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I'm finally getting a hold of my finances and have crawled out from under AXA and away from a fee-based adviser, thanks to the New York Times articles and 403bwise.  I do, however, have a question as I am moving forward.  I just completed a contract exchange from class A shares in American Funds to Aspire, where I have another 403b to which I currently contribute. I understand that my money transferred in will not be co-mingled with my current account.  Must I continue with the same American Funds under the Aspire platform? Or can I sell and purchase Vanguard funds, as I believe the fees are much lower.   If I must keep the American Funds, can I at least change the asset allocations?  Aspire referred me to their Class A shares expert, but I have not been able to get a hold of him yet.  

Thank you for your input.

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You should be able to manage your account at Aspire, which means exchanging the AF funds for Vanguard funds. I don't have first-hand experience with Aspire but expect you will be able to make changes online. I don't understand why you would need a "Class A shares expert" to sell them, maybe just to buy them? You paid the load when you bought the Class A shares (unless it was waived?). Give Aspire another call.

It's good to know that the NY Times articles helped you.

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I've interpreted what you've posted to mean that you previously owned American Funds mutual funds in an AXA 403b and you've essentially transferred those shares to an ASPire 403b.

I've never transferred one 403b account to another and I don't know exactly what you mean by "co-mingled". However, it is my expectation that the assets you now hold in the ASPire account will be indistinguishable from the assets you once held in the AXA account. So I would expect them to be "co-mingled".

Class A shares imply you paid a sales charge (aka a load) when you purchased them and that there won't be a sales charge to sell them. Based on my understanding of the self-directed ASPire program, you have total control. You can and should sell them and buy low cost, total market, index funds....and Vanguard is a great choice. I'm told ASPire has a web interface that lets you do this all on your own.

I'd be extremely wary of being referred to an "expert" because "experts" love to take money out of your pocket. You should be able to do this by yourself.

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I recently completed my transfer from AXA to Aspire, and it went very well. I liquidated all my accounts at AXA and transferred them to Aspire where they were invested according to the funds and percentages I had already chosen. I thought with Aspire if you wanted access to funds that have front loads etc., you have to have an advisor. I could be wrong. In my case, I left my guaranteed interest account at AXA, since I make 3%, so that threw off my asset allocation when the rest of the money was transferred over. In other words, I wanted my future allocation to remain what I set it at, but didn't want the transferred money to go into the bond funds since I kept what would have been my bond portion at AXA in the guaranteed interest account. I was able to go online, click on investments, then transfer and do it totally online. I really didn't want to keep any money at AXA, but 3% is hard to turn down. I will have to do my own rebalancing now, unfortunately.

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Congratulations! Doesn't it feel great?!

I too kept monies in my AXA guaranteed 3 % account for same reasons. In fact, for I was awaiting the last few months of the 12 year holding period (I was late in the 403bwise game:( I transferred all of my money into that account because I couldn't knowingly pay the Mortality etc fees. Eventually, I grew to not trust AXA and I suspected even the 3% account was costing me money so I transferred it all out and happily left them. I wasn't going to touch this money for 5-10 years so I was willing to move it out of the guaranteed account.

I understand your rationale.

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On 12/28/2017 at 11:30 PM, MoeMoney said:

Congratulations! Doesn't it feel great?!

I too kept monies in my AXA guaranteed 3 % account for same reasons. In fact, for I was awaiting the last few months of the 12 year holding period (I was late in the 403bwise game:( I transferred all of my money into that account because I couldn't knowingly pay the Mortality etc fees. Eventually, I grew to not trust AXA and I suspected even the 3% account was costing me money so I transferred it all out and happily left them. I wasn't going to touch this money for 5-10 years so I was willing to move it out of the guaranteed account.

I understand your rationale.

I'm looking forward to see how the guaranteed interest account grows. It's hard to figure out what you're getting when you are still contributing to the account. Math is not my strength! I have no intention of keeping the money there forever, but I'd like to squeeze something out of them that's in my favor at the moment. One reason the financial advisor at AXA gave me for staying with them is I was up 10.9% this year. My Vanguard account with the bond fund that caused a drag on the rest of my account was still up 15% total. It pains me to think how much I lost since I started this 403b 17 years ago. Oh well, better late than never. It does feel good to be free of them. I hope my fellow teachers at school take advantage of this new option. 

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