Are Corporate Retirement Plans a Bad Deal?

This is my first post in a new series which will analyze the retirement planning industry. I will cover 401(k), 403(b), and other (less popular) vehicles in my discussions. My hope is to unravel to some extent the cost structure of these plans and help corporate executives, business developers, and plan participants to gain a stronger understanding of how their retirement funds are being handled. It’s no secret that retirement plans are a huge mystery, even to those who administer them and preach about their benefits. Much of my research is my own, and stems from reading hundreds of retirement plan documents and speaking to people who invest their hard earned money in these plans. The other portion of my research comes from Matthew Hutcheson, an authority in the field of unmasking qualified retirement plans. I’d like to thank him in advance for his extensive knowledge and research in this area. His paper on hidden fees in qualified retirement plans is outstanding and can be found, along with other interesting materials, at the 401k Help Center.

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March Newsletter from Premier Financial Advisors

On February 27th the Chinese stock market plunged 9% on fears of increased government intervention in the booming Chinese economy. Combined with some disappointing news about durable goods spending, the broad market averages declined sharply, erasing many of our gains for the year. Two weeks later, the markets are still jittery, with the Dow swaying near that psychologically important 12,000 level. The latest concerns are regarding sub-prime lending–an important concept which I’d like to explain.

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Book Review: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing is about the benefits of index investing. This should be expected considering it was written by John Bogle. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, John Bogle started The Vanguard Group in 1974. Bogle is one of the most important minds behind the passive investing school of thought. Bogle and his growing band of followers believe that focusing on low-cost investing and tax efficiency is a better strategy than chasing performance. On most issues, I agree. His logic is simple and clear and his examples are light enough for anyone to understand.

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“Missed Fortune” Financial Planning

Have you ever heard of this concept? I had a potential client contact me recently to get my take on whether “Missed Fortune” financial planning is as brilliant as its famed promoter (Doug Andrews) claims it is. Like many other financial advisors (and bloggers) I’m going to award Andrew’s concept a NO from my perspective. Granted, I’m sometimes referred to as a “conservative planner” but Andrew’s concepts seem more than risky–some are downright dangerous.

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