Marketing Manipulation

Our 2 Cents – Episode #111

Marketing Manipulation

We have a great episode in store for you today!

Steve and Gabriel kick things off by discussing a bit of a hit-or-miss topic: The Student Loan Forgiveness Plan. Next, they tackle the complex world of marketing and advertising in our industry, and finish the show answering a couple ‘Getting to Know Us’ questions!

  1. The Student Loan Forgiveness Plan:
    • Who is going to see their federal student loans forgiven?
    • How do you know if you qualify for the forgiveness?
    • Insights into the controversial nature of this topic
    • What are the presumed economic impacts from this?
  2. Marketing Manipulation:
    • How headlines like “Invest Like the 1%” and “Hedge Funds For the Rest of Us” have gotten popular and garner a lot of attention
    • Why marketing companies try to elicit emotional and instant reactions with their messaging
    • Do these marketing companies have compliance oversight or regulations in the financial industry?
    • Are there people with hidden agendas behind the messaging?
  3. Getting to Know Steve and Gabriel:
    • If you could only eat one thing for dinner for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    • If you could live during any other time period in history, when would it be?

Tune in now to join us for this discussion!

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Podcast Transcript

Announcer: You’re listening to Our 2 Cents with the team from SGL Financial. Building wealth for life. Steve Lewit is the president of SGL Financial and Gabriel Lewit is the CEO. They’re here to discuss all the latest in financial news, trends, strategies, and more.

Gabriel Lewit: Good morning, guys. Welcome. Guys and gals, I should say. Welcome to Our 2 Cents. Gabriel here, and Steven Lewit.

Steve Lewit: Someday, Gabriel, I’m going to open the show and take your job from you.

Gabriel Lewit: Never will. I won’t let it happen, man.

Steve Lewit: Look, our director, folks, Katie gives the greatest countdown ever.

Gabriel Lewit: 3. 2.

Steve Lewit: 2. I feel like a rocket-

Gabriel Lewit: … 1, go.

Steve Lewit: I feel like a rocket ship when she does it, like I’m taking off.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, speaking of that, they scrapped the rocket ship launch-

Steve Lewit: Yeah, they did.

Gabriel Lewit: … they had planned for earlier this week. Isn’t it rescheduled for this Saturday?

Steve Lewit: Yeah, it’s on again.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: What I didn’t know is that this is all about populating the moon. It’s the first step in understanding what it takes to get ships back and forth to the moon so eventually there could be a population on there.

Gabriel Lewit: Hey, that’s kind of cool.

Steve Lewit: So, would you buy a moon condo?

Gabriel Lewit: Well, we just went off topic pretty quick.

Steve Lewit: Sorry, folks.

Gabriel Lewit: But no, that’s okay. Well, actually it’s funny, guys, if you’ll let us digress you for a second. I was wondering about this the other day, about this big push to get to Mars.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: Right? And I get it. It’s further than the moon so it’s harder, and us humans always try to do more and more difficult things, right? But in reality, if you could build a population on the moon or a population on Mars, why wouldn’t you pick the moon? It just seems a lot more logical. It’s closer. Both of them, you can’t be outside without a space suit on. You get a nice, pretty view of Earth up close.

Steve Lewit: And if you can’t get to the moon and populate it, you certainly can’t get to Mars and populate it.

Gabriel Lewit: So, it just seems like it makes logical sense to me. I just don’t fully get why the Red Planet holds so much appeal.

Steve Lewit: Can you imagine a time-

Gabriel Lewit: I think they think there’s maybe water somewhere on there.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. Well, there’s ice-

Gabriel Lewit: Something like that.

Steve Lewit: There’s ice on the moon and they don’t know what’s in the ice, and they think they could track the beginning of the universe back to the ice.

Gabriel Lewit: I knew you were going to say “universe” somewhere in this conversation.

Steve Lewit: Well, the infinite universe. Folks, good morning.

Gabriel Lewit: Good morning.

Steve Lewit: Good morning, folks.

Gabriel Lewit: Good afternoon. Whenever you’re watching or listening to the show.

Steve Lewit: We have a wonderful show for you today.

Gabriel Lewit: Yes. Hey, that’s my line.

Steve Lewit: I know.

Gabriel Lewit: I was just going to say that.

Steve Lewit: I’m taking over.

Gabriel Lewit: We have a wonderful show lined up for you today. We’re going to talk a little bit about our superstar Steve Lewit’s appearance on WGN, was it?

