ALERT: Not-So-Secret Ugly “770 Account” Swindle

uglierdogHere’s how they do it.   They take a smidgen of truth and then exaggerate it to a point where the truth is concealed amongst layers of lie after lie.   This is the methodology of an increasing number of Internet marketers who target seniors or unsophisticated investors.   One such marketer is the “Palm Beach Letter” which has been trumpeting the “secret 770 accounts” for a number of years.   They’ve essentially taken a female chihuahua and are marketing it as Kim Kardashian.  Yet the two have nothing in common, save for a specious argument that they are both bitches.   The only real truth is that this scheme is a dog and an ugly one, at that.

Recently, the Palm Beach Letter email-bombed the Internet with a “Last Chance: Claim $60,000 in Social Security” warning.   The notorious Palm Beach Letter has been targeting seniors for years, hawking questionable and complicated investment schemes.  Its formula is from the classic scam playbooks:  If you take the time to listen to or reach the Palm Beach pitch, you’ll find that there is no information about how to claim that elusive $60,000 in Social Security benefits.  It talks about loopholes and Congress screwing things up, but no specific information is provided…..unless, of course, you buy into their program and agree to accept their “free” guide, How to Boost Your Social Security – Before Its Too Late.   Of course, it’s not free.  You’ve got to pay at least $49 to get your “free” guide.

In fact, if you want to learn about preserving your social security benefits you can do it for FREE.   Palm Beach’s marketers are relying heavily upon the analysis done by Prof. Larry Kotlikoff.   He has published his findings and advice, for free, at KPBS’ website, among other places.  He has also co-authored a book, along with Paul Solman, called Get What’s Yours, which you can also buy for about $5 at Amazon.   They contain a number of useful tips about Social Security claim strategies, including the new limits on “claim and suspend” strategies that were fairly common among retirees.   Palm Beach wants to charge you $49 to get what you can essentially get for $5 or less.

The bottom line is that a new tax law creates a six-month window for Social Security claimants to use a “claim and suspend” or “file and suspend” strategy. Claim and suspend is a strategy that permits an individual at or after reaching full retirement age (currently age 66) to claim a Social Security retirement benefit and then immediately suspend the claim. By doing so, a worker allows their own benefit to grow by accruing delayed retirement credits that increases their benefit until age 70 (at the rate of two-third percent per month for each month during which payment was delayed) while enabling a spouse, minor child or a disabled adult child to claim a benefit on the worker’s account. The file and suspend rule was added to Social Security in 2000 as part of the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act to help couples plan their retirements. But it did not attract much public attention until a few years ago, when academics and financial planners began to write a flurry of articles about this and other new benefit-enhancing strategies. In the new tax deal negotiated by Congress and the President, this risky strategy has been further complicated. More free info on this is available at Social Security Choices.

In 2014, the same Palm Beach Letter used a different approach to drive unsophisticated investors to the notorious 770 accounts scam.   At that time, Palm Beach asserted that the world’s biggest banks are earning 30-40 times more interest than what they pay to their customers by using these alleged “little known” 770 accounts.   As as result, the banks are “keeping U.S. retirees poor”.     So there’s the target:  retirees who resent banks.    Heck, who doesn’t resent banks?    And they are calling it a “banking conspiracy”……and who doesn’t hate conspiracies?    But if you are in a resentful state of mind, you may want to turn some of that resentment towards the Palm Beach Letter marketers because what they are selling you is life insurance…………very complicated, bad life insurance.

In fact, there’s nothing secret about 770 accounts because they don’t exist.  A ” 770 account” is simply an IRS designation for a tax-free savings account.   Most of us truthfully-included people would call it a “whole life insurance policy” which are those insurance plans that have been largely discredited for decades on the basis that they make insurance companies rich but don’t provide much benefit to the customers.  Whole Life policies often boast a savings component that accrues tax free.  True, life insurance companies might be paying 4.5%-5% dividends but unlike a bank account, the Whole Life Policy obligates you to make large payments every year for life and, by the way, none of these dividends are guaranteed.   But the savings balance, or amount you can pull out, won’t match what you’ve put in, for at least 12-15 years. And that’s not even assuming an investment return on what you put in.

Why are these Palm Beach guys hawking this?   First off,  they are trying to sell you a newsletter that will contain similarly specious advice by which they get generate referral and other kinds of fees.    Also,  insurance salesmen love Whole Life, because there is an unconscionably high commission of as much as 9% over the life of the policy.    The Stock Gumshoe did a thorough and complex analysis of this life insurance swindle.    It is complex because this is a complex investment that might possibly be beneficial for a long-term investor looking to shelter money that might be passed on to heirs but not much else.   But they are notoriously difficult to compare across providers or even understand, which is a hallmark of most commission-driven, hidden fee businesses.

They are closely associated with the notorious Bill Bonner and his stable of scare-mongering investment newsletters.   They publish newsletters and bulletins that litter the Internet:  Agora Financial, Common Sense Publishing, Insiders Strategy Group, Laissez Faire Books, Money Map Press, NewMarket Health, OmniVista Health, Opportunity Travel, Institute for Natural Healing, Oxford Club, Sovereign Society, Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, The Daily Reckoning, Banyan Hill.   These are all variations on investment schemes that promote expensive and risky investment propositions.

