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Other Articles from The Villager

Sad how things change!


by The Chameleon
Columns

Nowadays, things seldom change to the better! The old values, such as decency, honesty and righteousness amongst others, too often change into the contrary.
Our bank’s images worldwide are, at best, blurred and other financial institution’s images are often not, what they once were – their predatory nature comes to the fore under the changing moral environments – greed dominates and leads to huge losses.
We, as the bank customers become suspicious; we who make use of these institutions throughout our lives start to look closer. Rather than only a few of us ‘burning’ their fingers, some are left with little to nothing in terms of personal assets because these assets - often life-long savings - are reduced to a pittance or are totally lost.
We lament about the high costs of our banks’ services. Be assured; these costs are nothing in comparison with the costs of insuring one’s retirement. Not only does one have to give the insurance company their money in monthly installments for decades-long, no, they also have to pay their ‘financial advisers’ within these institutions.
These advisers are the very ones who wear the badges of the institutions all over their clothes and papers. But watch out, they do not do what they do because they expect salaries. No. They go after commissions. It should not be so, because the institutions work with clients’ money; your money earns huge amounts of money for the owners and managers of those institutions.
However strange as it may seem, you pay for any and everything; even to deposit your own money into your own account at a bank. Isn’t that crazy!
And then, after 30, 40 or more years, when you would like to reap the fruits of your annuity bonds, you’ll be met by the surprise of your life!
Well, these ‘experts’ will demand that you (sic!) have to tell them how your money should be managed, how and where it has to be reinvested – they, yesterday still being experts, shy away today from ‘taking any risks’.
However, they warn you that should you take the risk by yourself, then the re-invested money could easily ‘evaporate’. This, if you made a mistake; they wag their fingers, apparently concerned! Well, what comes next is that these people turn into experts again; they then, have you ‘grilled to well-done’, offer you their expertise – against costs, of course. And do not make a mistake, they are not cheap. They charge you on a basis that compares well with that of a heart surgeon’s or famed advocate’s. They decide how much the fee should be, not you!
Money-making has got a smell, a capitalistic, sourly-fetid smell!
Let us be honest! Few of us who make use of insurance companies for our retirement plans are financial experts ourselves. Would we all be experts, there would certainly not be a need to consult insurance companies, because we would all be able to handle the matters alone and save costs and risks!
Yes, risks too.
Look at what happened and still happens in the national and international insurance industry. Look at how, i.e., global shares tumble and how many of even the biggest insurance companies worldwide need – and get – bail-outs.  Just like the banks! Remember, the bail-out money is our money, it’s yours, mine and our children’s money.
It seems badly disguised, ‘boere-verneukery’, what our insurance firms and banks (of course) keep themselves busy with. Insurance companies save probably the salary of their employees by tolerating, even encouraging them to ‘fend for themselves’, to go for the ‘prey’. This system also promotes competition amongst the financial advisers who work in different offices but under one roof. It obviously promotes greed and dishonesty – how could it otherwise be?
More cost-effective ways for the benefit of the client do exist but too often, the expert does not mention them.
Those that bring in a usurious yearly administration fee for the adviser, the planner and the financial institution are the preferred choice of the ‘honest Joe’ who works for ‘you’ – everyone will get their slice of the cake, which is your cake.
By this, confidentiality of even the most dubious transactions are practically assured and, sadly, transparency, lost.
Preparing the ‘client’ for transactions via the ‘sales-speak’ is just that, spoken. Little or nothing is put on paper by the ‘honest Joe’; nothing of detail I have personally seen on paper from which I could actually compare options and costs in my own time before signing the new contract. About costs, one has to dig deep; costs are well and carefully hidden. It may be that things will change under the economic pressure of the prevailing crisis hamstringing the world but I doubt it. Greed is an incurable illness!
Please keep in mind that the ‘big and honest’ insurance company insures you by promising to give you one-third of your mature annuity bonds in cash and the rest, two-thirds, it promises to use to pay you a monthly pension ‘as long as you live’.
With yours and my money, this company grows; it amasses wealth in a way that is almost unimaginable! Should we therefore not ask if there is indeed the need for the seemingly ‘crooked’ way its employees are so fond of walking. Is there a need for milking you dry? Is this what the company ‘honorably’ does , especially after you have honored your part of the deal your whole life?
Let brokers be brokers and freelance advisers be freelance advisers. To them, you pay with a smile. But let the employees of the company wear their company’s colours and badges with pride, dignity and honesty; let the company pay them decent salaries and let this be enough.
Otherwise, the image and value of certain notions, such as ‘trust’, ‘mutual’ and the understanding ‘till death separates us’ will soon be exchanged with greed, faulty systems and usury, with ruthlessness and corruption and ‘I got you, mate’... and many more. Then probably another institution will get busy, an ACC or Namfisa and lawyers will earn big, big money!