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Friday, November 28, 2008

401b plan?

Bruzer said:

Just Received in the mail a booklet informing us we are moving to a new and improved retirement 401b plan with VanGuard. Does anyone have any thoughts or concerns regarding this one
My first impression is whats in it for them?


Anonymous said...

Vanguard are less expensive funds.
I just don't know if when they sell the Fidellity on Jan.2 and then transfer to Vanguard if the Vanguard does as well on the upside (whenever that is....).

Anonymous said...

I am TPC-1er so I'm not relying on the 401k plans for primary retirement... but I don't care for where LLNS is sending its employees!

A couple of things stood out to me in the booklet on the Vanguard switch, that I just received and scanned.

It said that the "underlying investments within the Fidelity Freedom Funds" that we'll be giving up on Feb 2, 2009 were "actively managed Fidelity Funds" and that the Vanguard funds are "passively managed" funds. Not exactly sure what this means but it doesn't sound good.

Also there is a new fee charged to us by Fidelity $86 per year... its actually $107 = $95 (recordkeeping fee) plus $12 (communication fee), but its reduced by a "revenue sharing reduction, "estimated" at $21 - which begs the question if this will change... and probably not in our favor!

The move of LLNL employee benefits from UC to LLNS has been a complete and total disaster for employees!

LLNS with its 6500 employees clearly does not have the same bargaining power with benefits providers (medical, mutual funds, etc) that UC has with over 120,000 employees, not to mention retirees. Expect fees like this and other benefit program costs to increase and for LLNS to pass a portion (if not all of the cost) on to employees and retirees.

The only hope would be for UC to reabsorb some of LLNS employee benefits programs back under UC administration. There are legal ways to do this without conflicting with the LLC concept NNSA wants for its labs... but this is a UC decision not one belonging to NNSA - who does not care a single bit about the welfare of employees at LLNL. NNSA only cares about getting a lab contractor workforce at the lowest cost possible and incurring the least long term financial liability they can get away with, while at the same time increasing local NNSA overall control of lab business and work activities.

UC claims to produce the brightest minds, so you would think they could come up with a smarter and less egregious way to manage the benefits programs for the employees at the lab.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is in it for you. If you are still foolish enough to play the stock market instead of putting it in a secure savings plan then you deserve to lose your butt the next time the markets crashed to live a life of poverty. The stock market is like going to vegas. It's controoled by crooks for crooks and when they see you are getting ahead they do exactly what they did to assure you know your place in life. Do not bank on your 401k or the equity in your home as your nest egg. You'll only get screwed if you do.

Anonymous said...

its called a kick back!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The way I read it, Fidelity is still the administrator of the LLNS 401(k) plan. But as far as date-targeted balanced funds, the plan will offer the set from Vanguard rather than Fidelity as of January. Given that Vanguard usually has lower fees than Fidelity, and I'm already a happy customer with private accounts at Vanguard, seemed like a reasonable move to me. Cannot say I've ever understood how the administrative fees are structured.

Anonymous said...

The way I read it also if your in the Managed Income Portfolio you can continue to put money in the plan. Also for that comment about being a TCP-1 er, you had better put all the money you can afford into something secure as depending on LLNS for your total retirement is just plain foolish!!!

Anonymous said...


In this market nothing is secure... 401ks making up Defined Contribution retirement plans are down 25% to 40%... I'll take my chances with a Defined Benefits pension plan, even if its from the likes of LLNS.

Anonymous said...

I left LLNL earlier this year and with this new $86/yr fee I finally have the motivation to roll my 401k out of LLNS' hands.

Anonymous said...

I've always heard good things about Vanguard and I am not worried about the shift. However, I was surprised by it.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank everyone whom added input to my post. Now this is what I believe this blog should be all about...people helping people gain some meaning full

Thanks everyone,

Anonymous said...

