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jbrams

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  1. Variable annuities generally another layer of costs -- mortality and expense fees. Fixed annuities (and variable, too) often come with hideous surrender charges. For these reasons -- and others -- I prefer mutual funds. This is just one person's opinion.That has been my thinking also, and to ensure "safer" fund growth, albeit at a lower long term rate, simply to invest a portion of our retirement savings in bond index funds rather than annuities. But after our conversation with the TDS Group rep (who was overall as honest and clear as I could hope for, actually more so) we're considering annuities (leaning toward Variable) for the first time. Even with the added layer of costs, a guaranteed rate (i.e., 4% with LSW today) is appealing, as is the alternative of a variably annuity with the chance to limit loses while, in a limited sense, taking on stock market gains ... which may make sense for my wife's 403(b) funds ($2500) that we're planning on transferring from her Metlife annuity (which has very high fees, annual and for funds) and not contributing to any more (and contributing instead to Roth IRAs and our separate 457 plans, or to mine only if the fees are lower and the fund options better). Any other thoughts from the bwise community? I'm still quite at a loss as to which path is best
  2. Okay - Pacific Life plans are out when considering Mutual Fund options for her 403(b) - but should we be putting my wife's money in Mutual funds or in an annuity? If so, fixed or variable? Barring any other factors, she only has $2500 in her 403(b) and will likely be putting future contributions into a 457 through TDS Group which seems to lean toward using LSW (Life Insurance Southwest) as a vehicle for a variable annuity. That being the case, we're looking to transfer that $2500 to another 403(b) and not make additional contributions to it but just to let it sit and gain as it will in a bond index or another low risk area (we're exposed enough to stocks through our Roth IRAs).
  3. Had a meeting with the TDS Group regional administrator tonight - lots to think about afterward. (1) Should my wife be in a 457 (rather than 403(b))? Seems like lower fees, can be taken out if she leaves her school, similar or better return on investments ... right? ___Regardless of where her future investments should go, she needs to get out of her Metlife plan even though there will be a surrender fee of 9% (the annual and other fees are nonsense so it makes sense to transfer it to another vendor without annual or high fund fees). It looks like Pacific Life is the company which TDS group uses, no fees annually, but what about fund fees? anything like Fidelity's Spartan Fund or Vanguard index low fee funds? (2) If she should be in a 457, TDS Group is the only administrator for her District (West Contra Costa) but they have several vendor options within TDS: ___(a) Should she be in a mutual fund vendor or annuity? ______(i) Mutual Fund options: _________(A) Pacific Life _________(B) FD Jones Funds Choice _________(C ) Security Benefit ______(ii) Annuity options - LSW (Life Insurance Southwest): _________(A) Variable _________(B) Fixed (4%) Background: We're both young-ish (25 and 27) county employees (different counties in the Bay Area, Ca) We just opened a Vanguard Roth IRA composed of $3000 in Vanguard Total Market Index (plan on $10,000/year in Roth IRA's - eventually including other areas beyond "Total Market Index") My office's excellent 457 administered by The Hartford includes several Vanguard funds below vanguard's normal expense ratio ... so we'll put about 10-20% of our savings here in Vanguard Total Bond Index (other Vanguard funds available: Small Cap Index, Mid Cap Index, SP 500 Index - all with VERY low expense ratios). My wife can select among 2 dozen 403(b) vendors or TDS group's 457 offerings (which include mutual fund or annuities vendors - some with low fees). We're leaning toward future contributions into a 457. My wife has $2500 in a 403(b) with a high fee vendor (Metlife) which we're planning to transfer to another 403(b) vendor ASAP. We would like to own a home in the Bay Area and have 2+ kids (including 1+ adoptions) eventually. Thanks a million for all your help bwise folks!
