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Career, Interrupted
Old 04-22-2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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Career, Interrupted

Been lurking this forum for the past couple weeks and finally decided to join the ranks Well, here's my abbreviated story...

The Ideal: Get a job right after college, pay off debt, start saving.

The Reality: Watch the tech bubble burst and all the jobs dry up, temp until you're 26, then finally start a career when 27.

A much later start than I had anticipated, and I always feel a bit behind my friends. From my short synopsis above, you might have guessed that I'm in IT...more specifically a software programmer. Those years without a full-time job have taught me to be extremely frugal, which is serving me well now. Turning 32 this year and here's where I stand:

No Debt
75K in a MMA
20K in a 401K

I currently save more than 50% of paycheck because I'm so completely paranoid of ever being in debt again with no income. I'll be maxing out my 401K this year. I'm in the somewhat unfortunate position of working for a broker/dealer and also being licensed...this greatly restricts my investment opportunities.

Single, no house, and I own a car that's paid off. I don't really have any intention of buying a house unless I get married and have kids. My total expenses per month come out to be about $1200.

I'd like to have the option to retire as early as possible. Whether I actually exercise that option is a different story. Looking forward to picking everyone's brains
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:53 PM   #2
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I'm in the somewhat unfortunate position of working for a broker/dealer and also being licensed...this greatly restricts my investment opportunities.
Out of curiosity, why?
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:40 AM   #3
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Welcome! Looks like your now on track to reaching your goals. A 50% saving rate is pretty amazing. Hope things go well for you in your career.
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:01 AM   #4
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Because of those licenses with FINRA (formerly NASD), I'm heavily monitored by the NYSE & SEC. I was also forced to move any and all brokerage accounts to my employer. All transactions have to be done through my employer's services, which I get no discounts on I'm not allowed to purchase any IPOs, and neither is my immediate family. Yes, they sure loved hearing that one

The list goes on, but suffice to say that if I get out of the finance industry, I'll likely be filing to have all my licenses revoked ASAP.
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:09 AM   #5
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Helez you are doing so well to be saving such a high percentage of your paychecks. Your fear of being in debt will serve you well. I have enough life experience to know that the people who are comfortable with debt, have debt. Those who hate it, don't. Best of luck and welcome here!
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:39 PM   #6
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Welcome! I am also debt-averse. It's a good trait!

Being in the same age group (I'm turning 30 this fall), I can tell you that you are probably ahead of others of your age group. At your savings rate, you'll be far ahead of your peers very soon.
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Old 04-24-2008, 03:06 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Helez View Post
Because of those licenses with FINRA (formerly NASD), I'm heavily monitored by the NYSE & SEC. I was also forced to move any and all brokerage accounts to my employer. All transactions have to be done through my employer's services, which I get no discounts on I'm not allowed to purchase any IPOs, and neither is my immediate family. Yes, they sure loved hearing that one

The list goes on, but suffice to say that if I get out of the finance industry, I'll likely be filing to have all my licenses revoked ASAP.
Welcome.

About you missing discounts on trades (only matters if your flipping) and IPOs... consider yourself lucky.
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helez View Post
Because of those licenses with FINRA (formerly NASD), I'm heavily monitored by the NYSE & SEC. I was also forced to move any and all brokerage accounts to my employer. All transactions have to be done through my employer's services, which I get no discounts on I'm not allowed to purchase any IPOs, and neither is my immediate family. Yes, they sure loved hearing that one

The list goes on, but suffice to say that if I get out of the finance industry, I'll likely be filing to have all my licenses revoked ASAP.
While the company you work for SAYS you have to move your accounts to them, that's not really the case.

I have had accounts outside my employers over the years. I merely write them a letter telling them why, and so far noone in Compliance has had an issue.

I also don't understand all the "restrictions" you have. The B/D probably wants IPOs to go to their best clients. Most of the good issues are oversubscribed anyways. Being licensed, you can buy most mutual funds as NAV and such........

