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New To 403B - Anybody Have Feedback On These Vendors

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I'm trying to research for my wife but find this very overwhelming as I'm used to the 401K for myself. Does anybody have positive or negative feedback on any of these vendors? My wife has other investments with Valic and is leaning towards them. Not sure if it matters but we are in Illinois.


American Financial Services, Inc.

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company

Great American Insurance Group

Horace Mann Life Ins. Co.

Lincoln Investment Planning

Roth - Horrace Mann Life Ins. Co.

Roth - Valic

Security Benefit


Waddell & Reed Inc. - 457




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Security Benefit has a 403b plan called Direct Invest. It's internet based and bypasses the reps. Direct Invest offers about 30 funds from various providers, most of which have ER’s of about 0.50 to 1.00% and are managed funds. Among the 30 funds are 8 Vanguard Admiral class index funds. The complete list of funds available in the Direct Invest 403b are found at “Product Performance”. http://www.nearetire...enrollment/cc0q

The 8 Admiral class Vanguard funds:
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ER 0.05%
Vanguard Total International Stock Index ER 0.14%
Vanguard Intermediate Term Bond Index ER 0.10%

Vanguard 500 Index ER 0.05%
Vanguard Growth Index ER 0.09%
Vanguard Mid Cap Index ER 0.09%
Vanguard Small Cap Index ER 0.09%
Vanguard REIT Index ER 0.12%

There is a 12b-1 fee of 0.01%, which is included in the ER’s.

The fees listed in the Custodial Agreement" are reasonable:
An annual fee of $35 for accounts of less than $50,000.
A annual fee of $30 if the employee revokes their agreement to receive all communications by mail instead of electronically.
A $25 withdrawal fee for any withdrawal not requested through the employee’s online account.

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I highly recommend Security Benefit's DirectInvest option. My wife and I are enrolled in it and we love it. I don't have personal experience with Lincoln, but my unreliable memory is telling me it is more expensive than Security Benefit's DirectInvest.


I documented the plan here.

I explained how to enroll in the plan here.


The enrollment instructions have some OCPS (FL) specific information but the rest should be relevant to you.


...I don't know this for a fact but I believe the 0.01% 12b-1 fee is included in the ERs. I believe this because the ER for VTSAX is 0.04% but using Security Benefit's DirectInvest it is listed at 0.05%. This was too small of a fee for me to dive in and really research.

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The Lincoln Investment DIY plan is available in NJ and in some parts of Illinois. If the school district offers a 457 and Lincoln Investment is on their 457 list, it would be worth checking out. There are both traditional and Roth 403b and 457 plans. She can contribute 18k to both her 403b and to a 457. The SB Direct 403b plan fees are a bit less expensive than the Lincoln Investment DIY fees (It's actually called Lincoln Retirement SOLUTIONS Participant-Directed Plan, which I can never remember.)


Ed I agree that the 0.01% 12b-1 fee is included in the funds' ER. I think that's always the case. I need to edit that post.

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