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Leaving Ameriprise - the finish line is here
Old 06-26-2015, 03:00 PM   #1
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Leaving Ameriprise - the finish line is here

For those of you who don't know my story, DH and I escaped from Ameriprise in August 2010 with the help of the people on this forum.

Today we were cleaning out some files and found the original investment binder that Ameriprise presented to us the first time we met with our FA in May 2006.

In the "Provide for financial independence (retirement)" section the first sentence says, "Your goal of retiring at Steve's age 59 is ambitious and will require a very aggressive and motivated effort. You may not be able to achieve your retirement income goal unless you take corrective action immediately."

It took us 4 years to take their advice to "take corrective action" and if we hadn't their prediction would have been spot on.

Even though we missed the rebound in 2009 and most of 2010 due to the funds they had us in we've quadrupled our net worth since leaving them. Steve (DH) retired last December at the age of 49 1/2 and I'm retiring at the end of this year at 54. (main reason for the quadruple besides the market run-up is that we ploughed every extra penny into investments to make up for lost time).

Lesson learned - self-managed investing IS NOT HARD. When I started down this path I had no clue what I was doing. But once I saw what Ameriprise was costing us I decided to learn, and learn quickly.

Pick a low cost firm (we're w/Vanguard), set your AA, invest in index funds and make occasional adjustments. But you do have to do some work and don't expect anyone to take you by the hand and tell you step by step what to do. Part of the doing and being successful is the learning that goes along with it.

Doing those few super simple things bought us an extra 10 years of retirement so if you've wondered if you should leave a company like Ameriprise and do it yourself, you'll get a resounding YES from us!!
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Old 06-26-2015, 03:03 PM   #2
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Doing those few super simple things bought us an extra 10 years of retirement so if you've wondered if you should leave a company like Ameriprise and do it yourself, you'll get a resounding YES from us!!
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Old 06-26-2015, 03:59 PM   #3
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Good for you!


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Old 06-26-2015, 04:20 PM   #4
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Congratulations and thanks for sharing your story to encourage others!
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Old 06-26-2015, 04:33 PM   #5
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Lisa99,
Congratulations on the amazing success. It feels good to be free of them I'm sure.
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Old 06-26-2015, 05:08 PM   #6
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Lisa, I love love love your story and bow to your success, even though your poor Ameriprise FA will now not be able to retire when Steve turns 59 or even later (I think that is what the original Ameriprise statement really meant ).
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Old 06-26-2015, 05:55 PM   #7
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Lisa,
Congratulations to you both. You did some very simple but improbable things: Had an inkling that you might have a problem, did the research to confirm that you were being badly bled by some leaches, did your own research to find alternatives, took action, and had the discipline to "save hard". There were lots of pitfalls at each step, but you saw it through. Your story is one we have steered many Ameriprise "clients" to read, you've helped many others.
These have been unusually good years in the market, you know that you'll have downturns, too. But when that happens, you'll still be assured that nothing would have been any better under the old regime, paying their fees and accepting their advice.
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Old 06-26-2015, 07:03 PM   #8
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Congratulations Lisa! You have much to celebrate and lots more time to enjoy your early retirement and all because you were willing to research, ask questions, and make the necessary change.
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Old 06-26-2015, 07:45 PM   #9
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Question, Have you had any contact with the Ameriprise rep since? Maybe invite him/her to coffee some day! Nah, that would be rubbing it in.
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Old 06-29-2015, 04:37 PM   #10
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I also recently found our initial investment binder from 2005. I was 25 at the time and didn't have a clue. Luckily their heavy aggressive sales pitch on a complicated life insurance policy ($900 per month investment) turned us away from them and we never invested a penny. Looking back had they not been pushing so hard we probably would have made some investments there. Instead I started to do the research myself and then found this website.

btw...our plan had the same sentence about my goal being "too aggressive" to retire by 50...currently on-track to FIRE by 45 (fingers crossed)
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:08 PM   #11
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Congrats! It's great that your plan worked out as you'd hoped!
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:24 PM   #12
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I also recently found our initial investment binder from 2005..........
I'm always amused at the sheer volume of paper in these reports, the oversized graphs and pie charts that look so impressive. and the tiny print that spells out how much they are actually charging you.
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:21 PM   #13
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I'm always amused at the sheer volume of paper in these reports, the oversized graphs and pie charts that look so impressive. and the tiny print that spells out how much they are actually charging you.
Recently, a group of us retired guys sat down with a variable annuity prospectus to see if we could figure out the charges, in total. It took a couple of hours to find them all and it was between 3 - 4 %. Shocking!
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:31 PM   #14
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Recently, a group of us retired guys sat down with a variable annuity prospectus to see if we could figure out the charges, in total. It took a couple of hours to find them all and it was between 3 - 4 %. Shocking!
A couple of years ago some friends down the road from us asked me to take a look at an annuity their 'financial guy' was telling them was a good deal. Took some sifting through the fine print and the 75+ pages of the prospectus to tally up the fees. Yep, 4%.
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Old 06-30-2015, 12:47 AM   #15
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A couple of years ago some friends down the road from us asked me to take a look at an annuity their 'financial guy' was telling them was a good deal. Took some sifting through the fine print and the 75+ pages of the prospectus to tally up the fees. Yep, 4%.

4% each and every year?
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Old 06-30-2015, 06:33 AM   #16
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4% each and every year?
Made me look: Variable Annuity

The fees weren't 4%, they were in the 3.5% range, depending on what funds the purchaser choose to invest in. And yes, they were ongoing...
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:27 AM   #17
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Made me look: Variable Annuity

The fees weren't 4%, they were in the 3.5% range, depending on what funds the purchaser choose to invest in. And yes, they were ongoing...
You get what you pay for.



Or not.........
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Old 06-30-2015, 12:13 PM   #18
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Ameriprise sucks.

There oughta be a law.
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Old 06-30-2015, 03:49 PM   #19
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I too found my binder, from 1997, I was 25. I'm actually $250K ahead of plan including the fact my company stopped giving out raises for 5 years, stopped company 401k matching and eliminated the pensions...not bad, of course stopped taking their advise quickly when during the 2000 crisis every fund they put me in had a lawsuit against them for inappropriate practices.. it didn't take rocket science to get me the heck out of dodge. Ameriprise does suck and theres even a facebook page for it. btw, I left a roth ira there and when I transferred it they required me to pay a closing account fee...since I didn't have any other money with them, they took it out of my roth IRA..they wouldn't let me pay them cash.. that's how much they suck.. if I didn't already have reasons to hate them.. that was over the top.. poor vanguard person was on the line and I was just laying the F bombs...oops.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:59 PM   #20
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Just a comment, since we are home for the holiday... Talking to DDad who used to be with Ameriprise. He is 73 now and all in a self managed IRA . I was wondering why he isn't with a lower cost house like Vanguard and he said he just thinks all the costs of brokerage houses are too high. I think he got burned with Ameriprise!
I know my expense ratios with Vanguard are under .25 he didn't believe it. He kept thinking I was saying 2.5 . I had to pull up the Vanguard mutual funds on Morningstar to prove it. I may have planted the seed.


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