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  2. Recent Article: Opinion: Trying to find the most tax-friendly place to retire? https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/retirement/opinion-trying-to-find-the-most-tax-friendly-place-to-retire/ar-BB1aw38S?ocid=msedgdhp Where's the best place for me to retire? https://www.marketwatch.com/graphics/best-place-to-retire/?mod=retirement
  3. You should use the 3 funds that Tony and Ed suggested: VTSAX Total Stock Mkt, this covers the complete US stock market, including that covered by 500 Index and Small Cap Index VTIAX Total Int’l Stock Mkt, this covers all international stock markets VBILX Intermediate term Bond Index, this is a good substitute for Vanguard's Total Bond Market Index funds. VBILX is 50% Treasury bonds and 50% corporate bonds. Have you decided your asset allocation yet? That's the ratio of stocks to bonds. Also what percent, if any, of your total stocks do you want in international stocks? OK on transferring your 2 annuity 403b balances to NEA Direct Invest account. Each of those companies will have their own transfer forms that will have to be submitted to Security Benefit and to your TPA. You are doing great, getting started on the process of getting a MUCH better 403b plan! We're sorry that it's as difficult as it is, but we've all been through the same frustrations. We're here to help you get through them as easily as possible. It takes patience. You will feel great when it's all done!
  4. I completed Steps #1 - 4. As for Step #2 (Salary Reduction Form). I am waiting on my HR person to let me know if I have a "plan number" Step #3 - I think you suggested I wait on completing the "incoming funds request" form until my Direct Invest account is set up. Step #4 - Completed the online DOCUSIGN and picked my Vanguard funds and their percentages. Again, I really appreciate yours and everyone's help. Its hard when I am teaching 6 classes a day and only a 25minute lunch. Its hard to just start filling out PDF forms, faxing, calling reps, calling HR , etc. You just dont have time. Its understandable why most people just dont go through all this because it can become overwhelming.
  5. Thanks Tony! I went through the Steps 1-4. Hopefully I did this correct. 🙂 Step #1 - Please review the Custodial Account Agreement (PDF) and Privacy Statement (PDF) Completed this. Step #2 - Next, you will need to print the Salary Reduction Agreement (PDF) and submit it to your school district's business office. Your school district may require additional paperwork to be completed I have this form completed except for the "plan number". I am waiting on my HR person to get back to me and see what I put here? Step #3 - Step 3: If you have assets with another provider, you may want to transfer them to your new account by completing an Incoming Funds Request and using one of the two options (mail or fax) to submit your document to Security Benefit. I have 2 other 403b companies (Voya Financial & National Life Group). I will wait until my account is set up with Security, start contributing and then submit paperwork to get these transferred over. Correct? Step #4 - Finally, complete the Account Application and use one of the three options (online, mail or fax) Complete the DOCUSIGN online and submitted this. Allocated my 100% Vanguard funds in: VFIAX VTIAX VTSAX VSMAX thanks! Curt
  6. mssucrat Please don't feel overwhelmed and I hope we are not contributing to your confusion. You can do this on your own. Send in the paperwork carefully and pick from the vanguard funds mentioned and you will all set. Tony
  7. follow these steps https://www.nearetirementprogram.com/enrollment
  8. You're probably better off NOT talking to anybody at Security Benefit. Even though NEA Direct Invest is an elite plan, Security Benefit is a predatory company. You can read about the hurdles I had to overcome when enrolling in NEA DirectInvest here. You can read the exact steps/paperwork I had to fill out here.
  9. Here’s my thoughts on setting up an account with Security Benefit's NEA Direct Invest: On Step 1, print the Custodial Account Agreement and study it and the Privacy Statement. Your district may have a “plan number” for Security Benefit’s NEA Direct Invest option, or they may use the number for other Security Benefit options. You’ll have to find out from your district’s TPA (Third Party Administrator). On Step 2, your district probably has their own Salary Reduction Statement that you will have to use. You will get it from your district’s TPA. I would wait before submitting this form until Security Benefit tells you your account is set up. On Step 3 on moving your AXA account to the NEA Direct Invest account, I would also wait until your account is set up and receiving contributions from you. The transfer will involve using AXA’s transfer form and usually takes several months. On Step 4, choose the method for submitting the Account Application to Security Benefit. If you don’t hear from them in about 2 weeks, call and find out if there’s a problem with your application. So Steps 1 and 4 are all you need to take care of for the time being.
