We were just following the news recently where Jon Stewart accused Jim Kramer (and others in the media) for there part in the 401k losses. Both myself and to a great extent my husband's 401k was lost. Recently when we saw the AIG top executives giving bonuses to themselves from our hard earned tax payments (bail out money) it was really too much. My husband and myself are left wondering somebody must have made money and the money just can't vanish. My husband sent me this link.
Are the top people somehow still fooling the common folks who have no clue?
They feel they are entitled to our money. We outnumber them about 80 to 1. We should teach them that they are not entitled to what is ours.
"And so while 401(k) plans are good as supplemental plans, they were never meant to be the whole plan that people used to save for retirement. So what we are seeing is over the last ten to twenty years a gradual move or gradual shift from these good traditional pensions that provide employer-paid benefits, that employ a guarantee stream of income to this do-it-yourself society."
Read somewhere that 401ks were cheaper for employers than retirement plans plus wall street made out on these things. Kind of like privatized social security.
Knolyourself- Thanks for responding to my thread. Does nobody else wonder where the money has gone? I mean trillions of dollars just can't disappear Does anybody suspect that there could be a trail leading to some countries(i.e, Swiss Banks) where source of funds isn't questioned we might get to the root of this problem. Sometimes when we have some realistic discussions with friends then they mention that even social security(that you mentioned)may also not survive for very long. It becomes difficult for hardworking average families to know whom to trust and where to put our money these days to plan for our future.
Well, yes, I think so, CW. Seems like people are herded into these 401K plans without knowing exactly what they are--except that they "are something you should do for retirement," etc. Then the HR person comes out with dumb explanations and sometimes can't answer valid questions. I'm not impressed. And yes, I believe they are fooling the "common folk who have no clue."
It would seem on the surface that this is a good idea--free money with employer match, etc.--but the plan is only as good as the managers of the fund and the company itself. These stock market funds do NOT perform as well as other investments that a person could use toward retirement--ie, real estate.
I cashed my 401K out right before this mess and planned to open a self directed IRA. Then it struck me --WHY should I limit what I do with my investments 'for retirement' at all with all the penalties? As I plan to hold what I have for years until they accrue, anyway, and can do what I want as I want with what I have under an LLC.
And the answer is yes--absolutely--the CEO's and other masters of the universe are responsible for the loss of these people's savings--and I hope they will feel it excruciatingly on their death beds (and they will unless they are complete narcissists or sociopaths). But also, our simpleton folk being 'good' and doing what they say is good for us to do isn't the best option if you want to be OK in life. I think people need to take charge of their own investments/money to succeed.
Lita- Are you a mind reader? I was just thinking of seeking out your advice as you mentioned about real estate investment earlier too. Do you mean we buy empty land and hope that it appreciates? Well about 401K if we withdraw early there seems to be a penalty and anyway there isn't much value left to cash it out now. Also every company tries to market 401k as one of the benefits and do you think the average person is better off without the 401k (along with the employer matching program)? I am sorry if I am asking too many questions and taking too much of your time. My husband's almost 6 years savings are down and he psychologically tends to worry about it sometimes hence I am seeking the help of all the folks here. At least this time around we want to be able to take the right decisions.
Misha is actually correct. Nothing beats doing your own research and seeing thing in black and white.
However, TMG would be a good one to talk to (if he can explain in simple terms, lol). But I will tell you what I know-- Your husband can roll over his 401k (and depending how long he's been there, the employee match could also go with it) into a self directed IRA (get a ROTH, I'd say for the benefits--but do your own research as to what benefits you--as opposed to say, a traditional IRA). Self-directed means just that--you hold the reins and make your investment decisions on behalf of the IRA fund. You can write checks, and own real estate on behalf of this fund. Or stay in the stock market.
With this, you MUST do all your own research, however. You will be the manager of the fund.
Did you guys lose more than 50%??
Trust nobody and do your thinking
As for 401K - I would say cut your loses. When the crisis unfolds fully, you will have nothing left there, as well as IRA or social security. You are better off cashing out what you can (even with those huge tax punishments) and converting what is left into junk coins.
And you don' have to trust this either
If you ask me - money did not disappear. Pieces of paper and computer records that you got used to call money did. And I think they will eventually disappear completely - that is why keeping them under the mattress is not a good idea
Either buy land or precious metals, this is where the real value is. Precious metals are just more liquid, you know
And yes, I am sure it will get much worse...
Misha- Please give us some good news when the news around already is frustrating. Btw investing in Gold is a very traditional idea (which actually has been done for centuries in India). I guess going back to our roots is not a bad idea (but sadly the gold price is now on all time high). Btw I was kidding about hiding money under the bed
LOL Depends on where you are and where you invest, Misha. Really.
