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Everything posted by fireman44

  1. Hello Tony once again! Yes it does look like you are all I have Lol. Thanks for the help once again! So I had the meeting with the personnel director. I explained to her about using annuities and the high fees for our 457b plans. She understood all of that and agreed that there are better options out there. I showed her your list that you recommended. She is going to follow up with these companies. However she does not remain optimistic about bringing in one of these other vendors because of one specific reason. None of them offer a rep that would come to the city to explain the plan or to sign people up. Majority of the cops+firefighters are clueless about the high fees and retirement in general. They love having these reps come in and help them pick investment options or to do the paperwork for payroll deductions. However I called Fidelity to give further information and they told me the board of education and the legal aid society in my society have Fidelity as a 457b option for themselves.
  2. Hello everyone. I live in New Jersey and I am a paid firefighter. In my city we have the 457 (b) plan available to us. However the options are unfortunately AXA, VALIC and METLIFE. I have a scheduled appointment with our personnel director who is the plan administrator for Monday. I am going to ask if she would try to bring in vanguard or fidelity to be a sponsor in our plans. Now my question is how can I present the case to her for this. I would like to be prepared. I have done research and I will tell her how the fees on the variable annuity's have excessive fees, such as the Mortality and expense charges. Does anyone have any links for websites that show how much fees you are actually paying for these variable annuity plans? What are some other things i should mention or point out to her in making my case for saying we need Vanguard in our city?
  3. Thanks very much Tony. I will do that! Also do you have any good websites you recommend that talk about the current state and future projections of stocks? I could use some good websites to save for all my future research!
  4. Update: So I finally made the move and opened up a Roth IRA with Vanguard! I did the minimum deposit of $3,000 and bought the Total Stock Market Index with that $3,000. It came down to the Total Stock Market Index and the LifeStrategy Growth Fund (( i hope i didnt make a mistake not picking the LS :-/ )) Since unfortunately I'm limited to only depositing $5,500 this year I can't purchase the Total Bond Market Index since they are both $3,000 minimums. So I'll be 100% into stocks for a half a year to a year, which at 30 years old some will say is not a bad idea. Then i will buy bonds next year. Now my question, How do i monitor My Total Stock Market Index Fund? If watching tv for the stock market daily close or checking on the internet for the daily stock market close, what am I looking for in correlation with my Fund? How can I determine if it's doing good or bad? https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/ ... =INT#tab=2 ( my Fund ) http://money.cnn.com/data/markets/ ( what am i Looking at here ) ? Nasdaq? Dow?
  5. Thanks for that link Tony. I read it and now see what you mean by not trusting Dave Ramsey for investing advice! I have done research on the Vanguard Target Retirement Fund 2045 (when i will retire) and I am not completely comfortable with it. I have read a few articles that are against it and explain there reasoning. But the main reason is its way to aggressive for me where I feel comfortable. Its 90:10 and it will probably stay like that for years. I would prefer to be around 70:10. So I think the best options I am looking at are: -Wellington 65:33 -Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth fund 80:20 -70% into Total Stock Market Index and 30% Total Bond Market Index Fund -or get creative and do 50% of my money into LifeStrategy Growth fund (80:20) and 50% of my money into LifeStrategy Moderate Growth Fund (60:40) -another creative option. 50% of my money into Wellington and 50% of my money into LifeStrategy Growth Fund. I am having a lot of fun with this and doing so much research! I have found a new hobby! Lol
  6. Tony, I do trust you all replying back to me here on 403b. And I want to take time out to truly thank you all for helping me and helping others in these complicated matters of retirement and investing.I am very appreciative of you all for taking time of out of your busy day's to educate and help people. This forum is a blessing with all this much knowledge and experience. So I have decided to go with Vanguard. I have spent the past few hours researching vanguard investment options. I have researched what you all have recommended to me. Now in my situation, i would not be touching this money in the Roth IRA for the next 30 years I will be receiving a pension in 18 years if I chose to retire at that time. At MINIMUM ( If the laws don't change ) I will be receiving $65,000 from the pension system. And i will also have all my quarters in social security for