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Everything posted by tony

  1. 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
  2. 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!!
  3. 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
  4. Just want to give all of you a heads up and a warning. I have been approached by a retired teacher acquaintance about her attempt and her husband's helping attempt to make a simple Vanguard 403b transfer to a traditional Vanguard IRA for her. Sounds easy right? She wanted my help as they can't take much more of the aggravation dealing with this new 403b Newport group.They do not have their act together. I even question their competence. This is a process I had completed for myself and my wife multiple times with zero problems when Vanguard 403b plans were actually done by Vanguard. My friend has not been so lucky. I just read through a huge amount of back and forth e-mails and each e-mail is handled by a different specialist. They have asked this individual to fill out the same forms over and over again even though the forms were filled out correctly and completed just fine the first time with all correct signatures and boxes checked . I just got on the phone with Vanguard and I raised H-E-L-L about the incompetent and unorganized organization they have outsourced their 403b plan supervision to. Each representative either requested information that was already supplied or gave contradictory requests and information . As mentioned previously,this poor teacher has had to fill out the same forms over and over again and each time the form was rejected for different reasons. They even asked for the third party administrator to again verify the needed information that was already sent in! The original form that was sent to her to fill out even had someone else's person information on it including social security number and addresses. How's that for incompetency! This has been going on since November and the transfer is still in limbo and no-one has a clue what is going on and I can guarantee that its nothing this poor teacher did wrong. I hope to help her get this straightened out. This should not be happening. This is just another example why the 403b world needs to change. This can't be an isolated case, not with this much activity. It must be a symptom of a much larger problem. Move over TIAA, make some room for Vanguard . Tony
  5. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    Librarylady I think these situations are much more characteristic of 403b plans and its multiple layers of bureaucracy. Vanguard's regular accounts and their service is very good so you are good to go in a Vanguard IRA. 403b plans is were you have to be careful. Tony
  6. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    magmasson Thank you for adding to this discussion. Like I said before a teacher would never be allowed to get away with this kind of incompetency. I am not surprised that this would happen in the insurance company 403b world because it always seemed to me it was always more about making the sale than offering exceptional customer service. With Vanguard though I would have expected better. I still have hope my friend will get her problem solved .
  7. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    I thought I was done with this thread. Today I received a call from the retired teacher. More confused than ever . She received an e-mail dated today that said her transaction could not be completed and that she needed to to fill out an attached form-which by the way was NOT attached. So i can't tell you what the form was all about. She had recently received e-mail confirmation that her transfer was 100% complete plus a follow up call that the transfer went through and everything was settled. I am throwing up my hands and praying that this nonsense won't continue. She said she spend 30 minutes on hold this afternoon trying to get through to her contact person but finally just hung up. The person who contacted her this time was not her contact person. Its someone new and they didn't attached any forms!!! #!!XX***%%% Could it be they have people working on this transfer not knowing that it has been already completed? P.S I promise you this not fiction . Its very real. This can't be an isolated case. At this point I just don't believe it. Tony
  8. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    Thanks Steve I realized this may be something others will being going through at some point. It can be a frustrating experience. Tony
  9. I have posted this before in previous years. It show how different asset classes perform. As you can see being diversified matters. Doesn't mean you need a mutual fund in every investment class. You can accomplish this simply with a 3-4 index fund portfolio.Just make sure you own a Total Stock Market Index Fund, A Total International Fund, and a Total Bond Fund in weights appropriate for your age.. Don't let your sales reps load you up on too many funds. Keep it simple. https://www.callan.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Callan-PeriodicTbl_KeyInd_2018.pdf
