My London Life investment is still lagging. It is still the worst investment in my portfolio. Heck, the bath I took with PennWest Petroleum (PWT) doesn't come close to matching my present Freedom Fund loss -- and PWT, to its credit, is helping to support my wife and me in our senior years. Who knows, PWT may even recover some of its former value. [True when written. No longer true today. (Feb. 12/2016.)]
I am posting an actual photo, with minimal enhancement, of my June 30, 2009 London Life retirement savings plan statement. It details the loss suffered by my Freedom 55 investment.
The media has made quite the story of Mr. Madoff and his scam. But I have managed to lose about 71% of this investment without dealing with Madoff or his ilk. I did it right here in London, Ontario — no trip to the Big Apple necessary. Luckily, I didn’t have much invested with London Life but still I’d love to know how much money went to management fees to pay for this sterling work.
I have a rule: putting money under a mattress should never out perform an investment. I would have about 345% more money today if I had just shoved my money under my mattress rather than putting it in a Freedom Fund.
As Rod Serling warned, “You are about to enter another dimension . . . Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”
This is the actual “Total change in value of your investments” graph from my statement. There have been no withdrawals. This fund lost it, all on its own, without any help. Nice work.
Some background: I gave this money to the Freedom 55 rep with instructions to put it where he thought it would perform best. Hey, he was the expert. I believe he shoved it in their best performing fund from the past year. If he did, it was a bad move. I will blog about why later, for now just believe me when I say studies have shown that if you want to have a poorly performing portfolio always ensure your money is in last year's big winner.
Since this money was invested in March of 2000, I'll bet this retirement money went into a dot-com bubble fund. I'm sorry that I don't still have my records but I don't. Next rule, bubbles are not for retirement funds. London Life should know this.
I called and had what was left of my investment moved into another fund but it did not do all that well either. My own money, the money I have taken control of, is well into the black. My personal portfolio is weathering the recession with admirable aplomb.
Oh well, come age 69 — oh, make that 71, the rules were recently changed — London Life is obligated to return at least 75% of my original investment.
Wait! I have had a eureka moment. It's not me that gains freedom at 55 thanks to this fund, it's my adviser at London Life! I have to go back and read the fine print. I may be on to something.
For another view on Freedom 55 check out this blog by Darren Barefoot.
For an update on this blog, to see where the Freedom 55 investment was as of Dec. 31, 2012, follow this link.