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  2. ED its a nice comparison between Aspire and Direct Invest. Now do a comparison in fees between Chris's friend's Franklin Funds and Aspire. That will show the massive improvement her portfolio would experience in going with Aspire If she would go the target route. Just sayin. We don't really disagree. You know what you are talking about. I just believe one size does not fit all. And believe some minor fees offer value for the investor who may not feel comfortable with self management. Plenty of studies show folks often mess with their portfolios when they should just leave it alone. A target fund is a great invention for hands off folks. But we've had this discussion before.
  3. In my view, the purpose of an emergency fund is to guarantee (within reason) that you'll always be able to cover unplanned expenses. Driven by that goal, this is what I did: When I first started out, I barely had enough money to cover an emergency. Therefore, I kept my money in a high yield savings account. As I saved more, I definitely had enough money to cover an emergency but if I lost half that money in the market then I'd be in trouble. Therefore, I kept money in a high yield savings account. Now that I have more than enough money to go through a cataclysmic market crash and still handle an emergency...well, I keep everything invested. I will never voluntarily put money into an asset class that has a low expected/guaranteed return. I just won't ever do it. Some people will cling to fear. They'll talk about the pain and suffering of selling stock for an emergency at a market "low". Well how reasonable is this fear? I invested my 10k emergency fund in 2010 and that block of money is now worth 36k. Had I let it grow at 2% for that time (a very generous interest rate that wasn't attainable for each of those years) then I'd only have 12k. As you can see, even in this supposedly doomsday scenario of a 50% market drop, my stock emergency fund is still worth 6k more than the savings account emergency fund. Aside from fear, this is just another example of how "mental accounting" hurts you. Money is fungible and when people start to mentally put chunks of money into "boxes" for specific purposes, they often make mathematically inferior decisions. Still, whatever helps somebody sleep at night, good for them. As a general rule of thumb, I put my asset class with the highest expected returns in my Roth account. In practice this means I will never hold bonds in my Roth account. So the question becomes, should I put domestic stock or international stock in the roth? I don't know. I was too lazy to do the research to see if US stocks have a higher expected return or not. I know for sure that International stocks have lagged US stocks for well over a decade now. I also know international stocks have much lower P/E ratio, which would normally indicate higher returns in the coming years. So who knows? Ultimately, I decided to keep international stock in my taxable account because doing so gives you a tax credit. Unfortunately international funds are also less tax efficient than domestic funds so I'm not even sure if that pays off. But, since I made that decision, I put domestic stock in my Roth. ...I think the main take away for you is, just make sure bonds aren't in your Roth account. If you want your Roth to be all domestic, all international, or a mix...you'll be fine. Just pick something and stick with it.
  4. Thank you Ed and everyone else. Update: I've opened a Vanguard 403(b) and filled out paperwork to redirect my contributions there (away from Invesco) and to rollover the Invesco funds (I had only been contributing for about 2.5 years). I have an additional question at the moment if you are able to chime in. I have emergency funds (6-months of normal expenses; I decided on 6 months as I'm single with no other income sources) that have just been sitting in a low yield savings account. I have now moved those savings to a higher yield savings account and would like to take some of that money to fully fund a ROTH IRA. I plan to replenish my 6-month emergency fund throughout the year and once replenished, again take some of it and fund the Roth account (and on and on). It makes sense in my head, but how does this sound to you? Related to this, after reading your posts I also understand that since the Roth account will grow and all distributions will be tax-free, the best thing to do to take advantage of rules is to use funds that would normally have the greatest tax liability. So should I allocate the Roth account with Vanguard Total Stock and/or Total International Stock, or would you recommend something else since this is what is part of my 403(b) account (along with Total bonds)? Thank you for any advice you can provide. PS: I'm in the 403bwise Facebook group but decided to post my question here to "follow up/update" on my earlier posts. Are you all on the FB page and would it be more convenient/helpful to post any future questions on there?
  5. I enrolled my ex-wife in this plan around March of 2017 and we haven't noticed any other fees (trust me, we've been looking for them). I'm feeling too lazy to dig into this right now, but there might be a 0.01% 12b-1 fee added on top of each fund. I have a vague memory of this being the case, but I couldn't find it in 15 seconds of looking so I gave up. Honestly, that's how I feel about every product or service I buy. You're right to be paranoid/untrusting when it comes to anything in the financial industry so I'd like to encourage that instinct. In this case the incompetence you're seeing is likely because: 1. The customer reps are poorly paid and unskilled. 2. The customer reps are likely only trained on the products that generate revenue for Security Benefit. Please push for Fidelity and Vanguard. The ease of enrollment there will result in more people signing up. It's okay that we have different views on this, but I do acknowledge the reality that some people will want to pay in order to not rebalance themselves. I just want people to make an educated decision on what that convenience is worth to them. In this case it'll cost an extra 0.29% to buy a single fund-of-funds at Aspire than it will cost to buy the three fund portfolio at NEA DirectInvest. Let's assume 6% annual returns and 3% inflation. After 1 year that extra fee will consume 10.7% of inflation adjusted profits. After 30 years that fee will consume 14.25% of inflation adjusted profits. Rebalancing takes maybe 30 minutes per year. It's a personal decision whether or not that convenience is worth it.