  10. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    My Friend teacher got a e-mail notification today that her transfer was complete. I won't go on and on about this anymore. You can read what went on above. She thanked me for helping her out but I am not sure what exactly I did outside of drawing attention to her nine week plight. My advice to all of you when you are attempting to initiate a transfer or rollover if you have never been down this road i before: 1. Call all parties (The sender, and the receiver of your funds)and ask for the paperwork they require for you to initiate the transfer. This may include the Third Party Administrator if you are transferring a 403b plan which often has its own forms required to be filled out too. Chances are you will have 2 and possibly three different forms to fill out. 2. Ask them to e-mail you the correct forms. Don't let them direct you to their "Forms" webpage. There are too many forms to look through and its too easy to pick the wrong form or not find the correct one. I remember Aspire directing to me to its forms page. It was difficult to discern which form was correct. I had to call them to make sure i had the right form. I didn't. 3. Make sure the forms are filled out properly with all signatures in the right place. If you are not sure how to fill out the form call them and ask!! If possible, ask them to walk you through the form on the phone step by step. One wrong check and you will add to your frustration as you will have to fill out the forms AGAIN and maybe again!!. Also, make sure you are signing your name the same way. If you use a different nick name or middle initial for whatever reason on different forms you will have to go to bank and get a proof of identity form filled out to prove you are one and the same person. This actually happened to my wife who signed her 403b forms early on with an M (birth middle name) and when she went to transfer she signed her middle name using a O (her maiden last name name). Not every bank or other financial institution offers this service and it was a very frustrating experience getting a medallion signature guarantee. A notary public cannot provide this signature guarantee. Keep your signatures the same. 4. Don't be surprised if the transfer will take four to six weeks and maybe longer to complete. If you make a mistake, you may double your wait time. It really pays to get it done right the first time. Even ,if you have to pester them with questions as you fill out the forms. 5.Try and lock in to one representative from each side. ( Ex. AXA REP-Vanguard rep) Get their names and extensions. Talk to only them.If problems come up ask for that particular representative to help you solve the problem. If a communication problem comes up try and set up a conference call between you and the two reps . Don't talk to others. If you do you maymake things more complicated because the new person may not be up to speed with what is going on and have a completely wrong solution!! 6. Even with all these precautions things may still come up but from my experiences, the above recommendations will help you avoid some of the problems and get your money rolled over or transferred successfully. Oh and as I stated before, don't be afraid to ask for a supervisor if you feel you are on a merry-go- round and not moving forward. There are times you will run into a representative that does not know what the heck they are doing. Over my many years I have on several occasions been given wrong information so its not that uncommon. Tony
  11. Need help choosing 403b Vendor

  12. You are probably right. Thats why we need to keep letting everyone know that direct invest is available and encourage everyone to not let them discourage you from getting to it. I never trusted the NEA's motivations.
  13. I doubt it. Its across the 403b board probably. However, most companies and their advisors don't want you to transfer money out and perhaps they are less inclined to do it on a timely basis in hopes that you will have second thoughts and leave it were it is. I would hope thats not the case but advisors lose money when you transfer out so even if you use them to fill out forms, the motivation to stall might still be there. I do know the paperwork has to be completed correctly and sometimes self-direct folks might not fill out the forms right. You do have to know the terminology used on the forms and know the difference between terms like rollover and transfer . If you check the wrong box, its back to a new form. That alone can cause a huge delay. Also every company seems to have different forms, requirements, and procedures. Also you have to look at the work culture. High turnover might give you less experienced specialists who are learning on the job.I am sure they also need to cover their behinds to keep the iRS happy and not break any laws. In my case my Vanguard rollovers ,state 457 transfers/rollovers, and my Aspire transfers/rollovers have always been smooth and with no glitches. Thats why I am very concerned about Vanguard's new relationship with Newport. Having said that its a bit crazy how the 403b world is compared to how much simpler it is to do a transfer or whatever outside these plans even when companies have different forms and requirements.. Much easier, and I have been there and done that. No Comparison. The 403 b is weighted down with a huge administrative bureaucracy. I would suggest you become a pest . The squeaky wheel gets the oil. P.S. Compare how easy it is to sign up for a 403b compared to trying to exit one. That says it all.
