Since the Financial Crisis of 2008 and 2009, insurance agents, stock brokers, and bank representatives have been in high gear selling life insurance products to investors clamoring for anything that ensures them against the drubbing they received in the markets. They hear of enticing promises like "Guaranteed Income," "Guaranteed Principal," and "All the market's upside with none of its downside" and they find them hard if not impossible to resist. Are annuities and indexed life products as good as their promoters claim they are?

Just this week I received three invitations to steak dinners at Ruth's Chris and Sullivan's in Raleigh, promising all the information I would need for a happy retirement. Not surprisingly, they all came from local companies we know as annuity sellers. One of the invitations came from an agent who has a local radio show who unashamedly calls himself a fiduciary. Why the regulators allow this guy to imply he has no fiduciary conflicts of interest when he sells annuity products with compensation ranges anywhere from 1% to 7% as well as incentive trips and other perks is beyond me.