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About Imua808

  1. Well just to keep record of things that can go wrong when filling out paperwork.... I apparently missed a section on my contract exchange forms from AXA that I submitted to my TPA. I didn't get back any of the original paperwork (snail mail), just a letter from AXA telling me the paperwork was incomplete a section, and that this is the only paperwork they will accept. All paperwork still has to go through the TPA, who has their own set of paperwork to complete. Boo... so now I'm re completing the paperwork, which will probably take another month to jump through all the hoops. I'm also supposed to attach my contract with my paperwork, and it took me this long to realize that I had all the information I needed to register my AXA account online. I got so used to thinking that I had to go through the AXA rep that opened my contract. I'm surprised and not surprised that he never suggested I check things online. It was so easy to register, and the site is actually really user friendly. Now I can pull up all the information and the latest numbers online, much better than waiting on quarterly reports.
  2. Guaranteed Interest account AXA

    My surrender fees were only applicable to contributions younger than 7 years, although it is different I know, for others.... any chance you can "free corridor" some of the monies out over time?
  3. Guaranteed Interest account AXA

    I had a portion of my AXA portfolio in a guaranteed 3% thingy... too bad the fees ate up any benefit that might've had. My account was under certain money limit & therefore was charged an addition $30 every quarter, on top of the annual fees and expense ratios. I decided moving, even with surrender fees is better than getting eaten up with fees, especially once I redirected my contributions to the new provider.
  4. Politics and Investing -Keep Them separate

    Are people investing or not investing in the market based on politics? I would imagine that's the bunch that buys/sells as hobby or job, vs those of us in for the long term? Even if we look past current political climate, what influence has politics had on the market besides setting laws about how to invest?
  5. My mom was an elementary school teacher and retired and took her pension and SS in her early sixties because my dad was ill. My dad passed away 2 years ago. Mom'll be turning 70 next year. I can't imagine if she had had to keep working till then. Her and my dad always struggled to save. I feel like I'm at a slightly better place financially than my folks at the same age, but it's still a stretch. I wobble between feeling reassured about more aggressive saving via 403b, and fear of the market bottoming out and losing it.
  6. Finally, Success Adding New Provider

    In Hawaii, we have an open investment policy, so we can choose to work with a financial adviser (for a fee) or direct our own investments. As near as I can tell, our list of available funds include the target retirement funds, investor and admiral shares. We don't have to work with Vanguard's minimums, as long as the $40 annual + .15% of the account are paid to Aspire. I almost went with Aspire just because it was so hard to get communication from Security Benefit about setting up their DirectInvest option, and Aspire has Vanguard's Total Bond and Total international Bond funds, whereas the SB's DI only has the Intermediate Term bonds.
  7. Finally, Success Adding New Provider

    Congrats! When I finally figured out I had more options than AXA, I was impressed with Aspire. They had an easily maneuverable website..... you could see all the investments and expenses right away. I figured out I had everything I needed to build a simple 3 fund portfolio with Vanguard funds. When I emailed, they responded quickly and helpfully.
  8. Will These New Retirement Funds Catch On?

    Yup,... that's the next step in my retirement education. I figured out how to save (sort of) in a way that will cost me the least...and what it's "supposed" to do, but I am definitely still confused about SWR and RMDs and what to do at the end of it when I'm supposed to be getting my money back somehow in a way that won't cost me too much. Ugh.... I feel like this should have been a mandatory finance class during teacher college.
  9. True, I always forget about that... Our steps were frozen for a time and we did mandatory furlough days for pay cuts to balance the states budget a few years back... which was under a Republican governor, though a Democratic one imposed leave days which amounted to the same thing. Hawaii almost always comes in last in all the cost-of-living-adjusted-for-pay polls.... I am making more (gross) now than I was when I started... but switching from single to family coverage for medical, and starting the 403b and then increasing contributions has kept my take-home pay pretty much the same. haha... My husband works for a big box warehouse club and our take home pay is almost the same, even though my gross pay is higher. Our union negotiated pay raise each year over the next 4 years and the first one kicks in next paycheck. I've already told my husband I'm going to put the difference toward the 403b. Hawaii is pretty strongly Democratic, and I know they are opposed to the Republican plans.
  10. Hah... I can't afford to max out contributions just yet. It's mind-boggling to imagine the thought of saving 37K per year plus another 5.5k on top of that. That would be more than my total annual take home pay, haha. Taxes and health insurance are large chunks. My employer takes 6% every paycheck for my contribution toward the pension, and yet it is underfunded. This is one of the reasons I'm trying to put more into the 403b, since I can direct the investments. One of the seats for the retirement board of trustees is up for a vote and of the 3 candidates, only one actually pointed out how horrible the fund is doing, and then disclosed their own gains in 401k and other accounts. I have no idea if that's because this person knows what they are doing, or if they are working with an advisor.... they did not say.
  11. Using Self-Directed 403(B)S

