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pghchrism

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  1. I spoke with an Aspire rep yesterday. She said the financial advisor was responsible for limiting the selection of funds when the 403(b) was initially set up. I asked if there was any way to access Vanguard funds through our existing account, or by opening a new self-directed account without a financial advisor. She told me that was not possible, but that I "might" be able to open an IRA and roll the 403(b) money into that. Honestly, this rep didn't exactly inspire confidence (especially the part about an IRA rollover, which sounds wrong?). So I'm not fully convinced that a self-directed 403(b) is out of the question, but FWIW that's the story I was given. If I were committed to Aspire I would call back to verify that info with another CSR before abandoning the idea entirely, but since I prefer the lower fees of NEA DirectInvest over the broader fund list of Aspire I won't be pursuing this further unless DirectInvest fails to pan out for some reason.
  2. Great info, thanks a bunch. Will look into NEA Direct Invest. 🙂
  3. My wife has a 403(b) plan with Aspire. We haven't used it much to this point, but are considering making more significant contributions going forward. According to 403bwise Aspire is a good vendor that offers access to low-cost funds from Vanguard and others. Unfortunately when I log into our account and try to change the portfolio allocation I'm not seeing anything like that. There are ~70 funds on offer, almost all of which have 1-2% expense ratios. Are we out of luck here, or it possible to access more funds somehow? I noticed there's an Edward Jones financial advisor listed in our account; would starting a new self-directed account open up more investment options? Unfortunately, the Aspire website FAQ suggests it's the school district or third-party administrator limiting access to additional fund families, which is really disappointing: "Aspire has access to a universe of over 20,000 mutual funds within over 400 fund families. Many plans are restricted to certain fund families by their school district or common remitter/TPA. You can find your choices in Review your Plan Investment Options on your school district's plan site." AFAICT the vendor list is pretty slim pickings outside of Aspire, so I'm not sure we have any other viable 403(b) options: Aspire Financial Services, Brighthouse Life Ins (MetLife CT/Travelers), Equitable (formerly AXA), Horace Mann Life Ins. Co., Kades-Margolis, MetLife, Security Benefit, Voya Financial (VRIAC), Waddell & Reed Inc. Any others worth considering there? Thanks in advance for any assistance!
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