But let’s not point all of the blame at the Palm Beach Letter and their infuriatingly exaggerating ilk.   They are casting about for victims who will fall prey to their swindles.   If you are reading this blog, then you are likely not going to fall for their dubious advice.   It is those who aren’t reading this blog who are likely to be making involuntary contributions to financial snake oil salesmen like the Palm Beach Letter.   If you know someone who is looking into this particular financial investment,  or any investment hawked by the Palm Beach Letter, then send them this link.    Better yet,  take them out for coffee and convince them to not let their distrust of banks cloud their more justified distrust of Internet financial fluffers posing as experts.

64 replies
  1. Randy
    Randy says:

    Thanks for the great info! I was just getting ready to subscribe to Palm Beach newsletter with their $4.95 for all the freebies then the $ 94.00 after 30 days. I read both good and bad reviews. Just want to thank you for saving me 99 bucks.

    Reply
  2. Frank
    Frank says:

    I to decided to do some research what want calmed to be free at beginning then wanting $ 49.00 raised suspicion like others I turned to this blog, hoping it is legit ( don’t know yet, just read it this morning.
    Little of my background , Recently retired, Have been involved in financial for over 30 years, 10 of which were with such firms as EF Hutton ( remember them), Lehman, and Dean Whitter. as a financial adviser. The advice I now give people who ask once they find out what I did in past is that there is no such thing as a truly guaranteed investment:
    A. FDIC is an insurance company ( not a government agency), they have about 2% of reserves for helping customers, if banks starting failing, other than a gov’t bailout, they could not meet their obligation to you the customer, plus when they do meet their obligation to you, it normally takes 6-12 months for for you to see your cash, and you can not get to it before this waiting period.
    B. Insurance products ( annuities and life insurance companies ) are only guaranteed by the insurance company that issues them ( not any govt agency), if that insurance company goes under you could possibly loose some of all of your money. Now most states have an insurance guarantee fund to bail you out should an insurance company fail ( I live in FL as far as I know it is still $250,000 ( may have gone up) Check out your state, remember most states do not allow the adviser to tell you about this unless you ask first ( ie. “if my insurance company fails, is there any other protection available in MY STATE ” then they can discuss with you. Protection varies by state.
    C DON”T chase yield ever ( I KNOW WHAT cd’s and money market are paying, but I don’t care. reason 75% of my rollover 401 K is not in either of the above Chasing rate/yield is the worse thing anybody can do . trust me on that, I was in the business 30+ years
    D When an adviser or you you ask your self what are you trying to accomplish, and your response is a better rate, wrong answer. The right answers might be to save for my childrens college, pre retirement investing to generate more income at what point you believe is when you decide to retire, or if retired to generate enough income for myself and my wife to live comfortably for rest of our lives..Not that I don’t love my children ( have 2), but paid for their college, they have very good jobs and are doing very well, thank god Dont really need my money when my wife and I die what ever is left to them at that time, of course I want them to have it Thats my situation, yours may be different. That way you or your adviser will know what type of portfolio to build.
    E Pick the right adviser ( I tell people if they want to manage portfolio to save on fees, they better be doing a lot of timely research ( I mean a lot) Nothing is free as we all know. Even no load funds have fees, only few folks realize this. If you feel you need an advisor, when interviewing them, ask what type ( if you have one , whey do they recommend what they do, if they suggest managed money. forget about the reason they give, its because the firm they with wants them to, and because they want to build an income annuity of sorts because of reoccurring fees. As far as annuities, don’t listen to what an advisor says or ads you see, how about Fischer Investments stating “they hate annuities”, thats only half the story ( as usual), he is referring to Index and Fixed annuities that in many states can either be sold with either no certification or just a life insurance certificate, because most of these type of annuities are not considered equity investments there for no national securities .license needed. to sell secutities you need a securities license, which at least that means the adviser knows what he is talking about( hopefully) I currently still have my series 7 license still active, but not for much longer since I am no longer working for a securities company. Find out if they have or did have a series 6 or 7 license and were in the business at least 10 years , I know that I manage my portfolio very different than what I recommended to my clients when I first started as an adviser I was younger and thought very differently) find and adviser + or – 10 years of your age, they probably will think like you. I realize now, that if I were 65 which I am, I never would have invested with me when I first started.
    By the way I have about 75% of my rollover money in a couple of variable annuities with a joint income for life an joint death benefit rider attached. Forget about fees, ask your self ACCOMPLISH what I want it to. While so far for me it has, I have accumulated enough money in account, and for now have enough income to live comfortable in retirement ( wife still working part time) Once again, no guarantees, just based on what I believe.
    If you don’t want to take the time and energy to do your overall research, jut put your money in CD’s or money market. If you are doing that waiting for rates to go up, think twice about that. Historically the only time rates go up, is when inflation goes up, decreasing your purchasing power. Once again nothing is easy, do your homework.

    Sorry to be so long winded, but being recently retired must have too much time on my hands, and do want to help people, based on my own knowledge and experience. Any body who has any comments or questions you can e mail me directly @ 12fbill12@gmail.com Hope the above has helped even just one person. Thanks Frank

    Reply
  3. Kat
    Kat says:

    This has been quite an interesting experience! I thank you all for all the information. I am a newby when it comes to investing and this has been an eye opener for me! I am one of those inexperienced people that actually sent in the $49 for one of those books from Palm Beach Group. Since reading this site, I have cancelled the “automatic” subscription that suddenly showed up on my credit card report. I again thank you all for the helpful data!!! and I will always now look up in google before sending my limited cash.

