Jump to content
bWise Forums


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by jebjebitz

  1. Lincoln Investments Participant Direct

    The custodial fee for Lincoln’s PDP was $60 when I transferred out of it 2 months ago. It’s possible they changed it back to $35 if that’s what your paperwork says. No one in my district was in the PDP but there’s no way to really know about it unless you visit this forum or the bogle head forum. I learned about it from Krow.
  2. Lincoln Investments Participant Direct

    Alex, I transferred funds from AXA to Lincoln’s PDP. I am a NJ teacher as well. Lincoln has a small group of individuals who deal exclusively with the PDP customers. They were incredibly helpful and were available for contact through email throughout the transfer process. This is important because if you read through some of these posts you’ll realize how frustrating the transfer process can be. I was emailing one rep and he was able to walk me through the process and help locate paperwork as it traveled from AXA to third party to Lincoln. I paid a surrender fee to AXA of 2%. It was lower because I had my account with them for 10 years. Looking back I would’ve paid 6% to get my money transferred if I had to. Metlife will probably try to talk you into delaying this transfer or keeping a portion of your funds with them etc. I was very pleased with the support I received from Lincoln. i’ll send You a message with the number I called to start the process
  3. NEA Member Benefits Awards

    I get so much junk mail from NEA trying to get me to sign up for credit cards, life, car and disability insurance etc.
  4. Tiaa fixed annuity

    I don’t remember exactly how the calculation for the payout worked. It was confusing and involved using market value vs actual value, whichever was greater at the time you were going to take payments? I got this information directly from the rep who sold it to my colleagues. I did ask if the investment was transferable to heirs and was told you could but there was an additional cost.
  5. Tiaa fixed annuity

    MetLife sells something like this to teachers in my district. Not sure if the TIAA product is the same but the Metlife product I’m referring to is called a Lifetime Benefit Withdrawal. It works like Krow explained above, basically income insurance. The problem I saw with this was the way it was sold to teachers. Anyone I spoke with assumed they were getting a guaranteed 6% return on their investments. It sounds like the person your talking to assumes they’re getting 10% return on their investment too.
  6. 403b Health for Teachers PD course

    I think it’s important to get teachers to understand that when they are dealing with the reps in the building they are customers being sold a product. I think there is a tendency to see these individuals as retirement specialists who are there to help us plan for retirement. This changes the way we approach them. You wouldn’t go to a car salesman and say, “ I don’t know anything about buying cars, you’re the expert. I have $10,000 dollars just tell me what to do with it.” But, this is the approach I took when I started and I know many other teachers who have done the same thing. i would provide them with questions that would help them become an informed customer when considering what plan they are comfortable starting or when considering if they want to switch plans
  7. 403b Annuity Salesman Perspective

