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  2. EdLaFave

    Crying Poverty

    I know you’re not judging anybody in a negative way. I like the articles you link to. I’m just reacting to how this article made me feel on a personal level. If the author is going to discuss poverty and responsibility then IMO he must simultaneously acknowledge the realities of our economic structure. As my mom once told me, “I know it’s not fair, but this how you can get by playing their game.” I grew up on the higher end of poor and worked with pretty poor people. I now have a fancy job and work with people who are decidedly not poor. The poor people worked much harder and were less wasteful (not that they had much choice). It felt like this article was too focused on individuals’ mistakes. I’ve watched a political party echo that message as they’ve transformed the rules of our economy towards inequality (sometimes in a bipartisan way). They blame my generation’s circumstances on our desire to have avocados and toast for breakfast rather than on the structures they’ve intentionally built. They tell us our collective circumstances are a result of our flawed character rather than the system we were born into. This article reminded me of that type of argument because it was one sided.
  3. tony

    Crying Poverty

    Thanks Ed I see you guys have been holding up the fort quite well. My intention is not to judge or compare. Every culture is different and every human's personal circumstances is different. I get that. Just thought the article was good food for thought. I believe in personal empowerment even when folks feel like things may be stacked against them. I've been streamlining my "stuff" somewhat since retirement. I often ask myself now-"why in the heck did we buy that"? My only answer seems that it just seemed like a good idea at the time. Its been a battle throwing "stuff "out but I'm making progress. I don't own 19 pair of shoes though .
  4. EdLaFave

    Crying Poverty

    Great to have you back Tony. Two principles: everything/everybody is interconnected and we lack the balance we require. Yes the individual should take responsibility for the decisions they make. At the same time, we aren’t born with the belief that our value as human beings can be measured by the things we own. We aren’t born believing that things are just as important (if not more so) than people. This is something we’re taught at an early age and we are social creatures who are heavily influenced by everything around us whether we want to accept it or not. I’d feel a bit foolish scolding somebody (whether they’re blowing their $1,000/year surplus on shoes or blowing their $100,00/year surplus on a boat and vacation home) too thoroughly for trying to attain success in exactly the way society has defined it for them. At that point I think it would be more useful to have a discussion about whether these purchases bring them anything more than fleeting happiness and what they’re giving up in exchange. I’d feel incredibly foolish scolding low wage workers who literally don’t have enough to survive when you can clearly see that over the last forty years nearly all of the wealth has shifted to the top. If I ever talk to an individual, I focus on what they have control over (personal responsibility). If I ever talk to a group, I focus on what they have control over (economic structures and values).
  5. Tony! Glad to hear all is well.
  6. tony

    Crying Poverty

    i hear a lot of complaining these days about wages not keeping up and families struggling and I sympathize but sometimes all of us need to look in the mirror and realize that as a culture we have all fallen for the American consumer trap of wants over needs. Many of us do in fact have it better than we realize and it is sometimes our own behaviors that cause us our hardships. Excerpt. I HAVE BEEN accused of being too critical of America’s spending habits. I’m not in touch with families who live paycheck to paycheck, or so I’m told. I was roundly attacked by folks on Facebook, who claimed I lacked sympathy for the federal workers who ran out of money during the government shutdown—even before they missed a payday. https://humbledollar.com/2019/05/crying-poverty/
  7. Hi Tony, I hear you. You deserve a break after all of the people you helped here since 2006! Keep in touch, Steve
  8. I agree with Moe Count your blessings that you have Vanguard !! The expense ratio is a much more meaningful number to look at than a yearly one time fee. It will drain your account ruthlessly over time much more than the yearly fee. That is why lowering your expense ratio is key. On the other hand having low fees alone will not make you a successful investor. It is just one part of the equation. Make sure you understand diversification, dollar cost averaging, buy and hold, compounding, indexing, pay your self first concept etc. Only with a wide investing knowledge base can you reach your goals.
  9. Hey everyone. Thanks for the concern. I'm fine. Just been taking a break. It seems like the forum is in good hands without my sometimes long winded contributions. I may contribute from time to time but since my retirement I sometimes feel I am not up on the current facts like I once was while working. Besides Dan ,Ed Krow, Steve, Whyme , Moe, and others know so much and can answer just about any question. I appreciated Steve contacting me. Steve is and always will be one of the greats around here. Happy memorial day weekend folks. Tony
  10. tnewin

