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Anonymous Coward

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  1. Our payroll is processed by LACOE. I called them once to ask why they can't transfer 403(b) money by ACH transfer, like they do my paycheck. They told me there were too many vendors to do an ACH transfer. I don't believe this, because they process payroll for tens of thousands, and these payroll deposits are routed to many, many banks and credit unions, probably a much larger number (of banks and credit unions) than there are 403(b) vendors. Instead of sending the money by ACH transfers, LACOE sends paper checks by snail-mail two or three times per month to 403(b) vendors, along with a list of SSNs and the contribution amounts. They're harvesting the interest off this 403(b) money until the check clears.
  2. I got a letter from my employer the other day, saying I'll be paying $3/month to TDS for the "service" they provide as the TPA for our 403(b) accounts. As far as I know, LACOE picked TDS... I don't think the individual districts under the LACOE umbrella had a choice in the matter. Anyway, I've noticed my 403(b) contributions still take 10-15 days (from payday) to show up in my 403(b) account. It makes me wonder what I'm paying TDS $30/year for.
  3. You're not searching very thoroughly, then, if you're looking for info here. Try this site.
  4. Suze Orman may give some good advice, occasionally, but she has been less than truthful about her work and her qualifications. She's not exactly a font of good investment advice herself: Outing Suze Orman's Investment Portfolio Suze Orman: Should You Listen To Her Advice? Now, in fairness, I don't follow Suze Orman; to be direct, appearing on Oprah Winfrey's show is pretty much an anti-endorsement, in my view. I don't really listen to Dave Ramsey, either, though I probably agree with a lot more of what he says/advises, especially with regard to avoiding debt. As for Robert Kiyosaki, I read his first book ("Rich Dad, Poor Dad") and thought it was worse than useless. Anybody who follows Kiyosaki has very questionable judgement.
  5. I have a friend who invests professionally and he's 20% in gold (metal and miners) at the moment. I also have a position in VGPMX which is one of the few above-water positions I have. There is probably some very serious inflation on the way.
  6. You missed the point. This sort of negative publicity is becoming increasingly common. You're already out of the system; you don't need to worry much about your pension. Yes, inflation can do some real damage, and if QE2 produces significant inflation, the purchasing power of your monthly benefit will be reduced. But for the most part, I think you don't need to worry about CalSTRS running out of money, even if you live another 30 years. In my own case, I am probably 25 years or so from retirement... around that time, CalSTRS openly admits that they will be totally dependent on the state to cover their needs. My point is, if it easy to find this sort of negative public reaction to CalPERS, et al., now, how will it be in 25 years when the last of the baby boomers have retired? There will be significant numbers of people who look with great envy, mixed with great anger, at state and local government employees who have a defined benefit pension. A lot of private-sector folks will retire with less than they need for a comfortable retirement, and many will be bitter toward those who are more comfortable due to a DB pension paid for with tax dollars. Even in fat times, it will not be easy for CalSTRS to get money to cover what they need.
  7. There may be more than a little truth in this right now, but I wonder how it will be when I am close to retirement in 25 years? Hard to imagine.
  8. A recent article that may be of interest: Teacher Pension Bombs. The article mentions that CalSTRS is revising its fictional 8% projected rate of return down to 7.5%-- a fart in a thunderstorm, I'd say-- and having posted previously regarding the eventual, practical impact of such a change, I wonder how long it will be until they start ratcheting up our contribution rate from the current 8% of gross pay. It seems to be inevitable. The email that I posted previously said: "If a 7.5% investment return assumption were used, additional contributions of 20% of pay would be required, and the plan would have a funded ratio of 72.3%." That may have changed slightly in the intervening year (they were basing the analysis on the CalSTRS portfolio of 6/2009), but not by much. Not good.
  9. I'm in my mid-40's and I'm not really planning to retire. I'd like to transition from what I'm doing now (teaching) to something else, hopefully in another 20-25 years. To what, I'm not sure. My wife and I saved around 10% of our income when we were both working, but now that my wife is a home-maker, and we have just my income, I'm only saving about 6% in my 403(b) (in addition to the 8% that goes to STRS). Currently our pre-tax 401(k)/403(b) savings total about $250K (down from about $290K at the peak back in 2007). In spite of the fact that STRS is supposed to be guaranteed, I'm pretty skeptical that the benefit formula will be unchanged when I finally start receiving a benefit from them. I've seen articles which suggest that some states (California included) will probably be looking for a federal bailout of their unfunded pensions sometime in the future, and that doesn't seem so implausible. Since federal bailouts always come with strings attached, is it crazy to think that the STRS formula might change? I don't think so. I think PERS is a larger target with respect to this than STRS is, but I can't think why STRS would be immune. So I'll continue to save as much as I can, but when I can transition/retire will probably depend on how much I can get from STRS and how our investments have done.
  10. Someone forwarded this... emphasis is mine.
  11. To paraphrase CS Lewis, the CTA loves its members "as dainty a morsel as it ever grew fat on." The NEA has betrayed its members for endorsement revenue, and I'd be very surprised if the CTA did not generate revenue in a similar fashion. I've heard stories about how lucrative affinity business can be for some folks. The only way the CTA would start taking action to educate their members in re: the need for personal retirement savings would be if they believed it was in their interest. For example, if they could earn more revenue by steering their members to low-cost retirement savings vendors instead of to life insurance companies, they would happily steer folks. If you disagree, I would invite you to give two solid examples of something good the CTA has done for its members.
  12. Edit: Dunno why the HTML features are not functioning... SacBee articles typically become inaccessible to non-subscribers pretty quickly... Giant California pension funds may lower earnings expectations Editorial: Pension funds slip deep into the abyss
  13. I elected not to do it. Maybe sometime in the future I will revise it and do it again.
  14. It will be a long time on the left coast. School districts here in CA are in a tight spot right now. They are grappling with GASB accounting rules changes which have forced them to choose between amortization of past service liabilities-- in my district, the amount of money being thrown at this problem basically doubled, until budget cuts (mostly) forced them to scale back-- or carrying these liabilities on their balance sheets, which makes it more expensive for them to borrow money. In addition, the state-- "liberalism's laboratory," as George Will put it-- is in the process of imploding, and the predictions that I've heard are not encouraging. At the county office that funnels money to the districts, they say privately that it will be three to five years before we can hope for things to improve. California is in very deep doo-doo.
  15. We can see where the status quo will eventually lead...
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