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kat92128

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Everything posted by kat92128

  1. (Sorry, that post sounded stupid.) I meant to write that I moved the dollar equivalent of my Roth IRA out of Life Strategy Growth and into the TIPS...only about $5,000, a very small portion of my portfolio

  2. Thanks, Tony. I did move the dollar equivalent into the Vanguard Inflation Protected Security fund (out of Life Strategy Growth, which I've never liked). It's a small amount, but I'm taking to heart the comments about my exposure at 58 years old.

  3. Clark Howard was on the radio today and stated women make better investors than men once they have financial knowledge becuase they are less emotional about investing and tend to stay the course better than mem who buy and sell too much.. You need to stick around Kat!! Thanks, Tony! So far, this has been a blast.
  4. To clarify: My dad has historically put all of his money in CDs. He is a child of the Depression, after all :) Very fearful of the stock market in any form. Recently he put a small amount into a Vanguard balanced, moderate risk mutual fund to test the waters. (I think it was the Vanguard Life Strategy Moderate Growth) I like the idea of the TIPS for him; as Mark said, it is more secure than a mutual fund but as Tony said, the returns have been consistent and good. Thanks guys! (Are there ever any other women on this board?)
  5. Not to worry, Marc. Dad can more than spare the 10 grand he put into a conservative mutual fund with Vanguard, but I definitely agree with the conservative position. He and my mom are very comfortable because he invested everything very conservatively and put lots and lots away. Not bad for a very small businessman with no pension or college education.
  6. Tony, would you think this would be a suitable investment for my dad (he's 80 and retired.) He's an old "ladder CD" guy, but as they come due he is trying to find a better return on his money. I finally got him to put an expendable $10,000 in a moderate Vanguard fund, and he's been pleased so far with his introduction to the mutual fund. Would you think the TIPS is more secure for retired folk? Those CDs keep coming due...
  7. Wow! This has definitely been an educational day for me! Thanks for all of your insights and info. I have more research to do. My primary goal was to get everything in the low-cost range. Now that that is done, tweaking is the priority. Tony, I love your comments about TIPS...so thanks for the tip. I would never think a bond fund would outperform equities. (It is a bond...right...still too much information for one day.)
  8. Tony, My TIAA Cref 403b (which holds about 65% of all my investments) has 17.5% Vanguard Inflation Protected Securities and 32.5% TIAA Traditional (guaranteed 3.2%). The rest is equities. Is that enough TIPS? I can still move the small Roth (really, it's miniscule) into TIPS.
  9. Whyme: Part of my Pension2 target retirement account is the TIAA Traditional, and yes, it is currently paying something like 3.2% guaranteed. I like that portion of the portfolio. One thing I just did was have TIAA Cref rebalance my total 403b portfolio to the moderate side, with no future contributions going to the the Aggressive 2020. Now by stock/bond balance is approximately 50/50, and I am comfortable with that. Something of note: Even though the CALSTRS Pension2 book gives the target retirement choices (moderate 2020, retired 2020, aggressive 2040 etc. etc.) when you call them for help they don't "see" it that way on the screen. But the guy I worked with (Pension2 has its own TIAA people) was quite knowledgable. It should be totally rebalanced by Friday. While I was there, I went over the assets in the account to make sure I understand each of them, so I got an education as well. What's interesting and confusing is that in the Pension2 book, which gives us our choices, Pimco All Assett Fund Institutional is listed on the Equity side. The TIAA guy said it was actually a bond.