  4. Well said Steve! Count me in as another Boglehead/diehard. I would be impressed with CLJ17 if he/she would post their portfolio with some form of proof that they were more successful over the past 1, 5, or 10 years than, say, a mix of Vanguard's: 60% Total Market Index 20% Total International Market Index 20% Total Bond Index Even if CLJ17 is beating that fairly lazy/simple/easy mix, he is simply one of the few and it's quite hard to say that it's due to skill/knowledge rather than guess work and luck. I do respect him and others for trying to beat the market ... I just don't imagine that means trying to do so is a great suggestion for any/everyone else. Personally, we're moving my wife's account to Fidelity's Spartan 500 index, my 457 to Vanguard funds offered by The Hartford (which have a LOWER expense ratio than Vanguard offers on it's own website), and into Vanguard Roth IRAs for each of us ... allocated about as described above (actually, 65% Total Market, 25% Total Intl Market, 10% Total Bonds). Should keep us rolling along with the market for the next 30 years, eh? Best luck to everyone though!
  5. My wife is in an expensive Metlife annuity, there's a list of other 403(b) and 457 vendors below from which she must choose which to transfer her $2500 in contributions now with Metlife Financial Freedom Select (MFFS) which has a 9% withdrawal/surrender penalty. To avoid paying more of that penalty we'd like to transfer her to another company while her account is small (guessing the market is nearing as low as it's going to go for a while). So for now we're trying to figure out which company on here is best for her from the list below. To help figure out which plan is best, here are our (Wife and Husband, both in mid-20's) details: Wife is an elementary school teacher. Below there is a list of her 403(b) and 457 plan vendor options. Currently with Metlife and wants to leave for another vendor. Husband is also a (different) county employee with a good 457 plan from The Hartford. Husband's 457 offers several Vanguard funds with no additional fees (just the fees Vanguard charges, basically between 0.15-0.27%) and no annual account management fees. Neither Husband or Wife are offered company matching funds. Both Husband and Wife have private Roth IRA accounts with Vanguard. For now our plan is:Fund one Roth IRA for each of us up to the max ($5000) every year (total of $10,000/year - about 10% of our income). Any remaining savings amount (estimating about $2000) will go into Husband's 457 account in Vanguard funds. The desired/eventual total asset allocation would be:70% Vanguard Total Stock Market - 0.15% expense ratio (in Husband's and Wife's Roth IRA) 20% Vanguard Total International Stock Market - 0.27% expense ratio (in Husband's and Wife's Roth IRA) 5% Vanguard Total Bond Market - 0.17 expense ratio (in Husband's 457, no additional fees) 5% Vanguard Small Cap Index - 0.22% expense ratio (in Husband's 457, no additional fees) (Boglehead oriented funds and allocation, seems reasonable right?) Questions: Asset allocation seem reasonable? (least important question for the moment, just curious really) Can Wife find a better plan from this list, or should we just stick to putting $10,000 into the Vanguard Roth IRAs and any remainder (surely below $16,500/year) in Husbands 457 which also has Vanguard funds with no additional fees? Which plan will offer the lowest fees and potentially access to the best/most funds to select from? Which vendors should I just cross off the list imediately because of high fees, shady practices, etc? ----------------------------------------------I've been mailed a copy of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Vendor List. This list notes that it was revised on 12/17/08. Three of the companies are highlighted (I've made them dark blue) because they are different from a standard 403(b) plan. The list is titled: WCCUSD Available TSA Companies Code Company Name 2278 AIG Value 2237 American Express 2205 American Fidelity Assurance 2209 American Fund-Capital Guard 2216 CalSTRS 2210 Connecticut Mutual Variable (Mass Mutual) 2224 AXA Equitable Life 2220 Fidelity Investments 2230 Franklin Trust (Templeton) 2232 General American Life 2234 Great American Life Insurance (GALIC) 2219 Horace Mann Life 2257 Industrial-Alliance Pacific Life Insurance 2256 ING Retirement Plan - ReliaStar Life Ins. 2239 Jackson National Life 2242 Life Insurance Company of the Southwest 2243 Lincoln National Life 2263 Metropolitan Life Resources - 403B Pre-Tax 2290 Metropolitan Life Resources 403B Roth 2249 MSF (Mass. Financial Services 2250 Midland National Life 2253 National Health Insurance 2255 New York Life Insurance 2251 Oppenheimer Investors 2261 Paul Revere Variable 2223 PFS Investment (Smith Barney Funds) 2238 Plan Member Services 2266 Security Benefit Life 2270 T. Rowe Price 2272 Transamerica Life 2274 Tax Deferred Services - 457 Plan 2276 U S A A Life Insurance 2277 Union Central Life 2203 Veritrust 2279 Waddell & Reed 2282 WCCUD Deferred Com/National - 457 Plan
