Hi, I could really use your help. I've been teaching in NJ for 14 years. The first year I started, AXA came into the teacher's lounge and had me sign up for a 403b. Typical of a lot of stories I'm hearing from others. I was young and naive and thought I had to have a 403b because I'm a teacher and I had no clue there were other vendors. Through 403bwise and montley fools, I am just starting to learn about retirement plans. The more I learn, the more I realize that I am probably in a terrible plan. I contacted HR to get the vendor list:
Lincoln Investment Planning
The Legend Group
TPAF Supp. Ann. Coll. Trust TSA
Wealth Management/ING Reliaster
Life Insurance Company of the South
Yesterday I sat down with AXA trying to get an understanding of what fees I have with them. They said the max my fees are is 1.03% and $30 a year admin fee. I asked about loads, back end fees, variable annuity fees, and they said no, no, no only 1.03%. From what I hear about variable annuities, they are terrible with the fees (usually around 3%). I'm so confused. What are they hiding? Where are my hidden fees? I know about surrender charges but what else am I missing? Does it have something to do with the expense ratio? Could anyone help me. Both of the AXA salesmen said they were fiduciaries, which I was shocked by. I thought AXA people weren't fiduciaries?
Moving forward, I plan on stopping contributions with AXA and going to Vanguard and opening up my own IRA with index funds (my AGI is too high for a Roth IRA which is what I would have preferred). You all seem so knowledgeable here. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated.