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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Keep Your Money Safe with Indexed Accounts

photographer: Yelena Yahontova, The Photographer of Joy

When I was asked to write an article for this month’s issue, at first, I struggled with the content. What wisdom could I impart to Natural Awakenings' readers that they could relate to? Then I remembered my passion, and reason, for entering the financial industry to begin with.  My career was launched because I was sick of the roller coaster ride called the stock market.  Don’t get me wrong—rollercoasters are a blast when you’re at an amusement park, but not so much when it comes to our money.  

        Like many others, I had all my retirement savings in my 401 (k) which exposed me 100 percent to the roller coaster of the market.  In 2001, I lost 48 percent of my money.  The public was told that this was a market correction.  The market didn’t completely recover to its previous numbers until seven years later, and then it dropped again—this time a whopping 54 percent.  Granted, the stock market has been the best long-term investment over the past 100 years.  As Steve Forbes pointed out, in 2014, “One million invested in stocks in 1935 is worth $2.4 billion today.”

        Forbes, however, was referring to the S&P, not 401K funds or money market funds. The moment we buy into an IRA or 401k, we are subject to the fund manager’s picks.  But few firms will discuss this. In fact, 96 percent of actively managed funds fail to beat the market. Not only does our money not keep up with the market in these mutual funds, but we are subject to fees, which also deteriorates our initial nest egg.  The fees are hidden.   As quoted by “Jack” Bogle, the founder and now-retired chairman of The Vanguard Group, “If you make an initial investment of $10,000, at age 20, and assuming 7 percent annual growth, by age 80, you would have $574,464.  But, if you paid 2.5 percent in annual management fees and other expenses, your ending balance would be $140,274, over the same period.”

        So, where do we put our money?  The top investors in the U.S., including Jack Bogle and Warren Buffet, endorse a low-cost S&P 500 index mutual fund, which has a cross section of business.  While index funds may be one solution, there is also another type of indexed account that provides complete safety.  It gives us the upside of the market gains but never the downside risk—and there are no fees.

        Index Accounts may be the right investment vehicle for you if:

  1. You do not want to manage your own money, and you do not want to pay management fees.
  2. You are willing to leave your money in the account for at least 10 years.
  3. You are willing to give up some of the upside potential, to never lose a dime, again.   
  4. Would like the opportunity to turn on an income stream that you are guaranteed to never outlive. 

There is never a better time than now to evaluate your portfolio and find the best place for your money to grow.

Lesa Artzberger is a retirement and wealth building specialist. She offers consults at no charge and can be reached at 858-401-9026 or [email protected], or by visiting