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Hi, I am a 27 year old teacher in Missouri whose district's 403(b)/457 options are provided only by FTJ FundChoice. I've attempted to parse through all the documents, understanding the layers of providers, RIA's, fees, etc... It's been a rabbit hole! In short, here are some things I *think* I've found out: My District's plan guy (perhaps IRS Coordinator? not sure) has a title of "Investment Advisor Representative". His business card says "Forrest T. Jones & Company" researching him online, he is apparently with National Pension & Group Consultants Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri. Not sure what that means. He informed me that his fees are: $25/year for the account .95%/year AUM Fee Two Options - Self Directed or Outsourced. Self Directed - all done in FTJ FundChoice Website called, 'portfoliologin'. It is built on Orion Architecture. In addition, FTJ FundChoice uses TD Ameritrade Trust Company for the purchase and sale of securities. Not sure exactly why Orion's 'interface' is needed, especially if trades go through TD Ameritrade... Vanguard is available. Admiral Shares. Outsourced - This is where things get interesting. I initially brushed this aside, as I was planning to go all Vanguard and be done. However, I did not realize that the option of DFA access might be available. I am especially irked by the .95% AUM fee, especially that it seems all my 'investment manager' does is sign me up and let me decide to have another company allocate my money, or have me do it myself. I'm not exactly sure how or why this is the case, but knowing that FTJ is built on Orion's web interface, which in turn uses TD Ameritrade Trust Co to actually enact trades... I feel like the layers of fees are just egregious, and I do not understand to whom every basis point is going. I guess I just took the .95% at face value, since that's our only provider. Three 'strategist spectrums': Strategic, Tactical, and Diversifiers Strategic - Loring Ward & PGR Solutions available. Loring is an additional 0 pb, PGR is 10. Both offer acccess to DFA Funds. So, after all of this: my only concern is that both Loring & PGR (I think) offer comprehensive portfolio solutions; I seek to create an 'all value' portfolio, preferring to invest in VTSAX/VTIAX in my Roth IRA at Vanguard. Knowing that I have a well-diversified pension (14.5% employee contribution), I know I can take the volatility that the all-value/small/emerging markets portfolio would afford. I tried contacting FTJ themselves about DFA Access, and they seemed unsure, claiming that my 'advisor' (Mr. .95%) might have to 'request access' himself. If this is the case, then maybe I will be able to create my own custom allocation... still unsure here. Anyways, I just wanted to get some thoughts. This is my first foray into the 403b/457 world, and I want to take advantage of my age, low fees, and the academic research as best as possible. If I had known day 1 that there 'might' be a DFA option, I might have chosen to do that instead of self-direct and choose Vanguard funds... TLDR; navigating these is a PITA, looking to offset the .95% management fee via beta, and figure out if I have DFA access/to what extent I can customize. Linked is a .pdf of the handout the advisor gave me when I signed up for my plan. Took me a while to find it, but its the exact same as my worn, pocopied copy... FTJ_ProgramDescription2015-07.pdf
Hi everyone, I haven't posted in a while (though you can consider me inspired by tony's encouragement earlier this week...). My question has to do with whether or not to consider a ROTH 403b. My wife and I just began our 403b contributions back in September, and we both plan to work at least another 21 years in public education (when I'll have 30 years in the NH Retirement System and she will have 26 or so). Not a lot of money in these accounts yet (about 2k in each). My wife's 403b is with ASPIRE, and her district matches up to 3% (unheard of, I know!). I have a 403b with Vanguard currently. I was just looking over the OMNI options for my district this morning, and noticed several ROTH 403b options (one of which is ASPIRE, who offers a ROTH 403b and a ROTH 457). I hadn't considered this back in the fall, mostly because I didn't understand ROTH very well. Now it has me thinking. When we retire, the money we take out of her 403b will be taxed. Would it be best for me to stick with my current arrangement, or go the ROTH route? ASPIRE's fees are higher than Vanguard (though I do currently pay OMNI $3/month just to use Vanguard...), but is it possible that having untaxed withdrawals later in life would actually save us money? Is it even possible to move from a 403b into a ROTH 403b (or 457 for that matter)? I don't necessarily feel the need to switch (it's not like I am locked into a predatory AXA plan or anything), but - if it would be smart to do so - switching sooner rather than later would be ideal. Thanks for any help you can offer! -Erich
TracyC13 posted a topic in 403(b) ForumYesterday, I learned that one of our district's 403(b) vendors -- PlanMember Services -- offers teachers a "direct" investment option in addition to their "advisor" accounts. This "direct" plan appears on its face to be the best option on our district's list of high-fee insurance company vendors. According to the PlanMember website & the customer service rep with whom I spoke, I could invest directly into Vanguard funds -- no mutual fund wrappers, no sub-accounts, no nonsense (seemingly). PlanMember Direct lists funds with tickers & it seems straightforward on its face. Your 403(b) contributions go right into self-directed investments -- You get no advice (which is fine by me) & never have to talk to anyone on their sales force. With the "Direct" account, a participant pays Vanguard's internal fund expense, and the only fee collected by PlanMember (according to their site & rep) is a .35% annual asset-based service fee. Of course we'd love to have Vanguard (or TIAA-CREF or anyone reasonable) added to our district's Vendor List, and several of us are still lobbying for this, but it is taking forever to get our district's Benefits Office to review our list of vendors. In the meantime, does anyone know anything about this "Direct" PlanMember Services Program? Are there hidden fees other than the .35% annual service fee? I have read in this forum that this company's advisor-based 403(b) accounts are ridiculously expensive, and so sadly, I just don't have any confidence in the good folks at PlanMember to tell me the truth about their "direct" plan. Thanks so much to anyone who may have any insight into or experience with this plan. Tracy in Wichita, Kansas