I guess I need more info to help you...........
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:59 AM   #9
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Since a few responses on these boards seem somewhat knowledgeable of my general situation, I've decided to make a thorough inquiry to our compliance department. I do remember calling compliance last year and asking them if I could open an account with Schwab, and they completely shot me down...
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:15 AM   #10
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Since a few responses on these boards seem somewhat knowledgeable of my general situation, I've decided to make a thorough inquiry to our compliance department. I do remember calling compliance last year and asking them if I could open an account with Schwab, and they completely shot me down...
Keep on them, they need to SHOW YOU why that is not permissible........"we think it's a good idea for all our employees",is NOT a good excuse..........
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Old 04-24-2008, 04:54 PM   #11
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FinanceDude,

It's great to hear that you've not had any hassles from compliance. But that doesn't mean that all companies would be so flexible.

While I entirely sympathize with your suggestion that many restrictive policies are entirely whimsical, as a practical matter the employer can adopt pretty much whatever policies it wishes (provided they aren't illegal), and doesn't have to justify them. And while a reluctant employee may eventually be able to have his or her own way, he or she risks being privately labled as "difficult", "argumentative", "not a team player", etc. I.e., you can win the battle but lose the war.

Sometimes it is better to simply go along rather than making career-limiting waves. Everyone should carefully weigh their own circumstances before getting into a debate with their employer.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:13 AM   #12
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FinanceDude,

It's great to hear that you've not had any hassles from compliance. But that doesn't mean that all companies would be so flexible.

While I entirely sympathize with your suggestion that many restrictive policies are entirely whimsical, as a practical matter the employer can adopt pretty much whatever policies it wishes (provided they aren't illegal), and doesn't have to justify them. And while a reluctant employee may eventually be able to have his or her own way, he or she risks being privately labled as "difficult", "argumentative", "not a team player", etc. I.e., you can win the battle but lose the war.

Sometimes it is better to simply go along rather than making career-limiting waves. Everyone should carefully weigh their own circumstances before getting into a debate with their employer.
Agreed,but all OP is asking is why he can't hold an outside brokerage account with another firm. I ran into the same deal when my sister passed away and left her 403B to my two minor children. On an annual basis,I have to report any outside accounts I own. I wrote down the two TIAA accounts, and Compliance called me. I told them about them, and that was the end of it.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:36 AM   #13
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Again, it depends on the individual company. The answer to the op's question is: "because we (his employer) say so".

While I agree that "we think it's a good idea for all our employees" is NOT a good excuse, sometimes you have to accept it (Big Brother knows best). Compliance departments are not infrequetly staffed by petty bureaucrats, determined to exercise their power by rigorously enforcing corporate policy (no matter how unreasonable).

Yet another reason to look forward to FIRE!
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Old 04-25-2008, 12:29 PM   #14
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Reporting back in.

I received the info from compliance and it is LONG. Here's their broad-based excuse:

As an employee of a broker/dealer, you are subject to heightened regulatory requirements related to your personal investing activities and Wealth Management is under stricter guidelines related to supervising your activities. The most important thing to know is that, generally speaking, Wealth Management does not allow employees to maintain brokerage/investment accounts at other firms. Additional information regarding employee obligations with respect to their trading activity is available in the Compliance Manual.

And that manual is ridiculously long. Worse still, I signed the compliance thing without really reading it in detail...after all, what choice would I have if I wanted to stay employed? I don't know if it's worth going to war with them to get an outside account.

My options would then be either to open an account with them and eat the $50 transaction fee, or find alternative investments outside of the market. If I my income were higher and my portfolio held large positions, then the $50 admittedly wouldn't be so bad...
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:10 PM   #15
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after all, what choice would I have if I wanted to stay employed? I don't know if it's worth going to war with them to get an outside account.
Exactly.

I'm not sure what you mean re "the $50 transaction fee". Every stock trade would involve a $50 commission?!
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Old 04-25-2008, 05:56 PM   #16
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Yup, every transaction would cost $50...no idea why they need to gouge their own employees.
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