Personal Finance Blog for Retirement and Investment Advice

The REAL Reason Forbes Got Too Scared to Publish the Article They Asked Pamela Yellen to Write

As you can probably imagine, I felt honored when Forbes asked me to write an article for them. Wouldn’t you be flattered if Forbes wanted you to write an article?

It was one of their regular columnists who requested the article, who I’ve called “Pat” to protect the guilty.

Pat had asked me to answer ten questions for publication. The questions indicated Pat knew I have a contrarian take on Wall Street and that I’m a consumer advocate.

I was eager to answer Pat’s questions and tell the world about the scams in the mutual fund industry and expose the wealth-killing truths about 401(k)s and IRAs.

And I supported every statement I made with impeccable and unimpeachable sources, from Morningstar to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But two days after receiving my article, Pat declined to run it “because there’s just too much controversy.”

So I Published the Article Myself

As they say, turnabout is fair play, so I published the article on this blog, with the title, “The Article Forbes Asked Me to Write – But Got Too Scared to Publish.”

And, to make sure a lot of people read the critically important information in it, I offered an ethical bribe, giving away valuable prizes to readers who posted the most insightful or interesting comments about the article that Forbes was too chicken to publish. (I’ll reveal the winners at the end of this post.)

I encouraged readers to tell us what they thought was the REAL reason Forbes got too scared to publish my article. Most who responded understood the notion of not biting the hand that feeds you. As Kelechi wrote,

I’m not surprised the article wasn’t published. Who do you think pays for their advertising?”

And as Olivia Leyton noted…

“Perhaps ‘Pat’ has a vested interest in keeping this truth silent. Or someone else (the boss?) read the article and found it threatening to their special interests. Do you think Wall Street wants these truths to become common knowledge? Heck, no.”

Do You REALLY Think Wall Street Wants You to Know…

  • How much of a wealth killer mutual funds can be? We found a popular widely held S&P 500 index fund (passively managed!) that will devour almost 23% of your money over 30 years, as one example.
  • Or that you’ll never come close to getting the results advertised in those glossy mutual fund prospectuses… and the shocking reason why.
  • Or that if you leave your job and contact your provider to roll over your 401(k) into an IRA, half of the largest companies will lie to you about the fees you’ll be charged.

And that’s just three of the well-documented revelations in the article I wrote that Forbes was too scared to run.

exploding-headImagine those revelations and more all in one article! It’s enough to make the Wall Street fat cats’ heads explode!

But here’s the rub…

In just the first two weeks after I published the article on this blog, over 4,000 people read it. How much would you bet that’s way more than would have seen it in “Pat’s” boring column of interviews with portfolio and fund managers?

What’s more, our website analytics reveal that our average reader spent seven minutes reading my article. That’s gotta be way, way more time than readers spend with “Pat”, don’cha think?

So the truth is being told – with no thanks and no credit to Forbes.

The Comments Posted About My Article Prove Once Again that We Have the Smartest and Most Articulate Subscribers Anywhere

Here are insightful excerpts from some of them, edited for grammar and punctuation…

“This is a very entertaining post that is also 100% accurate. You don’t see that combination too often today, with all the financial pornography out there.” – Alan Eckstrand

Those are strong words, Alan. But I can see what you mean. Porn is designed to arouse an intense short-term emotional reaction. And how does that differ from much of what is passed off as relevant financial information today?

Kathleen Wooding summed up the feelings of several commenters:

“I always wondered why I wasn’t comfortable with how companies handled their 401(k) plans. Thanks, Pamela!”

You’re welcome, Kathleen. And Marilyn Blosser wondered…

“Isn’t it amazing they ask you to answer their questions, and if they don’t like your answers, you are dismissed!”

Marilyn, I can tell you feel my pain.

I know that a couple dozen of those who responded to the article are Bank On Yourself clients already, based on their comments or the fact that I recognize their names. And not a single client expressed any dissatisfaction with Bank On Yourself.

Several commented that their only regret about Bank On Yourself is that they didn’t start sooner.

That tells you something, doesn’t it? Bank On Yourself policy owners are happy campers!

Tired of throwing the dice in the Wall Street Casino?

Ready to take back control of your financial future and know the guaranteed value of your nest-egg on the day you plan to tap into it… and at every point along the way?

