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jlance

Surrender Charges

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Just so I'm clear, Joel...are you now asking me to write to AFT to question their "Shark Attack" article, a mere few days after telling everyone on this site on March 17th that you highly recommended the article? (I'm surprised you don't want me to include an unsubstantiated allegation that the AFT is merely endorsing ING for the extra ten grand or so in advertising revenue.)

 

I think I'll pass on including you as a signatory on my letter to the AFT and/or NYSUT, largely because I doubt you'd agree with my conclusions. Should I decide to write to them, it'll be to thank them for working with ING to create Opportunity Plus, a 403(b) program wherein I pay no annual account fee, no front-end sales charges, no back-end sales charges (declining or otherwise), and no surrender fees of any kind; and which features a fixed account that contractually cannot go lower than 4%, a pretty outstanding rate in today's interest rate environment. (Funny, when TIAA-CREF or Vanguard offer funds that have no sales charges, they're the model providers; when ING does it, they're sharks.) Yes, their expense ratios are certainly higher than the no-loads; I'm happy to pay more to receive the services of a certified financial planner as part of the deal. Why that should be anathema to you, when it would be perfectly acceptable to pay much much more for a fee-only financial planner to guide me to no-load funds, remains a mystery to me. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Frenchman:

 

The AFT/Shark Attack article says: "The New York State United Teachers, Education Minnesota and the United Federation of Teachers (New York City) have also used their significant clout to force positive changes in the 403(b) options offered to their members and to reduce administrative expenses"

 

So apparently the high cost variable annuity known as Opportunity Plus and the high cost 403(b)7 program known as Opportunity Independence is the "result of the NYSUT using its significant clout to force positive changes in the 403(b) options offered to their members and to reduce administrative expenses".

 

Frenchman, would you please describe for us the type of 403(b) sharks the AFT article is referring to if the Opportunity Plus and Opportunity Independence are examples of "positive changes".

 

If these programs represent "positive change" why is the NY City teachers union, the largest affiliate of NYSUT, representing about half of the teachers in the State of NY, steadfastly opposed to ING and simply does not allow their sales reps to solicit NYC teachers?

 

Peace and Hope,

Joel

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Frenchman, would you please describe for us the type of 403(b) sharks the AFT article is referring to if the Opportunity Plus and Opportunity Independence are examples of "positive changes".

 

If these programs represent "positive change" why is the NY City teachers union, the largest affiliate of NYSUT, representing about half of the teachers in the State of NY, steadfastly opposed to ING and simply does not allow their sales reps to solicit NYC teachers?

 

Peace and Hope,

Joel

 

Since I don't work for the AFT and I didn't write the "shark attack" article, I can't answer your first question, though I remain perplexed as to why you recommended we all read the article if you were so opposed to its conclusions. I have already pointed out that I agree with the article's assertion that NYSUT has done excellent work on behalf of its membership, though. NYSUT has negotiated several low- or no-cost features into Opportunity Plus or Opportunity Independence. Apparently the waiver of annual fees, sales charges and surrender charges means nothing to you; I assure you that many, many teachers and NYSUT members feel very differently.

 

As to why the NY City teachers union opposes ING and their sales reps, I would leave that question for them to answer. Since I don't work in a NYC school, I haven't the faintest idea. I imagine their ban extends to more companies than ING, but I wouldn't presume to speak for them.

 

Why do you continue to brand Opportunity Plus and Opportunity Independence as "high cost," when both programs feature NO annual fees, NO sales charges and NO surrender fees for NYSUT members? I've never suggested that either program is the lowest-cost program available in the state, but it's quite disingenuous to suggest that either program is "high cost" in the face of facts that suggest otherwise.

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Since I don't work for the AFT and I didn't write the "shark attack" article, I can't answer your first question, though I remain perplexed as to why you recommended we all read the article if you were so opposed to its conclusions.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Frenchman: I urged all to read the "Shark Attack" article to show that the AFT is putting its membership on allert to watch out for the sharks and then the AFT and its statewide affiliates endorse 2 percent plans...now c'mon Frechman you and I know that sharks come in all different sizes and shapes---but they are still all sharks.