Steve Lewit: WGN.

Gabriel Lewit: Yes.

Steve Lewit: I did price out my autographs on-

Gabriel Lewit: It went up, I think.

Steve Lewit: It went up at least a penny.

Gabriel Lewit: A couple nickels.

Steve Lewit: A couple of nickels.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, so Steve was on WGN talking about the new Biden school loan forgiveness program, so we’ll dive into that, whether you like it or don’t like it. We’ll get into some of the particulars. Seems to be a bit of a hit-and-miss topic amongst the crowds.

Steve Lewit: Controversial.

Gabriel Lewit: Controversial. Then, we’re going to talk about… Well, funny, speaking of TV, we’re going to talk about ads on TV or radio or other things that you might be bombarded with from a financial planning or investing perspective, and what to watch out for with those ads. Because I don’t have the exact statistic here, not just financial ads, but I think us people are bombarded by something like 10,000 ads a day. It was a very high amount, a surprisingly high amount that you wouldn’t think of, but everywhere you go-

Steve Lewit: Everywhere you go.

Gabriel Lewit: You scroll through your news feed, you see a hundred of them before you even realize it.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. Everything I’ve looked at in the past day, all of a sudden appears on my feed everywhere.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, exactly. Well, I hope you’re doing great, guys. So, let’s go ahead and dive in. And we’re going to talk about, again, the student loan forgiveness plan here by President Biden, and, again, like it or dislike it. We’ll talk about that in a second. But, Dad, what is this program that was announced? And give us a couple background scoops on it.

Steve Lewit: Well, just numerically what it’s saying is that if you’re single and you earn less than $125,000, or if you file jointly and you earn under $250,000 and you have a federal, notice the word “federal,” student loan, you’re going to get a $10,000 forgiveness for that loan. Now, it’s very controversial. What the estimates are is that there are 40 some odd million people with federal loans. That doesn’t include private loans, folks. Just federal loans. And 20 million of those, by getting this $10,000, will have their loans paid off. In other words, they’re still paying their loans. And when you talk to people, what’s controversial about it… Of course, if you’re going to get 10 grand, it’s like, “Yeah, okay. I’m getting 10 grand. That’s nice.”

Gabriel Lewit: That does seem nice.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. But if you’re a person that paid off your loan already-

Gabriel Lewit: Do you get 10 grand?

Steve Lewit: You don’t get 10 grand.

Gabriel Lewit: You do not get 10 grand.

Steve Lewit: If you’re a person that is wealthier and earns more money, you don’t get 10 grand even though that’s your tax dollars. And there’s a group of people in government that said, “This is not enough. We should forgive all the loans.”

Gabriel Lewit: What if you didn’t go to school? Because you thought, “Hey, I was going to have to pay this big amount of school loan.”

Steve Lewit: Yeah. What if you went into the military or-

Gabriel Lewit: So, that’s what’s making it controversial is that a lot of people feel like it’s maybe unfair?

Steve Lewit: Well, what I said on WGN, and I’ll say it again today, is there’s really no right or wrong answer here.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: I mean, people that have Pell loans, which are given to the most financially challenged people, and people that are really suffering because of these loans are suffering because of these loans. I mean, that’s a reality, so $10,000 in their pocket is really a good thing for them. But in terms of fairness or in terms of equity or in terms of what should or shouldn’t be done, it’s very argumentative. Every side has a good argument. It’s like when I hear the arguments, I’m saying, “Yeah, I agree.” So, I agree with everybody. But this is a decision he made and there’s a lot of controversy about it.

Gabriel Lewit: There is. And there’s controversy about whether or not he should have been able to make the decision unilaterally via executive order, or if he should have gone through other routes. But one way, shape, or form, folks, if you’re out there and you have federal student loans, you’re probably pretty happy about the 10 grand you’re going to receive. Or 20 grand. And if you don’t have student loans, it’s not going to impact you much other than your tax dollars will be diverted in part to help pay for that.

Steve Lewit: So, how do you know if you have a federal loan? A lot of people think Sally Mae is a federal loan. Sally Mae is a private company. Turned private a number of years ago. So, you have to go to the website. I don’t recall the-

Gabriel Lewit: I believe it’s a

Steve Lewit: Forward slash. Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Forward slash. Yep.

Steve Lewit: “Debtrelief.” And then, you can put in your lender there. If you filed the FAFSA in order to get your loan, in other words, you had to give them the FAFSA to get the loan, chances are it’s a federal loan. But private loans are not covered.

