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EdLaFave

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Everything posted by EdLaFave

  1. I was under the impression that a 10% bond holding increases risk-adjusted returns. I haven't read Bernstein but I do love a quote that I believe is attributed to him, "Act as if every broker, insurance salesman, mutual fund salesman and financial advisor you encounter is a hardened criminal."
  2. I like the argument that bonds can prevent people from freaking out and committing behavioral errors, which are the biggest dangers out there. I hope people aren't buying bonds because they hope/think it might outperform.
  3. If anybody has the time or interest to fact check me, I've put together a breakdown of the 5 best 403(b)/457(b) vendors offered in Florida. https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/floridas-best-403b-457b-vendors My website has gotten a few non-OCPS(FL) visitors and I'd like to provide them with a solid overview of what are probably their best options. I listed the total fees and funds to use for both a 3 fund portfolio and a 1 fund portfolio. If you're able to find any omissions or errors please let me know. Maybe I'm even missing an awesome vendor? I'll be reviewing it for the next few days before I actually link to it from my site. Thanks!
  4. I am so happy to have played a role in you enrolling in Direct Invest. Congratulations! This effort has been a bit taxing and the mostly online/anonymous nature of it can be a bit isolating. So I am thrilled when people let me know that I've helped. It keeps me motivated, thank you! I hope you can spread the word to all of your co-workers! When I spoke to the head of our Retirement Services department she said something to express doubt that these plans are as bad as I've described them to be because supposedly I'm the only one who has complained. So it may make some small difference to let Retirement Services, Director of Risk Management, School Board, Chief Financial Officer, etc know how dissatisfied you are/were. If you ever feel the urge to push for systemic change then I'd be happy to help in any way possible. Just out of curiosity, do you want to share the state/district you're in?
  5. Thanks, I missed that one. Sure would be nice if Fidelity gave you a few allocations to choose from. At least 85/15 is appropriate for most "young" people.
  6. My 401k currently charges me 0.31% to buy domestic index funds (I max it out). My employer from 1.5 years ago charged me way more. I think it was more than 1% for a bond fund and even more for a stock fund. I didn't mind maxing it out to get 36k in tax advantaged space before quitting and rolling it over to a low cost IRA. Still, I did and continue to find the exploÌtation to be unacceptable. My wife and I ask just one question when selecting 401k/403b/457b funds. Of the diversified funds which has the lowest ER? Then we use our taxable and IRA to fill in the gaps. Some of the people who've been in this 403b/457b fight for a while probably roll their eyes a bit when I complain about a 0.35% fee. They've seen (and continue to see) fees as high as 4% so a 0.35% fee probably feels like success but I strongly prefer your stance. We shouldn't allow wildly unacceptable behavior (4% fee) to normalize unacceptable behavior (0.35% fee). If you decide to advocate you're always welcome to attend OCPS board and/or union meetings and make the case with me...or if I can gather enough teachers for meetings/workshops you're always invited. Although, I don't know the first thing about Florida Virtual School I'd be happy to help with anything on that front as well. This is what I've found about low cost vendors currently being used in various school districts in Florida... NEA DirectInvest3 fund portfolio costs about 0.07% plus $35/year (if under $50k). Their 1 fund option (target date) is very expensive, 1%+ territory. Fidelity3 fund portfolio costs about 0.06% plus $25/year (can't be waived?). Their 1 fund options (target date and fixed allocation) are expensive 0.53-0.78%. Vanguard3 fund portfolio can't use admiral shares so it probably doesn't make sense. Their 1 fund options (target date and fixed allocation) cost 0.12-0.16% plus $15/year for owning the 1 fund. ASPire3 fund portfolio costs about 0.21% plus $40/year (can't be waived?). Their 1 fund options (target date and life strategy funds) cost 0.27-0.31% plus the $40/year (can't be waived?). PlanMember Direct3 fund portfolio costs about 0.41%. Their 1 fund option (target date) is very expensive 1%+ territory.
