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Posts posted by krow36

  1. A lot of school districts have lost Vanguard as a 403b vendor. There are probably several reasons for that, but Vanguard has changed their 403b program and a number of school districts have recently added Vanguard back on to their vendor list. I suggest you join the 403bwise Facebook Group. Scott and Dan, who run the Group, are in contact with Vanguard and might be able to help you get Vanguard added to your district's 403b list. There's a sticky on this forum that will give you the link.  

  2. OK, I was afraid that the rep had filled out the form for you. Paying the 0.6% "advisor" fee for a few months (or even a few years) doesn't mean it is a disaster. Added to Aspire's 0.15% fee, the total fee of 0.75% is certainly not ideal, but I think that even with the added 0.6% fee, it is almost certain that Aspire is the lowest cost vendor on your district's 403b vendor list. And the only one that offers low-cost index funds. If you contribute $400/mo or $4800/yr, the 0.6% fee will only cost you an extra $28.80/yr. Hopefully you can change to the self-directed Aspire plan in January. You probably know that with Aspire, you can use all the Vanguard Admiral class mutual funds. 

    As far as I know, IL does not offer a low-cost state-run 457 plan to school district employees.  

  3. Kieran, welcome to the forum! When you filled out the Aspire application form, in the space where it asked for agent info, did you write "self-directed"? If not, you will probably be charged a fee, I think it's 0.6%. You can confirm that with the agent. You don't need the agent if you know what investment company and what funds you want to use, which we can help you with if you want. If I were you, I would call up Aspire and tell them you want to self direct. It's possible that your district requires that you have an agent, although I hope not. 

    What other vendors are on your district's 403b vendor list? Does you district offer a 457b plan and if so what are the vendors? What state are you in? Many states have a low-cost state run 457 plan that is available to school district employees.


    5 hours ago, ScottO said:

    There's a quote out there from someone about how when you have $100k, the next $10k will come eventually, but if you have $1mil that next $10k is inevitable.... or something(I understand the math behind it, but I don't have the million to prove it right or wrong.) Gotta build up that nest egg.

    I think the math proves it doesn't? It takes longer to get a 10% increase than it takes to get a 1% increase! 😊

  5. Ed, the OP states that the relative is with a charter school, not a public school district. Charter schools are often private, non-profit organizations that have a single vendor 403b plan. A "governmental 457" is not available to private schools. We don't know what 403b plan AXA is using, or their fees, or even whether the school matches contributions. If the charter school's pay scale is modest which is often the case, I think it's likely that the relative will be in a low tax bracket. I think using either a traditional or a Roth IRA is very reasonable in this case. 

    I agree that if AXA waived the surrender fee on separation from employment, an expensive variable annuity could be considered over a short period of time, a few years. I don't think that's likely, but we would have to know the plan name and check its prospectus to know for sure. If the relative could max the 403b over 2 years, that might be worth it. I don't think contributing only 2k or 3k/yr would be worth it, and I'd prefer it to into a brokerage account.

    I think your disparagement of a taxable brokerage account is perhaps unjustified. The modest amount of taxable dividends that a fund like Vanguard's Total Stock Market fund generates should not a significant problem for someone likely to be in the 12% bracket while at the charter school.  

  6. The answer to Tony's question is important: can she contribute more than $6000 to retirement plans? If not, then skip the 403b. Does she have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses? If her school is a public school, it's possible she can use the excellent NY state 457b plan. It is available to NY public schools although the school may not be utilizing it. Are you certain that Equitable (aka AXA) is the district's only 403b vendor? That's unusual for a public school district, but possible. 

    The Equitable Series 201 is a variable annuity that has high fees: the lowest fund expense ratio is about 0.6%, most are around 1% or more, and there's a 1.20% admin fee. There's a 5% surrender fee  that lasts 5 years. So we strongly urge against it.

  7. Eggbread, in addition to finding out the surrender fee from Equitable, you need to get their form for moving your 403b balance from them to Vanguard. They issue a numbered form to you that has to be completed and returned by a set date, maybe 30 days? Folks have had to start over when their turn-in date was passed. Their form will have to be signed by your third party administrator (TPA) and maybe Vanguard (I can't remember). 

  8. I retired in 1992 and since Roth accounts didn’t start until 1997, I didn’t have to make any decision on Roth vs traditional contributions. We have converted some traditional IRA to Roth IRA. We don’t have your problem of a high tax bracket as we took early retirement after 16 years. 

    With 2 pensions and social security, possibly large deferred contribution accounts could well put you in a higher income tax bracket in retirement than you are in currently. Especially after age 72 when RMDs start. I think it might be prudent to use at least half Roth for the 403b and 457 accounts. You can reassess every few years as the tax code changes. 

