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Everything posted by JudyS

  1. Admin -- Kill the 403b? I thought you were convinced that it would get worse before it gets better -- are you no longer willing to wait for the better? What would be in its place? If we could get the Thrift Savings Plan, now that would be an idea! But replacing it with ANY plan that allows financial services firms (brokerages, insurance companies and such) to manhandle all of us makes no sense. Just another wolf in another sheep's clothing. Genuine education could be such a great idea. However, I have had to conclude that few people are interested enough to spend their own time, effort and/or money. If there were a plan where the DISTRICTS were mandated to give GOOD education and the teachers were mandated to attend -- now that might have some benefit. Can you imagine a way to make that happen? JudyS
  2. All -- There are a thought-provoking set of arguments. In the end, however, we cannot know for sure what the tax situation will be for various kinds of investment vehicles through the course of many years of retirement (if we're lucky). So I have had one lousy original thought in my life, and this is it: It makes sense to diversify your investment types (small cap, value, treasuries and so on) and it ALSO makes sense to diversify the investment vehicles (IRAs, 403,s , taxables and so on). If you diversity vehicles, you can pick and choose which to use for what purposes when the time comes for using that $$ you put away, weighing the advantages of each. BTW, if this is NOT an original thought, please refrain from telling me that my peak experience was a false one:)))) JudyS
  3. JudyS


    Eric -- I would go with option 2 because it seems real clear what the cost to you would be. With the other options, there COULD be costs that you might not be aware of that are additional. IMHO, most often the salespeople -- and I would think the TPAs -- are not AWARE if some a multitude of the teensy costs have been added. They know what their commission is, but they sometimes remain blissfully unaware of some other items. JudyS Eric -- Come to think of it, just read Tony's post anout is it worth investing in a 401k without the match. Good article, and the some of principles may apply to your case.... JudyS
  4. AP -- Not to be too smart about this, but call the IRA division at Vanguard and ask them to set this up for you. If they say no, call the 403b division and ask THEM to set up the IRA. I have found Vanguard to be legally very conservative, so they will do this only if their legal beagles perceive no risk to them -- or to you, for that matter. JudyS
  5. BigCat -- With a 403b, 457 or 401(k), your choices are limited to what is offered by the institution (school district, hospital board, state or whatever.) There are TYPICALLY management fees (i.e. from TPAs or whatever) between you and the company that holds your $$, making TWO sets of fees you have to pay. With an IRA, you can choose any company you wish (of course, most people here would prefer to us no-load companies like Vanguard, TIAA-CREF, T Rowe Price, Ariel and some others) and you pay ONE set of fees -- theirs. You can know exactly what those fees are and make an informed decision. There are virtually no opportunities for anyone to slip in a few extra costs when you're not looking which CAN happen when you have an insurance company or other investment firm as an intermediary. Also, you are not paying a salesperson (sometimes cordially referred to as an "advisor") In other words, by having an IRA you have an opportunity to maximize transparency and minimize costs and your choices are wide open. Another site I often enjoy is www.fundadvice.com. There you can find several suggested low cost portfolios. Of course, if you want more assistance the sponsoring company would be glad to help for a fee, but their recommended portfolios are, IMHO, quite good. Just my individual opinion; not speaking for anyone else. JudyS
  6. Steve -- In your shoes I would visit the 403basp site and look it over, formulate a few questions, and then give them a call. I have talked to them a couple of times and they were very knowledgeable and helpful. AND they appear to take the high ground ethically. Oh, your lucky employees!!! JudyS
  7. I agree with mmcwenie. EXCEPT that if you have a couple of old 401(k)s, it would probably be wisest to roll them into an IRA where you have control. Vanguard is generally considered a fine choice for that, and all you have to do is call them up and they will tell you how to do it... they will send you some paperwork which you make out and send in and then THEY go and snag the $$ so you never touch it (thereby avoiding the risk of being accused by the IRS of actually taking possession of your $$ and having to pay taxes/penalty). There is no magic in learning about investing... there's just a little bit of work. Start out by reading John Bogle's "The Little Book Of Commonsense Investing". Then come back here and ask what to read next and you will get lots of help. If you can figure out how to drive a standard transmission car or cook yourself a hamburger, you can be a reasonably good investor and (most important of all) avoid being a victim of the financial services industry. You can do it. Good luck. JudyS
  8. JudyS