  7. Hi Jill, it sounds like you're maxing both so the order wouldn't matter. If that isn't the case then it sounds like you don't have access to a traditional IRA so I guess the question is if a Roth with low fees is better than a traditional with an extra 0.35% fee. I don't know the answer to that but I remember coming across a spreadsheet on bogleheads.org that somebody created to compare Roth to traditional. You may be able to find that and tweak the calculations to make the traditional slightly more expensive?
  8. ...it still burns me up that EVERY adviser (retirement account or not) isn't required to be a fiduciary. Nearly everybody already thinks their adviser is required to act in their best interest. The whole thing is a racket.
  9. So it sounds like states still have the ability to go down this road but not the requirement to do so? When I first read about this regulation I was puzzled. Why would tying an IRA to an employer help somebody? Don't they already have access to an IRA? I think the idea is, if your HR admin comes to you and asks if you want to enroll then you're much more likely to do so compared to the onus being entirely on you? I also have a vague memory of reading about some of these plans being less than ideal. I think one state (California?) wouldn't let employees invest in stocks. I think it would be ideal if by default your employer enrolled you in a target date fund with a Vanguard IRA and took contributions straight from your paycheck (opt-out obviously being an option).
  10. Thanks Tony, "fire in your soul" is quite the compliment. I appreciate it.
  11. Without having dived into the details, it looks like you're stuck with nothing but high cost options. Perhaps a more knowledgeable person will come along and quickly give you a definitive answer but... If I were you I'd gather data on every vendor, that means every fee and the name of every available fund. Their websites probably will hide this information. You'll probably have to do most of this over the phone. It'll probably take forever and be very frustrating. Then you can decide if the fees are so bad that you're better off investing in a taxable account instead (you're almost certainly better off maxing an IRA first). ...if you're so inclined you can lobby for reform as I am doing (it is an incredibly long road though).
  12. If "Security Group" is the same thing as "Security Benefit Group" then they have a fantastic option called NEA DirectInvest. At least in Orange County, Fl you can build a fully diversified portfolio called the "3 Fund Portfolio" for rock bottom costs. I write about this option and the fees on my web site https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/best-ocps-403b. Plan Member Services has something called the "Direct Program". At least in Orange County, Fl you can build a fully diversified portfolio called he "3 Fund Portfolio" for rock bottom costs. Unfortunately, they add on a 0.35% fee. I consider this to be "expensive" but still FAR better than these other options that charge 2% or more! I write about this option and the fees on my web site https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/best-ocps-457b. I believe every other option you listed is no good. I have a particular dislike of AXA, which I wrote about here. I'm sorry you got caught up with them but I'm happy you're about to break free!
  13. I wrote about the misplaced shame associated with investing in a bad 403b/457b (or any plan really). https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/your-adviser-should-be-ashamed-not-you I want everybody to know there is nothing to be embarrassed about. We need to get this exploîtation out in the open and address it.
  14. If this issue were happening to me it wouldn't just be about the (probably small) effect it has on my retirement. It would be more about the fact that some organization is potentially profiting off of me against my will and without even providing me a service.
  15. I completely agree that savings rate should be everybody's #1 priority. But when you're already maxing out your 401k and investing 70% of your take home pay then it's time to dig into secondary issues. Either that or sell your home and move your family into the woods. Sadly my wife can't handle living with the mosquitoes in 90 degrees & 80% humidity :)
  16. This quality isn't limited to educators. There is nothing more powerful than a personal, human connection. People need to be able to look you in the eyes, shake your hand, feel your pasion, and see your authenticity. You need to connect with their fundamental humanity and show that you care about their well being. I keep tying this back to politics and whatever you think about Trump or Bernie, they have the most loyal followers because they held massive rally after massive rally and reached out to people in the flesh. The internet is great for sharing information and cultivating a following but it has to start with a spark from grassroots, on the ground work. Maybe I'm a fool but I deeply believe that here in Orange County we're not limited by the number of people advocating. I genuinely believe we're limited by my (or others') ability to get in front of people and speak from the heart. If I were a school employee or if I could find a way to speak to these folks, I just know we'd build momentum. The message is a gift from god, greedy wall street types have rigged the system to steal from your retirement. They don't care that you're already underpaid or that you're doing some of the most noble work our society requires. They've stolen from me, they tried desperately to steal from my wife, they're targeting you, and we're going to put a stop to it once and for all! Enough is enough. It writes itself! ...sure we'll have to talk about expense ratios, sales loads, diversification, etc but we have to lead with a fundamental message of fairness. You've worked your butt off, played by the rules, and these greedy greedy people have crafted a plan to specifically take advantage of you. It isn't fair and we have the power to stop them! I'm fired up and if I can start getting in front of teachers then I won't stop until it is fixed. The biggest and most bitter disappointment for me were the unions. I wholeheartedly support the concept of organized labor because it is needed to balance the power. They have a sacred responsibility to help the people and to discover the role they've played in the 403b/457b issues has disgusted me.
