Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by edietel

  1. 9 hours ago, MoeMoney said:

    I certainly would like to know how to go about getting Vanguard added back. What is the wording to use? My district simply refers such requests to OMNI and washed their hands of the topic. OMNI, of course, simply says they're not on the approved list. End of story. Neither will entertain the request, as if they cannot. Short of using it as a negotiating tool, what else can be done?

    I would love to know what other people think about this. In short, I don't know. I didn't get Vanguard added at my district - it was already there when I got hired. But, while other districts are dropping them, it doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

    It's my understanding (based on what others have said in other threads) that OMNI will add vendors if the HR folks ask (insist?) that they do so. If paying an extra fee is the reason a district doesn't want to add them, they can simply look to my district and see that it can easily be passed on to the employee with no added hassle. If it's true that HR just needs to speak up, then "simply refer[ring] such requests to OMNI" is an admission that they don't want to deal with the hassle. This is why some people have gone the route of getting signatures from colleagues who want the vendors added and pledge to use them when they are. The HR folks are busy (aren't we all?) and might not want to take on extra work to appease one frustrated teacher. If only they knew that adding a low cost option like Vanguard would also benefit them...

    I hesitate to defend OMNI, but they probably cannot act unilaterally to make changes. That has to come from the school. They could certainly be more transparent and helpful, though.

    Does anyone else on here have experience getting their districts to make changes to OMNI offerings? How did you facilitate that?

  2. 4 minutes ago, tony said:

    Yes Damn the torpedoes. You younger folks( I am 63 and I am assuming you all are younger) are miles ahead of were I was with my choices. We all want perfection and there is nothing wrong with that. I am glad you all are looking after that fee component because so many teachers don't. But most teachers in 403b land don't get perfection but some of you are close. Direct Invest is good, Aspire is good. If Direct Invest disappears ? Transfer your money to Aspire.

    Like the Rolling Stones song says

    No, you can't always get what you want
    But if you try sometime you find
    You get what you need

    Who are these "Rolling Stones" that you speak of? 


  3. 13 hours ago, Teacher88 said:

    Edietel:  Does your district offer the P3 garbage funds like mine?  With an additional option for Vanguard?  Or do you have a list of all funds available to you, both good and bad?  

    Hey Teacher88,

    Yes and no. You can check out what my district offers here. If you'd rather cut to the chase, I'll attach a screens of the list below. There is a lot of garbage in there, with some pretty good options as well (Aspire, Vanguard, TRP, TIAA). You won't find anything anywhere that says there is a $3 monthly fee to use Vanguard (trust me, I've looked), but my first contribution every month is $3 less than the second one. When I contacted my Human Resources Manager about the fee, she told me that it happens to her as well and she was surprised just like I was. Vanguard knows nothing about this monthly deduction, so it seems pretty clear to me that OMNI is taking that $3.

    Like I said, I've heard enough people on this board say they would be happy to pay to use Vanguard that I am feeling fine with it. Damn the torpedoes, right tony?!?

    If there is anything I can do to help you get Vanguard on the OMNI list in your district, just say the word. If there is any push back in your district or with the folks at OMNI about adding it, you can let them know that Bedford School District in Bedford, NH has figured out how to do it, and it doesn't cause headaches for anyone (unless losing 3 bucks a month gives you a headache...)

    Good luck!

    Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 10.06.10 AM.png

  4. My district uses OMNI, and we have Vanguard on the list. One of my contributions every month is $3 less than the other, so I assume that the fee you are mentioning is being passed on to me. I am happy to pay it. 

    I recognize that this is not helpful to your situation, but I hope it is helpful to know that there is precedent for getting done what you would like to do. 

    Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

  5. Nope. It was a choice on the list (and still is). I had no idea OMNI would take $3 out of every other contribution until I noticed it happening and asked some questions. OMNI wouldn't answer my messages, but the HR benefits person for my district did. She is the one who told me where those $3 was going, because she uses Vanguard herself and got to the bottom of it before I asked.


    I think if the district uses OMNI and asks them to add Vanguard, they will. There's enough of us out there using Vanguard (via OMNI) that it can't be that big of a deal for them. The issue is getting the right person in your district to ask for it...

