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Posts posted by JudyS

  1. Verrrrrrrry interrrrrrrrresting, Tony, as Arte Johnson used to say. Good article. Presuming that the owners of SOME of those billions are teachers, doctors, nurses and preachers, there should be increasing pressure then for 403b sponsors to offer at least SOME no-loads and index options once the new rules go into effect. I'm thinking that a good many sponsors may be playing in the last band in the parade and go with systems that disallow low cost options, which will cause thenm some heartache when particpants realize it. Hopefully. NEA may find itself looking at a lot of grievances around this issue.



  2. Jarheads --


    Re: TSA language, I understand that much of the IRS regulations refer to TSAs. (I objected to the terminology in my district, and that was their response.) Unfortunately, the poor sops who run these things for the district -- busness office, payroll, or their benefits consultants, usually -- don't have a clue why the terminology should be altered to be more inclusive.


    Looks like she has Fidelity as an option, tho! Lucky you! That's a decent family with decent choices, which is better than a lot of us have. Go for it!



  3. Bruce --


    I enjoy Paul Merriman's "Sound Investing", also available through ITunes. Although their somewhat forced jocularity can grate on you, their advice is sound (a pun. Get it? Puget Sound? Sound Advice?) and they typically have interesting guests. Wish you lived closer though, Bruce! Perhaps you could teach me how to "send" it to my car radio! In the meantime, I have to do it the old fashioned way and stick those mean, ouchy little earbuds in and WALK, as in exercise. Sheesh!


    Bob Brinker's programs are also available by podcast, but I believe you have to pay for those.



  4. Fellow Travelers --


    I did wonder why the ERISA factor was involved in this suit, though it might have been thought that recent 403b requirements make them more and more like products that fall under ERISA. However, IMHO, the BIG effect has been less direct. For instance, when I read Bruce's narrative about his meeting with NEAMB members and New Jersey EA reps, it seems their receptiveness to "our" way of thinking is new. And the NY ING case and this NEA case are important in that they make it necessary for the powers that be to listen, to reconfigure their product, to be more honest, and to focus on educating staff. NEA has actually made strides in this direction, though I think their efforts have been pitifully inadequate to date. But those are all good things, as Martha would say (sorry to mix metaphors!).


    The next question is, how come NEA isn't calling some of the smart cookies on this site to HELP them make a stronger effort? For instance, Schullo and I will be retired and have nothing better to do!!! Sheesh!



  5. Joel, Bruce, Joe, Tony and others,


    I am shocked, SHOCKED!!!!!!! that Understanding has not returned to this thread to offer information that will help us understand his position. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I am plodding through Four Pillars and was hoping that he would have something a little lighter.


    Disappointed, but not surprised,





  6. Understanding,


    Variable annuities are an interesting product. Under certain circumstances, they provide a steady, reliable income during the PAYOUT phase, like for your grandmother. Most of the comments by members here are suggesting that they tend to be an inappropriate vehicle during the ACQUISITION or SAVING phase. Birds of a different color, really.


    I would certainly be interested in checking out whatever books you can recommend that suggest variable annuities would be helpful during wealth acquisition, or during your working years. Please give us a couple of names.





  7. Eagle --


    Your advisor from Raymond James is not doing you any favors if he's recommending Oppenheimer and Nationwide instead of a no-load family (such as Vanguard). You can easily figure this out by stopping by your public library and sitting down with Morningstar. Ask the reference librarian how to look up mutual funds in there. And then look at the EXPENSES or COSTS in these three fund families. It will be obvious. Your Raymond James advisor may not attend to expenses and I would not be surprised to learn that he really doesn't understand expenses or their impact -- especially the cumulative impact over years and years. That is not something that Raymond James teaches their reps, probably. That is DEFINITELY my personal experience with Edward Jones reps.


    So begin your education. This is not difficult. Begin by reading John Bogle's The Little Book Of CommonSense Investing and then move on to Larry Swedroe's The Only Guide To A Winning Investment Strategy You'll Ever Need. Tony recommended the CoffeeHouse Investor. You can be a pretty good investor if you never read any further....


    You can do it... nearly every one of us here began exactly where you are and then had to figure it out because we were getting snookered. No one on this board appears to be a genius and probably no one has a perfect portfolio, but most of us seem to be doing quite well, thank you.



  8. Bruce --


    I have been away for a few days so couldn't answer you, too, but the responses you got here were brilliant, just brilliant. The first element the listeners MUST understand, is that every cent they pay in expenses (charges, fees, etc) is $ they don't get to KEEP and $ that they don't get to use to earn more over time. Seems to me that graphs, charts, and snappy sayings stick in the minds of most people. I love this one from Saint Jack: "We investors as a group get precisely what we don't pay for. So if we pay nothing, we get everything." And then there's "The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs."


    Good luck and let us know how it goes. Some days it's a lonely battle!



  9. Bruce --


    I was at a meeting the other day where one of the participants said that he had seen a news story about a teacher "somewhere" who had put together a cost comparison of many or at least several of the common 403b choices. For some weird reason, your name immediately popped into my head! Did you? Do you know if this is true? If so do you know who did it and where we could find the info?


    Please be assured that your name is not bandied about loosely and has never before popped into my head for any purpose whatsoever!



  10. Fellow Travelers:


    So I am confused. I thought that I read here about Vanguard's reluctance to sign any ISA other than the one they created.... so assumed it would be a requirement of all vendors within a sponsor's plan. The District is also using plan, interestingly titled "Model Plan Language" with the school district's name attached, developed by PASBO and ASBO.


    Is anyone aware that LOTS of districts are using these? Is anyone aware whether any of the no-load families will sign on with districts that are using these documents?



