Oops…Somebody’s Thinking.

Graphic, cover, Oops...Somebody's ThinkingGraphic, STOCKjAW banne, Quality View

Savvy

people have no “betters.” They realize complaining accomplishes Fa King nothing. Savvy people only do so after the work is done, and just for fun. Shakin’ the robbers off of your money is like soaking sump pump stink out of old shoes.

 

Wall Street’s job is to lie and steal, concoct and on occasion create, a moment you can actually use. No sump pump on the planet’s strong enough to suck that stink out of Wall Street. No juke you can throw will fully dodge their busy hands.

 

However you can keep things relatively fair when it comes to your retirement and investments. No one-time fix exists. It’s more about containment, while creating your own good. “Oops…Somebody’s Thinking.”  Nice.

 

bacteria-Wells
Spending time hating anything is a waste. But coming to understand it is a win. That’s investing around Wall Street in a nut shell. Answer; Wells looks almost exactly as it did during the fake accounts scandal.  Only the names have changed, to protect the guilty. (Bacteria from a Wells Fargo conference room. Electron microscope.)

Shakin’

the robbers out of your 401(K) or “wealth management” account is tough.  Like mites they borrow deep and latch on tight.  Clear them on the left and they’re back on the right.  And they’ll tell you “Trust is our foundation.  After all, we’ve been stealing for ninty years now.  It’s all good yo.”  Think Wall Street vet Steve Mnuchin.  “These tax cuts will pay for themselves.”  Um hum.  Sometimes the truth only emerges when you yank out the bug spray.  That’s when the fear fever leaves you and moves distinctly to them.

 

 

At the base level investing is  a simple story about keeping fees and commissions at a minimum while buying lower and selling higher over time, and balancing risk with reward.  Wall Street was never your friend, or on your side, in this process.  You are. 

 

The fat-burger of legal misrepresentation and exploitation is being eaten everyday by retirement plan investment managing firms(probably not Fidelity or Schwab), “placement agents,” and other shadowy entities.  Trust that no one’s truly watching the financial middle men working in the dark, or the wealth management wings, or the “full-service” screw-over retail investing front.  When you hit those doors, you’re on your own.  Bring some personal agency, and a butt-load of know-how.  Each has two hands and one is always filling a pocket off of your stack.  They call that “guidance.”

 

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The path to savvy is only a thought away. You can see it from here. Once you do, it’s yours. You’re on your way. Every step you take is yours, forever. What are you waiting for?

   Only

the foolish get caught thinking.  Best not.  Wanna look stupid?  Let someone who fancies themselves an authority find you thinking, about their game.  As the laughter rolls the point will come home.  “Don’t meddle with things you couldn’t possibly grasp.  We get paid to do this.  We do it for a living.”  Yes,of course you do.  That doesn’t necessarily mean what you do is helping. 

 

“Always keep hands and brains behind the yellow line while the money machine is in motion.”  Of course they “do it for a living,” with your dime.  That’s precisely why they resent your meddlesome thinking.  Besides, it’s time consuming to field questions.  Retirement account management is all that.

 

Graphic, Fidelity, UM page
The now ubiquitous 401(K) retirement plan was invented by benefits consultant Ted Benna forty years ago. Benna seemed sincere about helping individuals prepare for their future. Yet such sincerity is not what propelled the plan into the mainstream. The 401K proved the way out from under the financially crushing pension plan which preceded it. Business and industry rode the plan straight to stunningly higher profits.

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just plunged into the retirement money game, as you read in “Blind Investing by Fidelity.”  Below find a screenshot of boilerplate the industry posts as a boundary warning.  Such fear tactics are emblematic of professional money management in general.  Turf is money and they don’t want you on theirs.  Does anyone actually believe language such as this is an attempt to protect you, a retirement plan participant?

 

U.S. pension plans are by far the single largest source of funds powering Wall Street banks and thousands of hedge funds.  Wall Street engineered the ’09 mortgage crisis and is now responsible for the nationwide public pension plan shortfall crisis estimated in the Trillions.  States are even more culpable, as they are ultimately responsible for overseeing these plans.  Wall Street “firms” are simultaneously fundamental to our financial system and it’s largest threat, not solely due to size, but rather due to behavior.

