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  1. Yesterday
  2. For those of you who read the article I posted earlier about discount brokers and their bait and switch tendencies, here is a followup article in Bloomberg which is an opinion piece. https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2018-01-16/discount-brokers-act-like-wall-street-on-fee-conflicts
  3. Last week
  4. 2017 Return, costs and asset allocation

    Our asset allocation is 40% equities, 60% bonds and has been for the last 10 years. Prior to that it was 50/50 since we retired. We've been retired 25 years. Vanguard portfolio as of 31 Dec 2017: 1 yr, 11.2% 3 yrs, 6.1% 5 yrs, 8.0% 10 yrs, 7.2% Vanguard (92% of investments) average ER is 0.14% as per Portfolio Watch. TIAA (8%)
  5. 2017 Return, costs and asset allocation

    I also fail to present as elegantly as Steve, and wish that I could. With my money spread across my Vangaurd 403b, Vangaurd ETF HSA, Vanguard 529 (used for my grad school this year, which itself gained 13%), and Schwab Roth IRA it is difficult to parse out a total return. Obviously all my investments are low cost and FeeX gives me an A+ grade. Given that I'm only 5% in bonds and another 3% in ETFs and within my Roth I did push a significant amount of money into Small Caps, I'd guess my overall return was somewhere in the low to mid teens. In 2018, I'm going to start fooling around with equal-weighted ETFs like EQAL and RSP. Although they have a slightly higher E/R (.2 compared to the .04 and .06 that Schwab ETFs have available) I'm interested to see their performance. I'm also more and more looking into investing with a heart. Unfortunately, most of the ethical ETFs and funds seem to have significantly higher E/R than indexes. I would be gracious to hear experts feedback.
  6. 2017 Return, costs and asset allocation

    I also fail to present as elegantly as Steve, and wish that I could. With my money spread across my Vangaurd 403b, Vangaurd ETF HSA, Vanguard 529 (used for my grad school this year, which itself gained 13%), and Schwab Roth IRA it is difficult to parse out a total return. Obviously all my investments are low cost and FeeX gives me an A+ grade. Given that I'm only 5% in bonds and another 3% in ETFs and within my Roth I did push a significant amount of money into Small Caps, I'd guess my overall return was somewhere in the low to mid teens. In 2018, I'm going to start fooling around with equal-weighted ETFs like EQAL and RSP. Although they have a slightly higher E/R (.2 compared to the .04 and .06 that Schwab ETFs have available) I'm interested to see their performance. I'm also more and more looking into investing with a heart. Unfortunately, most of the ethical ETFs and funds seem to have significantly higher E/R than indexes. I would be gracious to hear experts feedback.
  7. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    Dan I totally got what you meant in your post. Thanks for replying. Sorry if I sounded defensive. Didn't mean to if thats how I came across. I haven't heard back from the teacher lately so I hope this will have a happy ending. I do know she has "hooked up" with a very nice young lady named Katy at Newport who is helping her navigate through the process. The teacher spoke highly of her and felt relieved that she could actually connect with one particular person instead of the multiple personalities she was dealing with before. She is only talking to Katy now and that seems to have helped. As soon as I know more i will continue to post. I think you are right. This may be new territory for Newport and I want to give them the benefit of the doubt for the time being.
  8. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    Hey Tony, I am thanking you for both sharing this and helping this person. I am also pointing out that I have had trouble with them as well. It may take the Newport folks some time to get up to speed. But again, this is good info for the 403(b) community. - Dan
  9. TIAA Traditional

    My experience with TIAA Traditional: http://403bwise.com/wisecracks/entry/309
  10. TIAA Traditional

    Here in Orange County (FL) TIAA offers a mutual fund option, which I documented here. The cheapest 3 fund portfolio still costs 0.63%, that expense consumes 21% of real profits after 1 year and 26.2% of real profits after 30 years (assuming 6% returns and 3% inflation). There aren't surrender fees with this type of account. Unless the TIAA reps failed to mention it, they don't offer a guaranteed 3% annuity in our district. I have nothing to add to the debate between a 3% guaranteed return and a bond fund except to provide the historical returns of the two funds Krow mentioned: 2017 = 3.56% and 3.85% 2016 = 2.60% and 2.83% 2015 = 0.40% and 1.27% 2014 = 5.89% and 6.96% 2013 = -2.15% and -3.45% 2012 = 4.15% and 7.02% 2011 = 7.69% and 10.74% 2010 = 6.54% and 9.49% 2009 = 6.04% and 6.90% 2008 = 5.15% and 5.01% 2007 = 7.02% and 7.70% 2006 = 4.36% and 3.98% 2005 = 2.49% and 1.82% 2004 = 4.33% and 5.30% 2003 = 4.04% and 5.70% 2002 = 8.32% and 10.91%
  11. TIAA Traditional