Request your FREE Analysis (if you haven’t already) and find out today!

As Phil Wahl pointed out:

“What I don’t understand is why normally rational, intelligent and logical people don’t change their behavior when presented with the facts outlined in the article. Clinging to the ideas presented by the main stream financial planning engine seems to be the only response some people can muster. I truly enjoy the energy and open-mindedness of the Bank On Yourself community.”

What Revelations Readers Found Most Surprising in My Article

When I published my article, I asked readers to tell me what revelations were the most surprising to them. The responses varied, and they’re interesting.

“I was most surprised to learn that 80% of the financial advisors for mutual funds could not beat the benchmark index or average for that type of investment, and that the top-rated fund over a ten year period actually lost money for most of its investors. If they just bought the index and did not manage the funds, they would do better than making their own picks. Why should anyone pay fees to money managers who cannot beat the market averages?” – Steven Step

Steven, your last point is so simple and profound it bears repeating. “Why should anyone pay fees to money managers who cannot beat the market averages?”

“My true surprise was that Pamela recommended low cost index funds for investors to buy.” – Kelechi

Kelechi, that was just my third recommendation for investors. I hope nobody missed my first two recommendations: (1) Before you invest, build cash reserves equal to at least two years of household expenses, and (2) Only invest money you can afford to wait 20 years to recover. If that leaves you scratching your head, go back and read the answer to question five in my article to find out why.

“Most surprising: That mutual funds are required to disclose only the performance of buy-and-hold investors.” – Elise Mathov

“No matter how many times I see the data, I am still shocked at how poorly the investing public does, compared to the published returns from mutual funds.” – Stephen Grabelsky

“As a former Financial Advisor for a big bank (rhymes with Mells Dargo) I have seen the dark side of this industry first hand… I realized that going after one client at a time was too slow and I could do the same thing by becoming the broker on a 401(k) plan for a business. And the manipulation possible was even higher as we were not required to tell the employees about all of the hidden fees within the plan that would eat at their hard earned retirement funds.” – David Perez

Bill Popko echoed David’s thoughts, from a similar perspective:

“In a prior life, I was home office underwriting manager for a major financial services company. I often attended meetings in which district sales managers introduced their agents to pre-tax retirement plans such as IRAs. Often they would slide over the negatives and, in some cases, they omitted them entirely. When I asked them why they did this, a typical response would be, ‘If the agents knew the negatives, they wouldn’t sell the plans. And if their prospects knew the negatives, they wouldn’t buy them.'”

Sirley was in a similar situation…

“As a financial planner, I feel I was sold a bill of goods when I started in this business. Unfortunately, I’ve followed suit and have led a lot of clients down the mutual fund and IRA road and even encouraged them to max out their 401(k)s (to the point where the employer matches). I now find that I can no longer advise clients to invest in products I don’t believe in myself. As a result, I encourage more and more clients toward the Bank On Yourself product.”

Lisa Hastings summed up all the issues in just two simple but profound points:

The two parts of this I think are most important are explaining to people that 1) saving needs to come BEFORE investing and only after your real needs are met, and 2) challenging the idea that risk and reward are directly related.”


Tim Cashion recognized the huge issue with tax-deferred plans. He has had a terrible first-hand experience with tax deferral, right in his own family:

“My father-in-law has an IRA like millions of Americans. Because of his required minimum distributions, he is now paying taxes at the HIGHEST rate in his 84 years! These qualified plans are a scam!

My wife and I are dentists and we outgrew our office. We decided to build a new office and needed a down payment for the SBA loan. Where does the down payment come from? Our 401(k)? Our IRA? Our variable annuity? Are you kidding me? [If we tried to use that money,] we would be devastated by taxes and penalties. Since we didn’t know about Bank on Yourself, we literally had to sell our paid-for home to come up with the money. Ironically, we were doing what all the experts were telling us about saving money and yet we had NO ACCESS to it!

The frustration of the above experiences led me to research a better way and we found a Bank On Yourself advisor. I am now on a mission to reach out to my colleagues because no one is telling them about this wonderful plan.”

Allen summed up nicely why Forbes will never publish the truth…

“The fact that you were able to answer the ten questions using a contrarian take on Wall Street while being an advocate for consumers and investors and backing up your answers with highly credible and unimpeachable sources is why the ten questions will never make it to Forbes. If they (the staunch Wall Street supporters) had been able to discredit, tear apart, dismiss, reverse, or put a negative spin on any of your answers, you can bet your 401(k), IRA and mutual fund they would have taken great delight in doing so.”

