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kat92128

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Posts posted by kat92128


  1. No conversions to Roth for me! I will be living very frugally indeed, and my tax rate will be low! As for the investment part, that will be kept very simple: Index funds and bonds with Vanguard. Quick, easy, good yield and very low expense ratios. Tony, Steve, and Dan....I've learned from the best!

     

    Only 7 more work days and counting! I literally drive out of California on June 26. Yee ha!

     

    Kathy


  2. Wow! I thought this thread was dead because nobody responded, but today a flurry of activity. Anyway, I easily rolled over my "dormant" 403b with Vanguard into my regular IRA with Vanguard with just a simple phone call. It was painless.

     

    At the same time I emailed TIAA-Cref and asked them about my options for rolling my active 403b into my personal Vanguard IRA. Initially I received wrong information. The respondent stated that I would have to pay taxes. I knew this was not true since this would be a direct rollover from a 403b to a Traditional IRA. She corrected herself when I responded in kind. Fortunately, I already knew the answer, but it bothers me that someone without as much knowledge would have been given incorrect information. I never stated that I would be moving it into a Roth. Bad form, TIAA...

     

    Anyway....between my 59 1/2 birthday and now, I have decided to leave education in CA, take my STRS and move to Austin, Texas, where my family lives. I'll be leaving when the school year ends, and I couldn't be more excited. At that time, I will rollover my 403b with TIAA Cref directly into my IRA with Vanguard. Vanguard will handle all of the paperwork, they said, OF COURSE they will! Think of all the new money they will be getting.

     

    I'll still have to work at least part-time in Texas, but I'm going to coast for a while. I haven't decided whether I'll go back to education or try something entirely new...I'm leaning towards the latter!

     

     


  3. It's MINE! All MINE! Maybe reaching age 59 1/2 doesn't mean much to most people, but it does to me! As of Tuesday, my investments are now my own - if I need them.

     

    The first thing I did was call Vanguard and had them roll my dormant 403b into my personal IRA. This was accomplished quickly over the phone. Now I can add to it, rebalance it, even withdraw from it if necessary. And I have also reduced the fees. (This "dormancy" occured a few years ago when investing with Vanguard directly was no longer an option under my district's 403b plan.)

     

    The second thing I did was send TIAA-Cref a message: Can I roll over my current and active 403b into my personal IRA with no penalties? I don't know the answer to that, but maybe one of you do. The Vanguard rep said it would depend on whether the plan was "erisa" or "non-erisa."

     

    The third thing I did was arm-twist my 27-year-old daughter into contributing to her 401K. I am so glad I saved the money I did, I just wish I began at her age.

     

    Did any of you celebrate 59 1/2?

     

    kat

     


  4. Hi everyone,

    I've gotten such great advice from the sages here, so I'm going to throw out this topic and see where it goes.

     

    There is a very good chance that I will be leaving education after this school year. I will be moving out of California to Texas to join my family. Although I only have 15 years in STRS, (CA's teacher retirement system), I will take my pension, and I plan to get a part-time job in Texas to make ends meet.

     

    I have two 403b accounts: 1.) Current with CALSTRS Pension 2/TIAA Cref and 2.) a dormant 403b directly with Vanguard.

     

    My inclination is to roll them both out of the 403b status and into an Traditional IRA. I would use Vanguard. My current overall asset mix is about 50 stocks/50 bonds, and my 2012 return was almost overall.

     

    I'd like your thoughts on this rollover idea and also asset allocation. Thanks is advance! Kat


  5. Hi guys,

    I've been busy with work and haven't had much time to view the forum. There's a good chance I'm going to retire in June and I will definitely need your help with what to do with the 403b!

     

    That said...here was my 2012 performance:

     

    1. Vanguard accounts that include a Traditional IRA; Roth IRA; and dormant 403b = 9.6% return with 50/50 bonds/stock mix. This includes mostly the Vanguard Target 2015 funds, Wellington, and some TIPS

     

    2. CALSTRS Pension2 403B with TIAA-Cref - 10.1% return for 2012; all in targeted retirement portfolio 40% guaranteed; 43% stock; 2% real estate; 8% multi-asset

     

    Considering that my investments are conservative, I'm happy with it.


  6. I don't disagree, Steve. I just couldn't resist as I listen to "solutions" where insurance companies will have a say in our healthcare options. But you are right; for the purposes of this board, providing sound information on beneficial 403b choices and advocating against bad ones is the the correct target. Education is always the key...if we, as consumers of 403b products, were more educated, I choose to believe that the outcry against TSAs would be so great that there would be no choice but to outlaw them.....I can dream, can't I?

