Friday, February 22, 2008

Fidelity - Excellent Customer Service

Another customer service experience to report, but this time a fantastic one: Fidelity Investments. I opened up a Roth IRA with them in January ($2,500 minimum for the account but that's waived if you set up automatic payments of at least $200/mo. to your IRA). The benefit of an IRA is enormous. With Roth IRAs you don't have to pay taxes on money you withdraw in retirement. However, IRAs have annual contribution limits. $4000 in 2007 and $5000 in 2008. But you are able to contribute to the 2007 year all the way up until April 15th of 2008. Because I got such a late start on 2007 I want to contribute as much as possible for that year in the hope that I can max out or come close to maxing out my 2008 contribution.

So I was a bit dismayed to see that my automatic payment for February was coded as a 2008 payment! This makes sense, but unfortunately there's no way to change it. I was at work at the time and wanted answers quickly. Fidelity has an instant messaging application in which you can ask questions and a Fidelity service rep will message you directly. I was able to get my questions answered within 5 or 10 minutes. The rep was able to code my recent deposit for 2007 and said that I could just skip my automatic payments for the next couple months and deposit manually. Because my account was already open I wouldn't have any problems. Fantastic! So now I will try to contribute as much as I can for 2007. The more I pack away now, the better off I'll be 40 years down the line.

I haven't even purchased a fund yet (the money in my Core Account is sitting in Fidelity's Cash Reserves, a money market fund) but so far I'm delighted with the service from Fidelity. I'm going to have to spend some time investigating possible funds - or perhaps take the recommendation of a colleague.

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