  11. Fellow Travelers:

    Today I was provided with a copy of the Information Sharing Agreement (ISA) that our district is soon sending to the legal department for review. If approved, it will be "presented" as part of the District's plan to meet the requirements of the new regulations. No representatives from either classified or certified staff were involved in thinking this through in our district as far as I know. (Apparently I have been stonewalled! Surprise!) Also, I am guessing this ISA will be widely used across the country.


    So let me run this by you for your comment. According to the information therein, this document was "co-created by members of the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO)." According to the Acknowledgement, The PASBO 403(b) Regulation Task Force had members from some districts and PASBO as well as people from Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc., AXA, and VALIC. The ASBO International 403(b) Retirement Plan Council included representatives from ING, AXA, MetLife, TSA Training and Consulting, the Employee Benefits Council, representatives from ASBO and representatives from 3 school districts.


    What do you think?




    BTW, it brings to mind the fact that for many years I had a sign in my office with one of my favorite cautions: NEVER TRY TO TEACH A PIG TO SING. IT WASTES YOUR TIME AND ANNOYS THE PIG.


  12. Doug --


    This is EXACTLY AND PRECISELY the sort of thing that is being looked at by Congress and the Department of Labor. I would suggest that you print out your emails on this thread and email them directly to Rep. George Miller, from CA, and to the Department of Labor. I forget who it is in the DOL who has been in charge of recent hearings on "transparency", but with a phone call or two you should find out. Also, send copies to you congressmen. This is totally inappropriate that you cannot get answers to your simple, straighforward questions.



  13. Jarhead --


    You may want a CFP, but BE CERTAIN THAT YOU ARE TALKING TO SOMEONE WHO ONLY DOES FEE-ONLY PLANNING! CFPs are a dime a dozen, but fee-only types are somewhat rarer. Lots of CFPs sell, sell, sell, but if you find yourself in that position, don't buy, don't buy, don't buy. You have time. There is no point in rushing.


    It does sound like you had one of those experiences that MOST of us here on this site have had... one last salesman, realizing that we had been taken yet again, and most importantly, realizing that we were going to have to take the financial bull by the horns. You can do it... stick around, develop your summer reading list, and you will learn a lot.


    If you run out of things to read, you can find some more at the Recommended Reading List at www.bobbrinker.com


    Welcome to our world!





  14. Fellow Travellers --


    I THINK this is an easy question. I have been informed that my district is finalizing an agreement form for vendors, and once they do THAT, the 403b issue will be brought to the Benefits Committee. So does anyone know of a ###### agreement form that has been developed that is being accepted by companies such as American Century and Vanguard?





  15. Joel, Joel, Joel,


    You're right. Flanagan seems like a nice guy, but he ain't no Bob Brinker.


    However, in 401(k)s, a sales person generally brings a mutual fund line-up to the sponsor. In many 401(k)s there are several parties with their hands out -- the sales person who brings the plan to the sponsor, the TPA, and the company actually managing the selection of funds. If you read the Bloomberg article in the Markets Magazine about my husband's plan, there was the sales staff bringing the product to the sponsor, the TPA, and John Hancock, who put together the selection of mutual funds, some of which were (on a retail basis, anyway) no-loads. In fact, in this VERY pricey plan, three of the choices were actually DFA funds, which we still cannot figure out. In my husband's case -- as in about 1/3 of 401(k)s, we understand -- it was actually set up as an annuity, though the sales person denied that (he probably didn't know). It took an independent fiduciary many, many hours to estimate how much $$ was missing from my husband's account. Whether the funds are loaded or not inside the plan (which may be quite different than whether they are loaded in a retail basis) is often difficult to figure out. In the end, in some of these 401(k)s, the "loads" may be the least of of a participant's worries. There's revenue sharing and admin costs and all sorts of other "leaks" where $$ disappears.


    Most people don't know, and according to the recent article in Kiplinger's, very few people complain to ERISA, appropriate authorities, or their congressmen.




    This story cites Loeper's book, "Stop the 401(k) Ripoff". I cannot recommend this book strongly enough!!!! Loeper is so committed that each book you buy has coupons inside that allow you to send a FREE copy to someone who may need it! Amazon has plenty -- and it's fascinating reading.






  16. BruceinWayne --


    Yep, this is a crummy story. Hopefully this young teacher will learn from this experience and has plenty of time to right the wrongs that were done to her. Then when she's the age of AP Teacher and me, she will have a self-deprecating horror story to tell, advising the next generation. It's all a learning experience. And maybe she will have enough math skills to add up what it cost her in lost earnings over the prior 20 years or so.


    Too bad she didn't learn it when she had just $5000, tho. The bite on $30,000 will be huge. That said, if she's figured out the problem, she could be all over that salesman every day until he HELPS her get out of it. Waste his time, tie up his phone line, write letters to his superiors, write notes to him on the board in the staff room. (Like, "Hey, Bob! Come on down to my classroom, and tell me how we are going to get out from under that $2100 fee AXA is charging me for nothing!! Love, Bernice") That sort of thing.


    Hhmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..... guess that class I took in creative complaining is paying off!



  17. Williemon --


    Here's one more hare-brained idea that you could check out. Ask your payroll office if employees can use the state 457 plan. I know we can in WA, but not sure in other states. If you CAN use a 457, check it out and see how good it is. If it's a reasonable plan, check out one more thing -- can you roll your 403b into the 457? A simple phone call to the good peaple at the 457 plan should answer that question.


    Now this may or may not work.... but hopefully someone here on this fine site will step in and correct me or come up with yet another idea.


    All of us who are here have been right where you are there.... Keep thinking! JudyS

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