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Posts posted by JudyS

  1. Melina --


    BTW, if you're looking for a lawyer, you might ask around at the firm that has filed the NEA suit -- they may know someone in your area. At least they understand some essentials about the 403b market. They are interested... the firm is at www.kellerrohrback.com The name of the lead attorney in the NEA case is Derek Loeser.



  2. Melina --

    Of COURSE you are frightened when you think about taking charge of your own $$. We all were... and some of us still ARE, from time to time. Especially in this market. Keep telling yourself this: you cannot do worse that you did with an agent!!


    Once you make a plan, do it. A few years out you will look back and say, "I wish I did #1 thing instead of #2 thing, but I did well with #3 thing." Everyone does. Hindsight is always more accurate than foresight, but you CAN put together an effective investing plan. You will do MUCH better than you did with your advisor.


    So begin the education process. You are an educator -- you can learn this stuff. It is NOT rocket science, and the K-I-S-S principle is paramount. After Dan's book the next one I always recommend is also short, an easy read, and you can probably find it at your library. It's by John Bogle (he founded Vanguard funds) and it's called The Little Book of Common Sense Investing. You will know more than 90% of your friends when you finish it!! And 80% of "advisors". Compared to teaching 2nd graders re-grouping, this is a piece of cake.


    Once you have done the above, ask again and you will get all kinds of people here giving you good ideas on your next steps. You're among friends, now, and to some extent, we have all been where you are now!! Welcome.



  3. Greetings 403bwise readers,

    I have been looking at the negative impact that cost have on the long-term investment performance. Check out this post and let me know what you think. Am I off base here? If so, where?


    Gerry Born

    Do Investment Costs Really Matter? If So, How Much?



    Gerry --

    Interesting blog. You appear to be on a roll! Good work! Unfortunately, I cannot review your math (anything above 4th grade math is typically over my head), but it "looks good".


    Couple of issues. Coudn't get a some links to work, and at least a couple of your blogs did not respond to my clicking (I have been taking 2 exercise classes, so I know it's not that I'm too weak to click!)


    BTW, you can send me that restaurant coupon!! Nice work, that return!



  4. Edy --

    This is my personal theory, nothing more, but comes from watching tax issues evolves in unexpected ways over the years. (Every time Reagan bragged about lowering taxes, ours went up -- go figure!) So here it is: Not only is it sensible to appropriately diversify the investments in your portfolio, it seems like a mightly fine idea to diversify the TYPES of accounts or vehicles -- 403(b), 401(k), IRA, Roth, taxable, and so on. Then when you're ready to withdraw, you can choose how to do so most efficiently.


    Someone here a lot smarter with me will come up with a refinement or better idea -- for sure!



  5. Steve and all,


    I THINK it's actually titled "NEA Member Benefits Insurance Trust", which is even scarier, don't you think??? Maybe I ought to look that up, just to be sure.


    Here's another resource, from our very own government, no less, and in here somewhere is mentioned Jump$tart, oddly enough! www.sec.gov/investor/teachers.shtml



  6. Steve --

    Another organization that is working on behalf of teachers in terms of investing is Better Investing. They are the "mothership" for investment clubs. Better Investing has teamed with NEA and the result can be viewed at :




    This partnership apparently developed after the Daniels-Hall lawsuit :) I have not seen much publicity about this, tho, and wonder how actively it is being developed and promoted.



  7. Steve --


    Well, just poking around on Jump$tart's website provided some insight. This is a program to assist teachers in locating materials and teaching basic financial literacy, basically to secondary students. Appears aimed at home science teachers, math teachers, and economics teachers and the like. References abound to finacianl companies who support the mission -- like Merrill Lynch, Capital 1 and Wachovia. However, there is a LONG list of partners, including Scouts, AARP, AAUW, FDIC and so on. I see NO MENTION of ideas around investment theory, low cost investing, how to handle retirement programs (401(k)s) and such. Debt management, how to buy a car, understanding basic economics, managing a checking account (almost an outdated notion, no?) is their emphasis.


    Interesting, but distant from our concerns here, I think.



  8. Kev --

    ######, at the first read of your initial statement, it looked good... as happens so often, tho, once you begin to delve into the specifics, the more problems are encountered.


    EWvaluating or asking about the fees is, in my experience, problematic. And sorry, Darren, it really is in my EXPERIENCE. If you ask about the "fees", you might get a straight answer. Unfortunately, you didn't ask about the "costs", or "expenses" or the "revenue sharing" or whatever, whatever, whatever. It has happened in the past that when YOU AND I think we are using a ###### term that would cover everything, the companies are separating the $$ into many categories, called different things (expenses, fees, costs, charges, etc. etc. so you can't get a handle on it. In my EXPERIENCE.


    Also, in MY EXPERIENCE the salespeople (advisors) often are not really dishonest. They understand how they get paid, sure, but they nearly ALWAYS do not know about other, hidden fees. These are typically not economics graduates, they are people TRAINED by the companies they work for and are only given information the company has decided that the sales force needs to know. These companies often do NOT give their salespeople a total picture, because they don't want them to be dishonest with the customers... it's better if they just don't have the information. In my EXPERIENCE.




