Q. I have a suspicion: A speaker for MyFEDBenefits at MyFedBenefitsHelp.com was at my union meeting for the National Association of Letter Carriers. This speaker talked all about helping us with our benefits. I asked him why he didn’t mention how he gets paid. He said he was going to tell us like he always does but when he left he never did. What got me suspicious was when he said we could roll our TSP into one of his approved IRAs. This suggestion required me to speak up and tell everyone that the TSP has the lowest fees around and to read the Mike Miles column in the Federal Times for an education. Do you know anything about this company? Was I right to be suspicious?
A. From their website, it appears that MyFEDBenefits is a marketing channel for independent financial industry representatives. From their site:
MyFEDBenefits is not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by the Federal Government or any U.S. Government agency. All members of the MyFEDBenefits advisor network are licensed independent financial services practitioners and are not employed by MyFEDBenefits.
There is no additional information provided about exactly who their “advisors” are, although they also claim to have consultants “on staff”:
The second part of this simple approach is having access to our team of skilled specialists to walk you through the more complex parts of the benefits puzzle and provide personalized consultation and support today when you need it the most. This hands-on service is designed to give you a track to run on during your career with a support team along the way, as well as a partner to guide you through the intensive retirement process. With our team of Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultants (ChFEBC) on staff, we will be your partner to a fun, successful and profitable career path. We take the guesswork out of your benefits!
The site seems to be a referral engine for a network of independent “advisors,” but the wording in various parts of the site is ambiguous.
The bottom line is that you should not trust recommendations or advice from a source that is not trustworthy. Based on the information you’ve provided, it doesn’t sound like you know anything about the person who came into your meeting — who they worked for, how they get paid, what level of expertise they possessed. Without that kind of knowledge, you were right to be concerned.