     

    Regards, Kat


  7. I've been off the board for a while because I'm very busy at work, so I just spent some time catching up with the posts. As usual the board is brimming over with complaints about the unscrupulous practices of insurance companies in advertising, selling improper products, and collecting high commissions among other things. The rest of the time is spent lamenting the lack of knowledge of our HR departments (many don't even know what an annuity is...) and the lack of choice for our 403b.

     

    Before you vote, think about this as it applies to other issues, namely healthcare. Do you really trust that insurance companies, if not regulated, will miraculously change their policies to actually benefit consumers? Do you trust insurance companies to do anything with integrity? I don't. Some things need regulation - Wall Street and insurance practices, just to name two.

     

    I'm probably crazy posting this since politics is such a charged issue...but here goes....


  8. I've been off the board for a while because I'm very busy at work, so I just spent some time catching up with the posts. As usual the board is brimming over with complaints about the unscrupulous practices of insurance companies in advertising, selling improper products, and collecting high commissions among other things. The rest of the time is spent lamenting the lack of knowledge of our HR departments (many don't even know what an annuity is...) and the lack of choice for our 403b.

     

    Before you vote, think about this as it applies to other issues, namely healthcare. Do you really trust that insurance companies, if not regulated, will miraculously change their policies to actually benefit consumers? Do you trust insurance companies to do anything with integrity? I don't. Some things need regulation - Wall Street and insurance practices, just to name two.

     

    I'm probably crazy posting this since politics is such a charged issue...but here goes....


  9. Interesting and sad discussion. This has me laughing out loud:

     

    When asked why CTA didn’t share concerns with CalSTRS, Vogel reportedly said they didn’t know how to contact CalSTRS.

     

    I guess the state of education is so bad that Vogel never heard of Google...

     

    The other thought that comes to mind is that many charter schools are not in collective bargaining units, i.e., CTA. I wonder if this miracle product will be offered to those in CTA. I suppose it will depend on the structure of the charter school. Many charter schools tag onto the 403b offerings of their county office of education or sponsoring district. Those entities would most likely be heavily unionized.

     

    As to the question of "why?", for me, it's a simple case of follow the money...and the greed...and the power. CTA is no different than any other highly politicized organization: its members are the last thing it cares about.


  10. I just received a letter from CALSTRS Pension2 announcing that they have lowered expenses on two Vanguard funds.

     

    Vanguard Mid-Cap Index will go from 0.26% down to 0.12% expense ratio

    Vanguard Short-Term Bond Index will go from 0.11% to 0.07% expense ration

     

    These become effective May 30, 2012.

     

    As an investor with Pension2, I couldn't be happier. When do you get a notice that fees are being REDUCED...ON ANYTHING?

     

    I switched to Pension2 almost a year ago now with the guidance of this board. Glad I did and bravo Pension2.


  11. Again I'm on the same page with Whyme. (Good point about the divorce laws and community property angle! I didn't think of that).

     

    My final answer:

     

    1. Roll that old-job 401K into a TRAD or ROTH IRA with Vanguard. Trad if you need the tax deduction/Roth if you don't.

     

    2. I wouldn't roll a red cent into a company that takes 5% on the way in, or anything on the way in! Come on....and no one should be telling you that you can "easily" make up the cost of the rollover/surrender. What a bunch of sharks.

     

    Unless you tell us otherwise, you have rotten options 403b-wise. Do what you can on your own and sleep at night.


  12. I'm award of Valic's mutual fund "platform," but it's still fee-heavy. Maybe they're finally understanding that more and more of us are educating ourselves and voicing our displeasure with the 403b game. And maybe, one day, they will offer something reasonable, but I'm not holding my breath and I'm sticking with CALSTRS Pension2 for now. The only way I would switch is if Vanguard became a direct option again, like it was with my district before the new regs.

     

    It's all about greed with these players, but if it ultimately benefits teachers and lower fees, I don't care who the players are... just give us some good options. And transparency...how about a little of that....

     

    I'm glad you are making headway, Steve, and that you are happy about the outcome. Thanks for all your hard work on this. It's still a sad day when CTA is opposing a bill that will benefit teachers.


  13. I agree with Whyme on all accounts. I do believe you can roll your wife's $8000 or so into a personal IRA with no penalty if she has separated from that employment. Make sure to do it direct - i.e. from the employer directly into Vanguard or wherever. Do not take possession of the money.

     

    Vanguard is really simple to work with. I have a dormant 403b with them, a Roth IRA, and a Traditional IRA. I manage the latter two online very simply. I contribute online and I can move funds around too. Initially Vanguard walks you through the process with quizzes to determine your risk tolerance and stage of life. Based on that you have a variety of choices to meet your goals.

     

    As Whyme said, IRAs and 403b's are individual, and I add my caution for putting too much in your wife's name and not a balanced amount in your own.

