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Another Ameriprise ship jumper...please help
Old 12-06-2010, 03:00 PM   #1
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Another Ameriprise ship jumper...please help

Hello everyone. John's my name. I've been reading here the past few days and have decided to post and ask for help. Here's my bio, I am 36, married, 3 kids, 10,7,& 5. I feel like we have made a pretty good start to our investing future. Currently, we have approx 250k in investments, mainly thru 401k's, rollovers, and recently with some Roth's. About 5 years ago, we needed to do a 401k rollover and wanted to get some investment help. Ameriprise was recommended from a family member, and we bought into it, naively thinking the FA had our best interest in mind. Within the past 2.5 years, after reading so much negativity on Ameriprise, I started getting cold feet, and quit contributing to Ameriprise. I opened up Roth accounts with Vanguard and have fully funded Roth's at VG the past 2 years. I am thinking I want to move my investments to Vanguard, but I am a bit apprehensive, mainly because of the unknown. And honestly, I really don't want to do lots of research to become an investment professional, but I don't want to stay with Ameriprise Either. Should I find another FA, like a pay by hour service, or just invest in Vanguard Targeted funds? How do I know which Ameriprise items can be moved, especially a REIT?

Below is a list of my Ameriprise holdings.

$123k SPS Advantage ETSIX, NVOAX, SLASX, TWEAX, TCWAX, CSMIX
$27k REIT's - CBREIT 16k & CPA17 11k
$12k Brokerage IRA 12k ANCFX, ANWPX, AQEAX, IGLGX, SSCVX
$14k Roth IRA's AQEAX, SSCVX
$16k Ameriprise ONE - AXMAX

and the one I really don't know enough about, I believe it's an annuity
$10,329 RVS RT ADV ADVT PLQ surrender value of $9200

Thanks for any advice, John.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:22 PM   #2
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Welcome jdman. I would definitely move to Vanguard. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to do your own investing, but you owe it to yourself to do a little reading. I'd suggest the Boglehead's Guide to Investing as a good place to start.

If you are unsure where to invest, consider a Target Retirement Fund which has an asset allocation (ratio of stocks to bonds) that you are comfortable with.

Other good resources: Investment Books
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:44 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forums.

The good news is that unlike most Amerprise advisers yours didn't stick you with a lot crap from Riversource (Amerprise's capitive mutual fund) for your SPS advantage account. The 1/2 dozen funds in you SPS advantage account are from a variety of respectable mutual fund funds with decent Morningstar (3-5) ratings. The bad news is the all had 5.75% load and fairly high (1- 1.25% expense ratios) . The load is unfortunate but it is a sunk cost and nothing can be done about it. However, depending on your tax situation (and future tax rates) you don't need to be in hurry to sell them since it is a reasonably diversified portfolio in reasonable funds.

The first step is to contact Vanguard and ask for their help in transferring the funds. I believe that they will be able to sell most or all of the funds with low or no commissions and then move the proceeds into Vanguard funds. This process will take several weeks and gives you some time to answer the bigger question of how do I get financial advice.

The IRAs are small enough and mix of funds including Riversource funds which can only be bought and sold by Amerprise that I would just tell your Amerprise guy to sell them and have Vanguard transfer the IRA. They'll do the paperwork.

The REIT I have no idea but I suspect needs to be sold through Amerprise, the annuity I/we would need more information to give you informed advice.

You have a portfolio which is pretty large (quite large for somebody in their 30s congratulations) and certainly it may make sense to hire a fee only financial planner. The trick is finding a good one and well that can be hard. As a stopgap Vanguard offers a decent advisory service which is worth spending a few hundred to get advice on which Vanguard funds to invest.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend reading a book or two about investing from the forums list. The absolute best investment you can make is in your own financial educations.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:27 PM   #4
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I jumped early too so don't be apprehensive. I will say that "the sooner you jump, the better off you will be". I know it's a hassle to deal with it but it's for the best.
Good luck to you.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forums.

You might find some answers if you do a search of these forums for "Ameriprise." There have been some lively discussions
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Do it now!!
Old 12-07-2010, 04:46 AM   #6
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Do it now!!

Jump ship! I did it last month and have never been happier. For years, my FP at Ameriprise was leaving a bad taste in my mouth but I thought I was being paranoid since I knew absolutely nothing about investing. Then I began doing some online research and came across the anti-Ameriprise sentiments everywhere and took the plunge.

Call up Vanguard. They are very helpful. I was embarrassed to admit that I knew next to nothing about finances and investments. And I mean next to nothing! I didn't even know what an equity was! Or even a dividend or capital gains!!

Anyway, I was on the phone with a representative from Vanguard for over two hours. He walked me through my Ameriprise statements, explaining it all to me and called up Ameriprise for me and transferred my IRA. All for free.

Once you're a Vanguard client, you can pay for financial planning advice, though many on this forum would not pay for advice when very good free advice is available here and personal research will get you very far. It's surprisingly not difficult and, at least for me, a little addicting.

Anyway, Vanguard has a sliding scale for fees all the way to free if you have a certain amount in your account (though I forget the amount). I think for you it would cost 250 dollars.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:57 AM   #7
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Regarding the annuity: you can do a 1035 transfer of an annuity to another annuity tax-free as long as the money goes directly from annuity A to annuity B without passing through your hands. The problem is that there are likely surrender fees with the annuity you currently have, although it may be worth eating them just to get into a lower-cost, less restrictive annuity. I would look at Vanguard, of course, and also TIAA-CREF but in the case of TIAA-CREF I would research the particular subaccounts carefully. Both VG and T-C have low cost variable annuities without a lot of extraneous charges and neither have surrender fees.

Disclosure: I have a VG Variable Annuity. If I could turn back the clock, I wouldn't have gotten into a VA in the first place but since I did, I'm convinced VG is the place to have it.
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