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  1. Sorry to step in at this point in the thread but I want to offer my experience. During the restructuring days of 403b programs my district lost Fidelity, the only low cost provider offered to us. I repeatedly asked why, why not, etc. Not many good answers were provided. I knew and liked the district person responsible for payroll and this program but I had to keep pushing. I called Fidelity and our TPA and supposedly it had something to do with an agreement that the TPA wanted Fidelity to agree to. One day during a call payroll said, "Ok, you can have Fidelity." Just like that. This always perplexed me. So when I hear that people are told they can't use a low cost provider I think about this strange situation that I experienced. And as mentioned earlier, it is a shame so many people feel they don't have the knowledge or ability to invest in their 403b.
  2. Fuccille- I'll just offer my encouragement as you approach your district for better options. Our district offered Fidelity as a low cost provider but then took it away when regulations were changed. We were left with expensive insurance products. I asked over and over to get Fid. back but it was to no avail. Then one day after a year or two as I was asking again for Fidelity or Vanguard the payroll person got very and said I could have Fidelity. I didn't understand how the answer could be no for so long and then all of a sudden it was yes. I guess the message is to keep trying.
  3. bk, After hearing your meeting situation maybe we don't have it so bad! I'm 57 and in my 36th year of teaching. My wife is 52 and is also a veteran teacher. Because of her age she has to teach until 62 while I was grandfathered in our state's plan and have a retirement age of 60(59.5 with sick leave). SLO, TPEG evaluation, PPG.....all sounds familiar. We generally have 2 required meetings a week which probably sounds good to you but we see it as having a meeting for the purpose of having a meeting. My wife has school work well into the evening while mine is a bit more sporadic because of planning periods most days. Like you, I still walk away most days feeling as though I got through to the students and bettered their day in some way. But everything else adds up. I'm lucky to have a former colleague as my principal. She understands our situation and tries to be a bit of a filter and buffer while accomplishing district objectives at the same time. My brother retired 3 years ago with the same feelings we are experiencing. He seems content and, as he said, has not had a cold or flu in those three years of retirement. I will continue on for the two years and then I will have to make that decision. Best of luck. Thanks for being a sounding board.
  4. I know I'm jumping into this conversation late but it involves the very same situation I am considering. Tony's last post rang so true to me. 30+ years teaching in the same district and I believe functioning at a very effective level. Now many of my peers have moved on and the faces at workshops are those of strangers as mine is to them I'm sure. I still love the teaching but there is much more we have to do now that seems to keep us from our craft and just keeps us busy. Yes, things aren't the same. Our financial adviser feels I'm set to retire in 2 years and my wife a bit later. It will be a difficult decision to leave the profession I worked hard to join and that I've loved. I foresee the leap of faith it will have to be to leave and I will miss most parts of the profession. But I'm hoping those yet to be visited trout ponds and hardwood ridges will help justify my decision. I bet the generation of teachers I eventually helped replace had similar feelings as their careers wound down. Good luck to those making this decision.
  5. Steve- I will keep you posted as/if I meet with the adviser. At heart I'm pretty frugal and have gone it alone but that has done me pretty well so far. Guess I'm doubting myself a bit as I get closer to retirement and wanted that opinion from an expert. Honestly, I won't get to this for a bit. It's report card time and parent conferences are approaching. I'm sure you remember these hectic parts of the year(I believe I read that you were an educator). T
  6. Steve- Interesting opinions from your friends' experiences. The adviser I emailed offers a free first consult-a "get acquainted " meeting- and works on a fee basis only with connections to no products. I might go ahead with the first consult and get a feel for things. I am just looking for advice as to how I should manage my portfolio rather than hiring an active manager. I'm a do-it-your-self investor but as I approach retirement I wonder how I should position myself. My wife uses a big company to manager her account of stocks and bonds and he has looked over our collective portfolio. He feels we are looking good for retirement in 3 years for me and 10 years for my wife and has not tried to push his products on her/us. I am looking for a second opinion. I will let you know how things go if I make an appointment. Thanks T
  7. Thank you. The link directed me to an adviser I had located after my post last night. I may confer with one of the folks listed.
  8. I know the phrasing isn't quite right but I'm trying to find a pay by the hour financial adviser who can be trusted to give unbiased advice. I once came across a recommended list by state but I can't locate it again. I almost think it was on this site. Can anyone direct me to an "approved" listing? I am in Maine for what it's worth. Thanks
  9. Thanks, Tony. I would guess she is indeed in a managed fund. Unfortunately she is like most folks I have talked to in our district. That is, they don't feel they know anything about investing and they put their faith in the person allowed to speak to faculty during teachers' meetings. My wife offered my help but the young lady hasn't responded yet. I will wait for her to approach me. If she does I will find out what she is invested in and get the surrender fee info. as you suggested. I will definitely direct her to low cost funds with Fidelity and try to impress upon her how simple this matter can be.
  10. Probably this topic has been covered so I apologize. My school district once offered Fidelity...dropped Fidelity...now has Fidelity. A young teacher who works with my wife started contributing through Valic and complained that her balance was in the negative. I believe she has been with them for three years or so. One of her relatives advised her to contribute more. I would like to advise her to switch to Fidelity. Fidelity is the only low cost vendor we have...and that took some work. Does anyone know how steep the penalty would be for this young lady? As she is quite young I think it would it be worth paying some fees just to be out and with Fidelity. Thanks for any help.
  11. Amymad, I was in almost the same position. The best option my district provided was Fidelity-we lost it after the regulation shakeup. I continually approached our TPA, the vendor reps, and our payroll staff about offering just one low cost mutual fund option. Finally one day our payroll person insisted they could not get Fidelity or Vanguard and I guess I said he right thing because she got testy and said fine you can have Fidelity. Just like that. This left me scratching my head in confusion as to how the conversation could go from a definite no to OK here you go. TGO
  12. Thanks for the info Dave. I will pass this along to her. I'm sure it is an annuity product. At the time she opened it our district only provided vendors that sold high fee products. Her new district offers two great choices.
  13. I'm sure this has been discussed but a quick search didn't turn up much. A young lady who worked with us is leaving the district for a new teaching position. Long story short: she had a 403B with ING but now has access to Vanguard and TIAA-Cref with her new employer. ING is not available but some of the other usual suspects are. I want to offer some advice to her about the importance of using Vanguard or TIAA. Can she move the money from ING to another vendor in this case without penalty? Thanks
  14. Steve, I think the change of TPA was the biggest factor in getting a decent choice or two for the district. I was quite persistent in politely asking for a low cost vendor and I think the payroll person got tired of hearing from me as well. So tired I was hung up on after being told Fidelity was a go. Considering we are a very small, rural district, I am happy we now have two decent choices for those of us who want to avoid high cost products. I feel good in knowing folks now have good options.
  15. For anyone keeping score-my district officially has Fidelity as a vendor. ...again. The cost is as it was before: $24/year plus fund fees. It took 6 frustrating years for it to happen but it did. The suddenness of it leaves me wondering why it couldn't have taken place sooner.
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