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  1. Imua808

    The Pension Gamble

    http://ers.ehawaii.gov/members/active Hawaii's state employee retirement system (ERS) has different levels of contributions to pensions; i'm in hybrid because I was hired between 1984 - 2006 when the pension was non-contributory and about a year later they started "allowing" teachers to pay in... so now I contribute 6%. Newer teacher hires contribute 8%. What's interesting to me is that police, firefighters contribute 12.2 or 14.2%. They have access to 457, but not the 403b (I think, not sure). HI uses a formula to determine pension payout... mine is 2% years of service AFC. AFC is average final compensation, which is either your "high 3" or "high 5" depending on year of hire.... average monthly pay of your highest 3 (or 5) years. We have access to 457, 403b; we pay in to social security...we have a flex spending program. I'm scared to try that because you either spend or lose the money deferred for it. I'm not a tight enough budgeter. I vested in 5 years, newer hires vest in 10 years. Unfortunately, HI pension is currently about 50% funded. Who knows what that will mean for state employees in the future. It's one of the reasons I'm trying to save more now.
  2. Lots of great information out of this thread! Thank you truly to all that took the time to reply and offer up experiences and insights. I do have a mortgage & am in a HCOL area. I've been playing around with calculators trying to figure out what I can truly afford when it comes to contributions to 403b, 457... I don't have an IRA, and there is no state tax benefit for 529. I'm not retiring any time soon, but I know it'll be here before I realize it.
  3. Does anyone on this board max out their 403b contributions? If so, how? Spouse with higher income? Side job? LCOL area & small budget?
  4. Imua808

    Q3 YTD return report

    I'm still learning about how bonds work... I hold only VWENX in my 457 and I hold VBILX in my 403. This quarter is the first time all year my 403b account holdings are above my contributions. I try to remind myself to take a long view because this is the first year I've actually paid attention to stocks going up and down and I know watching doesn't change it.... VWENX seems to be doing better than my 3 fund in the 403 account. I'm assuming it is the international stocks rather than the bonds. .
  5. Imua808

    YTD Return at the half way point

    I hold only Wellington in my 457, I'm pretty sure I'm slightly positive in that one. I've only been contributing since last year so it's not a lot. Most of my contributions are held in my 403b I hold 90/10 vtsax, vtiax, and vbilx . I'm definitely down on that.
  6. Imua808

    Disability Protection

    What I never realized until recently was that some states don't have teacher contributing to social security. Hawaii teachers contribute to social security their and pension, but considering cost of living here, even that would make retiring in HI a struggle. I'm glad I've become more educated about our options for 403b and 457. We also have voluntary benefits (insurance) through our union. My husband used to work for an insurance company and looked the options over and elected to have us not use any of them. Trying to figure out what's worth paying is as complicated as trying to figure out retirement. My mom had more than the required years for retirement to collect her pension when my dad got sick, but it was still before she expected to retire (and before collecting SS), she was planning on working until she could but my dad needed help at home. Between her pension and his SS, they made it work. Part of her pension benefits is medical coverage, so thankfully when my dad got sicker they had that covered before he passed. My mom's mom is in her nineties and her mom lived over 100 years. My mom is in her 70s. I will likely need to make my $$ stretch if I follow that pattern.
  7. This is one reason why I'm finally paying attention to retirement and trying to build up my 403b and 457. This article shows Hawaii at #5 of states with "worst shortfalls". Between poor funding of the public schools and the worst teacher pay (adjusted for COL) in the nation, being a teacher in Hawaii has definite drawbacks.
  8. This is something I worry about... I grew up with very little, but to my parents credit never really realized how little that was. We always had enough. My husband's family grew up with more and we're raising our son with the "more" as well. Watching my husband's parents travel and buy the things they need in their retirement without a financial burden is educational to watch. I'm very much hoping that the saving I do now will help alleviate the worry of spending later. My maternal grandmother is still kicking at 95 relatively independently and my paternal grandmother was in her early 90s when she passed. Her oldest daughter just passed away at 93 but she had dementia at the end. If I retire at 67, I might need a savings to last 30 years.
  9. Imua808

    choosing a 403b plan

    Last year, I started the transfer from my 403b with AXA to Security Benfit's NEA Direct Invest. It took longer than expected because AXA was very precise in its requirements to leave and my "advisor" wasn't very helpful. Juggling AXA, my state's TPA, SB, and getting all the paperwork lined up between the 3 companies was frustrating. I think reading up on the boglehead's three fund portfolio helped me feel more comfortable self-directing, along with being able to ask questions here. Being able to access my account online with SB and check its progress is neat, and it is a pretty user-friendly interface. I used to check everyday, but now I just check the ticker tape to see if the index is up or down. I'm trusting in compounding interest and the fact that the market will inevitably go up over time. Currently, my portfolio is down, but I'm also mimicking the vanguard target retirement fund for when I want to retire and its asset allocation is very aggressive right now. I just take a deep breath and leave the mix alone. I will probably check about rebalancing over the summer. I also had aspire as an option, and thought about making a 3 fund portfolio with them, but the cost difference over time swayed me. I have a lot of years to go before I'm retirement age and I already wasted too much in fees with AXA. Aspire was very quick to respond to questions and seemed very user-friendly, too.
  10. Imua808