    457 Mass Mutual

    Thank you for your response krow36. I'm located in California. I have the bulk of my AXA which I opened 15 years ago and two years ago I opened up an account with Vanguard. (I have tons of questions about AXA and consolidating my 403b plans which I will ask in the 403b forum soon.) I don't max out on my 403b, but the 457 plan was appealing to me as if I end my employment with my district, I can withdraw money and pay taxes on the withdrawal while avoiding the 10% penalty. I'm hoping to reach retirement age before I withdraw from my retirement accounts, however, two of my brothers passed before the age of 40 and I want to be able to access my money penalty-free if I ever need to. Mass Mutual offers mutual funds or Investment Advisory Services. I've heard of mutual funds but I don't know what Investment Advisory Services are. I asked my payroll manager about having other vendors added to the list of 457b plans and was told that it was not possible. Thank you for your help and safe travels.
  11. krow36

    457 Mass Mutual

    tnewin, welcome to the forum. Sorry for the delay in getting a reply to your questions. I'm traveling in Canada with only rare wifi. I suggest you ask further questions on the 403bwise forum, as this 457 forum doesn't get near as much attention. Folks on both forums that have experienced what you are dealing with. The first thing you should be aware of is that 457 plans (like 403b plans) can be either annuity based or mutual fund based. You should avoid the much more expensive annuity products. On MM's fees and ERs, you'll have to dig it out from the rep. He should refer you to online verification of the fees. I would strongly recommend that you do not sign up for anything at the meeting with the advisor. Just get information. Are you contributing to a 403b and maxing it? If not, that would be a good idea before using an expensive 457. Are there low-cost vendors for the 403b? Adding a 457 vendor usually involves talking the HR office and any third party administrator. What state are you in? About half the states have state-run low-cost 457 plans that are available to school district employees. If your state does have such a 457 plan, it's often relatively easy to get it added to the vendor list. Any questions are welcome! We all started at an elementary level and most of us have lost a lot of money in the process of investing. Most of us are teachers, retired teachers or teachers' spouses.
  12. tnewin