  14. Gosh Folks, these 403b companies are supposed to earn their money facilitating our needs and requests. They all seem to have their own singular paperwork requirements and procedures but the investing participant is often left to figure this stuff all out on their own . Very poor communication. The companies themselves are often in the dark on how to facilitate these customer requests .This leaves our accounts in limbo for months for various reasons . This is wrong. Maybe these companies need to have an articulation meeting and standardize and simplify their procedures and paperwork across the board.. Something is very wrong with the process when so many of us are being left out in the cold when we are the very people they are serving. Teachers would never be able to get away with this in the classroom.
  15. https://www.fa-mag.com/news/vanguard-ceo-s-biggest-challenge-is-dealing-with-success-36479.html?print
  16. Jeb, Keep us informed. I would expect this kind of stuff from Security Benefit as Ed mentions but not Vanguard. I wonder if your wife's problem originated with AXA. Some of these 403b folks are notorious for making the process difficult.
  17. Jebjebitz, I reference you to my post Vanguard 403b is a mess I just posted recently. As you can see things are tough all over. Hang in there. It will be straightened out eventually. My suggestion is to contact Security Benefit and establish a contact with just one specialist. Get his or her contact info-phone, extension .Then deal with only that person. Refuse to talk to others. Thats what my friend did and I just heard today that she is making progress after two months of inaction and having to fill out the same paperwork over and over again. This last time I directed her to tell Newport that she would not be filling out anymore paperwork . .What I am discovering is that too many hands in the pie makes things confusing for everyone. I don't understand why companies allow so many folks to get involved. It just causes more confusion. Each specialist should have a caseload to deal with and should follow that caseload to completion.. At Vanguard/Newport too many different people were involved at different times during the process. Avoid e-mail. Get the person on the phone. E-mail is too easy to misinterpret. At the same time I would be persistent and specific about what you want done.. Of course if the person on the other end is a complete idiot, then politely end the contact and keep going until you get a specialist who sounds competent and then stick with that person. I would not be afraid to leapfrog the specialist and ask for their direct supervisor if you are not getting anywhere. Tony
  18. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    I would hate to think Newport would do this purposely to keep folks in their 403b plan so they could collect fees. I guess its possible. We are all aware at what lengths the investment industry will go to. I can tell you if thats their motivation it might work because the retired teacher was ready to quit the process altogether until she ran in to me at the grocery store. But as more people hear about it that tactic would backfire.I remember the constant delay I had to go through years ago trying to get my money away from American Express. They had roadblocks all along the way. You must be persistent . I won't give up. I will pester them into getting it done as much as I can considering its not my account. Interestingly, the conversation with her TPA has been positive and competent. They don't exactly understand what is going on either. They fulfilled the requirements on their end. They refused to talk to me directly but the teacher call them and relayed information to me. Its been difficult doing this because its not my account. I don't blame Vanguard at all at this point but if more and more people here and on Bogleheads start mentioning this problem and other problems I would expect Vanguard to sever ties with them.If Newport is Vanguard's way of better serving the 403b market, they (Newport) needs to be in better control of their game than what I have seen. I will keep you all posted and hopefully my next post on this particular issue will show a positive conclusion.
  19. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    Library Lady I've mentioned on this site before that Vanguard may have grown too quickly for its own good. In terms of the 403b, unless Newport starts getting its act together I would imagine Vanguard will not keep this arrangement. Vanguard is still tops in my book but this arrangement perplexes me. At this point I would give Fidelity top spot for customer service.Hopefully with time Newport will figure it all out. They just took the helm in early November so they have time to improve. Still I am shocked at what the retired teacher mentioned in my previous post is having to go through just to make a simple Vanguard 403b-to Vanguard IRA rollover. Its not rocket science. Tony
  20. Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    Update This gets even more comical. The teacher just forwarded an e-mail she just got from Newport. They tell her she has been filling out the wrong forms (which are the forms They sent her). They attached the new form to fill out BUT its the same form she already filled out BEFORE-TWICE. Also, while on the phone earlier I told The lady I talked to it would be in everyone's best interest if only one specialist deal with this issue and she agreed and she gave me her name and said going forward she would be the only contact person for this issue. BUT the new e-mail is from yet another, different specialist that wants us to go through her. What? I can't make this up.
