When a free retirement investment seminar lunch isn't really free

April 4, 2008

Lately I've been getting invitations to free retirement investment seminars that include lunch at a fine restaurant and speakers with impressive credentials. I'm sometimes tempted to check one out. Are these events legitimate?

Lately I've been getting invitations to free retirement investment seminars that include lunch at a fine restaurant and speakers with impressive credentials. I'm sometimes tempted to check one out. Are these events legitimate?

As you've probably surmised, although they include educational materials, their underlying purpose is usually to sell financial products, services, or books. Recently, securities regulators investigated more than 100 such seminars and found that half of the materials were exaggerated or misleading, and 12 percent of the seminars seemed to involve fraudulent claims. A better course: hire a qualified adviser and skip the "free lunch" seminars.