  6. I've been mailed a copy of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Vendor List. This list notes that it was revised on 12/17/08. Three of the companies are highlighted (I've made them dark blue) because they are different from a standard 403(b) plan. The list is titled: WCCUSD Available TSA Companies Code Company Name 2278 AIG Value 2237 American Express 2205 American Fidelity Assurance 2209 American Fund-Capital Guard 2216 CalSTRS 2210 Connecticut Mutual Variable (Mass Mutual) 2224 AXA Equitable Life 2220 Fidelity Investments 2230 Franklin Trust (Templeton) 2232 General American Life 2234 Great American Life Insurance (GALIC) 2219 Horace Mann Life 2257 Industrial-Alliance Pacific Life Insurance 2256 ING Retirement Plan - ReliaStar Life Ins. 2239 Jackson National Life 2242 Life Insurance Company of the Southwest 2243 Lincoln National Life 2263 Metropolitan Life Resources - 403B Pre-Tax 2290 Metropolitan Life Resources 403B Roth 2249 MSF (Mass. Financial Services 2250 Midland National Life 2253 National Health Insurance 2255 New York Life Insurance 2251 Oppenheimer Investors 2261 Paul Revere Variable 2223 PFS Investment (Smith Barney Funds) 2238 Plan Member Services 2266 Security Benefit Life 2270 T. Rowe Price 2272 Transamerica Life 2274 Tax Deferred Services - 457 Plan 2276 U S A A Life Insurance 2277 Union Central Life 2203 Veritrust 2279 Waddell & Reed 2282 WCCUD Deferred Com/National - 457 Plan Sadly for my wife, she's with Metlife in a 12 Class C contract in Financial Freedom Select ... there's a 9% withdrawal fee for the first four years and it slowly decreased after that. While her account is small we'll pay that fee to get it in a better company, but for now we're trying to figure out which company on here is best for her! So see my other thread to tell me which plan will offer the lowest fees and potentially access to the best/most funds to select from?
  7. Meh, pretty lame but it seems like you're right - no easy way out. I'll look into the 10% removal/year possibility. I may also try to move it into another metlife product that has an easier way out ... maybe by enticing the account manager/schmuck with something that gives him a bigger kickback but with easier escape terms for my wife =). She has $2400 in the account now, so her options are: (1) Move the funds into another account and lose 9%, or $216 (2) Move out 10% each year for 10 for 6-8 more years (when the withdrawal penalty is 0-2%) and lose $30/year plus the fee at removal ... a total of at least $30x6 ($180) + 2% ($48) = $224 ... it would more if she removes it after 8 years, an additional $60 fees. If the market improves (an assumption I'm willing to make) then things would not improve as she'd be losing more in fees each year (she'd be losing more to the higher fees basically). Awesome ... looks like I'll have to be getting it out of this lame account sooner rather than later ... maybe I can have her take out 10% penalty free then make the total shift to a new plan. Maybe.
  8. Oy, I've got to get my wife out of MFFS (Metlife Financial Freedom Select - Class B). $30 annual fee, high fund fees, craptastic schmuck who signed my wife up for it is deceptive at best, ignorant and dishonest at worst. So ... Is there any way to avoid paying the withdrawal fee when transferring her 403(b) to another vendor (i.e., Fidelity or T Rowe Price)? My wife only has $2400 in the account, so the withdrawal fee would be about $216, but hey, that's $216 we'd like to keep! If I cannot avoid this fee, I'd like to transfer the account ASAP as this is likely the least the account will ever have in it (i.e., more money going in each month and the market must be at or near the bottom). But if there's any way to avoid paying the fee altogether, I'd love to hear your thoughts! She was signed up for the account by a bad account manager: bad allocation of funds, inappropriate plan for my wife (10% in 10 different funds each with high expense ratios and management fees, apparently randomly selected as they are not even based on the various "conservative" to "moderate" to "aggressive" allocations suggested in the MFFS prospectus), plus a $30/year fee from Metlife ... just outrageous. He sold her (and others) on his account by claiming that all the other teachers at the school had signed up with him (we've since learned this was fabricated completely). Help my wife get out ... then we can help the other teachers get out too (if they can)! If there is a way to help others, I'll be working with the teachers' union to provide education and presentations on how to get into more reasonable plans without subjecting them to management or withdrawal fees. Withdrawal fees according to the prospectus: B Class: 12-year withdrawal charge schedule: 9%, 9%, 9%, 9%, 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%, 0% L Class: 7-year withdrawal charge schedule: 9%, 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 2%, 0% C Class: No withdrawal charges apply Beyond that, there is the $30/year management fee and additional account fees of: B Class: 1.15% L Class: 1.30% C Class: 1.45% Thanks a million, for this and for the whole forum!