Gabriel Lewit: Do you know offhand if you had a federal loan that you consolidated and rolled into a private loan?

Steve Lewit: No good.

Gabriel Lewit: No good, right?

Steve Lewit: And that’s so unfair, because if I could get a better interest rate on a private loan, I’m getting penalized for not going through the federal government.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, yeah.

Steve Lewit: So, it’s argumentative. It will help a lot of people, whether that’s fair or not. Or whether we’re developing a welfare state, as some people will say. Or whether Biden had no business doing it. Or, “What about me? I paid off my loan.” Or some people went to college two years, never finished, and they still got loans. It’s going to help some people.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Yeah, it seems like a very politically fraught and challenging proposal that they pushed forward on, and I think we’re going to see some of the trickle effects of that in the population, how people react to that.

Steve Lewit: Certainly, there were politics involved. I mean, his credit rating… His public-

Gabriel Lewit: It’s very low apparently.

Steve Lewit: I don’t know what his credit rating is.

Gabriel Lewit: Approval rating is what you meant to say.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. His approval rating went up five or six points. We have midterms coming up.

Gabriel Lewit: You just don’t know. Was it political? Was it not? Probably was, yes.

Steve Lewit: Probably both. But the bottom line is it’s going to help 20 million people. I think that’s a great thing. And at the same time, I agree with all the people that don’t think that’s a great thing.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. I can see both sides, as well. And I think the other bigger point that many people have raised, if you read some of the discussions on this, is it’s a bigger issue beyond just paying some of the current school loan debt. Right? And some people are saying, “Well, what about school loans as a whole right? Tuition payments skyrocketing. Will universities and colleges just raise their tuition now, knowing that there’s maybe more of a possibility of funds being used to pay down debt in the future?” So, what are the bigger picture controls over from a planning perspective as well, thinking of this from a planner, planning for college, right? Does this change how you plan for college? Recommendations you make to clients? Does this shift any of that?

Steve Lewit: At this point, the fallout, the trickle-down effect, we haven’t seen that. I don’t think it’s going to have that big of an impact.

Gabriel Lewit: Maybe more of a one-time thing, you think?

Steve Lewit: Yeah, I think it’s a one-time thing. I think the bigger issue is: Does this add to the debt? Does it give impulse to inflation because people now have more money?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, wasn’t the number around $300 billion, I believe?

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: And so, it was interesting, because just last week we were talking, or two weeks ago, the Inflation Reduction Act was scheduled to reduce deficits by around $300 billion. And then, fast-forward two weeks and now we’re going to increase expenses by $300 billion? Seems like those might counteract one another.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. Most of Congress feel it’s a wash that these folks have that in their budget. Either they’re not paying the loan, in other words the loan is in default, they haven’t paid for the loan because there’s been a suspension of payments that is now extended to January 1st, 2023. So people will actually start paying for their loans in 2023, which will reduce the amount of money in the economy, so it’s very complex.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, folks, and here’s the thing. If you have questions on this, if it impacts you, doesn’t impact you, you can send us your note or your message. We’ve sent out an email when you were on the TV station there and we got a few-

Steve Lewit: Oh my gosh.

Gabriel Lewit: … few choice replies about how you felt about the program.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Good or bad, if you have questions or thoughts you just want to share with us, we’re just looking to report the-

Steve Lewit: I was just delivering the message.

Gabriel Lewit: Delivering the message. Report the news here a little bit. But send us your thoughts: Click “Contact Us.” Or you can email, and who knows? Maybe we’ll share some feedback depending on what we get on the follow-up show.

Steve Lewit: Well, it ties into our next subject, Gabriel. I’m going to do your transition for you.

Gabriel Lewit: You’re kind of semi-running this one today. I’ll take it. I feel like I can just sit back and relax here.

Steve Lewit: I woke up-

Gabriel Lewit: I’m sipping my coffee on the side here.

Steve Lewit: I woke up in takeover mode. When we hear things, especially political things or advertisements, we emotionally react to them. The instant reaction is always emotional. And that could be a good thing or a bad thing, and some of the emotions are pretty big, like some of the comments that we got back from just reporting this thing on WGN. This is like a firecracker, and some of the ads that we see go right into our fear or our pain or our concerns and, boom, the emotions are there, and then we act on the emotion, which is usually not a good thing.

Gabriel Lewit: And you’re talking about investment ads?

Steve Lewit: Definitely.

Gabriel Lewit: Planning ads?