    CLJ17 -- HOW can one access Vanguard through Lincoln without the additional expense of .90? What precisely must a participant do? Thanks. JudyS
  9. Baron -- The 403bASP folks are highly thought of by some of the best thinkers in the 401k and 403b world, including Matthew Hutcheson. I would not hesitate to work with them myself and would be THRILLED to have a plan by them offered to my colleagues. JudyS
  10. Fellow Travellers on the rocky road to retirement: I received this in an email from NEA today -- as did most of you, presumably. I am wondering whether they are comfortable with their position vs. the Daniels-Hall lawsuit against them.... In any case, this was interesting reading (if disappointing and disgusting, in the end) : Finding a knowledgeable source for help with your retirement investing can be an exercise in frustration. NEA Valuebuilder® is making it easier with an online representative locator. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can look for an NEA Valuebuilder representative in your area. At the NEA Valuebuilder Advisor-Assisted Web page (http://nea.securitybenefit.com/neavaluebuilder/advisorassisted.htm), our representative locator will quickly provide contact information for help with retirement planning. Whether you are nearing retirement or already there, an NEA Valuebuilder representative can assist you conveniently by phone, email or in person with preparing for your retirement income needs. Do you need to rollover an existing retirement account into an IRA? Perhaps you’re looking for a steady ###### of income for the rest of your life. An NEA Valuebuilder representative can help you with these important decisions. When you need help with your financial planning for retirement, finding a knowledgeable NEA Valuebuilder representative is now just a few clicks away at http://nea.securitybenefit.com/neavaluebui...sorassisted.htm. Take a look right now. You should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of the mutual funds and variable annuities available under the NEA Valuebuilder Program before investing. You may obtain a prospectus that contains this and other information about the mutual funds and variable annuities by calling our National Service Center at 1-800-NEA-VALU (632-8258). You should read the prospectus carefully before investing. Investing in variable annuities and mutual funds involves risk and there is no guarantee of investment results. The NEA Valuebuilder Program provides investment products (the “NEA Valuebuilder products”) in connection with retirement plans sponsored by school districts and other employers of NEA members and individual retirement accounts established by NEA members. Security Distributors, Inc. and certain of its affiliates (collectively “Security Benefit”) make the NEA Valuebuilder products available under this program pursuant to an agreement with NEA’s wholly-owned subsidiary, NEA’s Member Benefits Corporation (“MBC”). Security Benefit has the exclusive right to offer the NEA Valuebuilder products under the program, and MBC generally may not enter into arrangements with other providers of similar investment programs or otherwise promote to NEA members or their employers any investment products that compete with the NEA Valuebuilder products. MBC promotes the program to NEA members and their employers and provides certain services in connection with the program. Security Benefit pays an annual fee to MBC based in part on the average assets invested in the NEA Valuebuilder products under the agreement. You may wish to take into account this agreement and arrangement, including any fees paid, when considering and evaluating any communications relating to the NEA Valuebuilder products. NEA and MBC are not affiliated with Security Benefit. Neither NEA nor MBC is a registered broker-dealer. All securities brokerage services are performed exclusively by your sales representative’s broker-dealer and not by NEA or MBC. The NEA Valuebuilder Variable Annuity TSA, Contract Form No. V6029, also includes a Fixed Account. The NEA Valuebuilder Variable Annuity TSA is distributed by Security Distributors, Inc. and is issued by Security Benefit Life Insurance Company. The NEA Valuebuilder 403(b)(7) is a Custodial Account under §403(b)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code. The NEA Valuebuilder Mutual Fund 457 is a Trust Account under §457 of the Internal Revenue Code. The NEA Valuebuilder IRA is an IRA Custodial Account under §408(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Annuities are long-term investments suitable for retirement.
  11. Mich -- Re-check this again... I THINK you don't have to move your Janus funds... I THINK you can leave them right where they are. JudyS
  12. Ray -- Unfortunately, the reps often do not have the information at hand re: expenses. Sometimes they THINK they do, but most of the time they have been misguided. Ask for the prospectus -- not of Contrafund, but of the plan through the rep's company. Then try to read it and use a marker to find and highlight all the expenses. My guess is that you will find this an impossible endeavor, as it was when I tried to read through the Security Benefit prospectus. Any time you have a "rep", you are paying him / her. JudyS
  13. Lady -- And you will have to pay income taxes on the $$ you withdraw. However, you're able to roll your $$ over into an IRA once you retire w/o taxes. JudyS
  14. Intruder -- The book "Enough" was developed following a conversation that Bogle became aware of.... and his book answers the age-old questions, what is enough and how do you know it when you see it. You should be able to find this tome in a library near you quite soon. JudyS
  15. Tony -- I agree -- he is one of the real and genuine heroes in our world today. This book sounds great, and our kids and nieces and nephews will all be getting copies for holiday gifts... Find the free shipping from Amazon!! JudyS
  16. Dan -- In terms of school folks, my first thought was "Who cares?" because the changes in investment options have been decided upon and few districts seem to care enough to provide no-load options for their teachers. The next thought was "Who would proft by delays?" Well, that would seem to be the districts, the insurance/ broker/dealer companies who need to get systems in place, and the TPAs. Well, let me think.... why would they need extra time? Perhaps because their efforts have been put into sales to ensure that they have a part of the market? Well, not the district staff... they have just been dealing with the sales staff, so they don't have their systems in place, largely because they have not been "advised" by the salesmen and the TPAs. So I am back to "Who cares?" Given the poor investment options for staff, it doesn't matter whether the regs are delayed or not, UNLESS the staff can keep their best investment options open for a few more months. Sorry to be so glum. Just talked with a couple of staff at my school district -- I have retired and not gone back this year. No one has approached or dealt with the district on the subject of 403bs.... because they don't care either. To top it off, the regional union office doesn't care, and neither does the state branch of the NEA. Sigh. JudyS
  17. Makouri -- I think he means "us as investors"... the companies are all staying in the business, except that the no load group seems to be dropping out of the 403b business. I wonder if it's because their reasonable fees are insufficient to cover the added responsibilities and expenses of the new regs. As I look at this landscape, the investment firms (Like Security Benefit, AXA, Lincoln, and so on) and insurance companies all know a good thing when they see it, though... at least that's my guess. JudyS
  18. Joe and Tony -- I am a great believer in the power of complaining, if it's properly placed. George Miller is a fine place to start. Send copies to all your congresspersons and to the DOL as well as to your superintendent and school board members (i.e. make your letter do a LOT of work!) Make your letter short, specific, to the point, and it will help if you organize your points with bullets to make it clear. No big, long explanations are needed. Note that the insurance companies are working against you not with you, and given the new Democratic strength in Congress, it is fair to say that appropriate REGULATIONS are needed but the focus needs to be on the welfare of the participants, NOT the welfare of the insurance companies. It doesn't have to be a perfect letter, but it does have to be sent. JudyS
  19. Brian -- The fees WITHIN the funds may be reasonable. Those can fairly easily be discovered. However, what are the fees being charged by Security Benefit? There are some -- and probably more than you may be able to discover. Ask for the prospectus for the plan, not just for the individual funds. Write back and describe what you find in there.... I would guess that there may be some add on fees that you can SELECT and there will be some fees that you have no choice but to pay. JudyS
  20. Eric -- You were absolutely correct when you thought that a well diversified portfolio of low cost funds beats managed funds, and as a matter of fact, a low-cost fund will beat a similar managed fund every time -- given enough time. Over a period of time, the difference in return will equal the expenses. You are on the right track.... if you read Bogle's "The Little Book Of Common Sense Investing" and Swensen's "Unconventional Success......." no salesman will ever again be able to get your shorts in a knot. You will know more than the salesman 99% of the time. These also make fine holiday gifts just in case someone asks what you would like! You go, guy! JudyS
  21. JudyS


