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  1. Well, it's a wrap. I went with the Vanguard 2045 for the ever-so-slightly-larger-but-still-tolerable risk and chose Roth contributions. I may change that later after I have time to calculate how much larger my contribution can be with the traditional plan or if I decide to change to a lower risk fund. I understand about not moving funds due to panic. I won't do that. The process of opening an account is so convoluted. First, the third party administrator account enrollment is only automatic if we choose the 457 plan. If you want the 403b, you have to open the TPA account on your own and manually populate the fields and know the secret codes. Second, you can open the Vanguard account online but there's a three day wait to get the okay to enroll for online access and choose your fund(s). Also, you have to call the TPA before setting up the Vanguard account to find out the account number for your school district. Both the TPA and Vanguard say to go ahead during the waiting period and designate the amount you want to contribute, so I did that. When I received the email today, I enrolled. It's so complex - no wonder the insurance company reps lurk in the teachers' lounge and say they'll make it easy. BTW, their newest tactic in my school is to help teachers with student loan repayment options. Do they have expertise in that? I did read one place that there are some tax issues about Roth v. traditional to consider for the heirs to a 403b, so I plan to call the accountant and find that out. Does anyone know anything about that? I am paying attention to your save-save-save advice. I will meet that goal. I'm on it. But first, I'm off to create online lessons. I cannot thank you enough for the advice and sharing of opinions on this forum.
  2. Thanks for the kind words! Encouragement from this group is really helping me to feel like I can get this done. It looks like a choice between the Vanguard Target 2035 and Target 2040 would be the best option for me. It looks like the choice would be in how long I put off the move away from stocks in the fund. Is that right? I found this calculator: https://americanfundsretirement.retire.americanfunds.com/tools/calculators/roth-401k.htm It suggests that the traditional 403b would be better than the Roth for one reason. This calculator takes into account the future value of investing the tax savings from pre-tax traditional 403b contributions and assumes that I would invest those savings at the same rate as the retirement fund. After paying taxes on the traditional fund distributions, this strategy would mean an additional $1,000 per year in retirement income from the traditional 403b over the Roth. Someone posted earlier to leave the Traditional v. Roth decision to the end. I guess I'm at that point now. The TPA website has you make that choice right away once you've selected the fund on the Vanguard account. I'm open to any suggestions. The idea of the lower taxes in retirement is appealing to be because I fear that I will need every single cent then and that the pain would be slightly easier to take now. Is that crazy?
  3. The two asterisks mean that the Vanguard 403b plans offer Roth contributions. I cut that off when I took the screen capture - sorry. I'm going to go with the Vanguard 403b. I'll come back to this post in the next day or two with questions about which one. I guess I'm worried that I'll be so poor in retirement that I won't even be able to afford my taxes, which is why the Roth contributions even seem like an option. This is the part that is so embarrassing to me. Here's something interesting. I looked at other Texas districts on the TCG portal because I have family members who work there. Some districts are only offering the 457 and no 403b. This seems really strange to me. That's the higher fee plan and the one without any district contribution to the fees. That just seems wrong to me, like so much else about this whole mess. Even my district only offers easy online signup for the 457 during benefits enrollment and not the 403b. I found out about the 403b plans only by digging down on the TCG website. The districts are really steering people toward the more expensive 457. It's so fishy. I am immensely grateful for your patience, all of you. Your willingness to help me make me feel like all is not lost.
  4. These are the 403b vendors. I am pasting screen captures from the TCG website. The word "Fidelity" appears as Fidelity Security Life. Is this the right Fidelity? Also, all it says is Vanguard. It doesn't tell which funds you can pick from until you put in the secret code and go through the mystery portal. I guess I don't know what to do next. Do I go through the 403b mystery portal so I can see what funds I can choose from? I already did that for the 457 but I entered zero contributions so I don't think I signed up for anything. I guess I need to call and make sure tomorrow. They TCG 403b fees just say "$1.50 paid by employer" in my first post. The 457 fees are the complex ungrammatical ones. This makes it look like there are no fees for the 403b. I guess that means no fees to TCG but there will be fees to the vendor, right? I will have Texas Teacher Retirement but it's meager and there's never a COLA. Never. They give an extra check about every 15 years but you get what you get on the date of your retirement and that stays the same until the end. And we can't draw any Social Security due to the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset. So it's TRS and whatever you save on your own in this state. Thanks for the thoughtful advice. I am grateful!
  5. I found this list of funds available for the 457. So this means that it is self-directed since I can choose a percentage myself? But why would I do this if the 403b is without fees? Met Life Stable Value Fund BlackRock Total Return Fund K TIAA CREF Lifecycle Retirement TIAA-CREF Lifecycle 2055 TIAA-CREF Lifecycle 2060 TIAA-CREF Lifecycle 2020 TIAA-CREF Lifecycle 2025 TIAA-CREF Lifecycle 2030 TIAA-CREF Lifecycle 2035 TIAA-CREF Lifecycle 2040 TIAA-CREF Lifecycle 2045 TIAA-CREF Lifecycle 2050 RAMS Capital Preservation RAMS Conservative RAMS Signature Portfolio RAMS Moderately Conservative RAMS Growth RAMS Aggressive Growth DFA Commodity Strategy Portfolio Institutional DFA Continental Small DFA Emerging Markets Core Equity I DFA Intl Small Cap Value DFA Large Cap International DFA US Large Company Portfolio DFA US Large Value DFA US Micro Cap DFA US Small Company DFA US Small Value Vanguard Long-Term Investment Grade Fund Admiral Vanguard Short Term Bond Index Admiral Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund Admiral Vanguard Wellington Fund Admiral Victory Fund For Income
  6. Also, if I posted something I should not post, could you please delete it and chalk it up to being very new at this? Thank you.
  7. I'm very late to the party for saving. I'm 59. 1. I'm confused by the fact that the fees seem so much higher for the 457 plan than for the 403b plans available through the state's TPA, which is TCG. The fees are listed at the bottom of these plan summaries that I will post at the end of this question. It looks like to me that the fees are $1.50 a month (?) (and paid by the employer) for the 403b and something like $22 plus 0.77 with a $150K cap for the 457 plan (paid by the participant). My district chose a 457 that does not offer Roth contributions. However, there are Roth options in the 403b vendor list, which contains Fidelity and Vanguard (plus 58 others because this is Texas). Is this a big difference in fees between the two plans? It seems like the 403b plans are fee free. Is that even possible? 2. If I want to make Roth contributions, the only option is a 403b. It looks like TCG holds and runs the 457 plan itself. I looked at the 457 quarterly report and my eyes glaze over. There are no vendor options listed for the 457. Does that mean TCG is the vendor? This is confusing to me. 3. Right now, I plan to work until I'm 75, longer if I'm able. So would a Vanguard target date 403b plan be my best option? Like 2035? I can't even see which Vanguard options are available until I create the account with them using the secret code. Will these target date accounts be visible when I do that? Thank you for any help you can give me. I'm embarrassed but I'm trying to get past it!
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