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Posts posted by JudyS

  1. Steve --

    The Bogleheads convention was very interesting... as one of the "little people", it was fascinating to meet Bill Bernstein, Shultheis, Ferri, Queen Laura and others. Also, it was ever so interesting to begin to tie faces to their forum names. The attendees were a delightful bunch, very nice people.


    When "Saint Jack" first walked in, the entire audience stood and applauded. He really is such an amazing figure, a real hero in our time, a moral giant. And he's as humble as biscuits and gravy. One of my most prized possessions now is a picture of me sitting beside him while he signed my "Little Book........"


    One of the fellows I talked with was Art (shucks! I forget his last name!) from the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is writing an article about Bogle for the paper, and busily watched all that happened, gathered impressions from people and so on. I hope to see the article; if someone here gets the Inquirer, please publish the link when it gets published!


    Next year's Bogleheads convention will be in Dallas, and the following year it will be somewhere on the east coast. I won't be there next year, but look forward to 2 years from now.




  2. Gango --

    For your second company, where you would most likely be investing through a Roth, and IRA or after-tax, you might try one of the companies out there with low expenses. Investigate T Rowe Price, Vanguard, Fidelity, or other no-load companies.


    But first, you may wish to walk on a fast-track learning curve. I suggest that you start with John Bogle's The Little Book Of Commonsense Investing; this is a great book specifically written for folks like you and me. Then come back here and others will be willing to recommend a NEXT book!


    You can do this... we all did! Good luck!



  3. Intruder --

    As a formerly proud holder of a bunch of WAMU stock (my ROTH is now decimated), I would want the heads of WAMU and Countrywide to participate in the same consequences that I suggested previously. In any time zone at all... Please do not misconstrue that I would wish to excuse any of the perps on either coast.


    And how the new CEO of WAMU could walk out with the much $$ and look at himself in the mirror in the morning is beyond me. Those guys are made of different stuff than I...



  4. Another idea along the same lines ...


    As background, let me tell you that today I took a ferry to Seattle... at the ferry dock here, there were 1 or maybe it was 2 state troopers. Sometimes one of them has a dog that sniffs each car, and apparently we now have cameras to take a pic of each and every license plate just in case of terrorism.


    As we crossed Puget Sound, we were accompanied by two young and eager Coast Guardsmen in a "fast boat"; most trips are so accompanied.


    When I returned from Seattle side, there were TWO state troupers in and around the passenger gates, and another 1 or two in the car/truck loading area below. Typically a dog is brought to each and every vehicle to sniff for explosives. They have never found any even though the bomb squad has been brought in to blow up suitcases, backpacks, and mysterious packages.


    There are THREE regular ferry routes that run just about hourly from downtown to various local points, so you can do the multiplication. Imagine the costs. Then multiply that by the number of times similar protections must be replicated around the US. Terrorists, mind you are such a threat.


    So TSA and law enforcement types were hired, employed and PAID to "watch" for a highly infrequent threats. While we were so preoccupied, upper level Wall Street types brought down our economy more effectively than the terrorists of 9-11. So I'm thinking, should these guys get away with destroying America? Shouldn't they be punished? Shouldn't they be "held" until we can figure out whether they did something wrong, and if so, what? Just like the "terrorists" we have held for so many years? These people are demonstrably and absolutely DANGEROUS!!!!! We can see what they have done! Shouldn't they get equal treatment under the law? Should they be excused to the Hamptons just because they wear suits?


    So perhaps we should round them up, have a little perp walk, and send them to Guantanamo Bay until we can figure out whether they should be charged. Like we did to the other guys who may or may not have participated in destruction.


    Just a thought.


  5. APTeacher --

    I am so sorry you are stuck with this mess. It's a sorry state of affairs, and a pity that we can't get teachers to add 2+2 even when it's in their own interest.


    But as you may have gathered, I believe in the power of complaining -- a LOT! So DO it! First ask for a prospectus from Security Benefit -- I will bet you will find even more expenses. No, wrong. I bet you won't be able to wade through it and understand it enough to even begin to figure out what the expenses really are. What a disaster.


    Next best bet. Connect with attorneys who do class action suits. You could try the guys who have most recently sued the NEA. Go for it!! And that writer for the LA Times -- she would eat this up, I bet. WHat's her name? Anyone out there remember?


    Or PM me and I can give you a couple of OTHER names. May be helpful, and may not be, but it's worth a run at it. The only way we will get things to change.



  6. Tony --

    My 2 cents, for whatever it's worth... but to tell you the truth, I am just making it up as I go along. Here it is:


    1. Meet SOONER so you have plenty of time for review.


    2. Ask for all information on a CD or in WORD or something, so you can put it on the computer. A computerized copy. That's what I meant.


    3. Take a look at it and send it to this site and have some of the smart cookies here look it over and bring up any issues they see.


    4. Ask for the 5500 of this program. Don't let them tell you there isn't one. They need to go back to the company and GET it. Again, get a computerized version.


