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3rd Quarter 2023

October 10, 2023

Inside Financial Connections  Newsletter

      • SCHWAB CONVERSION – THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY
      • MAYBE I’M NOT READY TO RETIRE
      • 2023 IRA REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS (RMD)

SCHWAB CONVERSION - THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

We crossed fingers over Labor Day weekend hoping the conversion of accounts from TD Ameritrade went smoothly. Below are some of our experiences less than a month into the change.

The Good

Schwab’s PR department was quick to publicize a successful conversion weekend. Bernie Clark, Head of Schwab Advisor Services said “It went spectacularly.” From the advisor perspective, yes and no.

It is unrealistic to think there wouldn’t be problems converting 7,000 advisors, 3.6 million accounts totaling $1.3 trillion (per Clark).

We agree with some of our colleagues that 90% of the conversion went well. It is that last 10% that is problematic.

  • All shares and cash transferred correctly from TD Ameritrade so September 5, accounts were accurate (dollar value isn’t used in transfers because prices change but the number of shares were the same from 9/1 to 9/5).
  • Most standing instructions for transfers in/out of client banks transferred properly.
  • Schwab adopted iRebal, a TD Ameritrade program that allows advisors to manage portfolio trading.

The Bad

  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) from January – August 31 did not transfer to the Schwab system. This requires us to track what a client has already taken of their RMD, any checks written to charities after 9/5 to manually derive how much remains. For us, this involves hundreds of accounts.
  • Schwab doesn’t allow systematic distributions from Inherited/Beneficiary IRAs and 401(k)s (systematic means the distribution will automatically occur based on your specified timing and the custodian (TDA/Schwab) will keep a tally and update to match your RMD requirement). We will now have to do this manually for the Inherited IRAs and 401(k) plans.
  • Some Living Trust accounts that set-up wire instructions did not transfer. The staff at Financial Connections is manually checking the form you signed against what did or did not transfer to Schwab. So far it looks like one-third are incorrect.
  • Clients can update beneficiaries without Financial Connections involvement potentially causing confusion for what we have on file versus Schwab. At TD Ameritrade, we completed a form for your signature so there was uniformity.
  • Deposits – when you let us know a deposit was forthcoming, we would track it to make sure it was received. Schwab only alerts us to deposits over $25,000. If you are sending in deposits, please let us know.

The Ugly

A former TD Ameritrade employee now with Schwab, said the problems as a result of the conversion are falling to the former TDA advisors to resolve.

    • Setting up an ACH transfer, used to take one or two days for the form to be processed. Schwab takes five days. Lack of adequate staffing we’re told.
    • Inconsistency across the advisor website. One screen closes on the lower right, another one on the upper left, you change the view to the new and improved but it doesn’t stick to become the default setting. Well, you get the idea. Poor use of time figuring it out.
    • TD Ameritrade was always known for their technology. Unfortunately, Schwab did not adopt as much as we had hoped. You may recall we are members of NAPFA (National Associate of Personal Financial Advisors). They have a forum. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of discussion. Advisors describe the Schwab platform as clunky compared to TDA’s elegance. We wholeheartedly agree.

  • Schwab Service Group training: We are constantly receiving conflicting information which is inefficient for all of us. Seems like better training of Schwab employees was warranted.
  • Schwab emphasized in webinars for TDA advisors, that e-Authorization would be the primary method for client signatures. However, it does not work as advertised so it has been difficult for us to execute some requests.

Our goal is to resolve these issues without any impact on our clients.

MAYBE I'M NOT READY TO RETIRE

According to the Social Security Administration, a man born in 1930 had a life expectancy of 58 years; a woman 62 years and the retirement age was 65.

With our longer life spans, it is not surprising many people are working longer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts the increase in the number of workers age 75 and older will increase 78% between 2022 and 2023.

A survey conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies expects almost 50% of baby boomers plan to work past 70 (see, Jill isn’t alone!).

To be sure, some of those working in later years are due to financial need. However, others continue to find purpose and enjoyment in what they do. We are living longer and for many, remain healthy longer. It means our savings and investments need to last longer.

Ken Dychtwald, founder and CEO of Age Wave states, “We have lived for decades now with the notion that there is nothing for older people to do but have vacation. But I think we’re in a revolutionary moment right now.”

Dr. Laura Carstensen, Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity said “there’s nothing magic about 65 or 60 or any other number. Today, most jobs are based on knowledge. So if we look at knowledge workers, in many jobs, the evidence suggests that we’re peaking in our late 60s or early 70s. So the idea that we should be leaving the workforce based on an outdated norm is something that we need to wrestle with. People often think about the brain as being most affected by aging, short of diseases like dementia. The brain is relatively spared as an organ system, much more targeted our muscles and bones, so we become weaker, our bones are more frail. But for healthy people, there are very few changes in the brain or cognitive processing that would affect one’s ability to do work.”

It is not always easy to continue to work. There is a lot of ageism by companies and workers. The Equal Opportunity Commission said many instances of age discrimination aren’t reported. Still in fiscal 2022, 11,500 charges of age discrimination were filed.

AARP did their own poll. They found:

  • 17% of older workers received negative comments about their age at work
  • 13% felt they were passed over for promotions

Age Wave and Edward Jones conducted a study of retirees reporting that almost 25% found it difficult to find purpose post-retirement. We all need a reason to get out of bed. It helps people’s emotional and physical health to be social, have goals and feel fulfilled.

2023 IRA REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS (RMD)

If you are donating using checks, please try to complete your gift giving to qualified charities by early November. We will need to manually track the check being cashed and deduct it from your RMD. If we issue your final RMD to equal your minimum and a check clears afterwards, you will have taken more than was necessary. Most final RMD payments go out between December 1 and 15. Please contact us with questions.

IN THE MEDIA

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