My wife has her own photography business which is relatively new (3 years old) so she is trying to build up her client list. She decided to do some social networking through one of these Mary Kay cosmetics types of deals, and she had the fortune of meeting one Carolyn Leslie Newton. Carolyn is a financial planner and she kept insisting that she meet with my wife and I. Eventually we caved into her persitance and met with her, she did a financial needs analysis and we didn't have much for needs as we're both pretty financially smart so we don't have any debt for her to "help" us with. We do have a mortgage however so she managed to sell us some life insurnace (I later found out that we're being completely ripped off for this too).
Well she was privy to all of our financial data because she was curteous to run a financial needs analysis for us(btw this is where the scam starts, just say no to free financials need analysis, they will use it and continually come back to you and try to sell you *** you don't need), so at one of our meetings(note that she was so personable that the meetings were held at our residence) she suggested that I roll over my prior 401k plans with employers I no longer worked for to their accounts, it made sense so I said sure lets get the ball rolling she immediately signed me up for several accounts and left me the prospectuses. Please note that Carolyn was very well aware of the fact that I had just taken a new job (because she tried to recruit me to work for primerica) and we had just bought a new house and were trying to get our old one fixed up and sold, and knew I was very busy.
She never disclosed any of the performance information to me nor any of their fee structure. Over the next month or so I got repeat emails and phone calls from her asking about the rollover check and when they would be available so she could come pick them up. To which I responded that I hadn't looked everything over yet, she eventually paid us another visit at the house to try to convince us that we needed a new analysis since we had bought a different house, and she tried to push me into getting her the rollover checks. After this incident I received several letters in the mail from her supposed superior threatening to close out our accounts if we didn't get funds in them. At which point I said you know Carolyn seems trustworthy and even though I haven't had a chance to look through everything I'll go ahead and rollover my funds.
So I contacted my 401k plans requested the checks, and a week later they came in and Carolyn came to my office and picked them up. About a week or so later I get account statments for my new accounts and come to the realization that I've just been robbed blind, they charge a 5.75% fee to manage my account, after looking at the prospectus it confirmed the fee and showed the returns for the account to be historically below 9%. I emailed Carolyn and asked her what the fee was about as she had never mentioned anything about a fee. To which she responded that's the fee you and your wife have always been paying on your investments.
I was rather irate at this point and wrote her back letting her know that this was our first investment with Primerica so there's no way that we would have ever known anything about their fee structure and she certainly didn't make a point to point it out. I even mentioned to her that if she had pointed it out to me during one of our "planning" sessions that I would have promptly got up and escorted her to the door. At this point Carolyn's wonderful customer service skills kicked in and she refused to even so much as respond to a single email. About a week or so later, I got a call at my house from their corporate offices from the individual assigned to my complaint.
Please note that my complaint was that you ripped me off and never disclosed your rates to me and were pushing me to get you my rollover checks at a time of my life that you knew to be extremely busy, and now you slap me with this fee and have the nerve to tell me its what I've always been paying you???????? So I've been communicating with this lady for about a month now and she keeps telling me it will be another 2 weeks, it will be another 2 weeks. So at this point I'm stuck at the will of their corporate cronies, as Carolyn no longer takes calls or answers emails.
As a note anyone actually interested in their finances should check out Vanguard index funds, they generally charge 0.5% or less for their fee, and have numerous funds in various sectors that have historically returned more than 10%.
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