Steve Lewit: Yep. Definitely. Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: So, folks, as we said before, you get bombarded by these. And so, I think what we wanted to do today was unpack a little bit of the different types of messaging you might see or hear when you get bombarded by these ads. And the idea here is that you’ll be able to better assess the things that you’re hearing and decide for yourself, “Is this real? Is this a bunch of baloney just trying to rattle me up? Should I listen to this ad? Should I ignore it?” Because, again, without any context here, a lot of people can really be swayed left or right based on some of the things that they see in here.

Steve Lewit: Definitely, definitely. Especially some ads have no compliance. Folks, in our industry, there is compliance oversight for folks in the industry in how we advertise. However, there are some marketing groups that are not licensed individuals and they have no compliance oversight. So, you can see an ad… Like on annuities, you see ads: “earn 9%” or “buy this annuity and earn 11%.” Well, first of all, that’s a lot of nonsense. And second of all, it’s not compliant. But if I’m a marketing company and I’m not a registered, licensed insurance agent or advisor, I can say stuff like that to appeal to the impossibility.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, it’s funny you mentioned that. So, there is a group that does that. We researched it because a client asked us about it, and it turned out that, yeah, this isn’t an actual product. It’s not an actual company. You can’t get that return that they’re advertising. So how can they get away with it? Well, they are not a licensed insurance agent or company. They are simply a unregulated marketing company. They can say whatever they want.

Steve Lewit: They’re a lead generator.

Gabriel Lewit: They’re a lead generator. They get clicks and then they turn around and they provide those two advisors that have to then, I guess, tell those clients, “No, that’s not real.” But you want to be careful with what you read and what you hear, I think, is a key driving point; no matter what the ad is, what it’s promoting: investments, life insurance, annuities, planning. You name it. Right? Lots of different messaging out there. So, let’s talk about some of these, right? Well, one line of messaging might be something like, “Invest the 1%.” That was my sophisticated voice. All right, so what kind of theme is… What? Do you like that? “Invest like the 1%.”

Steve Lewit: You have to have more of an English accent.

Gabriel Lewit: I don’t think I can do that.

Steve Lewit: “Invest like 1%.” All right-

Gabriel Lewit: That was the worst that I think I’ve ever heard in my life.

Steve Lewit: That was terrible. I have to work on it. “Invest like…” I’ll work on it.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, you work on it. We’ll try that one next time.

Steve Lewit: Next week. I’ll have it down.

Gabriel Lewit: So, what is that one trying to do? Well, let’s unpack that a little bit, right? Well, “the 1%” implies the successful elites of the country that are making lots of money. And investing like them appeals to what? Your greed. Right?

Steve Lewit: We don’t even know what that means, “Invest like the 1%.”

Gabriel Lewit: Of course not. Yeah.

Steve Lewit: I can give you a 1% that’s losing money all the time so you can invest like them.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, there’s also 3 million of the 1%. You think they all invest the same?

Steve Lewit: They all invest the same way. Yeah, but you see how sneaky that is?

Gabriel Lewit: Well, it is sneaky. Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Because like you said, “Oh, I want to be in that club, ‘like the 1%,’ because they know something that I don’t know.”

Gabriel Lewit: Well, for example, one of the things that’s kind of blowing up out there… I saw one and I checked it out a little bit. There’s a company that says, “A hedge fund for the rest of us.” Right?

Steve Lewit: For the poor folk.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, so it’s trying to bring hedge fund-like investing that’s typically the type of investing that the 1% invest in. And people have this, I think, confused notion that hedge funds are these magical things that make tons of money and never lose anything.

Steve Lewit: That ad should read, “You can lose, too, like the 1% who buy hedge funds.”

Gabriel Lewit: There was actually a… I think it was Warren Buffet that had a monkey throwing darts at stocks that beat hedge funds, or something like that. They’re not all they’re cracked up to be. They’re very expensive. They’re highly leveraged, highly risky. In fact, arguably, the 1%, many of them lose their shirts on tons of investments. Why? Well, they have extra money they can lose. And that does not mean you should invest like them. If you burn and throw away your money, that’s not really a bragging right.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. And they go broke. Hedge funds go broke. The money’s gone.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. That’s right. That’s right. So, is that a good thing? Well, if you’re very greedy, want to be wealthy, super rich like the 1%, you might be attracted to that. Try to temper your expectations on that one.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. And if you are the 1%, then you should know what you’re doing, so we don’t have any sympathy for you.

