Greener Pastures

You know, the grass on the other side of that fence really does look tempting. It’s all rich and green and thick and perfect. Until you climb over that fence and step in something you didn’t expect.

My relatively new financial advisor “advised” me to change 401-k companies. Never mind that I’d been with my current provider for seven years. He said the provider he worked with would be AWESOME. We would have more options. Our employees would be happier. And they would cost the same or less than my current 401-k company.

I liked the idea of having everything at one location. So I moved our 401-k. And the grass is NOT greener.

This new company is much larger than my former provider. I thought that would be good – so many more options, etc. There are indeed more options, but there are also more fees. My former company billed me a one-time annual fee and then I matched quarterly. With the new company, it seems there’s an additional fee every month for one thing or another.

With our former company, I had a single point of contact. Nice guy. He owns the business. I would call him when I had questions or when an employee wanted to change investment choices. With the new company, I suddenly had not one, but three different points of contact and I don’t even know whom to call about what. I have to copy all three on everything. Just in case.

We just finished our first quarter with the new 401-k company. They sent every single employee’s statement to the wrong address. This is AFTER I sent all the correct mailing addresses to them, not once, not twice, but three times. They even sent my statement to a house I haven’t lived in for more than two years. I don’t even now how they got that address.

The whole experience has been exasperating. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time dealing with issues I never had with my former provider and talking to people whose faces I’ve never seen. Plus, between the monthly costs and the hidden fees, it’s much more expensive.

So that lush green grass that lured me over the fence . . . it was just covering up a lot of crap.

In fact, the only thing I’ve learned on this side of the fence is how much better it was on the other side.