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magmason

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  1. magmason

    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
  2. magmason

    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. :)
  3. magmason

    Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

    When I rolled over $30,000 from a MetLife 403(b) I'd had for years--I waited so as not to pay surrender fees--to Calstrs Pension 2 at Voya, it took over three months. They made the check out incorrectly. The money went AWOL for a several weeks, deducted from my MetLife account but not credited to Voya, and I missed out on a significant uptick during that time. It was an endless chain of emails and phone calls, for a very simple rollover from one 403(b) account to another. Heads up. Plan ahead.
  4. magmason

    Who Decides 457 Vendors?

    Hi, I'm a teacher on the Central Coast in California nearing retirement. I would like to maximize my ability to save in retirement accounts this year and next, and would like to open a 457(b). The only vendor listed for my District is Planmember Services, which I do not want to use. We have an array of choices for a 403(b), and I'm currently using Calstrs Pension 2. I'd like to use them for a 457(b) account, but when I contacted my district benefits office to find out how to get them added to the list, I was told that the district has no say in choosing vendors, and that TSA Consulting Group, which is our TPA, determines which vendors to use. I suspected this was misinformation, and when I called TSACG, they confirmed my suspicion, and insisted that my district decides which vendors to use. I would like to have an informed discussion when I approach the district. Can someone help me out with some guidance? Thank you in advance. Very frustrating.
  5. magmason

    2017 Quarter 1 Ytd Returns. What's Yours?

    77% Stocks/19% Bonds/4% REITs. 5.42% YTD. I also just opened a ROTH IRA with Vanguard, 100% stocks. Our accountant--who is very risk averse--told me to just sit on any extra money I had. I'm 60, retiring in two years and have been contributing the max (or close to it) to my 403b for a few years, and 20% of my income for several years before that. I had some savings, and figured, why not grow it while I still can? I plan to contribute the max to both my 403b and IRA until I retire.
  6. Hi, I just went to a district sponsored meeting during our professional development days in Santa Barbara, California and now I'm super confused. The workshop was lead by a rep from Planmember Services, and when I brought up the fact that CalStrs Pension2 is a low-fee option for a 403b plan, he said it was an annuity, and that they charged M & E expenses in addition to fund expenses. (He had earlier indicated displeasure in general with annuities.) I wanted the other teachers in the room to know that Pension2 was a low-fee option, but he definitely seemed to downplay it, and cast it as an annuity that charged both insurance fees and fund fees. When I approached him after the meeting to say that I wasn't being charged M & E fees, he said that the administrative fees of .25 a year were essentially M & E fees, and that Voya was an insurance company, thus the product was an annuity, or at least, LIKE an annuity. I have my 403b Pension2 contributions mostly in Vanguard mutual funds with some bond and inflation-protected securities. I know other teachers have invested with this particular rep in Planmember services and they're being charged 1.75 to 2% a year in fees. Our district lets him run workshops and come to faculty meetings on a regular basis. What do I need to know, and what am I misinformed about? Do I indeed have an annuity, and is that something I should question? Would it be better for me to go straight to Vanguard instead of using Pension2 (they are on my district's list of vendors, as are most of the products I'm invested in). Thank you for your help.
  7. magmason

    Questions About Pension2 Changes

    I just wanted to let people know I called and spoke to a rep at Voya , and investments will only be tied up for one trading day--October 31st. After that they will function as usual in the Voya accounts.
  8. magmason

    Questions About Pension2 Changes

    Scotty D, You mentioned earlier that I would need to transfer the TIAA Traditional to CREF money market before the transition. Why is that, and what will happen if I don't? Also, what happens to our investments during the blackout period? Do they continue to earn (or lose, as the case may be)? Or are they just "shelved"?
  9. magmason

