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Everything posted by jebjebitz

  1. 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.
  2. I was torn on this whyme. In the past I’ve sent out similar emails and teachers have walked into the arms of mutual fund salesman pushing plans with huge wrap fees and slightly lower expense ratios. I’m considering this a start and if anyone contacts me I can go into more detail
  3. Here's a draft so far. Any suggestions would be helpful:
  4. Thank you you everyone! This is good stuff! I’m gonna start drafting a letter this week. I’d like to post a draft here before submitting it so you guys can look it over. Can’t thank you all enough for the feedback!
  5. I’ve been asking my union about getting information out about 403b’s in our district. Specifically, I wanted to let teachers in our district know about the two self-directed options: Security Benefit’s NEA DirectInvest and Lincoln’s Participant Directed Platform. I’ve learned so much in two years, visiting forums like this and bogleheads, and reading recommended books by authors like Clements, Makiel, Bogle etc. The union has agreed to allow me to draft a letter that they would make available to all staff members. I’m excited to write this but came here to ask a few questions and get some ideas. First, I think it would be best to keep it as short as possible. In my limited experience talking to friends about what I learned about these investments, the attention span of listeners is short and they tend to tune out when words like ‘expense ratio’ are used. Do you think it’s enough to just describe the self direct options and explain how to sign up for them? Or, do you think it’s necessary to get into why all other options are bad and expensive? My concern is holding the attention of anyone who actually starts reading the letter. Any suggestions would be helpful.
  6. I started getting serious about looking into my 403b after someone anonymously placed a copy of the NYT article in everyone’s mailbox. I doubt they cleared that with the office though. Since then, I’ve tried to send out information about the only self direct options available to staff members through email. The email was flagged by our district’s BA and she prevented it from going out. My only option now is to use our union website and post info there.
  7. Article on pension reform Act 5 found here may have some answers Krow: https://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2019/01/tax-proponents-biting-the-carbon-that-feeds-them-opinion.html
  8. Hi Debo, Does your district list Vanguard as an option to use for your 403b?
  9. Hi Matt, i would call and stay on top of them. You might have to call more than once. I think your main focus should be getting that account active and getting access to the online platform. I signed up using the Docusign online application and waited a long time before I had an established DirectInvest account. In contrast, I helped someone at work set up an account and they were good to go in just one week. Good luck. Let us know how it goes
  10. This sounds like total BS! Not sure why the TPA would say this.
  11. I’ve had accounts with both Lincoln’s PDP and Security Benefit’s DirectInvest. Security Benefit’s online platform is superior. Lincoln’s, at least when I used it two years ago, was very limited. Security Benefit waves the $35 annual fee for accounts over $50,000. Lincoln does not waive the fee. Lincolns fund selection is superior. They have a huge assortment of Vanguard Funds including Target Date Funds. If anyone would like a list of the fund selection I can supply a copy.
  12. If your district has Lincoln Investment, as a NJ teacher, you will have access to the PDP. If it is Lincoln Investment, call this number: 215-886-7695. They will send you the paperwork to start the account
  13. Not looking to debate interested in the data though
  14. I like this advice. There’s a year to date return number of -7.16% at the top of the page when I log into Security Benefit but, I don’t think that’s what you guys are talking about. I rebalanced a bunch of times and messed around with asset allocation and what I thought was tilting to Small Cap and REITS. In the end I learned that this just confused me and made me nervous about my investments. My goal is to keep it simple and rebalance a few times a year.
  15. I don’t know how to figure out my return for the year. Any suggestions? My portfolio balance is 80/20 Total Stock:VTSAX - 50 Total International VTIAX - 30 Total Bond VBILX - 20
  16. Good point. I don’t know what his investments are, how long he’s had them with AXA or how much. I personally paid a surrender fee to leave AXA even though I had an account with them for ten years. Their surrender charges never seem to go away. Although, looking back, I’m glad I got it all out at once. I think it ended up being a little over a grand in surrender fees but, I was free from AXA, my money went to low cost index funds and I only had to go through the frustrating transfer process once. It’s what I tell myself to feel better about giving up the grand anyway.
  17. Thanks Tony. I think this was the main question I was aiming for. Specifically, can he have two 403b accounts, Roth and Traditional, at the same time. You definitely answered this. His next step would be to create a Tradional 403b with DirectInvest and then transfer his AXA funds to this to avoid getting hit with taxes. I recently went through the transfer process and agree that it is slow moving and frustrating. Luckily, he will be contributing to the Roth while that process takes place.
  18. A colleague of mine recently opened a Roth 403b using DirectInvest through Security Benefit. The account is open and he made appropriate changes to have payroll deductions go to this new account. His original 403b is with AXA and he has funds there ina Traditional account. It is assumed that he can’t roll that into the new Roth without being taxed. The value is somewhere around 50,000 and he would like to avoid getting hit with taxes on this. Question: What are his options for getting that money out of AXA and into a self directed low cost option? Are you allowed to open a Roth and Traditional at Security Benefit at the same time? I looked at a 457 option but it looks like you are not allowed to transfer from 403b to 457 while still employed with same employer.
  19. jebjebitz


    Excellent review here. In fact, if you don’t have the time to devote to this short book, this review sums it up nicely. However, if you skip the book you’d miss out on Clements writing style which I find very appealing. There’s a lot of great information and Clements provides it in a way that rarely goes over my head. In fact, somewhere in the introduction he mentions that he wrote it with his children in mind who were entering the workforce.
  20. jebjebitz


    I’m halfway through “The Little Book of Main Street Money” and I highly recommend it. I wish I had read it when I started teaching. I’ve also subscribed to the Humble Dollar blog. Thanks Tony
  21. I considered this while talking to these teachers. I didn’t help choose their funds. I just talked about how they could use sites like Vanguard to help them figure out the level of risk they’re comfortable with and possible asset allocations to match. However, to your point, if a 2008 happens tomorrow, and they did little to educate themselves further than filling out the questionnaire on Vanguard’s website, there’s a good chance they’ll second guess the move into a self directed account. I’m new to this myself but I’ve done a lot of reading lately ( just finished “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” which was excellent). I’m learning that the psychological part of investing is just as important as asset allocation. For some people, believing that a professional is watching out for your investment might be what they need to stay the course and sleep well at night.
  22. When I start saying something like this I notice eyes quickly glaze over. The mention of index funds and percentages is enough for people to decide. “Ok, this is over my head. It’s worth the 1% to put this in the hands of a “professional” This is my thought exactly. I think people will help themselves when they’re ready. I sent an email out about a year ago and I’m starting to get a few emails now. I’ve helped three people set up self direct accounts. I’ve had quite a few people say they wanted to talk to me about it when they get more time but then they never mention it again.
  23. Moe, In my own experience, it has been easy to make teachers aware of the high fees they’re being charged by insurance companies and other vendors but, they have had a tendency to shy away once they realize the low cost option involves investing on their own. I’m referring to self direct options here. This is assuming that a company like Vanguard or Fidelity is not available in the 403b vendor choices. How could you go about helping teachers once they’re ready to leave the high priced insurance company?
  24. It’s interesting to hear how the young investors respond to the downturn in the market.
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