    Reply
  4. Dianne
    Dianne says:

    I saw the come on for the Palm Beach Resource Group called Social Security Sucks and it told me I only have 10 more days, until April 30th to stop Social Security from robbing me of $60,000. over my lifetime. Pretty frightening stuff. I even had my credit card out to make the purchase, filled in all the boxes except the actual card number and then came to my senses, Decided to check the WWW to learn who this company really is. So glad I came upon this article and all those who have commented. I just saved myself almost $100. and a lot of pain and suffering from more and more come-ons. I was suspicious during the pitch but when they said my bank or debit cards, only credit cards I started to get the hairs rising up on the back of my neck, Trusted my gut and am glad I did. An old rule of thumb for me is to always check the Internet to research any company that want to get into my knickers, Run the company name on BBB or just go down the Google page until you find one ad that does not look like it was posted by the same shysters you are trying to debunk. This was the first article I came to.Thanks everyone, don’t trust one site on the Internet but do trust the whole Internet and keep looking until you are sure the deal that sounds good is the real deal and not just another scam out to sucker us seniors.

    Reply
  5. Michael
    Michael says:

    Many thanks … as we all know, the internet is such a hodge podge of “Good, Bad, & Ugly” that articles like this
    are VERY much needed (if for no other reason than to help & remind you to think for yourself).
    Youtube alone has everything from “Grasshoppers are going to take over the World – to Brain surgery 101” !
    We have to be more & more selective as to how we spend our time in searching for the truth.
    BTW .. I always click the buy button and then retreat to see if a lower price is offered and the main article still
    says $49 but the check out page has gone up to $59 !! (20% cost of living increase?) 😉

    Reply
  6. Paul Luketich
    Paul Luketich says:

    If you paid by credit card you should be able to disput the charge based upon you feel like they didn’t give you what they promised.
    But did you get what they promised? A book, newsletter, advise? If you got it then they performed. You can’t get your money back.
    Research first then buy. Ready, aim, fire. Any other way may not work.

    Reply
  7. Yuri Sokolov
    Yuri Sokolov says:

    It looks like the Palm Beach Research Group service is a SCAM. As a retiree, I subscribed to know “a lot of unknown things how to manage income at retirement” as was promised. Actually, all that is offered is the well-known things. This and all others their offers are nothing than the continuous series of “successful stories” and advertisements to rope the credulous people into money spending. Their method is trivial and simple: they intimidate you that market is going down, however they are eager to teach you how to do … absolutely FREE …want to know more? … pay more money, etc. Their service is ridiculous such as a magic algorithm for trading, a proprietary strategy for income (“like grabbing the money from a cash machine”), an outstanding Tom Dyson’s “instant income” methodology, although this “invention” is disclosed in routine webinars provided, for instance, by Fidelity for everybody, and known as Trading Options.

    So, three times I tried to unsubscribe through customer service e-mail within 60 days, as promised. Nobody have replied to me. The customer service over the phone is also unavailable. They either do not respond at all, or autamitic voice repeatedly advise for the expected wait time of 45min…107min (!), etc. I am starting thinking that this service (888-801-2598) is a Scam as well. Therefore, looks like I donate my $49 to keep up a “millionaire’s company” with “thousands of subscribers”.

    My recommendation is to think over well before subscribing to PBRG.

    Reply
  8. Tom R.
    Tom R. says:

    A sincere thank you for taking your valuable time and effort to educate us. I was a minute away from going for this “deal”. I was going to take advantage of their 60 day trail offer. Then I decided to see if there were any reviews on websites. Thank goodness I saw your article.
    My brother lives a few miles from their address. I should ask him to pay them a visit. The problem with this he can be really mean if he smells a rat.
    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  9. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    As I listened to the Palm Beach presentation, I was struck by two things. It was geared towards a Fox News audience and bashing Obama for something he had nothing to do with. Red Flags. Secret tactics, promises of ways to make an income, yet not going into any detail other than mysterious teasers. Red Flag. I am disabled, my husband has been out of work for 15 months and at 63 I doubt he will find another engineering position. So I admit there was some appeal. When I clicked the “Continue” button and there was an immediate up sell doubling the cost, RED FLAG. STOP. GOOGLE. I was primarily interested in the books, then cancelling the subscription. I have a feeling it would be extremely difficult to cancel. I will do my research myself.

    Reply
  10. darwinslapdog
    darwinslapdog says:

    I know a scam when I see one, but can someone tell me why Google allows this crap? The Palm Beach Scammers stupid little ads continually block my view on web pages/videos/youtube. It is maddening. I also know from someone who actually clicked, out of curiosity, that their spiel is incredibly partisan, anti-government, and and generally offensive to anyone who isn’t a right wing loon.

    Reply
  11. Samuel
    Samuel says:

    I just got the subscription today that included the “Big Black Book of Income” along with a special deal to make it a 3 year subscription to that “Palm Beach Letter subscription”. After reading these comments, it sounds to me now that I got duped. Is it too late to back out of it? Can I call my credit card company and have it stopped? Or should I take it if they honor their commitment of A 60 day trial clause and still get my money back?

    Reply
  12. herman
    herman says:

    I saw the ad with the man pitching the “Palm Beach Research Group”. He didn’t even give his own name; there’s a rat right there. No displayed name, address, etc. Just a bunch of ‘annotations’ probably used as ‘clickbait’. Click the bait, and they’ve got you. I almost wanted to vomit. Some thief playing with Javascript to trap the gullible, in my opinion.

