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Journal of No. 118


April 4th, 2011

VALIC update @ 03:22 pm

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When last we met, I swore a terrible oath vowing to obtain my $849.80 from VALIC. [At least, that's what the amount was a couple months ago. It's been slowly declining for the past couple years or so because it's in a money market fund, and the best rate VALIC can apparently achieve is -0.97%.

Anyway, I slowly marshalled my forces. I mailed the plan administrator at NDA and got the form signed by her on February 4th, at a price of $0.88 postage + sundry stationery + time.

I dawdled for a bit, but on March 12th finally dragged my wife and heir to the UPS Store to get her notarized signature, expressing her consent to forfeit her right to half of whatever little might be left in the VALIC account if I should predecease her. That's another $10 + fuel + time.

So, on March 14th, I sent VALIC all the necessary documents.

On March 28th, I received a letter back saying they could not process my request, because "in-service withdrawals are not allowed until you reach age 59 1/2".

I couldn't face it on Friday, but left it until today, April 4th, to deal with the situation. I call the 800 number.

It appears I made a booboo filling out the form. Since I want to transfer out of their plan, I stupidly ticked the box for 'transfer out'. The phone rep was on the ball, though. In fifteen seconds flat, she had told me, "You need to cross that out and initial it, tick that, check that, fill in that date, and circle 'no'"

"Just send that in with new signatures and all will be well."

My next words created a rent in space-time that still hovers in my office. To protect the physical integrity of the wiring of the nation's phone system, she put me on hold and talked to her supervisor.

"You won't need to get a new notarized signature from your wife. However, the plan administrator's signature expires in 60 days."

Was I the only sane person in a world gone mad? How do signatures 'expire'? I'm not sure I even said anything. I believe the waves emanating from my brain radiated agony at such volume that direct thought transference became briefly possible. The advanced wave of thought travelled far enough back in time and far enough in distance to disturb long dead Jedi. "Let me talk to my supervisor again."

Long pause. When she returns, I try an end-around. Surely, you understand my wishes now, plainly stated under conditions free from duress and characterized at least nominally by sanity. There are a couple boxes to tick, a date to fill in, and a word to circle. Surely this can be done by you as an instrument of my will? Alas, no. "It is considered a legal document. I cannot change it."

However -- Janus be praised for that idiosyncracy of our calendrical system -- February has but 28 days. From Feb. 4th to April 4th is a span of but 59 days. Though clearly its hours are numbered, and its labored breathing has taken on the erratic pattern of Cheynes-Stokes respiration, the signature has not yet expired. "If you fax it with the changes to us today, we'll process it."

Done. Keep your appendages crossed for me, everyone.

And remember, VALIC may employ one competent phone rep (honestly, I have no complaints whatsoever about the phone she gave; and she knew the forms inside and out) but the company as a whole is tremendously sucktastic, and has no doubt deliberately designed things to make it difficult to transfer your money out of its mildewed coffers and into the financial institution of your choice. I remind everyone that this same transaction with the good, honest, upstanding, helpful, angelic Fidelity Brokerage Services was accomplished with one phone call. No forms, no signatures, no notary publics.
 
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From:dark_of_night
Date:April 4th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
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it's good that this was all the significant other. I am she who makes the blood of financial advisors curdle. Apathy and ignorance vie for top billing in my financial world.

Journal of No. 118