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  1. LBJackson

    It's A Boy

    Dan, Congratulations. You are about to partake on a fantastic voyage. You will learn a whole new language, although it will not be applicable to put on any resume, you will love using it regardless. Your senses will develop to a keeness not before thought possible, especially in the olfactory system (strangely, those about you will develop the same increased intensity, albeit temporaily). Hearing will become acute, too, especially in restaurants and other public forums. If this is your first child, you will sterilize everything that drops to the ground before giving back to baby; if this is your second, wiping on trousers is deemed sufficient sterilization. Why this is so, nobody knows for sure. You will learn all about how sonar, radar, and other detecting systems work with your newly acquired ability to pick out your baby's signal emissions, e.g. "sounds" and "smells" from incredible distances and from among a multitude of similar sounds and smells one would think would mask any distinctions. But keep in mind that as developed and as sensitive your senses may become Ñ and they will Ñ they will pale in comparison to those of your wife's and mother of this special little creature. She is and will remain the Mother Ship to this little alien as s/he gets acquainted with life on earth. Treat her well. Be courteous and considerate. Giving birth is like pulling your lower lip over your head, not to mention the prior 9 months. There is much, much more...have a seat, buckle up, and enjoy the trip...Dad. LBJackson :)
  2. The NASD said they were separating the good from the bad vis-a-vis VA products. Here are some recent results. LBJackson [sorry about the length, their permission requires all of the article to be printed in its entirety] May 20, 2004--Copyright 2004 A.M. Best Company, Inc. BestWire NASD MOVES AGAINST SECURITIES DEALERS, BROKERS OVER VARIABLE-ANNUITY SALES NEW YORK (BestWire) - The National Association of Securities Dealers said it has fined three securities dealers and a broker a total of $503,000, while barring two other brokers from the industry, for violations involving variable-annuity transactions. NASD said it censured and fined Nationwide Investment Services Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, and its affiliate, Nationwide Securities Inc. of Dublin, Ohio, a total of $175,000 for having inadequate procedures and systems in place governing the sale of variable annuities, and for distributing advertising and sales literature that failed to make required disclosures involving variable-annuity investments. American Express Financial Advisors was censured and fined $300,000 for inadequate record-keeping over a four-year period, NASD said. That problem was discovered during an investigation into unauthorized withdrawals from a customer's variable-annuity account, NASD said. Efforts to reach those securities dealers for further comment weren't immediately successful. The three brokers cited by NASD were: -- Daniel Karl Park of Frisco, Texas, formerly of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, who was barred from association with any NASD member after allegedly signing the name of his wife to six different variable-annuity withdrawal requests, then converting the funds without his wife's authorization. -- Debora A. Fruge of Sulpher, La., formerly of Banc One Securities Corp., barred for making misrepresentations to a customer regarding the balance of a variable-annuity account, forging the customer's name to change-of-address forms and falsifying a confirmation related to the variable-annuity account, among other violations. -- Michael H. Tew of Dothan, Ala., formerly of A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc., suspended for six months and fined $28,000 for selling three unsuitable variable annuities. "These cases are the latest to result from a series of ongoing special examinations conducted by NASD focusing on the sale of variable contracts," said Mary L. Schapiro, president of NASD's regulatory policy and oversight division, in a statement. "Variable annuity sales have been the focus of increased, NASD-wide attention for the last two years, and the subject of more than 80 disciplinary actions during that time." A month ago, NASD's board of governors approved a proposed rule that would impose "a wide range" of new requirements aimed specifically at transactions in deferred variable annuities, said Schapiro. Those rules would range from new sales-practice standards and supervisory requirements to increase disclosure and more training of sales forces. NASD also has issued alerts to firms and investors to emphasize the proper sale of variable life insurance products, said Schapiro. Northwestern Mutual Investment