Gabriel Lewit: Now, here’s another one that I see. I’ve just thought of this. I didn’t even write it down on our list. So, I scrolled through, occasionally, Yahoo for financial articles for the show.

Steve Lewit: Sure.

Gabriel Lewit: And I see these ones all the time like, “This one stock is up 399% in the last two years. Click here to check it out.” What’s that ad doing?

Steve Lewit: Well, I love ads like that. This one stock is up 300%, and if everybody that reads this ad buys it, it’ll be up 600%.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, yeah. But, no, I think by the time you click on that, that stock is-

Steve Lewit: That stock is… It’s over.

Gabriel Lewit: … probably down. Yeah. Probably down.

Steve Lewit: The run is over. If you’re reading about it in the newspapers, the run is over. Or on the internet. It’s done. So, yeah, I get those too all the time. 10 stocks that [inaudible 00:18:41].

Gabriel Lewit: Well, what’s that ad doing? You were talking about emotions. All these ads hit on your emotions. It’s another greed, right? It’s hitting on, “Look how much money you could have made had you been smart enough to pick this stock?” And it can really appeal to people that say, “Oh, if only I could pick that one stock that blows up. Look how much more money I’d make.” But inevitably what happens is a lot of people buy in after the run’s over… And this is actually a little bit like crypto last year. Everybody was talking about how great their crypto returns were as a crypto bubble, and a lot of people bought in at the top and are now down 75-80% with big chunks of money.

Steve Lewit: In behavior finance, Gabriel, you know this, it’s called herd mentality. People tend to follow the herd. So if everybody’s jumping into crypto… I mean, during that year, last year, we would get questions every day. “Should I buy crypto?” I haven’t gotten a crypto question in six months.

Gabriel Lewit: A little less exciting once you see it lose 75% from its all-time highs in six months. Right? So, people are like, “Oh, yeah, this can go down.” And that’s another thing, you and I always used to talk about how investors and people as a whole have a… We dubbed it “short-term memory syndrome.”

Steve Lewit: Mm-hmm.

Gabriel Lewit: Right? Where they just only think of not beyond six months to a year. They forget what happened further back in the rear view mirror.

Steve Lewit: That’s right. Especially if it was painful.

Gabriel Lewit: Right. And so, what’s funny is maybe that’s just like a… I don’t know the psychological name behind that. But people knew crypto was really volatile, right? But their greed overrode their concerns about loss and they got in, and then it did exactly what it did four years ago, which is when it crashed 75%.

Steve Lewit: And they stayed down for another four years.

Gabriel Lewit: But people have this mentality saying, “Oh, it’s going to be different this time.”

Steve Lewit: Well, here’s the deal, Gabriel. So, you have your emotions, so what counters emotions is stuff that is… Emotions are fiery and jumping around all the time, but stuff that is very data-oriented has no emotions, because numbers have no emotions in them.

Gabriel Lewit: I’d like to think planners like us are less emotional.

Steve Lewit: Well, this is where I’m headed.

Gabriel Lewit: We aren’t robots, but-

Steve Lewit: No, but this is where I’m headed. So, if you’re looking at something that says, “Buy these 10 stocks,” or, “Buy crypto now,” or, “You’re missing this great opportunity to time the market,” and then you go to the research and you say, “Let me research that.” And the independent research says all of that stuff is nonsense. So you can balance your emotions with research, but greed and jealousy is a very powerful emotion. People will say, “Well, I want to get in. I don’t care about the research. This time, I’ll be right. I’m going to win the billion-dollar lottery ticket.”

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: I didn’t win.

Gabriel Lewit: I didn’t. Did you know that it was still unclaimed?

Steve Lewit: No.

Gabriel Lewit: People are wondering if somebody just doesn’t even know that they have it, or threw it out or something.

Steve Lewit: Oh, gosh.

Gabriel Lewit: They could be just lining up their army of attorneys and advisors.

Steve Lewit: Could be.

Gabriel Lewit: But it would be very interesting if somebody lost the 1.3 billion ticket.

Steve Lewit: I did get a call from somebody I don’t know the other day. Maybe I should return it.

Gabriel Lewit: “Hey, I’ve got this ticket for you. If you just send me $10,000… I don’t want to go through the hassle of claiming the billions. I’ll send you ticket.”

Steve Lewit: My Nigerian addresses.