  9. TPA = third party administrator (right?) What is the roll of the TPA? They are the person (group of people?) who decides which vendors will be on the vendor list and makes that information available to participants? Are they the person/group I should contact to ask for more/better 403b options and to ask about the possibility of transferring my wife's 403(b) to another vendor? The person I call to stop payments to the current 403(b) account with Metlife? I want to ask someone other than the guy who signed my wife up for Metlife about transferring: I got the impression that he will not provide me with any straight forward information, especially if it's not in his interest. I'll call HR and payroll to see if they can get me the vendor list, and if not, tell me who the TPA is (and their contact info). Thanks a million for the heads up folks! I should have been more clear re: www.403bcompare.com request: I don't mean to hassle 403bcompare.com because of any "responsibility" they have to include my wife's district - just that I should email them and try to get them to include it if they can/have time/want to.
  10. Thanks Steve, I'll be calling them Monday but suspect they're out for the holiday break. If I can't get in touch with them over the phone I'll be dragging myself into the office. I'm an attorney so I usually get a bit of leverage with just my suit and tie, hopefully that will be enough to get the plan options. I'll also contact 403bcompare about including her district, great idea. Anyone else from West Contra Costa? Any other ideas on what to do to get out of the Metlife scheme/plan? thanks again!
  11. Amen! I'm just starting at this with my wife (teacher in West Contra Costa Unified, 403(b) with Metlife) and myself (457 with another county by The Hartford). My wife's plan is ... terrible! High fee funds, high account management cost ($30/year), high transfer fees, etc. On top of that, the account representative is terribly deceptive, probably ignorant in terms of financial management, and he goes from school to school, classroom to classroom signing up unsuspecting teachers with the same BS pitch ... "well, everyone else here has signed up with me, so...." I'm trying to figure out how to get her out of this bad plan with Metlife (Financial Freedom Select), any suggestions you have would be more than welcome - eventually I'd like to get the union involved in providign classes/presentations by more teacher friendly (i.e., lower fee, lower hassle) vendors and how to transfer while still employed. Thanks for the great posts!
  12. Hi everyone, this is my first post, so please be gentile ;-) My wife teaches at an elementary school in West Contra Costa Unified School District. ALL of the teachers at her school have been sign up for Metlife Financial Freedom Select by a single account manager/representative who comes to the school (and many others in the district). He tells teachers that they are getting matching funds, but really this is only a reference to the tax benefit they get, the district does not provide any employer matching. He refused to tell my wife about fees that she knew were being charged and lied about several different parts of the program. I also called him because it seemed like there must have been a misunderstanding, but she was right, he's flatly lying about fees, costs, employer matching, and our options. Metlife charges a $30 annual fee on top of high fee mutual funds which they add their own high expense/management fees. This is no way to save for retirement! I understand from other posts on bwise that Metlife annuities is a poor option regardless. Certainly nothing a boglehead / diehard would accept! I want to switch to another vendor (with low fee index funds) but: (1) I cannot get a vendor list, human resources won't call me back. (2) I'm afraid that transferring to another vendor will get me even more fees from Metlife (9% to transfer?!?) (3) I don't know what to do next =( I'd also like to work with my wife's union to have low cost firms (Vanguard, T Rowe Price, Fidelity, etc) come to the schools in her district and give presentations about their benefits, lower costs, and the process of transferring into a new vendor. *How can my wife transfer her funds to a new vendor? *Do you know who is on the West Contra Costa Unified vendor list? (403bcompare.com doesn't have a list)
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