  6. Whoa, just saw this. Sorry arich!


    I work for Bedford School District in Bedford, NH. If you go here you can see the offerings for my district. There is nothing written on there about the fees, they actually caught me by surprise. The way this ends up working out (and the way I found out) is one of my transactions each month is $3 less than the other one. Vanguard knew nothing, so the fees were clearly being taken out by OMNI. I've checked with other folks in my building who use Vanguard, and it is the same with them.


    I'm curious if these $3/month fees will continue with the new record keeping over at Vanguard. I haven't heard definitively one way or the other, but I have my fingers crossed that these will be part of the $5/month new fees...

  7. That's good enough for me. I've decided to stay with Vanguard. After the switch to Newport takes place (they say it will be later this year), I'll be switching to a stock-heavy 3 fund portfolio that will gradually take on more bonds as the years go by.


    One question, though: Since many of the big companies in the Total Stock Index are multinationals, do you think it is important to invest in the Total International Stock Index as well? Or is that a bit redundant?


    I feel pretty good about this. Thanks gentlemen!

  8. Hi Ed and Tony, thank you for your quick replies. I think I am going to make a decision today, and you are both helping me to think it through.


    Sorry If I wasn't as clear as I could be. Let me take another stab at it: My district uses ONMI as their TPA. I have to go through them no matter what company I choose to invest with. OMNI charges me $3/month to make contributions to a 403b through Vanguard. OMNI does not (as far as I can tell) charge any monthly fees for using the other options available to me (the many predatory high fee companies, but also T Rowe, Aspire, and TIAA). I was more than happy to pay the $36/year last year, especially after seeing how many people were fighting to get Vanguard in their districts who said they would be happy to pay a similar monthly fee to do so. So, no problem there. It has no impact on Vanguard's fee structure, however. Vanguard doesn't get the $3/month - OMNI does. So Vanguard charges me their normal $15/year and the 0.16% expense ratio for the Target Date 2045 fund that I have $2,100 in currently. So, I don't get to choose between the $36 for OMNI and the $15 for Vanguard - I have to pay both. Because the partnership with Newport is going to raise the latter fee to $60/year, I am now busy rethinking my decision to use Vanguard.


    I am more comfortable making my own investing decisions than I was a year ago. The Target Date seemed like a good decision at the time, and it may still be for the next 20 years. But I am more than happy to change my allocation to other funds. I think it makes the most sense to do so if I stick with Vanguard - why would I choose to pay investor share ratios when I can take advantage of admiral shares of the same funds? Vanguard seems to require a minimum of $10,000 to buy Admiral shares of the Total Stock Index, but it sounds like the partnership with Newport will allow me access to those now.


    I have no problem continuing to invest pretax and increasing my contributions as my pay increases. I was contributing 5% of my salary last year, and I am increasing that to 7% this year. I love the idea of moving to a 3 fund portfolio, sticking with it through a collapse, and learning how to maintain the portfolio, if it means I can lower my expense ratios. I've spent enough time in these forums and listening to the podcast that I feel confident I can learn the ropes without a large investment of time.


    I guess this is my issue: Do you think someone in my position is better served paying higher monthly fees for funds with lower expense ratios, or would it be better to pay lower monthly/quarterly/annual fees to switch to, say, a T Rowe Price fund with a 0.76% ER?


    Thanks to you both - I am grateful for your assistance. Also, I am a man ;-)



  9. Hi everyone,


    I haven't posted in awhile, but I knew just where to go for advice! (I'll be back more frequently going forward)


    I received the letter from Vanguard regarding my 403b account, as has recently been discussed on here. I'm just not sure what to do about it, and I could really use some advice. OMNI charges me $3/month to use Vanguard, and Vanguard charges me $15/year to invest in a Target Date Fund. I decided $51/year in fees (on top of expense ratios) was worth it for the privilege of having access to Vanguard, since most of the offerings from my district are not as good. I imagine the OMNI fees won't be going away, so the partnership with Newport looks like it will raise my fees from $51/year to $96/year.


    I only started investing last year, and I only have $2100 in my Target Date Fund. It looks like this fund does not have access to Admiral funds, so if I stay with Vanguard I will need to exchange these for something else to take advantage of the switch to Newport. It feels a little foolish to stay with Vanguard, however, since a much larger portion of my gains will be consumed by fees. But, given that it is a 403b, taking the money out before retirement seems like a no-go. Are my first year's contributions simply held hostage now?