    Q1 YTD Return

    Hah... I'm so new to portfolio watching. It has been crazy to watch it go up and down and up and down. Right now it is down. It was easier to watch it go up and down when the account balance was smaller.
  11. So scary. I read about WV teacher strike and I compare it to what Hawaii teachers went through when my mother began teaching in the 70s. I can't believe that it's illegal for teachers to strike there.... but it also blows my mind that they still come out ahead of Hawaii when you look at cost-of-living adjustments. Apparently, Hawaii and AZ are trading places for last in the nation. My mom is turning 70 this year and still has a mortgage because my folks didn't purchase a house till all us kids were over 18. My dad has passed. She's got a pension, SS, and cares for my youngest brother who is mentally disabled and gets SSDI. He'll come to me when my mom passes.... women in her line are long-lived (her mom is still living independently at 93), but she's started feeling her age and recently hurt her back and got PT. She occasionally talks about taking up substitute teaching to supplement her income, but keeps mislaying paperwork, so I don't think she's very serious about it. I know I'm paying into Social Security, I'll have a pension (though HI's is underfunded), and I'm slowly building up my 403b & 457... next step would be pad the emergency fund out to 6 months and to fund an IRA. My husband half-jokes about working till he drops dead. His parents seem to have a comfortable retirement and frequently travel and dine out. His mother has a filing cabinent full of receipts and accounting. She's very organized. The difference between our folks is striking... and comparing to us, well. I'm learning and I'm glad I'm getting a handle on it now, even if it is a little late, at least I'm not so close to retirement age that it's panic time. I do think that once our son graduates, I"ll probably take up a part-time retail or restaurant job, something in the el/hospitality industry to help supplement savings.
  12. Imua808

    Teaching Loved Ones About Money

    I was scared enough about winding up with no money for college that I became a saver. I got my first p/t job at 15 and squirreled away my money. I knew what the tuition at the local community college was and had a rough idea about the cost of books. I had compared the costs for loans to live away from home vs. living at home for the first couple years and chose to stay. My grades were good, but not the best in high school, and my parents "made too much" to get pell grants (on a teacher and line cooks salary, imagine that). My parents let me live at home, eat their food, and drive their car (I paid for gas and upkeep). I worked full time during summers and part-time through the school year to pay for my school, books, clothes, computer, cell phone/plan, travel.. and once I transferred to the main university, I paid for housing, meal plan, flight. Once I got my BA, I paid a small rent as I went on to get my teaching credentials. I know it helped my parents out and I was happy to contribute. I can't even imagine how amazing it would have been to get a small bit of that back. He is super lucky you care about his financial health. Here's another link for folks with kids for help and discussion : https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/money-as-you-grow/
  13. Imua808

    403b Annuity Salesman Perspective

    Hawaii is having its Teacher Institute days cross the state this week. At our break out sessions, there was a pre-retirement workshop with folks from our retirement system to overview the how the state coordinates retirement; the NEA guys were running a "financial wellness" one that was to cover money mangement, debt control, credit scores and reports, identity theft, retirement planning, and discussion on types and features of different 403b; and the AXA guy was running his own separate session titled "how to maximize your retirement benefits" and his was about coordinating pension, social security, and 403b plan "for the best possible retirement". There were only a few vendors this year... couple of credit unions, the university... I don't think I've seen any other 403b vendors come.
  14. Imua808

    This Index Card Says It ALL

    When I opened the AXA account, it was with the idea that I was going to be saving to have something above the pension I was already contributing to. It wasn't a lot because I didn't understand exactly what it meant to contribute to an annuity, and when asked about my "risk aversion" I figured I was so-so. That's how I came up with 60/40. After finding this board and doing more reading about portfolios, etc. I took a look at what some portfolios looked like around the time I'm probably going to retire. I knew that Vanguard has that slide from aggressive to conservative, so I figured I'd just copy/approximate based on what was available from Security Benefit DI funds, and rebalance to copy as necessary.