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Hi, I just went to a district sponsored meeting during our professional development days in Santa Barbara, California and now I'm super confused. The workshop was lead by a rep from Planmember Services, and when I brought up the fact that CalStrs Pension2 is a low-fee option for a 403b plan, he said it was an annuity, and that they charged M & E expenses in addition to fund expenses. (He had earlier indicated displeasure in general with annuities.) I wanted the other teachers in the room to know that Pension2 was a low-fee option, but he definitely seemed to downplay it, and cast it as an annuity that charged both insurance fees and fund fees. When I approached him after the meeting to say that I wasn't being charged M & E fees, he said that the administrative fees of .25 a year were essentially M & E fees, and that Voya was an insurance company, thus the product was an annuity, or at least, LIKE an annuity. I have my 403b Pension2 contributions mostly in Vanguard mutual funds with some bond and inflation-protected securities. I know other teachers have invested with this particular rep in Planmember services and they're being charged 1.75 to 2% a year in fees. Our district lets him run workshops and come to faculty meetings on a regular basis. What do I need to know, and what am I misinformed about? Do I indeed have an annuity, and is that something I should question? Would it be better for me to go straight to Vanguard instead of using Pension2 (they are on my district's list of vendors, as are most of the products I'm invested in). Thank you for your help.
Hi, I just joined, and really appreciate all the good advice and info here. I'm trying to become more savvy, so please bear with questions that seem very basic. After reading this forum, I got my district to offer Pension 2 and switched from Metlife in 2009. I've been very happy with TIAA/CREF, the TPA for Pension 2. They have offered me several lengthy consultations, helped me set up my portfolio to maximize my returns, and I love the website. My question is, what exactly will the change to ING mean for clients? If I wanted to stay with TIAA/CREF, could I? I dislike what I've read about ING's 403(b) plans, including an article linked on this website that said ING was peddling plans with high fees to teachers. I doubt that will be true for the Pension 2 offering, but still, ideologically it rubs me the wrong way. TIAA/CREF seems more responsible and fair to teachers. Thanks in advance for your thoughts, Maggie