By some estimates, the recent delay of the hotly debated investor protection rule is costing investors billions in unnecessary fees. That's money that could be much better spent.
The "fiduciary rule," as it's also known, would require financial advisors to work in your best interest when handling your retirement money. Because of the delay in implementing the Department of Labor regulation, some advisers can continue to steer clients into products that may have higher fees and lower returns.
Those conflicts-of-interest cost American families an estimated $17 billion a year, according to a 2015 analysis by former President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers — about equal to all of Wall Street's profits for 2016.
On the flipside, advocates for the financial services business, like the Investment Company Institute, which represents the mutual fund industry, cheered the postponement. Paul Schott Stevens, president of the ICI, said in a written statement that "additional time is critically needed" before the rule takes effect.
Here's what those sums look like in terms we can all relate to.
To put this in perspective, $17 billion is the equivalent of about $48 million a day. With that kind of dough, you could snag the most expensive house in Georgia – fully furnished with a vast collection of rare artwork and antiques, including statues from the gardens of Versailles and Civil War-era chandeliers. And that's just one day's take.
That's also about $32,344 lost each minute. Remember when Oprah gave every audience member a new car? That was a Pontiac G6. You could one-up Oprah and snag Tesla Motors' in-demand Model 3 – every 60 seconds.
The council of economic advisers said that a typical worker who receives conflicted advice when rolling over a 401(k) balance to an IRA at age 45 will lose an estimated 17 percent from his or her account by age 65. Assuming that worker had $100,000 in retirement savings at 45, that would mean a loss of $37,000 by age 65.
Instead, that's enough to book a round-trip ticket to London or Paris from the U.S. That's a step (or giant leap) above first class on Etihad Airways' new "residences" – a three-room suite with a living room, bedroom and private bathroom (no extra charge for the personal butler).
On a more serious note, forget fancy cars, luxury homes and flights for the super-rich. The one-minute number is exactly enough dough to wipe out the average college grad's entire student loan tab.