Pension plans should fire their expensive consultants, who are engaged in the zero-sum game of trying to pick "winning" fund managers, and switch to low-cost passive investing. There are a number of reasons, however, why that is not likely to occur.
While flowers and candy offer immediate gratification (feel free to get her those as well), I'll bet your mom will truly appreciate the long-term value of getting her records in order now so that she -- and you -- will be able to take appropriate actions later on, should the need arise.
They drop poorly performing funds and select replacements with stellar recent track records. In making these choices, they often rely on the recommendation of their consultants, who dazzle them with charts and graphs supporting their selections. This ritual is repeated endlessly.
Our national debt keeps growing. And the administration is not showing the kind of leadership Congress needs to stop kicking the fiscal can further down the road. This month, Team Romney asked, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Many Americans couldn't say yes.
So what happens in a marketplace when buyers lack information and can't easily exercise consumer choice? Sellers can charge whatever they want. And this is pretty much the case in the 401(k) marketplace.
401(k) plan investments are a primary driver of the investment markets. They are also the reason that many people are pacing the floors at night, worrying if their retirement will get delayed or destroyed.
In addition to traditional gifts like candy and flowers, consider spending a few hours helping your mom organize her financial, legal and medical records so that she -- and you -- knows where she stands.