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‘I hate annuities — and you should too’

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My wife and I are in the process of building a new home. It’s exciting stuff for sure, with lots of things to research and plenty of conflicting information about how one should construct and design a new home.

Recently, while I was sitting at the kitchen table surfing the Web for ideas on decorative rock (about as exciting as watching the grass grow, but somebody’s got to do it), a “pop-up” ad appeared on my screen that read, “I Hate Annuities – and you should too!”

Oh well, so much for a relaxing morning surfing the Internet for decorative rock. Now, someone who obviously “hates” annuities (which I “love,” by the way) has taken my undivided attention away from shopping for decorative rock for my new home project and refocused it on a subject that really drives me crazy — something I refer to as “financial dogma.”

How do I define “financial dogma,” you ask?

I’ll answer that question the same way a judge did when asked to define pornography. “I don’t know if I can define it,” responded the judge, “but I sure know it when I see it.”

Not just limited to the financial world, dogma of all kinds is showing up in all sorts of places: at school, at home, from the pulpit, from nightly newscasters, politicians, right-wingers, left-wingers and many wingers-in-between. What’s funny about dogma is that it usually comes out of the mouths of very intelligent people. The Ph.D. in economics, the financial advisor boasting more degrees than a thermometer, the well-known financial guy or gal on the radio…all assuming they’re the only ones with all the answers to life’s deepest financial questions.

What’s interesting is that the more attention and accolades these know-it-alls receive, the more dogmatic they become. My suspicion is that financial dogma arises out of a sense of pride, something we can all admittedly struggle with as we chase after the same dwindling dollar floating around out there. We start out confident in our ability to help others with their money (a good and noble motive indeed), but over time, instead of realizing that there are many ways to skin a cat (various worthwhile products that fit different situations and financial personalities), we find ourselves launching into an all-out assault on anyone who does not agree with our way of doing things.

You starting to get the picture now?

As someone who has personally been in the financial trenches for the past 30 years, selling over that time just about every financial product imaginable, I am going to make the assumption that the advisor behind the “I hate annuities” banner ad was simply trying to “market” his or her services and didn’t really mean the word “hate.” Nevertheless, I was curious to know what other things people might “hate” out there — besides things dealing with finances — so I took an informal poll of three people to get their take on the “10 biggest things they hate.”

Be aware that this poll has a margin of error of 99.9 percent, so take it for what it is worth. Here goes:

  • I hate turnip greens and you should too.
    I hate preachers on TV asking for money and you should too.
    I hate steaks cooked medium-well and you should too.
    I hate blue-chip stocks and you should too.
    I hate whole life and you should too.
    I hate term life and you should too.
    I hate dogmatic financial advisors and you should too.
    I hate decorative rock and you should too.
    I hate everyone who doesn’t agree with me and you should too.
    I hate polls with a margin of error of 99.9 percent and you should too.

There you have it, folks — our unscientific poll of three Americans who hate things. Surprisingly, annuities did not make the list.

Did I mention I hate polls?

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