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Everything posted by sschullo

  1. I hear you Tony. I am a first generation Italian and I learned about frugal living from my dairy farming parents as role models growing up on a small farm in Wisconsin. But I am also an American that was also influenced by those values too. As a young man, I lived in Los Angeles with all of those spending opportunities. If I earned a $100,000 at the time, I probably would have got into the rat race too. A $100,000 is a lot of money today for any young person but it was a tremendous amount 40 years ago when I was thirty and Vicky and her husband were about the same age. That's why they are so admired by today's young people who are fortunate to be earning a lot of money at a young age too and want to follow their footsteps of FINANCIAL FREEDOM! The temptation young high earners to spend must be tremendous! I did not have that experience at all. We are teachers! Sure I thought about it when I was young, heck, I wanted the sports cars, the fancy clothes, living a good life with dining at trendy restaurants and all that, but that's not what happened. Growing up on the farm made me accept my station in life, and I remember thinking that I will be a better older person than I was in my 20s, and that's exactly what happened! It is only because I made about minimum wage during my 20s and 30s, and in and out of school, finally earning my degree at 30 years old, and it was not until I got into teaching that I began to make a decent and steady income and able to save. BUT MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT I KEPT MY FRUGAL LIVING HABITS FOR THE REST OF MY WORKING LIFE and being happy with the slow increase in my wealth through the years. The FI movement is not just for high earners but for teachers too. We still have a huge benefit that they do not have, a pension. If a teacher just happened to start teaching at 22 and began saving in a low-cost equity-based growth investment (NOT ANNUITIES) right away, by the time they are 52, they would have 30 years pension benefit service and a lot of money saved in the 403b, they could be financially free too! 2 cents, Steve
  2. choosing a 403b plan

    Welcome! Good luck. Steve
  3. Worth pushing this up. I got Money magazine in the mail and Vicky's picture was on the front cover. It is well deserved! I read her book last year, and I love the fact that it was initially written by a couple, both her late hubby and Vicky, is refreshing, and now she has carried their message today. I think that a best selling personal finance book written by a woman is even more refreshing! And the Millenials love it because they want to be financially independent. The millennials reject the current rat race of borrow and spend culture, and they reject the so-called "fabulous" life of fake materialism and the overwhelming stress that goes with it. Nobody says, lives and writes it better the absolutely famous Mr. Money Mustache. They are not going down the route of excessive spending just because they can well afford it at a young age. I think they have a lot of guts and courage NOT to spend because they can afford the sports car, fabulous apartments or large homes. They decided to save and invest their money and instead live minimally because they want FINANCIAL FREEDOM (FI) by 40 years old or younger. They don't even call what they do as "Retirement Planning." The new buzz-word is FI. What courage to stand up against our borrow and spend culture! And Vicky Robin and her husband were very early adopters of the FI revolution! Steve
  4. Great resource for teaching Personal Finance

    Dustin, and all, Tim, the founder of Next Gen Personal Finance, wants to interview me for his podcast. I got the request last March and now after looking at his outstanding website and the brilliant resources he has created, I am not sure what he wants from me. As you know our focus is on 403(b) reform and educating teachers. But after asking Tim, he said that his audience are teachers who want to know if their 403(b) is a good deal. Well, as we know here, that's a simple answer and will not take much time at all to say that the 403(b) with K12 public school districts is the WORST retirement plan ever created because of blah, blah blah. We know why it's terrible. Steve
  5. 403(b) Choices

    Hi Krow36, Of course, you are not wrong. Nobody is wrong. You asked for feedback about the calculator. But so what if I think its too complicated because of the assumption that lurkers know ERs, front-end loads, and adviser fees. But that doesn't mean that you should stop inserting anything because of what I or anybody else said. I am certainly am not going to stop putting up more tables as I create them, and you should not stop putting up calculators. Two well-respected posters objected to the quarterly reports and the returns we made because it focused on short-term thinking (http://board.403bwise.com/topic/6795-q1-ytd-return/). I just think people need to understand how properly balanced full diversified low-cost portfolio work. It might help people not to get spooked when the market starts acting up like it had since the beginning of 2018. I am still going to keep posting the quarterly reports, the returns YTD, my costs and to show people that I have not changed a single investment just because the market is acting up. I have data going back 24 years because of the quarter by quarter returns which slowly turn into years and then decades. Look, we are all on the same mission, to get the attention of more of our public K12 colleagues to take another look at their hastily and aggressively sold commission laden plan: TSA or indexed annuity. Keep on posting krow36. You have improved the quality of the information on this forum big time. Steve
  6. 403(b) Choices

