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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing > Annuity Investing

Living the American Dream

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I always enjoy Olivia Mellan’s columns in Investment Advisor magazine, and typically they are the first that I read, but the most recent one titled “Minority Report” (July 2008) caught my attention and I enjoyed the in depth analysis that she did.

I have noticed similar cultural differences in my practice, most notably the difference between Hispanics and East Indians. As a generalization I have noted that Hispanics typically work hard, don’t seem to stress the value of education or saving, however they are very family oriented and it is not uncommon for them to be subsidizing other family members, either here in the United States or through sending money back to Mexico.

As a generalization, the East Indians that have immigrated here, although they don’t know the language, have seized the American dream, starting by working low skilled jobs, save money very well, eventually buy farms or other local businesses, and almost invariably value education and send their kids to college. I have been fascinated with my own little cultural experiment in my office.

I look forward to reading your next installment. Keep up the good work.

Neal A. Bittner

Bittner Financial Services, Inc

Everson, Washington

The second half of Olivia Mellan’s two-part report on providing advice to members of specific ethnic groups, “Minority Affairs” appeared in the August issue of Investment Advisor. Both articles can be found online at–Ed.

Annuity Upside

I’m always interested in Elizabeth Festa’s articles. Her recent article “Insuring 401(k) Success Via Annuities” in the August issue, was of great interest being because of the subject’s local proximity to our firm. The latest article was of particular interest for a couple of reasons.

First, my experience as an annuity product manager (1999-2006) led me to believe that the group annuity product was sold mainly for the commissions (which may or may not be true). Secondly, my current experience as a TPA makes me realize that the available mutual fund 401(k) platforms have their own limitations. Since I’ve been so used to reading articles about the bashing of annuity products to fund retirement plans, it’s refreshing to read a piece like the one you wrote about Michael Salley’s practice.

Anyway, I just want to thank you for the great articles. Keep up the great work!

Philip Glackin, CFP, ChFC

Lawrence & Pearson Associates

Schenectady, New York


In regards to Bob Clark’s August 2008 column (“Replacements Without a Clue”) regarding the future of Moss Adams’s consulting and research operations, Philip Palaveev points out an inaccuracy. He wrote, “The article says ‘Philip Palaveev joined practice consolidator Fusion Advisor Network.’ Fusion does not own or acquire any stake in the firms that affiliate with us. We are a strictly member organization and our members are all 100% owners of their business.”

Also, in my Editor’s Note in August, I could have been more accurate with an allusion I made to Cassandra. I meant you shouldn’t be a messenger of doom all the time to your clients. According to legend, Cassandra’s prophecies were true, but she was cursed by the Greek god Apollo so that her accurate prophecies were never believed. I’ve sentenced myself to outlining the unabridged version of Bullfinch’s mythology before making any such references in the future.–James J. Green