    Vanguard's Total Bond Market and Intermediate-term Bond Index funds did not loose much during the 2008-2009 downturn. I can see preferring TIAA Traditional because of it's higher guaranteed 3% return compared to the bond funds present return. Maybe concern for rising inflation that results in rising interest rates would be a better reason to use TIAA Traditional? Is the rate actually 3% on your district's TIAA plan?
  12. TIAA Traditional

    Yes, TIAA is now available through my school district. Was thinking of using TIAA Traditional in addition to another provider (NEA Direct-Invest or ASPire) within my 403b. Just want a small portion of my portfolio with a guaranteed minimum rate of return should the market go on its head like 2009.
  13. TIAA Traditional

    My understanding is that it depends on the plan. Are you looking at using an account through an employer (403/457/IRA)? If so, its possible that your employer has a contract with TIAA that has no surrender fees. My wife's employer does this. However, they limit her investment choices to both an annuity only option, and only specific fund choices in that annuity wrapper (high turnover, mostly actively managed).
  14. TIAA Traditional

    Wanted to see if anyone has experience with TIAA Traditional. Was thinking of using them to have some money in an annuity. Are the fees high? Any surrender period? Thank you.
  15. 457B State Plans for K-12 employees

    Added the Oklahoma State Teachers Retirement 403b plan. It's run by VOYA, but there is no 457 plan. The lowest ER looks like 0.62%? https://otrs.beready2retire.com/investments/investment-options/666277 https://otrs.beready2retire.com/investments/investment-performance/666277
  16. Who Decides 457 Vendors?

    You are right—that law doesn’t seem to address the question of who determines the providers on the employer’s 403b list, the district or the TPA. I guess your quote from the NYT article explains it—the district may delegate the job to the TPA. Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, (ScottyD on this forum) in his book Wild West, Providing Fiduciary Advice to Public School Employees explains the many conflicts of interest that TPAs can have. Regardless, you have to work with both the TPA office and the HR office. If you continue to talk (nice) to them, I think they will realize that your quest to add a CalSTRS Pension2 457 option is very reasonable. Neither office wants to be accused of having a conflict of interest. There may be a procedure to add a provider, and in some districts it involves the union. Shine some daylight on what’s going on! Yes, it’s pathetic that a teacher has to be the one to work this out—as if you didn’t have enough to keep you busy already?? (I’m a retired teacher.)
  17. Who Decides 457 Vendors?

    I just found this in a NYT article about vendors and 403(b)s. So it seems there IS such a thing as having the TPA make decisions, even though TSACG said my district has that authority. "Some public school employees may find that their district handed over the task of administering their plan to third-party administrators like Omni. In some cases, these firms may serve as gatekeepers, determining which investments employees have access to. Sometimes, they may only accept 403(b) providers that will absorb administrative fees; not surprisingly, the higher-cost purveyors are the most willing to cover them." https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/05/your-money/403-b-retirement-plan-tips.html?_r=0
  18. Who Decides 457 Vendors?

    Krow36, thank you for the link. I guess I don't know how to read it, because I can't figure out which part of the law stipulates that the district decides what vendors to use. Could you point me to a specific section? And isn't this referring to STRS rather than to a district? Sschullo, thank you for the advice. I can never quite wrap my head around why people whose job is to help people get the resources they need, have to behave as if any question is a huge bother to be swatted away. I always have to be super persistent to get any answers. And I don't have much time left to save money in an additional fund, so I want them to move faster than they're accustomed to, I'm sure. :)
  19. Sound Familiar? Perhaps its bait and switch. FYI: At Fidelity, Schwab and TD Ameritrade, employees win extra pay or other incentives to put clients in products that are more lucrative for them, and the firm. Customers may end up with products and services that are costlier than they need. http://www.cetusnews.com/business/Advisers-at-Leading-Discount-Brokers-Win-Bonuses-to-Push-Higher-Priced-Products.HJZN9S07NG.html
  20. Earlier
  21. 2017 Return, costs and asset allocation

    My 90/10 asset allocation returned 19.5% in 2017.
  22. 2017 Return, costs and asset allocation

