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  1. I can have a 457. However the providers for it are all life insurance companies, american century won't service a 457
  2. I did look at the expense ratio, 0.62 for S&P 500 + 1.2 Mortality = 1.82 that's the lowest... some of the other indexes are a little higher.. like 0.7-0.8
  3. Thanks. The index funds on AXA equitable are like 0.6-.7% so definitely higher than vanguard or anyone else. American century has diversification for sure, they have really good target funds that i can get into for under 1%.. and good "all choice" funds.. like "aggressive" "moderate" "conservative" as well as a ton of other choices, many of which are stupid... but none of which are true index funds. unfortunately my husband (a non-educator) also has his company 401k with AXA equitable.. and he can't get out. BUT for whatever reason his deal is much better.. instead of a 1.2% mortality expense, he has 0.5.. and all of his funds (many of which are the exact same as mine) have a lower expense ratio. So his AXA, while still very bad, he averages with his index funds (that have a ratio around 0.38-0.45) a total of about a 1% expense... which while bad compared to vanguard... is at least tolerable compared to my nearly 2%
  4. 1) you should consider using the index funds at AXA equitable to save expenses. I like the GAMCO fund there, but in most AXA plans there are index funds, mid-cap index, small cap index, s&p 500 index, etc. 2) if you switch you're going to lose 5% of your account value, or in your case about $500-600 I'm debating the exact same thing as you. My only difference is that i'm older and have about 4X as much money and surrender charges.
  5. Ok, so learning more on these forums, i changed my 403b provider from AXA Equitable (had a 1.2% mortality charge + 0.6/0.7 for their INDEX funds - so nearly 2% a YEAR charge!!) to American Century... a local mutual fund company (the only NON-life insurance company i could pick from). I don't love American Century because they don't have any index funds, but they have some very reasonable mutual funds with 0.6-0.9% expense ratios without the insane 1.2% mortality charge. So it's no vanguard, but it seems like with this 403b stuff it's all about picking the least bad option... and never a great or excellent option. So i ceased making contributions to AXA and started making contributions to American Century, whom I'm satisfied with so far. I don't have very much money over at AXA... it's about 40K.... and i contacted them on what it would cost me to switch... it would be about $1800 unless i want to leave the money there for another 4-5 years. Would you bite the bullet and transfer the money now? or let it sit until my 5 year waiting period is over and then make the transfer? I'm 29 if that makes any difference.
  6. good link. the entire concept of retirement is a relatively new one historically speaking. back in less civilized times you worked until you died... or you had family that would take care of you and allow you to live out your remaining years. now both of those models are seen as inhumane or as a nuisance to your family. one thing that is certain is that that none of use are entitled to any type of retirement. The article insinuates that it's not possible for anyone to properly plan for it though. It would only take 2 or 3 good personal finance books (like Bogleheads guide to invessting and Bogleheads guide to retirement) for everyone to at least be aware of an excellent strategy to retire. Yet somehow the article makes it seem like it's "too hard" for someone to do it. The problem is that any retirement (let alone early retirement) is extremely expensive. So the only way to achieve is by rigorous saving and living below your means in your working years... or committing to a much less expensive lifestyle in retirement. And since it's unpopular to suggest people live below their means, we then blame the system rather than the individuals. What I'm scared of is that this is just the tip of the iceberg.. when there are news stories of the "retirement crisis" running daily on good morning america in 10 years... forcing the government's hand to take action... who's money are they going to come for? that's right.. those who were responsible and saved properly
  7. you misread my statement. 1) I would imagine most teacher contribute nothing more than what they do to their pension.. they probably use no roth and no 403b. the pension system takes 15% of your check out.. that's quite a bit 2) for those that want to contribute more to their retirement than the pension, the Roth IRA is the next choice. Unless you had too much income to qualify for the Roth, that would be the best possible next spot for the next $5-10,000 of your retirement allocation. 3) The only teachers in Missouri that would even use the 403b system (or that really should use it if they are financing things properly) would be ones who had too much combined income to contribute to a Roth IRA (not very many people), or are maxing their Roth IRA and still have extra money to put aside in 403b (also not many people) Therefore it is unlikely the 403B system will ever be improved in this state because for every 100 teachers i walked up to, i bet less than 5 are using the 403b system... the rest are either ONLY using the pension system or are using the pension system + Roth IRA. And of the 5 that ARE using the 403b system, I bet 2-3 probably aren't maxing out their and their spouse (if applicable) Roth IRA and thus are using the 403b improperly.
