Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The San Francisco Money Show

Each fall, The Money Show is held at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel in the city's downtown. This a literal carnival of investing. Every year The Money Show brings in a large collection of speakers, most of whom have some sort of investing product or service to sell, who pitch their advice in 30-45 minute speaker sessions. Over the years, though, I have seen some notable speakers. The ones that I remember most vividly are Bambi Francisco of, James Jubak who is a commentator for MSN Money, and William J. O'Neil who is the founder of Investor's Business Daily.

The seminar sessions are broken out into many of the hotel's subterranean meeting rooms. The SF Marriott is a huge hotel with dozens of meeting rooms that can be re-sized for practically any group of speakers. It is well suited for conventions such as The Money Show. At any given time, several speakers will be talking about different topics. Many of the speakers do have something to say about important topics. I think that the speakers representing larger firms are often trying to share their knowledge with people. But having said that, there are a lot of speakers who are just giving a sales pitch and fishing for new business.

The exhibitors at The Money Show range from large mutual fund companies and brokerage houses to individual newsletter writers and penny stock promoters. All and all, one has to pick and choose which booths are worth stopping by for more than quick glance. If you linger too long at any one booth, you might find yourself in the middle of an unwanted sales pitch. There is no shortage of reading materials for the numerous offerings that the exhibitors have. This brings me to another reason I like going to The Money Show: freebies.

I can usually cart off a couple of bags worth of sample newsletters, magazines, pens, notepads, keychains, refrigerator magnets, mouse pads, and candies. Sometimes, I've been able to land a canvas tote bag, baseball cap, or a free T-shirt. My DW says that I'm a magnet for a free T-shirt offer. One time, I was lucky enough to get a copy of William J. O'Neil's book, 24 Essential Lessons for Investment Success. And occasionally, exhibitors will invite you for lunch or cocktails, but that usually involves listening to a sales presentation for the duration.

Oh, and did I mention that admission to The Money Show is free as well? My DW and I generally make a trek into the city for The Money Show event. Unfortunately, this year we are not going because they have decided to hold it on the weekdays only from October 16-18, 2006. I still have a regular job to hold down, so I will have to miss it. Maybe next year.


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