 

Now, as far as the NYSUT situation is concerned, the variable annuity known as "Opportunity Plus" is categorically a 2 percent plan. If you agree with the AFT that "Opportunity Plus" is not an example of the sharks described in the article then I must ask you to describe the costs associated with a 403(b) shark. How high does the expense ratio have to go before you cry out: "shark attack" and run for the sand?

 

Peace and Hope,

Joel L. Frank

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Now, as far as the NYSUT situation is concerned, the variable annuity known as "Opportunity Plus" is categorically a 2 percent plan. If you agree with the AFT that "Opportunity Plus" is not an example of the sharks described in the article then I must ask you to describe the costs associated with a 403(b) shark. How high does the expense ratio have to go before you cry out: "shark attack" and run for the sand?

 

 

Woodman, guess we just have to agree to disagree on this. To answer what was probably a rhetorical question: you and I clearly view expense ratios in different ways. You look at that singular piece of information, take the "lowest" expense ratios, cheer the plans who offer them, and decry all those who charge more. I (and, I promise you, an awful lot of teachers out there) would rather look not just at the expense ratio, but what comes with the expense ratio. The phrase "you get what you pay for" comes to mind here. Opportunity Plus clients receive a waiver of a lot of the expenses generally associated with 403(b) plans, which I've already detailed several times, and they receive access to financial planning professionals (at a much lower cost, I point out yet again, than "fee-only" financial planners). I expect, and receive, a lot in exchange for the higher expense ratio I pay, and I've illustrated already that it actually costs me much less to receive such advice from the certified financial planner at ING than it would to visit a fee-only financial planner.

 

Even still, I am not characterizing all fee-only financial planners as "sharks." It's a pity you can't open your mind enough to grant the same concession to financial planning professionals at ING and firms like it.

 

 

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As to why the NY City teachers union opposes ING and their sales reps, I would leave that question for them to answer. Since I don't work in a NYC school, I haven't the faintest idea. I imagine their ban extends to more companies than ING, but I wouldn't presume to speak for them.

================================================

French Teacher: Surely you know that NYC Teachers pay through their local dues, dues to NYSUT. You also must know that about half the teachers in the State of NY are employed by the Board of Education of the City of New York. And you are not just a wee bit curious as to the reasons New York City teachers are excluded from "Opportunity Plus" and "Opportunity Independence?"

 

You say you "wouldn't presume to speak for them" but you "speak" for the participants of "Opportunity Plus" when you say they are quite satisfied. But you are coy with me when I ask you for your take as to why NYC teachers are excluded.

 

May I suggest you fight for the NYC teachers to gain access to ING because a doubling of the particpation rate will definitely lead to a lowering of the 200 basis points (or will it) you now pay and that translates into a larger account balance for participants like you.

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You say you "wouldn't presume to speak for them" but you "speak" for the participants of "Opportunity Plus" when you say they are quite satisfied. But you are coy with me when I ask you for your take as to why NYC teachers are excluded.

 

May I suggest you fight for the NYC teachers to gain access to ING because a doubling of the particpation rate will definitely lead to a lowering of the 200 basis points (or will it) you now pay and that translates into a larger account balance for participants like you.

 

So I'm guilty of coyness. It's almost like when people ask you what YOU do for a living, and how that colors YOUR opinions, and...well, you're not coy at all. You're silent.

 

For the record, I speak for only one Opportunity Plus client: myself. But I presume that these well-educated teachers of which you speak are smart enough to transfer their money to a new financial services company if they're NOT satisfied. So yes, I imagine most Opportunity Plus clients ARE satisfied. As are most TIAA-CREF clients...most Equitable clients...most Vanguard clients...else why would they still be clients?

 

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Now that you are clearly against the ropes you decide to change the subject...let's stick to the subject at hand. You miss my point entirely: Here it is once again:

 

WITHOUT FRENCH TEACHER'S PERMISSION/APPROVAL THE NYSUT HAD THE UNMITIGATED GAUL AND TEMERITY TO ENDORSE A 200 BASIS POINT PROVIDER WHEN THEY KNEW THAT IN RETURN FOR THAT EXCLUSIVE ENDORSEMENT THEY, NYSUT, WOULD BE SHARING IN THOSE 200 BASIS POINTS.