My land has accrued in value upwards of 6 times what I paid for it a few years ago... And I'm planning on holding on to it. For years.
Of course it is in the even, level Midwest.
And I believe it will get a little worse overall--and then get better.
Oh! And CW, Ralph Deeds is also another to talk to as far as investments--both he & TMG are probably better than me.
I am so happy to hear that. Good for you. Smart girl and made some smart investments. Probably you should write a hub about investments. So investing in land in places like Midwest is really good idea then. Well we both are first generation folks in US and hence we don't know so much about so many options as you do.
Without going into the specifics yes he did lose a lot. Actually he invested in the aggressive scheme when he joined the company 6 years back. Thanks for the suggestions and probably I will send a PM to TMG/Ralph.
Wow you know things are getting weird when I find myself agreeing with Misha.
(PS--I love you Misha!)
Seriously, for better or worse, money will mean nothing to us in a few years (if not sooner). Stuff will matter. Having a place to live will matter. Food will matter.
Here's a tip--Assemble all your important papers in a zip lock bag and have them someplace you can grab them fast. Put some money in there (or some gold) and keep some food in your car. I'm not kidding. Ben Bernanke was on "60 Minutes" Sunday telling the American people we will be fine by the end of the year. Having worked for a failed bank, please trust me when I say the this means we are totally f#*ked. These guys don't go on TV to say this stuff unless it's not even sort of true.
Pam/Misha- My friends please don't scare us anymore than we already are about the uncertain future. I know you all are experienced folks and one should be realistic but we are trying to rely on cautious optimism for now. Thanks for all the inputs.
For most people cashing out a 401k is a big mistake, especially now when we're in the neighborhood of a bottom in stock prices. Buying high and selling low is one of the most common investor mistakes.
I don't think there's any way to hold the AIG executives financially responsible for the economic crisis although it's clear that the London Office of AIG was a major contributor to the current problems.
Ralph- You hit the nail. We are certainly concerned about losing money now but at the same time we don't know if waiting is a better idea. As per Lita's suggestion having a self directed IRA seems to be a good idea but now we are undecided whether holding on to where we are is better or cutting our losses to cash out (in case the stocks fall even further) should be done. Is there a way we can figure out whether the stocks would pick up in the future. We certainly didn't see this coming and hence we are in this situation now but we certainly want to take more responsibility in the future. We are in a dilemma about the course of action to pursue.
If I remember correctly Ralph did not see this coming either
Misha, You're right. I sure didn't. But I think it's not good to jump in and out of the market trying to call the tops and bottoms. I wish I'd followed John Bogle's advice of having an amount equal to my age in U.S. government bonds. I would be a lot better off now if I had. Big mistake.
With such a track record, what makes you thinking you are qualified to give investment advice under current conditions?
Oh, and btw, I think within a year US government bonds will be reduced to nothing. The country is bankrupt, if you did not notice this yet...
Well, my track record hasn't been all bad. At least I'm honest enough to admit my recent mistake. If you read my hubs on investing you'll see that I'm more than averagely informed about investing.
Why do you say that the U.S. is bankrupt? The national debt is high but manageable and within the range since WWII and lower than many other advanced industrial countries. It's true that there is a limit to how much China and other countries will lend to the U.S. Here's a link to a chart that shows U.S. national debt as a percentage of GDP;
Ralph- Thanks for that link. Btw we are trying to educate ourselves and take more informed decisions in the future. We have been watching business programs and my husband has got couple of books from the library too. And yesterday when we were watching CNBC (Kudlow Report) there was a guy the host was interviewing who said that Obama is doing the same things as Jimmy Carter and hence would have the same results (I.e., Failure).
I am not aware of Jimmy Carter and the earliest US President I remember is George Bush Sr. (during Gulf War). I don't even remember Reagan although lots of people praise him a lot for his "Reagenomics". Can you or others explain what Jimmy Carter did and the subsequent results? Was the situation similar to what it is today (to fairly compare with Obama)? Is Obama doing the same things and what the future might be in a couple of years?
P.S: I have been in US for less than 5 years and also not well versed in Politics/Economics. Please excuse my ignorance if my questions sound very basic and irrelevant.
The main thing to remember at the moment is -
Things you own are going to devalue, things you buy are going to increase in cost. Plan accordingly.
Mark- I didn't get it? I understand house values are going down. And also some of the commodities like Fuel/Milk are cheaper now then earlier. So which things are going to devalue & which things cost would increase? Can you please elaborate?