    I watched a Security Benefit guy do his pitch during a free pizza lunch in our school library. He had a lot going for him: he was the husband of an employee in our district and he dropped that in to the first two minutes of his intro, he explained how SB was sponsored by the NEA, and he had a flier in the office that had him billed as a retirement specialist who was there to provide information for teachers who were ready to retire. His pitch started with I’m not here to sell you anything. He mentioned DirectInvest first but followed it with this line, “Imagine your sick and you have 100 medicines to choose from. Do you feel comfortable that you’re gonna choose the right one? No you ask a doctor. Well if you choose this plan you won’t be able to call me and talk to me. I’ll come to your house, I live in town, my wife is a teacher,” etc. So basically, you’re too stupid to understand this you need me. Oh and by the way I’m not a fiduciary and I can’t legally give you the Investment advice you’re looking for anyway. I actually asked him about the fiduciary thing after he s down teachers ability to handle DirectInvest and he countered with, “it’s true that government regulations have made it hard for people like me to help you but I have ways around this. I could say, ‘my friend is invested in this maybe you should look into this’
  8. I transferred to SB recently from Lincoln and it was unbelievably frustrating. I had to make calls to both vendors and TPA daily to try to get a handle on where paperwork was, if correct signatures were included, etc. I got it done in three months and that’s because I was a nuisance to every rep I spoke with. Congrats on the switch! I’m very happy with SB and the online platform for Direct Invest. Best of luck!
  9. I rarely take this approach but resorted to it in my last phone call. When they told me it was up to me to contact HR and find my two missing contributions I regretfully lost my patience. I got a manager on the phone and stressed the fact that they had done absolutely nothing for me and this is one more step I had to take on my own. One more thing I had to explain to someone else in the hopes that maybe Security Benefit would get it right on their end this time. She could care less. I’m in agreement with Library Lady and think, at least on some level, they’re ok with people struggling their way through the transfer process. That makes me want to get this done even more. It might be helpful if I start a new thread that outlines the steps that should be taken similar to the way Ed does on his site.
  10. Long post here about the process of switching investments to a new carrier and some of the frustrations I encountered along the way. I switched to Security Benefit from Lincoln to save $60 a year. I’ll let you decide if it was worth it. I recently decided to move my investment from Lincoln to Security Benefit. I heard about Lincoln’s Participant Directed Platform after asking questions on this forum and the Boglehead forum. Krow was the member that supplied the info and then I was on my way to getting out of my AXA Equivest contract and into Admiral Vanguard funds through the Lincoln PDP. (Thank again Krow!). I’m a NJ teacher and this is one of the few states that offer this program if I remember correctly. The Lincoln Plan was great but, there was a $60 annual fee and if I wanted to reallocate funds at some point there was no online platform that would allow me to do this. You can view statements online but that’s about it. Security Benefits DirectInvest is similar but, the annual fee is $35, this fee is dropped if your account exceeds 50,000 which mine does. It also provides a little more in the way of its online accessibility. So I decided to make the switch. This has been an extremely frustrating process. The switch from AXA to Lincoln was surprisingly easy. This is because I was in direct contact with a representative from Lincoln. He walked me through the paperwork, helped me navigate the third party authorization process and contacted me when things were held up for one reason or another. This was not the case with Security Benefit. Everything about signing up for DirectInvest turned out to be confusing, slow and just plain frustrating. To start, they have a step-by-step process set-up online that is not in an order that works. They tell you to complete an Incoming Funds Request and a Payroll Reduction Agreement before filling out the paperwork to create an account at Security Benefit. Luckily I called a representative who explained this otherwise I could have been sending money to them with no account to put it in. So, I filled out the online application which is done through something called DocuSign. I filled this out, received an email confirmation from DocuSign and then waited, and waited. It was a month before I heard from Security Benefit. This was by phone because, get this, they don’t send correspondence through email. In the month it took for Security Benefit to create this account, I called both DocuSign and Security Benefit and neither could tell me if my account had been set up. At this point I considered giving up, staying with Lincoln and eating the $60 annual fee. But, I receive a call a month and a half later and a representative from Security Benefit assures me an account was created and is