  10. I'm not going to lie.....I am becoming overwhelmed. Called NEA and spoke to a rep. I was told to go here and start paperwork.....i am doing that. On Step 3, I am completing the "incoming funds request" form. On this form, I am getting to this section.... Provide Investment Direction. Please invest the funds (check one):  As indicated on my existing account and the allocations on file.  According to the investment allocations indicated below. Indicate whole percentages totaling 100%. Refer to the Fund Investment Options Sheet (Fund List) available online at www.SecurityBenefit.com on the Forms page. Indicate your investment preferences below using whole percentages totaling 100%. I am not sure where to find the "fund investment options sheet (fund list) sheet. I think it is the one I have attached. If so, I dont see any Vanguard allocation categories. Please assist me here. I am not even sure I am on the correct page. thanks Curt directInvest sheet.pdf
  11. Yes. It can be done entirely online, but Vanguard is happy to help over the phone too. This is what I would do. 1. Decide on an asset allocation that you can live with in good times and bad times. 2. Establish a Security Benefit NEA DirectInvest 403b account and begin funding it. 3. Rollover your IRA to the vendor of your choosing. Vanguard is great. 4. Decide on whether your want new IRA contributions to go to Roth or Traditional. 5. Direct whatever excess money you have to your 2020 IRA contribution limit. 6. If your old 403b plans are with your current employer, consider rolling them over to the NEA DirectInvest 403b. You'll have to learn about surrender fees and such, but I can't imagine this isn't a good idea. 7. If your old 403b plans are with an old employer, consider rolling them over to an IRA. You'll want to consider surrender fees and the fact that this makes doing a Backdoor Roth IRA less desirable (although that doesn't seem like an issue for you). I wouldn't have IRAs at two different vendors if I could avoid it. It isn't a problem financially/mathematically, but I just wouldn't want one extra bit of complexity that isn't giving me something in return.
  12. my replies are in red. Thanks a million so far. Curt
  13. https://www.nearetirementprogram.com/nea-directinvest Just want to make sure this is the correct page? Click "enroll now", fill out paperwork, call and they will take care of the rest? Sorry for the questions
  14. You're right, their plan is awful and you don't need to investigate further. Luckily for you Security Benefit's NEA DirectInvest 403b is an elite offering that's competitive with Fidelity and Vanguard. When I was with my ex, I enrolled her in that plan. I documented the plan here. You'll only be able to do that if you get your district to add Fidelity and/or Vanguard to the approved list of vendors. I was able to get Orange County (FL) to add both of those vendors and documented some of the steps I went through in my blog. I'd be happy to help you do the same. This process can take a long time so keep in mind that Security Benefit's NEA DirectInvest is still an elite plan and VERY much worth investing in. American funds are known for having large expense ratios and/or loads (i.e. sales fees that go to marketers). What you really need are total market (i.e. diversified) index funds at rock bottom expenses. You can achieve that with Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab, and a bunch of other vendors. If it were me, I'd move the IRA to my vendor of choice and make sure I maximize diversification while minimizing costs. You may want to read the Investing 101 page I wrote. You should feel that this is an important task to get taken care of. You should not feel time pressure. This is a "slow moving" problem so take your time, understand what you're doing, and get it done. The difference between getting this done tomorrow and getting this done in January isn't terribly significant. Just don't give yourself an excuse to procrastinate and you'll be fine. In my opinion, there is no such thing as making up for lost time. The past is done and you are where you are. That's it. If I were you I'd stick with the basics: Select an "asset allocation" (split between international stocks, domestic stocks, and bonds) such that if stocks drop by 50% your overall portfolio will drop to a level that prevents you from doing something foolish like selling stocks or withholding additional investments. You need to take on as much risk as possible such that you'll stick with the plan in bad times and maintain your sanity during drops that will happen. Minimize spending, which maximizes savings. Invest in total market index funds at rock bottom costs. Try your best to maximize tax advantaged accounts (IRA, 403b, 457b, etc.) before using a taxable account.
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  16. That 5k to 7k that you want to invest for your retirement can be used to fund a Roth IRA for 2020. You can have more than 1 Roth IRA account, so I would set one up with Vanguard. It can be empty until you put money in it. Then you can fund it and then get Vanguard to help you transfer the AF Roth IRA. On this webpage, click on “Enroll Now” to access the steps to get started on the NEA Direct Invest 403b. https://www.nearetirementprogram.com/nea-directinvest Let us know if you need help with NEA Direct Invest forms. Don't expect much help from Security Benefit. And none from NEA. NEA Direct Invest is a super-low-cost 403b plan but there's no hand-holding or advice with it.
  17. You have one very good option. NEA Direct Invest. Go to the Security Benefit homepage and look for the link. Then fill out the paper and pick the Vanguard funds it offers. The choices are enough for you to adequately diversify your account at rock bottom cost. Remember, its a direct option so you do not use an advisor. Pick your funds, send the paperwork in and you will be good to go. I would definitely transfer your IRA over to Vanguard and consider it as part of your overall allocation, not separately. Call Vanguard. They can help you directly. You will need to fill out some basic paperwork . They will do the rest. https://www.securitybenefit.com/individuals/product/nea-directinvest You can Pick Vanguard Total Index Fund, Vanguard Total International, Vanguard Intermediate Bond Index, , and you can add a little small cap index too if you wish. You will have to decide on the percentages you want in each fund and then once a year rebalance the portfolio. Hope this helps Tony P.S. Be very careful about soliciting any advice or help from a Security benefit rep or advisor. He/she may try to steer you away from this suggestion and into expensive funds. You must do this without advisor contact.
