The Meridian Blog Bogus Takedown

george-orwell-truth-quoteMy website just came back online after being down since last Friday, why? An overzealous annuity sales company and a hosting company that has an utter disdain for their clients.

What started out as a small pain in the rear, has turned into a huge waste of time and resources at an extremely inopportune time given the volatility in the markets.

In December of last year I made a post that brought to light an industry practice of incentivizing insurance sales agents with trips to fancy places (Italy) and Visa gift cards for selling certain products. The offending company, The Annuity Store, had sent me an e-mail, unsolicited mind you, and I simply posted it informing the public of what is going on behind the scenes when they are being sold something.

Eight months later my website is shut down because The Annuity Store filed a DMCA Copyright complaint against me for posting the e-mail they sent me. Posting an unsolicited e-mail to draw attention to a practice the public should be aware of is protected speech. I responded to my host provider – Go Daddy – and even filed a counter-compliant. Go Daddy still shut down my entire website for parts of four days cutting off one of my primary vehicles for interacting with the public and clients. Go Daddy did this despite having no evidence that I actually violated any copyright.

It turns out that Go Daddy is famous for this, or rather “infamous” as this article relates. Go Daddy simply shuts you down with no due process. The Annuity Store new they didn’t have a legal case, so they tried to stop the information from getting out by using a backdoor, hoping that I’d just remove the content instead of fighting it. They’ve obviously not spent much time researching who I am.

I finally got my service restored this morning, though I’m not entirely sure why. I was told just minutes before it was restored that it would be 10 – 14 days. Then a few minutes later I got an e-mail saying the complaining party withdrew their complaint…

I’ll be changing hosting companies for sure and working to continue to expose the insurance industry.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MPAS, AIF


Rent or Buy?

images-7If you read articles that offer budgeting advice, you might see an item that says you shouldn’t spend more than 25% of your income on housing costs.  These days, that advice doesn’t apply.

Why?  According to the latest report from Zillow Group, which tracks rental housing affordability, the typical renter making the median income in the U.S. spent 30.2% of her income on a median-priced apartment.  This is the highest rate since Zillow started keeping statistics in 1979.  The average from 1985 to 1999 was 24.4%.

The rise appears to be driven by greater demand for apartments and rental units.  In the second quarter of this year, due to strict lending standards, the U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest level in almost five decades, forcing a greater number of people into the rental market.  However, those fortunate enough to obtain mortgage loans appear to be much better off than renters. With today’s low interest rates, homeowners are paying, on average, 15% of their income in mortgage payments, well below the historical average of 21%.

Zillow found that rents were least affordable in Los Angeles, where residents were paying 49 percent of monthly income. The share in San Francisco was 47 percent, 45 percent in Miami, and 41 percent in the New York metro area.


About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years.  Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site:

Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association.