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  1. I think the problem is the one I'm facing now: yes, there's a lot of knowledge out there, and Google is your friend, but there's simply no way to assemble this information into a coherent body of knowledge while also working to make time-sensitive financial decisions. Just from bumping this thread, I have enough homework to keep me busy for years, and as a doctoral student and full-time administrator, I don't know where I'll find the time. So that's how people like me come to rely on advisors. I'm not saying I've made that choice, but between now researching 457bs, learning about 403b plans, comparing vendor charges (which aren't posted anywhere publicly), and then trying to figure out what exactly I'm supposed to do once I start the sign-up process for some of these services, I'd really just as soon get some help. Of course there's nuance there, too, as apparently these providers are cess pools of dishonest salespeople and bad actors, but that takes me right back to step 1: staring at a million options I don't really understand, trying to find time I don't have to do homework that seems like it'll take months.
  2. Hi everyone, I wanted to circle back to share my experiences up to this point; I hope you don’t mind the bump. I took the terrific advice offered and used Nicole from Vanguard to roll my existing retirement accounts into a traditional IRA. I did not end up opening a 403b at my workplace because a) I needed money to pay for my education, and b) another opportunity presented itself and I will be starting there on July 1. Which brings me full circle, as I once again am faced with choosing a 403b provider from suboptimal options. Neither Vanguard nor Fidelity is an option, and, having read much of the EFF website, I know those are the best. I'm left with the following choices, many of which are: Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Aspire Financial Services AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company Brighthouse Life Ins (MetLife CT/Travelers) GWN/Employee Deposit Acct Invesco OppenheimerFunds MetLife Mutual Inc/PlanMember Services NY Life Ins. & Annuity Corp. ROTH - Brighthouse Life Ins (MetLife CT/Travelers) NY Life Ins. & Annuity Corp. ROTH - Brighthouse Life Ins (MetLife CT/Travelers) ROTH - Invesco OppenheimerFunds ROTH - MetLife ROTH - Mutual/PlanMember Voya Financial (Natl NY) I’ve read through the EFF site and none of these options are on the good list; only AXA and Voya made the bad list. Aspire was mentioned as one of the better options in Florida, but I’m not sure that holds true in New York, where I am. Do any options on that list look decent? Any help you can offer is appreciated.
  3. Ah, that's important information, thank you! I was under the impression that I could borrow against the IRA; if I cannot, that changes things. I can probably cover >50% of my education expenses out of pocket. Perhaps a student loan for the rest is in order, but I believe I would not be able to start paying it back until I'm out of school (and the interest is accruing during that same period).
  4. I'm going to press on with whatever product Security Benefits offers that gets me somewhere near 50/50 (20 international stocks/30 national/50 bonds) or thereabouts. I'm comfortable with roughly 20-25% of my money riding on the market. You've provided a great service here, and I expect I'll be back tomorrow with a dozen more questions after speaking to the appropriate parties. Thanks again.
  5. Thanks again for your help, Tony. I think you and Ed are more or less aligned on the most important questions. I intend to: - Open an IRA with Vanguard and move my dormant 401k/403b accounts into it - Open a 403b with Security Benefit (DirectInvest product sounds like the best bet despite how hard it might be to gain access to it) - Worry about the rest later
  6. This is great to learn, but it's also a nesting doll of complex options and new information I don't really understand. I think from the sound of it, the IRA still makes the most sense for me. I'm most interested in flexibility and the return. I've contacted someone in my business office for clarity on my 457 options. Is there generally a benefit to using one vs. the other? Since I'm paying down school bills at the moment, I'm not able to contribute to two simultaneously at the maximum level. Is there any reason to use both? I don't think losing almost 40% of my portfolio is reflective of my risk tolerance. It seems like some bubbles may burst in the next 12-18 months, so I actually thought bonds would limit my risk vs. stocks. That is apparently not the case. I hear what you're saying, but I really don't have a plethora of retirement accounts; I'm trying to get informed enough to set up one good one, then move the money I have sitting in old accounts into one other account. It has quite literally never occurred to me to have an emergency fund beyond my savings accounts, let alone a 100% bond only emergency account. I guess that would entail setting up another IRA?
  7. I just read the link Ed posted regarding IRAs, and it definitely sounds like a traditional IRA is better than a Roth IRA for my purposes. I do intend to contribute less to my retirement accounts while I work on the doctorate, but I'm at Johns Hopkins, and it ain't cheap, so I'm either going to have to eventually take a student loan or pay out of my retirement accounts. This is helpful, and I read all the linked articles/posts. I'm going to press forward with Security Benefit. Keep in mind that I'm a systems engineer/tier 4 tech director who has moved freely from the private sector to public education, not a teacher. I'll probably move again at some point, so if my transience influences your recommendations, let me know. Is establishing this IRA a simple matter of calling the Vanguard rep Tony shared? Is it disconnected from my employer entirely? And I've seen several references to 457b's, but those don't seem to be provided as an option anywhere on Omni's site, so I'm not sure how they're related to any of this. Your post indicates that you went with the three fund Vanguard with the following allocations: * Assumes the following allocation: * 52.5% domestic stocks. * 22.5% international stocks. * 25% bonds. For the time being, I'm just going with that.
  8. I guess I'm not following how this works. Vanguard is not one of my 403b options, but I can use them for an IRA? I thought my new employer was limiting me to one of the service providers on the list I shared.
  9. Thank you, Tony, for your response. I appreciate it. I will look into rolling the older accounts into an IRA. I think if I rollover into a Roth IRA, I have to pay taxes on the money, which does not seem ideal. Do you recommend a regular IRA? I do not currently have any Roth accounts, only the ones I listed in the original post. I have no experience with this sort of thing, so I'm guessing I should be calling the administrators of these older accounts to get started. I've got the 3 Fund Portfolio link open as we speak. Looks ideal for someone looking for consistent returns and limited appetite for big risk. I'm leaning towards Security Benefit. I'm trying to pay for my schooling without student loans, which have higher rates and more complex rules regarding repayment than most 403b loans, but perhaps this is misguided.
  10. Hi everyone, Finding this board was like finding water in the desert. I hope you smart people can provide me with some clarity. I'm a 40 year old school district administrator in New York with access to a 403b through the Omni Group. I also have several other retirement accounts with former employers: 20k in an ADP 401k 10k in a Securian 401k 50k in a TIAA-CREF 403b I'd like to do the following: - Consolidate these accounts into the one new account - Use some of the money in these accounts to pay for my doctoral classes OMNI is listing the following service providers as options for me: - American Century Services - American Financial Services - Aspire Financial Services - AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. - GWN/Employee Deposit Account - Lincoln Investment Planning - MetLife - Mutual Inc Planmember Services - NY Life Insurance and Annuity Corp - Oppenheimer Shareholder Services - Security Benefit - The Legend Group/Adserv - Valic - Voya Financial From my reading here, I've learned that Vanguard and Fidelity are the gold standards, and I unfortunately do not have access to either. However I've also seen positive things written about Security Benefit, so I am leaning that way. So I have several questions I hope you can help with: - Is it feasible to move all of the above accounts into one 403b? - Will I pay penalties for doing so? - Will I be able to take a loan out of the new 403b quickly if I move all the above funds into it? - Which of the plans I listed do you recommend? - Do you have specific recommendations for someone who is 40 but new to public ed as to how he or she should invest? Apologies for the length of the post, but I really do feel like this board presents some light at the end of a long, confusing tunnel.
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