    Reply
  13. Anthony Privitera
    Anthony Privitera says:

    Simple answer….Sound too Good? your sitting at a computer ..look up what is being said, I read the Palm Beach ad, it sounded Great, but I thought, Why the lure, the wait, so I did a search on them, Problem solved …just some crooks looking to get my Money, The Computer is right there….use it. Thank You

    Reply
  14. Paul
    Paul says:

    Whole Life Insurance and any other type of Cash (Trash) Value Insurance is a Complete Rip Off! It is good for the Agent (high commissions), good for the Company (Profits), but horrible for the Consumer!! Why would would you want a product that you have to pay for your Whole Life (Age 99). You have to wait (3) years just to earn a Cash (Trash) Value that the Insurance Company pockets for 2.11 years. In order to get the money out of your Cash (Trash) Value, you have to borrow your own money at 6-12%. If you die, the Company keeps your Cash (Trash) Value and pays your Beneficiary the Death Benefit! Only in the case of Universal Life do you get a chance to get both your Death Benefit and Cash (Trash) Value by choosing Option “2” or Option “B” but the Deceptive Agent always picks Option “1” or “A” for you because Option “2” or “B” is 50% more per month!! Variable Life is another Con which is why the Projection is separate from the Contract because all your payments go to Fees like Mortality, Administrative, etc.! Stop being Ripped Off and buy a Term Insurance Policy and invest the difference you will save from being overcharged and getting a dividend that is not taxable by the IRS because it is nothing but a return of your overcharged monthly premiums!!!!

    Reply
    • Jay Berry
      Jay Berry says:

      Paul – Your buy term & ‘invest the rest’ puts the rest into the hands of equally greedy salesmen & Companies (Wall Street). Finding a low cost investment vehicle (which can be done with Life Insurance also) would be a guideline. As far as using a Life Insurance as a investment vehicle the insinuated expectation is that cash value is going to be used during your lifetime to produce tax free income through getting back your contributions to the policy and borrowing the interest paid. (Borrowing might sound scary but there should be a point in time with these types of vehicles where you pay 0% interest on what you borrowed – I know what you’re thinking, but to get around rules governing these instruments the insurance company will pay you the same amount of interest on what you borrowed to offset what they charged in interest which how they get around making the withdrawal a taxable event.) When one dies, the death benefit is reduced by the distributions made from the policy. It also would be advantageous if you’re using this strategy, figure out what the max amount of contribution you want to contribute and buy the least amount of insurance possible. Because of certain rules, there is a max amount you can contribute over a seven year period as it relates to the death benefit of the policy. The purpose here is you’re trying to create a savings vehicle that has a death benefit higher than your contributions (lets see Wall Street do that) but you don’t want to be paying for more insurance than is absolutely necessary. Also, if your planned contributions change because of circumstance, make sure you have the right to lower the death benefit to its minimum without penalty. If you have a need for an insurance policy based upon a certain amount of money if you die or for business purposes, then definitely look at term. If you’re looking at sheltering assets by gifting it to an Irrevocable Trust for the benefit of your heirs, then cash value life insurance is the way to go there (I won’t go into the details here but there are certain benchmarks that are easier to attain with that type of life insurance vs term).

      Reply
  15. David Gann
    David Gann says:

    Many thanks to the writer of this article. Like many who have posted comments I have become very leery of ‘too good to be true’ claims. First thing I do now is an online search, in this case “702j” which brought up this article. This is my first visit to sandiegocan.org, it won’t be my last.

    Reply
  16. ken eckstein
    ken eckstein says:

    nothing new here: hucksters and con artists been around forever. Internet access and telephone access just make us sitting ducks. Don’t fall for their BS !!

    Reply
  17. Nick
    Nick says:

    Just a simple question….what are the two loopholes in Social Security benefits that will expire on April 30, 2016. This is what perked my interest in listening to their presentation. But, I did not bite and checked it out first.

    thank you,

    Nick

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      The new tax law that passed allowed for a six-month window for Social Security claimants to use a “claim and suspend” or “file and suspend” strategy. Claim and suspend is a strategy that permits an individual at or after reaching full retirement age (currently age 66) to claim a Social Security retirement benefit and then immediately suspend the claim. By doing so, a worker allows their own benefit to grow by accruing delayed retirement credits that increases their benefit until age 70 (at the rate of two-third percent per month for each month during which payment was delayed) while enabling a spouse, minor child or a disabled adult child to claim a benefit on the worker’s account. The file and suspend rule was added to Social Security in 2000 as part of the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act to help couples plan their retirements. But it did not attract much public attention until a few years ago, when academics and financial planners began to write a flurry of articles about this and other new benefit-enhancing strategies. In the new tax deal negotiated by Congress and the President, this risky strategy has been further complicated. More info on this is available at Social Security Choices.

      Reply
  18. Chris Thomas
    Chris Thomas says:

    Another comment I forgot to mention is that there is NO magic silver bullet to make fast money for those who are desperate. However one word of hope is that Warren Buffett made over 99% of his fortune AFTER age 50.

    Reply
    • Jay Berry
      Jay Berry says:

      “Warren Buffett made over 99% of his fortune AFTER age 50.”

      Unfortunately for us, and a minor point Chris failed to point out is, Warren made the 99% starting with $667,000,000!

      Reply
  19. Chris Thomas
    Chris Thomas says:

    Best for long-term investors to buy actual STOCK in well managed insurance (and re-insurance) companies than the insurance products they sell. Also, these newsletters like Palm Beach Letter, Stransberry Research, Motley Fool, and Jump Point Trader all do have a few good stock picks for the long-term investor….pick and choose from their stock picks to create your own long-term portfolio of stocks. Just do your homework to be comfortable with each industry and that particular company, let the dividends be re-invested to buy more shares, and forget about it if they are truly good long-term picks. Also, don’t forget about the DEBT BOMB because it WILL go off sooner or later, so have some stock picks denominated outside the US Dollar (like Unilever, etc) along with some pre-1965 junk silver coins and even some gold.

