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Pam Horack, CFP®

Financial Planning Made Simple

Pathfinder Planning LLC



Contact Me



Advisor Services

  • Financial Planning
    • -Comprehensive Financial Planning
    • -Retirement Planning
    • -College Planning
    • -Other Financial Planning
  • Pension Consulting
    • -401k


Firm Client types



No timeline events available.
Employer Years Dates
Pathfinder Planning LLC 9 years, 9 months Jul 2010 - Present
Pathfinder Planning LLC 9 years, 10 months Jun 2010 - Present
Pathfinder Planning LLC 9 years, 10 months Jun 2010 - Present
Not Employed 5 years, 2 months Apr 2005 - Jun 2010

Designations & Memberships

  • Financial Planning Association
    Financial Planning Association
    The Financial Planning Association (FPA®) is the largest membership organization for personal financial planning experts in the U.S. and includes professionals from all backgrounds and business models. We help connect thousands of consumers to competent and ethical planners who uphold the FPA Standard of Care.
  • National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
    National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
    NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to the advancement of Fee-Only comprehensive financial planning. Consumers and the media look to NAPFA for access to financial advisors who meet the highest standards for professional competency, comprehensive financial planning and Fee-Only compensation.
  • XY Planning Network
    XY Planning Network
    The XY Planning Network is the leading organization of fee-only financial advisors who are focused on working with Generation X and Generation Y clients. Our mission is to connect consumers with best-in-class financial advisors who specialize in working with clients just like you.
  • Certified Financial Planner
    Certified Financial Planner
    A standard certification for advisors, designees are exposed to nearly 100 topics on integrated financial planning. Major topics include, but not limited to: insurance, employee benefits, securities, state and federal tax, estate tax and planning, asset protection, etc.

Articles and Answers

Insights by Pamela Horack

What Does an Employee Financial Planner Do?
Published 2013-12-13 08:12:43
What Is Employee Financial Wellness?
Published 2013-11-01 08:05:23
    *Articles are published by advisors without compensation.


    Ask a financial questionAsk a question
    Is it worth it to hire a financial advisor?
    Hi Carny! As a consumer, you will want to determine what you want to accomplish by working with an advisor. As Alexander referenced, different advisors do different things. A planner can help you with budgeting, determining insurance needs and retirement planning. A wealth manager may manage your in...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Should I invest into my 401k (100% matched at first 3%) or should I invest into a Roth IRA? Or split ?
    Hi Brad! Mark is spot on. Contribute to your 401(k) first up to the match amount, then to a Roth IRA up to the maximum. Then, more to the 401(k) as income allows. Since you are young, starting now can put you on track for a positive retirement. It sounds like you are already doing the right thing by...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    What types of performance and financial planning software do you use as an RIA or CFP?
    Erik, thanks for your question. The BrightScope forum is focused more on the personal rather than the business side of planning. I recommend you visit the Financial Planning Association website ( for information on your question. This group often discusses business related topics and...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    Would I leave my 401k with the company plan?
    Hi Susan! I am a fan of simplifying your financial life as much as possible, so combining your three separate 401(k) plans may be a good opportunity for you. Many sponsored plans do not give much education and advice for participants, so having an advisor who can help you combine them into one accou...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    When is the best time to start saving for kid's college fund ? What are the typical instruments available for this purpose ?
    Hi Ganesha! Looks like Tracy and Jason have great info for you. I would add that kids are crazy and life never goes as planned. I encourage you to think outside the box for college planning. I'm not sure how long you have before college, but higher education as we know it may look different in 10 - ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    I am a young Federal employee that puts 5% of salary into TSP. I am also in graduate school and am paying out of pocket. Would it make more sense to allocate more $ to the TSP and take out a student loan for the grad school?
    Hi Laura! I won't rehash the answers given, but want to point out that if you don't yet have an emergency fund built up, start as soon as you can. 3 to 6 months of salary is a standard goal, but yours may be different. You don't want to have long term funds tied up in your TSP for a short term emerg...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Can my mother-in-law (not currently employed) transfer a defined benefit plans (from a past employer) in to an IRA/Roth? As she's not working, but my father-in-law is, can they open this jointly so that they he can contribute to it?
    Hi David! Be sure to read the letter she received carefully. It should outline the options for what she can do with the money. Depending on the disposition of the plan, she may have the option to leave the funds there, cash out the account, or move the funds to another account, such as an IRA or Rot...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    Savings account (stuffed mattress) vs. Index Fund? Mutual Fund? ETF? Where do I begin investing?
    Hi Susan! Congratulations on doing what most people don't - having an emergency fund built prior to investing! You are on the right track. I know that a saving account doesn't earn much, but it is OK to leave money there as long as it matches your goal. If you feel you can put some of this money at ...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    Portfolio Allocation Review?
    Hi Ganesha! Your question touches on the variety of advisor models that exist. The answers to your questions could be different for each practitioner. For example, many advisors review your portfolio with you annually, however, the management company may be making changes monthly along the way. Some...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    I will be retiring in 6 to 9 months. How should I distribute my 401k contributions, in order maintain current balance?
