Friday, September 16, 2016

In which we remember yet another pain in the neck about running for public office and why Politics Is For Rich People Who Have People

Primo has spent hours completing the financial disclosure forms.

I agree with the idea - we should be able to see how candidates and politicians are getting their money - but when it is Us The Candidate completing the forms, I get a little pissy because even though I have an MBA from a top 20 program and I got the highest scores in the class in finance and I worked at the IRS for three months as a temp job, I find these forms incomprehensible and a royal pain in the neck.

As in, you cannot just say that you have $X in your company's 401K program. You have to detail the amount in each fund.

Between us, Primo and I have three company 401Ks and we each have our Roth IRA. Within each program, we have our money split in about six funds. (The first thing I learned in finance was Diversify, Diversify, Diversify.)

If we were rich, we would have People to do this stuff for us. People who would pull each statement and figure out the amount by fund and add up any duplicate funds across programs to see if the amounts meet the reporting threshold.

We would have People to spend hours and hours doing this.

But we are not rich. We do not have People.

This, my friends, is another reason why ordinary folks do not run for office.

Fear for our country.

8 comments:

  1. And some of these forms are meaningless. At the federal level we get things like Senator Bigshot has between $5 and $50 million. It's a big difference if it's 5 or 50. But now that you have gathered all the information it will be easier to keep it updated. As a government employee my husband had to do this. He just pulled out his information and made the necessary changes and sent it in.

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    1. I laughed at those ranges. Really? Where are the "We hope we can retire without being a burden on society someday" ranges?

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  2. Sorry i'm so far away, or i would volunteer to be Primo's people. Maybe you can find a retiree locally who would like a little volunteer job?

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    1. Thanks, webb. We would be happy to have you. :)

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  3. I don't understand the allocation problem. (3 401Ks + IRA) x 2 = 8 accounts, x c. 6 funds in each = 48 funds. Why not just invest in an already diversified, no-load, low-cost mutual fund like Vanguard's Total Stock Market fund? Or if you want more diversity (an international fund, say, or perhaps a small cap growth fund), why not dedicate one program to the TSM, another program to the international, and a third program to the small cap growth fund? That would give you all the diversity you need with many fewer accounts to track.

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  4. Or if I read your posting differently, it would be 3 401s plus 2 IRAs = 6 programs x 6 funds in each = 36 funds. I can't imagine why you'd need that many unless you're really trying to play market segments; if so, that's as much of a loser's game as trying to play individual stocks. Just buy one or a couple of broadly diversified mutual funds and let them grow on their own.

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    1. I have the 401K from my job now. Primo has the one from where he used to work and I have one from an old job as well. They have always performed well so we have not bothered to roll them over.

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  5. I immediately convert the 401k from former jobs into a rollover IRA with Vanguard, thus eliminating all the fees the employer did not bother to negotiate down for me, even an employed with 50,000 + employees. One should never have more than one 401k in my estimation.

    Also, every account does not need to be diversified - just your holdings in total. That would make you reporting easier.

    Now if only I were attentive enough to figure out who you and Primo are! I could write a check.

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