    5. I don't know if they'll have one, but ask for an SAI (Statement of Additional Information). Stomp your feet and tell them to go get it. They might not know what it is (I am wondering whether there will be one since this is a NEW program, but give it a good strong try. To tell you the truth, I don't actually know 100% whether this document is present in non-ERISA plans. But don't let that stop you.) Both this and the 5500 publicly available documents I believe.


    These two documents are important because the salesmen will know their commission BUT THEY ARE UNLIKELY TO KNOW THEW HIDDEN EXPENSES. Sad but true.


    6. You want to see a copy of the contract with the participant. A copy of the contract with the sponsor, too. And a copy of the contract with each of the mutual fund families on the underlying platform.


    If I were you I would take in a copy of Loeper's "STOP THE 401K RIPOFF" and just put it on the table with my other stuff. On top. (Oh, sheesh! I might be coming across as manipulative or engaged in a power struggle!)


    Make them put any reassuring statements in writing or show them to you in the material they bring. Tell 'em you can't help it, your friends on this board are asking for this information. You're a nice guy. Your friends aren't.


    You're on the EAst Coast, aren't you? Too bad. I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall... Or I could be the Wicked Witch Of The West and you could be The Good Guy. Darn!




  7. Yakers,

    Hmmmmmmm, reading your post caused me to read other interesting material about the dangers that are befalling Lehman, Merrill Lynch, and so on. Very interesting. UBS, Bear Stearns, and these big firms with so many high-priced invesment advisors seem to have encountered difficulty doing precisely what they should know best -- investing. Interesting that our son, a regular fireman in a small town the the financially strapped midwest had been telling us for a long time about how many people were losing their homes, how many people he saw taking "bad" high-priced or adjustable mortgages who were unable to pay, and how many homes were for sale.... and these big firms kept right on buying, re-packaging and re-selling these mortgages for stunning profits. Our son's a regular guy in a pick-up truck, no financial whiz at all, and HE could see it... One is inevitably led to wonder if some of these big guys in New York, with ivy league degrees, fancy cars and weekend parties in the Hamptons were operating in a world they knew to be wrong and dangerous. Among other things, a moral failing, it appears.


    It's not much comfort, but interesting to note that the no load fund families -- Vanguard, Ariel, American Century, Fidelity, T Rowe Price, T/C and others -- seem pretty much unscathed so far. True, their businesses are confined to a narrower part of the financial field, but I wonder if it's also true that they operate with a different eithical compass. More than ever I wonder if THESE are the people we should be dealing with.


    What do others think?


    Not that I answered your question... and you sound worried.




  8. Huh! Never heard of this.... Learn something every day, I guess. JudyS



    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    [hide]Part of a series on

    Organized labour


    Syndicalism is a type of movement which aims to degrade capitalist societies through action by the working class on the industrial front. For syndicalists, labor unions are the potential means both of overcoming capitalism and of running society in the interests of the majority. Industry and government in a syndicalist society would be run by labour union federations.



  9. Matt --

    APTeacher is right about American Century -- except if you want a 403b, it's your best choice from the poor list you have.


    So set up a few mock portfolios, a couple in Vanguard through a Roth and the others in AC through your 403b, then sit down with some data from Morningstar or one of the other services (maybe Yahoo) and invent a scenario or two for the future and do a comparison. Figure the taxes, the expenses, and the return you postulate in your scenario. Shouldn't be any higher than 5th grade math, and it shouldn't wear the point off your pencil. You should have a good idea of what you want to do at the end of your exercise.



  10. Frank --


    Sorry, I can't help with your question, but have to say that you cracked me up!! You were embarrassed to ask your wife or her HR department, but not to ask the ZILLIONS of people HERE??? You have a great sense of humor!


    Of course, the joke could be on us -- maybe there isn't zillions, just 6 or 8 people, all strangers.


    But sorry -- can't help. Best of luck with your quest.



  11. All --


    I'm with Bruce M. on this issue. With unexpected and unknown changes in tax laws in the future, it seems wise to have not only a diverse set of investments, but to have a diverse set of investment vehicles. Having taxable accounts, IRAs, Roths, 401(k)s (if you can do it) and so on gives you a nice menu to choose from with you begin to make withdrawals... so you can withdraw from whichever accounts would be most favorably treated at the time. There are also charitable remainder trusts, annuities, and other vehicles that might be appropriate for various folks.


    Diversifying your eggs AND your baskets, as it were.



  12. CLJ --

    Now I feel badly about starting the rather rancorous interaction where you have felt personally attacked. As I have read through your responses it's evident that you feel very strongly about your company, your committment to the ideals you have, and your clients. That's clear. And it's also clear that you're convinced you're doing the right thing. And it may well be that you do okay by your clients and they may be better off with you than with other salespersons. I'll give you that.


