The Four Investment Topics that Generate the Most Hate Mail

Not too long ago, I was on an investment panel at the Bogleheads conference where another panelist implied I am motivated by hate mail from the insurance industry. I don’t enjoy receiving hate mail, but I do view it as a sign that my columns in the media are opening a dialogue, albeit at times insulting and hostile.

But there’s no amount of trolling that will cause me to shy away from my positions.

Here’s a sampling of those unflattering comments:

  • Even a baboon knows better than you
  • You’re a loser too
  • You’re uneducable
  • Remove this article now or I’ll sue you!

The cause of my hate mail can be divided into two categories – I’m harming a planner’s ability to make money (the first two examples); or I’m pointing out a hole in a “can’t miss/get rich” scheme for the investor (the other two). Those topics are the four biggest hate mail generators.

Insurance investments (a.k.a. “permanent” insurance)

Easily in first place is mixing insurance with investing. That includes fixed-indexed annuities (rebranded from equity-indexed annuities), various universal-life policies, whole-life and even some fixed annuities like SPIAs. I’ve even had a regulatory complaint brought against me by an agent who didn’t like one of my articles. It was dismissed.

Insurance companies can invest in the same types of investments as other institutions and individuals, which is why I consistently advise using insurance companies to buy insurance and separating insurance from investing. That’s so consumers don’t have to pay for the unnecessary intermediaries, also known as the insurance companies and agents (a.k.a. brokers).