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Letter: Not Brought Up, But Fits What’s Happening

I read Rose Kulfan’s letter to the editor “Pension De-Risking The New Buzzword?” in the Mineola American, Nov. 13-19 issue. I have not heard much about what she mentioned but it does fit much of what is happening.


It is fair to say that the Jesse Jameses of today do not rob trains anymore. I have heard about all of the fees with the I.R.A’s. I would avoid today’s money market and mutual funds. Capital One Bank is pushing its investment department. I would not put my money there or any other similar place. Chase Bank is paying me one hundredth of one percent APR on my savings account. Non-compounded, it would take 10,000 years for the interest to double its value. Capital One brags that it pays five times as much: one twentieth of one percent. Big deal.


I usually buy five food items in the Whole Food Market as they are what I am looking for, and the rest in three different stores. I looked up Whole Food Market on the Internet. I read its history and where it is headed. I have no experience in the stock market -- none, but I decided to take a little from my savings and when the stock market slumped some two years ago, I bought a handful (25) of shares in this market. Guess what: The stock doubled in value, then split. Now I have 50 shares, each of which is now worth more than what I paid for each of the original 25. On top of that, it has paid a bunch of dividends that covered the brokerage fee, leaving me with a positive brokerage balance. 


It gives an idea of how much the banks are making on our savings accounts. Also for the average individual investor, it is unfortunate that Wall Street uses all kinds of slick trading and has an unfair advantage.


One of my aunts left me a few bucks in 2001 and I put it in an annuity. Annuities are honest, right? Big mistake. For 12 years its value was kept below what I paid for it. All of my inquiries about it resulted in my receiving unbelievable gibberish which makes no sense whatsoever. Finally, after 12 years, it went a little above the purchase price and actually more than if it had been in a savings account. I should sell it now.


Concerning the woes faced by those with pension plans as discussed in Rose Kulfan’s letter, I was lucky. I am retired and am receiving an American Federation of Musicians pension; ERISA. It has union and employer trustees. No one is going to fool around with it. Every month it pays $4 for every $100 contributed over the years. Forty-eight percent annually for as long as I shall live. Not too bad.


I do feel that at least some justice will come for all of the people in not the too far distant future. Maybe also some jobs building government housing; rooms without a view and no cell phones.


Charles Samek


Mineola resident