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Author: joetangerine Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 25316  
Subject: Re: DO NOT let this happen to your 401k! Date: 12/21/2001 7:05 PM
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rigoletto:

You mention Corzine and his "20%". I doubt if he has 80% or more of his holdings in GS. I could be wrong - and if somebody gave me a million or so in any one stock, I'd probably keep a bundle of it.

That was pure sarcasm on my part. Sen. Corzine is a multi-multi- millionaire. He spent $60 million of his own money to finance his campaign. The source of his wealth is from options received from the Goldman Sachs IPO he lead. It is quite disingenuous for Sen. Corzine to say that people can not hold more than 20% of their 401k funds in one stock when his wealth is derived from one stock. He wants to play by free markets rules, but does not want anyone else to play by those rules.

Your basic point - that we don't need a bunch of liberal lawmakers (many of which haven't worked real jobs in a long time, if ever) telling us how to manage our money, is absolutely right.

Government already does too much (too much of the wrong thing) to manage our lives, while doing far too little to help us learn how to do it right.


Exactly and how does this 20% rule fit everyone all the time.

Another example I thought of where this 20% rule is ridiculous. What if you are in a 401k program and your company announces they are going to split off of a division and form a new company with a partial IPO and ultimately distribute the rest to original shareholders. Take for example Citigroup's recent announced plans to split off its Travelers Property Casualty unit. If I worked for Citigroup I may want to load up on my Citigroup shares in my 401k just so I can ultimately provide a new level of diversity in my 401k plan with a new stock. The 20% rule limits my ability to actually create more diversity in my 401k - the "supposed" purpose of the law.

Basic market investment (like the Fools 13 Rules) could easliy be taught in 1 year of high school. But do we teach anything about finances in high school? (Since I haven't gone in some decades, I'll have to wait on an answer to that one. But I don't expect to be pleasantly surprised.)

I think a basic course like this should be a required course just like English 101 or Civics 101 in highschool. Plus, a more indepth required course should be imposed on the college level. If the government really wants to protect people from themselves then force them to learn about the subject and think for themselves. But, is that really what liberals like Boxer and Corzine really want. No, they want to make sure "Big Daddy Government" takes care of every little thing for you since without them and their laws you would be lost, destitute and without a friend to "feel your pain."

Most 401k's are too restrictive. Companies set the rules as to how much and where you can invest. Mine, for example, lets you buy into the company stock, or about a dozen different funds (from fixed-income (bonds) through conservative through aggressive), and you can spread it around just about any way you want. They even match 75% of your contributions - in company stock, which I think is proper.

Yes I wish 401k's would offer more options. But, I think they do have some limits placed on them by the federal regulations governing 401k's - as far as how much you can invest through a 401k. The company does not get a choice in that matter. Not sure about the # or types of options offered.

I have worked for companies that matched your contributions 100% up to 6% of salary with company stock. I think this is wonderful. It gives you a vested interest in the company and free money to boot. It allows you to take your contributions and do whatever you want with them in the options provided. If the company stock goes nowhere, then you have lost none of your own money.

Back to the "20%". I think that's a good idea (except for the fact that you have to put the rest of it in Funds, which may or may not do better). But I definitely think it should stay at the "good idea" stage. If somebody wants to bet the farm on the next Enron, then he should be able to do so - provided we aren't asked to bail him out. How society should deal with those unfortunates is another subject entirely.

At the very most, companies should - voluntarily - have you sign a statement that you know it can be risky, but that you're OK with that. Every time you go into a hospital, you sign 8 or 9 forms that say you know you could come out through the basement door, but you're OK with that.


This is an option I could live with. If I want to at some point increase my holdings over a 20% threshold, then I would be more than will to sign a "waiver" stating I accept the risk and any of its consequences. But, to deny me the ability is out of the question.

Fees only amount to a small percentage. In my IRA, it's about $25 per trade. No big deal.

Yes, but in my 401k I have to pay the brokerage $400/year to get the privilege of buying individual stocks in my 401k plan, plus I have to pay the fee for each trade. That is over a $1/day to have the privilege to make stock purchases, but when the only other decent fund in my 401k is an S&P500 fund, how can I drive better than market returns with only that and company stock.

I need to go back and find out what the original intent of the 401(k) was. (How is it different in principle from an IRA?)

Look at rmeigs postings, he put a link to a 401k help cneter and they might provide some quick links to that info if they are not here at TMF.
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