February 21, 2010


About four years ago I wrote about a HORRIBLE investment product -- the H&R Block Express IRA. Anyone that has read anything I've written for any period of time knows how much I love the Roth IRA; a great way to save for retirement (making after-tax contributions that grow tax free)! H&R Block steered more than half a million people into a money losing IRA that the lawsuit that was filed against them described as an "unsuitable, fraudulently marketed, poorly performing, fee-ridden account that actually shrinks over time"... Fraudulently marketed seems pretty apparent given the fact that for the majority of participants, the fees exceeded their interest payments (that was the case for 85% of the accounts as of the time I wrote the original blog)! I've tried to wrap my arms around who this product might be appropriate for; sorry, I can't think of anyone who would be best served by a retirement account whose only investment option is a money market.

Obviously, the story of predators taking advantage of consumers is not a new one. It is painful given the fact that these are people that at a very base level did the right thing (investing their tax returns into an IRA). It is more painful because many of these people compounded their problem. When they realized the "scam" they pulled their money. Many of them closed their account, incurring termination fees from H&R Block, as well as tax penalties from the IRS since they cashed out the account rather than rolling it over to a "reputable" account.

I was pleased to read last month that H&R Block will refund nearly $20 million to those customers who bought the junky IRA product. If you are looking to roll over your account or open a new account. I have several past posts relating to quality companies - I've also supplied some additional links below.

Investing Resources
- Consumer-friendly Investment Company
- Financial Planning Resources

- Clark Howard Investing Guide
- Get Rich Slowly
- Mutual Fund Investor's Center