    Hi Joseph! Congratulations on reaching this milestone and I hope you enjoy the next phase of your life. You may have some options for handling your retirement money, so I do recommend that you visit a financial planner to discuss your retirement needs. If you are looking to move your 401(k) money in...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    I will be 32 years old this year. Starting my first full time job and would like to plan for retirement.
    Hi Amani! Good recommendations from Helen and Urban already. It seems you have a lot of irons in the fire for such a young age! Yes, your best bet is to speak with a fee-only planner and look at a comprehensive plan that covers your retirement, insurance, taxes, college planning, risk management, an...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2014
    Starting financial planning at a late stage of career life - 401(k) & IRA?
    Good for you, Selah! You are not too old to get started. I agree with the comments above, so I won't rehash those. Here's what jumps out at me about your situation. You stated that you have not developed good savings habits. That may mean that, at your salary level, you may have a spending issue. I'...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    Hello, I am planning to lease a Benz GLK 350.
    Hi Quinn! I can't say if you qualify for a lease as that would be up to the leasing company and their specific criteria. If you are concerned that you cannot qualify for a lease with your own credit score, why are looking to spend more money than you might be able to afford? Why would you ask this p...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    I am 63 and have retired and transferred my retirement plan to a broker, a regular rollover IRA. I assume, I can withdraw some of my money as I need without penalty and of course pay the necessary taxes. However,?
    Hi William! I'm curious as to why you are considering taking out money, and then putting it back in within 60 days. You are not required to take out funds until you turn 70 1/2, so if you don't need the funds, consider leaving them in and avoiding paperwork. You may want to spend some time with a fi...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Should both spouses have life insurance coverage?
    Hi Tanya! Women are often interested in feeling secure, so having life insurance on the husband is desirable. Many men are comfortable with a more risk and they feel like they would be OK financially without insurance on the wife. I like to think of life insurance as protection for the whole family ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    How do I go about finding out if I have any 401 k money that I can get from when I worked at circle k?
    Hi Janet! On the BrightScope Home Page, you can type in Circle K and select 401(k) plan to find information on this rated plan. You can reach them at 888-477-6583, then press 2, press 2 again, and press 1 to be transferred to the Principal Financial Group for information.I try to encourage people ...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2013
    How do I recieve my funds from a decedent?
    Hi Tammy. My condolences to you on the death of your husband. This is a vulnerable time for you, so I'm glad you have reached out for help. First, you will want to contact the Human Resources department at the Atlanta Airport and let them know what you are looking to do. They will have more specific...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
    Should my 401K contributions be 2 weeks behind being deposited into my 401K plan?
    Nicole - you rock for even asking that question! I think John is on point. There is a lag time between your contribution and it showing up. If it is causing a problem, let your employer and plan provider know....  (more)
    Answered Aug 2013
    If you had $500 dollars to start investing, what would you do with it?
    Hi Matthew! I concur with the overall recommendations from this group: pay down debt, build an emergency account, and contribute to a retirement account. It's a challenge to find an investment for a small amount of money, and an investment can mean different things to different people. First, consid...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    What is the best career move to make financially?
    Hi Leandra! In addition to Rich's two questions, here are two more: 1) An internship has the ring of a temporary position. Do the pay and benefits justify your waiting for something permanent? It seems the company is able to use your skills without making a commitment to you over the long term. If t...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    At what age should my kids start building their credit?
    John, in addition to helping your child establish and manage credit, be sure they are learning how to budget and save. If they are setting aside money for the things they want and they have a small emergency fund, they will have little need for credit. Encourage them to build up their wealth and not...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    How do i allocate more of my 401k to cash in a company 401K. Does cash mean bonds?
    Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine which fund is a cash equivalent in a 401(k) account. A close approximation might be a "Stable Value Fund". According to the Stable Value Investment Association: All investments have risks associated with them. Stable value funds are considered one of the l...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Should I partially cash out of my 403(b) retirement account? If yes, then what is the max I should cash out this year?
    Tough question, Jake. Here's my summary of the facts: you have two large, long-term assets that you cannot liquidate without taking a financial hit. You have multiple large current liabilities and little income and no current savings. If your new career requires a strong showing of financial respons...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2013
    Can an RIA open a direct sold 529 plan for me with my permission?
    Hi Joseph! I'm not a lawyer, and this dips into the legal field, but as an advisor, I would not sign any investment application for a client. It is important for clients to complete applications accurately and to read the disclosure materials that accompany many investments. Also, you want the 529 p...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    I would like information on taking out a loan on my 401K. Terms, interest ect.
    Hi Katherine! Each 401(k) plan is governed by its own set of rules. Your first step should be to locate your Plan Summary Document. It will detail all the guidelines for taking a loan, if you are able to. Some plans do not allow loans.Here's my unsolicited advice: I highly recommend NOT taking a lo...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    Bosch savings incentive plan what to do?
    Ruby, I'm not sure where you are going with your question, but feel free to contact me directly if you need help....  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    What are my options & how do I make the best choice for me and my family?
    Hi Sheila! I love all the answers here and the good advice from the other advisors. So I won't repeat, but will give you one additional resource. LearnVest is an online option for financial advice. Their mission is: to empower people everywhere to take control of their personal finances so they can ...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    401k rollover to IRA to cash for grad school: bad idea or does it depend?