Gabriel Lewit: So, folks, there’s other ads, too; and some of these are sneaky. So, we’ve talked a little bit about “investing like the 1%,” the hot stock tips that “if only you knew about” and that we are going to track and trend for you. Other ones are a little sneakier. You might read an article that has a prominent figure in it, and the article doesn’t seem like it’s an ad, but lo and behold, the prominent figure is telling you to invest in one thing and one thing only.

Gabriel Lewit: I’ll give you an example. I’m not totally against him. I kind of like some of his things, but Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad… I was reading an article, again, because I read a ton trying to find stuff for the show and just in general, but it was just talking about how he thought the market was going to bomb and bust and how it was going nowhere but down. It was going to be a historically bad crash. And the only thing that he would recommend people invest in would be in gold and silver. And he happened to give a name of a website, which was a gold and silver company firm that he happened to be involved in.

Steve Lewit: You think? It’s Robert Kiyosaki. You think?

Gabriel Lewit: What do you think is the hidden agenda here, folks?

Steve Lewit: Yeah, that’s called an advertorial.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, so you got to be careful here, because you think it’s this unbiased article from this guy, and then here comes the sales pitch. “Oh yeah, you should buy the thing that I’m selling you to solve this.” Right? So, you want to be careful there about people prognosticating doom and gloom, which is preying on your fear now. Opposite of greed. That’s part of why I wanted to give that example. Because people are saying, “Okay, this guy is smart. He’s telling us the market’s going to crash. He’s providing this way out. I’m going to take that.” And it’s not necessarily a good move for you.

Steve Lewit: So, most advertising, Gabriel, in our business does tap into people’s fear. Wouldn’t you say?

Gabriel Lewit: There’s a lot of it. Of course. Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Because people want to run from fear, and that’s where the marketing people say, “If I can make someone afraid, if I can really tap into the fear and have them exaggerate it within themselves…” There are people thinking that the world is going to fall apart tomorrow, and they really believe that.

Gabriel Lewit: Get the bunker ready.

Steve Lewit: Get the bunker ready, or the dollar won’t be worth anything. So, where does that level of fear… Now, could that happen? Sure. Anything could happen. But is it imminent tomorrow? No.

Gabriel Lewit: No. And I really, really dislike fear-mongering-based marketing. I think it doesn’t serve a place and it’s unhealthy and it riles people up. So, it’s unfortunate, guys, that that’s out there, but the more knowledgeable you are about these tactics in marketing, the better prepared you can be to not be swayed by them, or look at them and be like, “Oh, Gabe and Steve mentioned… This guy might be trying to sell me something.” Oh, there’s one more that I think we’ve talked about before. We’ve been talking about investment options up to this point, but this one is from Fisher.

Steve Lewit: Ken Fisher.

Gabriel Lewit: Right?

Steve Lewit: I knew you were going to say that.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Well, because we try to give a little bit of examples on different things here. “I hate annuities and you should, too. Never buy an annuity.” Right? Really bold proclamation statements about an entire asset class that happens to be a hundreds-of-billions-of-dollar-a-year industry, that it’s all bad and no one should ever buy one. And this contributes to people out there completely ignoring actually a very realistically good option for them for some of their money.

Steve Lewit: Something they should at least look at.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Now, folks, well, why would Ken Fisher say this? Does he have your best interest in mind? That’s all he cares about? It could also be that he has the number one biggest RAA firm, money management firm, in the entire industry.

Steve Lewit: And you make more money managing money than selling annuities.

Gabriel Lewit: In the long-term, he makes more money managing your money 1% a year for 20-30 years than he does if you bought an annuity. So, folks, just want to be careful with what you read, what you hear. Everything with a grain of salt should be taken.

Steve Lewit: You know what I look for? It’s a terrible way to read, but I always look for, “What is this person trying to sell me?” As soon as I see something that says, “Are you worried about the stock market? Did you retire your paycheck?” It’s like, “What is this person trying to sell me? What is the angle here?” Because all these articles, except if it’s coming from like a New York Times editorial or Kiplinger’s or something worthwhile, all of them are trying to sell me something.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, exactly.

Steve Lewit: So, I get tired of that.

Gabriel Lewit: Exactly. No, you should. So, hopefully that helps, guys and gals, when you’re out there and you’re poking around and you see these different things on the internet or on the radio or on TV. Just be cautious with them.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. And I would urge you, folks… Because from time to time, a client will send me an article and say, “Steve, what do you think about this?” Well, if you have that and you’re thinking of something, or you’re thinking of buying something that sounds interesting, run it by us. Because we’ll have a comment about it and we’ll tell you what we think, which might be helpful to you.