    However, this is a forum for and about educators (for the most part), and as such most of us are committed to learning. You enunciated your desire to teach when you first came here, so you are interested in learning, right? Please understand that I (and many others here) have encountered sales staff who are as convinced as you are, but most of them only had the information that they learned for tests and information given to them by their companies. I'd be willing to bet that someone as earnest as you will be willing to learn a little more, above and beyond what the company provides for education. Right? So give it a s-h-o-t, CLJ, and stop by the library tomorrow and pick up a couple of books. The first one I always recommend is John Bogle's Little Book Of Common Sense Investing. It's short, it's sweet, and it's highly principled. Now be might be difficult for you to swallow Bogle, what with him being the founder of Vanguard and all, so next try this one, Swensen, David Unconventional Success.... If you're interested in investing, this will have you on the edge of your seat!! (Well, it did me, but I'm into dull stuff.)


    Again, please understand that I KNOW that people who work in jobs like yours often work with the information they have been taught by their companies and while they may know a lot, their perspective is specific and often narrow. That's why when my husband complained about expenses in his 401(k), the salesperson (the only person he had access to) denied hidden expenses. After 12 years the expenses were uncovered... and the saleman had no idea, none at all. Oh, he knew his commission, but not all the other stuff. It happens all the time, CLJ. Give the books an honest try.



  13. All --

    I'm just guessing that CLJ17 works for Lincoln Financial. Whaddya think? Lincoln Financial has done a lot of work in the area of the new 403b regs, and is one of the companies that got on board designing the generic compliance forms (is that the right term?) for ASBO, thus getting in on the ground floor. That team of firms also included AXA and ING, if I recall correctly. And some other firms. These guys are good at figuring out how to pull in business, and they correctly figured out how to get in early with Business Office folks, most of whom are apparently naive about investing.


    Of course, Fidelity, Vanguard, TRPrice and other no-load firms did NOT make this big effort... perhaps because they make a much lower %age off 403b contributions.


    Once again, the little people who understand investing issues are screwed. It ain't pretty. But maybe CLJ17 will take us for another ride -- on his yacht?



  14. JUdy,

    Also, school pysch. make more money than teachers.




    Steve -- Not in WA, they don't. Typically, school psychs are on the teachers' the salary schedule; in some districts they work extra days before and after the school year, for which they are paid, which might make it a little more. And while teachers' can get National Certification and earn a hefty bonus from the state, psychs, PTs, OTs and Speech folks, most of whom carry a national certification, are not eligible for the bonus. AND (Excuse me, this is a soapbox), while a teacher can get a Masters using weekends and night classes for a couple of years, 90+% of the time those specialists are only allowed into a graduate program if they do NOT have a day job. They usually do school full time (without pay, benefits or anything else!) for those 2 or 3 years. And because of having to take that time, on the back end, those specialists don't meet the "years" criteria for retirement until they are a couple of years OLDER than the teachers who got their "advanced" degrees on weekends, at nights, or using internet classes while they worked.


    Okay, I will calm down now and go back to my cave!!






  15. All --

    Maybe I'm wrong here, but it seems to me that much of the time it all evens out. I recall going to a lecture by a retired school psychologist, and when he talked about the amount of his pension, the audience here in WA audibly gasped. WAY more than here!!! However, on close questioning, he had never paid into SS, did not get any significant amount of SS benefit, had nice COLAs, too, I think, and when you totalled everything, it came out just about even.



  16. Glenda --

    You can go to SSA.gov and get an estimate of your SS benefits. Your benefits may be reduced from what you thought either because your highest years were your most recent or because of the # of quarters you paid in. However, go to the source for information. If that isn't good enough, you can always drop by your SS office -- there's one in most regions.






    After a couple decades in the private sector (where I paid social security) I started work at a public agency where the agency pays 15% into a retirement plan (TIAA-CREF) and I pay into a 403(b). I no longer pay social security. I have been told that even though I paid tons into social security for many many years that my future s.s. benefits when I retire will actually be reduced. This is worrisome. Where can I go to get some better information on this?



  17. Hi, Dan --

    I read this article with interest; it's similar in some ways to Scott Simons' new Morningstar article. Being an amateur, perhaps I am missing something big, but I have to wonder if the emphasis on participants having choices in index funds in retirement plans might be a red herring. If the participant CAN choose index funds, yippee! However, even more onerous expenses are found in annuity plans (and about 1/3 of 401(k)s are annuities, too, like 403(b)s, as I understand it), and in other hidden fees: revenue sharing, various administrative fees, wrap or advisory fees, sometimes M&E fees, fees for adminstering "funds of funds", commissions, sales fees, 12b-1 fees and probably more.


    Placing the emphasis on what the PARTICIPANT has to choose from -- and what the participant chooses or not -- ignores the fact that all these other fees /charges / costs are in there, costing the poor sop even more. The participant can't find them, doesn't know about them because they're deliberately placed out of his sight, and probably can't do much about them.


    Focusing on what type of funds the participant has access to puts the problem of expenses back in the participant's lap, making it his problem, and ignores the fact that major $$ is being drained out by factors that are hidden from him. THOSE are the expenses that Rep. Miller was after, it seemed to me, and the recent DOL regulations have left them all in place. The big insurance, bank and brokerage firms win again, and we lose. Again.


    Thanks for all you do -- Judy Schneider

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