    HI Keith! I agree with Jonathan's answer above. Additionally, you would be subject to the 10% IRA early withdrawal penalty. You may use IRA funds for qualified college expenses. Repaying a college loan is not a qualified expense. ...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2014
    My company's 401k plan wasn't listed. I am a local government employee. I have contacted our plan and haven't gotten an answer on how to look our plan up. I want to know all the fees I am paying. I am now on my third request to get this information from our plan's administrato. What is up with this
    Hi Deborah! One reason that you may not see online information is the type of plan. Government organizations probably do not offer a 401(k), but often have different types of retirement plans including a 403(b), 457, or a pension plan. In any case, continue to hound your HR department as they hold t...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    My husband plans on retiring next year at age 60. Is it wise to use half of his 401k as down payment for a home and 25% - 30% of monthly pension for the mortgage? His projected income is estimated at $4400 per month.
    Hi Rebecca! My initial concern would be carrying a new mortgage into retirement. If you had a 20 year loan, it would not be paid off until your husband is age 80. A 30 year loan would last until he is 90. This may put a cramp in potential spending for health care and other necessary spending as you ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Is ROTH IRA different from IRA?
    Good morning Liz. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Good for you for being a comfort to your sister as she works through the estate. Yes, a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA are different, so here is a general overview. For a Roth IRA, you do not deduct contributions on your taxes, and the account...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    My wife and i are looking at buying a new house. With the birth of another baby, we have decided that we need more room in the house. I have heard that i can take out a some money from my 401k for a down payment. Would this be a loan that i would have to pay back in 5 years? Are there any penalties?
    Hi Brian! Before taking any money out of your retirement account, ask yourself if you really NEED a new home, or if you just WANT one. I love something new and especially love moving since it is a project, but sometimes our wants get in the way of our needs in this area. A new baby brings new expens...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2013
    Where on the internet can I find the ratings of 401k / 403b providers?
    Hi Mark! You are in the right place to find 401(k) information. 403(b) information is a little tougher to come by. There is no single repository of information for those plans that I am aware of. You can search online for a specific plan and you may find resources at the institution's website or at ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    My husband and I are about to make the leap from being students to having salaries for the first time. Would a financial adviser be able to help us transition from living paycheck-to-paycheck to starting to think about the future?
    Hi Jera! The short answer is "Yes!" as long as you choose the right person. Be sure to shop around for a fee-only financial planner who acts as a fiduciary for you. The titles in our industry are confusing and many advisors hold themselves out as planners when they do other things such as sell produ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Are funds that guarantee a rate of return a wise investment?
    Hi Linda! It sounds like you are describing an annuity product. Based on what you said, if you are guaranteed a 5% return, but you are paying 1.5%, then you are really earning 3.5%. Let's assume inflation is 3%. Then you would be earning only .5% on your money. Does that sound like a reasonable inve...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    I'm trying to lower my cc utilization ratio. I have 3 cc with high balances. I have some money to lower my debt.
    Hi Darlene! Good for you for working on paying down debt. There are a number of ways to approach paying off debt, so here are some ideas.Pay off the lowest balance loan first. This is a great way to simplify your bills because there is one less to pay. And since it is a win for you, it makes you f...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2014
    I work for EME and we will be bought by NRG sometime next year. This is public info. What are my choices for my 401K?
    Hi MIke! You can look up each of the companies on the BrightScope page, just be sure you are looking at the right one as there are several plans for a companies with NRG in the title and you will need the formal name for EME. As far as keeping your current plan, the two companies will have to decide...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    How do i see my retirement and change some things?
    Hi Kevin! Yes, I agree with Michael's answer on accessing your retirement account. Before making any changes, you may want to check with an advisor to be sure you are making the right changes for your situation. Some company plans offer access to online advice, so that is a place to start. If not, c...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    How might I go about finding out how my company's 401k stacks up against others in it's "peer group"?
    Michael and John have good resources for you. One additional item to verify is the type of plan you have as the BrightScope site only references 401(k) plans. If you plan is a 403(b), 457, pension, or some other type of fund, it may be difficult to find peer rankings. But you should be able to find ...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    Before I will sit down with an advisor I always ask if he/she would show me 5yrs of their personal investment statments. If they will not or can't provide them I will not waste anymore of their time. I figure that if I'm to let them choose how to invest my money I should know how they invest their
    Hi Ray! Interesting question. Registered Investment Advisers maintain a record of securities holdings for access persons for five years. This is a regulatory requirement for auditors to use to help determine if trading improprieties have occurred, not an "open books" rule for clients and prospects. ...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    After I leave my organization I want to look for an investment company to transfer my funds. Any suggestions for a LOW FEE company to transfer funds into a Roth IRA?
    Hi Ryan! I'm going to make some assumptions (and we all know how that goes) so here goes. I'm going to assume that you will be leaving your current employment and you do not want to leave your 401(k) assets behind. If your current plan is a Roth 401(k), you should be able to easily make the transfer...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    After leaving my company how do I get my 401K out to roll over into another plan?
