Introducing The Stealth IRA

High deductible healthcare plans with Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) are increasingly popular.  Using HSA’s as a secret/stealth way to save more money for retirement might make sense for all those maxing out their 401(k) and looking for more deductions. Here are the basics about the “Stealth IRA” (HSA): Contributions to an HSA are deductible either […] […] Read more

Investment Roulette

I recently made the drive to the casino in Charles Town West Virginia.  If you have never been, a casino is an exciting mix of flashing lights and ringing bells.  If you look around someone always seems to be winning. At most casinos you will find a roulette table.  In this game of chance a […] […] Read more

401k Exchange Lives On…By Another Name

Many business owners remember getting hammered by daily phone calls from a company called “401k Exchange” out of Palm Beach Florida.  They offered to review your companies 401(k) plan for free.  For those of you that finally agreed (just to make the calls stop if nothing more) they then sold your contact information to the […] […] Read more

Malcolm Gladwell: Courageous or Crazy?

I am a fan of Malcolm Gladwell (author of “Blink” and “Tipping Point”) and I am also a fan of football.  I never thought the two would come in conflict with each other but I was wrong. Malcolm was invited to speak at Penn State earlier in the year, and in that speech he had […] […] Read more

Never leave a 401(k) behind

I am often amazed at the number of people that leave retirement plans behind when they change employers.  Why would anyone take a chance on losing track of their hard earned money?  Are they just irresponsible?  Lazy?  From the companies perspective, why would anyone want to continue to pay administrative costs for people who are […] […] Read more

Great Show On PBS!

Here is the Frontline PBS documentary film titled “The Retirement Gamble”:   I have marked interesting points in the film that tie in with points I try to make on this blog.  Take a moment to watch a few minutes of it and learn: How high fees destroy our retirement savings (video marker 23.40). The […] […] Read more

401(k) Investments For The 99%

I recently was asked to look at a 401(k) plan for a local business that had seventy different mutual funds on the menu.  Seventy different choices?! Business owners and financial advisers often put a lot of time and effort into choosing, monitoring and replacing  investments for the 401(k) plan.  Here is the problem:  99% of […] […] Read more

How do you measure success?

How do you measure the success of your 401(k)? Most of us would probably answer “great investment performance” but very few business owners have any idea how their overall 401(k) plan has actually fared. To find out, look at your IRS Form 5500, Part III, Line 8b “Other income (loss)”and divide that number into the […] […] Read more

No One Really Wants To Be “Vice President”…

No one really wants to be “Vice President”… unless you work in the financial services industry.  I often hear people tell me that they work with the “Vice President” of XYZ brokerage house, and are crushed when I am unimpressed. Here is the secret:  The Vice President title is given out to brokers for generating […] […] Read more

Fee Disclosure Reveals 401(k) Fiduciary

In case you missed it, your 401(k) provider should have provided you, the business owner, with a fee disclosure notice by July 1st.  Participants should have received a seperate notice 60 days later. As I said in one of my last blog posts, I think all of this fine print missed the mark.  Most people […] […] Read more

Who Let The Fox In The Hen House?

No one intentionally lets the fox in the hen house.  The fox is sneaky, the hens are busy laying eggs and the farmer has a million things on his mind.  And then disaster strikes. In the 401(k) industry the story goes like this: A broker/salesperson sells a busy business owner a 401(k) plan.  The cost […] […] Read more

“I’m From The Government and I’m Here To Help.”

Ronald Reagan called the above quote “the nine scariest words in the English language” and I am afraid he may be right. On July 1st of 2012 the Government is requiring 401(k) providers to disclose their fees to business owners. Sixty days later on August 30th, similar disclosures around retirement plan costs will be provided […] […] Read more

“God Damn The Pusher Man” – Steppenwolf

We all have our vices.  Some smoke, some over eat and some people are addicted to finding the “hot” investments for their 401(k) plan.  Financial salespeople feed our addiction by offering to find the hot fund for us. Before you hire an adviser to pick hot funds for your 401(k) menu, or design model portfolios […] […] Read more