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Money questions: Have you attended a seminar?

By HELEN HUNTLEY, Personal Finance Editor
Published September 23, 2007


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We asked

Have you ever attended an investment seminar? Tell us what it was like.

We received a flier in the mail on a seminar to be held at the Sugarmill Woods Country Club. Next to the seminar leader's name were two credentials: Ph.D. and CSA.

When the seminar started, I raised my hand and asked the speaker what field of study his Ph.D. was in, what school conferred it and what CSA meant.

With some annoyance, he replied that his major was sociology and said he chose that subject so he would be better qualified to relate to senior citizens. He then said that CSA stood for Certified Senior Advisor, which also better qualified him to help seniors with financial matters. When he tried to resume his presentation, I interrupted him again by raising my hand. I then told him that he had not answered my question on the school that awarded his Ph.D. He then mumbled some word that was unintelligible but sounded Hispanic. When I asked him where the school was located, he said "Spain."

We remained for the conclusion of the seminar for the "free" lunch of hot dogs and beans, which annoyed my wife even more than the obvious lack of credibility of the presenter and the seminar.

Your article was excellent and should serve as a warning to seniors of caveat emptor.

The CSA designation was described by a New York Times article as "less than rigorous" and obtained in a 3 day seminar.

Bill Allen, Homosassa

The meal was tasty and the table conversation congenial. The presentation contained just enough truths and half truths to appeal to the audience. The focus of the presentations was how to avoid paying taxes in their many forms, earning income while one is living and leaving money to one's heirs. The means to achieve the above was the purchase of annuities in their many forms. All present were encouraged to make an appointment so that the presenter could visit with each attendee in their homes. Needless to say, we left without signing up for the home visit.

Dr. Bob Bucklin, Zephyrhills

You asked

Why does the stock market respond to thepossibility of interest rates coming down with an upsurge? If the largest investors are retirement funds, wouldn't they like the interest rate to be high? I am happy with CD rates.

Those retirement funds aren't buying CDs. An interest rate cut is intended to stimulate the economy, making it cheaper for consumers and businesses to borrow and spend, which is good for corporate profits. What's good for corporate profits is good for stock prices.

Also, if you think about it, stocks and CDs all compete for investor money. If investors can't earn as much on CDs or bonds, that increases demand for stocks, which is good for prices.

Next week's question

What do you think about the state doing away with PIP Personal Injury Protection as a requirement for all drivers? Will you add to your other coverage as a result?

To ask a question, make a comment or answer the Money Question of Week, e-mail hhuntley@sptimes.com or write Helen Huntley, PO Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Visit her Money Talk blog (blogs.tampabay.com/money) for more money information.

[Last modified September 23, 2007, 01:01:47]


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