Services is a member of Northwestern Mutual Group, which includes Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.; Nationwide Investment Services Corp. is an affiliate of Nationwide Financial Services Inc. (NYSE:NFS), a subsidiary of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. Several months ago, Northwestern acknowledged the NASD has been scrutinizing sales of variable life products for the entire industry since 1999. Northwestern Mutual was at the end of the train for the investigation, and in 2001 the self-regulatory body for securities dealers approached the company and asked for a representative sample of variable life customers, Northwestern said at that time (BestWire, Feb. 19, 2004). Northwestern provided 2,500 policies for review, and over time the NASD narrowed its focus to 20 policies, the company said. Over the three-year process, each policy was reviewed thoroughly, but no action has been taken, nor has there been any indication of improper activity, Northwestern said. A spokeswoman said in February that Northwestern Mutual has 7,900 representatives in the field, so occasions will arise when the customer is sold an inappropriate product because of the complexity of this type of policy. However, when customers contact the company to make changes in their policies, the insurer promptly handles these requests, she said. The financial strength of Northwestern Mutual Life is rated A++ (Superior), and that of Nationwide Group is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Co. Nationwide Financial's stock was trading at $34.51 a share on the afternoon of May 20, up 0.15% from the previous close. (By David Pilla, senior associate editor, BestWeek: David.Pilla@ambest.com)
  3. QUOTE: [if an Employee separates on or after their 55 birthday will they occur penalties if they access their 403b?] The federal government does not levy the notorious 10% early withdrawal/distribution penalty on those parties who are at least 55 years of age within the year of receiving their funds (I do not recall if there is an age condition limiting this, e.g. Age 55 by April 15th of the year of withdrawal). HOWEVER, this is allowed if it is in fact a Separation from Service and there are other conditions involved. Finally, if penalties from your particular account will be incurred is another question. If you have your 403(b) money in an annuity, you may have a surrender charge remaining. Most annuities have a "free" withdrawal amount of 10% of a particular account value, sometimes it is 10% of the Account or Largest Value, other times it is 10% of the lesser values. Some annuities have been known to offer greater than 10% WD without assessing or incurring a penalty. So, to answer your question: It depends.
  4. Variable annuity rates policies offer distinct advantages over fixed annuity rates policies in that the buyer has some control over the investment decisions. The annuitant can elect to transfer part or all of the policy funds from one investment to another as the market fluctuates. This allows some form of damage control should the economic outlook turn dim. This is all I could recall or find. Probably too little to be a big help. Which on the face of it should be enough in that there ARE NOT many advantages to variables.
  5. *** News Flash *** EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT ! Caps are increasing dramatically on the following products….EFFECTIVE TODAY! OLD NEW POWERHOUSE 8% 12% BONUS DEX 8% 10% FLEX DEX 8% 10% POWER DEX 10% 12% ACCUMULATOR 10% Bonus is BACK ! F & G is increasing caps on INDEX REWARDS from 8% to 9% The current interest rate on ALL Allianz products is increasing from 3 points to 3.5 points.
  6. LBJackson

    The Me Fee

    JLF: THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Fromyour explanation, the ME truly affects every aspect of an annuity, from accummulation periods to distribution stages. This should be pointed out from the get-go. The ME is like paying rent:just because you are retiring doesn't mean the landlord is going to altruistically lower your rent. It's tough cookies to those who do not pay attention to ALL OF THE DETAILS. Again, thank you for answering in so understanding a manner. LBJackson
  7. LBJackson

    The Me Fee

    JLF: Would you be so kind as to explain the "Annuity Rate". Some annuities pay more per thousand dollars than others. Does the M&E necessarily correspond with the net payout as a factor to determine actual periodic payments? Obviously, the M&E is important, but isn't "annuitizing" letting the company control your principal; isn't this something an investor can do for themselves?
  8. "Cautiously optimistic" is better than anything I've heard to date for LAUSD and your efforts to enlighten a recalcitrant and entrenched bureaucracy. Good job and good luck, Steve.