    Reply
  20. Robert Collins
    Robert Collins says:

    I agree with 2 things the author said. 1) There is no such thing as a 770 account 2) The people behind the palm beach letter are trying to “Hype” their audience(Or you fill-in the ____). That said, Anybody that tells you Whole Life is a Rip-Off, really doesn’t know what they are talking about! I don’t care if its Suzy or Dave, OR Anybody else, THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THE ARE TALKING ABOUT!!! Many Financial Guys (aka Stock and Mutual Fund Brokers), talk negatively about Cash-Value Life Insurance because in recent years some products have been taking their lunch money(People like to bash the competition). All Comprehensive Financial Planners understand the Concept of Protection, and know that Life Insurance is one of the Fundamental Building Blocks of Any Strength Financial Plan. And yes, that includes Cash-Value Life Insurance as part of a (legal) Tax Avoidance Strategy; as well as a legitimate Wealth Building Tool. Whole Life is one of the oldest financial instruments in the World. There is a reason why the U.S. Legislature and the IRS have allowed Life Insurance to have arguably the Most Tax Favored Status of any other financial tool for more than 100 years. But whether its, Whole Life or Universal Life or Indexed Universal Life, the Real Concept to understand is “Cash-Value – how its accumulated – what are the guarantees and limitations of a specific contract, and how the Cash can be accessed in the future.
    Consider this, in 2010 the U.S. Congress settled the question of whether Indexed Annuities (and by default Indexed Universal Life Insurance) are Securities and therefore under the jurisdiction of the SEC. This question came about because in the years leading up to 2010, the Insurance Industry had been so successful in demonstrating to Intelligent Investors that Life Insurance Products as Assets would be a tremendous addition to their financial plans, and indeed many savers and investors decided to include Life Insurance Strategics as a part of their overall financial plans. This resulted in a significant shift in assets under management away from Brokerage Houses and into Contracts issued by Life Insurance Companies (whether or Annuities or Indexed Life). So the Brokerage Industry and others mounted an attack on the Insurance Industry, with the goal of changing its Regulators from State Insurance Departments to the SEC and FINRA, and thereby decide who would control these products and strategics going forward. But the Congress sided with the Insurance Industry, saying in part, that while these products have many characteristics of Securities, at their core they are still Insurance Contracts, and therefore would continue to be regulated by the individual 50 states and DC. (All of that was just the Politics of Who Gets What). So EVERYBODY that has commented on this article, PLEASE DO YOU OWN HOMEWORK – YOU STILL MAY NOT LIKE THESE STRATEGIES, AND YES 770 IS A BOGUS TAG TO USE TO HYPE A LEGITIMATE FINANCIAL TOOL, AND IT DOESN’T EVEN BEGIN TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT THE MULTIPLE SOLID FINANCIAL STRATEGIES, THAT CAN BE DERIVED FROM THE CORRECT USE OF CASH-VALUE LIFE INSURANCE.

    Reply
  21. Pam
    Pam says:

    I just now invested in the 702(j) publication through the Palm Beach Group. As I speak, they are trying to make me a member of their group, changing tactics each time I refuse all the other offers to become a member. A $4.95 shipping fee is not the worst decision I have ever made, however I certainly have gone this route before with other investment groups and I, of all people, should have known better. However, I have seen things about the 702(j) before but never could seem to get additional information on it. I have read the posts on this page and believe I wasted my $5. Now I have to remember to cancel my 30 day complimentary membership. I guess I just keep hoping to find something out there that can make a poor slob such as myself…..and my husband a way of making some kind of “quick” secure money since we never have been lucky enough to have great jobs or been able to make great money. I became disabled due to a combination of an autoimmune disease, chronic pain, heart issues, COPD and the list goes on. I make a measly amount from SS and my husband continues to work his life away for very little money and benefits, if any at all. I am sooooo scared of what will happen to us in just the few years we have left before he is able to retire. My mind hasn’t stopped, and I continue to investigate ways poor slobs like us can enjoy at least a small portion of our so called “golden years”, which don’t exist anymore. After reading this page, I have become, once again, discouraged. I must just face the reality that there is no way for us to make enough money now to help us in our old age. We will be products of the government as has been predicted for the very near future. There will be the rich and poor. No longer will there be middle class. The rich will live “the life” and the poor will rely and be controlled by the government and there is not a thing we can or will be able to do to change that. I am glad I stumbled upon this, however it has once again discouraged me, but I guess after I get over all my negative feelings, I will go back and accept the reality that all these groups such as the Palm Beach Group, and the Stansberry Research Group, and the Motley Fool just to name a few that I have gotten myself hooked up with throughout the last year or so. The later two are also scams people should stay away from. They are very much like the Palm Beach Group. All those reading this should not get wrapped up with those either. WARNING!!!!! IN A SHORT STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE BECAUSE IT PROBABLY IS!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Ben
      Ben says:

      If you want a cheap and easy way to have as you put it, ““quick” secure money,” then I suggest this. When you come into extra money, I would buy silver. Right now it’s around $16 an ounce, give or take a few pennies. Silver not to long ago, was around $20 an ounce.

      The point is, it’s an investment and from what I’ve read and hear, silver just might go up in value. (could be years from now) Even gold was once under $1000 an ounce. Now it’s around $1200 the last time I looked and high was around $1500. So silver, depending on the market and our economy, can sky rocket! And for less then $20, you can have something to fall back on and if not, you only spent $16 or $20. Although that is per ounce. But it will be the best money you ever spent!!

