My mother is not very financially savvy – and when I try to explain anything to her; it can often times take the better part of an hour. It may be her age or the fact she never had any financial education being a stay at home mom, but I like to try to give her the best info possible. This was a specific instance of that time.
She mentioned that she was heading into an Edward Jones investment rep this afternoon and wanted me to chime in with a few questions to help her make a good decision. Like I said, she is 55 with no retirement money aside from about 20k she cashed out of a universal life insurance policy she had out on my dad that was taking payments out of the equity it had built up.
That’s another conversation, but for this one, we’re focusing on how her conversation went.So the rep called me up and we had a conversation about what my mom had, and what she was doing now, and where she was headed. The first thing he mentioned was that “we need to start making your Mother’s money work for her NOW!” I obviously agreed and mentioned to him, “what funds do you recommend she get in?”
He came back with a handful of loaded mutual funds and I just stopped him in the middle of it and ask him why he wanted to put my mother in loaded funds. He actually was very up front about why. He said, “Clearly because that is how I make my money.”
I agreed and proceeded to tell him that we weren’t interested in his services and thanks for his time. He proceeded to tell me how “scary” and “difficult” and “dangerous” it was to be investing on your own. He said, “There are a lot of pitfalls along the way. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had someone to help you?”
I responded, “Yes, that would be nice to have someone that would warn me about financial advisors like yourself.”
That stopped him in his tracks and my mother took off.
When I say “loaded mutual fund,” I mean a mutual fund that carries a sales load. A sales load is a mutual fund commission paid to brokers like this Edward Jones rep for selling you something you don’t need their help in buying. Sales loads do not benefit you, they benefit, and ONLY benefit the person selling them to you, much like an insurance policy.
1. Front-end load (usually class A shares) – you pay the sales fee up front to the helpful broker.
2. Back-end load or deferred load (usually class B shares) – you pay the sales fee on your way out to your helpful broker.
3. Constant load fund (usually class C shares) – you pay the sales fees every year and might even have to pay a full load when you sell to the fine person selling you this.
Well, think of it this way. By purchasing a loaded fund, you’re starting two steps behind. Let’s use simple numbers, say you bought a loaded fund with $10,000 that carried a 5% front end load. Well, as soon as you sign on the dotted line, you’ve just lost $500, so you’re starting with $9,500.
Think of the same guy that has the entire $10,000 to run on – who is going to be ahead in 1 year? 2 years? You can’t catch up because you’re starting behind. Think of it like an oval race track. If you are both running in the same lane, you are starting 5% of the way behind them, and will likely not catch up.
But the broker told me that these funds were spectacular and that I should make more from them than a no-load fund. Isn’t that worth it?
If a broker really did tell that to you; you are in a bad situation. Turn and run immediately. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. I can almost guarantee if you give me a loaded mutual fund ticker symbol, I can find a very similar NO-load fund out of the 12,000+ funds out there.
Feel free to contact me if you don’t believe me; I’ll find one for you. How many different ways can a sales guy scare you into buying the fund? Anyone else have some wise lines brokers have used to get you in their grasps and in to your pockets? I think if I wouldn’t have figured it out on my own, I’d still be playing poker to take care of my retirement.
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