  9. Tampa: You cannot FORCE anyone to make any directed decisions on where to place their money, but I think that an employer with a qualified plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b), etc. must offer more than one vendor as their fudiciary responsibility in offering "choice" of plans to their employees. And by vendors, I mean different and competitive companies, not an assortment of "choices" from a single company such as VALIC. That would be like offering different tire tread patterns on the same Yugo (remember that piece-of-junk jalopy from what was Yugoslavia?). If VALIC is so confident in the value and competitiveness of their product, then the entry of others would barely give them rise and afford them the opportunity to show the world that they are the better product by comparison. In effect, you guys are actually helping VALIC with real time comparisons. And if VALIC can prove to out perform and out-value T-Cref and Vanguard, then they have nothing to worry about. However, one of the more enlightened 403 wise guys can elaborate on this area better than I. Hopefully, this helped you a little.
  10. Here is what is coming down the line to YOUR SCHOOL THIS FALL 2003 in the next marketing attack by the LARGEST and MOST SUCCESSFUL ANNUITY SALES GROUP --- EVER. How DO they DO it? They have hired Madison Avenue Ad Execs (really, from NYC, they are the real deal) to find innovative ways to penetrate and sell to unsuspecting consumers with their eyes on saving and retirement. Think you are safe behind the "DO NOT CALL" law. Guess again! These clever folks are spreading the word about a "loophole". They are making money in a market where others are dying on the vine. The following is off of their web site and is projected to be introduced this September... **Enlightened Educator** is an intensive, information-packed system designed to "educate" the huge and growing educator marketplace. The system provides you with all the tools you need to develop a strategy and penetrate this lucrative market. With this system you can show participants · how to accelerate their retirement plans, · increase their retirement income, · reduce costly credit card debt immediately, · create tax-deductible buying power today, · compound net worth without paying taxes, and · sleep worry-free every night. Territory Assignments September 2003 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Asset Marketing Systems (AMS) is one of the fastest growing field-marketing organizations in the financial services industry today. This year, with our marketing support, we will help our producers place about $3 Billion in Fixed and Equity Indexed Annuity premium with America's 35 (and counting) million people at or near retirement age. Note: --They sell $3 BILLION in Annuities. The next closest competitor has over 10-times the agents and less than one seventh the production. --They promote two-tierred annuities (weren't these outlawed in many school districts?), --over 50% of their business is through ONE COMPANY -- ALLIANZ. Presently Allianz is having a little trouble in Texas school districts with some class-action lawsuits. --If they haven't started with teachers yet, to whom have they targeted to date? 75-YEAR OLD SENIORS --THEY ARE SELLING 75-YEAR OLD SENIORS EQUITY ANNUITIES! --AMS' promotion line to insurance agents is "We will double your income and double your time off." --AMS' strategy is seminar format with vague information teasers to "see me for the REAL information" --AMS is a team effort with a front man who warms up the audience to introduce the speaker and after every 2 to 3 topics they introduce a marketing gimmick: FREE drawing for questionably valuable "prizes" and such. --AMS is so turnkey, that their agents memorize the sales pitch, you NEVER add nor delete anything from the PITCH. They keep statistics and KNOW EXACTLY the sales to be derived from any group of seminar attendees. --Do they LIE? Are they DECEPTIVE? No. Tell no stories, tell no lies. They tell you nothing. To learn anything, you have to set an appointment. Once in their office, in 10 minutes you are a qualified buyer or you are escorted out. What's a buyer? You have money somewhere: IRA, 401(k), Pension, etc. --Are they good at selling? They are the BEST. YOU should be scared....very scared. http://www.assetmarketingsystems.com
  11. Steve Schullo may have hit onto something: If ONE ScottyD is GOOD for the 403(b) system, it stands to reason that MORE ScottyDs is BETTER. Perhaps the in the seam to get this thing wide open and to develop some momentum for change is to promote only those who are willing to mimic ScottD? I feel that this may be akin to turning around a battleship, but I beleive it is a "doable" thing. It's a grassroots promotion, but word-of-email may be easily spread. I have heard enuf of what is wrong with the system, the insurance companies, their respective agents, the weak and/or disinterested admins at school districts, et al. Let's get the word out that we only use clones of ScottyD, i.e. professional and certified planners. All a teacher has to ask is if the "planner" is not fee-for-service, forget it, move along little doggie, move along. This is just my 2-cents.