      And the best way to get that extra money, is Ebay. Set up an account if you don’t have one and sell unused or unwanted items. Know how to make something, sell them. You get my point. And the best place to look for silver is Amazon or possibly Ebay. Amazon first, as you can usually get free shipping and the “spot” price. You can Google “what is the “spot price” of silver.” And of ource you want silver that is .999% pure.

      Also, if you have old coins laying around, especially quarters or half dollars, dimes work too. But check the dates on the coins. Anything made before 1965, so 1964 and before, are 90% silver and go for about $10 a piece. You can go to your bank or any bank and get rolls of half dollars, if they have any at the time and when you get home, look for those dates. With half dollars, you have a better chance. Then the half dollars that are no good, you can take them to any bank and turn them in. Try not to turn them in to the same bank you got them, as they may charge you a fee. I believe if you turn in more then $100 at a time, they may charge you a fee too. Also, not sure if you can get single rolls. They may tell you, you must get $500. Which is what a case/box of half dollars will come in when the bank gets them. If the rolls are hand rolled, then most likely they are no good, but if they are machined rolled, then you are good. But it’s worth checking out!

      But, as with anything, nothing comes cheap and everything is a gamble. Just some friendly advice!

      Reply
      • admin
        admin says:

        We appreciate Ben’s willingness to offer advice but generally frown upon commmodity investing by inexperienced traders. It is very high risk and should not be considered without significant research.

        Reply
    • Kay
      Kay says:

      Pam.. don’t give up or let negative feelings get you down. Insurance, investments, health care, Social Security, retirement, taxes and so forth.. are Complicated and take a great deal of time and educating yourself and getting advice or suggestions from trusted sources. first off you have some health issues that I am sure are difficult and second of all your husband is working doing the best he can right now. that certainly does not make either one of you.. poor old slobs. there is enough negativity in this world without you putting that on yourself and the true slobs are the ones that try to gaIn by misguiding others. we have all made some Financial and other mistakes in our lives.. but life is about the journey and we can learn from those mistakes. there is no secret get rich quick scheme out there that is going to help. I do not know your financial situation but I will say that my dad told me to live within my means no matter what. I did not always do that .. but now that I am 55 years old and my 25 year Marriage finalized with a divorce where I was a stay at home mom/Housewife. both homes went into foreclosure and any money I made went to the attorney. I did not even get my own car because it was in his name so he got both the truck and my new car. I am living on a extremely tight budget in an RV that is 25 years old with no refrigerator or heater. quite a difference from the life that I had and the one planned for our golden years. people tell me I’m still young and attractive and lovable and that I would have no problem finding new man. but that is beside the point. I guess that what I’m trying to say is .. that it is what it is…and you have to make the best of it. and I have learned to do that and I am happy, honest, wise and creative, I have good intuition, integrity and a clear conscience, I have my close friends and Church and strive to be the best Me that I can be. I live frugally and I’m excited about my future. I have actually turned things around to be more comfortable financially and I am completely responsible for my finances. Other ladies ask me how I do it and they are baffled about how much I do have and can do ..and I tell them just what I’m telling you about living frugally. I understand about being wise for the future and retirement but the unexpected happened and I did the best I could with what I had. I am much more than a bank account, real estate, or type of car I Drive. I do not worry much about the future. it’s what’s inside that counts. please go easy on yourself and your husband and just try to live as frugally as possible and not incur debt . keep close track of your spending and don’t pay unnecessary fees. slowly put away money. All the best …You have more worth than you realize. it’s inside of you!

      Reply
      • Nurten
        Nurten says:

        Kay,

        What a heartwarming post! I love your insights. While most of us are trying to look for ways to make our lives more comfortable through the means of this necessary evil called MONEY, we have to look into ourselves and the resources within: explore them, find them and use them. The outcome is much more rewarding than having more money.

        Reply
        • Kay
          Kay says:

          Thank You Nurten… I just felt bad when I heard her calling herself a poor old slob. I have been on both sides of the financial teeter totter more than once. And do prefer the side where my feet can actually touch the ground. I understand this is A money forum however I felt led to encourage and don’t usually post comments. yes money is necessary but trying to find a get rich quick scheme is not the way to do it and I feel that one needs to do the best with what they have and bloom where they are planted …

          Reply
          • Kay
            Kay says:

            I am currently building my financial portfolio and enjoying some of the blossoms. I did my own research and the decisions that I made we’re good ones. especially today ..A nice gain! I stumbled across this site looking for insurance information to help a friend of mine. she does not own a home or have any real assets and since I have not yet added the insurance policies .. I thought I would look at it for myself and be able to explain it to her in simple terms. so that is the next chapter to research … then maybe a vacation haha

  22. Jahnay Pickett
    Jahnay Pickett says:

    Thank you! All of your contributions have been enlightening–I’m a Palm Beach subscriber, at least have been. Especially appreciate the education given by many professionals who were kind enough to share their information, and the article links from many. I was considering the IFL and now am not. Thank you, again! Jahnay

    Reply
  23. William L. Seavey
    William L. Seavey says:

    I have to admit that when I got the mailing from Palm Beach Letter recently that I was intrigued about what they are NOW calling “IFL” or Income for Life, occasionally referring to the 770 account. I used to subscribe to Tom Dyson’s 12% Letter and there were some good tips there. And although I wrote the book, Crisis Investing and Entrepreneuring, which gave people tips on how to diversify their investments to avoid the downsides
    of the 2007-2008 crash (FYI, I suspect another one is coming when interest rates rise and several cyclical cycles converge in October), the idea that you could earn up to 5% interest, borrow your own money (and not necessarily pay it back), and still have a tax free savings account etc. was tantalizing. I will say that I don’t trust all my money in banks, ESPECIALLY U.S. ones (have accounts with Rabo and BMO), especially after what happened in 2008–and could happen again. Enough said. Plus, having your money there paying virtually no interest is rather scandalous. Certainly better to have it invested, as I do, in MLP’s, real estate, and a small business that is a cash generator (which I have, though I’m pushing 69)–and avoid going into any debt/taking out loans. Obviously, there’s no magic formula to safety these days EXCEPT diversification, which I preach in my investor book (and other books on self-sufficiency).

