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  1. I wish to congratulate you as well Bart. So far I have been unable to get the district to add Vanguard or other low cost option. Krow pointed me toward PlanMember Direct which has low-cost index funds e.g. VTSAX with 0.05% ER and a 0.34% annual fee from PlanMember. I'd prefer to go directly with Vanguard, but am settling for this for now. Since my district offers both 403(b) and 457(b), I am taking advantage of both. With a $130 million district shortfall for this coming year and a year-long impasse with contract negotiations it's a tough time to be asking for anything.
  2. Thank you for the information raido_me. I have been crunching the numbers and am considering making maximum contributions to both plans: My primary purpose is to lower taxes for 2017.
  3. A quick check on IRS.gov appears to indicate that both 403b and 457b accounts can be rolled over to traditional and Roth IRA's. I wonder if direct institutional transfers (avoiding the 20% withholding) is also allowed for both? Of course I would plan to do this during a time when I had very low or no income.
  4. Thank you for the advice. Apparently PlanMember does have both 403b and 457 with all PlanMember Direct funds available. Presently we have no Roth options available. All things being equal the 457 seems more attractive, since it has less restrictions. I did read elsewhere that it may be more difficult to roll the 457 into an IRA or other plan if changing employers, whereas the 403b can readily be rolled over. I have not researched it much, but read a fellow's account of converting his 401k to an IRA upon leaving the company and then a Roth IRA post-retirement when his income was $0. Therefore, the tax liability of the conversion was at the lowest tax bracket. Seems like the same can be done with the 404b. Wonder if it could be done with 457? http://www.madfientist.com/traditional-ira-vs-roth-ira/
  5. Thanks for the information Krow. I am interested in folks' thoughts on 403b vs 457b. Both are offered in my district, I've read about some of the differences, but am not certain which might be a better fit. It also seems possible that I could contribute to both.
  6. I have spoken with representatives from both Lincoln Investment and PlanMemeber. The person from Lincoln said that PDP is only offered in a very few districts and mine is not one of them. However, they'd be happy to offer me the same Vanguard index funds for a much higher fee! I am still waiting for the person from PlanMember to get back to me. At first the person said "I emailed you that information two years ago." Well, that person emailed me no information and it was not in the literature that had been given to me when I visited the office. It is quite disappointing how they appear to be obfuscating my choices. Yes, yes, I get that they get a higher commission off the others, but if I am saying "This is what I want..." and they respond "We don't have that" or "We don't offer that" when in fact they do that is downright dishonest.
  7. One of the plan providers has a sales rep who often sets up a table in our main hallway with a few boxes of donuts and coffee. I have spoken with her on a few occasions and at one time asked about their 457 plan options. I think I even mentioned that in a previous post here. Well she and her colleague were back again this past Friday and I brought up the 457 option again asking "what mutual funds do you offer?" Her response "We offer only annuities in our 457." I said "Oh, I thought that the 457 unlike the 403(b), which began by offering only annuities, primarily offers mutual funds." (Something I had read in Dan Solin's Smartest 401(K)* book). She said "well, ours offers only annuities." For some reason, especially after today's conversation on this board, I don't entirely trust her response to me.
  8. Thank you very much Krow. I shall devote some time to looking over 403bcompare. I am looking over the paperwork I received from PlanMember Services about two years ago. They gave me the Elite, Select and annuity options. The person's exact words were "You have three options..." and I was handed the paperwork. I find it quite disappointing that they would neglect to mention Direct. I shall call them this week and confirm it is an option available in my district. I have in my notebook that I called Lincoln Investment and would receive a call back from a representative. I can't recall whether I ever received it, but if so it probably went like this: me: I am interested in low cost passively managed index funds. Rep: We don't offer that. Like PlanMember it appears as though I was not given all of the information. I would like to return to my Human Capital director and let him know what is going on with our current vendors. He may not care, but I find it abhorrent that they would deliberately mislead potential clients. I asked everyone of them whether they would sign a letter stating they would act as my fiduciary. All of them said yes, yet they wouldn't even honestly tell me which products they offered despite me clearly explaining what I am looking for.
  9. I reached out to all companies and explained how I wished to have low cost passively managed index funds. Several of the companies replied saying they do not offer them. Lincoln might be like Plan Member Services who offered index funds, but charged a 2% fee on top of the 0.1% expense ratio to access them. However, it certainly couldn't hurt to double-check.
  10. I am not certain if I am restricted to certain funds with American, but believe I would have access to all. A representative I had spoken with a few weeks ago recommended their Equity Growth as about the closest thing to an index fund. That was the one I was referring to in my previous post. The other vendors are: 1. AXA 2. Lincoln Financial Advisors 3. Lincoln Investment 4. MetLife 5. New York Life 6. Plan Member Services 7. Valic 8. Voya My wife is an adult educator who works with the government. Her contract has been held up the past 7 months, but looks like the issue might be resolved soon. I was just speaking with her today about our plan once she can start contributing. I am hoping her 401(k) will have some decent choices. She maintains another 401(k) with another company she does occasional work with and they offer Vanguard funds.
  11. It's been a bit over a month since I asked the head of Human Capital to add a low cost option. After a couple of unanswered emails to him, he wrote back this week saying that they do not intend to add any new vendors at this time. Some additional context may also help in understanding HC's decision. Our district recently announced a $129 million deficit for the coming year: the superintendent has floated the idea of laying off 1,000 employees, many of them being teachers, as well as several furlough days. We are nearly a year into negotiations for a new teacher contract, which expired at the end of last school year; salary decrease, salary freeze, higher costs of benefits are all on the table. Giving us a low cost option seems like the lowest priority at this point. I believe in light of these serious issues it is all the more reason to give us something good that really doesn't cost them anything more. I replied expressing disappointment with the decision. It may be effective to have several dozen employees who are interested all write him. I may also reach out the the teacher's union to see if they would support the effort, though I am not optimistic on that front. We do presently have American Century as a choice, so I may ask though here who have used them about their experiences. I see they have a couple of relatively low expense ratio funds that track similarly to the S&P 500. I prefer total market funds, but in the meantime I might just go ahead and start with what we have.
  12. Happy New Year to all! It's been a little while, school has been going well and I have a bit of news regarding my efforts. Last night at a monthly meeting the head of our Human Capital office came to speak. He wasn't scheduled to do so, but provided support to one of his colleagues who was. I appreciated his forthrightness and clarity as he spoke on many issues concerning us teachers, such as recertification and pay raises. I waited until the end to approach him and ask about brining low-cost options to our district. He replied that he just rejected two vendors last week as we have nine already and he didn't want to confuse employees with any more. I respected that view, but asked that he consider bringing one, such as Vanguard, that would only charge 0.1% as opposed to most of ours that charge between 1 to 3%. He asked that I email him my request; he would forward it to a consultant for the district to crunch the numbers and would consider the request. I have already emailed him and look forward to a response. I wait with guarded optimism that it might happen. In the meantime, I am considering going with American Century as I believe that a mediocre option is better than not utilizing the plan at all.
  13. Came across this couple online last week. They retired in their 30's, then began a family and are now roving the world living off of their investment income and good deals. I would not espouse that this lifestyle is for everyone or even most, but it certainly is a cool prospect for those who wish to follow! http://www.gocurrycracker.com/start-here/ In a community like this, I'm probably preaching to the choir, but a key component that everyone could benefit from is the concept of living below one's means. America's burgeoning credit card debt certainly speaks to the fact that many are not. All the best in retirement!
  14. I very much respect the advice of Jack Bogle who spoke to this in his latest Vanguard webcast a few months ago.
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