  12. Just Curious, to "gschech": Can I venture a guess? Does the "V" stand for VULTURE? As to RFPs: Non-profit organizations keep an eye on expenses, not bottomlines. They start out the year with a budget and spend it all throughout the year. 403(b) programs are voluntary participation. But unlike employers who utilize 401(k)s, there is no incentive for the employer to "keep" employees, one of the primary reasons for-profit companies to install 401(k) in the first place: to retain and attract better employees. The education community uses a different set of criteria to attract and retain employees, especially critical when profit is not a part of the picture. I contend that the 403(b) has evolved very little from its origins, where the "other" bevy of qualified plans are regularly being modified to suit the prevailing economic situation(s). Another factor is that the 401(k) in the private sector may be the only form of retirement for the employees. Educators have a healthy TRS (or similar fund) AND the option to contribute to a 403(b), too. I agree with y'all that the 403(b) is the elephant in the room. It is time we brought others into the debate on modernizing the 403(b) besides the school district administrators and the bunions, I mean unions. Just my little 2 cents.
  13. Dean G. and ScottyD: Go get 'em, cowboys. Hopefully, this works all around. There's this story about these little boys who were identical twins, except that one was a Pessimist, the other an Optimist. They were told that in the next room was a BIG SURPRISE for their birthday. When the Pessimist twin was led into the nextdoor room their was nothing in it but a big pile of manure. The Pessimist glared at the pile and said, "What is this? Get me out of here, there's nothing here but a pile of s**t." The second boy was then led into the room. But this twin, the Optimist, upon seeing the pile of manure made a beeline to the top shouted, "YIPPEE!" and started digging frantically through the pile. Asked what he was doing he replied. " With this much s**t here, there's got to be a pony somewhere." Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Good, luck.
  14. This is the realm of the USA Department of Labor, or DOL. Here's an URL that will take you there: http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/erisa.htm Have fun, and hopefully this is helpful to you.
  15. Spending time on how someone makes their money is ludicrous at best. If you buy a piece of crap and the agent/rep makes not a wit, you are still ending up with crap. ScottyD posts that his fee is $150.00 an hour versus the "broker" at $7,800, or $3,900 and hour (in this case). If ScottyD and the broker both sold the same product, then who is the fool? The point goes back to educating the consumer to make a better selection. How about skipping all of the "financial planners" and buying directly from Vanguard? Educating as to the quality, or should I sale VALUE of the purchase makes the most sense. Nobody begrudges TIAA-Cref's multi-million dollars of earnings because the product is good. There is perceived VALUE. Vanguard is not in the business to give teachers a freebie, nor to be judged. Their policy is that they offer a quality product at a lower cost and rely on reputation and volume to make up the difference. This is not socialism, folks. For those that are naive or ingnorant will get picked off by the wolves. But the wolves have got to eat, too. Why not get the insurance industry under the SEC umbrella? Why not introduce legislation that will put a FULL DISCLOSURE statement forth offering the consumer all of the alternatives along with definitions, a glossary of terms, a SHORT statement of resourse e.g. "403bwise.com". Also, if commissions were reduced for rollovers, transfers, i.e. moving funds from one custodial account to another, the incentive would go away to move people's money and MAYBE more people will seek out "consultants" such as ScottyD for assistance as to where to place their money. The senior market has made some strides in this arena. In California, long term care insurance cannot be replaced UNLESS the senior client is placed into a better position. The commissions are dynamically reduced as a dis-incentive to move seniors from policy-to-policy and with teeth in the law, most agents willl not go to the trouble to discuss LTC insurance with people presently covered. And 403(b) needs to be reformed and brought into the modren world. It is the only qualified plan that I am aware of that will not allow partial transfers nor transfers to an IRA unless one of the 5 "triggers" is fired off (separation from service, divorce, death, etc.) Let the wolves have their pound of flesh, but even the playing field with education of available resources and choice...and hold the wolves accountable for their decisions.
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