even later down the road. So looking at this I can be aggressive in the Roth IRA. On a scale of 1 to 10 (being most aggressive) I would like to be at a 7. However i am a Super Conservative person in saving money and not much taking risks with my money. I have seen graphs with depositing $5,500 for 30 years ( $165,000 ) that people can turn it into a Million dollars with proper investing. Being super conservative I would be happy just making guaranteed 3 times of the $165,000 investment into $500,000. My game plan is for me to be aggressive for the first 20 years or so. When I turn 50. After that the rest of the 10 years I will switch from aggressive to conservative. So I will not be changing anything once I make the final decision until later on when It's time to go conservative. Steve recommended for me to start with the Vanguard Wellington. I have read nothing but good things about it and it seems perfect for me with the AA of being semi aggressive. It is an actively managed fund which is a positive. In my research I saw someone mention AA of 80% into Wellington and 20% into REIT is a strong way to go. I have read great things also about the Vanguard Star that you mentioned Tony. Also the Target Retirement Funds is very interesting and another strong option. And like you mentioned Tony in the previous post an AA of 70% into Total Stock Market Index + 30% Total Bond Market Index Fund is another very solid option. I have looked over the Lazy Portfolio's on Bogleheads. Many more options for different routes to go. With all these great options for myself how do I make a final decision to complete my vanguard portfolio?? How do I make a final decision?? What would be the best ultimate decision if you were in my shoes and being aggressive for the next 20 years. Thank you all so much again and Happy 4rth of July!
  7. I will take your advice and use Vanguard for my Roth IRA. I have been reading a book by Dave Ramsey. I am not sure how you all feel about him but my co-worker ( who gave me the book to read ) swears by him. In his investing section he recommends Mutual funds for your IRAs. He says to divide your investments equally among Growth, Growth+Income, Aggressive Growth and International Funds. Dave does not own single stocks and does not suggest single stocks as part of an investment plan. Single stocks dont consistently generate returns as high as mutual funds in the long term. If you do want to own stocks , limit single stocks to no more then 10% of your investment portfolio. Dave does not own any bonds and does not suggest them as part of your investment plan. People mistakenly believe bonds are safe investments that have slightly lower rates of return than equities. Single bonds can be very volatile and go down significantly in value. Bond mutual funds can at least be tracked for historical returns but do not offer the returns equity mutual funds do. I think the most confusing part of doing my research is seeing how some people recommend certain things and some people stay to away from those things. But i am doing lots of googling and reading on where to invest in my Vanguard Roth IRA. I will be buying the Bogleheads book of investing as well!
  8. Thank you for the kind words Tony. Steve these are the fees for VALIC. The fees on VG LifeStrategy Acquired Fund Fees - 0.15% Total Fund Fees - 0.15% Net Fund Expenses - 0.15% Net Separate Account Fees - 0.65% ( This includes the mortality and expense fees) Total Net Variable Account Account Option Fees - 0.80% The fees are not VERY HIGH compared to other life insurance companies for variable annuities for 457 (b) plans that I have seen. However I know I should stay away from variable annunities. In my case though I don't have any other options through my city. I have scheduled a meeting on July 18 with my city plan Administrator. I am going to try and convince her to bring In Vanguard or Fidelity to offer 457(b) plans to us so we can benefit from the low fees. If it does not work out then I will most likely go with VALIC to take advantage of the tax deferred plan. Also Tony suggested for me to open a Roth IRA. I have done research on it the past couple of days. I want to open one now as it looks like a great option to even further diversity my portfolio. However who should I go through for the Roth IRA? Everyone talks highly of Vanguard but there are so many options out there. And if you could provide me some direction on where to invest in the Roth IRA, I would greatly appreciate it. I am turning 31 and would not be able to withdraw until 28 more years. I would be depositing the max $5,500 every single year. And my final question, after I pick my investment options within the Roth IRA, would I just leave it alone for the next 28 more years. Or do I need to monitor it and change around my investment options every few years or so?
  9. Steve, It's a credit union in my city. They are constantly giving out loans to city workers for 8% or 9% and that is why they can offer a higher interest rate in the savings. What did you think of the fees I mentioned by Valic for the 457 (b) plan? For that VG LifeStrategy investment.