  18. Welcome, Curt. You are correct to avoid Equitable and most of the others. Ed La Fave, also based in Florida, has documented various great-to-decent options (including Planmember direct) here: https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/floridas-best-403b-457b-vendors/ If you poke around Ed's website you will probably find other useful info. I suspect Ed will jump in here when he sees your post: he'll be an outstanding resource for you.
  19. Just found this forum and I have learned a lot already. I will give a quick synopsis of my situation and hopefully not bore you. I would love any and all input/advice on what I should do going forward: age: 46 occupation: high school chemistry teacher 20 years retirement: in FRS (florida pension). When I retire in 10 years, I will get roughly $3,000/month (obviously more if I enter the DROP teacher program) 403b (VOYA - $14,000) and (National Life Group - $5,000) (havent contributed in quite some time) Roth IRA (American Funds - $13,000) (havent contributed in quite some time) Our County offers the following 403b Vendors: 403(b) AIG Retirement Services (VALIC) (800) 426-3753 Equitable (866) 294-3522 Horace Mann Insurance Company (800) 999-1030 Horace Mann Retirement Advantage (844) 895-0980 IPX_American Century Services, LLC (844) 788-3474 ext: 5 National Life Group (800) 579-2878 PlanMember Services (800) 874-6910 ReliaStar Life - Subsidiary of VOYA Financial (877) 882-5050 Security Benefit Group (800) 888-2461 I am currently speaking with an EQUITABLE (AXA) rep, but after doing some research, I am having 2nd thoughts about switching my 403b to Equitable. As a matter of fact, I know for sure I WILL NOT BE DOING THAT. I dont want an insurance company handling my investments. They are purely salesmen and I am not interested. So, I am looking to open up a 403b with either FIDELITY or VANGUARD. With that being said, our county doesnt have these companies as a vendor, so what is the best course of action to open up a Fidelity or Vanguard 403b? (call them or look for someone local that can help me with this process?) In regards to my ROTH IRA, should I leave it with American Funds or also switch those to either Fidelity or Vanguard? Sorry for the long post and questions, but my head is spinning with all this. Please take it easy on me as I am trying to learn and feel like I need to do urgently get this taken care of. I would like to be moderate-aggressive in my contributions to make up for some lost time so to speak. At this point ,what would you do? I also have around $5-7,000 as well to invest in my retirement. thanks! Curt
  20. Blemishes don't paint a whole picture either 😉 I used to have better links for comparing the tax burden between states... https://www.businessinsider.com/all-50-states-and-dc-ranked-from-least-to-most-taxed-2019-3 ^ creating something similar to that where you could punch in your income sources and see what you would pay would be cool. My property taxes are $3,500/yr alone... "Live in Washington, shop in Oregon" was a phrase I used to hear a lot in California from upcoming retirees. I know a few people who decided to move to Nevada for stretching their pension. Many folks I ran into during a Hawaii trip were former Californians.
  21. MN Gopher You are smart. You'll figure it out. I would stick it out and get the full benefit and in the meantime save every penny you can.
  22. Interesting to hear the perspectives from the retirees here. I'm in about the same position as Whyme (1-2 years away from retirement). I have considered going earlier but would take a big pension hit, so I think I'll wait it out until 2022. I'm glad I ramped up my savings in my 40's-early 50's, but wish I would have done more saving in my 30's.
  23. One thing I have learned is how different the West coast thinks compared to the East coast. Here on the East coast we see California as way over taxed without adequate return for taxpayers. Probably why we have red states and blue states and heading to a civil war LOL. My concern is not so much higher taxes but how the government doesn't always spend that money wisely then asks for more. In Virginia, the state actually had to borrow money against the state teacher fund years ago to make it through the great recession and then we get a letter saying our benefits might be reduced. It never happened luckily for me but new teachers now pay a portion of their salary into the system which lowered their income. I payed nothing for mine. I expect fiscal responsibility if you are going to make me pay more taxes. . Sorry statistics ,charts, and graphs and the partisan media never tell the whole story. As usual I said I would never comment further and I did.
  24. I'm trying to be less opinion-based by providing evidence from organizations. Misinformed speculation doesn't serve anyone. Being unaware of the actual bottom line impact(personal) and broader impact(society) of taxation also should be addressed. What's currently established is subject to change, so that does complicate long term planning. (lower taxes = smaller government = poorer pandemic response = the world we live in) How's that working out for you? How's that working out for everyone? For an individual, knowing how each of your retirement "buckets" are going to be treated by the IRS is important. https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveparrish/2019/09/10/the-secret-to-retirement-income-drawdowns/ In California, with CalPERS we have the option to meet with a rep to take a look at what our retirement income will look like (there are multiple options, survivor benefits, etc. which make it a complex thing to do solo.) Knowing what age to begin collecting from Social Security and your pension could be something to play with. Financial planners can run different monte carlo simulations to estimate what's best and incorporate investment accounts. This topic could be a great future 403bwise event.
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