  8. Well, if you feel defeated, yea, Amercian century won. They love it when people walk out the door defeated. You were not defeated you got a set back. I would take a lazy portfolio and let them explain why they don't have any of those funds. Let them work for a change and keep asking them that the fees will eat into my nest egg. We have all been there. Just last spring California's biggest teachers union crushed a bill that would make the 403b less expensive for teachers in california. Yea we were defeated but we will reorganize and give it another s######. Change is incremental and we are the ones that have to change, because the financial industry will never change, except the TIAA CREF and Vanguard have already changed and I am very grateful they are available. Don't quit. Well the overall story is still a positive one. I learned that AXA Equitable is way the EFF overcharging. My husband has AXA equitable, but through a much larger organization.. and so all the fees I pay, he only pays 1/2 or less.. so his AXA Equitable experience while still bad, isnt hopeless. I am going to make the switch to American century and primarily use their S&P 500 index fund. The total fee i should be paying is about 0.5-0.6% a year.. that's FAR less than the 1.8-2% I'm paying now. Sure, if i had vanguard i could probably slash that even further to 0.2% or so... but I guess i can live with a no-load mutual fund from a reputable company that has local ties and hires local people and is a lot less than what i'm paying now. It's not TIAA or Vanguard... but in life you only get to choose what's available sometimes.. so the key is to make the best choice... and until i get motivated to get TIAA or Vanguard added, i'll stick with Am Century. The bottom line in missouri is that 403B participation is INCREDIBLY low.. 99% of teachers can get plenty of money invested between their pension fund and a full Roth IRA contribution. I'm just in a rare situation where i can do the roth, the pension, and the 403b... but if i went up to 500 teachers in the district, i could probably only find 20 or 30 that actually have a 403b.. and frankly 1/2 of them probably shouldn't have a 403B because they should be using their Roth IRA first and they aren't maxing their and their husband or wife's out.
  9. Well i had my meeting with Waddell today they totally turned the tables on me instead of letting me buy anything under the sun they only offered their own funds as available for purchase, and they were 100% actively managed and 100% with loads. LOL. I guess American century wins and this thread was worthless.
  10. Thanks for the warning. I think they have transformed the company some since they went brankrupt in the financial meltdown and got bought by BoA merill edge is just the merrill lynch self-directed platform. a lot of people hate bank of america and merill lynch. I've had really good success with BoA for 15 years now and with Merill Edge for 2 years. I think BoA and by proxy merill treat you poorly if you dont' have a lot of money, and great if you do. and i think i have just enough to fit into the latter thanks to blessings and good fortune I am with that crowd who hates BA and Merill Lynch. I keep my money away from the big banks, brokerage firms, big insurance companies and Wall Street all together. It's an ethical and cost saving issue for me. I use vanguard and TIAA CREF, and my local credit union, that's it. Take care, Steve Steve; But Vanguard etc must use banks/brokerages to carry out their functions. They get the best deals by using the "big" banks and "big" brokerages. So no matter high you slice it "big" is good because you are quite satisfied with your vanguard and tiaa-cref. Joel This is a good point. We're all intertwined with the big banks no matter what... if you have a home mortgage, there's a good chance a big place has it. I don't know of any "small" car insurance companies. Vanguard is a massive multi-billion dollar company.. so is TIAA-CREF There's no small cable companies or really even mobile phone carriers. There is no question there are unscrupulous companies out there in every capacity. However, I found in life that most of the beefs that people have with companies are in fact just standard rules and practices that are covered in the fine print.... but no one reads it. The wall street game is definitely rigged to an extent... but it's still the only game in town unless you want your money to erode under a mattress. Sadly, there really aren't any "good" decisions or great choices you can make... the key is just making the least number of bad decisions and picking the least poor option. That's how i feel with these 403b's... i don't like any of the choices i have.. to me they are all terrible and over-priced... it's finding the least sucky one. Same with the pension I have... i read the information on how they invest.. and i hate it... the layers and layers of fees are unreal... but i'm required to participate... my only other option is to find a different job... and frankly the pension is probably better than the way social security is run... so again, another least bad option. it's tough out there sometimes!
