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  1. jebjebitz

    Switching vendors; need help!

    That is cool! Looks like Maryland has a state tax break. This link shows you a comparison of expense ratios and provides a calculator if you want to see what you’d save with the tax break
  2. jebjebitz

    Switching vendors; need help!

    Hi Soph, I used AXA for 403b, 529 and life insurance. I got out of the 403b and the 529 but I still have the life insurance. When they set up my 529 for me they just enrolled me in the plan my state offers (NJ). Not sure what kind of commission the rep received or what additional fees I was paying them but, this is something I could have just done on my own. I don’t know about Maryland but NJ does not offer any state tax benefits for contributions to a 529. I opened a new 529 using the Nevada plan which gave me access to Vanguard. I did this directly through the Vanguard website. They offer different investment options tailored to your child’s age and whether you prefer a conservative, moderate or aggressive investment strategy. My children are still only 2 and 4 so I am in an aggressive age based option. You can read more about Vanguards 529 age based options here: https://investor.vanguard.com/529-plan/age-based-options I’m satisfied with the life insurance the AXA rep helped my wife and I sign up for so , for now I’m keeping that the way it is. As for the 403b my story is similar to everyone here. You’re in good hands with the folks on this board. They’ll certainly steer you in the right direction. Best of luck.
  3. I looked into this but am still not 100% certain how it works. I'll describe what it looks like when I rebalance and receive the message to "auto-rebalance" in my DirectInvest account: I choose "Change Investments" From there it asks if I want to use Morningstar recommendations or choose my own investments. I select "Choose my own investments" Next it asks if I want to "Exchange", "Rebalance" or make changes to "Future Investment Elections". I select "Rebalancing" I then perform the rebalance by typing in the percentage of allocation for each investment. At the bottom of this page, before I can continue, it asks: "Would you like these changes to also affect how your future contributions are invested?" I choose yes. Finally, I'm taken to a page that asks: "Would you like to set up automatic rebalancing for your new portfolio?" Off to the side on this page there is an Icon that says: "What is Automatic Future Elections?" followed by a short description that reads, "Automatic future elections enable you to specify the frequency at which to rebalance your asset allocations" It's a little confusing to me because "Automatic Future Elections" sounds a lot like the "Future Investment Elections" option from the earlier menu. I did not click yes to auto rebalance because I'm reluctant to sign up for something that I might not be able to get out of easily. Not sure if this explanation was helpful/necessary but maybe there are members on here that can tell if this is actually an auto rebalance option or something entirely different.
  4. My 403b is with Security Benefit DirectInvest. I use the 3 fund strategy and I do my own rebalancing. However, they do offer an automatic rebalancing option. I personally like to control when I rebalance but, would this be an appropriate option for someone who can’t be bothered with rebalancing but still wants to save money on the added expense of a Target/Life Strategy Fund? Or am I missing something? Is there a difference when setting up your own auto rebalance?
  5. Jam, I’m a NJ teacher who signed up for Lincoln Investments PDP. Yes, you’re in control without an advisor. You will complete all the paperwork necessary to transfer funds from your old 403b( if that’s a step you’re taking) and, opening your account with Lincoln. When I completed this process I was in contact with a representative from Lincoln who was very helpful in walking me through some of the steps in the process BUT...he was not an advisor. The Lincoln PDP provides you with a large selection of Vanguard Funds including Target Date Funds. I personally used Total Stock Market, Total International and Total Bond. I figured out what allocation was best for my personal investment goals by visiting the Vanguard website and using their questionnaire(sorry I don’t have a link) I also asked questions on sites like this and the Bogleheads forum and read through many posts.
  6. So, would it be fair to say that the only way to keep fees “low” is to be in a self-directed plan? Could you say to a teacher asking about fees, “If your using a rep from one of the available vendors, I know without even researching your investments, that you’re paying too much in fees.”? I know that this is true for my district after researching all available vendors. But, is this true for everyone? If so, one of the main things teachers need to know is that they must research and choose their own investments, without assistance from a rep, if they want to keep fees as low as possible. This is where I lose people. They freeze when they hear research and choose investments.
  7. When talking about keeping expenses low, it is helpful to know what “low” is. I had a conversation with a friend who was considering transferring to a different contract because the rep told him about Funds he would have access to that had expense ratios under 1%. The expense ratios were .75%, .80%, .70% etc. Still too high when compared to Funds that were available to him in a self-directed plan.
  8. jebjebitz

    What could I have done differently

    Teachers need to be aware of this. You can convince someone that they’re in a horrible plan. For many, the next step they take is a call to their rep, or a rep from a different company, who takes them and their money Into another bad(or worse) plan. There is a rep in our district who has done pretty well by scooping up people looking to leave AXA and putting them in an annuity under the premise that they will receive a guaranteed 4% return. In reality it’s a complicated income insurance product that most teachers can’t explain or understand all the details of. Well said! Teachers don’t trust that they can research their own investments. Salesmen know this and use the fear of market downturns and losing everything to get teachers to second guess themselves. So, maybe if you’re doing this as a presentation, you do it where everyone has access to a computer. You show them how to navigate the sites a lot of us are using to get information. You demonstrate how to navigate this site. Show them the discussion board, threads you yourself have started and talk about some of the contributors who have given you useful information. For me, those contributors were people like krow, Steve, Tony and Ed(thank you). I would definitely Show teachers how to use 403b compare. This is probably the only place they will be able to see what fees they are paying. Once they get a handle on these numbers they can use any number of compound interest calculators online to see how fees are eating their investments. So, let people learn by doing this for themselves. Let them see that this process is not that different from putting time into researching a purchase like a car, a new roof, a washing machine etc. I would add the Bogleheads site as a place where they can receive help and info as well.
  9. jebjebitz

    What could I have done differently

    For “the hook” I might try to relate choosing your 403b provider with making a big purchase. Take buying a car as an example. When you go to a dealer to purchase a car you probably wouldn’t start by saying, “ I don’t know anything about how to buy a car. You’re the expert. I’ll give you my money and I trust that you’ll pick out the car that’s best for me.” Not a great example but, that’s the way a lot of teachers approach their first meeting with the reps. When you buy a car you do some research into the make and model that’s right for you and your needs. You compare prices between dealers, read through customer reviews etc. All the information you need is at your fingertips. Why don’t you trust yourself to follow this process when it comes to investing in your future?
  10. jebjebitz

    What could I have done differently

    I think people are afraid to not have that “expert” advisor helping them. To them, 2% fees are worth paying because they don’t trust their own ability to choose investments.
  11. It concerns me that our union is not talking about this. Teachers sometimes wonder aloud if there will still be a pension when they retire but no one I talk to is talking about how funding is at 31%! Tony, I’m more pessimistic about our pensions future. It hasn’t been funded the way it should be for close to twenty years. We’ve had incremental increases to our contributions over the past 5 years and a percentage of proceeds from lottery sales have gone towards funding as well. We’re still way short, according to this study, dead last
  12. NJ teacher here. Anyone have information on what happens when a pension system fails? Or information on States or organizations that found creative ways to fix pension systems? Would employees get back their contributions back? It almost seems as though our pension is certain to fail.
  13. jebjebitz

    Frequent trading policies; Best Fund Family?

    I just finished reading Bogle’s “Common Sense on Mutual Funds”. I highly recommend reading this before pursuing this strategy.
  14. jebjebitz

    Wow Look At This Chart

    The rise in college costs is absolutely ridiculous. How is this justified? The education students receive today can’t be that much better/different than it was ten years ago.
  15. jebjebitz

    choosing a 403b plan

    How does the front load work? Do they only take 5.75% from your first contribution?