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Old 01-19-2009, 03:24 PM   #21
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Unfortunately, with VUL policies, the sooner you redeem them after signing up, the more you lose in surrender charges. In your case, I am sorry to say, it seems like a total loss. So you have 2 options: close it now or keep it open for another 8-9 years so that you don't have to pay the surrender charges. In the mean time, if you keep it open and if you are married and/or have children, the VUL would provide death benefits in case something happens to you (it's a life insurance policy after all). If you don't have a wife and/or kids, then you don't need a life insurance policy and you should probably get rid of the VUL now.

Can you get any money back? Well if you can prove that you were misled by your financial advisor, you could have a claim. I don't know if I would bother for such a small amount of money though.

Better walk away having learned a valuable lesson. That's what I did. I am now a staunch DIYer when it comes to my finances.
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Old 01-19-2009, 03:37 PM   #22
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a. First of all, you're a young person and I give you the utmost respect for having started saving. I'm embarrassed to think what DH and I were doing with our money at your age; pouring it right back into other people's pockets, I believe.

b. The amounts involved are virtually immaterial in the long run--don't sweat this relatively small stuff. I agree with those who suggest you just let the VUL be. I would contact Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity, whatever, set up an IRA account with them, and let them transfer the other $ from Ameriprise.

c. I hope you can get the $500 fee or whatever waived. If not, you probably will be able to be part of some future class action lawsuit against Ameriprise when you least expect it--you might not recover much then, but you'll get a little psychological satisfaction at that point.
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:44 PM   #23
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Thanks everyone. I am going to call Vanguard tomorrow.

As far as the VUL, if I leave it there, do I still need to fund it? Basically I can't just let the $1500+ or so in there sit and see where it goes without adding more to it?
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:50 PM   #24
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Thanks everyone. I am going to call Vanguard tomorrow.

As far as the VUL, if I leave it there, do I still need to fund it? Basically I can't just let the $1500+ or so in there sit and see where it goes without adding more to it?

At this point, if you don't want to lose all the money you have in the VUL, you have 2 options:

1) Until now, you sent money to Ameriprise each month to pay for the life insurance premium + add money to the investment pot. You can stop funding the investment portion (you can change the amount you invest anytime as per the word "variable" in VUL) and just pay for the life insurance premium if you choose. In that case, the life insurance policy won't lapse, but you won't contribute any more money to the cash value of the policy. The $1,500 will be left to move with the market and in 8-9 years, you can get take the cash value out (whatever it is at the time) without paying any surrender charges.

2) You could potentially stop funding the VUL all together and start paying the life insurance premiums using the cash value in the policy (check your policy to see if this option is available to you. I can't remember if you can use this option before surrender charges expire) . When the cash value is gone, your life insurance policy lapses. If that option is available, it will allow you to use the $1,500 to pay for a year or two worth of life insurance coverage and get out of the policy with relatively little money lost.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:49 PM   #25
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So I gotta open a Vanguard account and IRA?

How does this stuff go down? I want to get my advisor fee of $500 refunded too and I saw and printed out the form. We got a meeting set up next month (regular meeting, advisor has no idea of what is going on).

Do I just go "here I wanted this form completed" and hand him the Cancellation and Refund request? Like what is the process and what should I do now?
Mikecart1, according to the "Client Disclosure Brochure" you should have, here is copy from page 14:
"If you decide not to continue with AFPS you may cancel the service at any time. To cancel you can simply stop paying the annual fee or complete the form described below. You will be eligible for a refund of the fees you have paid during the current engagement period as described above".
I say just mail it in and call the number that is listed and let them know that the form is coming and that you want a refund.
It should work. (Don't ask me how I know.)
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:20 PM   #26
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Mikecart1, according to the "Client Disclosure Brochure" you should have, here is copy from page 14:
"If you decide not to continue with AFPS you may cancel the service at any time. To cancel you can simply stop paying the annual fee or complete the form described below. You will be eligible for a refund of the fees you have paid during the current engagement period as described above".
I say just mail it in and call the number that is listed and let them know that the form is coming and that you want a refund.
It should work. (Don't ask me how I know.)
I actually faxed it today. If I don't hear back they will get an angry call from me. Anyways, thanks guys. Will keep you all updated.

-Had my bank cancel future automatic funds from Ameriprise
-Transferred my IRA to Vanguard today

Ameriprise has no idea of what hit them. I didn't even tell my advisor LOL.

I lost a lot of money in this and my goal will be to educate others before they make the same mistake.

For older people that have been with them for decades, I feel deeply sorry for their unawareness of what is REALLY going on.

For those math guys, in 18 months I have been with Ameriprise, I have spent almost $1500 in fees of which I hope to get $500 back in refund.

Do not use Ameriprise. I feel like the father in Boiler Room that got screwed by Seth of his life savings.