    Another consideration is saving in a taxable account vs a Roth account. They both have the same initial tax cost, but with no further tax, the Roth beats taxable. 

    I should have mentioned that Security Benefit has NEA Direct Invest which is lower cost than the state DCP. Is SB on the district 403b list?

  9. I am a retired WA state teacher. I understand that you are favoring the state deferred compensation 457 plan rather than contributing more than the minimum to the defined contribution part of the TRS plan 3 hybrid plan. Both use the same funds with the same fees. That sounds reasonable to me. Are you firm on using a Retirement Strategy fund? They are certainly diversified, but the total fees are about twice those of the 2 basic US stock and bond index funds.

    US Large Cap Equity Index fund, all fees including expense ratio: 0.1313%

    WA State Bond fund, all fees including expense ratio: 0.1373%

    As for whether there are lower-cost 403b vendors on your district’s list, that depends. I think you can narrow the low-cost 403b vendors that are lower cost than the WA state 457 plan to Fidelity and Vanguard. Are they on the vendor list?

  10. 3 hours ago, eggbread said:

    I spoke with a Vanguard rep about rolling over my 403(b) variable annuity from Equitable. The person I spoke to said that when I rollover my 403(b) it will go into a Vanguard IRA.

    Hmmm. The Vanguard rep either didn't get your question right, or was misinformed. If your AXA 403b is with your current employer, you can transfer, in a trustee to trustee exchange, to any 403b vendor that is on your employer's 403b vendor list. AXA charges a surrender fee, depending on which AXA annuity you have. For Series 201, it's 5% for contributions made less than 5 years ago.

    If your AXA 403b was with a previous employer, you would be able to roll it over to an IRA. There is no limit on the amount you can roll over into an IRA. You are right, there is an annual limit in the amount that you can contribute to your IRA, currently $6000, $7000 if over age 50.

    3 hours ago, eggbread said:

    The Vanguard person I spoke to said although Vanguard is on the list of approved vendors for my district, that it actually goes through a third party? Does that mean I will not be able to have my pre-tax contributions automatically deducted from my paycheck, like I did with my variable annuity 403(b)?

    Several years ago, Vanguard contracted the running of their 403b plans for smaller organizations to Newport Group. All it means is that they will handle the 403b administration details, but it’s a Vanguard 403b. All 403b plans involve salary reduction agreements that allow your contributions to be deducted from your salary each pay period.

  11. This is being discussed in the 403bwise FB Group. It's a large private school organization and the 4 vendors are competing. I suspect they are not using the generic offerings that are made to public school districts. There's an employer match of 3% to 7% so I guess it's a ERISA 403b. 

  12. Rich, welcome to the forum. Yes, the IRS allows a 403b from a prior employer to be rolled into a 457b plan if the 457b plan allows it and the 403b balance is put in a separate account. The 403b balance can be invested in the 457b funds, but it remains a 403b. Colorado has a state low-cost 457b plan and hopefully that is where she wants to move her 403b balance. I'm confident that the CO 457b allows transfer of of 403b balances from prior employers.

  13. How close to 59.5 are you? I would view the no penalty for early withdrawal as a form of insurance, hopefully not used, but you never know. Are you employed with a current 457b that you could roll the old one into? A 457b account may have stronger creditor protection than an IRA, I don't know. Are you employed and have a 403b? You can make penalty-free distributions from your employer's 403b at age 55. I made use of this when I was unexpectedly offered retirement at age 56.

    If the admin fee and expense ratios of the ICMA-RC 457b are high, that would probably cause me to roll it over. 

  14. On 8/13/2020 at 9:33 AM, Marian said:

    I did read one place that there are some tax issues about Roth v. traditional to consider for the heirs to a 403b, so I plan to call the accountant and find that out. Does anyone know anything about that?

    I don't know of issues with 403b specifically, as far as taxes and heirs are concerned. Almost everyone transfers their 403b balances into an IRA after retirement, or should. The rules for inheriting any retirement account (403b, 457, 401k, IRA etc.) were changed recently. A non-spouse beneficiary may no longer stretch the taking of distributions over their lifetime. Instead of having Required Minimum Distributions every year, the beneficiary has 10 years to empty the inherited account. It doesn't matter when during those 10 years, it just has to be empty at the end. If the account is a traditional account, the beneficiary needs to consider when it's best to take the tax hit. An inherited Roth account doesn’t have any tax due on distribution, but still needs to be empty at the end of 10 years. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/inherited-a-roth-ira-heres-what-to-do-now/ 

  15. Tony, thanks for the kind words. Coming from you, the one most responsible for keeping this forum going these days, they are appreciated! I've been spending time helping on the 403bwise Facebook Group, and it seems very successful in spreading the word. The Group is developing a number of knowledgeable teachers that are organizing on a district and building level. There are lots of zoom sessions with Dan and Scott as well as frequent posts by them. There are teachers showing up for help just about every day! I don't use FB myself, but this FB Group is effective. I think this forum is a much better medium for conferring and storing information, but the FB Group is preferred by today's teachers.