Gabriel Lewit: Us have a comment about things? Never.

Steve Lewit: I try never to comment.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, folks, we do have-

Steve Lewit: I have no opinions.

Gabriel Lewit: We do have a couple minutes left.

Steve Lewit: We do?

Gabriel Lewit: We do. Enough time for one of my favorite segments of our show.

Steve Lewit: Uh-oh.

Gabriel Lewit: You know what this is.

Steve Lewit: I’m afraid I think I do.

Gabriel Lewit: I think if you’re out there listening, you know what this is, too. It’s time for: “Get to Know Steve.”

Steve Lewit: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

Gabriel Lewit: I need some sound effects here. Producer Katie, we need sound effects.

Steve Lewit: And “Get to Know Gabriel.” Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

Gabriel Lewit: I need like The Price Is Right music here or something. Come on down, Steve. Okay. I feel like I’ve got a few here lined up. We could have asked this one before, so if I did and you’ve heard this before, forgive me. If you could only eat one thing for dinner for the rest of your life-

Steve Lewit: Oh no.

Gabriel Lewit: … what would it be?

Steve Lewit: That’s the question?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: If I could only eat one thing for dinner-

Gabriel Lewit: One food for dinner for the rest of your life.

Steve Lewit: One food for dinner the rest of my life, what would that be?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Well, it wouldn’t be ice cream.

Gabriel Lewit: I’ll give you this. I’ll give a meal, so it doesn’t have to be just one single food.

Steve Lewit: Right.

Gabriel Lewit: It could be a plate of meat, vegetable, side dish. Like a little plate.

Steve Lewit: I would eat something like a Chipotle rice bowl.

Gabriel Lewit: Every day?

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: For the rest of your life. The same bowl?

Steve Lewit: No, I’d change-

Gabriel Lewit: You can’t change the bowl.

Steve Lewit: I’d change the bowl.

Gabriel Lewit: You can’t.

Steve Lewit: I mean, I’d change the bowl. I wouldn’t change the food in it.

Gabriel Lewit: No, the food inside the bowl would have to be same.

Steve Lewit: Well, I’m thinking what would be healthy. So, if I have rice and meat and nice sauces and veggies and lettuce, and a little bit of sour cream and cheese, I’m good.

Gabriel Lewit: All right.

Steve Lewit: I’m really good.

Gabriel Lewit: Interesting.

Steve Lewit: And I feel pretty healthy.

Gabriel Lewit: That’s good.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: I’m going to have that for lunch. I just got hungry.

Gabriel Lewit: Oh, well, it’s not lunchtime yet. It’s actually-

Steve Lewit: Well, what’s yours?

Gabriel Lewit: Mine? Well, if anybody knows this about me, I’ve probably said this before. My favorite meal of the year is Thanksgiving.

Steve Lewit: Oh.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay? So it would be a Thanksgiving meal plate. So, it has little mashed potatoes on there, it’s got gravy, it’s got turkey, and some ham and gravy. It’s got vegetables and side dishes. A little bread and butter. I didn’t say you had to limit how much you put on the plate. So, it would just have a smorgasbord of different options on there, so I could pick and choose what I felt like eating most. Stuffing would be on there.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. That’s good. I like that.

Gabriel Lewit: Some green bean casserole maybe.

Steve Lewit: I like it.

Gabriel Lewit: Some butternut squash with brown sugar.

Steve Lewit: And you would always have that Thanksgiving feeling every time. You say, “Oh, another Thanksgiving dinner.”

Gabriel Lewit: Oh, I forget the most important part. Just smother everything in cranberry sauce.

Steve Lewit: I love cranberry sauce.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: That’s a good idea.

Gabriel Lewit: So, that would be my dinner of… Well, I guess it’s more than a food, but it’s a meal of choice.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay?

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: I didn’t go for healthy. You went for healthy.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, I did. I was thinking if I’m going to… Because my first reaction was pizza, but you can’t eat pizza every night.

Gabriel Lewit: Sure, you could. Yeah.

Steve Lewit: All right.

Gabriel Lewit: So, okay, we’ll do one last question here.

Steve Lewit: All right.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay?

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: If you could live during any other period of time in history, what would it be and why?

Steve Lewit: If I could live during any other period of time [inaudible 00:31:16]-

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, like you want to live in the ’60s? The 1800s? The 1000s?

Steve Lewit: Am I wealthy or poor?