Not sure exactly what Mark meant by those metaphors too
My current outlook is survival items like basic food and ammunition will be getting more and more expensive, all the rest will drop significantly, in the worst case almost to zero...
This is what I meant yes. If you own it - it will become less valuable. Property, stocks and shares, money in the bank, whatever.
If you need to buy it, it will become more expensive. Fuel will become more expensive. Milk will become more expensive. Food will become more expensive. Essentials will become very expensive.
Lita - yes, I too think it will become that bad.
And if you can survive the vast amount of taxes that will be applied to property you own, you may be right - in 10 or 20 years, you may come out ahead of the game. Even Warren Buffet gets it wrong you know.
Larry Kudlow is a very right wing guy whose economic prescriptions are unorthodox. My favorite economist is Paul Krugman who writes a weekly op-ed column in the NYT. He won the Nobel Prize in economics last year.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor … d=95666704
Oh, no. Not that stupid Carter thing again. Obama has been in office 2 months or so and they can take themselves seriously making these dumb predictions?
Ralph, you live in Detroit. Are you seeing any tent cities and necessity to stock up on matches? What would be your general investment advice for those not .>totally< risk adverse?
I would never advise anyone to cash out a 401k. I just think lots of Americans are kind of in denial right now. Hey, I live in MICHIGAN and I'm staying right here. I'm not fleeing the country or loading my gun. And I don't think people should panic because it never helps. But for God's sake be realistic.
I would like to be cautiously optimistic. Give me some reason to be. Anybody.
Again I ask: where is the recovery coming from? No one ever answers that question.
Pam- I guess the denial (as they say head in the sand like ostrich) also is dangerous as we both have realized now the hard way. Well your reason "to be" is to keep writing for the whole world to be entertained and informed. And as you mentioned "God's sake" let us see if nothing else works maybe some power may help us along for the recovery
Yes! We never know when something GOOD could happen by accident!
I always forget that!
Thank you for reminding me and for your sweet compliment.
Yes we never know what will work. When things beyond our control have caused a mess then maybe things beyond our control may work together to start the recovery too. I don't know I have always held the belief "everything is going to be alright" and "things happen for a reason".
And that is good thing you ask difficult questions since even from my childhood I have been asking questions and sometimes my father says I ask those questions which are the most difficult to answer (especially about religion).
Although it is a compliment but I am sure many would agree with me that you are an awesome writer (and hope your book writing is proceeding smoothly)
LOL Another resemblance of RIP Soviet Union
PS And I love you too Pam
" My husband and myself are left wondering somebody must have made money and the money just can't vanish."
I'll give it a shot. 401ks were invested. The investor made money on commisions. Who they invested with made money on comissions. If they
bought a house, they paid the current value. The owner of the house got their money, and the investment say 401k is worth that much. When realized the house can not be sold for what was paid the investment loses value. Just means in the current market one paid to much and is left holding the bag.
I have been through any number of these recessions. Things get tight for awhile and then it all comes back. The good thing is we don't have inflation.
I am paying less now cause the price of gas is down. Inflation is the killer.
Your 401k may come back if you hold on to it long enough. Or it may not depending on what it is invested in. Personally I am not worried about it all.
Got canned food but ain't bought a shotgun yet.
Mark- That's scary my friend if one needs guns to protect themselves
Knolyourself- Thanks a lot my friend for giving some positive reinforcement that this too shall pass(We are holding on to the 401k for now and will research further into IRA as suggested by Lita). Thanks also for the earlier explanation about where the money could have gone
Do you think there is anyway the money can be recovered in the near future?
It really is a good lesson in self preservation and taking responsibility for yourself and not allowing yourself to be pulled along the trust wave; Trust the big company who is going to take care of my long term retirement needs. We all get lured into a sense of safety by those who advertise they know what they're doing with our money. Right! Find an alternative.
And YES CW, they need to be held accountable - if you can decipher the papertrail, or even find it. That in itself is disgusting - that the papertrail is so obscure. Will they get off scott free because there is no proof, shite! How did it ever get to this. It's worth a revolution and it's about to happen if AIG doesn't stop it's bonus handout.
Jewels- Yes I totally agree with you. A false sense of security that comes when the "knowledgeable" folks in the company who say that everybody is doing this and this is how it works and most of the ordinary folks buy that piece of advice. As Lita has suggested self directed IRA seems to be a better alternative which we will be researching further. What has happened has happened and no point in worrying over spilled milk now. The bright side is that I have a little savings and my husband had set aside some money to buy a house (fortunately didn't buy) hence we both have some savings.