  10. Guys, I really appreciate all of the feedback, but I think I need a basics manual at this point. I'm going to pull the asset allocation of my two major funds off the web and try to figure out exactly what they are comprised of. Steve, I have no idea what TIPS or GNMAs are. I gather from Tony that TIPS are inflation protected securities, which are in the bond category. I think that treasuries are treasury bonds. I thought that bonds would simply be identified as "bonds", but I guess they can be called a variety of things. That is precisely why I chose target funds with both Vanguard and TIAA-Cref - for the simplicity. I chose the STAR fund for my personal IRA because Tony raved about it previously and it was balanced. I like Tony's idea about getting out of the Vanguard Life Strategy Growth fund. I never liked that fund for some reason. More later :)
  11. You guys said recently that you were "lonely" on this board, so here's something for you to chew on. It will definitely help me and possibly others. Some of this was covered in the other debt crisis topic, but this is more specific: With your guidance, all of my 403b money is now out of the hands of high-fee insurance companies and invested through TIAA-Cref/Pension 2 and privately through Vanguard. I would like your review of my asset allocations. For reference, I am 58, single, and I expect to be in education another 7 years. My investments are my major assets; I do not own a house. My only child is married and gone. Having entered education late, I expect to retire with a maximum of 20 years in STRS, and I will have a very small Social Security check in addition. Here's what I have: Directly with Vanguard: 403b - Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 59% stocks - 41% bonds (26% of total investments) Small Traditional IRA - Vanguard STAR fund Small Roth IRA - Vanguard Life Strategy Growth fund Through Pension2/TIAA-Cref 403b - Moderate 2020 - (50% equity - 50% fixed) (61% of total investment)(This was my big recent rollover from an insurance company)(61% of all my investments) I'm currently making monthly contributions to Agressive 2020 (70% equity - 30% fixed). I only have 2 months of contributions there right now. Comments? suggestions? Should I make some changes now or wait until the "crisis" has passed. Thanks in advance. Kat
  12. Mark, http://www.fbcretire.com/whatis.htm This links to the San Diego County Office of Education program (SDCOE). If you look on the left and click on Approved Vendors, you will see that most of our choices are insurance companies. The only decent option is Pension2 through CALSTRS, the teacher retirement plan. The really funny part is that when the new regulations took effect a couple of years ago, SDCOE decided to use Nationwide Insurance as their "record keeper." That was NOT how it was sold. Nationwide reps became the contact for opening 403b plans and most of us ended up with them. (You will get a kick out of the glowing Nationwide description on the link). I recently moved my 403b from Nationwide to Pension2 (with the help of Steve and others on this board) and reduced my expense ratios from more then 1% to about 1/3 of that. You'll notice that Vanguard is being considered as an option through Aspire. Prior to the new regs, all of my 403b money was invested DIRECTLY with Vanguard at very low expense ratios. Maybe this will give you an idea of how all of this works. My school can use approved vendors from the SDCOE list only, because we are a part of that program. Some schools/districts have their own programs, but many have signed on through their county offices, mostly because of all of the administrative nonsense connected with this. I agree with Tony...why can't we just do it ourselves? Middle-men = higher costs and less choice.
  13. Mark, I am not a teacher currently, and my administrative job deals with the state and federal reporting issues that schools are required to do. The extent of my "influence" is with providing information to colleagues, friends, and family when they ask for it. If you really are trying to educate educators about this stuff, I suggest you think "kindergarten." Most young teachers are starting from scratch, and I believe they would welcome a truly informational session (NOT a sales pitch) explaining the basics. Like "What's a mutual fund? What is an IRA, and why should I have one? Why should I avoid insurance-based products...etc..etc. What are expense ratios and why are they important?" One of the things that happens with schools is that when they do have a speaker on these topics, it's usually someone from an insurance company giving a slick pitch. Two things happen: 1.) Those schooled in finance recognize it for what it is and steer clear, preferring to do their own investing 2.) Newcomers with no knowledge are so confused by the rhetoric (which makes them feel stupid) that they either forget it totally or easily buy into whatever is being sold. A little bit of basic education could go a long way here.
