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Everything posted by EdLaFave

  1. Thanks Tony, "fire in your soul" is quite the compliment. I appreciate it.
  2. 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).
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 :)
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 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!!!
  10. That is another great idea! I'm going to get to work on that in the morning. Thanks.
  11. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. You still haven't answered my questions but you sure typed a lot of words.
  14. 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.
  15. 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"
  16. 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
  17. Bogle feels he can predict what the market will do in time periods measured in decades. Bogle also says this knowledge is completely un-actionable, which is why he recommends buying low cost, total market, index funds every time you're paid, no exceptions.
  18. Their own index funds are in there but it doesn't make sense to use them. The cheapest TIAA fund is the S&P 500 for 0.3%. ...they've actually got lots of different funds. The most expensive is PSI Tactical Growth Fund Class A for 3.08% gross, 2.5% net and I think it has a 5.75% load.
  19. For OCPS (FL) TIAA charges a 0.58% fee for doing business with them. It looks like they offer: Vanguard S&P 500 - 0.05% Vanguard Extended Market - 0.09% Vanguard Developed Markets - 0.09% Vanguard Total Bond - 0.06% I get the sense that there is a fondness for TIAA but I view these fees as unnecessarily high. Given that OCPS has NEA DirectInvest in the 403(b) and PlanMember Direct in the 457(b) there isn't any reason to use TIAA.
  20. If I processed all of the information correctly it looks like the "best" vendors in the K-12 403(b)/457(b) market (at least in FL) allow you to build a diversified portfolio for about: Great Fidelity: 0.06% + $24/year (can't be waived) Security Benefit's NEA DirectInvest: 0.07% + $35/year (waived if you have $50,000) Good Vanguard: 0.16% + $15/year (can be waived) ASPire: 0.21% + $40/year (can't be waived) Mediocre PlanMember Direct: 0.41% ...if I got anything wrong please correct me.
  21. krow, I have every reason to believe you're 100% correct. Where can I find an "official" source for this? When I lay out this info for OCPS I want to point to an official document. ...also thanks, I had no idea vanguard restricted you to investor shares.
  22. It looks like 23 counties in the state of Florida use some combination of Fidelity, Vanguard, or Aspire in their 403(b) and/or 457(b). So as I have time I'll probably give some of those counties a call...but if anybody has suggestions for how to bring these companies on board, I'm all ears.
  23. A quantifiable answer, an extra 0.15% fee (over 30 years, 6% market return, and 3% inflation) will consume 6.5% of real profits. Huge improvement relative to a 2% fee that consumes 73% of real profits, which is why I'm considering ASPire as a real option. I'll definitely be leading with Vanguard and Fidelity because I think their fees are lower and their fund selection is less overwhelming. ...still if the compromise is to use ASPire, that is a big win! ...although this isn't personal for me, we're at NEA DirectInvest with absolute rock bottom costs. Couldn't be happier for our personal circumstances.
  24. Yes, I am looking at ASPire, Vanguard, and Fidelity because those are the low cost options I've seen in other districts in the state. Although Aspire looks to be the worst of the three because they add on the 0.15% fee. Still much better than all of the sky high costs from most vendors out there.
  25. I couldn't agree more. I think it would better serve investors to tune out all headlines (not just Buffett's this week). Buy your low cost total market index funds every pay check, take what the market gives you, stick with your plan that you put in writing when you started investing, and give up on the notion that you can develop a special sauce to be smarter than everyone else in the market...don't do something, just stand there.
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