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  1. Absolutely agree that total market index funds are the way to go for most teachers because of diversity. I mentioned Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett's company) because it is more diverse than most individual stocks. You can see all the companies they own and the stocks they hold here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_Berkshire_Hathaway Individual stocks certainly have more risk and I would not advise them to someone that doesn't understand that or how to manage those risks. I probably should have mentioned that and considered this forum is mostly for teachers that are new to investing. Thanks for the comments Tony.
  2. I would definitely try to get your district to add Fidelity and Vanguard. My wife and I are in the same boat. Our district 403b plans are too expensive, so we both max out a Roth IRA and have a taxable account in addition to our state teachers pension. You can use a taxable account to buy individual stocks that don't pay dividends to minimize taxes. Example: Berkshire Hathaway pays no dividend, so you pay no taxes on it until you sell the shares and it is diversified in that it is a holding company made up of many other companies and stocks. A taxable account allows you to harvest any losses each year on your taxes as well. Also, I like having a taxable account because I don't have to have as much money in my bank account that pays practically no interest. We leave just enough money in our bank account to pay the bills each month and the rest is invested in the taxable account after we max out the Roth IRA. If we had some kind of emergency we could just sell some stocks from the taxable account and transfer the money to the bank. We also use a rewards card for purchases and pay it off at the end of the month in full because the rewards are FREE money. I am currently fighting to add Fidelity and Vanguard to our school district 403b options. I suggest everyone else do the same.
  3. Sounds like the teachers are being taken advantage of and the district does not realize it. That is what has been going on in our school district and I am working on getting a better plan set up. It will take time. That $30 match may not be a good deal if you are paying high fees. I have a meeting with our superintendent soon and have been putting together information for him and other employees. I don't mind sharing it here and don't mind feedback or criticism: https://teachingrich.blogspot.com/p/home.html This info is subject to change as I do more research or find cheaper options. In the meantime you might consider setting up a Roth IRA. My wife and I both have one at Fidelity that we max out every year. You don't have to go through the district to set it up. You can do it in 5 minutes online. They have over 500 commission free ETF's. Vanguard is also a good choice for Roth IRA's. There are some advantages of a Roth IRA that 403B's don't offer. Ideally we would max out both a Roth IRA and 403B, but our 403B's are too expensive so I use a taxable brokerage account. We are working on getting the 403B options changed. Good luck.
  4. Question from this bill I'm trying to figure out. Does this mean that a school district cannot deny an employee the ability to use Fidelity or Vanguard? For example, Fidelity and Vanguard are on the state list of approved vendors, but they are not on the school districts list because the schools TPA refuses to work with them. Does this mean by law the school district has to enter a salary reduction agreement with anyone the employee chooses that is on the state list? Texas Government Code Title 109, Art. 6228a-5. Sec. 9. (a): An educational institution may not: (1) except as provided by Subdivision (8) of this subsection and Subsection (b) of this section, refuse to enter into a salary reduction agreement with an employee if the qualified investment product that is the subject of the salary reduction is an eligible qualified investment and is registered with the system under Section 8A;
  5. Our benefits department director admitted to me that our district doesn't pay our current TPA anything. I asked her what fee does the employee pay and she had no idea. She admitted to me they have never negotiated that. That is what I am pushing for now and I am having to do all the legwork myself. I went about this process in reverse. I spoke with Fidelity and Vanguard first and then asked them who they work with directly. The rep at Fidelity gave me the name of a TPA. He also sent me a copy of their record keeping agreement between Fidelity and anyTPA they work with. It says the fee to the TPA is $24 per year and it's taken out of the participants account. I don't think Fidelity will sign any one else's agreement. They use their own and won't charge more than the $24. I think that is why some TPA's won't work with them.
  6. I think I have a good grasp of what Fidelity and Vanguard offer. It's the TPA's that I am leery of. Does anyone have any experience with TSA consulting?
  7. The things Ed mentioned above it looks like Harvard University does. https://hr.harvard.edu/files/humanresources/files/tdaplan.pdf I am pushing our benefits department to do these things. When I tried to discuss it with them they either didn't care or didn't understand. They told me they were not changing anything so I contacted our superintendent and he wants to meet with me. Now suddenly benefits is interested in what I have to say:-) It's an uphill battle , but I am not giving up.
  8. I'm trying to get my school district to change. Our current plans and TPA are horrible. I have a meeting with our Superintendent coming up. I have his attention and I am hoping he will help me push the benefits department to get this done. I've been comparing costs making phone calls. I would love to hear what others have found. Here is what I have so far: -Fidelity has a $24 maintenance fee per year. -Fund expense ratios also apply (example: Fidelity's S&P Index Fund is .015%) -$24 per year for the Third Party Administrator. This is the cheapest I have found that will work directly with Fidelity and Vanguard. The company is TSA Consulting. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -Vanguard charges $60 per year for their fee and that includes record keeping from the Newport Group -Fund expense ratios also apply (example: Vanguard offers their admiral share S&P Index Fund with .04% expense ratio with no minimum limit now for their 403b's) -$24 per year for the Third Party Administrator. This is the cheapest I have found that will work directly with Fidelity and Vanguard. The company is TSA Consulting. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I believe these are the only costs. Fidelity is a little cheaper. If anyone has info on any other lower cost options or advice please let me know. My first objective is to get them to change our plan. Down the road I have more Ideas. I would love to administer our own plan, but it may not be possible. I wondered if we could start an endowment to help pay for administration / employee fees.
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