    Hi Michael! Glad to hear you are planning to maintain the account and not cash it out. First, you will want to establish a Rollover IRA with the firm where you want to place your investments. Next, the HR department for your company should be able to provide the paperwork for you to complete your re...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    As I see it, I would benefit from having my retirement accounts in Roth type accounts, which is easily done with my IRA. My question is, can I (by my own actions) convert my current 401K into a Roth 401K, while still working for the same company. My inquiries through my HR dept tell me the Co. has n
    Hi Jack! I'm a fan of Roth 401(k) plans, so I can see why you would want to do this. You have already taken the first step in contacting your HR group. It sounds like your company retirement plan does not allow a conversion, so you have to abide by the plan rules. However, if your company does offer...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    What are the best companies to move my funds from my prior employers 401k to? Lowest cost for best result?
    Hi Daren! I'll say that I am a fan of Vanguard and Fidelity funds as they have low entry costs, so you can make a purchase with $3000, and low fees. Almost every time you transfer, you will see a transfer fee, so it is smart to try to find the best "home" for your funds and leave them there.You wil...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    I just watched Frontline's most recent documentary on the follies of actively managed accounts. Should I put most/all of my retirement savings into passively managed funds? What about all the hidden fees that are not reported in actively managed funds?
    Hi Robert! Regardless of any issues that the retirement plan industry may or may not have, this is the system we have in place. I believe we have to do the best we can with what we have to work with. So, the most important thing you can do is save, save, save. If you can save in a tax-advantaged way...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    I received a gift of $10,000. Should I open a new Roth IRA, or increase my contribution to my employer's Roth 401 K ?
    Hi Dwight! As long as you are eligible to contribute to a Roth based on your adjusted gross income, then you could do either. It may be difficult to contribute directly to your Roth 401(k) as that is usually driven by payroll deductions, so a Roth IRA might be the simpler choice. You can open one wi...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2014
    Is it better to max out my 401k early on in the year or spread it out and make regular contributions?
    Hi Lowell! I think the consistency of contributing systematically builds discipline in your budgeting and helps you maintain a more even cash flow from your paycheck. For example, if you max out your contributions in early May, your paycheck will increase for the rest of the year. Then, you get used...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Do gov pension plans file 5500?
    Hi Matthew! Plans that are subject to ERISA laws must file a form 5500. According to the Department of Labor's website, ERISA is "a federal law that sets standards of protection for individuals in most voluntarily established, private-sector retirement plans." Going by that definition, government en...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2014
    Employee has passed away and i am the beneficiary, how do i go about checking on any money he or beneficiaries are due?
    Hi William. My sympathies go out to you. Good advice from Michelle. Definitely start with HR and don't try to do this alone. It can be too complex. One other mention: if you are not the spouse and inherit money that will moved into an Inherited IRA, be sure to work with your new custodian to get th...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2013
    Where does RIA charge his fees from (fee only)?
    Hi Joesph! As you can see from the answers above, advisors may charge clients in a variety of ways. Personally, I charge by the hour or project, and I also have an option for a monthly fee for retainer clients. I do not charge for assets under management as I am not a money manager, but a focused pl...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    Does it make sense to pay off debt vs. further savings.
    Hi Brenda! Sounds like you are on the right track. Rich and Joe have given you good info, so I'll add something different. I'm always a big fan of paying off debt as soon as possible. There is an intangible positive feeling to being debt free that cannot be summed up by a dollar value, even though y...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    How can I cash in a 403(B) penalty free for graduate school? And should I?
    Hi Katherine! I understand the life of being young and the challenges to survive and pay off debt. Sounds like you have a good plan to take care of the school debt, though. I am never a fan of using retirement funds to pay off current debt, so I would like for you to try another route first.Credit ...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    Hello, Am I eligible to get the 401 K benefits from the Company's 401K assests?
    Hi Narasimha! It's possible that your firm had an auto-enrollment feature to their 401(k) plan. Contact the Human Resources group first for more information and to see if you are eligible for any funds. Good for you for not overlooking any money that already belongs to you....  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    Would it be a good financial strategy for us to roll over all our 401k IRAs to an annuity? Please see details below.
    Hi Larry! One thing I always stress about annuities is that they are not investments - they are contracts. Contracts have guarantees, while investments don't. That means there are substantial pros and cons to this apples and oranges comparison that need to be evaluated for your individual situation...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    I need advise to productively invest 20,000!
    Hi Lazaro! Boy, you ask a loaded question today. There are many investments that can be productive, but they may not all be prudent. Depending on your situation, your best "investment" could be paying off debt or furthering your education. I recommend you spend some time with a fee-only advisor in y...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    I have $30K in a 403b at an old employer. Insurance salesman is suggesting rolling that into a variable annuity. Thanks?
    Hi J! You realize that you just said that an insurance SALESMAN suggested an annuity. Please research your options with a financial planner before jumping into this product. Annuities are complex, can be expensive, and can tie up your money longer than you want. I'm not saying this is a bad idea. Th...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2013
    What is an accredited investor and how does one know if I am one? Is there a certain checklist of things that one needs to make sure one has?
    Hi John! I am just thinking out loud here. Since the definition of accredited investor is a SEC term based on numerical facts, it would seem that the advisor should be able to answer that question. Not sure why they asked you as he should know if you qualify based on your assets/tax returns. I can't...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    How soon can I file for tax refund? Anything special I need to be aware of?