    I won't present as elegantly as you Steve . You make us all look like amateurs with your great graphic presentation which I 'm too lazy to try and replicate. Our 2017 return was 13.4% Our cost averages 0.08% according to Morningstar . We are invested in all Vanguard index funds :Total Stock, Total International, Total Bond, and significant stake in Vanguard Small Cap Index. I also have some cash in prime Money market. My allocation last time I checked was 55 Stocks 40 Bonds 5 % cash or there about. With the run up in stocks that may have changed. We have money in Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and taxable accounts . Can't complain. Besides a significant retirement account, we also are receiving full pensions. I am not taking social security at the moment and the plan is to wait to 70. WE have no money worries . I am glad I planned in my youth .Even though I made plenty of mistakes early on, I consistently saved and I gained some wisdom as I got older through reading. That ultimately lead me to Vanguard index funds. I am glad we have no money tied up in 403bs!!
  23. I rarely make definitive statements, but I’ll double down on that sentiment and say there is exactly no doubt.
  24. 2017 Return, costs and asset allocation

    I'm not up to typing in as detailed an account of my investments as Steve did, but my (roughly) 70/30 equity/fixed portfolio (to which I am still contributing) appreciated by 15% in 2017. My investments are index funds, tilted toward small and value, with above-market weightings of REITs (which did relatively poorly this year) and Emerging Markets (which did very well). I still have one individual stock holding--Berkshire Hathaway--which is about 8% of the portfolio; that did well, a bit better than the S&P 500. As retirement approaches for me (still 3 - 5 years away, most likely), I've begun to add to fixed investments (mostly, for now, a stable value fund)—last year, the allocation was closer to 75/25. PS: Steve suggests we include costs: I'm not sure of the overall total, but my Vanguard account (roughly 3/4 of the total portfolio) averages .10% ER, according to Vanguard. The Berkshire stock has a zero ER, the stable value has unknown costs baked in (+ a .25% admin fee).
  25. Who Decides 457 Vendors?

    Inform your HR department that TSA consulting group will add Pension2, they need a decision from the district. Thus, ask to talk to the person who makes these decisions of which choices are included in the 457(b) plan. Be very nice because the district HR people are incredibly fragile. Years ago I was such a threat to western civilization for merely asking to have Vanguard or Fidelity on the 403(b) list, that when I came into the office there were always two people to talk to me, never one they were so terrified. Even on the phone! I kid you not. So be NICE! :- )
  26. What are the expense ratios of your funds? Most of the SB funds have an ER of about 1%, which is added to the “custodial account fee” of 1.00%. Fees of around 2% certainly going to cause your portfolio to underperform a 3 fund index portfolio over time. If you have $150,000 under Option 1, there are breakpoints that reduce the load to 3.75% on your new contributions. If your funds average ER is ~1%, the drag from annual fees would be 1.35%, plus the front-end load of 3.75%. Again, it’s likely to underperform a 3 fund index portfolio over time. If you’d like to see the effect of costs over time, I suggest you check out Vanguard’s compare fund cost tool. You can select a fund from Vanguard and one from another provider. After the calculation, scroll down and change the inputs and recalculate. The tool calculates the costs with inputs of a given amount of investment, an assumed rate of return, over a given time. Notice that it calculates the percent of outperformance needed by the higher fee fund in order to equal the rate of return of the lower fee fund. https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsCostCompare There’s little doubt that you would be better off in the NEA Direct Invest plan than in either option 1 or 3!
  27. My 33%/67% stock-bond balanced portfolio returned 9.0% Every end of the year I post my portfolio returns, costs, and asset allocation. My portfolio is appropriate for a 70-year-old retired teacher who needs to make distributions last for the rest of my life. If you are younger, leaving your money to your children, or you don't have to rely on your portfolio because your pension is big enough, then, by all means, you can increase your risk by increasing the stock allocation to 60%, 70% or higher percent. I hope that how I constructed my portfolio will assist anybody who is wondering about portfolio organization. My portfolio is extremely low cost, only .07% fee! I paid approximately $1102.00 last year! Happy New Year everybody, Steve Pie Chart of my Asset Allocation
  28. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    Dan I am in no way attempting to degrade Vanguard. I love and trust them just like you. Don't get me wrong. I was just sharing this person's experience with hopes others can avoid going through what she is going through. I wasn't expecting to write a novel about this situation but its like the new chapters kept coming. Still I have to wonder why a company hired to supervise Vanguard's 403bs by Vanguard seems so inept and complicated. I personally never had to go through any of this with my dealings with Vanguard in and out of the 403b. I can't remember ever having to wait 30 minutes on hold to reach help from Vanguard in the past either!! Tony
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