Monday, August 09, 2010

741 The Maze

741 The Maze
The retirement plan was concocted by the union for freelance employees. Kick in a few bucks per check and get a few back when you retire. Good idea. At least on paper. You pick your investments, they invest for you, and later you collect. Minus the $5 per quarter administrative fee, which they don't exactly highlight in the pitch. Once you're no longer with the employer, no one can contribute, so your money sits there and earns or loses according to your investments.

Comes the day you want to roll this thing over into an insured certificate of deposit... that's when you start walking the maze.

Step one: call the fund manager and tell him what you want to do and he sends you a pound of paperwork which you fill out.

Step two: fill out and send in the paperwork.

Step three: they send you a check for what's left of your investments.

Step four: bring the paperwork and the check to the bank and they set up your IRA CD.

Step five: the charming lady from the bank sends you "one more form" to fill out and it's totally incomprehensible.

Step six: You tell the charming bank lady that you don't know the answers to any of her questions and she tells you the bank can't help you with the necessary information and please call your fund manager.

Step seven: The fund manager has surprisingly disappeared and the woman covering his phones says "we can't help you with that, it's a bank form, have the bank fill it out."

Step eight: Tell the fund management phone coverer the bank says it can't do that. She says call the union. You ask "what kind of management is this? You invest the money and now you can't identify the instrument in which it's invested? She says it's "this."

Step nine: you find white out to get rid of the stuff you've said on the form because it's wrong and you write in what's right.

Step ten: the union calls you and tells you you've made an awful mistake: it's not a "this," it's a "that."

Step eleven: you get the white out again and white out your correction and reinstate what you said in the first place.

Step twelve: You bring all this paper to the bank and the charming bank lady says "this may or may not be right. I can't tell you. But if it's wrong, the IRS will not accept the rollover."

Step thirteen: you ask the charming bank lady "when will this appear on my on-line banking website and she says she doesn't know, but if the IRS says it's wrong, the answer is never.

Step fourteen: The account appears on the bank's on line banking website.

Step Fifteen: doesn't the customer even get a chunk of Swiss cheese after navigating the maze successfully?

Step sixteen: No.



Shrapnel:

--Tired of the summertime water parks? Try Gangland Amusements in Moote Pointe, NY, 11566. Admission is free, prices for the "rides" vary. Commit any crime you want from a 7-11 heist to a cataclysmic oil spill, to your very own summer season St. Valentine's Day Massacre (children not admitted without parent or guardian.)

--A Long Island friend just bought what he describes as a "villa" in Florida because prices are low and it's a nice looking place which it is. A "villa" is an upscale house in the country owned by Roman nobility in its original usage. But call it what you will, a nice house in a nice house is a good investment, as long as he's not looking to spend July and August in it.

--An Iranian friend in northern California is trying to sell his "villa" in central Pennsylvania for not much more than he paid for it. But since he now lives 3,000 miles to the west there's not much he can do but rely on the real estate agents. And they're not exactly jumping out of their offices to bring prospective buyers around.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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