Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

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tonyclifton
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by tonyclifton »

To provide an alternative example, the Empower advisor that visited my workplace several years ago was very helpful. They did not try and sell me anything. They reviewed my 401k investments and contribution and said I was doing a "good job saving." They did point out that while I had a number of different fund choices they overlapped on "large cap" stocks - this was true (and thanks to Bogleheads I am smarter since then). The advisor actually suggested that my spouse check into a 457b plan. My spouse wasn't their client and the 457b wasn't with Empower. This was a great suggestion as I thought my spouse could only do 403b annuities. It was an awesome suggestion and we enrolled shortly thereafter. I wish we enrolled decades ago...

PS - I pestered our HR department to shop plans. Empower reduced their fee and nearly matched Vanguard. At my employer, the employee pays a % of assets under management which I grumble about every quarter when Empower takes their cut.
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sleepysurf
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by sleepysurf »

sunrider6 wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 7:04 pm See this pdf for a reasonable detailed description of their approach.
https://www.empower.com/personal-invest ... ethodology
Thanks! Great explanation.

Coincidentally, when I logged into Empower this AM, I was greeted by this pop-up message...
Happy 9th anniversary
You've been with Empower for 9 years, and we're so happy to have you. What's next? How can we help you get there?
We invite you to meet Advisor for a quick review of your finances, goals and to see what Empower can do for you.
I'm tempted to actually call them, and ask their Advisor to explain why my passive, low cost Boglehead approach is not ideal, given that their own analysis says it would match the returns of their proposed Smart Weighting™ portfolio!
Retired 2018 | currently ~65/30/5 (partially sliced and diced, with a slowly rising equity glide path)
AlwaysLearningMore
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by AlwaysLearningMore »

sleepysurf wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 9:53 am
sunrider6 wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 7:04 pm See this pdf for a reasonable detailed description of their approach.
https://www.empower.com/personal-invest ... ethodology
Thanks! Great explanation.

Coincidentally, when I logged into Empower this AM, I was greeted by this pop-up message...
Happy 9th anniversary
You've been with Empower for 9 years, and we're so happy to have you. What's next? How can we help you get there?
We invite you to meet Advisor for a quick review of your finances, goals and to see what Empower can do for you.
I'm tempted to actually call them, and ask their Advisor to explain why my passive, low cost Boglehead approach is not ideal, given that their own analysis says it would match the returns of their proposed Smart Weighting™ portfolio!
My guess is your time (perhaps spent with loved ones or friends) is more valuable than talking to a financial salesperson.
Retirement is best when you have a lot to live on, and a lot to live for. * None of what I post is investment advice.* | FIRE'd July 2023
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letahl
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by letahl »

esteen wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 6:16 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 5:21 pm What a clown. I do spar with clowns like this now and then and tend to wait for them to leave me an opening large enough to drive a cruise ship through. His: Health care needs more. My response would be: "you mean like Stewart Health Care who is in such dire shape in the Boston market, they appear ready to go into bankruptcy?". During his silence, I'd hang up. I'd then remove all my money from them and put it into someplace more suitable like Schwab or Fidelity. And when these clowns contact to ask why I've moved the money, I'd tell him that their clown's nonsense made it clear that I want nothing to do with them.
OP's money is not with them... he's using their free tool, and they called up to see if he WOULD put their money with them, which he declined.
Yes, correct, except they actually sent me an email or two offering me something to the effect of a "FREE financial advisor evaluation!" Mentioning something about retirement. Since I'm kind of starting to run those numbers and see the finish line somewhere on the horizon, I said, ok, I do need to engage this process with the retirement planning, and scheduled one. But it was NOT a financial advisor evaluation and there was no discussion whatsoever of retirement. And I'm a she/her. :)
friedplantain
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by friedplantain »

It’s his job to convince you that you don’t understand what you’re doing, that investing is too complex for you, to make you feel insecure and afraid, and to put fear in your mind that your assets are at risk. Otherwise, you would have no need to pay him for his services.

