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  1. Scott’s quote from blog: “I've been very critical of their largest sponsor - Security Benefit, the company that runs the NEA 403(b) products (they are NOT good products in my opinion).“ Just interested to see if Scott feels NEA DirectInvest is not a good product as well. I’m investing using DirectInvest and would appreciate any feedback if there’s something negative about this product that I’m not aware of.
  2. I’ve been using DirectInvest for 2 years now and can confirm these are the fees. In addition, if your account balance is over $50,000, the $35 admin fee is waived
  3. I would get your exact pension numbers from your union rep or from the .gov website of whatever state you work for. You’re 20 - 30 years away from retirement but it’s still good to know what you’re working towards. If you get 91% of your salary that’s pretty amazing. Here in NJ our formula is: Years of Service \ 55 Final Average (3yrs.) Salary Along with this there’s different rules for how old you need to be to get the full pension benefit. These rules differ depending on when you started teaching. New teachers might have to work till they’re 65 to get the full benefit while someone who started in 2010 may have to only work to 62 etc.
  4. Thank you both for the quick response. I teach in NJ so I pay into Social Security as well. But, like Tony mentioned, some say it’s not solvent. Our NJ pension is in rough shape too. To be safe it makes the most sense to save as much on my own as possible. Very helpful Krow and Tony. Thank you.
  5. I’ve heard people recommend contributing anywhere from 10 to 15% of your income towards retirement. Would you factor in what you contribute towards a pension in this percentage? So, if you were contributing 7% of your income towards pension and 8% towards a 403b, would that count as 15% of your income towards retirement? Or, would you consider pension contributions separately?
  6. I’ve been advised against making any effort of saving my colleagues. My union has told me to stay away from anything that might seem like financial advice for my fellow teachers. They’re worried I’d somehow be held liable if teachers were not satisfied with the results of my advice or, I would not be protected from any retribution from the insurance companies I’m trying to steer my colleagues away from. their advice was, it’s up to each individual to research their options and, it’s their fault if they don’t put the time in to pick the best option. It’s been very frustrating. any way, I really admire the effort you’ve put into this and I think you’ll help a lot of teachers
  7. As Krow mentioned, Lincoln Financial and Lincoln Investment are two completely different companies. I would email your business administrator directly. Doesn’t sound like your benefits officer has answers for your questions. In my district the vendor list was not up to date. It wasn’t until I started emailing the BA that I was able to get an updated list of vendors.
  8. What did he do for a living? How much did he make? Probably not a teacher starting at $50,000. These articles start to feel insulting after awhile.
  9. Good point. These two horrible vendors happened to be on our vendor list and I was only made aware of the self-directed options after visiting this site and Bogleheads. I know more than a few colleagues who have signed up for the Security Benefit Guaranteed Lifetime Benefit annuity garbage after hearing the Rep claim they are the only company sponsored by the NEA (the DirectInvest option is sponsored not Security Benefit).
  10. Hi FITeacher, I’m in NJ as well, Nutley. Definitely see if you can get Vanguard or Fidelity as mentioned above but, you may have more luck adding Security Benefit or Lincoln Investment. They are both terrible companies like the one’s on your list but, both companies offer great Self-Directed platforms with low cost funds. You would not use the Rep from these companies, those guys would just push expensive annuities on you. I say you might have more luck adding these companies because (and please someone fact check me and correct me if I’m wrong) they will pay the Third Party Fees instead of your district while Vanguard and Fidelity won’t.
  11. Purple Reign, Do you get a pension? Is the automatic 8% in 403 and 5% in 457 in place of a pension?
  12. I’ve had a chance to see statements for my family members’ 401ks. They’re all invested in something that follows steps 1 through 3 above. Without thinking they’re set up in something that I had to research myself. This is what people want. Unfortunately, I have doubts about this being set up in the 403b setting. It would require the business administrator to choose the sole provider. Is this possible? No doubt it’s ideal but can it be done legally?
  13. It’s scary. They all push the annuity with a “guaranteed return”. I hear some say a guaranteed 6% or a guaranteed 5% but, it’s always paired with a pitch about 2008 and plays on their fears. I’ve called some of the salesman pretending to be interested and it takes a few questions to get to the heart of what the “guaranteed return” actually is. It’s basically a guaranteed lifetime payment equal to 6% of the value of your account. But the pitch makes it seem like you get a 6% return on your investment year after year. Not surprisingly, the salesman do little to clear up this misunderstanding. People close to retirement go to these people for advice and they try to get them to transfer from one annuity to another. It’s pretty disgusting.
  14. So I submitted this to my union. Unfortunately, they have decided that they are unable to post this information on our union website. They are concerned about the liability of offering financial advice. I was unable to distribute information through school email and now I’ve been denied by our union. Since I’ve talked about this I’ve been able to help 4 people. I guess I’m content with getting this information out as people ask for it. thank you all for taking the time to look at this and for your feedback.
  15. I have a question about our contact negotiations. I haven’t been able to find an answer and I know there are many smart people on here that might be able to help out. We have been without a contract for a year now. Recently, we were close to settling when an issue with retro pay came up. The union was prepared to except terms of a new contract. The new contract included retroactive pay for the year we went without a contract. The board claims that we owe money toward the health care premium at the rate we would have paid if we were making the salary that the retro pay covers. The board claims we owe about $150,000 dollars toward health care premiums which they intend on deducting from our retroactive pay. Question: Is it common practice to deduct health care premiums from retroactive pay? As I understand it, the premiums were already paid for.
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