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  1. Probably the right choice. I'm also curious if your administrator would even let you get at the money. The hardship rules are pretty strict. If your house was in foreclosure then I could see that being allowed. But wanting reserves for a house purchase would be very iffy. BTW, I would just keep saving and try to get to the city you want to live in. It seems like double dip housing drop is more likely than home prices going up. And with gas/commodity prices on the rise, shortening your commute will be a good thing financially as well as for your mental health.
  2. My wife brought home a letter a couple days ago saying that 90-24 transfers were restricted for out of plan companies and "do at your own risk" for in-plan companies. We've still got some assets that we need to move into Fidelity from Pioneer (another in-plan provider) but the letter has us taking a wait-and-see approach. I knew the 90-24 restrictions were coming but I was shocked and disappointed at how fast the door was closed. Now all we have is some promises of (paraphrasing, not an exact quote) "we are looking into it and will update you as soon as possible". In hindsight, we should have just paid the surrender charges to get out of the couple of decent-performing funds. We aren't totally stymied like Hawkwin but I am wary with the transfer-at-your-own-risk language.
  3. I thought TMF died when the internet bubble burst. I still get their spam in my inbox touting how this or that portfolio is so fantastic, but I thought people just filtered them out. Now everybody is on the Jim Kramer bandwagon for this bull market and he'll be the favored media guru until his followers go over a cliff.
  4. A couple of thoughts: 1. A couple making 250k a year and both maximizing their 401k, 403b, IRAs is already putting away close to 40k in retirement money. That is a large amount of money and a 15+% savings rate that is not being captured in the presented numbers. My wife and I aren't in the 250k club but we do try to maximize all of our tax advantaged savings. We have stuff in savings and money market (CA tax free) in case of emergencies but most savings is tax deferred. We've already funded our emergency account. 2. There is probably something to the rich figuring they can just save later. Again, I don't have experience in the 250k club but I know that as our incomes have increased we are more carefree when it comes to buying things like lunches (used to make our own, now usually buy something prepared). Maybe the rich figure they don't need to save because they'll just make another $1000 tomorrow when they go to work. So while the overactive consumerism is definitely disappointing, I wish the article included IRA numbers. Ignoring them makes the article more alarmist and juicy. The broad brush can make savvy (IMO) savers look just as wreckless as spendthrifts.
  5. +1 for Fidelity. We switched from Pioneer to Fidelity a year ago. Original district literature (a copy of a copy of a copy) that my wife got when she got her job didn't list the no-load options from Fidelity and Vanguard. Hopefully your Fidelity is not the advisor funds.
  6. My only fear in saving too much is I fear that the government will make services need-based to save money when I retire in a few decades. Because of discipling saving, I should have a lot in the bank and retirement accounts. My fear is that the gov't denies me free services because I have plenty in the bank while my "neighbor" who never saved but instead spent every extra cent on a brand new SUV every 2 years, will be eligible for benefits. Aside from that cynicism, I don't see how you can really save too much. My wife likes to get to the airport verrrrrry early for flights. Is it wasting some time? Maybe, but the piece of mind is worth much more to her than the opportunity cost of that hour. The same argument can be made about saving. I wonder about those economists and I won't be rushing out to purchase ESPlanner any time soon.
  7. I'll say this for sales people, it took a sales call last year (and a ubiquitous pitch to get into annuities) to get me finally off my rear and researching better investment options for my wife's 403b. By good fortune, I stumbled onto this site. We then figured out that we didn't have to invest in load funds in order to invest in a 403b in the LA County. So a persistent sales pitch finally opened our eyes to the ability to change investments into something better. I contacted Fidelity, she filled out the forms, we waited a few months for the salary reduction to switch companies, and she's been contributing to Fidelity for 5 paychecks now. I'd like to expose this site too. It is frequented by a bunch of stubborn folks who think your money should work for you and not put somebody else's kids and grandbabies through college. You guys saved the wife and I a bunch of money in load fees. There is no hidden agenda. You guys are plainly obvious-- people willing to spend a little time to save yourselves money and also willing to help others. Thank you so much.
  8. Not a millionaire (yet) and not an index fund militant, but I am very active in trying to get low fee funds. I have a hard time paying good money for mediocre returns. Both Fidelity and Vanguard have a large assortment of funds that meet or beat the market with fees consistently less than 1% (many, many have fees less than 0.5%). I still own some actively managed funds but I got burned enough during the dot-com boom to realize that a lot of big returns can evaporate quickly. I made great returns off of Strong Growth when Ron Ognar was running the fund. Then the boom ended and the 120% annual return was lost. Then came the fund's manager change, the Strong funds scandal, and (finally... too late) I had enough of that scene. So I like index funds, I like Vanguard's quants, and I like a handful of active funds. I think the wife and I only have one active fund not at Fidelity/Vanguard though. So any of the actives can be very quickly switched to an index if there is a manager change or other reason.
  9. Yep. Do it yourself and save the 0.5%. My wife is a LA County teacher and I helped her with the forms and it probably took 6-8 hours to fill everything out and get it into her district office so that they could start the salary reduction. We went with Fidelity but the process should be the same. As long as you can be patient (Fid/Van sets up the account in your name, you get the account number and put on the salary reduction forms, you turn in the forms, in 30-60 days your check is reduced, 10-15 days after that you have money in your 403b) it is easy. And once you fill out the forms, you can use those originals as the boilerplate for future modifications; although my wife's forms have a smaller (easier) section to change the reduction vs. starting one.
  10. Ira, thank you for the heads up (albeit somewhat obvious). I also own Vanguard funds so I am well aware of the advantages of lower fees. It just seems that the Fidelity actively managed funds actually get the same to a little bit more performance than the Vanguard actively managed funds, even the quants which usually do very well with low costs(and I hold some in my portfolio too). The actively managed Fidelity funds do not have exorbitent fees (I'd say almost all are less than the average for their peers) and the Spartan funds have LOWER fees than the Vanguard equivalent. I guess if I was going to be more clear in my statement, I would say that I was unable to find a Vanguard mix that was comparable to Fidelity Capital Appreciation, Fidelity Value, and the Spartan funds. I feel that Fidelity was the better choice for our situation. We have Vanguard Strategic Equity in my retirement but that fund is closed to new investors as of April. It was harder to get a set of Vanguard funds that could provide opportunities each of the "style boxes" of large/mid/small in growth/blend/value. IMO, Fidelity vs. Vanguard is splitting hairs. Both are great no-load families.
  11. I think you are going to be set either way. Vanguard vs. Fidelity is a very good choice to have. We had the same choice and put my wife's 403b into Fidelity. I have a 401k rollover IRA in Vanguard so we figured it was good to have money at each of the big no-load families. Plus I liked the fixed $24 charge for unlimited funds. And the Fidelity funds had slightly better 3-5 year performance.
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