    Reply
  24. John Thomas
    John Thomas says:

    Great research. I did similar research on this also. These premium newsletter or stock picking services have great copywriters that are written to do one thing, convert people to sales. In regards to this investment vehicle, it is my opinion, that is just that, an investment vehicle. And as such, some are more complex than others. Its probably why there are so many financial advisors and “experts” telling people how to invest or save their money. Some people are just more savvy when it comes to finances and investing. And many of these investment types are only available to the savvy investor, or accredited investor. Meaning they understand the risks and are discipline when it comes to investing. That being said, the “770 Account” might be a good fit for some depending on their specific situation. While other investment types are better for others. Just my opinion. I enjoyed your article.

    Reply
  25. January
    January says:

    I really appreciate the comments from you all! I just finished reading the lengthy marketing ploy regarding this ancient wealth building secret presented by “The Palm Beach Newsletter”. I have sheepishly admit it did sound enticing.

    I’m a 55 year old early retiree on disability (which I hate) due to five separate autoimmune diseases and an excruciatingly painful neuromuscular condition that has me unable to walk. Extra income to supplement my measly $1,200 a month income sounded like a dream come true! However, after working almost 20 years in the banking industry I knew that any investment that sounds too good to be true, IS too good to be true!! For $hits and giggles I researched investments of this kind and 98% of the articles I read all came to the same conclusion; sham, sham and more sham! It’s deplorable how so called “experts” in investments mostly prey upon those who desperately could use a second income source to just survive in this outrageously expensive country we live in. While they may be selling a “legitimate” product in whole life insurance they market it to make the unwary believe they can become millionaires overnight. That’s just SO wrong on SO many levels!! Yet, they get away with it time and time again. It passes the “sniff test”. How? Because, hidden in their verbiage, thrown somewhere in their obscure message they mention the word “insurance” once and only once and that’s all they.

    ~january~

    Reply
    • Rani
      Rani says:

      I’m in very similar straits, January: disabled with an AI disorder,60 years old, wheelchair-enabled, and researching this Palm Beach Group to see if it’s a scam. The deeper I get, the happier I am that I didn’t leap before I looked. Thanks for posting your background. I was thinking, Hmmm, but what about younger SSD recipients? You answered my questions.

      Reply
  26. Roy Still
    Roy Still says:

    Some of you posting here seem to be under the assumption that these are just Whole Life policies sold as 770, Bank on Yourself, Safe Money Millionaire etc. These policies are placed with A++ Mutual Companies, are usually indexed, have a low starting death benefit (lower commission to the salesman), set up to just fall below what the IRS considers as a Modified Endowment Contract, and have Paid Additions Riders that speed up the cash value. Any dividends from the Mutual company and any interest you pay yourself on loans goes towards paid up additions. The policy builds a large cash value over the years that you can take out as tax free loans that never have to be paid back and your estate still gets the death benefit and the balance of the cash value.
    The marketing sounds like a hoax or something that is too good to be true I will admit; but, your money earns a contractually set minimum percentage usually 4-5%. (mine has been earning around 6%)
    I talked to a couple of life insurance agents, my Fidelity advisor and my accountant, none of whom really knew anything about these or how to structure one.

    Reply
      • Lee McIntyre
        Lee McIntyre says:

        Andrew, visit bankonyourself – dot – com to learn about these policies at no cost, as compared to the Palm Beach “Research” Groups fees.

        Reply
  27. Steve Johnson
    Steve Johnson says:

    While whole life is generally given a bad reputation by the “buy term, invest the difference” gang, the actual truth is many who buy term do not invest the difference. Most term policies never have to pay out and are eventually dropped because they become too expensive. Also, stocks and bonds values are not guaranteed either, especially stocks. Bonds are guaranteed if you hold them to maturity, but good safe bonds do not pay much interest, especially the last several years. The whole point of investments to have the money when you need it, and sometimes with stocks, many have come out short. Diversification is the name of the game and whole life can be part of it. As with any investment, if you buy whole life, do a thorough research about how and why you want it. A good financial planner can help you to know how and when to use whole life insurance. Being retired, I only invest for myself and do not sell any type of financial instruments.

    Reply
    • Dave Cross
      Dave Cross says:

      All cash value life insurance is a marketed deception. Whole life, Variable Life, Universal Life, Limited Pay Life are all forms and modifications of the same basic “Cash Value Life Insurance”. You pay for insurance. You pay for Savings. But you only get one or the Other. When anyone says the “Buy Term And Invest The Difference” Crowd or that a lot of people don’t invest when they buy term; Is an INDUSTRY HOCKER. I am a Qualified Financial Coach, one of less than 200 in America, that is compensated totally by how wealthy I build my clients assets not by fees and commissions. If this was the greatest product in the world, I would know. It is crap. IT only make the company and agent wealthy. NOT THE CLIENT. With Universal Life being the worse, that self destructs and leaves the client with no money and no insurance. The LOST MONEY CODE, is nothing more than industry DROTT. A Different Representation Of The Truth. This is the Life Insurance Industry Standard and has been for over 160 years. Buy Term and spend the difference still beats Cash Value Lie. Yes, Lie.