    Hi krow, Not sure why you have to explain your calculator to me, and that your calculator does more than my table. Well, yes, of course, the calculator does more! I simply created my table as another way to display costs, which we all know is purposely opaque, vague, complicated, and understated by most financial advisers. Our readers need all of the displays possible because most people do not fully comprehend the damage to the final nest egg of costs over many years. As Taylor at Bogleheads has famously said for 20 years, "There are many roads to Dublin." Have a great day, Steve
  7. 403(b) Choices

    There are many ways to show how devastating those high-cost funds can eat into your final nest egg. Below is a table I created that shows the HUGE differences in prices between a 1.95% vs. a low cost .35% on various sample portfolios. The differences in the table represent ONLY ONE YEAR! Over time these differences will be devastating.
  8. Unfortunately, even the fiduciary fee-only financial advisers can be expensive too, IF they charge 1.0% or more AUM, or an outrageous 5.0% retainer on small portfolios in the $100,000 range. Back in the days, it used to be fee-only and hourly, but in order for the financial advisers manage a business, they embraced the AUM which is actually more profitable than the commissions. I wonder why the insurance industry fights those new fiduciary standards when they could make more money, in my opinion. I wish for the days, if there was such a thing, that fiduciary financial advisers charge $300 - $500 per hour when you need them, like any other profession. I just paid $485 to file my state and federal taxes. Why can the personal finance advice industry offer a similar service? It seemed to start out that way but now has evolved to the AUM. I know its more complicated than a CPA's job with taxes or accounting. FA have to use an external custodian such as Ameritrade to place their clients' money in order to manage portfolios under their care. BTW I think .50 or .75% AUM is reasonable and 1.25% is outrageous, again, in my opinion.
  9. Thanks Tony! and so did 9 other people thought it was a good review too. I like reviewing books because it helps me retain the information, or as we say in education--comprehension. I especially those books that are self-published and or emphasizing the qualitative POV over than the quantitative. Both are important of course but the bookstores and Amazon are loaded with the quantitative POV. "Your Money or Your Life" was not self-published FYI but it emphasized what we all know here about changing thinking and a relationship with money. That's difficult in our powerful borrow and spend culture.
  10. 403(b) Choices

    I agree with Tony. You, krow36 have been a huge addition (and badly needed) to our tiny community. 4,000,000 highly educated educators at all levels of the public k12 education world and the same few people come here (and a few have spouses in education) and try to reform the horrific 403b world. Talk about an esoteric topic!
  11. choosing a 403b plan