    We have over 30 approved vendors to pick from for our K-12 and state university 403b and apparently we can open as many accounts as we want as long we keep below the max savings amount total. We can only open accounts with approved vendors, though I don't think we have to have a financial adviser if we don't want one. I inquired to our TPA what it would take to add providers and apparently the vendor only has to apply and fill out the appropriate paperwork (link here and here). For me, it was interesting to see the differences in providers between the 2 systems, and that the university had Vanguard as an provider.
  12. Quarterly Performance? Q3 2017

    Neat to think about... I haven't talked about investments to anyone in my real life and I'm still figuring it out. I'm mimicking the allocation for the Vanguard Target retirement 2045 fund, which is currently a 90/10...I'm with security benefit and utilizing vanguard admiral shares. I try not to think about it too much since I have quite a bit of time before I retire, but I think I'd be more mentally comfortable with a 60/40 split. I know you're supposed to look at all one's accounts as one big portfolio, but in my 457, I only picked up the vanguard wellington fund which I believe is a 60/40 AA anyway. Since it is so new to me, I probably peek at it way too often. Since I don't have that much invested, it's all small ups and downs. Do you all check in quarterly or more often?
  13. Aloha folks! So I learned a new term today... Thanks to this forum and the kind folks here, I started my journey toward fiscal responsibility and found out about my state's 457 "deferred compensation" program and a better 403b option with lower fees and better investment options. I got the 403b new account open and redirected my pre-tax savings into it. Now that that's squared away, I'm finally getting the exchange paperwork done. When I requested the paperwork and the account numbers, the advisor that set up the original 403b contract has suggested the use of a "free corridor" to avoid surrender fees. When I looked up the term, it seems as though surrender fees can vary from contract to contract... some fees drop off completely after a certain amount of time, and some reduce by steps year after year depending on a certain amount of time. Near as I can tell, my contract with AXA specifies that the surrender fee won't fall off until after year 7, and I'm only in year 4. From other internet reading, for some contracts, surrender fees are applied to the date of the monies being deposited , not necessarily the date of the contract start.... so "free corridor" is the money that can be transferred without surrender fees, which can be done in incrementally. The way I look at it now, my surrender fees are high, but not as bad as leaving the money in the account.... where I'd be accumulating an annual fee, expense ratios, and a quarterly penalty for an account under $XX,000. Haha... so my answer to my own question is... it's not worth it for me according to the math. So now, near as I can tell, I have all the information and paperwork that each provider and my state's TPA requires to get this done. Whew!
  14. Myths,markets, And Easy Money

    Hmm... I'm bookmarking this one to read later at leisure. Seems too heavy for Sunday night when I should be lesson planning. haha
  15. This idea of what "risk" means is how I got hooked with the first company to come knocking. I knew I was contributing to a pension, I knew I had social security taxes being taken out... I knew I should be saving more toward retirement, but money is tight. Pre-tax savings where I can't touch it? With a "guaranteed" return on some of the investment? It was just one more thing I thought I didn't have to worry about.... for me, I didn't want to risk not having enough money when I retired, but I didn't do my research.. and I wound up with higher fees and and not really the greatest returns. I can't really say it was better than just putting it into a CD. Now though, after more reading here & on other sites, I think I get what "risk" really means. I feel better about my portfolio, I feel better about sort of a "set it and forget it" stock/bond asset allocation that I'll minimally tinker with according to age as I get older. I feel better about not needing someone else to do it for me.