Overheard in Panera Bread

So, in the spirit of JMoney over at Budgets are Sexy and his “overheard at the coffee shop” blog posts – I’m chiming in with something that I overheard in Panera this past weekend.

My husband and I are trying to eat healthy, but I didn’t feel like cooking so we decided to hit up our local Panera for soup and salad.

As we’re sitting down I notice the guys at the table next to me. Two younger-ish guys – one in jeans and a t-shirt and one in a spiffy suit with his hair all slicked back. Now, the discrepancy between the two in terms of dress might have been enough for me to notice them, but what got me next was their topic of conversation. Money.

The guy with the slicked back hair was asking the other guy “what are your goals? How much debt do you have right now? What is your long term plan?”

And the other guy, while he seemed a bit uncomfortable with some of the questions, was answering them! Right there in Panera! For everyone (me!) to overhear and learn about.

Yikes.

Slicked-back hair was selling some sort of financial investment services and started talking about how much it would cost for him to do the investing for him, etc, etc….

As I was staring into my Greek Salad and trying not to appear as if I was listening intently I said to my husband, “Is it bad that I really want to get up and impart some life wisdom on this guy?”

Hubby turned to me and said, “There is only one question that kid needs to ask slicked-back hair.”

I will pause here to see if any of you can figure out what that question is. No? Are you sure? Google it.

The question that kid needs to ask anyone offering financial services is:

“Are you a fiduciary?”

Do you know what a fiduciary is? You should. A fiduciary is the only person you should ever trust to manage your assets. Here is a super long article about it, but in short:

“… A fiduciary is expected to manage the assets for the benefit of the other person, rather than for their own profit, and cannot benefit personally from their management of assets.”

The duty of a fiduciary is both ethical and legal – meaning that they must behave in a manner that is most beneficial to YOU.

My guess is that this guy with the slicked-back hair was some kind of broker or dealer and that he did NOT have to act in the best interests of the young kid he was selling to.

He even gave the kid a hard-sell at the end – looking for potential other customers. “Do your parents or siblings need any financial advice? Can you give me their phone numbers or e-mails.”

YEESH.

Look guys, please don’t let someone in a nice-looking suit take over the management of your money. Do your homework. Understand what it means to have someone manage your money. Make sure you know about any and all fees up front!

It can be really tempting to want to let someone who knows “more than you” handle all of these things.

But it is easy to learn. It is easy to educate yourself. Head to Investopedia for more information. Hell, head to reddit! I love r\personalfinance and r\financialindependence subreddits for tons of information and real life stories.

And no matter what – don’t let someone sell you investment opportunities in the back of a Panera Bread.

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3 Responses

  1. Julie says:

    Usually when you see this shit in a Panera or Starbucks, it’s an MLM called Primerica. Run. Run fast and far.

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