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ataloss regarding 403B fees, and DarkOut referencing Foolish Four IRA, bring up two interesting issues, upon which we as Foolish consumers of investment services, can and should be proactive.


As with SEC information on stock investments, we have an intrinsic right and obligation to demand clear and easily locatable information regarding all potential fees as well as tax implication of dealing with a potential service.

Wouldn't a clear table of fees and potential tax contingencies distributed with application materials be extremely helpful in making an investment decision?

The IRA, and particularly the new and revised IRA materials that are disseminated by the services are textbook material and generally word for word as suggested by the Federal pilot materials.

If we protest, gently, to the brokers and banks who serve as our IRA and Roth IRA trustees, they can and will take action to obtain approval for revised informational material. Public information materials are major expenses of the trustees, that are vital to their success in their businesses.

Investment choices:

The IRAs have been with us for a long time, and are fairly well understood. But the 1997 and 1998 changes in the rules since the Roth IRA was introduced, have made the choices so much more complex.

For the first time, the middle class is facing basic decisions about lifetime investments that have been the perview of the wealthy in previous generations. The possibilities are staggering, when viewed from an intergenerational perspective. It is in our own best interest to educate ourselves, educate our children at very young ages, and truly move toward a formal school curriculum including personal finance which delves into more than the ability to write a check and pay a credit card bill.

Intergenerational is a favorite word of mine lately. I see threads in society which are beginning to recognize and value the dynamic of interaction between cohorts, or even generations, where the 80 year old is learning from the 50 year old, the 30, year old and the elementary school aged child. The dynamic applies to basic growth of self esteem, self worth, self respect and respect for others, all aspects of interpersonal, and financial relationships as well.

That dynamic, when it works, is that we all learn from each other, and we all grow in wisdom from the experience. Or perhaps I should say Fooldom!

How does this tome relate to investment choices? In Fooldom, we have an unprecedented forum to exchange ideas across time zones, across national boundaries, and across the whole intergenerational spectrum.


Look at where you are now, where you were ten or twenty years ago, and where you might be ten or twenty years from now. While society appears to be changing based on the projections of the media, individuals change by their relationships. Talk to you parents or an aunt, your fishing buddy, or the lady next door. Look at what they feel they did right, what they might have done differently, and where they think they will be ten or twenty years down the line.

I will further recommend looking at a site called on the net. That and other associated sites are up to date on the changes. Some of the material is heavy reading, but the data is valuable. Happy surfing!!
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