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Q.Several financial consultant groups in my area target seniors with invitations to attend luncheon or dinner events and after the meal they present a slide show explaining how they could handle our finances, save us money, and create more profits than we are doing now. One of my widowed friends thinks it's ok to just keep going from one of these free meals to another because she likes the social life and the food. I feel it's wrong to do so especially since she doesn't really have much to invest, and I already have a financial planner who has been doing excellent work for me, even through three recessions. Is it right or wrong to keep attending?

Ans. If the financial planners keep inviting you they have their reasons. One is to fill the room with people who will listen to their presentation. Another is that they just may interest someone in that room to at least give them a try. It also gives them an opportunity to add to their database of potential clients who are seniors. Many may have hidden assets, such as a long time home; they never thought could be eventual investments. It's important for all seniors to learn as much as they can about financial planning, how to prepare what you already have invested for your heirs, and to learn about deducting legitimate tax breaks so you pay only what is fair. The companies can afford to feed you a meal and you don't really know that you never will use them. Consider the age of your financial advisor, and if he too is a senior, who may be his successor.  Also keep a list of who really impresses you so you can suggest them to others if you don't move your investments.

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