Did you get the information sent home or to work? I have been somewhat not interested in the LLNS propaganda on the internal web site, so I may have glossed over it. If it was mailed home, when?

Anonymous said...

The US is entering a depression. Mind you, not a Great Depression, but a depression nevertheless. It will last for years.

The latest economic figures support this claim. No one is spending money and it is causing a nasty feed back within the economic system with more layoffs leading to even greater reductions in consumer spending. Over 1 in 10 homes are in foreclosure or they are behind in payments! Housing prices have much further to drop in most areas of the US.

Not only is your 401k in jeopardy with this scenario, but even TCP1 is at risk. You will soon have to fork over massive amounts of your lab salary to keep TCP1 afloat. Don't expect any help from either LLNS or NNSA. LLNL is run by a profit based private company. They will not be sharing any of these profit fees with the LLNL pension.

Many people (even those with what they thought was a solid pension) are going to be in for a very rude shock.

I don't enjoy saying this, but it is what it is. Prepare as best you can and start stashing away as much cash as you can. Work to reduce your lifestyle. Examine what it you really need and try to cut back. Most important, get out of debt as soon as possible. Do these steps and you'll probably make it through the next few years of great economic pain.

scooby said...

Hello Dec 6th 1:22PM:
You must know something the rest of us dont. You must GM or someone in upper management?

Anonymous said...

Dec. !
So sorry I haven't answered you back sooner.... I received my booklet in the mail but, talking to others around the Lab, quite a few never received theirs even now.

Anonymous said...

December 6, 2008 5:43 PM

It sounds like he knows what all of us already know (or should know). Unclear what role GM plays. Why knowing GM would have a bearing on what this guy is saying is a mystery to me? Is there something YOU know that the rest of us don't?

Anonymous said...

I received my LLNS 401k booklet in the mail (sent by Fidelity), but I no longer even work for LLNS.

Read page 5 VERY carefully: $86/year fee now and potential to increase (or decrease so they say).

My guess is this will likely make newer employees choose to not contribute to the LLNS 401k and cause fees to rise. Happy Holidays from LLNL!

Anonymous said...

For what its worth as a TPC-1er I received a letter from the Chairman of the LLNS Benefits & Investment Committee of the LLNS, LLC Board of Governors. It's dated Nov 25, 2009. I don't know if TPC-2ers also received it.

Its retyped below in case it was not sent to all LLNL employees...

Dear LLNS Defined Benefits Pension Plan Participant:

Many of you have asked questions regarding the health and security of your pension benefits and the potential for requiring employee contributions to the LLNL Plan in the future.

At the all-hands meeting on November 18, 2008, George Miller announced that the LLNS Plan is healthy and safe. Your pension benefit is a function of your years of service and salary. These factors provide you with a steady stream of monthly pension payments regardless of economic conditions. Your monthly pension payments (Plan liabilities) are made from assets in the LLNS Plan. Even though the financial markets have declined substantially in 2008, the LLNS Plan's assets remain considerably greater than its liabilities, and should continue to be sufficient to protect against future adverse economic conditions. Currently, the LLNS Plan's over-funded position makes it exempt from any contributions for the foreseeable future.

The LLNS Benefits & Investment Committee insures that the Plan assets are invested for the long term in a diversified portfolio among domestic and international stocks, fixed-income investments and cash. The goal of this diversified portfolio is to provide stability over the long haul to continue to pay the promised retirement pension payments to both current and future retirees.

Paul E. Rosenkoetter
Chairman, Benefits & Investment Committee

I plan to keep a copy of the letter for my lawyer in case LLNS forgets its promises.

Anonymous said...

LLNS said "trust us" before taking over LLNL and then immediately started laying off staff.

Now LLNS says "trust us" about the TCP1 pension. Just wait. Sooner than you think they'll be coming back to you and telling you that they'll need to be taking a healthy chunk of your salary to keep TCP1 afloat.

How does that old saying go, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice..."


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