VIEWPOINT: Throw crooks in jail, fire dummies

The $700 billion bailout of our country's financial system may be necessary, but it ultimately will prove useless unless real change is enacted to prevent a repeat performance of this fiasco. What the American people should be demanding is for someone to give them a clear explanation of what really happened to create the financial mess. Remember, after the market crash of 2000, the Wall Street research scandal (where nearly every Wall Street firm admitted to lying to clients through...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Mournful tune keeps playing for many lottery winners

When I heard that someone in my hometown of Richmond won $314 million in a recent Powerball drawing, it made me want to offer some unsolicited advice to our new multi-millionaires. Unfortunately for many lottery winners (and others who come into major wealth), they end up playing the same sad songs. After having a few lottery winners as clients, I've noticed many similarities in their experiences. It starts out great. One's wildest dreams can be funded and realized. When one...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: How variable annuities can ruin a good vacation

As I'm sitting on a sunny Mexican beach during vacation enjoying yet another all-inclusive beverage, all I can think about is how much I hate variable annuities. I despise them. Whether you are north or south of the Rio Grande, you should understand that variable annu ities, or VAs as they're called in the industry, are typically lousy investments for just about everyone. This vacation was almost ruined by my associate, who put in my stack of reading materials an...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Investors need to be real about their stockbrokers

Too many investors view their stockbrokers as "professionals" and not the salesmen they usually are. How do brokers find their customers? Most get their clients from cold-calling or inheriting accounts when fellow brokers leave the firm. Some brokers are adept at finding customers at church, the country club or local service organizations. Compare this point of initial contact to other professionals you deal with. Have you ever been cold-called by a doctor offering you a great deal on that annual...
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