You’re doing the right thing with your portfolio and you handled yourself very well on the call. Don’t second guess yourself and don’t let him or any other salesperson sow seeds of doubt in your mind about what you’re doing.
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retiredjg
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by retiredjg »

Does anybody actually have an IRA at Empower that is not managed by an advisor? If yes, I'd like to hear about funds available (the usual ones), expense ratios, and fees.
MnD
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by MnD »

After Empower bought Personal Capital I noticed an increasing parade of errors creeping into their account aggregator.
To the point where the portfolio return, allocation and expense ratio data was completely unverifiable and wrong.

These weren't "in the weeds" things. For example periodic withdrawals from the US's biggest employer retirement system were all misclassified as not being withdrawals, which completely blew up the total return calculations for that account and for the portfolio as a whole. Numerous serious errors like this went on for months until I pulled the plug on their system in late 2023.

I was concerned if they were making these sorts of errors in key calculations, what sort of errors and omissions are they making to their security systems?
70/30 AA for life, Global market cap equity. Rebalance if fixed income <25% or >35%. Weighted ER< .10%. 5% of annual portfolio balance SWR, Proportional (to AA) withdrawals.
esteen
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by esteen »

letahl wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 12:12 pm
esteen wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 6:16 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 5:21 pm What a clown. I do spar with clowns like this now and then and tend to wait for them to leave me an opening large enough to drive a cruise ship through. His: Health care needs more. My response would be: "you mean like Stewart Health Care who is in such dire shape in the Boston market, they appear ready to go into bankruptcy?". During his silence, I'd hang up. I'd then remove all my money from them and put it into someplace more suitable like Schwab or Fidelity. And when these clowns contact to ask why I've moved the money, I'd tell him that their clown's nonsense made it clear that I want nothing to do with them.
OP's money is not with them... he's using their free tool, and they called up to see if he WOULD put their money with them, which he declined.
Yes, correct, except they actually sent me an email or two offering me something to the effect of a "FREE financial advisor evaluation!" Mentioning something about retirement. Since I'm kind of starting to run those numbers and see the finish line somewhere on the horizon, I said, ok, I do need to engage this process with the retirement planning, and scheduled one. But it was NOT a financial advisor evaluation and there was no discussion whatsoever of retirement. And I'm a she/her. :)
My apologies for the poor assumption!
This post is for entertainment or information only, and should not be construed as professional financial advice. | | "Invest your money passively and your time actively" -Michael LeBoeuf
nyejos11
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by nyejos11 »

That conversation you had with him was exactly what I would have expected. That’s why I don’t talk to these leeches.
gavinsiu
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by gavinsiu »

Thanks for sharing. When I briefly used personal capital I promptly blocked all their calls. I am curious to see what modern portfolio would look like? I am doubtful that they can overcome a 1% fee.

Still for the uneducated they might be better than the Edward jones from a few decades ago who started by selling me something without even seeing what I have. I suppose vanguard pas would be better due to the lower anum.
SxSW
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by SxSW »

er999 wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 1:44 pm That said, your choice of US total stock market has been way superior to anyone who added international or a value tilt in the last 10 years to the stock portion of their portfolio.
But inferior for longer periods. Is the idea to hold the entire market, or merely a subset of it?
USAFperio
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Location: Northern Virginia

Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by USAFperio »

I posted on my own experience with an Empower (then Personal Capital) advisor phone call a few years ago. It was pure bunk, although a little different from your experience.

viewtopic.php?t=296065
m0derton
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Re: Memoir of my Empower "Financial Advisor" call

Post by m0derton »

theRoCK wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 6:00 pm I had this call once with them when they were still Personal Capital. From what I remember, what they offer is a form of direct indexing, not market cap based, but equal weight on a per sector basis. They pick representative stocks in each sector, and they TLH within a sector with an equivalent stock.

I said no, thanks, and I used to get occasional emails to set up a call with the financial advisor but never bothered, and eventually it stopped.
I was with Personal Capital for a few years. It served its purpose to help me learn some stuff when I started taxable investing outside my 401k. Eventually, I found this forum and decided to handle everything myself. It was quite the hassle getting rid of the hundreds of stocks they put me in, but I prefer the simplicity.
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