I know sometimes I might sound a little cranky (like yesterday, for example). But here’s a good reason why….I can’t make this stuff up.
Some back story:
As an advisor, one of the most common requests I’d receive was to help someone choose which funds to pick inside their workplace retirement plan.
Most companies have one – either a 401(k), 403(b), SEP, SIMPLE, or something… Each of these plans was sold to the company owner by a salesperson financial advisor.
Who picks which funds are appropriate to include in the account? Who makes the (hopefully) long list of choices you and I can oogle while we decide which is best for your retirement? The owner chooses, but she is handed a list by the salesperson financial advisor. 99 percent of the time, the owner doesn’t hav the time or inclination to second guess the choices, so they accept the “professional” recommendation. If you work for a large corporation…then who picks the funds? A committee…combined with the salesperson financial advisor.
What happens when your 401(k) fund choices just plain suck? Do you have any repercussions?
Apparently, you do. And this is where our story begins……
At Ameriprise Financial, (they’re a middle-of-the-road financial “planning” firm) employees are eligible for their own 401(k) plan. One of the nice bonuses for those working in the industry, is that you may happen to have an in-house mutual fund department. Ameriprise does. Awesome! And, you may have your very own retirement plan operation. Ameriprise does. Cool beans!
When you sell funds for a living, you would suspect there’d be awesome choices in your plan…right? You’d skip to work every day, whistling with joy and pinching yourself that you work for the company that knows how to deliver the bacon when it comes to retirement plans. It’s kind of like owning the golden goose.
But it isn’t.
According to Nathan Hale at CBS MoneyWatch, Ameriprise funds inside of the Ameriprise 401(k) suck SO BAD that employees are SUING the company to get out.
Wait. Did I read that correctly?
Financial advisors are suing their own company for forcing them to eat their own cooking? HA HA HA HA.
That, folks, is the definition of irony.
It may also be why Joe’s had a case of the crankies.
This is specifically why planning your own future is non-negotiable. If you want to achieve your goal, know what you’re doing yourself. It’s okay if you need to hire an advisor, but don’t just hand them the keys to your car, jump in the back and expect to reach the place you want to go!
Do your own homework. In this case, the stuff that’s peddled by these salespersons financial advisors is so atrocious, they wouldn’t own it themselves (the cynical part of me thinks they might still sell it to their mother, though, if there’s a bonus in it).
Don’t let a salesperson tell you to “stay the course, Mr. Smith. It’ll be OK” if it clearly isn’t the case. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to show you some of the cool tools you can use for FREE on the internet to do your own homework. Even if you have an advisor, you should know how to double-check her work.
That should be exciting, huh? For now, I’m going to keep giggling to myself about this story.