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Gina NY

choosing a 403b plan

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33 minutes ago, Gina NY said:

And I will be choosing my own investment choices with Aspire? No investment strategist/money manager?

Yes with Aspire you choose the funds you want. If that makes you uneasy, Vanguard has an excellent low-cost solution. First you have to decide on the stock to bond ratio you want. That is an individual decision and only you can decide that. Vanguard has a quiz you can take which can be useful. We can offer opinions based on years to retirement, your past investment experience, etc. 

Vanguard's solution is a series of Target Retirement funds. https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/target-retirement/#/

They are made up of 4 diversified low-cost index funds--Total Stock Mkt (all US stocks), Total Int'l Stock Mkt (all Int'l stocks), Total Bond Mkt (all US bond mkt), and Total Int'l Bond Mkt (Int'l bonds). Depending on the year you select, the series varies from very aggressive (90% stocks, 10% bonds) to very conservative (10% stocks, 90% bonds). You could choose a fund with the date of your expected retirement. It makes more sense to me to select a fund with your desired asset allocation, say 60/40?). But that's up to you. Target Retirement funds change their asset allocation over the years to become more conservative as retirement nears. 

Remember if you decide in a few years that you want to change the stock/bond ratio (either way), you can do so in your 403b or 457 accounts without any tax consequences or penalties. If you decide you want to invest in individual funds instead of a Target Retirement fund, no problem.  

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The reason I asked about the investment strategist is because the Aspire application asks whether or not I would use an adviser. I was confirming with you, what the best choice would be. That is the reason I was asking.  Also, it was suggested I choose specific funds within Aspire. Are they no longer a good choice? 

Honestly, I’m not sure what to do at this point. I was about to open an Aspire account because it seemed like everyone thought that was the best option for me and now vanguard is being suggested. All of this is very confusing. Quite honestly, I don’t even know what you mean by asset allocation. I have never understood any of this and all I’d really like to do is make a decision and be done with it. I asked what would be best when I first came into this forum because the Fidelity investor said I was paying high fees. Now I’m not sure which way to go. Oh boy!! 

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Gina,

We hope you do not feel overwhelmed but you are making the right choices! I am a female teacher from NY with OMNI and crappy choices too. I, like you, and countless others here took the bull by the horns. Once you find this forum, you can't help but make the right decision. Acting on them is a different matter. Congrats to you for following through. There are lots of hurdles to overcome, not the least is one's initial fear and confusion.

 

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I see two choices for you, based solely on how you sound. Continue with Aspire, Within Aspire you can a) self-direct and choose Vanguard stock and bond index funds (those are asset allocations) that total 100% of your dollar contribution amount. Or, b) choose an advisor that is on Aspire's list, for simplicity sake. They will help choose an asset allocation with you (though that is what this forum is doing too). 

The very last thing we'd want you to do (though I am not speaking for anybody) is to get too frustrated and walk away doing nothing or worse yet, continuing with the high-cost vendors and funds.

Message me if you want to chat further.

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I will look at the application again tomorrow and message you if I have any questions. You’re help, expertise and guidance is very much appreciated.

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Gina

We are on a merry-go-round

O.K Time Out/ Lets all stop offering any more advice me included. We are overwhelming Gina. I think we agreed and decided on what is best for Gina. Gina , I gave you specific steps to follow. Just follow these instructions below. You can do this!!

GINA

1. Call Aspire (866.634.5873)and ask for an application. They can usually e-mail it to you or they may direct you to it on their webpage. Mention your school district. They will help you fill it out Call them with questions

 

2. Fill it out. Where it asks for investment choice fill in Vanguard Target Retirement  2030 (VTHRX) 

 

3. Write in SELF Direct  next to the fund name  in big bold letters and also write in No advisor needed.

 

4. Sign it and either send it to them or give it to your person in charge of 403b paperwork at your school.

5. Request from your school paperwork to start monthly withdrawals. Write in how much you want taken out each month. Turn it in.

Thats it.

I think at this point we have helped you all we can to get started. You need to grab the bull by the horns and get it done. 

 
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Thank you! I was actually in the process of filling out the enrollment form. My questions stemmed from trying to fill it out today and trying not to mess it up. Then,  when a different company was mentioned I was questioning if I should continue with Aspire or stop filling it out. That’s when I started to panic a bit. What I’ll do is continue on tomorrow. I saved the form with all the info so I’ll finish it up tomorrow. 

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Gina

YOU can do this.WE here have great faith in you. Just relax and call Aspire if you need help.  Make copies of the form so If you do mess it up you will have extra copies. Read the directions carefully. Call them Aspire if you need help or don't understand a line request.

Tony

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Hi Tony,

when I fill out the form am I putting Vanguard Target Retirement  2030 (VTHRX) as 100% allocation percentage? Also, it says “must check the LW box to waive the sales charge as allowed by the fund family”. I called Aspire and the person helping me said I would know if I had to check that box. She did not know if I should check it or not. Would you know if I need to check it? If not, how would I found out? 

Thanks!

Gina

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Gina

Yes 100% allocation

fill in Vanguard Target Retirement 2030  for investment name  and  VTHRX for ticker symbol 

 

I don't think you need to check anything because there is no sales charge at Vanguard to waive. Please anyone correct me if I am wrong.

Gina make sure you write-Self Directed Account-NO ADVISOR NEEDED even if there is a box to check off. You want to make sure they see that!

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No problem. I am so happy for you . This is going to be a great learning experience for you and you will have a great low cost choice.

Later once this is set up and the account is open we can see about possibly transferring your funds from American into your new account.

 

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Congratulations

don't forget you still need to request a form from your school system to authorize automatic withdrawals from your paycheck.

 

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