  11. Thanks for the warning. I think they have transformed the company some since they went brankrupt in the financial meltdown and got bought by BoA merill edge is just the merrill lynch self-directed platform. a lot of people hate bank of america and merill lynch. I've had really good success with BoA for 15 years now and with Merill Edge for 2 years. I think BoA and by proxy merill treat you poorly if you dont' have a lot of money, and great if you do. and i think i have just enough to fit into the latter thanks to blessings and good fortune
  12. no SS I am not familiar with code 414 (h) but i believe that amount to be before taxes just like SS I still pay into medicare
  13. Thank you for the nice post! 1) the expense ratio on the S&P 500 fund is 0.50% 2) I'm very intrigued by Waddell though because i can get the vanguard 2045 fund (lazy portfolio style) for 0.19%... so even with a $35 annual fee per year, over time i'd be well ahead of the index fund in American Century provided I didn't make too many transactions. And at American Century the only bond funds are actively managed.. although the expense on them is still not horrible.. around 0.6-0.7% I am definitely familiar with Lazy portfolios.. which is why the option of using a Vanguard fund seemed great through Waddell. I know i need to stop using AXA equitable, but do I want to commit to a Vanguard 2045 Fund with a 0.19% ratio that i can use for the next 30 years... i mean, as long as I didn't make many transactions that difference would be worth the $35/yr fee. Also with my Roth I use Merrill Edge - they are a much better deal than Vanguard for me... i pay literally nothing... no tranaction fees (as long as i keep it under 30 trades a month and don't use mutual funds - no problem) and no maintenance fees.. it's the best deal in the business... and i can choose the best stuff.. ETFs, stocks, preferred stocks.. it's awesome.. i wish i could use them for my 403B the only reason for the dilemma is the opportunity to have every fund under the roof available to me... including the good vanguard ones. With american century.. i only get their funds.... 95% of which are actively managed... many of which have expense ratios north of 1%..
  14. OK, i just found this site recently.. my basic information - missouri 3rd grade teacher, age 28. We have a full pension system, they take 15% of my paycheck out each month for that. I max out my Roth IRA every year - $5000 I also contribute the maximum to my 403b account - 17K After doing some research and finding out more about investing and costs, I have realized that all i have is a bunch of pretty bad choices in my 403B Initially from the list I selected AXA Equitable because my husband has his 401k through them and he was familiar with the funds. However, after really digging in and finally reading that god-awful prospectus, I realized that my funds had a ton more fees than his. I have a 1.2% risk and mortality expense and even my index funds are 0.62% - that's insane!!! $180 per 10K! meaning with the 35K in there right now i'm paying them almost $500 a year before i even get started with my investments! I looked through the other providers and started calling them. Here are some thoughts: 1) i can't move the money away from AXA until year 6 or i get charged 5%! leaving.. so i'll just leave the 35K I have in there for now 2) i'd like to cease contributing there though and start a new 403B My choices: no vanguard.. in fact they were almost all life insurance companies with seemingly the same exact fee structure so i am down to: 1) American Century - they are a local mutual fund provider. www.americancentury.com - Pro: they would have much lower expenses.. no risk and mortality expense... funds that range from 0.48-1.2%.. - Con: Only 1 index fund, an S&P 500 fund 2) Waddell and Reed - a local group of financial advisors... they own a mutual fund company called "ivy" funds. - Pro: They said they could set up a 403b brokerage account for me.. and then i'd have a choice of any option in the stock world/mutual fund world... So i could just pay once for like Vanguard 2045 Fund and just keep contributing. - Con: They would charge $50 for the initial transaction, would have a $35/yr maintenance fee, and if i wanted to sell that fund and buy any others it's $50 per transaction.. $50 to sell the 2045 fund, $50 to buy another fund... or if i wanted a diversified portfolio of like 3-4 funds... It'd be $50 for each purchase If you read all of that and respond, i thank you... what would you choose?
  15. I'm sorry if you've had bad experiences with dental offices. However, let me relate a story to you. I once felt as you did. I figured if I didn't have any problems i didn't need xrays.. i figured they were a cash grab by dentists. Boy did that logic cost me. Little did i know that 50% plus cavities are in between the teeth and thus in-detectable to the human eye with even a great dentist. By the time the cavity was visual the decay was so extensive that even after getting a 2nd and 3rd opinion, instead of needing a $130 filling i needed a $1600 root canal, buildup, and crown. I turned down xrays that cost $40-50 per year to prove a point and ended up costing myself $1600+ Worst decision ever. Not to mention i found that i had a lot of trouble working with dentists and refusing xrays. Turns out that there are rules for dentists that state that the patient is not allowed to dictate an inadequate standard of care. In other words, had i been the legal type i could've sued for negligence for the dentists not taking the xrays even though I refused them myself... which is horrible. The bottom line is that in any given profession there are trustworthy people that really are just trying to do a good job for you even with the COI problem. And there are people that will try and rip you off. I learned that you pick someone through solid research and as long as their treatment options seem to be in line with your values for your health, then there is no reason to assume they are only making recommendations just to fleece you. I think the financial services industry is a lot slimier than the health care industry... just my opinion.
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