman winked.

“Not sure I get it.”

“It’s a joke, but clients never get it, they pay it.”

“What qualifications do you have?”

“See those initials after my name? You wouldn’t believe how much they cost.”

“Are you a fiduciary?”

“I always act in my best interest.”

“What about my best interest?”

“Only if it’s suitable. So what can I help you with?”

“I have an IRA and I’m trying to figure out how to invest it.”

“We’ll definitely want to put a variable annuity in there.”


“The variable annuity will give you tax-deferred growth.”

“But doesn’t the IRA already give me tax-deferred growth?”

“You can never be too careful. Look at what happened to the Titanic.”


“That’s why we also like private REITs. Have you seen how much volatility there is in publicly traded REIT stock prices? That just isn’t an issue with private REITs.”

“I keep reading about index funds.”

“Those financial writers. Bunch of commies. Buying an index fund is like mooching off welfare. We prefer cash-value life insurance.”

“Why’s that?”

“Retirement is America’s most pressing financial issue. By selling these policies, I show my commitment to my family’s retirement.”

“How much do you charge?”

“That depends on whether you’re buying, selling or sitting still.”

“Should I be sitting still?”

“Don’t you want to see some action? The early bird gets the commission and all that. By the way, get a load of these A shares. We like ‘em a lot.”

“Are you a fee-only advisor?”

“Oh no, not fee-only. I like to diversify. You should, too. Have you thought about an equity-indexed annuity?”

“What’s that?

“It’ll turn you into a long-term investor. Once you’re in one of those suckers, you wouldn’t dare sell, after you see the exit fees.”

“Sorry, I’m a little confused.”

“Really? That’s great. Must be time to sign some paperwork.”

Follow Jonathan on Twitter @ClementsMoney and on Facebook. His most recent articles include Keep Your DistanceBreaking the Rules and In Our Own Way.

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