We don't know if the money will ever be traced or recovered. Anyway we both learned some hard lessons early on and from here on we are trying to move on to creating a safer/secure future for our family. Thanks for the suggestions.
If I may - in my country experience NOTHING is worth the revolution. Too high of a price, you know...
We are just ordinary folks and just want to lead normal lives(earn money, pay taxes and save a little for the future). Please count us out of involvement in any "revolution"
I hope people listen to you, Misha, on both the right and the left.
CW, you are just fine and I believe may have a leg up on many of us here.
I don't know whether we have a leg up but we certainly need to be smarter if we need to plan for ourselves and for the kids(whenever they arrive in the scene). Even my husband was aware of IRA and after your inputs we are actively researching further into the self directed IRA option(we are evaluating the penalties too). Thanks to everyone for good tips.
You are only 25 and thinking of these things. Everything I know I found out on my own after some wake up calls. I call that a leg up.
I do have mutual funds and some stocks (just a small account right now) and am not touching it, however. I think there are bargains to be had there, if only one has the experience and knowledge to chose those. Hey--my PZZA (lol--yes, I own stock in pizza) is actually on the top gains list at the moment....
It's just Real Estate for me seems easier to research and understand. And the company didn't do so well (newspapers/media--obviously many not doing so well & won't do so well), while my own investments made gains. Since the BF is in the architecture business, we also know a bit about developing land, etc.
Your company, tho, CW, is very well known, etc., etc. It could be they will rebound very well. Perhaps talk to an investment specialist in your case. Absolutely do your research and consider everything and what it means to you.
Lita- Thanks for appreciating. Anyway I thought 25 is quite a mature age for someone to be able to pick up these things. But apparently I didn't pick up(and neither did my husband). We both believed our primary aim was to keep performing our jobs and the rest would take care of itself(how wrong we were). I agree with you that we need to accept more responsibility and not blindly rely on others. The only reason I posted this thread is to have more opinions/view points. There is no harm in having n number of opinions but the ultimate onus of decision lies with me (or us). And also as my father says "We shouldn't repeat the same mistakes we did earlier and also we don't have to make the same mistakes that others did too. We can use our own judgement to learn from others mistakes/experiences in life."
Yes we would be seeking some professional opinion (but then this time around we would be more objective/diligent). Thanks for all the inputs.
You're totally right, nothing is worth a revolution, at least not the kind we've seen in the past. I've become passionately annoyed at the latest greedy grab by AIG's executives. Even though this topic is about 401k, it ties in on a broader level. In this context passion becomes dangerous! Apologies there.
But after months of watching hell break out and the consequences of mismanagement and greed and thinking it couldn't get worse, it does. Give bonuses........arrgghhhhhhhhh! I want heads.
No question about your honesty Ralph, I never doubted it.
As for the US bankruptcy - I am afraid you don't see this because you can't believe your eyes. Go visit Detroit, I believe you live close by...
I won't argue with you on that, it's pointless, we'll come back to this again a year or so down the road, if we are still alive and have Internet then...
Misha- I hope (and I presume even you hope) that you will be wrong. You are painting a very grim picture
Ralph- For now most of the folks are hoping that the markets pick up a little to take further course of action. I just saw news where the housing market showed some positive signs maybe who knows just maybe within 2/3 years the economy may revive. Even I am cautiously optimistic and try to tell that to my husband (not to worry too much and everything is going to be alright)
P.S: Misha I have the highest respect for your vision and honesty. Please I hope you don't mind my disbelief in your predictions.
Yes CW-girl, I hope to be proven wrong. Yet the chances of this are slim, given what I see around...
And come on, you are not capable of offending anybody, you don't need to apologize And I am in no way assuming you have to have the same opinion as mine on anything
"And yesterday when we were watching CNBC"
These are republican capitalists and can be trusted to lie and not much else.
Reagan economics gave the same thing we got now but smaller, called the
'Savings and Loan Scandal'.
Carter got hamered by the oil price jump of 100% or so. Dollars lent to overseas governments were backed by gold. France asked for their money to be paid back in gold. Nixon said screw you and took US off gold standard. The oil producers then said the dollar is worth zilch and jumped the prices bringing on inflation. US made deal to oil countries to give arms and garantee their fascist governments in exchange for backing dollar with oil. Carter caught all the blame because of course the truth can never be told. Reagan got rid of inflation by appointing Volker who raised fed interest rates to near 20%.
Seriously, dry beans and rice. If you don't need them, they don't spoil so you'll use them up eventually. If you do end up needing them, they'll be worth lots more than money and you'll be glad you put them aside.
Don't forget about salt, sugar, and matches - tested many times over back in the USSR...