  10. Hey Tony, Thanks for the tips and advice. I definitely will be hanging around this site to learn more!! My city just offers the 457 (b) plan through those three options I listed and the SACT I talked about in my original post is offered by the State. I see myself bouncing from the 25%-28% tax brackets through the rest of my career. (depending on if my wife is working or not in certain years, filing jointly) I would retire and have a lower salary through the pension then I did while I was working. However, the tax brackets will pretty much almost be the same or slightly different. So based off that theory I would assume the traditional IRA is more aligned towards my situation. And a negative would be that I couldn't touch the money until I am 59. On average, professional firefighters don't live very long lives.
  11. Thank you for your responses Sschullo and Krow36. My initial question was to see if This SACT was worth investing into. A little background on me which I failed to provide. I am a professional firefighter in New Jersey. I have 7 years on the job and after 25 years I can retire and collect a pension. ( 65% of my last year completed salary ) Now the pension system is underfunded and there is a lot of worrying by NJ employees that our pension will still be available the way it is written up now. My wife is pregnant with our first child and is due in October. So this has really woken up in setting up a life insurance policy on myself and on my wife. And setting up retirement accounts. I will be turning 31 in August and I will be 48 when I complete 25 years with the option to retire. 457(b) is available in my city. Metlife, AXA, and Valic are the options and all are annuities based. After gathering all the information, Valic is the best option. Having the lowest fees and Vanguard available as an Investment Option. The fees on VG LifeStrategy Acquired Fund Fees - 0.15% Total Fund Fees - 0.15% Net Fund Expenses - 0.15% Net Separate Account Fees - 0.65% ( This includes the mortality and expense fees) Total Net Variable Account Account Option Fees - 0.80% I don't know a lot about fees but these don't seem very bloated and are lower then the majority of options from AXA and Metlife. Currently I have been dumping all my money into a credit union that offers 3% saving accounts and compounds daily. I always thought I wouldn't need any retirement accounts with this guaranteed 3% interest. But everyone says it is good to diversify. Which is why I was going to do a 457(b) and also thinking of investing in the SACT. I don't know a lot about Ira and Roth Ira. The main thing that attracts me to the 457(b) is tax deferred and I can withdraw all my money if I decide to retire at 48 years old. IRA and Roth IRA i believe you must be 59 to pull your money out.
  12. Hello everyone. I just recently found out about this Supplemental Annuity Collective Trust (SACT) that New Jersey offers. I wanted to start a discussion on this SACT. I am in the early stages of my research. I will share everything I have learned thus far. I am hoping some other people from New Jersey have experience or advice, or if anyone else has ever researched it or is interested in looking through the information. My ultimate goal is to see if it's worth investing in. Information is very limited online about the SACT and trying to track down the stocks they invest in is tough. Eligibility: Employees who are actively contributing members of one of the following state-administered retirement systems are eligible to participate in SACT Regular. Judicial Retirement System (JRS) Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) State Police Retirement System (SPRS) {The SACT plan is a 403(b)} The SACT-Regular Plan allows contributions in whole percentages beginning at 1 percent of your base salary. The maximum contribution allowable falls under the $53,000 IRCAIS limits for 2016 (includes Pension 414(h) contributions). Lump-sum contributions of $50 or more are allowed in the third month of any calendar quarter. Although your contributions to the regular plan are "after tax contributions," your accumulated earnings are deferred from federal tax until you withdraw your money. "The Supplemental Annuity Collective Trust provides a variable annuity as opposed to the fixed annuity benefits of the State administered retirement systems. The fixed annuity benefits of these systems provide a guaranteed amount regardless of economic conditions and the performance of underlying investments. However, over time, inflation will erode at least a portion of the purchasing power of these