(Warning: long story)
People here on the financial blogs talk about how to make the best retirement investments all the time. And one assumption is that the companies will be competent and get your money to you when the time comes. While that's probably true, let me pass along what I went through last year with these financial companies, and you can draw your own conclusions.
This started about a year ago when my prior employer contacted me indicating that I didn't have enough money in my money pension plan to keep it there on its own, and I would have to roll it over to a new account (to my current employer account or a custodial IRA - that may be the wrong term, but I think you know what I mean) The money had been there for 2 years with no problem, why it was an issue now I didn't know, but ok, I'll transfer the money.
Once I get the paperwork from the manager of my account I find I have well over the required amount to keep my funds where they are, and ask my employer about this.
I'm told the amount vested is not really that amount, actually less than the $5K required. So ok, I'll get what I can, roll it over, and life will go on. My larger current employer has 401ks available with three different fund companies, of which I am investing in two of them. I decide to roll over into funds controlled by company "A".
After getting help with the paperwork from the on site assistant from "A", I send the paperwork off to my old employer for them to write a check. About two weeks later a check arrives, for the whole amount of my money pension, not just the vested amount.
I wonder if this will actually fly, so I cross my fingers, give the check to the on site guy, and off the check goes (with a photo copy for me - and I needed it).
Being patient I wait, and wait, and wait (and almost forget about it). I was told this should take 2 weeks at most. After 6 weeks I contact the on site guy and ask him what is going on. He doesn't know and will check, and a day later contacts me indicating that the check was sent to the wrong department, but now will be going to the right location. Just give it another week. I give it two, and the money is still not showing up. I contact the guy again, and he indicates they have the money, but there is some problem, and it will be in my account in a day or two. Again, after a week no money. This time I contact my company's HR person for retirement funds. (Yeah, I know, I was too patient). This time I get the answer that they have lost the check, and can I get a new check from the other fund company?
Ugh, ok, so I call the prior company, give them the SOB story about what heppened. "Sure no problem, what was the account number?" I give them the number. I'm then asked for the amount of the prior check. At this point I wonder if they don't know and I could say anything and would they accept it???, but I decide not to test my luck. Sure enough a week later the check arrives (with the same amount as previously!). I give it to "on-site guy", and a week later the money shows up correctly in my accounts.
All's well that end's well, right? True... but I decide a month later to tempt fate. I have a small roll - over custodial IRA, and I decide I would like to have one less statement to look at.
After the fun with company "A", I try to roll this over into my funds with company "B", the other company I have a reitrement fund with at my current employer. As I start this, I find no better luck. Now company "B" insists I get papers from the original company I invested the funds with, so they can know it was a true 401k and is a proper roll over. Sounds good except my old company from 8 years earlier is no more. I try to have them get the information from the company holding the IRA currently. I mean, if this is so important, they should have the information, right? Well this company holding my roller over, call this one company "C", can't help them. This wouldn't be so absurd, except for the fact that company "B" *IS* company "C"!!!
If they think this information is needed, why the **** don't they have it themselves???
I'm about ready to give up on this, but on a lark I check with on-site guy from company "A", and he tells me the other company doesn't know the rules, and sure, they can put the money into my account. And this time he is going to double check what is happening for me. No problems from this point forward, and the money moves just fine.
If you've read this long winded story to this point, I hope you understand my "concerns" when it comes to actually getting my money when I retire. Intellectually I'm sure I'll get the money. Emotionally... thats another story.
Gawd, I hope my money will be there
(Warning: long story)