Saturday, May 07, 2011

Why Paying the Annual Fee for the Amex Platinum Card is Worth It

I have an American Express Platinum Card that has a $250 annual fee. I pay this fee because:
  1. They have a real, U.S. based service team that you are able to contact.
  2. This card replaces the need for a AAA membership when you experience issues with your car.
  3. When I lock myself out of my Savannah condo, they send over a locksmith.
  4. They repaired a flat tire on my snowmobile trailer in the Wayzata High School parade, which they did not have to do.
  5. They assist my children with any issues that may arise when they are traveling in another state.
  6. They provide access to free beer and free internet when you need it the most! Example: I am currently sitting in the Charlotte airport in the U.S. Airways VIP Lounge, which this card grants me access to. I was sitting here last week, too!
  7. My flight to Minneapolis has been delayed so free beer number one is almost done. Don't worry, they will page me when and if I can make it home today.
  8. Free beer number two is almost ready to begin .... okay, I did tip the bartender, that is not included.
Well, I will now send off this blog for posting, relaxing in a nice leather chair while waiting to be paged for my flight. It could take five minutes; it could take five hours. Either way, there is no lower-stress way to deal with this situation or the others that I have listed.

Note: Beer number two has begun, cheers!

Life Lesson: All of this is worth the $250!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

401(k) Retirement Plan is a Misnomer

Have you ever noticed that when Wall Street tries to sell you something they will go to all lengths to make things sound good?

A typical spiel might go like this, "All you need to do to retire with comfort is use our Target Date fund. Your plan sponsor, acting as a fiduciary on your behalf, has chosen the best funds for you to utilize in your 401(k) retirement plan."

The way the message really should read is "We wined and dined your bosses. Now we get to collect management fees from you. Good luck with your retirement."

Have you tried finding a Target Date fund for the exact year you want to retire? In all likelihood, your retirement would need to coincide with a year that ends with a 0 or 5, nothing in between, please.

Or try asking your Target Date fund what your withdrawal rate in retirement should be. I am 99.9% certain you will not be getting an answer.

A 401(k) plan is nothing more than an investment account, not a road map to retirement. It does not analyze your individual financial situation and will not provide a customized retirement plan.

Investing Lesson: If you and your loved ones want a real retirement plan, do not rely on your company's 401(k) Retirement Plan or Wall Street's latest fad. Work with a fee only financial planner like WFG, a true fiduciary who truly puts You First.