  6. Chris the maintenance fees are not a big deal. Expense ratios are the most draining on your assets over the long term. One time fees and ongoing fees are a different kind of fee that most companies will charge . Also unless something has changed, I thought the Vanguard fee disappeared after you reach a certain assets level. But since Newport manages the 403b universe for Vanguard that may have changed again. I've dealt with Newport and I must say they were not very competent. That was a few years ago as they first came on board so maybe now they've got it all together. But having NEA Direct and Aspire is better than anything else in your choices so things really aren't so bad for you guys if you know what you are doing.
  7. Believe me , If Ed says it's so than it must be true because he is the low fee expert around here. I nudge him at times for being so adamant for finding the absolute lowest fee possible but he knows what he is doing. It probably is the best choice available to you. However if your friend has no interest in managing her account and her interest in investing issues is low, I would still recommend a Vanguard Target Fund for her through Aspire or a target directly through Vanguard or Fidelity. Also I just read that Jeb just confirmed it as well
  8. That is cheaper than the pricing that I was quoted from Vanguard. Of course with NEA Direct Invest you don't have access to all the Vanguard funds, but you don't really need all of them. This is what I have found in my research on pricing. Please correct me if anyone has found out something different. Fidelity: $24 annual maintenance fee $24 fee that goes to the TPA Plus the mutual fund expense ratio Vanguard: $60 per year for the record keeping fee. Vanguard now uses newport group for their record keeping. (I'm assuming the TPA fee is included in this price) Plus the mutual fund expense ratio NEA Direct Invest: $35 Administration fee on balances less than 50k, no fee above 50K Plus the mutual fund expense ratio
  9. I’ve been using DirectInvest for 2 years now and can confirm these are the fees. In addition, if your account balance is over $50,000, the $35 admin fee is waived
  10. Thanks Tony. I'll try the SS# also if she wants to do that. I'm going to show her the fees associated with NEA and Aspire and then what penalties she would have if she withdrew completely. I'm just trying to show her all her options and let her decide. She has contributed so little she would only pay a few hundred dollars with the 10% penalty and taxes. It's her call. I will say it is difficult for me to believe that the only fees with NEA Direct invest are $35 admin fee per year and the Mutual fund expense ratio. Are you all sure there are no other fees? Another concern I have is investing with a company that seems to be so incompetent when I call them and they can't give me any answers. All the more reason for us to keep pressing for Fidelity and Vanguard.
  11. Hi Junkins, Your tip about asking for SB rep who knows about the DirectInvest was very refreshing news. Congrats! Steve
  12. Check if your friend's social security number might be her plan number. that might explain why everyone is in the dark. Take a look at a post today by Mr. Jenkins on a different thread; Hi all, the journey is complete. The first contribution arrive in my wife’s Security Benefit account yesterday. Very thankful to the forum and members that helped out.
  13. Hi all, the journey is complete. The first contribution arrive in my wife’s Security Benefit account yesterday. Very thankful to the forum and members that helped out.
  14. Chris I'm not sure she can do this 403b-to IRA transfer until she leaves her employment or reaches a certain age without incurring serious IRS penalties as you mention . Not worth it in my opinion but if we are talking minimal contributions it might not be a big deal. Still she can however transfer it over to NEA Direct Invest or Aspire once the account is established which is a better idea IMHO. Why throw money away? I think it will be hard to add Vanguard directlyi but keep trying. You might have better luck with Fidelity. If you can educate your central office people to truly understand what the 403b cesspool is doing to teachers, you might have some luck changing things. Having said that Aspire and NEA are your way around the other bad choices. Both are superior to the other choices. Unfortunately most teachers will continue to succumb to the commissioned salespeople. A better option might be educating more teachers and staff so they ask for change in larger numbers than just you. There is power in numbers. Another thing is the amount of saving . My experiences with many teachers during my career is that many don't contribute much. For a supplementary retirement plan like a 403b, it will hardly do teachers much good to add better choices if they don't take better advantage of the lower fees by investing more than they do on average. Good luck in your endeavors and hope to hear how things pan out for you, your friend, and your fellow employees. It sounds like to me that if there were more Chris C's in your district, things would change quicker.
  15. I will. I am doing this for a friend so they would have to agree to it, but I am still going to try and get the plan ID even if my friend decides against NEA Direct Invest. My coworker has not contributed very much at all thank goodness, so she may just pay the penalty and put it into a Roth IRA instead. I am also working to try and get our district to change our TPA so that we can invest directly with Fidelity and Vanguard, but that process is moving very slowly and I may never convince them unfortunately. I'll write more about that saga in another post.