    457 Mass Mutual

    Hello, Mass Mutual is the only vendor that offers a 457 though my district. In order to open an account with Mass Mutual, I need to meet with one of their advisors. What questions should I ask? How do I find out about fees and expense ratios for their products? If Mass Mutual has high fees, how do I petition my school district to add more vendors and which vendors should I suggest and why? Sorry if these questions are elementary. I'm new to this whole finance thing and It's like a foreign language to me.
  13. I figured as much. And the GWN rep couldn't wait to get me to schedule an appointment with her to go over the paper work. She said she has Security Benefit, as an aggregator, yet was telling me she was unfamiliar with DirectInvest and no one ever asked for it, ever. She is ""required" to sit with me as I cannot fill out the investor risk profiler myself as the FS is a "highly regulated" industry. My confusion was thinking that though SB is not on my vendor list, as long as I was able to create an account with them, I could, as per OMNI. And being the NEA -endorsed product I'd be able to "directly" invest in it. I was a bit surprised that NEA's endorsed product or vendor - Security Benefit -was not on our P3 lineup.
  14. Earlier
  15. If SB is not on your district’s vendor list, I think you can’t use SB’s NEA Direct Invest. It sounds like OMNI is giving you the runaround IF SB is on the vendor list. GWN should not be involved?
  16. Thanks for your offer. I’d like to chat about it to see if I understand it clearly.
  17. I read about your successes with keen interest. I know it was time-intensive and required many meetings. With less than half the teacher’s contributing to a 403b or a 457, I’ve been focusing on educating the teachers which I deem an easier battle to win. Aspire is not so bad.
  18. I shortened the name, it’s GWN employee deposit account. I was able to create an account because NEA acknowledged that I am “eligible”. They emailed me the secret code to create a security member 403b account. I sent Omni the salary reduction firm with this number and they told me I had to go through GWN the aggregator. It’s a confusing web.
  19. I’m too lazy to type much, but I got Vanguard and Fidelity added to my wife’s district. Nobody helped me and I wasn’t even an employee. This is achievable. I can help.
  20. I’m confused because I don’t know what an aggregator is and I don’t know what GWN stands for. Didn’t take the time to google, sorry. I’m also confused by you saying that you already have a SB account, but SB isn’t an approved vendor. It would seem you couldn’t have the former without the latter. Aspire is an entirely different vendor that is separate from SB.
  21. Thanks. I’m trying to find time to improve the software, the two big ones: 1. Model social security and possibly pensions. 2. Instead of just calculating a specific outcome if you follow a specific strategy, I want to determine the best outcome by having the software examine a variety of different strategies (take SS early, go beyond the 0% bracket on Roth conversions, etc). ...I haven’t gotten into the Mega Backdoor Roth. My software models Roth conversions. I personally only fully understand the regular Backdoor Roth, I haven’t had the energy to learn the Mega Backdoor Roth yet (maybe never will).
  22. OMNI told me I need to create an account with GWN, our approved aggregator, in order to contribute to SB's DirectInvest. I have already established a SB account and received the plan number. I had to call the GWN number who had to get "the advisor" to call me directly. She stressed she needed to meet me personally to "fill out the highly regulated forms and take a risk assessment". I told her I want the DirectInvest and knew my funds already. She had to research the DirectInvest product because "nobody" ever uses it and call me back. She agreed to mail me the 403b forms after I told her I'd call her if I had a question and that I'd allow her to mail them in for me. She claimed she did not know if the enrollment form has a spot on there to choose the DirectInvest product. Using the SB phone number was helpful but we do not have SB listed as an approved vendor so is this all a useful attempt? I didn't see the the SB DirectInvest option on Aspire's platform, the current aggregator I use for Vanguard Index funds. I think I'm confused if GWN will just act like any other vendor and try to enroll me in SB annuity or if that is indeed the only way to get into the SB DirectInvest product. It is not a big deal for me to get SB but I did want to see first-hand how they handle it.
  23. That was indeed a deep dive. Thanks for outlining the possibilities. You join the ranks of Big Earn and White Coat Investor -if not exceed them - on details, applications and explanations. I love your idea of the Mega Back Door. I asked in my district if we could contribute more non-deductible money into our 403b account and we can't . It does depend on your employer allowing you to do this, as you probably already know.
  24. arich, You've identified a huge part of the problem. The articles and interviews are highlight the annuities that the insurance salesmen sell teachers and their tactics. Today I spoke with the Barron's reporter and though I talked about OMNI being the TPA, I didn't present it as concisely as you. I'd like to learn who owns OMNI and Id like to learn how to go about getting districts (starting with mine) to agree to drop the P3 in favor of a single vendor like Vanguard. Knowing that it doesn't cost the district anything to use OMNI (only the participants) it seems challenging (to say the least). Additionally, the added administrative costs and responsibilities of record-keeping in-house would be their reasoning to do nothing about it. It would take an army, a vocal army, to get my district to stop using OMNI and allowing non P3 vendors, such as Vanguard and Fidelity. Those who had them prior to 2012 are grandfathered in but the rest of us who unwittingly did not jump on board are out of luck. I know it has been done but I just haven't figured out how to teach enough teachers and then get them to join in the battle. My union has been hearing it from me, but told me they don't want to appear to be giving "investment advice". I think they are hiding behind that excuse. I asked admin to let me make a presentation to teachers on the 403(b) and I have included an explanation of OMNI and its role. I will carefully educate and not "advise", of course. And it's not until September. Featuring a story on the TPA is a great idea, IMO.
  25. That’s great that you are set up with Fidelity! You have probably figured out that if remaining SB money is charged an average of 3%, you might be better off paying the surrender fees. Thanks for the update.
  26. Holy smokes......It's been over 2 months since my initial post on this thread. I am happy to say that a large chunk of my money has been finally moved to my new Fidelity account. Fidelity was great to work with. My former provider (Security Benefit) was a pain to work with and made things difficult. My third party provider was not as helpful as I had hoped. They helped to answer questions but there was nothing they really did to help make the transfer any easier. I thought they would be more helpful and do most of the work for me. Not the case at all. I was able to transfer $55,000 out as "free money". The remainder would incur the rolling surrender charge. I stopped contributions to Security Benefit and moved those to Fidelity. My plan is to check back in with Security Benefit and have them run my "free money" numbers and repeat this process for the next few years until the surrender charges make sense or I just get tired of getting all of the signatures needed. The process is a pain and takes much longer than I anticipated but worth it in the end and should get easier now that I know exactly what to do. Future years will be a rinse and repeat cycle. I really appreciate the responses on this thread and can't thank krow36 enough for your insight and suggestions. You were a huge help and you were spot on with your advice.
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