No one is safe from being taken for a ride, it seems

You might think a story about an attorney who saved steadily for her retirement from her early 20s and worked in financial services would be certain to end well. But Helen Templeton’s story shows that things can be a lot more complicated than expected. While she might ultimately have gotten back on track, the experience of this attorney, who works for a large, respected South African financial institution, shows that none of us is exempt from being taken for a ride.

Helen describes her retirement planning before she encountered 10X Investments as “rather haphazard”, although she did start early and saved enough.

“I started early enough, in my 20s, with a retirement annuity, and added more policies as various brokers came to see me and recommended further investments,” says Helen, who is 45 years old.

But, she adds, she made the mistake of “naively assuming that the financial houses with whom I had taken the policies would manage them in my best interest”.

A breakthrough came for Helen when she started reading articles on an investment website, which directed her to 10X’s website, where she found the retirement calculators. She did some calculations, which “seemed to show that my retirement fund savings were on track”, but her curiosity had been awakened, and she continued to research more about fees charged for retirement policies.

“I was horrified to see that with my older policies most of the contributions for the first couple of years had gone to pay commission. There is also a staggering fee to pay if the policy is made paid up or transferred,” says Helen.

“The worst is the arrogant attitude. It was as if they were doing me a favour and I should be grateful that they didn’t charge the full fee they were entitled to.

”They seemed to forget that “it’s my money”!Helen says that more recent policies she had taken out with another financial house did not have the upfront commission structure, but they were charging a 4% fee on the monthly contribution, as well as an annual management fee of about 2%.

“With the downturn in the economy the return on investment is so poor. Add in the hefty fees and I wondered if I would ever be able to retire,” she says, adding that old age and retirement is “not for sissies … and I want to be financially prepared to take on whatever life throws at me”.

So does everyone. But few people work in financial environments, and they won’t be attuned to the damage that high investment fees cause.

Helen was fortunate to have become enlightened early enough to make some course corrections, and she is now in the process of transferring all these funds to 10X. The savings on fees will compound over the next few decades and make up lost ground.

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