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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 all, Thanks for all the helpful information on this website - it's been a godsend. Based on a lot of my research, I decided to cease contributions to the AXA Equitable 403b plan that my school district offers and shift into the Massachusetts state 457 plan ("SMART Plan"), which has much lower fees. I've been trying to figure out if I am allowed to roll over AXA funds into the 457 plan, and it seems as though this is not possible until I turn 59.5 or leave my current job. I was wondering what suggestions you all had in terms of next steps for the money that is in that account (I've been contributing for the past five years to the 403b) - I'm happy to pay surrender fees if it gets me into a better investment vehicle, but I don't even know if that's possible. Are there specific funds or AXA plans that are "least crappy"? Or general advice for what to do with money that's already in a bad 403(b)? My school only offers plans from AXA and Lincoln Financial, so there's not a "good" 403b option within my employer to transfer to (Vanguard, Aspire, etc.).
Good afternoon, I recently stumbled across the "Teach and Retire Rich" podcast and the NYT article on 403B accounts, which lead to me to this website and what seems like a wonderful and helpful community of people. I also became a father in June, which has made me want to take stock of my family's overall finances a bit more with a unified plan. I am not sure if this is the appropriate forum for my questions, but any advice, guidance, or tips would be greatly appreciated, as I get the sense from the podcast that many educators are grappling with the same issues. Like so many others on here have likely experienced, when I started teaching nine years ago at age 21, I signed up for a 403b account through a representative who showed up at my school without really understanding fees or the long-term financial implications; I heard retirement savings and thought it sounded responsible, so I just did it. In going back and assessing it now, I am hoping for help with 3 questions: 1) If I want to get out of the annuity products / company I am with, what is the best way to do so? I am currently signed up for the MetLife Financial Freedom Select, with a large portion of each contribution going toward a fixed income account. There is currently about $22,000 in the account, and I am not sure what the tax / fee penalties would be to switching a different provider and away from an annuity structure. My wife works for a hospital system and also has a 403b with an employer match, so we max that out; my plan is a supplement to that plan. I also am part of the NJ state pension system at the Tier 2 level. 2) Of the list of providers my school contracts with, does anyone have experience with them or recommendations as to which are best / low fee? Here is the list provided by my payroll department: 403(b) Company Name VALIC AXA Equitable Lincoln Life Met Life Security Benefit Lincoln Investment Planning USAA 403(b)(7) Company Name Aspire 403(b) (formerly 403 ASP) Security Benefit/NEA Valuebuilder AXA Equitable/Pen Serve Lincoln Investment Planning 457(b) Company Name AXA Equitable 3) Is it a good idea to pay for the advice / services of a NAPFA fiduciary in my area? I like researching things myself; however, I feel it may be wise to pay a professional for an initial assessment as I change 403b's and look into setting up a college fund for my daughter and potentially a Roth account. Does anyone have any experience using a CFP as a fiduciary or a recommendation of a good one in the central NJ area? I know there is a lot of information in here, but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and this seemed like a helpful forum, so I figured it was worth a s. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read / respond. - Nick