    Good for you Ryan! The best way to learn about filing taxes is to do it, but you may want some help as you get started. Look for free help through community resources and your library. They can be a great means for education and checking your numbers. If you taxes are not too complicated, you can ge...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    How do i enroll in the 401 plan?
    Hi Tina! I'm glad that you are ready to save for retirement. First, check with your manager or the HR department at your company to find out more about your specific plan. While these savings plans work much the same, your investment options and sign up details will vary according to the decisions m...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    How can I borrow from my 401 K plan?
    HI Romika! I have to agree with my fellow advisors, here. Ask yourself if it is truly a financial emergency. This could be something as dire as a job loss or medical need. If you "need" the money to make a purchase, then you may want to rethink your savings plan. Work toward building up cash reserve...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    I am 70 years old, have $500,000 in savings, receive $1352 net SS. I will soon need a new smaller house that I would like to buy with down payment and financing. How much can I withdraw annually for the rest of my life with this scenario.
    Gloria, I'm sad to hear about your situation. It is obviously very troubling and complex. I have to agree with Alan - a good planner can make all the difference to you. We really don't even have enough information (hard numbers) to give an answer, and we can't predict how long you may live.I can gi...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    My wife's employer has two retirement plan choices; 401k & Roth 401k. Which is better & more tax efficient? Thanks!!
    HI Brian! I tend to favor the Roth 401(k), particularly if you have a long time until retirement. Joe hit all the highlights during the time you are working and saving. I have seen some some people who have retired with substantial IRA assets and when they reach the age for required minimum distribu...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    How do i find out with who and how to get into my 401k with aprevious employer?
    Hi Lisa! I'm glad to hear that you did not forget about this money. That often happens when we change jobs - there is so much paperwork that things get left behind. Contact the main Human Resources department at your previous employer and ask them how to contact the 401(k) provider. You should be ab...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    How do i locate my old 401k plan?
    Hi Rowena! There are a couple of things you can do to get started. First, contact the Human Resources department at your old company. They will have information on the plan as well as contact information, usually an 800 number. You can contact the plan provider directly if you know the name of the c...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2013
    Are the Franklin Templeton family of funds a good investment even with the 5% front end loads they charge.
    Hi Dale! I would say it depends on your definition of "good". Does that mean it provides a return sufficient for your needs? Or a return that beats the market? Or a return that beats other similar funds? Also, good could mean it is a socially responsible fund. And how good does it have to be to just...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    I've just discovered your website and my employer (Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic) sponsord 401A/401B plans have a 60 rating. I am offered one Index fund - Vanguard INST INDEX - and would like to allocate 75% of my future investing to this fund. I understand that there are no fees associated w/ index
    Be sure to consider your overall investment allocation as Tracy mentioned. 75% seems to be a large amount to place in one fund. Paying a low fee is no good if that one investment tanks your entire retirement fund....  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Rec'd. a letter about unrecovered property. They list a cant contact?
    Clair, I agree that you need to be careful. Even if the letter is legitimate, you should be able to locate any unclaimed property (if this is what she is referencing) by searching the state database online. There is no change for doing this, so be wary if this person is looking to charge you to reco...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    How do i get started with 401 k?
    Hi Mariya! I'm glad to hear that you are interested in saving for retirement. Michael's answer has some great insights into the mechanics of a plan. We are coming into open enrollment season for most businesses, so this may be a great time to start. While many companies will focus heavily on healt...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
    529 account holder change after divorce, beneficiary adoption, and missing account holder.
    Hi Jess. So sorry that you are caught up in a mess. On the surface, the information you received from the plan sounds very much in line with other 529 plans. Your best best will be to contact a lawyer in your state to find out what legal remedies are available to you. This question is beyond the sco...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2014
    I have a Roth IRA which is in a CD at a Credit Union. It has just matured. Can I transfer that money into an investment product without being taxed for the transfer.
    Hi Louise! I won't rehash the good information from my colleagues - they hit all the right points. You mentioned that you have had the money in a CD for a long time. Since you are nearing retirement age, you may want to take time to decide what the purpose of this money is for you. Is it for retirem...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    I am retiring in February. I will receive a lump sump payment from my 414(h) of $105,000.00 before taxes. I want to pay off my car loan, put a large down payment on house and have some to survive on until Social Security Disability kicks in. is there a way to do all of this and not loose $29,000.00
    Hi Patrick! I agree with my colleagues here. Some things come to my mind as you think about what to discuss with a financial planner. First, really examine your needs as well as your goals. While you will suddenly have a large sum available to you, do you want to be locked into real estate where you...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    I worked for Arthur Andersen LLP (later changed to Andersen LL) for 23 years until the firm's collapse in 2002. I am now nearing the retirement age (62 in September) which was the normal retirement age for their retirement plan. I need to get in contact with the plan administrator or find out how
    Cynthia, you can look on the main BrightScope page and enter the employer name in the Retirement Plan Search box. You can click on the tab that says Form 5500 Data for the name and contact info on file for the plan administrator. Check with them first. If the info is incorrect (sometimes that happen...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    An advisor told me to go to cash on Dec 31. My question is when should I get back in?
