Thursday, July 8, 2010

401k pains, part 2

At my (almost) new job, 401k is handled by a private company. Not that their mutual funds are atrociously expensive (they are, average expense ratio is about0.4%), but these guys also charge 0.1% management fee on all the money under management.
Most doctors will be fast asleep if your start talking "expense ratios" to them. No wonder they are oblivious to the fact that, if you believe the Wall St. gurus, the market returns are about 8% a year in a very long run, they are loosing 6 to 7% of these money- no, much more if you counting compound interest- it'll be close to 10%.
The other thing worth mentioning is that even those doctors who were entrusted to make decisions for the whole group about their 401k know very little about money in general let alone investing.
I heard one of the "seasoned" members of the fringe benefits committee seriously suggesting to "just select the best mutual funds out there and just invest in them" My humble statement that, in the long run, statistically speaking, half of the mutual funds' money managers will fail to keep up even with the average market returns, and it's close to impossible to predict which funds they are, was met with dead silence. When doctors have nothing to say....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

401k pains, part 1.

Now, what I wanted to write about for a long while but didn't have time to do:the 401k for those lucky (or unlucky) enough to have one (unlucky because it usually means working for a paycheck).
Anyways, I was once ( in a very recent past) a member of the fringe benefits committee for our small group. As it turned out, you always need a broker between you (i.e. , doctors' group) and a 401k provider ( Vanguard, T.Rowe Price, Principal etc.). Always. Now, this broker (obviously!) has to be paid, even though he/she doesn't do ANYTHING for your group other than being on record.
As it turned out, our broker did not produce a single piece of paper or a statement or a letter or a recommendation to add or drop a mutual fund in 10 years of being our broker, all the while being paid $70,000/yr.
Once we discovered it, they were immediately fired while a new group recruited. Bye-bye $ 700,000....