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  1. Thanks Dan! I'm so happy I found you guys. I'm learning a lot but still have a long ways to go! Just to update you guys, I did contact the agent from Mass Mutual last week out of courtesy and respect. I let him know that I would like to cancel my life insurance, and also informed him about me switching over my Roth IRA and how I will eventually be changing my 403b over too. He asked if I wouldn't mind sharing why, and so I did. Below is that part of the conversation. I wanted to share his response with you guys and ask your opinion (yet again lol). I've always really liked him and think he is a nice person, but it's hard to know who and who not to trust. Hi Nick, Thanks for getting back to me. I did have a nice summer, but no big trips this year. Thank you for asking. When I first started teaching, I was working with an agent from Northwestern, as you might remember. From the very beginning, I never felt fully confident or educated in the financial decisions I was making. I've known investing and saving for retirement is important and is something I should be doing now, but that was all I've ever really known. I didn't like how that made me feel, knowing I was going into all of this kind of blind, when I should be educating myself, so that I can make the best possible decisions for my future. I've felt much more comfortable working with you than with Northwestern. I appreciate how personable you are and how you genuinely seem to care. I did some research this summer and started taking the right steps towards becoming more educated on investments and finances. I specifically started looking into financial advice for teachers. I listened to some podcasts and joined forums online, speaking with other teachers. The repeated advice I got was to choose companies other than insurance ones like Mass Mutual. I hadn't realized this at the time, but Chicopee Educators' website also actually advises against going through insurance companies for investments. I hadn't compared Mass Mutual with other options, which I should have done. I am going with Vanguard for my Roth IRA, and eventually plan to find something else for my 403b. I would like to get something with lower fees and lower (or no) surrender schedule. For the life insurance, I am trying to pay off my debt and feel that money would be made more useful if I put it towards my student loans. You have been wonderful to work with, and I truly do appreciate all of your help. I want to be sure I'm making the best decisions for my life and my financial future. I hope you understand. Will you please let me know what I can do to cancel the life insurance? I still am keeping the disability and the 403b for now. Thank you, Nick. Please enjoy your weekend. Best, Paige Hi Paige, Wow thanks for the lengthy response! I appreciate your due diligence. If you’d like to talk further one day on the phone or in person I would be happy to clarify some points of confusion here. To briefly summarize, your Roth is not in an “expensive insurance company account”, reading online can be confusing. In fact, your Roth can go into Vanguard Funds which was the original plan but we needed to get to the $500 mark to satisfy their minimums. There are no extra insurance fees or charges on that account. You pay the expenses associated with the funds you choose. AKA Vanguard’s expenses, or Fidelity, or whomever you choose to use. If you go direct to Vanguard you can only use vanguard funds, so you limit yourself and pay the same costs. Chicopee 403bs have a very limited selection. MassMutual is one of a handful of providers and all the providers are insurance company based. So we didn’t really have any other options to choose from. I am not tied to one company, I can quote anyone, but only those approved by the city. There is a big misconception that Insurance companies charge excessive fees. Some of the biggest 401ks in the world are administered by MassMutual, Voya, Brighthouse, etc. Some of our plans are cheaper than Vangaurd & Fidelity. It just depends on the type of plans you are choosing. So don’t let generic articles and people scare you. If we were truly that uncompetitive we wouldn’t exist in the investment markets, especially in today’s fee conscious society. As far as the insurance goes we can call in and request the cancelation forms, just like we did at Northwestern. If you want we can do it together or you can call. But you have to be on the line. Have you been listening to Dave Ramsey? Let me know if you want to chat more. I am happy to help clarify any questions or confusion. Thanks, Nick
  2. I agree, Tony. Thank you. Update: All is going well with the transition to Vanguard. Again, their customer support is great. I am organizing my filing cabinet and found in my retirement folder paperwork from when I worked at a summer camp for the town (West Springfield - not Chicopee) during college. I knew I had a very small investment through this job (I hadn't even chose it - it was automatically deducted from my paycheck) but I didn't know anything about it. I'm looking over the paperwork and it's a 457(b) OBRA-PST Plan... How does this change things for me? Also, my first year out of college I worked as a para in Agawam. As of 12/31/2018 I have $1,844.19 in my Annuity Savings Fund (I'm guessing my pension?) Do you guys have any recommendations for what I should do with the money in these other accounts?