Gabriel Lewit: You are a-

Steve Lewit: Am I a lord in England?

Gabriel Lewit: You are like the prior version of yourself today. I don’t know if they had financial advisors in the 1000s.

Steve Lewit: So, I would like to-

Gabriel Lewit: But maybe they did.

Steve Lewit: I would like to be a crusader knight.

Gabriel Lewit: A crusader knight?

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay. Okay.

Steve Lewit: I’d like to be a member of the Knights of the Round Table.

Gabriel Lewit: I think those are different time periods. Isn’t one fantasy?

Steve Lewit: No.

Gabriel Lewit: Isn’t that like King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table? I don’t think that was a real thing.

Steve Lewit: No, they’re real. They’re real.

Gabriel Lewit: Knights of the Round Table.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. They were crusader knights. Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: So, you want to go on the Crusades? You know, that was a very brutal time.

Steve Lewit: I know, but I think that brotherhood was really very special.

Gabriel Lewit: So, you would want to be a knight?

Steve Lewit: I’d want to be a knight.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay.

Steve Lewit: The other one I want-

Gabriel Lewit: A financial advisor to the knights?

Steve Lewit: Yeah, right.

Gabriel Lewit: “Here’s how to manage the wealth you get from the sacked cities”?

Steve Lewit: Yeah. So, this is really interesting, because the other person that I’d like to be was a samurai warrior.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay.

Steve Lewit: So, I have this warrior thing in me that’s got to get out sometimes.

Gabriel Lewit: Apparently. You need to go chop some wood or something.

Steve Lewit: I need to go take fighting lessons.

Gabriel Lewit: Get your ax out.

Steve Lewit: Boxing lessons.

Gabriel Lewit: All right.

Steve Lewit: That’s really it. What about you?

Gabriel Lewit: Me? Well, the number one thought that came to my mind is somewhere where I could live in a castle, but an actual, real-life, functioning castle.

Steve Lewit: I thought of that, too. Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Because I have a distinct fascination with castles.

Steve Lewit: You want to be a king?

Gabriel Lewit: No. No, no, no. The kings are the boring people. They get to just sit in court all day. I’m watching too much Game of Thrones right now, folks.

Steve Lewit: Oh.

Gabriel Lewit: There’s a new Game of Thrones out: The House of Dragons. I digress, because we’re running over. But, yeah, somewhere where there’s castles and… I don’t know. Well, mostly I just thought of castles.

Steve Lewit: So, like a fantasy land.

Gabriel Lewit: No. You just go to Ireland, there’s castles. In England, there’s castles.

Steve Lewit: Are there flying dragons?

Gabriel Lewit: No dragons. No, just castles. I thought a castle would be cool.

Steve Lewit: All right. Okay, I like castles.

Gabriel Lewit: But a real-life one, that’s actually got people in it.

Steve Lewit: Sure.

Gabriel Lewit: Not just like a tourist site.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Because then that would be weird if you lived in an old, abandoned castle by yourself. That’d be quite odd.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Yep.

Steve Lewit: I think we got to finish.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. We do have to wrap, folks. Thank you so much for joining us on our adventure here today to historical lands and the world of advertising. If you have any questions, call us: 847-499-3330. Or go to and then click the “Contact Us” button. Or email us Don’t forget: forward the show to your friends. We love new listeners. Thank you so much for your feedback on the show. We love it. It gives us juice. And you have yourself a wonderful day, and Go Bears this weekend.

Steve Lewit: Stay well, everybody.

Gabriel Lewit: You missed my “Go Bears.”

Steve Lewit: I didn’t miss it. You didn’t say-

Gabriel Lewit: Did they start this weekend?

Steve Lewit: No.

Gabriel Lewit: No, next weekend. Right?

Steve Lewit: Next weekend.

Gabriel Lewit: Oh, I thought it was this weekend.

Steve Lewit: No, no, no. Thursday-

Gabriel Lewit: I’m ahead of the horse.

Steve Lewit: A week from today is the first.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, still Go Bears.

Steve Lewit: Yes, Go Bears.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. Bye, guys.

Steve Lewit: See you.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to Our 2 Cents with Steve and Gabriel Lewit. For any questions about your finances, give SGL a call at 847-499-3330. Or visit us on the web at, and be sure to subscribe to join us on next week’s episode.

Prerecorded Voice: Investment advisory services are offered through SGL Financial, LLC, an SEC registered investment advisor. Insurance and other financial products are offered separately through individually licensed and appointed agents.