    Questions About Pension2 Changes

    ScottyD, The reason I do not want adjustments is this: I was late to the game because a divorce necessitated paying my mortgage rather than saving more than a small chunk every month for retirement, for many years. I'm now putting over 20% of my paycheck into it. Because of this, and because I will get a pension, I was advised by at least three financial advisors to stay with a much more aggressive portfolio. My Easy Choice was Moderate Aggressive, and after about 4 years, slowly became too conservative. I then switched to a very aggressive lineup with no birthday reallocations. I'm retiring in about 5 years and I don't mind taking the risk of another bear market, because I have my guaranteed pension, and I'm in it for the long haul. The way I see it, retirement funds don't just get suspended when I retire, so I'll still have years to recover in case of a downturn. I'll wait to diversify into a more conservative lineup when I actually retire. Thanks so much for all your help. Maggie
  10. magmason

    Questions About Pension2 Changes

    Scotty D Thank you so much for clarifying this for me. The brochure sent out by Pension 2 presents as if there are only two choices: Easy Choice Portfolios, or SDBA. So, if I choose a lineup within the core lineup but outside Easy Choice, I will access my account with VOYA, as I do now with TIAA-CREF, and not Ameritrade? If I end up choosing an Easy Choice portfolio but do NOT want it rebalanced as I age, will I have that option? Will I have free access to one-on-one personal (not automated) consultations with real live experts who can help me with my individual needs, as I did with TIAA-CREF, or will I have to pay extra for these consultations? Many thanks. I find your answers reassuring and helpful. Maggie
  11. magmason

    Questions About Pension2 Changes

    Thank you very much, Bob, for your information. I am chagrined that a system that was working very well for me is now going to cost me more. TC offered excellent consulting services and custom plans tailored specifically to my needs, for free. It seems the only people who will really benefit from this change are those who use the Easy Choice Portfolios and who have investments that will charge lower fees. All the fees for my investments will now be the same or higher, plus I now have the $50 fee and no free expert consulting services. Disappointing. When I learn more, I will share information. Thanks again.
  12. magmason

    Questions About Pension2 Changes

    Hi Dan, Why would I call TIAA-CREF if they are no longer administering the plan? These questions are about the shift to VOYA. I am still hoping Scotty D can answer my questions. Thanks, Maggie
  13. Hi, I am hoping Scotty D and others can help me with these questions. They are not as complex or informed as the issues raised in Whyme's thread, so I didn't hitchhike onto that discussion. 1. I was invested in an Easy Choice portfolio, but after a lengthy assessment and consultation with a TIAA-CREF advisor, we decided I needed a more aggressive approach, and he switched my investments to a lineup he said was appropriate (not Easy Choice). Does this mean I am now in an SDBA? Will I be going through Ameritrade henceforth, and if so, do I have to pay any additional fees they may charge? The fine print in the brochure says "TD Ameritrade is not affiliated with the Voya family of companies." Will my contributions continue to be invested as they are now? 2. If I decided to go with an Easy Choice portfolio but did not want it rebalanced every year on my birthday, would this automatically make me self-directed? 3. Currently, TIAA-CREF gives investment consultations and prepares personalized planning reports for free. I have taken advantage of these services with good results. Will I now have to pay for these services, and if so, how is this a better plan for me? I am very very anxious about this change. Thank you for your help.
  14. magmason

    Calstrs Pension 2 Switch From Tiaa/cref To Ing

    Thank you. I had already read that. I was hoping for more details. Is there a way I can contact him directly with my questions? Maggie
  15. Hi, I just joined, and really appreciate all the good advice and info here. I'm trying to become more savvy, so please bear with questions that seem very basic. After reading this forum, I got my district to offer Pension 2 and switched from Metlife in 2009. I've been very happy with TIAA/CREF, the TPA for Pension 2. They have offered me several lengthy consultations, helped me set up my portfolio to maximize my returns, and I love the website. My question is, what exactly will the change to ING mean for clients? If I wanted to stay with TIAA/CREF, could I? I dislike what I've read about ING's 403(b) plans, including an article linked on this website that said ING was peddling plans with high fees to teachers. I doubt that will be true for the Pension 2 offering, but still, ideologically it rubs me the wrong way. TIAA/CREF seems more responsible and fair to teachers. Thanks in advance for your thoughts, Maggie
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