  16. mike031, welcome back to the forum! In your 2017 thread you wrote that you had both the Lincoln Investment PDP and the NEA Direct Invest available to you and you decided to go with Direct Invest. Does your wife also have the PDP available? If so, I wonder if Lincoln Investment is also on her district's 457 vendor list? If neither of you are contributing to a 457 plan, the PDP is very low-cost. And she could contribute to both the PDP 403b and the PDP 457 for a single $35/yr administration fee. Maybe you are already contributing to a state-run 457 plan? The lack of an early distribution fee (10%)of the 457 if she quits her current employer could come in handy.  

  17. The PFS Invest 403b would be a possible vendor that you could use to transfer your AXA account into. Their expense ratios run from about 0.52% to about 1.30% so it's not low-cost. But it is lower cost than AXA which has a 1.20% fee on top of your fund's expense ratio fee. You could use only the one fund Invesco Equally-Wtd S&P 500 A. It’s expense ratio is 0.52%. Unfortunately it and the other funds have a 5.5% front-end load.   https://www.403bcompare.com/products/78#/investmentoptions

  18. SCteacher13, welcome to the forum. You are fortunate to have access to the SC state 401k and 457 plans which are described here:https://www.chacity.org/images/FCKUploads/file/Careers/Employee Forms/401k-457 Getting Started.pdf

    Here’s a listing of the funds available in both plans: https://southcarolinadcp.empower-retirement.com/participant/#/articles/SouthCarolina/investmentInformation

    The administration fee is 0.11% and the expense ratio of a target retirement fund is 0.10%. 

    You can invest in both a 401k and a 457, each having their on maximum contribution of 19.5k for 2020. You are fortunate to have a high quality 401k rather than an expensive 403b. Your 403b vendors are high-cost annuity sellers and should be avoided. You can't transfer your 403b account balance into either the 401k or the 457 while you remain with the same employer. I would stop contributions ASAP and set up either (or both?) the 401k or the 457 accounts.

  19. These are the Vanguard 403b funds:  https://www.vanguard.com/pdf/403binvt.pdf You can google any of those funds and find Vanguard’s detailed information on each of them.

    If you are interested in the Target Retirement funds, here’s a webpage that covers them all:  https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/target-retirement/#/         Move your cursor over each one and click on the fund name that will appear. You don’t have to pick a fund based on your age or years to retirement, if you don’t want to. You can base your selection on the fund’s asset allocation, that is its stock bond ratio, which determines the fund’s volatility.

  20. Fidelity Security is the wrong Fidelity. But Vanguard is an excellent very low-cost vendor. It’s the one you should choose. I don’t have access to your portal, but go ahead and explore. You don’t have to worry that you will be entrapped without realizing it. Vanguard is very big on educating their customers, so there will be useful information to digest. You won’t have an actual Vanguard 403b account until you sign their new account form. As you will read, Vanguard’s 403b plans are managed for them by a company called Newport Group. No contribution will come out of your paycheck until you sign your district’s Salary Reduction Statement. So relax and explore the Vanguard 403b link I posted.

  21. Texas is unusual in having a state-wide 403b third party administrator (TPA). The 457 plan does look expensive, probably because the TPA doesn’t have any competition. It’s unfortunate that TX doesn’t have a state run low-cost 457 plan that is available to all TX school districts. About half of the states have such a 457 plan. I would max out your Roth IRA and a 403b before using the 457. Because you are over age 59.5, the 457 plan doesn’t have an advantage over the 403b for you. The early distribution penalty fee of 10% for those under 59.5 doesn’t apply to you.

    You can read about Vanguard’s 403b plan on their website:https://investor.vanguard.com/403b-plans/  As you’ll see, they offer a wide selection that includes many low-cost index funds which we prefer here at 403bwise.

    Fidelity offers a huge selection of funds in their 403b plan:   https://nb.fidelity.com/public/nb/ready2enroll/planoptions    If you use a target retirement fund, the Fidelity Freedom Index 20XX funds are lower cost and recommended over the Fidelity Freedom 20XX funds.

    A Vanguard 403b charges an administration fee of $12/month. A Fidelity 403b charges $24/year. Both vendors have  index funds with very low expense ratios. Yes, I think a Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 fund is reasonable for you.

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