  17. We use Security Benefit's NEA DirectInvest and new contributions show up almost immediately. I haven't measured it exactly but 0-2 days? ...I'm apprehensively waiting for the bear market that causes each purchase to be worth less than a day or so earlier. So let's enjoy the record highs while they last!
  18. That is interesting. Like you hear all the time in politics, the people need to get involved and take matters into their own hands. Educate each other about the best options. Call retirement services every single day and complain about the crappy options. Overwhelm the school board meetings. Change would happen overnight. I have been so underwhelmed by OCPS. I don't like to guess at motives but their actions demonstrate that helping the employee isn't a top priority. The woman in charge of Retirement Services told me she likes having the agents because they educate employees about the 403(b)/457(b) plans. Meanwhile she claims it would somehow be illegal for Retirement Services to help employees understand the plans...how ridiculous is it that Retirement Services won't tell you about the retirement plans!? In the best case scenario these folks simply don't care, want their job to be easy, and/or are afraid of vague legal threats the TPAs bring up. In the worst case scenario the whole thing is corrupt and the decision makers are in the pockets of these financial companies. Either way if we would just organize then we could fix the problem!!!
  19. That is another great idea! I'm going to get to work on that in the morning. Thanks.
  20. LibraryLady, I love what you're doing! Great job! I'm working on something similar down here in Florida and I'd love to learn from your experiences. If there are any lessons you'd like to share or advice you'd like to give, I'm all ears!
  21. KFord, what I'm about to say is not meant as a personal attack on you but is meant as a general critique of the techniques you've used in this thread: 1. You're playing to people's fear...stock market crashes are scary and not having enough money for retirement is terrifying. 2, You're playing to people's greed...who wouldn't want to get more than the market returns? 3. You speak the "language" with confidence...the uninitiated will assume you know better than they do. 4. You reference authorities in the indusry (Buffett and Bogle) to borrow their credibility...yet reach conclusions in direct conflict with said authorities. 5. You never reveal what you'd actually do with all of your knowledge...so it is impossible to definitively assess you. These techniques are regularly used to manipulate and prey on people in all arenas of society/industry. I find it to be manipulative, deceitful, and I don't like it one bit.
  22. You still haven't answered my questions but you sure typed a lot of words.
  23. Can you cut through all of the noise for everybody and just tells us what you're doing with this information? Have you changed your portfolio and if so how? You've repeated yourself a few times but what is the bottom line here? I want to hear actionable, concrete items from you rather than philosophical musings on the market in general, appeals to authority, and out of context quotes.
  24. The data shows low cost, total market, index funds eviscerate their competition who use all kinds of smart people and clever tactics trying to outperform the market. The data shows that investors significantly under-perform the very funds they're invested in because they try to out-smart the market. Best of luck to you, I sincerely hope you're one of the few people who receive more than the market returns! ...I listen to and read Bogle and Buffett quite a bit and they always tell me to buy every paycheck, keep my head down, keep my costs low, and keep my portfolio diversified. So when you quote them to reach a different conclusion, it is silly. "our favorite holding period is forever"
  25. I know for sure that at least some of my phone calls were through 800-888-2461. I also know I have the (785) 438-3076 number written down but can't say for sure if I used it. If you have to call then I'm not sure what I'd recommend. I'd recommend not calling at all and following the instructions I laid out step by step at my website https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/set-up-your-403b457b
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