Friday, March 23, 2012

Short Takes: Conviction for Selling an Indexed Annuity and more

An insurance agent was convicted of felony-theft for selling a complex market-linked (indexed) annuity to an 83-year-old woman who seemed to show signs of dementia. Perhaps the test for dementia should be whether you’d be willing to buy one of these market-linked annuities where the commission to the selling agent can be up to 12% of the invested lump-sum or even higher.

The Motley Fool says “Ignore the experts. Index funds are for chumps.” The article writer, Rich Smith, demonstrated 20/20 hindsight in his reasoning, and he forgot to include “buy our investing newsletters” in the article’s title.

Canadian Mortgage Trends reports that ING is ending its business of mortgages that require no income confirmation. Apparently ING will still offer mortgages where people state their income and are taken at their word.

Retire Happy Blog takes a look at the math of indexed annuities. The term “indexed annuity” can mean many things. In some cases it means an annuity linked to equities or to the consumer price index (CPI). In this case, it means an annuity whose monthly payments rise by a fixed percentage each year.

The Blunt Bean Counter covered 3 potentially costly topics: (1) making sure you get the right kind of electronic receipt when making a charitable donation online, (2) income tax refunds that low income people come to expect won’t be coming this year, and (3) TFSA audits.

Big Cajun Man has a good rant about all the paperwork involved with his RESPs.

Money Smarts shows how to find a lost retirement account and actually does the work to find a reader’s lost account.

Million Dollar Journey breaks down the numbers on revenues and profits for a Tim Hortons franchise.

My Own Advisor paid for some disappointing plumbing work and then discovered that he could fix the problem himself.


  1. Thanks for the mention, enjoy the odd weekend ahead.

  2. The Blunt Bean CounterMarch 23, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    Michael, thx for mention. Also, your refund timing is very typical for people for file before April. I find the turnaround is still quick in April, but slows a few days.

  3. The comments on the Motley Fool article are hilarious. I haven't yet hit one that doesn't think the article is ridiculous.

  4. @Mark: I thought you would have a good handle on typical refund delays. Anything under 18 days keeps the implied interest rate over 100%. So, I think my reasoning still holds.

    @Patrick: The article's logic is unassailable: if you buy an index, some component stock is sure to have the worst return of the bunch, and you're a chump for having bought it :-)

  5. Thanks for the mention Michael.

    So far, so good with the plumbing in the basement.

    Have a good weekend.

  6. The Motley Fool gets even better... I don't know if this note was at the top when you saw the article but it says it all:

    "A previous version of this article blamed the underperformance of the S&P 500 vs. the Dow Jones Industrial Average partially on Alcoa and Hewlett-Packard, even though Alcoa and Hewlett-Packard are components of both. We’ve revised the article."