"I used to sell a service that people wanted (poker room), now I force a service to people that never asked for it" - Boiler Room, Seth

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Old 01-20-2009, 09:30 PM   #27
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-Had my bank cancel future automatic funds from Ameriprise
Does that mean that you are giving up on the money in the VUL? If you stop making premium payments for the life insurance policy, you are basically forfeiting the money in the VUL at this point (unless they allow you to pay for the premiums from the cash value).
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:33 PM   #28
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Does that mean that you are giving up on the money in the VUL? If you stop making premium payments for the life insurance policy, you are basically forfeiting the money in the VUL at this point (unless they allow you to pay for the premiums from the cash value).
Yeah I've decided to cut my losses. I have no need or want of the VUL. I just want to be completely free of Ameriprise. I don't even know what I was thinking at the time anyways when I signed up for it.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:40 PM   #29
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Good deal! I went from Ameriprise to Vanguard and I couldn't be happier. After experiencing Ameriprise's fee structure, the low cost culture at Vanguard is a breath of fresh air!
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:11 PM   #30
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More kudos to you for gittin' it done!
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:13 PM   #31
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Thanks for all the help. Learned a lot on here in the past few days. Unlike many forums, this one deals with pretty serious issue - money.

If you guys ever get down, just remember you saved at least one person!
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:35 PM   #32
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Ameriprise has no idea of what hit them. I didn't even tell my advisor LOL.

...my goal will be to educate others before they make the same mistake...
Do not use Ameriprise....
Mike you have started to make your impact.
Ameriprise today announced it was laying off 300 people at hdqtrs here in Minneapolis..."The financial planning and insurance company announced that 300 employees in its Minneapolis headquarters will be out of a job by week's end. An undisclosed number of workers in its field leadership and branch offices also are being let go - it said its revenue from deceptive financial products have fallen dramatically this week. They place the blame on an irate ex-customer named Mike Cartone" Minneapolis Star-Tribune story
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:17 PM   #33
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Yeah I've decided to cut my losses. I have no need or want of the VUL. I just want to be completely free of Ameriprise. I don't even know what I was thinking at the time anyways when I signed up for it.
Ok, I admit that I was in your position once myself. I felt the same way that you do now. I also jumped ship on my own just as you did. Beware that this will cost you even more as Am****ise takes its final fees from you for the priviledge of closing your account.
You will be amazed at the gall and the description of the fees that they will steal from you to close it all out. Well, let's hope it doesn't happen to you but they probably haven't changed. You did right to get out as soon as you could.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:09 AM   #34
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Update

I faxed in the form yesterday and called today to get the $500 fees back and they should be credited to my credit card tomorrow. So that is some money saved. Then right after I get off the phone with Ameriprise at the main office, I get a call from another number that was unknown on my phone and guess who it is... finally my advisor comes to service - only when it is time to save his own a**.

He obviously sounded different/shocked. I hung up on him and he then called back again and I didn't answer.

Also the bank blocked their automatic transactions just in time earlier this week by crediting back the fees for the VUL for the month. So basically I made a quick $600 this week or should I say - GOT BACK WHAT WAS MINE.

You guys here rule!
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:42 AM   #35
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Yay--glad it worked out for you.
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:27 AM   #36
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mikecart1, unfortunately, this is how Ameriprise operates. I'd pull your money out of there and then leave the VUL. I'm surprised they didn't send you a notice to pony up the 157 dollars since they want to make sure that they can get the full surrender charge out of you in the event you cancel the VUL. I'd just let the VUL run dry on it's own as they'll more than likely just close the account since the value is below the surrender charge.

I know this doesn't really help but luckily you're on the young side and you'll have time to make up your losses. I was a bit older than you when I got involved with then American Express and ended up in the same boat as you. Once I did DIY, I saved a bunch of fees and made money instead of dumping my money into a rat hole like a VUL or annuity. It's a bad feeling though when you realize you've just been hosed by a large company. When I was involved with them, there wasn't the wealth of information on the net like this forum and amexsux.com so I just figured "bad luck" and took my lumps. Taking your lumps and moving on is what Ameriprise hopes you do.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:15 PM   #37
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For older people that have been with them for decades, I feel deeply sorry for their unawareness of what is REALLY going on.
Me too, especially after reading this article today:

Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg Markets Magazine
"Working out of an Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. branch in Orlando, Florida, Christopher Coulther offered his clients a deal that was hard to resist. Promising a 100 percent return on Costa Rican real estate, he enticed 98 people to invest almost $12 million.

His alleged sin, marketing an investment his company hadn't authorized, is known as "selling away."

Among large financial firms including Citigroup Inc.'s Citigroup Global Markets, Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley and UBS AG, only Ameriprise Financial Inc.'s Ameriprise Financial Services and brokerage unit Securities America Inc. have been disciplined for selling-away violations, unapproved private securities transactions or outside business activities, according to records of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities industry watchdog.

Among other large financial planning companies with extensive branch and independent franchise operations similar to Ameriprise, the Finra records turn up selling- away violations at only one firm."
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:52 AM   #38
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Update

I almost smashed my computer today as I looked at my bank account where Ameriprise automatically takes funds out to fund those POS accounts. Well today it was for the IRA that is currently in process to being switched to VG. Boy was I mad.

I tried to call my bank which was unsucessful for some reason for 3-4 times. I then checked back with my computer and saw that the block that I have on Ameriprise was just delayed by a day (transaction took place yesterday and I got refunded today). So that was a relief.

I checked on Ameriprise website and saw that my ex-advisor is still collecting commission fees on the IRA. What should I do? Will the refund I got back today from the bank blocking Ameriprise just eliminate that whole transaction so my ex-advisor doesn't collect his $25 for doing s***?

I also got a letter from that VUL company asking why my bank reversed their auto transaction last month. Should I call them and say it is over or just ignore it for now? Surrender charges are at -$200. I am not paying that BS either.
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