Did I feel bad that Forbes pulled the rug out from under my exposé?

Sure I did. At first. But the truth of what Paul Melies wrote made me feel much better:

“Please STOP writing these articles. I am glad that Forbes decided not to publish your work. The more people who discover the secrets of the Bank On Yourself system, the more likely that the government will catch on and screw it up for all of us.”

Thank you, Paul!

Thanks to all of our readers who took the time to read and comment on my article…

And now, here are the winners of our blog post comment contest (they’ve all been notified)…

Jason RP won an Apple Watch. His comment was very insightful and included this observation:

“If you blindly put your trust in some random advisor who has you sign a form acknowledging you have no guarantees, then you deserve none. Would you let your kid get in a car with a stranger under the same circumstances? Then why do you put your future financial well being in that situation? You may as well just spend it all on lottery tickets and see what happens!”

You can read the full text of Jason’s comment here.

There were so many insightful comments, I couldn’t narrow it down to just a handful of runner-up winners to win their choice of a $25 dining gift certificate or a personally autographed copy of my latest New York Times best seller, The Bank On Yourself Revolution: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future.

So here are the 13 runners up:

  • David Perez
  • Paul Melies
  • Lisa Hastings
  • Tim Cashion
  • Allen
  • DW
  • Celia Sanchez
  • Elise Mathov
  • James Schlerer
  • Scott Russell
  • Dick Thompson
  • Jim Riedmann
  • Phil Wahl


The Bank On Yourself method lets you know the guaranteed minimum value of your retirement account on the day you plan to tap into it – and at every step along the way. Get access to your money whenever you want – with no restrictions or penalties.
Request your free, no-obligation Analysis here and find out if you qualify.


The Article Forbes Asked Pamela Yellen to Write – But Got Too Scared to Publish

Recently I was asked to write a full-length article for the Forbes website by one of their regular columnists, who I’ll call “Pat” to protect the guilty.

Pat had taken my Financial IQ Quiz and found it very insightful. So Pat asked me to answer ten questions in writing for publication in Pat’s column.

The questions indicated Pat knew full well that I have a contrarian take on Wall Street and that I’m an advocate for consumers and investors.

They included questions like…

  • “What are some of the scams in the mutual fund industry?”
  • “What’s the shocking truth about 401(k)s and IRAs?”
  • “How can investors protect themselves?”

So I painstakingly answered Pat’s questions, supporting each statement with highly credible, unimpeachable sources including Morningstar, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Government Accounting Office and the Department of Labor.

As requested, I made no mention of Bank On Yourself or the asset it is based on (super-charged dividend-paying whole life insurance).

About two days later, Pat thanked me for sending the article, but declined to run it “because there’s just too much controversy” surrounding my work.

Pat even suggested I repurpose the content for my blog (a good case for “be careful what you wish for”…).

So below are Pat’s questions with my answers in full, which I think you’ll find very interesting. Some of these questions I’ve never addressed publicly before. (Check out question #5 about “what mutual funds do you recommend?”) [Read more…]

A 9.94% Annual Return Without Market Risk? [Video Proof]

What if I told you that it’s possible to get an annual return of nearly 10% – without the risk of stocks, real estate or other volatile investments?

Watch the Video above to see proof of the return of Bank On Yourself (then click on the icon in the lower right to enlarge)

I’m pretty sure you’d wonder what I’ve been smoking!

But I’m going to prove to you how the Bank On Yourself method has achieved that kind of return over the last half century.

To quickly recap, Bank On Yourself relies on a super-charged variation of an asset that has increased in value every single year for more than 160 years – dividend-paying whole life insurance. It’s never had a losing year – EVER. [Read more…]

Get all your questions about Bank On Yourself answered – Live Webinar

You’ve been reading about Bank On Yourself. You may have thought about trying the program. But you might have questions like…

  • “I don’t totally get how the concept works.”
  • “How can I be sure this is really legitimate?”
  • “Could this really work for me in my situation? How can I find out, without actually meeting with an Advisor or feeling obligated?”