  21. https://www.bespokepremium.com/think-big-blog/politics-and-investing-keep-them-separate/ Politics and Investing: Keep Them Separate | Bespoke Investment Goup.pdf
  22. O.K Steve. I am done posting.
  23. A bit heavy and involved but some of you might enjoy. http://www.aaii.com/journal/article/the-impact-of-expense-ratios-on-retirement-income
  24. Thanks for letting me know https://www.bespokepremium.com/think-big-blog/politics-and-investing-keep-them-separate/
  25. Here is the article. Ted Benna, father of the 401(k), thinks tax reform that favors Roths is 'pretty stupid' Ted Benna, widely known as the father of the 401(k) plan, believes an idea being debated in Washington to lessen the pre-tax contributions workers can make to a retirement plan is "pretty stupid." Mr. Benna was a pioneer of the 401(k) plan, having developed the concept of pre-tax 401(k) deferrals. He adopted the first-ever 401(k) savings plan in 1981 for the Johnson Companies, where he worked as a retirement benefit consultant. Now, debate is swirling on Capitol Hill to reduce the pre-tax contribution limit from the current $18,000 annual limit as part of a Republican tax-reform package set to be unveiled this week. Any contributions beyond the pre-tax limit would be mandated to go to Roth, or after-tax, accounts, a policy known as "Rothification." "I think it's pretty stupid in terms of retirement policy," Mr. Benna, now a consultant at an eponymous firm, told InvestmentNews. "There's major concern about a retirement crisis that's staring us in the face. [The 401(k) plan] is the plan, whether people like it or hate it, that's the primary way for the average American to be saving for retirement." The issue has generated fierce debate on its merits, fueled last week by the public spat between President Donald J. Trump and Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Trump said on Twitter that there would be "NO change to your 401(k)," calling them a "great and popular" tax break for the middle class. Mr. Brady signaled that proposals to limit the 401(k) tax break were on the table. While details are scant on the final form of any proposed tax legislation, reports have indicated a pre-tax contribution threshold of $2,400. Because Roth accounts, in which individuals pay taxes now instead of at retirement, accelerate 401(k) tax revenues inside the 10-year window officials use to judge the monetary impact of tax legislation, it's broadly seen as a way to offset some of the revenue that will be lost to Republicans' desired corporate and individual tax cuts. Mr. Benna, like many other opponents of such an idea, contend the upfront traditional 401(k) tax break provides a large benefit to middle-income Americans, who would likely save less as a result of a shift to Roth accounts. He also argued the middle class carries a greater burden relative to lower-income earners to replace their income in retirement, and therefore the upfront tax break is reasonable. Social Security, for example, doesn't replace as much of a middle-income worker's pre-retirement income, on a percentage basis, as a lower-income worker, he said. In other words, the middle class needs to save more money on a percentage basis to get to a level like 70% income replacement in retirement, a widely cited level of retirement preparedness. "They have a bigger gap, which is why it's reasonable giving the tax break, to help them get there," Mr. Benna said. "They have more of a burden to get to an adequate standard of living." Some observers, such as renowned behavioral economist Richard Thaler, have taken a contrary position: that a reduction in the pre-tax limit would mostly affect the wealthy, not middle America. "Unpopular observation: reducing the limit on 401k contributions is massively progressive," Mr. Thaler, the recipient of this year's Nobel Prize in Economics, said Oct. 25 on Twitter. Mr. Thaler has had an enormous impact on retirement savings, through concepts such as "nudging" employees to join retirement plans via automatic enrollment. In a follow-up tweet, he equated the current pre-tax savings structure to a "tax shelter" for the rich, which allows them to save more money and earn a bigger tax subsidy from the government. "Very few max out," he tweeted.