    Here are my options, as I see them. I have no idea what to do next, and I would love some guidance:


    1) Keep the status quo, pay more in fees.

    2) Stay with Vanguard, but switch into something that has admiral class shares. I don't want to use a managed fund. Higher fees remain, but hopefully I will pay less in expense ratios that will make this more advantageous. That said, my small balance means this will be marginal at best, right?

    3) Treat this as a hostage situation, and we all know that the US doesn't negotiate with terrorists. I would leave my money in Vanguard, stop contributions, and open an account with someone else to begin contributing to. The decent options that I have access to are Aspire (403b and Roth), T Rowe Price, and TIAA.

    4) Stop all retirement contributions, try and save $3,000 and open an IRA sometime next year.

    5) Another genius idea that only the folks at 403bwise would think of. You guys rock.


    The fourth option I like because, ideally, I would like my savings to not be taxed when I withdraw in retirement. But I don't have $3,000 saved, and I am not optimistic about my ability to save it on my own. Medical bills seem to be frequent things nowadays in my household, and there will always be something important that I will need to put my savings into. Having my district take the money out before I can get my hands on it has worked well so far. The ROTH Aspire is an attractive option for these reasons, but I have access to lower-fee options than Aspire so it is difficult to go with them.


    I would LOVE any advice. I am feeling stuck.



  10. Yeah, the employer match is extremely rare. Her district is the only one I know of that does it.


    Our CC interest rate is 13.49%


    Thanks for the advice, and for your optimism! It feels impossible sometimes, but I'm really getting a lot of confidence and encouragement from this board.

  11. And of course you two could decide to go traditional in all of the 403b and the 457 accounts for now and convert to Roth later in a lower tax bracket.

    I missed this comment when I initially posted my reply. I have never heard of this before, and don't quite understand how this works or why someone would do this. Would you mind explaining a bit, for a newbie like me?


    Thanks again!

  12. Thank you, Krow and Tony. My gut is telling me that diversification is a good idea, even though that article suggests otherwise...


    My wife's district only offers 403b options (4 of them, 3 ripoff annuities + aspire). So, no Roth option for her. My district offers what I posted previously, and I think the Roth option might make sense to switch to.


    What would you suggest I do with the ~$2,000 that will be in my vanguard 403b at the end of this school year? Should I try and get that money into the aspire Roth, leave it where it is, or something else altogether?


    As for our savings, I agree 100%. We are sitting on significant credit card and student loan debt currently (plus high cost of living here in NH). I initially thought it was best to start our 403bs and prioritize paying down our debt, increasing contributions down the road when much of that is under control. Would you agree with that strategy, or not? I would LOVE to know.


    Thanks everyone!



  13. Hi everyone,


    I haven't posted in a while (though you can consider me inspired by tony's encouragement earlier this week...). My question has to do with whether or not to consider a ROTH 403b.


    My wife and I just began our 403b contributions back in September, and we both plan to work at least another 21 years in public education (when I'll have 30 years in the NH Retirement System and she will have 26 or so). Not a lot of money in these accounts yet (about 2k in each). My wife's 403b is with ASPIRE, and her district matches up to 3% (unheard of, I know!). I have a 403b with Vanguard currently.


    I was just looking over the OMNI options for my district this morning, and noticed several ROTH 403b options (one of which is ASPIRE, who offers a ROTH 403b and a ROTH 457). I hadn't considered this back in the fall, mostly because I didn't understand ROTH very well. Now it has me thinking. When we retire, the money we take out of her 403b will be taxed. Would it be best for me to stick with my current arrangement, or go the ROTH route? ASPIRE's fees are higher than Vanguard (though I do currently pay OMNI $3/month just to use Vanguard...), but is it possible that having untaxed withdrawals later in life would actually save us money?


    Is it even possible to move from a 403b into a ROTH 403b (or 457 for that matter)?


    I don't necessarily feel the need to switch (it's not like I am locked into a predatory AXA plan or anything), but - if it would be smart to do so - switching sooner rather than later would be ideal.


    Thanks for any help you can offer!



  • Create New...