ready to receive funds. I just needed to fill out the Salary Reduction Agreement and the Incoming Funds Request. I stopped contributions to Lincoln and started contributions to Security Benefit with just a quick call to my district payroll department. Part of the Incoming Funds paperwork requires third party authorization, a signature from, in my particular case, a company called Penserv. When I made the switch from AXA to Lincoln this was done for me. In this Security Benefit transfer, I was responsible for faxing paperwork to Penserv. This is fine but, there was nothing that indicated this step needed to be taken on the paperwork or in any conversation I had with Security Benefit representatives. I didn’t find this out until about a week later when I called to check on the status of my application. It gets worse. I fax the paperwork to Penserv and get third party authorization. They in turn, fax the paperwork back to Security Benefit. Security Benefit is unable to find this paperwork. I only find this out because I call again to check the status of my application. I call Penserv and ask them to fax the paperwork a second time. I call again and the paperwork is still not received. At this point I’m still unaware of how horrible communication at Security Benefit is so I assume Penserv isn’t sending it to the right place. The rep at Penserv explains that they deal with Security Benefit all the time and refuses to send the paperwork a third time. Now every time I call Security Benefit I get a different rep. I provide them with a reference number but it only hints at the inconsistencies taking place. When I call again I get someone that tells me, “yes, we have received third party authorization and the paperwork has been sent to Lincoln. We will wait for them to transfer the funds.” It turns out that it is true that they sent Lincoln the paperwork but, they sent them the Incoming Funds Request without the Penserv signature and without their signature. I don’t learn about this new development until December 18 when I receive a letter from Security Benefit informing me that Lincoln has refused to transfer my funds. They do not specify why but go on to explain that the Penserv authorization will expire on December 31. Throughout all this I continue to email the rep from Lincoln who helped me make the switch from AXA. Without his help I would not have learned that Security Benefit sent the paperwork within the appropriate signatures. When I called Security Benefit I had to explain this to them and walk them through sending the paperwork a second time. He also emailed me when the paperwork was received. Currently, I have received confirmation from the Lincoln rep that all paperwork is processed and the transfer will take place but have not heard from Security Benefit. After all of this I half expect them to tell me the Penserv authorization expired and I need to repeat the process. If you’ve read this far understand that when switching to Security Benefit you are on your own. You will deal with someone different each time you call and you may get a different answer depending on who you talk to. With Lincoln, you’ll pay $60 a year but you’ll have access to a person who can walk you through a transfer. Hopefully, once I’m past this I’ll appreciate saving $60 a year but, I’m not sure I would have made the switch if I knew how this was going to go ahead of time.
  11. Do you think this is happening with self-Directed plans only? If someone uses a rep, and the rep handles all of the transfer process, do you think that rep has to call 5 - 10 times to make sure the transfer is running smoothly? I’m being serious. There just seems to be something about transferring funds from one company to another that reveals a major breakdown in communication between these companies. On a separate note: The Security Benefit website is 100 times better than the Lincoln website. I think once I get all of my funds in order I will be happy I made the switch. My money is still in limbo as of today but I hope to get this fixed sometime this week.
  12. Wow!! This is exactly what I was dealing with. The crazy part was they could not understand why Lincoln would not transfer the funds. In addition to the TPA they needed to sign it themselves as well. They kept telling me there were additional steps Lincoln needed to take but it was all held up due to their incompetence. My account is open now but it only reflects one contribution when I’ve made three. They’re telling me it’s something my HR department at my school district needs to remedy. I’ve been working on this since October.
  13. Ed, Were you able to email documents to Security Benefit? This was not an option for me. My choices were to fill out their application and mail or fax it or, use DocuSign to complete an online application and sign electronically. It may be different because you are in Florida. The steps you lay out on your site make more sense than their site though.
  14. Tony, I read your post about Vanguard after posting my lengthy struggles with Vanguard. My wife’s district has Vanguard and she had to submit and resubmit paperwork for a few months before she was able to tanager her funds from AXA. Finding just one rep makes sense, this is what made dealing with Lincoln so easy.
  15. TIAA, FIdelity and NEA (Security Benefit)

