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LATeacher

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  1. I'm going with CalSTRS 403b until Fidelity gets back into the 403b business with LAUSD. My portfolio is the "do it yourself" type: DODGX 64% of Stocks DODFX 36% of Stocks VIPSX 50% of Bonds VBISX 50% of Bonds Overall Stock% = (130*-age) Overall Bond % = (100 - stock%) *This 130 figure is on the aggressive side. This value goes from 100 to 130 typically, depending on how aggressive you wish to be.
  2. I have a few issues with the current buzz in some circles to kill the 401K's/403b's/457b's etc.: 1) Whatever alternative is worked out for the current plans will involve more government control and hence manipulation. How would you like to find out 30 years down the line that the gov't has decided to give 50% of you account value over to a general fund in the guise of some tax in order to pay for the old age of those who consumed beyond their means and didn't save?. 2) The general problem with current plans is: Employees want something for nothing. They want a comfortable and prosperous retirement without saving for one. I say Keep the plans we have because the Devil you don't know WILL in this case be worse than the devil you already know.
  3. By the way, The AIG 403b plan funds that are offerred to LAUSD employees and the fee associated therein is supposed to exactly mimic the LAUSD 457b plan offerings. In regards to the LAUSD 457(B) fees: Thanks to the efforts of Steve Schullo (and others on the committee) those total fees you see in the very last column are revealed to us. There is an addition of approximately 30 basis points on my favorite fund (JMCVX) that doesn't appear in the AIG literature and for which I only became aware of just last week while attending an LAUSD 403b/457b oversight committee meeting! I believe the devil is in the details however. If it were not for my faith in the JMCVX fund, and also having access to the Charles Schwab Personal Choice Brokerage Window, I would be a lot less happy with the funds available and the "kinda high" fees in the 457b. Personally, aside from JMCVX and the four TRowe Retirement funds - all of which have fees way higher in the plan than if purchasing them directly through the company- I feel the fund list should be improved upon and fees lowered - there's too many people skimming money off the top.
  4. Steve, Over the last 12 months, I've done a tremendous amount of self education and research and put together a very tightly packed two page pdf of three basic sound investment strategies for a tax deferred retirement account, and included about 5 sample portfolios from TIAA-CREF, Vanguard, Dodge & Cox, Fidelity, AIG/Charles Schwab that I have shared with a few friends. I wouldn't mind leading a break-out group sharing this info in the context of "one teacher's self -educated approach to retirement investing". As I'm sure you are aware, many of us teachers have never graduated from the mainstream viewpoint which is that the best solution is the common solution. And the known names are the safe players. "Yeah, I've heard of Met Life before - isn't that the company with the cute Charlie Brown ad? I like Charlie Brown! - isn't that like - Walt Disney? (Nope, Charles Shulz) 'Insurance' sounds so reassuring. I guess I'll go with MetLife". Which of course, is better than not saving at all. I'm glad to hear that UTLA is on the same page now. I would have liked UTLA to have been doing the type of educating you've been doing about 403b's for the past decade. They could have reached so many people with the monthly newsletter. But I understand the legality issues. But still! Many teachers at Nov 22 meeting were expressing a thirst for knowledge from a source they could trust. They didn't get it in the short time frame, but a spark was lit. And yes, they do need to do more self-educating. Andre PS: Thank you, Officer Malloy for the info on Fidelity. This is Officer Reed, over and out.
  5. See you there. Should be interesting.
  6. I feel there are very few companies on the larger, original LAUSD list of approved vendors that are in teacher's long term best interest and hence are worth fighting for (to have them carried over to the new list). The following companies, in my personal opinion, offer (relatively) inexpensive and competent investment management, and have decent institutional reputations: TIAA-CREF CalSTRS Fidelity USAA It's possible I may have missed one or two companies - but believe me, the final list of worthwhile companies to invest one's hard earned money in is very small. Steve Schullo has done an excellent job of getting the word out to educators that there is almost no one in this whole affair - not our unions, nor school district, and certainly not the vast majority of the original 150+ vendors on the LAUSD list - have our best interests at heart. This has been confirmed in the national media recently regarding New York teacher's 403b fiasco, and should be self-evident once one does homework on what constitutes sound retirement investment strategy.
