There's too many variables.
1. Which Vanguard fund(s)?
2. Which Valuebuilder fund(s)?
3. Is it the Valuebuilder 403(b) or 403(b)(7)?
The media loves to spew about how bad the NEA is for their annuity plan, but they fail to mention that
more than 2/3 of the Valuebuilder accounts are mutual funds.
4. Are the funds you're comparing the same type of fund?
I am not a Valuebuilder rep, I just know a great deal about it. Nor am I an NEA member/employee. I compete with it. I just wish people would portray things accurately versus their own agendas. I'm not making that statement towards you Brian (education is a good thing), but those people who write the articles.
I also think that it's an unfair comparison between Vanguard and the Valuebuilder/other plan because of the advice/service you're not getting with the Vanguard plan. I agree that many advisors (TSA Salespeople) are just that and I can understand your frustration (even share in it), but there are also many fine advisors out there who truly make a difference in their client's lives. I try very hard to be in the latter group and know of others (even some competitors), but we're outnumbered by the others. I'm in this field and market to help teachers because there were some that made such a difference in my own life growing up.
I think teachers get a bad rep generally by a public that doesn't understand the job at all. They see the benefits, time off and work day, but have no idea of the extra time, money, effort and caring you put into this career. They also see a few bad apples and base their judgement on those few. I feel that this same misconception applies towards what I do. This profession isn't about picking mutual funds or annuities, there are so many calculators and information out there that someone could do it. It takes an experienced advisor (in most cases) to tie it together into a cohesive strategy to make dreams come true. There are some very intelligent people out there, including some who post here, who can do it themselves, but based on many of the questions I see on blogs, boards, in magazines, etc. the average person doesn't have the time or experience to do it right. The potential for ruin is too great. I remember seeing portfolios in the late 90's of some do-it-yourselfers who were "diversified" because they had six different funds. Too bad they were all large cap growth funds.
I commend people educating themselves and think that there isn't enough dialogue regarding issues overall anymore. I'm not posting here to solicit business. In fact, posting here excludes me from ever working with any of you, even if you track me down. I look forward to continuing our dialog and wish everyone the best. The work you do truly makes a difference.
<Steps down from the soapbox>