    Hi Judy, That must be exciting to watch a slug race. :>) Best Wishes, Joe Hi Judy, That must be exciting to watch a slug race. :>) Best Wishes, Joe Tony -- I am familiar with the bankrate.com site, but not familiar enough to find TIPS compared to other bond types, I guess..... What am I STILL missing? And Joe, watching slug races is only exciting if you happen to have the leopard slug. JudyS
  22. JudyS


    Scotty -- In a recent post you mentioned "..TIPS are on sale right now..." This is embarrassing, and I do know a lot of things (how to evaluate a stock fund, how to tell if you are getting ripped off in your 401(k), how to keep "sugar ants" out of your kitchen, and how to pick the best garden slug in a slug race, for instance) but I do not "get" bonds other than buying a generic index fund. I have read Swedroe's Winning Bond Strategy, slept with it, carried it around in my car, and cussed at it, but still don't get it.... So Scotty, help me! How do you KNOW when TIPS are ON SALE? I need to know!! JudyS
  23. Steve -- All the young people in our family will be receiving "Enough" for a holiday gift.... oh, dear! No wonder they think their mother / aunt / step-aunt is a bore! What a book, tho!!! A value system we can all respect... JudyS
  24. John -- Sorry about that last "un-post". I am not computerically gifted; in fact, earlier in the week I crashed the ATM at our credit union, embarrassingly enough. Anyway, TIAA-CREF is generally considered a very nice alternative. UNLESS it's offered in a situation where the TPA or sales organization charges a fee on top of the fees inherent in the mutual funds. JudyS
  25. TONY, You can go to Obama's website and find his positions on practically everything; hopefully this will allay your FIL's worries. Then perhaps he can properly enlighten his friends and family. JudyS
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