  14. Mark, I appreciate the cost comparison that you did in your post. I plan to use it as ammunition when teachers come to me with questions about their 403b plans. This is NOT my job description, of course, but as previously noted, teachers (and frankly most of the population) are not "literate" when it comes to basic finances, which is why sleazy salespersons so easily part us with our money. In case you have not been around school systems lately, and despite Dave Otto's attempts at financial literacy programs, I have seen no instruction whatsoever in teaching people what they need to know to be solvent in this world. The only exception to that may be the occasional "business math" course, that is usually taught to workplace-bound students. Most of our 8th graders can solve an algebraic equation, and most high school students can converse in a foreign language. They can hack into a computer program, and post a video on YouTube; their technology skills are amazing. But ask a high school senior, better yet, a college graduate, to explain what a mutual fund is and you will be met with a blank stare. Case in point: my daughter and her husband (both 25) are being offered 401K plans, a variety of insurance products, cafeteria plans etc. through their respective employers, as well as mortgages well above their means! They are both college graduates of a respected university and neither one has EVER been required to take a course on basic finance. Not in high school; not in college. Everything they have learned, they are learning from me and the books on basic finance that I keep buying for them....and I don't know that much! We have missed the boat in education, and creating yet another generation of financial illiterates. Sorry for the soapbox, but this hits home on a daily basis. I'll be watching for that book, Steve, to add to my arsenal.
  15. Hi Brand New, I'm not an expert like the "big boys" on this board, but I have learned some things through the hard knocks of experience. Here is what I have learned: 1. Run, run, run as fast as you can away from any products offered by insurance companies. NO ANNUITIES...Listen clearly NO ANNUITIES! (If you want to see what happens when you sign up for an annuity, follow my previous thread on this board about Valic and what it is like trying to get money OUT! The topic is called Distributable Event rollover posted by me kat92128.) 2. The others may not agree with me on this, but if I was just starting out, I'd probably fully fund my traditional IRA first directly with Vanguard. That gives me complete control of at least $5000 a year, a tax credit (if your Adjusted Gross Income is $56,000 or under)and the ability to move the fund around. I like the Target retirement funds that Vanguard offers, because it's easy to figure out. The more I can control on my own, the better. 3. If you have more than $5000 a year to invest, then I'd look into the lowest cost option for a 403b and follow Tony's recommendations. For reference, I'm 57, a school administrator currently, and started with all of this stuff about 10 years ago, back when options like Valic were really the only choice. I've learned the hard way about fees, surrender charges, and hidden costs. YOU DON'T NEED EDWARD JONES! That is redundant to this process and the goal of keeping fees low. One final caveat: It is sad and almost criminal that there is no one unbiased at BrandNew's site who can help him/her with these choices. I remember trying to figure this all out in the beginning, and it is very confusing, even for otherwise brilliant people! Thank goodness for Dave O. and his work!
  16. Success! Thanks to all of you. My friend is now in the process of moving her funds out of Valic under the provision that she did not contribute to the fund for 5 years. Special thanks to Evan, the former Valic rep, for stipulating this caveat in his post. She is estatic! She is no longer in education and is moving the fund to a Vanguard IRA over which she will have total control. What a concept.
  17. Steve, I've done my part on that front...believe me! Under the new regs, our small school now "tags" onto all of the approved plans offerd through the San Diego County Office of Education, and they do offer CALSTRS/TIAA-Cref. (I'm relieved that it's our of our hands, because it was a mess.) I just finished transferring all of my 403bs to them. I would prefer a direct Vanguard option, and will keep lobbying for that. Yes, it is political, and it shouldn't be! Why can't educators simply get the best bang for their buck because it's the right thing to do? Heck...I'm just preachin' to the choir, but it is almost the 4th of July...freedom and all that stuff :)
  18. Evan, Thanks so much for your response on the Valic question. I just copied your post to my friend, and yes, her last contribution was in 2005, well over five years ago. She is keeping her fingers crossed that this will do the trick. I'll keep you all posted. My own Valic transfer about a year ago took more than six months to complete, and I was simply transfering it into another approved 403b plan. I did pay a pro-rated surrender charge that was based on the amount of time I had the account. It was pretty low...around $200. Valic kept "losing" the paperwork and the receiving plan had to get heavily involved. My friend is no longer in education, and rightfully she wants OUT! Just a caveat...I work in an established charter school that is 15 years old. When we first started to have a 403b plan, our founder heavily favored Valic and the sales rep. At staff meetings he personally attested to the success he had had with the program. At the time, in the late '90's, I didn't know anything about expense ratios and surrender charges, like most people in education, and believe me, the rep was not forthcoming! I've had quite an education since then, thanks to a chance meeting with Dan Otter and his original book. But I'm sad to say, that most of the people I work with (including HR) are totally clueless...in fact, they don't really want to hear it.