That’s why I’d like to invite you to join me and three of the most experienced Bank On Yourself Authorized Advisors in the country (learn why only 200 Advisors have met the rigorous requirements) for a no-holds-barred online event where you can get all your questions answered anonymously.

Space on this online event is limited, so reserve your spot here now. [Read more…]

5 Financial Myths that Are Destroying Your Wealth

The problem isn’t so much what people don’t know, the problem is what people think they know that just ain’t so.”
— Will Rogers

Remember when you were absolutely certain about something that turned out to be false? Like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Or how about the witch that hides under your bed waiting to attack so you have to flip the light switch then spring into your bed before she gets you? (Okay, maybe that one’s just me.)

In honor of National Financial Literacy Month, let me just debunk a few “things you know that just ain’t so”:

1. You’ll come out ahead by deferring your taxes, and that’s one of the prime benefits of retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs

[Read more…]

Why a Little Financial Information is Dangerous

Just cuz you’re following a well-marked trail doesn’t mean that whoever made it knew where they were goin’.”
— Texas Bix Bender

I respect people who are self-educated, and I respect people who continue to educate themselves about various topics, even after they’ve finished their degrees. As legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to say, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that really matters.”

That said, a little financial self-education can go a long way – toward completely destroying your financial future!

Why? Because when you cobble together your financial education with bits and pieces of advice you see on the internet, read in articles or hear on TV, you’re not really building a strong foundation of financial literacy. It’s like that old story of the 12 blind monks and the elephant. Each monk felt a different part of the elephant and used just that part to figure out what the whole animal looked like!

So one blind monk tells you to pay off all your credit debt ASAP, while another tells you that you need to build up a rainy day fund. One insists that you max out your 401(k), while another says to secure your future by paying off your mortgage. And the blind monk standing at the elephant’s tail thinks the economy stinks – so you need to get yourself a stash of precious metals!

When it comes to personal finances, you really need to see the whole elephant

[Read more…]

The Checklist: What You Need to Know Before You Commit to a Financial Product or Plan

People are quick to dispense advice on any subject, regardless of their qualifications. Most people don’t even distinguish between ‘opinion’ and ‘knowledge’. That’s why you must.”
— Dan Kennedy

Your Uncle Vinnie corners you at the Sunday barbeque: “You got to get on board! It’s like buying into Microsoft in the ’80’s.” Your dentist tells you to open wide and “You gotta check out this once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s the mother lode!” Your golf buddy swears she’s found the “ultimate tax shelter.” Your advisor calls with an exciting new financial product “that will get you 15% plus annual returns with little or no risk!”

Whatcha gonna do?

Hey, I’ve spent 25 years investigating over 450 financial products and vehicles. The research was intense and required sleuthing skills that probably qualify me for CSI. I can tell you that, though these products were sparkly and seductive on paper, 99.9% of them didn’t stand up to scrutiny!

I’m guessing you don’t have the time or inclination to put in that kind of effort. But to protect your family’s financial future, you need to get answers to at least a few basic questions before you (and your money) jump in: [Read more…]

It’s National Financial Literacy Month – Do You Know Your Financial IQ?

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and here at Bank On Yourself, we’re doing our part to give Americans the knowledge and skills they need to make smarter financial decisions.

As President Obama noted in a 2011 Proclamation supporting National Financial Literacy Month, “We must strive to ensure all Americans have the skills to manage their fiscal resources effectively and avoid deceptive or predatory practices.”

And the Senate resolved in 2012 that “increased financial literacy empowers individuals to make wise financial decisions and reduces the confusion caused by an increasingly complex economy.”

Wow! I think “complex economy” may be an understatement!

So we’ve put together a quick 20-question quiz here that increases your understanding of the most critical things you need to know about managing your money, investing, and planning for a secure retirement. [Read more…]

Can You Put a Lump Sum into a Bank On Yourself Plan?

This is the fifth installment in our series of answers to the most-asked questions we got on our recent “Ask the Bank On Yourself Advisors” online event.

This question is about whether you can pay a larger amount of premium into a Bank On Yourself policy in the early years, to supercharge the growth.

The answer is “yes,” and the big advantage is that it allows you faster access to a higher amount of cash value that you can use for a variety of purposes.

Here are three common situations where people do “lump sum” funding of their plans…

Situation #1: Debt Consolidation

[Read more…]