    Ed, can you break down how you arrive at the 26.2%? This is impressive. .63% is nothing compared to what I think I was paying at AXA. Then again, I still don’t know exactly what I was paying at AXA. Also, how can I help someone understand what they’re paying in fees with Valic?
  16. How do expense ratios work?

    Can anyone explain how expense ratios effect your investment? If a fund I’m invested in has an expense ratio of 1%, is that 1% of my total assets? Or, 1% of the amount I invest in that fund that year? Or, 1% of the return from that year?etc. Also, if I’m invested in three funds and they all have an expense ratio of 1%, how do I calculate how that is effecting my investment? Thank you
  17. Finally, Success Adding New Provider

    Congrats!!!! Keep us up to date on the call from your AXA rep. That was one of my favorite parts about switching. He started with, Look I dont want to see you make a mistake like this. Im telling you this because you seem like a nice, normal guy. Classic!
  18. Companies fear smart people who understand the mechanics of investing, they would prefer to sell you high priced garbage if you let them. I am greatly encouraged by the participants on this board and the great advice they give. Why are not more people asking questions on this board??? I wish more of my colleagues would ask questions here. When I talk to them they are so certain that this is something they can’t understand. I feel if they were to just enter their info into the fee calculator on this site they might be motivated to at least call their rep and try to get answers about what they’re paying in fees. Although the problem with talking to some of these reps is the have a real knack for making you feel unqualified.
  19. Thank you Ed. I appreciate and value your opinion on this. I wasn’t sure if I could use the intermediate term bond fund the same way I was using total bond in my Lincoln PDP. I wanted to ask the members on this board about it but I was having password trouble. I started a thread about it on bogleheads and got some great advice which can be seen here:https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=230187
  20. Lincoln Investment Group (LIG) doesn't seem to want their Participant Directed Platform to be widely available. They apparently require that the application form be acquired from a regional office. It has a larger selection of Vanguard funds than does SB Direct Invest, but does charge $60/yr rather than $35/yr--not a significant difference in my opinion. A recent BH poster said LIG told him that PDP was not available in his MD school district. I certainly don't see any reason to change a 403b from SB Direct Invest to the LIG PDP plan. If LIG is on your district's 457 provider list, then I think the PDP is worth considering for a 457. If LIG is not on your district's 457 list, you could ask your HR office to add it. I signed up for Lincoln at the end of last year. My district added Security Benefit over the summer. I plan on switching from Lincoln’s PDP to DirectInvest. The $35 fee is waived in the Direct Invest plan when you exceed 50,000. As I understand it, I will only be paying the expense ratios on the funds I choose. I’m using: Vanguard total stock Vanguard total international Vanguard intermediate term bond I was putting 20% in Vanguard Total Bond when I was in the Lincoln plan but it’s not offered in the Direct Invest
  21. Congrats on your move. It's worth whatever it costs to get out of that plan. When informing colleagues about this info be prepared to get little response at first. People will be grateful for the information but their interest will fade or they'll think it's over their head. Share whatever info you find useful and offer help when needed. Good luck
  22. Is Tony's letter available to read anywhere online?
  23. So I've been going through my School district's vendors to try to get information to share with teachers that might come in contact with advisers. I'm including the email I wrote hear and would be interested in feedback. If you can think of things I could've included or should of left out I'd be happy to hear from you. Thanks. Here is my email: Hello Everyone, A few months ago I sent an email about investing in 403b's. I have some updated information. There's a lot of information here so if you have any questions feel free to contact me. First of all, the list that the board gave me was not updated. A new list of providers can be seen here: http://www.nutleyschools.org/userfiles/775/my%20files/updated%2006012017%20-%202017%20universal%20availability%20notification%20nutley.pdf?id=67028 I want to let people know what I did with my investment after leaving AXA. Using the Lincoln Investments vendor, I signed up for something called the Participant Directed Platform. Basically, by using this I am doing all investments on my own without an advisor. I chose Lincoln Investments because their PDP offers Vanguard Admiral Funds. I chose this option because the fees are low and I wanted to get away from the high expense ratios associated with the funds offered by other vendors. You can also access Vanguard Funds using the Security Benefit vendor but only if you choose the Direct Invest contract and waive the use of an advisor. My portfolio is now very simple and is based on a strategy that uses only three funds. The funds I chose and the fees I will be paying look like this: Annual Custodial Fee: $60.00 plus fund expense ratios 20% is in Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund: Expense Ratio: .05% 32% is in Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund: Expense Ratio: .11% 48% is in Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund: Expense Ratio: .04% If you are interested in this, I'd be happy to tell you more about it or you can read about the Vanguard investment strategy here: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page There is also a great documentary from channel 13 Frontline that explains 401K and 403b plans that you can see here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/retirement-gamble/ The New York Times has run a very informative series which got me started on all this and you can access that here: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/your-money/403-b-retirement-plans-fees-teachers.html I also wanted to provide everyone with some information on each vendor. I recently went through the list of vendors and spoke with the reps to see what each one had to offer. When you talk to the vendors, ask them questions based on the information listed here. They should be up front about the fees you will be paying on your investment. Here is a break down of the funds each vendor offers along with their expense ratios: 1. Forester Financial: I spoke with Ricardo. If you invest with this company your money will be placed in First Investors Funds. This is a Mutual Fund investment. Avg. Expense Ratio: 1.57% "High" Annual Fee: $30.00 Custodial Fee No Surrender Charge Use this link to scroll through the funds and see their expense ratios: https://www.403bcompare.com/products/1#/investmentoptions 2. MetLife: I spoke with Joe. If you invest with this company your money will be placed in a MetLife annuity contract. Joe is authorized to sell American Funds and Oppenheimer Funds in addition to MetLife products. Joe also talked to me about investing money in something called a GMIB (Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit). Here is how I understand it. He described this as an additional pension and it carries a 6% guarantee. However, it's not a 6% guarantee on your contributions, you're basically going to get a check for 6% of the greater of the "market value" or "actual value" of your investment, each month your alive after retirement. If your interested in this investment, I'm 100% sure Joe can explain it better or, you can read more about it here: http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2015/01/02/under-the-hood-what-you-need-to-know-about-annuiti Here are the numbers for the MetLife annuity contract you would be invested in: Avg Expense Ratio: .75% "Low" Annual Expenses: $15.00 Administrative Fee $125.00 Mortality and Expense Surrender Charge: "Yes" 6 years 5% Use this link to see the expense ratio for each fund: https://www.403bcompare.com/products/65#/investmentoptions 3. Primerica: I spoke with Joe. If you invest with this company your money will be placed in American Funds. This is a Mutual Fund investment Avg Expense Ratio: 1.00 % Annual Expenses: $20.00 No Surrender Charge Use this link to see the expense ratio for each fund: https://www.403bcompare.com/products/55#/investmentoptions 3. Gaba - Spoke with Rich Gaba. If you invest with Rich your money will be invested in Oppenheimer Funds. This is a Mutual Fund investment. Avg. Expense Ratio: 1.49% "High" Annual Expenses: $30.00 No Surrender Charge Use this link to see the expense ratios for each fund: https://www.403bcompare.com/products/49#/investmentoptions 4. Valic - Spoke with Rich. If you invest with Valic your money will be invested in a variable annuity contract named "Portfolio Director". Avg. Expense Ratio: .62% "Low" Annual Expenses: $110.00 Rider Fee Surrender Charge: "yes" 6 years 5% Use this link to see each fund and their expense ratio: https://www.403bcompare.com/products/116#/investmentoptions Delete Reply...
  24. Sent My Fellow Teachers An Email About 403B's

