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  1. sschullo


    OMG! When TIAA entered the k12 market back in 2002, they were ill-prepared and had no idea of the pushback they would receive. As a result, TIAA made dumb mistakes and paid a huge price. Higher education culture is TOTALLY different from our k12 culture. Our culture has this permanent and perverse relationship with TSA annuity agents everywhere, and with the unions. There has been some changes, but not nearly enough. 1. Before you came to this forum, the agents were contributing here frequently, and they were not afraid to express hatred to TIAA for years back in the early 2000s. 2. Another reason, when I requested that my union hear ONE presentation from TIAA to be in the "Union approved" list, my union pushed back big time (Hmm.., my union had already approved several insurance companies). My union thought I was a paid rep for TIAA so that I could benefit financially. Can you believe it?!!! A paid rep WOW! Those officers knew me and that I always supported the union, but this simple request brought vial hatred towards me and TIAA. I wrote a chapter in my book Fighting Powerful Interests about my experiences. Third reason. As we all know here, annuity agents everywhere else collect lucrative commissions and very high costs. But tiaa has never charged a commission in their 100-year history to my knowledge. It's in their mission statement. And their fees are still reasonable. As I have said over and over before, I had, and still have, a good experience with them through LAUSD 403b plan. TIAA and Pension2 on the 403b side are still good choices on my district list. They still have the same 403b choices I invested in from 2002-2008 with the same reasonable fees for an employer-sponsored tax-deferred retirement plan. Obviously, that's not to say that TIAA was a good choice everywhere, because it isn't. Tony, I have never heard of a $4000 charge to put them on your district list, for example. Nothing like that happened with my district when they signed on our 403b list back in 2002. On the other hand, Vanguard would NEVER sign on to my district's 403b. We have had different experiences and fortunately, my experience with TIAA was good.
  2. sschullo


    The annuity agents from all of the other insurance companies also hate TIAA. They love this discussion.
  3. sschullo


    I am surprised at TIAA too for doing this. I think it might be worth your time to write a letter or call your state insurance commissioners office and tell them what you have told us here. In the 20 years of reading and posting on three investment forums, the vast majority of TIAA complaints is when clients invested in the Traditional Annuity that returns a higher rate of return and they did not know it is frozen for seven years. I used them from 2002 through 2008 in a diversified portfolio using about 4 or 5 funds that you have (Bonds, equities, international). I was never pressured or talked into investing in more funds. But I was never interested in any professional's financial advice anyway years after getting ripped off by other insurance companies (not TIAA) in the 80s and early 90s. Very sorry that this has happened to you.
  4. sschullo


    SJP I am right behind you with 38 funds (1 cash account) and individual stocks I owned 18 years ago at the height of the tech bubble. What a disaster it developed two years later: We all make mistakes, but the point is to learn from them. Below is the prime result of what I painfully learned and what I now proudly own today. Last year, my portfolio earned 9.0%, not bad for a 70-year-old with .08% expenses.
  5. sschullo

    Switching vendors; need help!

    Hi Sophia, Most of us here were scammed by the likes of the monstrous annuity monopoly too, but we are lucky that we found out so we straighten ourselves out. If more teachers read the NY Times articles we would have this deplorable situation reformed throughout the country. As Ed said start with Fidelity. Call your district immediately and stop everything from going to AXA, and terminate that AXA adviser ASAP! He or she is going to ask you why and try and convince you to not do this! You might have to hang up. I am not kidding! Those people never give up, and are some of the most aggressive humans on the planet. With all of the news against annuities in retirement plans everywhere in the world but in public K12 school districts, its a wonder that any of them are still in business. Our colleagues continue to fall for the sales practice after years of bad media reports. The NY Times is about the 30th major newspaper article in the last 20 years, all saying the same thing. Keep your money about from tax-sheltered annuities (TSAs). But the sad news is that few teachers read these reports. BUT YOU DID!!!! :- ) How much do you know about constructing a diversified portfolio? If not, just to start you can choose a target retirement fund which is already balanced between stocks and bonds. After you know a little more, you can construct a Fidelity balanced portfolio on your own. Call Fidelity and tell them your situation, and find out what Fidelity funds are available for you. You might have to call your school district too. They might have the Fidelity choices online. Find out and post the Fidelity choices here. And we will help you get started. Welcome to this board! Steve
  6. sschullo


    And I have no emotion at my end, 😊. For your information SJP, TIAA is fine. I have a portion of my fixed account with them earning 3.0%, completly free to transfer, principal guenteed, and no loss of principal, and I have used them with my 403b. They have over a trillion in assets with mostly higher education. They have not done as good a job with k12 as they had planned. They made mistakes, and I was angry with them for a while because of a flawed pension study they funded. I still like them because they have low costs in my district's 403b plan. That's not to say that they are low costs for others. What are their costs to you? It all boils down to costs, diversification and access to the primary asset classes: Large, Mid, Small domestic stocks and international equities, and bonds. When not roll your money over to Vanguard? And construct the portfolio you want. That's what I did when I retired.
  7. sschullo

    CampFI conference report (Financial Independence)

    Great news, because of the interest of people here in Southern California, and the beauty and the climate of Joshua Tree National Park, the organizers are planning on a return trip to Joshua Tree Retreat Center in the fall of 2019. And does California need financial literacy! Here is an article from edsource about the deplorable condition of financial literacy for our students: https://edsource.org/2017/california-schools-get-an-f-in-financial-literacy-instruction/591954 . As I have mentioned before on this board, there is one excellent resource to train and provide free resources to teachers nationwide: https://www.ngpf.org/ created by Tim Ranzetta. We should support Tim's work because he wants to help us too. We need an influencer to reform the 403b and one way to reach teachers with our mission of educating them for retirement planning by teaching their students personal finance. It's one approach to integrate an important 21 Century skill with real-world applications into science and math standards.
  8. sschullo