    HI Edward! Sounds like you only got half the information you needed. Since you are asking your question in this forum instead of with your advisor, I am wondering if you are second-guessing his/her advice. Definitely check back with him/her on the approach to getting back in the market, but you may ...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    Gifting money towards a new Car?
    Hi Brandon! You are on the right track in thinking of alternatives. Her father can gift her $14K and can separately gift another $14K to you for a total of $28K. As a gift you can use the money any way you like, so you could use it for a car. If her dad is married, his wife can also separately give ...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    I am retiring in 4 years. What is to outlook for the sequioa fund. Should I hold or move to another fund?
    Hi Peter! As you get closer to retirement, I'm sure you are beginning to think more about your investments and which ones are right for you. Without knowing your overall financial situation, it is difficult to give you any answer and impossible to give you a correct answer. I recommend you find a fe...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2014
    What percentage of my business revenue should I donate to charities?
    Hi Jason! I commend you for your philanthropy. I agree with the group to give what you feel comfortable with, but remember that giving back to your community may include time and not just money. For example, at our local food pantry, a dentist staff offers once a month free dental care for the needy...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    How do I look at my own personal 401K plan with Cornerstone healthCare?
    Hi Melodie! I'm not quite sure what you are asking, so I'm guessing here. Did you want to know how to view your 401(k) account information and balance? If so, check with your Human Resources department. They will have information on how to access your plan information online. I like Gina's answer as...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    Hello I currently have an 403 (b) plan from a previous employer. I want to know how can I access these funds ?
    Hi Cathy! Your best bet is to contact the Human Resources department for your previous employer. They will have information on the plan as well as the guidelines for accessing the funds, including information about transferring the account, and making regular withdrawals. Each plan is different, and...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2013
    How can I contact someone regarding my former 401k acoount balance?
    Hi Roland! Your best bets are 1) to look for a statement that has contact information on it or 2) contact the human resources department at your former employer. They will have information on how to locate your 401(k)....  (more)
    Answered Jul 2014
    Is there a way to search 401-k plans by things like state, number of participants and performance?
    Hi Michael! I'm not aware of a search mechanism for the mass public based on your criteria, but BrightScope offers professional search capabilities for planners. If you are interested, you can contact their product group....  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    Can I get a second loan on my 403b retirement if I haven't paid off my first loan?
    Hi Martice! While you must verify your question with your 403(b) plan provider, I recommend that you also attend a budgeting course. I'm assuming that you are looking to borrow from your retirement because you do not have another loan alternative and you do not have any emergency savings. If you are...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2014
    My stock options have vested. Do you think I should exercise them, and then hold for long term capital gains?
    J, there are a gazillion answers to that. My colleagues have touched on some. Mostly, it depends on your goals or purpose for the money. If you don't have a specific purpose for the stock, you may want to leave it alone. If you are leaving the company, you will want to be sure to take your equity wi...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    Should I close my fidelity professional managed account and continue to monitor and rebalance annually myself?
    Hi Vie! Since your position is aggressive growth, based on current market conditions, you can expect losses. This does not mean that the current management is poor, but seems to be more of a reflection of overall market conditions. Over the past 8 years, the market has experienced dramatic growth, s...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2015
    Mother, recently deceased. What happens to her retirement benefits?
    Hi Deborah! I'm sorry for your loss. My colleagues have given good direction, so I won't expound on that. I do recommend that you retain at minimum legal help and if you can, an accountant and financial planner to help in settling this estate. There can be lots of paperwork that is confusing at best...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
    How do I check my 401 k?
    Hi William! I'll take a stab at your question. If you want to find out more information about your employer's plan and how it works, your best bet is to contact your manager or Human Resources department and request a summary plan document. They often have marketing materials that are helpful as wel...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    Can you please tell me a good, simple book on estate planning that is less than 200 pages long?
    Hi Matthew! As laws vary between the states, I really recommend that your mother take the time to speak with an attorney to get her affairs in order. In addition to having a will, she may want a general power of attorney and health care proxy paperwork.The Red Cross has developed a great workbook ...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2014
    I cancelled my 401k do I have to request my money or will it be automatically sent to me if I am under 60?
    Hi Tiffany! 401(k) plans have lots of rules and guidelines, so hopefully this will help some. I'm unclear on how you cancelled your plan, so I will make a couple of guesses. If you stopped contributing through your employer, and are still employed, your money still belongs to you. You would have to ...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2014
    Is there a way to determine if a particular company offers In-Service Withdrawals?
    Hi Robin! You would need to verify this with your Human Resources department. Each retirement plan sponsor can have different rules for their plan, so only your company or the group that manages your retirement plan would know what your opportunities for an in-service withdrawal would be. Good luck...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    Deferred Variable Annuities?
    Hi Colin! Rich's answer covers most of your questions, but I'll throw in a few more thoughts. If you decide to purchase an annuity, be sure to really dig into the fees and costs. There are several low-cost annuity providers that are great for accumulation, but fall down when it comes time for distri...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2014
    I have a 401k plan with AON , I would like to keep my account there and have an outside advisor manage it without moving it from the company , is this permissible ?