 

It is unfortunate that you are not insulted that this momentous decision that affects your future financial security was made without first being ratified by the membership.

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Now that you are clearly against the ropes you decide to change the subject...let's stick to the subject at hand. You miss my point entirely: Here it is once again:

 

WITHOUT FRENCH TEACHER'S PERMISSION/APPROVAL THE NYSUT HAD THE UNMITIGATED GAUL AND TEMERITY TO ENDORSE A 200 BASIS POINT PROVIDER WHEN THEY KNEW THAT IN RETURN FOR THAT EXCLUSIVE ENDORSEMENT THEY, NYSUT, WOULD BE SHARING IN THOSE 200 BASIS POINTS.

 

It is unfortunate that you are not insulted that this momentous decision that affects your future financial security was made without first being ratified by the membership.

 

You're almost entertaining, Joel. I'm against the ropes? Because YOU say I am? You haven't responded to a single point that's been made here, by myself or by anyone else. If anyone makes a point that wobbles the logic of your argument (such as it is), you simply ignore it. And when an entire SERIES of points is made against you, you simply overlook them and declare yourself victorious. You also deign to condescend to me (how unfortunate that I am not insulted), since facts merely hamper you in your one-man crusade against ING.

 

Try to understand (look it up, if it helps you) that NYSUT and the NYSUT Benefit Trust are two separate entities. NYSUT didn't endorse ANYthing. ANYTHING AT ALL. The NYSUT Benefit Trust did. I am NOT a member of the Benefit Trust, therefore I had no permission or approval to grant.

 

If I don't like the company that the Benefit Trust endorsed, I am completely free to disregard that endorsement and to choose a low-cost provider that is also offered where I work. Many of my colleagues have done so. Many others haven't.

 

"Momentous decision that affects my financial security"...pffft. Again, you run on and on as if the endorsement were a mandate, and we were all FORCED to choose ING. We aren't.

 

I'm sure your next reply will also ignore everything that I've just stated, including the fact that all NYSUT members have options for their 403(b) accounts, and are in NO WAY limited to ING.

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Now that you are clearly against the ropes you decide to change the subject...let's stick to the subject at hand.  You miss my point entirely:  Here it is once again: 

 

WITHOUT FRENCH TEACHER'S PERMISSION/APPROVAL THE NYSUT HAD THE UNMITIGATED GAUL AND TEMERITY TO ENDORSE A 200 BASIS POINT PROVIDER WHEN THEY KNEW THAT IN RETURN FOR THAT EXCLUSIVE ENDORSEMENT THEY, NYSUT, WOULD BE SHARING IN THOSE 200 BASIS POINTS.

 

It is unfortunate that you are not insulted that this momentous decision that affects your future financial security was made without first being ratified by the membership.

 

You're almost entertaining, Joel. I'm against the ropes? Because YOU say I am? You haven't responded to a single point that's been made here, by myself or by anyone else. If anyone makes a point that wobbles the logic of your argument (such as it is), you simply ignore it. And when an entire SERIES of points is made against you, you simply overlook them and declare yourself victorious. You also deign to condescend to me (how unfortunate that I am not insulted), since facts merely hamper you in your one-man crusade against ING.

 

Try to understand (look it up, if it helps you) that NYSUT and the NYSUT Benefit Trust are two separate entities. NYSUT didn't endorse ANYthing. ANYTHING AT ALL. The NYSUT Benefit Trust did. I am NOT a member of the Benefit Trust, therefore I had no permission or approval to grant.

 

If I don't like the company that the Benefit Trust endorsed, I am completely free to disregard that endorsement and to choose a low-cost provider that is also offered where I work. Many of my colleagues have done so. Many others haven't.

 

"Momentous decision that affects my financial security"...pffft. Again, you run on and on as if the endorsement were a mandate, and we were all FORCED to choose ING. We aren't.

 

I'm sure your next reply will also ignore everything that I've just stated, including the fact that all NYSUT members have options for their 403(b) accounts, and are in NO WAY limited to ING.

These aren't even new ideas you're spouting about NYSUT, Joel...just a rehash of last week's rantings and ravings. See the preceding.

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