 

Graphic, UM Retirement
“Are you interested in investing in options beyond…?” Laughter, chuckling, head-shaking, silent patronizing stares, and earnest concerned ominous warnings.

   Managing

a retirement account well requires sustained and committed work over years.  It’s not for everyone, nor is self-directed investing in general.  But the very fact that you’re reading this says a lot about your capability to do it, or you wouldn’t be reading.  Whether you self-direct your money or not, knowing the game is a huge win for you.  And the ways profits are piled is a game.  The fear tactic displayed in the screenshot above stands clear.  Is there anyway one could call that language empowering?

 

Profit is the point for companies managing retirement plans.  It truly seems that most company’s primary focus is to protect the phenomenal margins generated off of the money of plan participants.  How?  The less we know, or care, the more passive we are, the better they do.  Exceptions exist.  Ask a few pointed questions and watch what happens.

 

Big money’s approach toward “clients” is crafted and deliberate, all designed to create passive, trusting, dependence.  The message is that this job is too complicated for us to manage.  Creating trust is their point.  Trust is no substitute for knowing.

 

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The totality of money involves earning, learning, and leveraging. The latter involves both leveraging it for a good return, when investing or spending. You earned it. Now what are you going to do with it?

Financial

“firms” speak in ways designed to keep individuals frightened, befuddled, overwhelmed, and ignorant.  “Clients” sink into a warm and cozy disempowered, often disengaged resolve.  Jack Boggle of Vanguard so elegantly made clear the result as it relates to the 401(K);  “It’s 100% your money, you take 100% of the risk, and you receive 30% of the gains.”

 

The nut of the 401(K) is simply pre-tax contributions to a tax-deferred account offered through employers who encourage employee participation by offering matching funds.  Employers are thus relieved of the onerous open-ended obligation of pension plans.  Business is happy.  Government is happy.  “Yahoo, it’s on you Bub.”  It’s as simple as that.  Had to see that coming.

 

Money requires work and discipline to build and manage.  Who cares more about yours than you?  “Frontline,” the stunning investigative PBS program, now in it’s 37th season, covered the full-bore dereliction of the public pension fund.  They covered Kentucky’s crumbling pension plan, now $86 billion in the hole relative to obligations.

 

Frontline’s “The Pension Gamble” peers directly into a prime example of the now common clown-car mismanagement of public retirement systems.  Managing one’s own money makes all the more sense when witnessing realities such as this, and the federal government’s chronic under-funding of Social Security.

 

 

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They think about it. Disempowerment is cheap and easy to sell. It’s close to disembowelment. Any source of any of that is not your friend and the financial industry relies on it. Studies show it takes four seconds for the fear ploy to be played.

What

better time exists?  During summer’s blaze fifty years back the Apollo 11 mission put humans on the moon.  The savvy are who inspire us, even if they were smoking their brains out, indoors at Johnson Space Center.  Savvy investors get where they’re going one step at a time.

 

 

After engineering both the subprime mortgage catastrophe, and the current public pension fund crisis, do you want to again blindly trust Wall Street with your retirement?  Or would you  rather trust what you know, one piece at a time?  That’s financial empowerment.

 

That’s how savvy is built and it is built.  Savvy means adding one thing, and then adding to that.  It’s learning what an acceptable “net expense ratio” is, or the “law of small and large numbers,” or the liberating fact that 80% of actively managed mutual funds can’t even match their benchmark.  That’s three in a row yo.

 

 

Frontline; “The Pension Gamble.”

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-pension-gamble/ 

“The Inventor Of The 401(K) Thanks It Has Gone Awry.”-Barron’s.

https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-inventor-of-the-401-k-thinks-it-has-gone-awry-1542413142

Fidelity’s UM Voluntary Retirement Plans homepage.    

https://nb.fidelity.com/public/nb/umretirement/planoptions/plandetails?planId=50405&option=planBasics

 

 

 

When you feel good, it shows.

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Additional resources:

Investopedia.com.  Seriously Wonderful.  Fact.
http://www.investopedia.com/
Charles Schwab.  In Our Opinion, the best broker going.
https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/client_home
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Be careful.  Do the work.  Have patience, with yourself.  Never put your dreams away.
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