  9. Kev --

    We will be waiting with baited breath to hear your adventures as you go through this process. The IASBO forms are what have been chosen by my SD as well, and at the bottom of the form you can read the contributors -- who are the "usual suspects" in the insurance / annuity business. When I reviewed the forms I could find no evidence of any no-load mutual fund company's involvement.


    This will be rough for participants. I can imagine that the buniness office and SD folks will simply say that they have put together viable forms / procedures, and if certain companies choose not to sign, that's their problem. The participants will lose.


    Please keep us informed.



  10. Intruder --

    When greater transparency is required in 401(k)s, it will be a small step to have the same done in 403(b)s... so we start whenever an opportunity presents itself. Besides, our house is like many others -- one of us has a 403(b) and the other has a 401(k).... It's all good...





  11. Hmmmmmmmmmm How interesting. Would you share on why you're avoiding Vanguard, TIAA-CREF and TRowePrice? Seems rather odd. But as long as you're avoiding them, there are plenty of insurance companies that are still into 403(b)s, we know for sure. You could try the usual suspects -- AXA, Lincoln Financial, and ING, for instance.



  12. Jarhead and Admin --

    And it would be lovely, too, if ALL the fees, costs, and expenses were clearly delineated. If history is any guide, the industry will fight this tooth and nail. To counter that, we need to write in OUR opinion -- any idea where to write, exactly? This is a place where we can have a real impact with such a simple act, especially if numerous people write. First the 401k world, then the 403b world.....



  13. ft6 --

    Not to disagree with Scotty (far be it from me!), but as I read this stuff, it appears that the new IRS rules imply that reasonable choices must be made available to you... and I would STRONGLY suggest that if you do not get some low-cost mutual fund family choices, you FILE A GRIEVANCE. First, however, get hold of the contract between the district and the bargaining unit to see if there's anything in there that will help you. They're might be. If not, it can always come up at the next bargaining session, too!


    For many districts, I think that taking this kind of quasi-legal action will be the only way to get them to sit up and take notice and decide to try to do the RIGHT thing rather than just do ANYTHING that they're told by some sales reps.



  14. Admin --


    A year ago I protested the use of "TSA" as the terminology in my district's benefits booklet. They quite haughtily informed me that a check of IRS regs showed that they were right and I should please be quiet and not bother the really, really important people any more.


    Yesterday I sent a link to your new glossary to the benefits consultant so that he could see (from a REAL expert!) the problem with the TSA/ 403(b)(7) terminology. Today, I got an answer saying that they would change some of the verbiage in the benefits booklet. So your glossary WORKS!!!!! When the benefits booklet comes out, we'll see how well they did, but I am grateful this fellow listened!


    Now we're marching on to adjusting their terminology on the pay stub.


    Gosh, it would be nice if one could take on larger, more important issues and not have to fight for every little thing! How in the world are we going to get these folks to understand the HUGE difference between no-load and insurance (high participant cost) products? I have a sinking feeling that we will have to resort to legal means -- from grievances up to lawsuits. That will not be fun. Sigh.


    But thanks for all you do... every day, in little and big ways, we out here profit by your work!





  15. Admin and whomever --


    I like the new site design, where everything is clearly laid out and the various participants can easily and clearly find "their" spot. Clean, clear, and the palette is calming to those among us who are prone to a fit of passion!!



  16. Tony -- Unfortunately, this article is out of date and I believe the legislation Quinn was referring to was George Miller's. I THINK this is now pretty much dead in the water. Sadly. It's still worthwhile to make a ###### statement to your congressperson, I suppose, but it lacks the impact it would have had a while back. Sigh.



  17. Tony --

    This is an interesting article, proving that "You never know.." About a year ago it occurred to me (probably late one sleepless night!) that it might be wise to expand on the idea of diversification. Not only should you diversify your investment classes, but it's probably a good idea to diversify your investment VEHICLES, such as Roth, after-tax, 401(k), and so on. Then you would have maximum flexibility to consider all the factors (which will be new and different than today's, naturally) when it's time to make withdrawals, gifts, and whatever.


    But I would be delighted if someone wishes to argue that idea so we can all learn something...



  18. Jarhead --


    Yes, it is confusing. Here is what we have been told directly from Bloomberg... it will air (note it's all in EASTERN standard time, so adjust accordingly)


    Thurs., June 19 7:00pm, 9:00pm (preempts ½ M&P)

    Fri., June 20 11:00pm (preempts MarketWeek)

    Sat. June 21 5:30am BTV and E! (preempts FTR) 7:00pm (preempts Muse)

    Sun. June 22 9:30am (preempts FTR)

    Fri July 4 (holiday) will air 3-4 times. Times TBD


    Good Luck!!



  19. Fellow Travelers:


    For the last several months my husband and I have participated in a Bloomberg TV piece about hidden fees. In fact, the program is called "401(k) Hidden Fees". If you're interested, it will be airing on Bloomberg TV Thursday June 19 at 7 and 9 PM EASTERN Standard Time, we are told. It will air again Friday the 20th at 11 PM. Included will be -- I hope -- one of the plaintiffs in the NEA case as well as a bunch of other folks. (I seem to recall that they promised me the camera would take OFF 10 pounds and 10 years, but it sure doesn't look like it on the "teaser"! (That's my husband and I on the sofa.....))


    Here's a teaser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjhJXsj7FxQ




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