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Everything posted by EdLaFave

  1. 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 :)
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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!!!
  5. That is another great idea! I'm going to get to work on that in the morning. Thanks.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. You still haven't answered my questions but you sure typed a lot of words.
  9. 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.
  10. 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"
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. That's a great idea! I've been frustrated trying to get Vanguard or Fidelity to respond to the RFP but knowing that Fidelity and Aspire and maybe others are in other districts proves it's possible. Thanks!
  22. Thanks for the feedback everybody! Keep it coming please, I'm hoping to fix any warts I'm too close to see. Tony, I actually don't know much about NEA. I understand there is a fair amount of resentment towards them for associating with Security Benefit and perhaps for other less than stellar actions in the past. However, in my personal experience I view NEA as a godsend because they're the only reason my wife and I are able to invest a 403(b) with a total cost of roughly 0.08%...hard to be mad about that. As far as our personal experience with being "allowed" to use DirectInvest it was pretty much a nightmare on both sides. OCPS retirement services flat out refused to enroll us (until we found somebody else to tell them they had to)...but on top of that the 2-3 people I spoke to at Security Benefit (for many many hours) refused to acknowledge the existence of NEA Direct Invest and repeatedly tried to transfer me to an annuity sales rep. Krow, that first link isn't loading for me but I'm somewhat familiar with the IBC and they have a direct relationship with OCPS's third party administrator TSA Consulting Group. Honestly when I read about IBC I feel like I'm reading 1984's doublespeak. It is a "model" of what not to do. It cares about fees in the sense that 2-4% fees are great! They negotiate the best possible pricing, for financial institutions and reps! I don't know what existed before this but this whole program is objectively awful. I spoke with an AXA rep just days ago who used the IBC as a sales pitch. He tells me that I can rest assured I'm getting incredibly low prices because the state and IBC put together an extensive thing to vet an incredibly number of vendors and low fees were a primary concern. He then goes on to tell me how low the 0.9% 'management' fee is, plus the expense ratios which he refused to divulge, and surrender fees as high as 6%...or course getting this information out of him was like pulling teeth. He then closes his pitch by reflecting on how great it is that these expenses are so low and he is really looking out for the investor because fees are important. The whole thing is crazy...the extra credibility he can gain by referencing the state and the IBC is a huge negative in my opinion.
  23. After speaking with Orange County representatives they've told me they follow this process: Every 5 years they put out an RFP. Any interested financial institution can reply to the RFP. A committee (OCPS administrators and union representatives) select which financial institutions can participate. OCPS tells their third party plan administrator (TSA Consulting Group) to go through the mechanics of setting up the vendors. I've called Vanguard and they seem insistent on the notion that they simply do not reply to RFPs. They say that the third party plan administrator can simply reach out to Vanguard and add them as a vendor. Of course the third party plan administrator has told me they simply don't do that and only set things up with the financial institutions that OCPS has selected through the RFP process. Any suggestions? After listening to the podcast with Fidelity's Scott Senseney from November of 2015, I was hopeful Fidelity would reply to the RPF from OCPS. However, when I call Fidelity I can't seem to get a hold of anybody who knows anything. Any suggestions? Any suggestions for reaching out to other low-cost, total market, index fund providers?
  24. My wife and I just setup her 403(b)/457(b) plan at OCPS (FL) and we found that nearly every plan charges fees that eat away most of the real investment returns. We setup a web site, educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com, to accomplish two goals: Help OCPS employees navigate the 403(b)/457(b) plans and to offer our time (for free) to work with employees in person, phone, email, text, etc to assist them in any way possible. Try to organize OCPS employees to help us in our effort to reform the system so that all employees are automatically helped out. I'd appreciate any feedback on our site and please spread the word to any OCPS (FL) employees you may know. Thanks!
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