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Posts posted by edietel

  1. Hi all,


    I'm hoping that someone on here might be able to offer some advice for me. You've been so helpful in the past! I have two children (one is 5, the other 6 months) and I'd like to start saving for college for the older one. It will be modest for awhile, maybe as low as 25 or 50 dollars a month, until we can increase our contributions. I've been looking into 529 plans, but I have some unanswered questions and general confusion about the best way forward.


    Vanguard has an attractive 529 plan (low ERs, big surprise there), but there you need to invest $3,000 at the outset. We don't have that kind of cash lying around, so I've been looking at other options. My state (NH) has a plan, the "UNIQUE College Investing Plan," which has a lot of underlying investments - none of which are Vanguard funds. The ERs range from .05-1.43, but the minimum initial investment is only $50. The other option I've been looking into is Vanguard's "College Savings Iowa 529 Plan." This has an asset-based management fee of .26 (about 10 points higher than Vanguard's regular 529) and a minimum initial contribution of $25.


    So, here are my questions:


    1) Out of the three plans I've looked into, does anyone see one of them as clearly a better bet than the others?

    ​2) For anyone who has traveled down the 529 road before - what am I missing? There seems to be hundreds of different plans out there. Anyone have a good experience going with something different?

    ​3) There is a confusing paragraph in the FAQ about the Iowa 529. Does anyone understand what this means?


    "Keep in mind that you do not actually own shares in the underlying funds. Instead, you own portfolio units of the College Savings Iowa 529 Plan, which means the returns for a particular portfolio may vary from the returns of the underlying funds."


    4) Could I squirrel money away into the NH state 529 plan, or the Vanguard Iowa 529, and - when the balance exceeds $3,000 - transfer that money into a Vanguard 529?

    5) Can you invest in a 529 plan from any state, even if you are not a resident there? Any downside for me choosing a state plan that is not based in New Hampshire?

    6) Would anyone else out there be interested in hearing Dan, Scott, and company devote an entire podcast to 529 plans? They've been referenced in other episodes, but I would benefit greatly from an in-depth look at college planning and 529 plans. Just curious.


    I would LOVE any help that anyone on here could provide. I've read as much as my brain can handle, and now I'm feeling stuck.





  2. Erich


    Looks like you got Vanguard so you have nothing left to do but save all you can through the years. The target fund is an easy and wise choice.


    Your wife should call Aspire. They will explain the self direct option which will let her choose any fund she wants beyond the list. The current list is woefully inadequate IMHO.


    Let us know what Aspire says.




    Tony - below is the response from Aspire. It sounds like the next step is to tell Aspire what specific fund(s) I want added to my fund options. The ball is in my court. So, what makes sense at this point - to stick with the Vanguard Retirement Target Date, or add something else? Do you (or anyone else on here) have any specific funds in mind that would be wise to add (and for us to consider investing in)?


    The more I read, the more it sounds like it is unwise to invest in another fund along with a target date fund; the most common advice seems to be to invest all contributions in a target date, or in a separate portfolio, not in both of them. Do you agree?


    Thanks for all of your help!





    You would have the same choices as someone who has a financial advisor. If the fund you’re looking for isn’t listed, please send and email to enrollments. Please include your full name, account number, the ticker and fund name you want added to your account. Once the funds have been added, you will receive an email of confirmation. Make sure your employer investment are open.


    Enrollment Email: 403b457services@aspireonline.com


    You may contact our Client Services department at 866-634-5873 for further assistance. Representatives are available between 8am – 8pm EST, Monday through Friday.

    Have a Great Day!


    Thank you in advance for your assistance.


    Customer Services | 12

    Aspire Financial Services



  3. Awesome info guys, thank you again for your time. Tony - you read my mind. My remaining question had to do with utilization of (and the growth potential in) money market accounts. You are doing quite well at your mind-reading these days!


    In all seriousness, it is much appreciated. It looks like the Vanguard fund has a fee of .16% and the T. Rowe Price fund has a fee of .75%. Given these, and knowing that Aspire is going to charge a small fee on top of whatever we go with, My wife and I are going to have all of our contributions going into the 2045 Vanguard Target Retirement fund. If we hear anything from Aspire about expanding our choices through self-directing, I will let you know.


    Thanks, gentlemen!



  4. Thanks for the quick response, Tony. We will make that phone call and report back.


    I have to ask, though, in the meantime: If the target 2045 is a good bet, would we be doing ourselves a disservice by directing my wife's contributions into that same target fund via Aspire? Would we be putting all of our eggs into one basket and making some kind of blunder?


    Also, can anyone explain to me what the first two fund choices are all about? Money/cash markets are confusing to me.



  5. Hi all,


    After spending the last few months poking around 403bwise, reading everything I can get my hands on, and listening to 2/3 of the Teach or Retire Rich podcast (including crying like a baby through episode 25), you've convinced us! My wife and I are starting 403(b)s! I'm 31, and she is 30, and we are both public school employees in New Hampshire.


    Our contributions will start next week. I'd like some help deciding how to allocate our contributions to get us off to a good start with our retirement investments. Would anyone mind taking a look at this post and offering up some of that expertise that I don't have (yet)?

    • My school district has Vanguard, so I set up an account with them. I've tentatively selected the 2045 target retirement fund, and I'm putting 5% of my salary in there every pay period.
    • Her district had 4 vendor choices (Horace Mann, VALIC, Wells Fargo, and Aspire) so, following the advice of those on this board, we elected to go with Aspire. She is contributing 5% of her salary too (3% from her, and 2% from her district).


    I can do whatever I want (it seems) with Vanguard. I know the target date funds are a safe bet - should I be considering other options there?


    Her choices are more limited. I logged into Aspire this morning for the first time, and noticed that her fund options are limited to 4:

    1. RAAXX - American Funds US Govt Money Market R1
    2. PTRXX - Federated Prime Cash Obligations R
    3. TRRKX - T. Rowe Price Retirement 2045
    4. VTIVX - Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 Inv

    I was surprised that we only had 4 choices - I was anticipating being able to pick from the entire Aspire menu. Nevertheless, there looks to be a couple of good choices on there.


    We won't be coming close to maxing out our 403(b) accounts - I think I'll have around $2,600 in there by the end of the school year, and she will have around $3,000 in hers. But the cost of living in NH combined with the amount of debt we are carrying means that we are contributing what we can. I'm hoping to increase those percentages as we get raises in future years.



    Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU for any help or advice you can provide. I'm beginning to think that discovering 403bwise is a significant blessing to our family.







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