Sunday, September 10, 2017

Small traps to watch out for: My Merrill Lynch unexpected brokerage fees

Life has lots of small traps. Sharing this one in case it’s useful.

I once worked for a firm that granted me stock options that were held by Merrill Lynch. I appreciated them. When I left that firm I thought I’d cleaned out the brokerage account. I was warned I’d need to pay $65 a year to keep it so I wanted the money out.

I didn’t quite close it though [1], so a late dividend of $72 went into the account. I missed that — busy with other things and Emily manages our statements. When she was able to get me to look Merrill Lynch said I was too late — a yearly fee of $65 had left only $7.

This time I did close the account — so next year I won’t owe them $58!

Moral of the story — don’t leave inactive accounts lying around. They will bite you in the butt. Get the damned things closed.

[1] Actually, I thought I did close it. I wonder if the dividend reopened it. Maybe there really isn’t a useful lesson to this story … except to have as few accounts as possible so you can track the darned things …

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