fixed benefits. By supplementing your retirement system benefits with a variable annuity from the Trust, you have the potential to increase the amount of your retirement income through the appreciation of the underlying investments of the Trust" http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pension ... handbk.pdf ( This link gives all the basic information on the SACT) The profits they list are in Unit Values. The last year they show is 2013. http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/deferred/sact.shtml July 2013 75.3337 June 2013 72.1644 May 2013 73.3738 April 2013 71.8395 March 2013 70.7088 February 2013 68.2962 January 2013 67.6088 December 2012 64.6331 November 2012 64.4278 October 2012 64.2862 September 2012 65.7004 August 2012 64.2602 July 2012 63.1320 June 2012 62.5365 May 2012 60.2980 April 2012 64.0390 March 2012 64.5729 February 2012 63.2730 January 2012 61.5859 December 2011 59.6947 November 2011 59.1500 October 2011 58.9901 September 2011 53.6614 August 2011 57.5872 July 2011 60.9810 June 2011 62.3742 May 2011 63.5929 April 2011 64.3139 March 2011 61.2140 February 2011 61.3458 January 2011 59.5480 December 2010 58.6890 November 2010 55.9697 October 2010 56.1529 September 2010 54.7458 August 2010 51.1929 July 2010 52.8842 June 2010 50.1476 May 2010 52.6003 April 2010 56.4044 March 2010 53.8407 February 2010 51.8363 January 2010 50.4984 December 2009 51.9323 November 2009 51.1409 October 2009 48.4146 September 2009 49.2613 August 2009 47.7934 July 2009 46.9180 June 2009 44.2856 May 2009 44.8538 April 2009 43.0230 March 2009 40.9865 February 2009 38.3128 January 2009 42.4718 December 2008 45.2130 November 2008 44.1957 October 2008 47.0543 September 2008 55.6247 August 2008 60.3652 July 2008 59.4224 June 2008 59.8911 May 2008 66.1912 April 2008 65.2104 March 2008 62.1107 February 2008 63.0920 January 2008 64.3912 Now here are some links I found wrote by Joel Frank in favor of SACT http://board.403bwise.com/index.php?showtopic=5716 http://board.403bwise.com/index.php?showtopic=5410 Now it seems like all fees for this are covered by the state. But KROW36 from here on Bogleheads questions that. viewtopic.php?t=179734 "I believe that although the fees of the SACT fund are not disclosed, they exist, and are subtracted from the unreported but calculable rate of return (ROR). Every mutual fund, or portfolio of mutual funds, has expenses. The SACT fund expenses are subtracted out of its returns before they report their "unit values". KROW36 also compared the SACT "I also found the Unit Values page for the Supplemental Annuity Collective Trust (SACT) but was hoping they provide the rate of return over the years. Maybe they aren’t all that proud of their ROR? I used the unit values for December for some recent years and calculated the ROR. For a comparison I used Vanguard’s LifeStrategy Moderate Growth which uses a 60/40 asset allocation and includes International stocks and bonds. I noticed that the unit values for 2013 were incomplete and 2014 was missing. -----------SACT ROR——LSMG ROR 2012————8.27%——— 11.76% 2011————1.71———— 0.26 2010————13.01——— 13.31 2009————14.86——— 20.33 2008———— -34.13—— -26.50 2007—————0.33——— 7.36 The SACT is very opaque, and doesn’t seem to outperform a diversified index fund portfolio." "I calculated a few more years of the ROR of the SACT fund and compared it to the ROR of the Vanguard Life Strategy Moderate Growth. SACT.------SACT ROR——LSMG ROR 2012——— 8.27%—— 11.76% 2011——— 1.71——— 0.26 2010——— 13.01—— 13.31 2009——— 14.86—— 20.33 2008********* -34.13***** -26.50 2007——— 0.33—— 7.36 2006——— 11.85—— 13.31 2005——— 4.35—— 5.69 2004——— 8.21—— 10.57 2003——— 23.56—— 22.40 2002******** -27.47** -10.32 2001******** -12.04** -4.48 I would steer clear of the SACT fund 403b because of The significant outperformance over time of the Vanguard fund over the SACT 403b" now when i googled SACT NJ STOCKS i finally found their investments http://www.nasdaq.com/quotes/institutio ... -nj-820828 http://www.octafinance.com/hedge-funds/ ... ust-of-nj/ a 2014 audit: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pension ... act-14.pdf sorry to throw so much information out there. I tried to organize all this information the best I could and give a good presentation. I am trying to figure out if the SACT is really worth it for me to invest in. I am opening a 457(b) plan with Valic (the best sponser my company offers) but I just found out about this SACT. Thank you all for reading and any information or advice you may have on the SACT of NJ
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