     

    I would make a call to Vanguard about the possible rollover. They can immediately tell you if it can be done and if you decide to go with them, they will personally handle the paperwork for you (actually for your wife). You will find these companies very accommodating when you are giving them money as opposed to when you are taking money out!

     

    Let us know what you decide to do.


  14. Perhaps they could...but not in a million lifetimes would I have anything to do with Valic, which is a high-fee, surrender charged insurance company owned by AIG! It took me years to roll my 403b OUT of Valic and it cost a bundle. If Valic was my only choice for 403b, I'd be maximizing a Traditional or Roth IRA on my own, and not utilizing the 403b.

     

    Please, please do some more research before you have anything to do with Valic. I don't know how to say it much more forcefully without using really bad language!

     

    By the way, I'm very happy to leave my orphaned 403b with Vanguard. It's growing nicely and has super-low fees.


  15. BK,

    Here's how I would do what you want to do:

     

    1. Lower your AGI to where it needs to be by contributing to the Traditional 403b (tax sheltered).

     

    2. Then contribute DIRECTLY to a Roth IRA through Vanguard, max it out.

     

    3. If you still need to put more away, you can certainly contribute more to your 403b (Roth or Traditional). But wherever possible, I like to invest directly with the company (Vanguard) to keep fees low and keep control.

     

    For me, the trick has been to manipulate my AGI low enough so that I can "throw some dough" into my personal IRA at the end of the year.

     

    That's my 2 cents for the day...kat


  16. Hi Liz,

    Good for you! A) for investing so young and B)for doing the research and realizing the rip-off. I wish I had started younger and read this board sooner! Anyway, Mark and Steve certainly know what they are talking about. But for me, I chose TIAA-Cref's target retirement funds for my 403b. It is simple and it rebalances based on your age and expected date of retirement. I just chose the fund closest to my retirement year and they do the rest. I don't have to worry about the stock/bond/cash ratio because it is done for me.

     

    Also, because my kids are grown and I don't own a house, I maximize my 403b because I need the tax shelter right now. If I didn't need a tax shelter, I'd be maxing out a Roth every year for sure before I put a penny into a 403b. Lower fees and more control.


  17. I'm not exactly sure what TRF stands for, but I, too, have an "orphaned" 403b account with Vanguard. Like you, I could not contribute to it OR roll it into anything else after the regulations changed. I opened it and contributed to it when Vanguard was listed as an approved vendor. That all changed with the regulations when Big Brother took over and we seemed to go back to the dark ages of more regulations and insurance company rip-offs with fees. Luckily I have an option of CALSTRS here in California, which is excellent, but I can no longer invest directly with Vanguard or Fidelity. My only option was to open another 403b account, which I did.

     

    Unless I am misunderstanding your question, I don't think there is anything you can do with it. I know mine is stuck in Vanguard until I am 59 1/2. But that's not a bad place to be.


  18. BK,

    I think I know where you are going with this. What you are suggesting is what I do...sort of.

     

    I put enough in my Traditional 403b (tax deferred) to lower my AGI enough so that I am able to contribute to a Traditional IRA on my own. I've been doing this successfully for the past two years. (I do not own a house, kids are grown, and I need all of the tax write-offs, so no Roth for me right now). If you are doing your taxes, you can figure out how much lower your AGI needs to be in order to qualify for the Roth, then start contributing to the tax deferred 403b next year to achieve that level of AGI. (I hope I am making sense now!)

     

    Can you split your 403b between Roth and traditional? That way you could put only enough in tax-deferred to reduce your AGI to where it needs to be.

     

    I'd be looking up the tax laws on that....Good luck!


  19. Hi Kansas,

    Good for you for getting into this at such a young age. It will serve you well! I agree with the advice already rendered, but there is one thing I will add: If you and your husband do need some tax shelter, you might be able to do it through a Traditional IRA. There are restrictions on this, however. I copied the paragraph below from IRS.gov. It gives the limits on contributions for 2011 based on your access/involvement in an employer-sponsored plan, (such as your 403b)and your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). I contribute quite a bit to my 403b, but I also am able to contribute the max to a Traditional IRA because of my income situation. I have mine with Vanguard. Since I do not own a house and my children are grown, it has helped my tax situation quite a bit. Good luck and keep harping on your reps. Your current choices really do stink.

     

     

     

     

     

    For 2011: The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for singles and heads of household who are active participants in an employer-sponsored retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $56,000 and $66,000, unchanged from 2010. For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $90,000 to $110,000, up from $89,000 to $109,000. For an IRA contributor who is not an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan and is married to someone who is an active participant, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $169,000 and $179,000, up from $167,000 and $177,000.

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