Crash Proof Retirement

January 26th, 2016

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The Crash Proof Retirement System is marketed to retirees and soon-to-be retirees as a slam-dunk investment strategy that is immune to market losses.

“The market goes up, you go up; the market goes down, you stay even,” says perpetual prognosticator and former Fox News pundit Dick Morris in a recent TV commercial in which he endorses the system. “There are enough uncertainties in life,” Morris says. “Don’t let your retirement become one of them.”

Morris does not disclose the investment vehicles at the center of the system, nor for that matter does the Crash Proof Retirement website. But a TINA.org review found the system’s primary retirement products to be fixed index annuities, in which an initial premium or principal (e.g., a retirement nest egg) is paid back to a buyer plus any earnings related to the performance of a stock market index (e.g., the S&P 500) after a holding period ends.

Fixed index annuities are popular in part because principal is guaranteed; or, as Morris puts it, “the market goes down, you stay even.” But there’s more to them than that. Here’s what you should know about fixed index annuities and how the Crash Proof Retirement markets and sells them through First Senior Financial Group before heading down to one of the company’s free seminars:

  • The good, the bad and the ugly The good: As previously mentioned, fixed index annuities guarantee full protection of principal. The bad: Caps on earnings and penalties for early withdrawals. If the linked index does not appreciate and you cash out before the holding period is up, you will lose money because of the fees. The ugly: An insurance company’s ability to lower the earnings cap at any point means that if the market surges your windfall could be limited.
  • SEC official scrutinized for interview A video on the Crash Proof Retirement website shows seminar attendees watching an excerpt from a 75-minute interview SEC Inspector General H. David Kotz gave Crash Proof Retirement Founder and CEO Phillip Cannella in July 2011. The interview sparked an SEC review over concerns that it could imply that Kotz or the agency endorsed Cannella’s business, which in turn prompted the addition of this disclaimer to the video.
  • Obama said what? During TINA.org’s review, a Google search for “crash proof retirement review” brought up a surprising result: A March 2015 Yahoo Finance article headlined “President Obama Validates Phil Cannella and Crash Proof Retirement.” Only this wasn’t an article from Yahoo Finance nor an endorsement from Obama. In reality, it was a press release from Crash Proof Retirement that sought to exploit an anti-Wall Street speech Obama made at AARP HQ.

Find more of our coverage on retirement here.

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