  3. Thank you so much Tony! Your words of encouragement keep me going!! I'm glad to have everyone on here because I would be so lost if I didn't! I'm in the process of moving my Roth IRA over to Vanguard, which is no problem at all. They were super nice and helpful when I spoke with them! Now I never mentioned that this may be my last year in this district. I am planning on staying in Massachusetts, but will either be moving next summer to Barnstable County with my boyfriend or there is a possibility of the Boston area OR even him moving back home here where I would stay in Chicopee (that is unlikely). I've already started talking with some of my coworkers and the union reps in my school about our poor 403b options and how I would like our district to get the 457b state plan. While, I do think this is something our district needs whether or not I stay here, do you think it is worth it for me to change over this year or wait until I move districts?
  4. Just emailed Dan Moroney about the 457 plan!
  5. Thank you so much for your support! It is a little discouraging because I do feel lost and overwhelmed, but it's so nice to know I have found people on here to lean on and come to for help! I don't have kids and am not married so I think dropping the insurance sounds good. I will be calling Vanguard tomorrow. I'm meeting with HR Thursday about my health insurance, so I can bring up the 457 plan at that meeting. Does it need to be added to the district if the state plan is available for all? I'm a little confused as to how that works.
  6. This is incredible! Thank you all so much. Things have been hectic - school year has just started as well as my second job! You guys know how it is. I’m going to move towards the process of switching to the 457b. Have to do my research! Any tips along the way? Have I completely lost the money I’ve already put in? Switching the Roth IRA to Vanguard sounds like the right move as well. Should I keep my life and disability insurance with Mass Mutual or do we think there’s something better out there? I finally feel like I’ve found some real guidance! Thank you everyone. I know it’s taken me a while to respond to this but I have been reading the posts and am thinking about this everyday. It is towards the very top of my back to school to-do list!
  7. Hi Rich, Thank you for getting back to me. Your prompt response and willingness to help means a lot to me. Chicopeeeducators.org warns us against annuities, so I have some concerns over Mass Mutual being the only option. Is it possible for our district to implement other plans to help teachers get better options? Would the 457b plan be able to be implemented as an alternative to Mass Mutual plans? BELOW IS THE RESPONSE The options that the city affords are a big deal. Often they are dictated by law (like the retirement system), and often there are substantial contracts involved. The decisions on the options are made (I believe) by the city treasurer. The terms of those agreements are complicated. Your stuff is further complicated by the teachers retirement system that you are in. I'm not even close to an expert on this stuff, so I'd recommend that you talk to Dean Godek, who (I believe) is the broker/ agent. He helped me develop my own personal plan when I started in February. me Check in with him, and let me know how it goes. Dgodek@charteroakfinancial.com Rich
  8. Hi Dan... I do have a roth IRA but it is unfortunately through Mass mutual 😞
  9. Hi Tony! I am so confused! I didn't find his email clear either.... "If another City employee suggested another option, please let me know, and I will find out about it for you." I'm a little confused specifically by this response. Another option?
  10. Hi everyone! I have heard back from Human Resources with what seems to unfortunately not be such a great response. Below is his email. If anyone has any thoughts or could guide me in the right direction for what to do from here it would be so greatly appreciated! I’m still learning all this stuff and am happy to be able to connect with people so knowledgeable. Hi Paige- The Mass Mutual plans are the only options that Chicopee employees have. For the most part, they carry most of the investment options (mutual funds, safety accounts, etc) that other vendors have. I'd recommend that you show the list of options to your financial advisor, so that they can recommend the investment options that would work best for you.If another City employee suggested another option, please let me know, and I will find out about it for you.Best wishes for a successful school year.Rich
  11. I’m going to call them Monday and see!
  12. Thank you for the advice. I just read the page on investing 101. That’s a great place for me to start I have a lot to learn.
  13. Hi everyone! Thank you all so much for already being so willing to help. I have had a busy day traveling but am back on the forum and am so relieved to see so many caring people reaching out! Thank you. I don’t see a list of vendors but my district does have this site which explains different options. They even strongly recommend not to buy from insurance companies.. if only I had read this before! http://chicopeeeducators.org/planning-for-retirement/
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