    New NY state teacher 457b vs 403b

    Hi Duncan, The same people will respond to you here as you have already asked your great questions in the 403b forum. The primary difference: 457b plan you can roll over or take your money out without penalty when you retire. 403b you cannot touch your money until 59.5. But after 59.5 you can withdrawal your money and still be working in the 403b. In the 457b as long as you are working with the same employer that has your 457b plan, you cannot touch the money. There are hardship exceptions but in those cases, you will have to pay taxes. Here is more information, A LOT MORE! https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/111615/457-plans-and-403b-plans-comparison.asp Steve
  9. sschullo

    Don't Obsess Over Expense Ratios

    This has been discussed "obsessively" here: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=255849 Bottom line: don't sweat the small stuff. Sweat the bigger stuff such as rip-off 403(b) annuity commissions, surrender and mutual fund advisory fees, TPA costs and the newest angles, retainers and Assets Under Management, AUM.
  10. sschullo

    To indemnify or not?

    The Bogleheads have spoken, resign immediately. One Boglehead, "Beardsworth" summed my situation quite nicely: •There is a small, but non-zero, chance that you could be the object of a lawsuit, whether or not any such legal action could ever be considered justified. •The school system has made clear that, in the event of such a legal action, you're on your own. •On this specific point, the relationship between you and them therefore seems like a one-way street: They get whatever benefit they choose to absorb from your volunteer work, but they don't give any protection (and apparently not a lot of explicit respect, either) in return. •So the question is whether you are so committed to this particular kind of volunteerism that you're willing to take the chance, or whether the time has come for you to completely retire from involvement with this organization. Point number 4 is not quite accurate. I might resign from LAUSD but never from the movement as long as there is a need. This website, a few educators, friends and relatives of educators (who want to help), and some ethical FAs across the country are all that exists between the hideous 403b/TSA sales force and the next generation of naive teachers.
  11. sschullo

    CampFI conference report (Financial Independence)

    Thanks Dan. It was so inspiring to talk with these young people. I think our young teachers would benefit from this group, because our teachers have something that almost all in this group do not have, a PENSION! I only met one teacher who quit after three years. I am on the front row on the right, the old guy with grey hair, mouth open and the dark shirt and Georgiana is under my right arm and our own 403bwise.com "MoeMoney" is right behind us above my right arm.
  12. sschullo

    To indemnify or not?

    I posted this on Bogleheads too. Micheal, I know you can offer some assistance here. As some of you know, I serve on an advisory committee as a retired teacher and volunteer. This committee recommends to the CFO of our district with regards to the 457b plan. Our committee has mostly working employees and two retired members. We were told that the district will not indemnify retired members. The other member resigned immediately. I am not quitting. My umbrella insurance agent said that I was not liable because I am a volunteer, nonpaid, and most importantly, our committee has no power to make decisions. The CFO has that power. My agent also said that no liability insurance exists that would cover somebody in my position because I have no power. She said it like this: if I make a restaurant recommendation to a friend and the friend gets food poisoning, the restaurant owner is liable not me. Of course, anybody can be sued for anything and if my employer were sued and I was dragged into this, the judge would most likely dismiss me and the committee members. However, I would have to hire an attorney to make sure that happens, and that would be costly. I am attempting to get this in writing and find out why. The legal counsel said he didn't remember why the district is not covering retirees but he will find out. In the meantime, am I missing anything? Thanks in advance, Steve
  13. Yes, fees are a big deal, but investment fees have been low across the board for over a decade now. If people want to move money to Fidelity, that's fine. But to beat up on Vanguard because they charge a few basis points more than fidelity is ridiculous. Let's not forget the many fiduciary financial advisors charge 1.0% AUM or more. Now the AUM fee is a fee to be really obsessed about.
  14. Last weekend my girlfriend, Georgiana and I met MoeMoney at a financial conference held right next door to my neighborhood, Joshua Tree, CA. CampFI has been spreading quickly across the country for the last two years I have been following them. They were about 65 young people mostly 20 and 30 somethings who want financial independence. The word "retirement" does not exist in their vocabulary. We had presentations on starting your own business, social media marketing and building your wealth with passive income, real estate. Yep, real estate rentals is a big deal. Dan and I made most of our money through renting and owning RE. All of these young people understand 100% that they must live below their means to get to FI at a young age. I have already lived the FI life because that is all I did for my entire life is watch my pennies and saved, and later on invested in mutual funds and RE. Georgiana led two meditation workshops and the turnout for these morning meditations was phenomenal. One big question from them is what are they going to do once they reach FI? And they will easily become millionaires at age 35 or 40 years old. What do I do next? Meditation is a powerful mechanism that might provide some answers. Its the same with us older folks, what will we do once we retire at 60 something? Pictures here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1NOkjV86277GpVgPQLYmtibVX-HRafYcS I was excited to meet MoeMoney after knowing her for about 3 years here. We talked about the future of the 403b movement and while the situation may be stalled at the moment, nobody is giving up. There are new strategy possibilities in the pipeline. We will be having a series of meetings both here on the west and on the east coast to discuss new strategies, get focused, involved influencers, and look at all possibilities to reform the 403b. The biggest problem is that no fiduciary protection exists anywhere in the non-ERISA 403b with public PreK-12 school districts. The first one will be in Southern California. The next one will be in NYC. If you want more information about these meetings, send me a PM.