  7. I will try to attend the Dec. 4th meeting, although I will undoubtedly be late as I teach that day and take the bus. Andre
  8. For some students, the teacher has to do everything: http://michaelklonsky.blogspot.com/2008/09...ck-to-golf.html
  9. Google: Eli Broad, AIG and Eli Broad, LAUSD, Roy Romer
  10. You can't trust AIG: I talked to a rep from Midland National - a vendor who is on the LAUSD approved list - this Monday as he was rushing around schools to see his clients before Dec 9. He said AIG denied receiving the ISA that a sister company of Midland submitted to them (I forgot the name of midland's sister company - but it was on the previous LAUSD list) - even though Midland and this sister company are in the same building and sent the signed ISA agreement to AIG almost simultaneously. He said AIG and LAUSD gave his sister company the run-around and they had to have three way conference calls with AIG and LAUSD, and also get lawyers involved with correspondence to AIG to get them to admit that they flubbed the mail. AIG's stance was that the sister company never signed the ISA. BTW, Greg Kildare (LAUSD Risk Management) mentioned at UTLA on Saturday that LAUSD is not happy with the AIG's perfprmance with administering the district's 457b plan and is looking at Vanguard and Fidelity as a possible replacement vendors.
  11. In theory Roth IRA is an excellent back-up. Two problems with it though: I find myself contributing more often to my 403b because the money comes out Pre-tax, and before I even see it. You contribute the Roth IRA after tax, and I find it harder to consistently discipline myself - I often over-run my budget knowing i can go online and cancel my Roth anytime. I have yet to max out my Roth. However I have made maximum contributions to my 403b, despite that the annual contribution limit to the 403b is 3x's that of the Roth IRA Second, there is currently a 5,000 annual limit to the Roth IRA. That's fine if you're young. If you're in your 40's or 50's, it's not enough.
  12. Put your 403b money in a money market with AIG, if one is available with them until the smoke clears - both with this 403b mess, and the bear market. In the meantime do some real self - education about mutual fund investments. Morningstar is a good web resource. Hit the local bookstore and just soak up info. Your district will likely eventually add more 403b companies. You may eventually find something you like better than Vanguard even - let's hope!
  13. DaveG, Et al: Even more encouraging, I found this on the UMass web site: What is a University "grandfathered" provider relationship? The University has allowed certain employee/provider relationships to continue even though the providers are no longer approved providers for the University’s 403(b) plan. The University’s policy concerning these relationships has been to allow an employee to make contributions to a grandfathered 403(b) provider for as long as they maintain an active 403(b) account with the grandfathered provider. The University considers a 403(b) account as being active as long as a 403(b) payroll deduction for that account is currently being taken out of the employee's pay check. Once the 403(b) payroll deduction is discontinued, the 403(b) account is no longer considered an active account and the relationship with the provider is no longer considered grandfathered. It can be found at this link http://www.massachusetts.edu/treasurer/faq.cfm#15 I assume this is what LAUSD is doing for us with Fidelity: Don't stop that contribution.
  14. I Googled, "403b grandfathered" and "403b isa grandfathered" and found this among many other references: http://www.neamb.com/savings/ImpactoftheNe...nNEAMembers.pdf Once you open the document, search for the word "grandfathered". It appears possible that somewhere within the new 403b regulations it allows us to continue with 403b contributions to "grandfathered" companies that have not entered into the new ISA's with the district. It appears it's at the district's discretion to forward the salary deferrals to grandfathered companies, however. But if they decide to do so, but the contributions fall under all the usual 403b guidelines - and I assume this to mean, tax deductible, etc, etc. Of course, my interpretation may be a load of hooey as well. (Smile)
  15. DaveG: Two questions: 1) Are you currently making contribution (Dec 5th 2008 Paycheck) into Fidelity? 2) Does Fidelity option re-appear if you cancel your pending CalSTRS choice? I, like LAUSDFred, see the "Fidelity Grandfathered" visible at the bottom of the list when I log in. I am currently contributing 100% to Fidelity and have not canceled future Fidelity contributions. I even increased my total dollar amount into Fidelity for Jan 2009 and beyond.
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