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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Choices Are Yours to be Made

Choices are really wonderful things. When we go shopping, for example, it’s always a good thing to have many choices for products we normally use. Perhaps a friend has told us how great a certain kind of peanut butter is and we’re anxious to try it. Perhaps we’ve seen a commercial on TV that introduces something that we know we can use. 

We are blessed in our country to have such an availability of alternative choices that we often don’t even realize how fortunate we are. There are many places in our world where there are no choices at all. In fact, there are some places where there is nothing at all to choose. We consider people in those places to be poor, destitute, and most unfortunate. 

Would you be surprised, then, to learn that in some of the most important places in our lives, we are quite often the victim of a lack of choice that can have dire consequences for our lives.Let me offer you a quote that I recently read. I was quite shocked, but my thoughts resonated with the logic of it.

 I was doing a Continuing Education course on the Suitability of Indexed Products from Kaplan Financial Education when this tidbit jumped off the page at me, “…the widespread acceptance of mutual funds as the savings vehicle of choice by millions of Americans exposes these consumers to a new level of risk previously reserved for the most serious of investors.” What does that mean? 

In the past 30 years or so, the retirement landscape has dramatically changed from company-owned pension plans to self-funded 401(k), 403(b), and IRA plans that are essentially controlled by the individual, though they may be company-sponsored. In the rules governing these programs, it is spelled out that the sponsor has the responsibility to provide expert guidance and education to the participants on a regular basis. 

The company should, at least semi-annually, offer an opportunity for the plan participants to meet with a professional financial advisor so that the participants can be educated on the latest developments in the world of investing, have their questions answered, and, in general, give the participants the necessary information so they can make informed choices about their retirement savings plans. 

The chilling truth, despite serious threats from the federal government, is that this almost never happens. Employees usually have a form shoved in their faces by someone from Human Resources and are told to participate. The investment professional is nowhere to be found and the HR person is not allowed, by law, to offer advice. Most people who are saving for retirement in a 401(k) plan don’t even know that they are investing in the stock market and they wouldn’t be able to tell you what a mutual fund is if you should ask them.

All they know is that they are making contributions and the company matches them up to a certain amount. What happens to the money is anyone’s guess. They just hope, at the end of their career, that they will be able to retire and have an income. You may be lucky, but you may not. What these people are doing, in essence, is playing a dangerous game of “Russian Roulette” with their retirement futures.

You see, before the advent of these plans, only the most knowledgeable and experienced individuals dared to venture into the world of equities investments. They knew the rules of investing and they had a system in place before they started investing. As my business partner, Guigo Grilo, loves to point out, “You never invest in the stock market with money that you can’t afford to lose.” In other words, you don’t play with money that you are going to need. Before investing you should make sure that all of your fundamental needs are safely in place, emphasis on the “safely.” The five pillars of building wealth are the foundation of a secure and comfortable life.

These five pillars are described fully in other articles and videos that we have produced. Today, because people are not being given the options that should be available to them, they think they have no other choice but to participate in a company-sponsored, self-funded, retirement plan that puts their money at tremendous risk by investing in mutual funds, which are stock market equities. 

People we talk to seem to be amazed that there are other plans available to them that have growth that reflects the growth of the stock market, often outperforming mutual funds, but that also guarantee their principal and their gains, eliminating all the risk they have been exposed to. Moreover, these plans have lower or no fees, have no contribution limits, have greater accessibility, no penalties, no required minimum distributions (RMD’s), grow tax-deferred, and provide tax-advantaged distributions at retirement. 

They are the best of all worlds, but are virtually unknown. By the way, those knowledgeable experts I referred to earlier – guess where they have their “safe money” invested? What would you think if I told you that the top 1% wealthiest Americans have their “safe money” in one of these accounts? Grilo Enterprises is not here to play games with you, to trick you, to sell you. 

We are here to educate and to provide value to you. To give you choices. When you have choices, then you have control. We desperately want to get the message out that you can have a better future, that you can have control of that future, and that you can enter a world of leveraged savings where the choices are almost as unlimited as the ones you are used to at the supermarket. Start a relationship with us today and let us show you the choices that can be yours.