Do you guys honestly, honestly believe stuff is going to get that bad? (Or are you just being funny?)
I mean, I have a food reserve going--dry goods and stuff--just because it is a good idea in case of an emergency. But--OK--the resort place I work at took in $2 mil on our last promotion on St. Pat's day. If people have disposable income enough to make for a day like that--it just cannot be THAT bad, I don't think.
Yes Lita, we seriously think that there are good chances it will get THAT bad, and it will happen pretty soon...
That I definitely agree to Ralph. Yet there are only a handful of us here on HP out of thousands of users, and in general population this proportion is even smaller probably... Hardly something that can signify the turn to better...
Yeah, OK.... But that advice is general in nature and pretty basic to those who have always been frugal anyway.
I'm visiting foreign ATM's. Maybe the $2 fees will help the economy, .
Yes, but the thing here is... The things you buy (ie, a house) and/or hold, WILL go up again. I'm sorry-- I simply see no other way, and neither do others such as Warren Buffett.
Should a person be liable for committing a crime? Absolutely!
How dare you Mark
Warren Buffet never ever makes mistakes. As well as Paul Krugman
Lita- I guess we have lots of folks who are painting a very grim picture
Misha/Mark- Either way we are bound to lose with your predictions. I admire you guys but still hope your predictions don't turn out to be true.
WriterRider- WOW!!! Nice self taken picture
No. You are not bound to lose. If you know what is coming, there will be opportunities to be had. And I wouldn't call it a prediction.
The fed is already printing money out of no where, as is the UK government. This can only end in tears.
I watch an Australian online financial newspaper called "The daily reckoning" It is gutsy and funny and well connected to world wide resources. It not just focussed on the USA or Australia.
I think the economy is buggard all over for the west. I also believe it will take 30 years to build our way out this time.We will see deflation and inflation in the same economy at the same time, and it get be messy as hell, because the financial models will have no reliable base to work from. The sooner the mad cycle is started again the quicker and deeper in debt we all become. Debt started it, so lets have more debt to fix it? uh?
I agree with you. All I am seeing from all the govs is out and out panic and the only answer any of them understand is "growing the economy." With what? Printed paper money that everyone knows has no intrinsic value? The inflation and deflation at the same time is the worry. Which is what I was trying to explain to cw - if you own it, it will be worth less - if you need to buy it, it will cost more.
Mark- WOW!! That doesn't seem like a bright idea. Since when did the government start printing currency more than what is appropriate? I guess Mark you should write a hub with your intuition as so many of us would benefit if we have our thinking broadened and hopefully find ways to avoid financial tragedies
Btw I read that US is heavily in debt with China and is borrowing more from them to revive the economy so that the US consumers go back to spending more so that the Chinese goods again keep moving here in US(many Chinese factories have been closed recently). It seems like a perfect supply and demand fit (until the recession happened)
Just look up "quantative easing" on the internet. Both the US and UK governments are printing money - electronically.
And if you are interested in how much money the US is borrowing just look up "Treasury sales"
Why do you think Ms Clinton was in China recently? To reassure the Chinese that the US government bonds they own (money they have lent to the US) will still be worth something when they have finished printing more money out of thin air.
And if you think the bank losses of the last year are big, wait until the next 2 years are over. Last year was peanuts
Thanks, CW. Yours is also nice as is Lita's interesting picture.
WR- Lita's picture is indeed interesting and about mine please read: http://hubpages.com/hub/What-I-want-you … untrywomen
For myself I don't worry about an inflated money supply, until the checkout teller at the local market starts handing out change in newly printed bills. So far haven't seen any new bill in a long time.
Ah well, this is electronic money - be a while before you see any actual money.
Electronic may not be as visible and would spare us some unpleasant sights. I wouldn't like to see the Zimbabwe experience where people had to carry loads of currency to buy groceries. I heard recently they even stopped accepting local currency and US currency seems more acceptable than there own currency which is indeed a sad thing.
Which promotes the question - what currency Americans will accept when dollar goes belly up?
Countrywoman, fascism is the control of government by the private corporations. In this case the international banks control the situation and continue to raid our treasuries as they no longer can make money selling us toxic loans. BTW these toxic loans were made possible by a single meeting of Basel 2 bankers in 1998. Off balance sheet accounting, forbidden for Enron and regular companies, were allowed by bankers for the banks.
Liar loans were the result. Option arms were the result. The credit crisis was the result and a phony credit based prosperity that eventually crashed your 401k was a result.
In order to get prosecutions you would have to prosecute the international bankers which are above the nations. I have some hubs on all this.
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