By CHUCK JAFFE
I get asked all the time about my very "favorite" Stupid Investments of the Week, the ones I consider the best in the nearly 10 years I have written the column.
There are too many to mention -- which is why the column has been so much fun to write -- but here are seven that come up a lot in conversation, and always make me smile.
* The very first one: unsecured subordinated investment notes from American Business Financial Services, which ultimately stopped paying interest and defaulted.
* Luvoo.com, because it started with a seductive (for me, anyway) phone call from Carmen Electra.
* Investment seminars that you typically see in late-night infomercials -- ranging from Teach Me to Trade to Secrets of Probate Investing, Optionetics, Rich Dad Academy Real Estate training and many others -- which I went to so that you wouldn't have to.
* XanGo Juice distributorships, because it was the last thing anyone expected to be pitched when they followed radio ads to a site promising to help them earn a lot of money.
* There's nothing like deconstructing a bad insurance policy -- like most of the ones you see advertised on television or in mass-marketing campaigns -- but AfterThoughts "birthday insurance" was the most unforgettable insurance programs tagged as SIOTW.
* So few people -- besides the ones selling them -- understand equity-indexed annuities like the MasterDex 5, and products like it comes up all the time.
* All things Gerber, baby: The Gerber Grow-Up Plan and its sister investments are among the things that I get asked about most often. They have virtually all of the classic telltale signs of a bad investment -- the subject of the final SIOTW column next week and they have returned to the column every time there seems to be a new advertising blitz.