    A 457 plan is very similar to a 403b with slightly different rules on when you can take out the money for retirement. When he or she wrote: "This will remove any obstacle or concerns members may have about retiring with limited time." Sounds like a "catch-up feature." Catch up is already allowed by the IRS you can shelter more than the max allowed if you are over 50, but offering an addition plan would increase it big time. You are allowed to participate in both and invest the max in each plan. I had two plans for the last couple of years at my district, but I never used the 457b because I could not afford to save using both the 457b plan and the 403b. In fact, I could not afford the max just in the 403b!
  12. I wrote a review of Robin's "Your Money or Your life" and it's Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R34XCX7436D7ZK/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0143115766 There is a revised editioned has just been released and I recommend this book. I read and reviewed an older version (1992) and the investment strategy was badly outdated and the primary reason why I gave it 4 stars. It's not just a book about saving and investing, it's about changing our addiction to borrowing and spending like drunken sailors, and getting more meaning from our work. Its full of great information but it will take several years of personal growth to reject consumerism and discovering activities that are more meaningful.
  13. Interesting read about the differences between 401(k) with fiduciary requirements vs 403(b) with higher education without 401(k) type fiduciary requirements. Here is my amateur explanation. I agree that the problem is not the 403(b) with higher education but the explanation contains too much legalize as it's for other plan sponsors not employees. I did see their bias because it IS so obvious. The manner in which Plan sponsor talks about the differences between the plans with regard to how fiduciary duties will be practiced in higher ed with a 401K type plan as the model is hilarious! The author turned it over to an attorney to explain. Also, ludacris, is that fiduciary duty is fiduciary duty is fiduciary duty no matter where employees and financial advisers meet. However, the legal system needs a genuine case that has a glaring and clear breach of fiduciary standards such the area that we are ALL FAMILIAR WITH: The hideous 403(b) with public k12 school districts! Not simply demanding a 401(k) type plan for higher ed because TIAA has been doing the right thing for 100 years. Give me a break. The plaintiffs are not going to get fiduciary requirements because the 403b world with higher ed already has it, such as choice, oversight committees, and low cost products. Lastly, higher ed TIAA annuities are appropriate products. Most but not all TIAA returns are similar to mutual funds. We know this problem all too well, for years. All other insurance carriers 403(b) annuities are not appropriate products. They are not genuine investments, but contracts with punishing low returns. The lure of never losing money is too much temptation for our k12 colleagues. The majority of the problem is that our colleagues have nobody they can trust to provide a 2nd opinion on the sales force. No teachers union or district official will touch the 403b and will never inform their employees both high cost and low cost, annuity contracts or custodial accounts with mutual fund companies are both available. Our colleagues also do not know that getting 4% or 5% for years and years is losing money to taxes and inflation. And of course annuities from the large regular insurance companies charge outrageous costs, are illiquid for years, punishing surrender costs, and the practice of aggressive sales to of index annuities for new teachers, and for older teachers who have several tens of thousand in an existing annuity are being told from agents to transfer to another annuity!!!!!!!!!!! WHY? because the agents get a big fat commission! Transferring from one annuity to another MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL! In the 401k world, any adviser will be subjected to breach of fiduciary duty big time. In our 403b world, these practices are everywhere on school campuses all over the country and the agents are protected by state insurance codes. I think any judge will raise their eyebrows at the glaring conflict of interests found in OUR 403(b) world.
  14. 403(b) Choices

    Kevin, Let's get to the point because your wife is getting ripped off, as others have already said: FIRE THIS SO-CALLED "ADVISER" NOW! Those commissions (loads) are absolutely hideous! He or she has plenty of others who he or she is bilking. IT'S A SHAME and this abuse will not stop for another generation of teachers.
  15. 403b Investment Advice

    Below is a table that includes what I actually pay for my all Vanguard and TIAA portfolio (Green) compared to higher expenses. The red column is probably the closest to a fee-only fiduciary who charges a 1.0% AUM and the .35% is for the investments he or she chooses for the client. All approximate estimates of course. I think the effect in DOLLARS over many years is more direct than the effect in percentages, although both displays are important. Fiduciaries are great but they are not cheap either. I suggest to hire them for a year or two, learn from them and then become a do it yourself manager and cuts those fees down to almost nothing and save even more over the years.
  16. NJ Teacher Fights for 403(b) Fee Disclosure

    This teacher did a thorough job researching the costs of his 403b VA of AXA. He calculates 2.39% what others have found, about 2.25% excessive and outrageous hidden costs in most annuity contracts. None of us here are surprised. But he indirectly tells us that he has not read any of the 30+ articles published in various newspapers around the country. Very happy he did this important work and found out himself, and he is doing something about it. I will be very interested in the bill he got his state rep to actually follow up! Wow! Imagine that here in California! The previous newspaper articles have all said the same thing over and over again for 20 years that the 403b world is loaded with conflicts of interest, has no plans for insurance agents to disclose costs, commission and will not become fiduciaries for another generation of teachers. But we press on and on...
  17. choosing a 403b plan