    Hi John! Here is my question for your advisor: how do you get paid? If he is paid based on the dollar amount of assets he manages, then, yes, you will need to transfer the account in order for him to manage your 401(k) funds. Otherwise, he is not getting paid for the education, advice, and money man...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    Do you feel there is any need for a retirement fund that's managed by an investment group?
    Hi Tom! You have inadvertently touched on a point of confusion within the financial industry: exactly who are you dealing with? Opinions will vary, but I'll give you my (very simplistic) take on this. Wealth managers focus on just that - managing and growing your money. Stock brokers are there to se...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2013
    Why do companies issue shares?
    Hi Jeff! Companies issue stock for one primary reason - to raise money to fund operations. Here's a very elementary example to help.Let's say you develop a special machine for making food out of rainwater (ie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). Your machine is a great hit and everyone wants one of...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2013
    I receive a retirement direct deposit monthly. Is there a survivor benefit for my wife, and if so what percentage?
    Hi Joseph! Not knowing exactly what type of account the retirement funds are coming from, it's hard to tell. If the direct deposit is coming from an employer pension or other retirement account, your best bet is to check with the Human Resources department for the company to find out. Each retiremen...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    My wife and I each have student loans. Should we consolidate both our student loans into one loan and one payment?
    HI Brian! While I can't answer your question directly, I can give you some questions that a planner would want to know to help guide you. First, what is your thinking behind loan consolidation? Is it for simplicity? Are you working on paying them off and looking for a lower rate? Or some other reaso...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    Where do i start when planning a retirement if my employer does not offer any plan?
    Hi Joshua! Good for you for beginning this process. There are lots of questions and variables that go into retirement planning. Here is a sample: How and where do you want to live? What type of health do you have now that may impact your future retirement? Do you want to travel? Do you want to chang...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    Can my advisor manage my 401-k for me?
    Hi Pat! There is no reason why your advisor should not be able to manage your 401(k) account. The question is how will he/she be paid for it. Some advisors charge by the hour, some by the dollar amount of assets that they manage. Ask your advisor how they normally handle this request. Good luck!...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
    I am currently looking for a job. I found out from a recruiter that many companies no longer pay relocation. I have $20K vested in 401k at my recent employer. If I need to use this money or part of it, do I cash it out?
    Hi Ronald! I have to agree with my colleagues here. If you continue to use your 401(k) account - which should be long-term savings - to fund short term needs, you have a bigger issue which is a goal funding mismatch. This leads me to believe that you may not have an emergency fund sufficient for you...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Hi, Is a low risk mutual fund OK for 'Fun' savings?
    Hi Chris! I have to agree with Rich's take on your savings. Risk and inflation can eat away even at bond funds leaving you with less than what you started with. I'm a fan of earmarking funds for specific goals, but sometimes you may find yourself with a bucket of money that is just there and serves ...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    I have been divorced for 10 years, It has come to my attention that she failed to disclose 4 separate 401k plans.
    David, I completely agree with my colleagues. To Rich's point, I can see where someone may leave their 401(k) funds with a previous employer - if the balance is small, and one or two moves have taken place, and a name change occurs, paperwork can get lost in the deluge of advertisements and junk mai...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2013
    How do I join johnson's learning center 401k plan?
    Hi Clair! Good for you for wanting to save for retirement. Reach out to your owners or directors and ask if they have a 401(k) or other retirement plan in place. They will be able to help you get set up if they have a plan. If they don't, you still have options. You can set up an IRA or Roth IRA to...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2015
    I am new to this 401k plan, iam a server at ocharleys. i am interested in doing this but where do i start?
    Hi Micha! You have lots of good recommendations here. In the past, I have noticed that those in the restaurant industry tend to not save very much for retirement. Of course this is not true for every server, and I am really glad to see you starting out in a saving mode. Ask if there is an advisor, w...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    Will 401k notify the beneficiary? What is the process in claiming a 401k? HR is not helping?
    Hi Julie. I'm not a lawyer, but I recently went through this process when my father died. While all states differ in their processes, here is a general overview for you.When settling an estate, an executor or personal representative will be appointed by the probate court. This person will need to p...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2015
    How can I tell if I am paying too much in fees, commissions, etc.?
    Hi Nick! You ask a big question here that plagues investors and advisors alike. First, don't think about fees in terms of cost, but in terms of value. Define the services you expect to receive from an advisor, then find out exactly what you are paying. You can then research other advisors and compar...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2015
    OverSaver Needs Assurance! Wondering what 401k contribution % to drop down to?
    Hi Colin! Wow - you are a great saver. I'm totally impressed by your retirement savings thus far. I'll start by saying that meeting with a fee only planner is probably a good plan. He/she can give you a good idea of where you actually stand in terms of your retirement goal. You may want to look for ...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2014
    I no longer work for lowes. How do I withdraw my 401k?
    Hi Mindy! Your best course of action is to contact the Lowes HR department to find out how to access your account. Before doing that, you should think through how to handle the withdrawal. If you are panning to roll the funds into an IRA, you should do a direct transfer so there are no immediate tax...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2015
    What's the best way to calculate how much long-term care insurance coverage I should buy?