      Reply
    • tom
      tom says:

      1986 til 2013, $20k in universal life policy, with premiums paid out of policy earnings. Beneficiary only received $27k. over 25 years invested, and only earned $7k. That $20k would have been over $80k if it had been invested in the market. Stay away from whole life and universal life!

      Reply
  28. Richard Boswell, FSA
    Richard Boswell, FSA says:

    I am a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and this is not really what they tell you. It is called either “Split Life” or Universal Life tied to a variable annuity. It’s not a scam but they don’t reveal the whole truth. You will not get rich off a life insurance policy, only two get rich–the insurance company and maybe your beneficiary. If you need a life insurance policy, buy it for what it is–protection for the beneficiary not as a scheme to get rich or enhance your income. And, by the way policy loans charge interest in favor of the insurance company.

    Reply
  29. Michael Lawrence
    Michael Lawrence says:

    Some years ago I signed up for a copywriting course offered by American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI) — some of you may recognize this name.
    The person running it was named “Michael Masterson”. To make the story short, he turned the operation over to another person. “Michael Masterson” got himself into other businesses.
    I saw the vidoe that’s an advertisment for The Palm Beach Letter — and one of the persons involved with this newsletter is John Ford. I uderstand that John Ford is his real name. One of the business was the copywriting course he offered under the name “Michael Masterson”. Now John Ford, aka Michael Masterson, has teamed up with the people at The Palm Beach Letter — offering advertising advice I am sure. Just though I would let you know . . .

    Reply
  30. curtis41
    curtis41 says:

    This whole scheme seems deceptive at best and either unethical or illegal at worst. My sense is the line must be working to some extent, for they are still hawking the idea, along with their news letter and other money-making schemes and advice. But then, there is a sucker born every minute. It looks like they were even concealing the actual insurance aspect and not disclosing that under certain circumstances, the entire principle could be lost, and did not disclose the taxable aspects of the scheme.

    Reply
  31. Lawrence Rosen
    Lawrence Rosen says:

    Good article. I read IRS Code 770 a few months ago and surmised whole life was the product. It’s good to see confirmation. The only way to look at this as an investment is to assume various holding periods, e.g. 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or whatever is the investor’s time horizon.
    Then use after tax IRR (Internal Rate of Return) Analysis to make sense of the situation as compared to other available alternatives. For more information, see my book McGraw-Hill Handbook of Interest Yields and Returns. A free sample is available through my website.

    Reply
    • Spencer
      Spencer says:

      There is a lot of talk about exaggeration and such, but I found the article to have misrepresented the concept. One example of misrepresentation is giving the impression that dividends are unlikely to be paid. It is true, dividends are not guaranteed, but with the majority of mid to large mutual insurance companies, they have more than 130 consecutive years of paying a dividend. Also, if the policy is properly structured, there is no requirement to continue contributing premiums to the policy for the rest of your life, not to mention other options like RPU. I don’t know about the “thorough and complex analysis” because it is not all that complex. It simply bucks the trend of shoveling all of your money to Wall Street, for them to lose, and leave you with nothing. I would agree that trying to sell someone on this concept without them understanding life insurance is the underlying tool used would be unethical, properly structured life insurance is simply the foundational tool to creating a life-long system that will benefit you and your family.

      Reply
      • Joseph M Gates
        Joseph M Gates says:

        My late wife, Bonnie, Went through an exhaustive training with the A. L. Williams company back in the 1980s when the slogan was “buy term and invest the difference.” The intention was to teach customers to consider cashing in their whole life policies, terminating them and then take whatever they had and invested in term life insurance. The rest of the exorbitant premiums from the whole life policy would then be invested in various ways of investment.
        The notion was that when individuals are young, their need for significant term life insurance to cover their family in the event of their death. By the end of their careers and as they approached retirement, the “invest the difference” was supposed to have grown significantly so that they, in a sense, could be self-insured.
        I believe the whole notion of buy term and invest the difference was a very good principle and it saved us boatloads of money because we did have ridiculously high premiums for paltry amounts of whole life insurance.
        My wife ran into a literal buzz saw of resistance from whole life insurance agents all over the city where we lived. They were ballistic that she was actually educating these individuals about alternatives to their high-priced whole life policies that had an inadequate amount of death benefits. She was successful in helping many individuals to cash in their whole life policies and invest the difference while purchasing significant amounts of term life insurance at a fraction of the cost of the whole life policy. Sadly,There were so many whole life insurance agents in this small Midwestern community that it became nearly Impossible to Call on potential Lie. Bonnie’s prospective Clients had already been tipped off by their agents that This person would be calling and that they were going to Sell you a big Lie. The truth of the matter was that These whole life insurance agents were the ones perpetrating a scam that needed to be exposed And I’m proud that my wife did that and there’s been continued repercussions even today long after her death in 2009.

        I’m sure none of this is new to you because it’s been in the news for many years. In fact, I believe Al Williams is out of business and I’m not sure what ever happened to the company’s device but their philosophy was brilliant and very sound. Nothing would be better for people to get rid of their whole life policies into purchase significant amounts of term life insurance that by the time they were 65, they could terminate those policies because the premiums would then skyrocket. I did the same thing when my late wife passed away in 2009 and got rid of my term life insurance policies. I had enough investment capital in my portfolio that would cover any kind of death benefits and still leave my children some inheritance.

        Reply

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