    I know about the 5.75% for years. 6% is a notch higher and thought it might some other mutual fund. They still charge 5.75%? I am surprised that with all of the lawsuits since the early 2000s, they have not lowered or eliminated the load.
  18. choosing a 403b plan

    Wow! What company charges 6%? Usually, in an employee-sponsored tax-deferred plan, those loads are waived.
  19. 403b Vendors Recommandation

    I am not allowed either to use CalPERS which is the California state employee pension plan, because I am a teacher too and I have a teachers pension plan, CalSTRS. So my teacher's plan has two great offerings, 457b and Pension 2. Now somewhere in Illinois, teachers have a pension plan. Call them.
  20. 403b Investment Advice

    Morning Purple Reigh, I cringe at the 80 bps. Depends on your allocation among equities and how much in % allocated to fixed in your 457b plan. Steve
  21. Carrots and Sticks

  22. Vanguard Struggles With Customer Service

    I did have a pretty big problem with Vanguard service about 15 years ago, at which time I wanted my VA compensation check deposited directly into one of the Roth accounts. It took six months to get it working! Yeah, I could have raised a shit storm here or on Bogleheads. I might have mentioned it here, but I don't take that stuff personally because I knew it was going to happen. I also realized that if one wants top of the line personal service, HECK go to Goldman Sachs or any of the full retail firms. Yeah, you will get EXCELLENT service but at a huge price, but beware of the financial advice will be mixed with sales and commissioned products. In the end, you get excellent service but the bottom line is that these firms are rip-offs in so many other ways. I knew that this might happen with Vanguard because I did not want to pay for services I don't need. Also, both the VA and Vanguard were upgrading their systems at the time of my request. It got worked out eventually and I was fine (remember this is back in the dark ages when digital transfers were just starting).
  23. Vanguard Struggles With Customer Service

    Oh god, here we go. He needed more clicks on his radio show or website is my guess. My love for Clark Howard is now "seriously tested." And then there was a recall on my Tesla, and the media made it sound like Western Civilization was coming to an end. Coincidently, I had my car in the shop the other day for a routine check-up and they did not have the part. It was not a big deal anyway. Did I feel like my love for the Tesla is now seriously tested because of THAT! Geeze. Vanguard is going to be fine. If it isn't then we choose another company, but nobody has come up with one yet that compares with Vanguard. I am not moving my funds to Fidelity Spartan funds for a long time, if ever.
  24. School District Third Party Fees?

    You are lucky to get your union president fired up about this. Way, way back in the day, when my union president heard I wanted TIAA on the union's approved 403b (Union approved, not the district's available list) list he tried to ban me from coming to meetings, and later on, his VP was convinced I was a "paid rep" and that I was going to personally benefit because "my company TIAA" would get more contributions. A PAID REP! I KID YOU NOT! Since I was not running for anything and I didn't want any kind of favors from the union except to allow TIAA to make a presentation at the very least, I thought the entire matter was hilarious. They never let TIAA make a presentation because the other TSA vendors blew a head gasket when TIAA signed on to the district to be available on the 403b. They hated TIAA for good reason. Anyway this stuff happened way back in 2000s, and some things have changed. Good luck, Steve
  25. Potential crash?

    Yeah! besides shorting, there are these terrible strategies: individual stocks, options, puts and calls, timing, hedging, momentum investing, active management in all of its forms outside of Vanguard, buying low and selling high, trading frequently are all so "EXCITING." As Nobel prize-winning economist, Paul Samuelson said, "Investing should be dull, investing should be more like watching paint dry or grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Vegas." I have a slight disagreement with Paul on that $800. My girlfriend and I are driving to Vegas to see U2 and Bono on Friday evening and Elton John on Saturday evening in one weekend next month. Neither one of us gambles. Watching these shows are a lot more fun and exciting than watching $800 get sucked up by the tables or the slot machines. The great Paul Samuelson was making a valuable point, but he used the wrong example. I think I have a better example, if you want genuine excitement, see a show. It's sad when I go to a casino to see a show, and I many old people with canes, wheelchairs, and even walkers, sitting at slot machines.