    Hi Harrison! Long-term care presents such a challenge - there is no one best answer. Each advisor here has a good perspective on the questions to ask factors to consider. My initial advice is to take care of your health now. Change to a low-sodium diet with little processed food, drink lots of water...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    What are the expenses of a fund of funds like Fidelity 2020?
    Hi Gregory! You have a great question regarding fund fees. While you can locate the fee for the Fidelity fund, keep in mind that various funds will have different fees. So the fee for the 2020 Fund will not be the same as other similar Target Date funds. They may vary from a low at Vanguard of .16 f...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    I need a new roof on my house. Can I get a loan or closed my 401k?
    Hi Lillie! To answer your question: it depends. While 401(k) plans are allowed to offer loans, you would need to check with your employer or plan custodian to find out if that is available within your plan. Employers do not have to offer loans, and the repayment terms are individual to each plan.Se...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2014
    Are cash gifts taxable to the recipient?
    Hi Ken! You can give up to $14K with no tax repercussions for you or the recipient. And, if you are married, you and your spouse can gift-split and give $28K to one person with no taxes due. You can give $14K to more than one person as well. There may be some instances when taxes are payable by the ...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2014
    Need to withdraw five thousand dollars?
    If you are looking to withdraw funds from your 401(k) account, be careful. There may be penalties and taxes due for an early withdraw that is not emergency related. If you are looking to borrow funds from your account, there are different rules for paying the money back. Check with your human resour...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    How do I check on my stock?
    Hi Elaina! Your best information will come from LifeTouch's Human Resources department. Look up the company online and then find the number for their home office. Look through your records for copies of statements or previous employment information to help give your contact a point of reference to f...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    I am new to the 401k plan I'm in a hard financial situation and trying to see about how I can borrow out of my401k plan?
    You would need to check with your HR department first. They will have plan information which will let you know the rules and guidelines for 401(k) loans. Keep in mind that some plans do not allow loans. Also, your balance may not be large enough to take out a loan if you are new to the plan....  (more)
    Answered Aug 2015
    My wife and I each have 401ks. She passed away last year, so do I roll her account into mine or into my IRA .
    I'm so sorry to hear about your wife. I understand that's it's difficult to deal with the finances when you are grieving. Depending on her date of passing, you should address this soon so you don't run into any timing issues. Check with her 401(k) plan provider for the right paperwork you need to m...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2016
    Who do i speak to when inquiring about my (old) 401K?
    Hi Bengie! I agree with Curt that HR is the best place to start. One thing you may want to ask is whether or not you have pension or 403(b) retirement benefits available to you. As a state supported school, they may have a different type of retirement plan other than a 401(k). I would hate for you t...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2014
    How to find unclaimed money?
    You can look up money that has been turned over to the state (unclaimed funds) by visiting It will help you locate funds in any state. Good luck!...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2017
    Need help to analyze my financial portfolio?
    Hi Naren! You sound like you are looking for a planner rather than just someone to manage your money. I recommend that you look to XY Planning Network for help. This is a group of like-minded young people who focus on financial planning, and one of them can help you decide the best way to get back i...  (more)
    Answered Jan 2015
    How should I be preparing at the age of 25?
    Hi Jay! It sounds like you are doing all the right things - saving in your 401(k) and taking advantage of company matching is definitely the easiest way to start saving for retirement. With extra funds, I encourage you to be sure you have a solid emergency fund and also an 'operations and maintenanc...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2016
    How and where should I rollover my 403K plan with VOYA (ex-ING)?
    Hi Timothy! Here are some questions to think about. Who do you call to put out a fire? A fireman. Who do you see when you break your leg? A doctor. Who should you listen to regarding your retirement? A financial planner.Your friend may have some good ideas on managing retirement funds, however, unl...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2014
    Can my sister sale my deceased mother house without getting approve with her other 3siblings?
    Hi Joseph! I can relate to your loss - my father just passed away in Feb of this year and the four of us are working through his estate. We are in a similar situation. My sister is the executor and has the right to sell the house in order to settle the estate. One of my siblings is not in total agre...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2014
    Im a former hostess employee how do i track down my pension plan?
    Hi William! When Hostess filed for bankruptcy, they also froze their pension plan. The plan was taken over by the PBGC - Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. Here is a press release from them: will need to contat the PBGC to determine any be...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2014
    Rolling over my 401k into a rollover IRA then withdrawing funds?
    Hi Dan! As I read your question, I see two things that jump out. One: the word loans (plural). Two: this has happened more than once. The comments you have received already are on point, and I would like to recommend that you work on saving 3 to 6 months worth of income for an emergency fund. If you...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    401k alternative options for small business?
    I'm glad to hear your employer is looking to help employees with their retirement, even if it is a small group! Yes, there are other, probably more inexpensive options for you. Insurance companies do tend to have higher fees and their structure may work better for larger firms. Vanguard offers small...  (more)
    Answered Sep 2016
    How can I tell if I am paying too much in fees, commissions, etc.?
    Hi Nick! You ask a big question here that plagues investors and advisors alike. First, don't think about fees in terms of cost, but in terms of value. Define the services you expect to receive from an advisor, then find out exactly what you are paying. You can then research other advisors and compar...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2015
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        Mar 7, 2015
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      Pathfinder Planning LLC

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