  16. so why not just send in the paperwork without it and see what happens? What am i missing? If noone knows what it is maybe you can proceed without it. This is very strange and smells fishy. I guess incompetence is a possibility but that info should be accessible and available by any of these folks because that is what an ID is for, IDENTIFICATION. Shouldn't all this info be accessible to all parties involved? Keep us informed.
  17. The TPA representative didn't even know what a plan ID was. They tried to give me the school district's tax ID number. When I called Security Benefit they tried to look it up by the school district name. I am going to try again after the weekend. Hopefully I will get different people on the phone.
  18. Last week
  19. ChrisC, when you talked to Security Benefit, did you ask for the plan number for NEA Direct Invest, or for Security Benefit? If the former, maybe there is not a number for NEA DI, only for SB?? Likewise, the TPA doesn't have a plan number for NEA DI, only for SB? Maybe each vendor on the list has only one plan number. Of course if the above is correct, it probably means that either SB is being intentionally obtuse, or their phone reps are just incompetent. The plan ID number problem has been reported by other posters. I just checked the TPA website for my old district, and there is only a single plan # for each vendor, NOT a # for each plan of each vendor. https://www.ncompliance.com/guest_employervendors.aspx?EmployerID=64
  20. krow36


    WA teachers are fortunate to have the WA state-run 457! Only about half the states make such a plan available to teachers. Of course in addition, your district may have a low-cost 403b plan you can use. Some 403b plans (Vanguard and Fidelity) are even lower-cost than the WA state 457. Using both plans can be very useful for two income couples.
  21. mHolt


    Listening to your 457 over 403b podcast. I am a WA state teacher. I contribute to 457. It is likely more "popular" than 403b for WA teachers, as the 457 is an option picked up by the state Department of Retirement Systems.
  22. https://www.nearetirementprogram.com/nea-directinvest
  23. Bypass the school district . They don't know their butt from a hole in the ground in these matters Just go to the security benefit webpage and look for the Direct Invest form , fill it out accurately and completely with signatures as requested and send it in. Also freeze contributions to any investments you currently have. At a later date you can transfer it over to your preferred company and fund. As we are all aware Security Benefit or even your TPA doesn't want that option to become popular for obvious reasons. Your TPA knows the plan number.. Send the form in even if you can't get a plan number and refer a copy to the TPA. If you don't hear back in a few weeks start calling the security benefit toll free lines and demand their follow through. The squeaky wheel gets the grease but I hope you won't have to do all that. I may be cynical but I think the NEA direct invest option is loathed and delay tactics might be used so you will eventually give up from frustration and succumb to a commissioned advisor who can then cleverly move you to a different but still inappropriately expensive plan. I've seen this all happen to me and others. If you negotiate from a point of power and knowledge you will win. These outfits prey on the uninformed.
  24. Chris Let me offer you my perspective. (Again) 1. Since you have NEA direct invest and you or your friend are o.k with a basic portfolio than it's in your best choice in regard to fees. But options are limited. One size does not always fit all. 2. Even though Aspire has a few low extra costs you can self direct into any fund you want. So if Fidelity zero expense ratio index fund or its other low cost index fund are of interest, you would still be getting a tremendous deal even with Aspire's minimal costs. Plus you can access pretty much any Vanguard fund you want. Either way your costs going this route gives you a very good deal compared to what your colleagues are getting. Not even close. So Aspire by self directing gives you more choices. The 40$ yearly fee is not unusual among most options . In Virginia our 457b plan offers tremendous low fee options but also charges a .19% charge administrative cost per year. It did not keep me from using it. Your friend might prefer a hands off self managed approach. If she does, a Vanguard index target fund or Fidelity Index target fund would be available by self-directing and requesting a target fund. Certainly you would not use Aspire to tap into a high expense ratio fund. Aspire offers a good deal by tapping into a very low expense ratio fund offered through Fidelity or Vanguard, their index funds. Incidentally both Fidelity and Vanguard's Target funds are composed of index funds. I realize you are a math person and the numbers add up in NEA's direction as your best choice. I agree up to a point but you have to look at the bigger picture as to what option serves the investor's needs best. Fee is an important but not the only factor to consider. Just offering further perspective, and in realty a few basis point more or less won't always make a huge impact on your portfolio when all factors are considered. Whats killing folks is the money drain from these high cost hidden fee annuity products and similar set ups like you mentioned above that your friend was involved with.
  25. What information are you trying to get? I can't remember if I dealt with a "plan number" or not. I do remember when I researched TIAA they looked up my school district, gave me a plan number, and then I could enter that plan number into their website to see the funds available in my plan. Certainly the district/TPA know the plan number associated with their relationship to Security Benefit. Similarly, Security Benefit must know it to and be able to look it up given the school district's name. So yeah, keep pushing. Good luck.
  26. Thanks ED. I'm having trouble getting anyone from my school district or Security Benefit to give me information. Security Benefit says they need the Plan ID from the school district to tell me about it. The School district doesn't know what the ID is or what they are talking about and sent me to the third party administrator. The third party administrator acts like they don't know what it is. Imagine that. I'm going to keep trying though.
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