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EKRA Warns Kodak Retirees of Bad, Unsolicited Financial Advice

Updated: Wednesday, July 10 2013, 10:35 PM EDT
Rochester, N.Y.— For 31 years, a Kodak paycheck put a roof over Wayne Weiler’s head and put food on the table for his wife and five children. 

“I thank god that I had my job at Kodak,” he says. 

Weiler retired from Kodak in 2010 and now, with the company’s bankruptcy filing, the future of his Kodak money is uncertain.

Weiler says in the weeks leading up to Kodak’s bankruptcy announcement he received several unsolicited calls from brokers and financial advisors offering their services and advice. Weiler was skeptical. 

“They're helping us but it's going to make them money,” he says. “There will be a lot of people out there who say, ‘Come with us, come with us’.” 

Bob Volpe of the Eastman Kodak Retirees Association says several concerned retirees have told him “horror stories” about how advisors have given them poor advice, all the while, charging for their services. 

“We are getting a lot of comments from retirees about information that's being put out by sources that are, frankly, not acting in reputable ways or the best interest of the retirees,” Volpe says. 

He cautions those who are looking for a new advisor during these tumultuous times to do so carefully. 

“Be careful of unscrupulous people that are just trying to get your money.” 

Timothy Hayes, president of Landmark Financial in Pittsford and former Kodak employee, says his clients have also called him saying solicitors have been seeking their business. 

“There is a lot of confusion because of the bankruptcy,” Hayes says. “What I'm hearing from people is that they're being told things that aren't completely true or accurate when it comes to their risks when it comes to their 401K plans.” 

Hayes points out that not everyone is out to take advantage of vulnerable retirees, but if you’re looking for advice, he says: 

-         Make sure the advisor or broker is giving you accurate information. If you’re not sure, get a second opinion.
-         Make decision rationally, not emotionally. 
-         Find out what’s in it for the person giving you the advice. How much are they going to make for their advice?
-         Compare and contrast alternatives. 

“Unsolicited callers may well be able to help the retirees, but not under duress and not if they don’t have the clients’ best interest,” says Hayes. 

Also on Friday, Kodak announced they are making changes to the SIP Fixed Income Fund. The fund is the most conservative option and it will now be switched over to a short-term bond fund on February 1. EKRA Warns Kodak Retirees of Bad, Unsolicited Financial Advice


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