  19. A friend of mine left education a few years ago. She has a 403b in a Valic TSA and has done nothing with it. She now works for a private company that has a 401K. She simply wants to rollover her Valic TSA into a Vanguard Traditional IRA. She is about 52. Shouldn't this be a simple rollover since she had a distributable event (termination?) Here is what Valic told her: I just called Valic to assist me with the Rollover paperwork. The gal told me there would be a 10% penalty fee (5% each on two accounts. One 403b and one IRA) as I have not had my accounts with Valic for 15 years and I am not 59 ½. The penalty would be $4100…ouch! I did ask about the expense ratio and what she said the only fee that I was being charged is the quarterly maintenance fee of $3.75 ($15 yearly). I told her they were outright lying about the expense ratio...but I'm having trouble finding information for her about any possible Valic surrender charges. I thought that if you terminate employment, you can just do a direct rollover to Vanguard to an IRA. Am I wrong?
  20. After researching this topic and with the encouragement of posters to this board, I decided to switch my 403b from Nationwide to CALSTRS Pension2 (Tiaa-Cref). Should be easy, right? 1. Opened an account with Pension2 - Check 2. Stopped payment into Nationwide 403b - Check 3. Filled out a new Salary Reduction Agreement designating Pension2 as my new plan......oops.... The simplest part turned out to be the most difficult. The reason being that the San Diego Office of Education (SDCOE)(which administrates our plan), had at least five different addresses where to actually send my money. As a result, my HR person asked me for the address that was on my paperwork so they could match it up. But Pension2 had multiple addresses all over the place, and none of them matched the information given to me by CALSTRS Pension2. Luckily for me, I emailed Patrick Bivins at CalSTRS, and he got on it right away. In fact, he dealt directly with SDCOE to make sure they had the right information for both wiring the money and mailing it. My account is still being set up, but he has promised to follow up until all of the people administrating 403bs know where to send the money for Pension2. So kudos to Patrick, but once again, why does this have to be so complicated?
  21. You'd better be kidding, Dan! When I finally got educated on Valic et al, and decided to bite the bullet and roll my 403b out of their variable annuity it took six months and many many phone calls to get the job done. They hold on to their money and their clients real tight!
  22. Steven, I am curious as to why you are not looking in to Pension2 with CALSTRS? Even if Horace Mann offers Fidelity funds, they are still tacking on their fees in addition to the Fidelity fees. I just went through this process. You might want to check out the recent thread on this board regarding questions about rolling over from Nationwide to Pension2. I received some great information from board regulars. I may be misunderstanding your post, however. If you can invest DIRECTLY with Fidelity (most of us can't now), that would be a fabulous way to go.
  23. Yes, my plan is exactly as Whyme describes. We can no longer invest directly with Vanguard (join the club), and Nationwide is the preferred administrator of the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), so initially I went with them. My school plan (a charter school) allows us to use any vendor approved on the SDCOE list. Nationwide offers my Vanguard Wellington Fund among many other choices by Vanguard and others, but they tack on that ridiculous Nationwide fee. I figured it out; I'm paying about 1.08% in fees on my Wellington Fund. I'm in the process of switching to Pension2 right now. Again, thanks for your help.
  24. Thanks for the reply, but I just want to be clear. The Vanguard Wellington Fund that I'm talking about is administrated through Nationwide...not directly with Vanguard. That is the one I am asking about rolling into Pension2. Do you still think I should let it be?
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