    I'd like to add a question to this discussion. So, when talking about Roth IRA vs. 403b/457, I am usually confused when it comes to the IRS limitations for individuals receiving a pension. The table explaining this can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/2016-ira-contribution-and-deduction-limits-effect-of-modified-agi-on-deductible-contributions-if-you-are-covered-by-a-retirement-plan-at-work My wife and I are both teachers so, according to this, if our AGI is between 98,000 and 118,000, we can only receive a partial deduction on our contributions to an IRA. If it's over 118,000 we would receive no deduction. Is this information relevant to this discussion? And, is it possible to do a back door Roth contribution in a situation like this?
  25. Sent My Fellow Teachers An Email About 403B's

    Thanks for the response Ed. I struggled to put this email together based on some of the points you listed above. For example, it's tough to talk about the benefits of low cost without also talking about index funds. I definitely missed an opportunity to get more info on Security Benefit too, I agree. I knew from your research and others that the Direct Invest was a good option but my phone call to them was kind of a frustrating experience. Definitely something I'd like to look into again though in case their plan is better. So, all the info I had on these funds came from 403b compare and it's interesting that you mention that these numbers could be specific to California. I assumed the numbers would be the same everywhere. The numbers definitely helped me when I called the reps though. They started off with scripted sales pitches and dropped them quick when I started asking about expense ratios and surrender charges. I like the way you listed the fees as percentage of real returns but I wasn't sure how to arrive at these numbers. Do you use a fee calculator from online? Thanks again.