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  1. Need Help, Have you not picked up some 403B enrollment forms from the payroll or benefits office of your district? These forms should answer many of your questions. (Are you SURE you have Vanguard as a choice of vendors? Rejoice if you do.) The Vanguard.com site itself has tons of performance information on the various VG funds. Since 403B accounts can only be funded by payroll deduction, there should be no "initial deposit." The first time you get a paystub showing money deposited with Vanguard will mark the initial funding of your new 403B account. Best wishes, C. Wood
  2. Thanks very much, -- Cary Wood
  3. Back in 2001 (according to the copyright notices), a point-counterpoint debate appeared at this site between Mark Fischer and Scott Dauenhauer on the merits/demerits of "hold harmless" clauses. I learned of this debate as an outgrowth of private communications with these gentlemen. I was, in fact, linked to the debate in a private email by one of them. The link put me at this site. But when I tried to find these two outstanding articles from the home page of this site, I struck out. I want to refer certain persons I know to these two articles by citing the right buttons at this site. Can I do this? The articles might be five years old but their relevance is still timely. I know from hard experience. -- C Wood
  4. Thanks, Joe. I should like to visit with Scotty. I'll put my email address at the end of this message so we can visit offline. Unfortunately, my district is not in S. California, but we are in a city served by Southwest Airlines and distance is not an issue. More significantly, we are not dealing here with entrenched unions who are betraying their teachers. (The teacher association, for good or ill, has zero connection with annuity offerings.) I think the problem is simply ignorance on the part of district payroll and benefit managers and a too-eager readiness on their part to let a handful of insurance companies "take care of the investment needs of your teachers." With the whole story laid out in front of them, I think district officials will lower the drawbridge and let Sir Bogle come across. This is why I want someone with expertise, gravitas, and -- uh -- charm(?) . . . whatever it takes. Email: carydwood@sbcglobal.net
  5. I work in a large suburban public high school. We have no good 403B choices. A certain insurance lady is hired by the district to "keep the gate." She uses hold-harmless arguments to cow district officials into believing that the district is setting itself up for lawsuits if the status quo is fiddled with in the slightest. But there is a chink in the armor -- I think. It turns out that I personally know the superintendent. (I had her daughters in AP classes.) I have her ear. I would like to tell her: "Look, Dr. _____. If you like, I know a person who will come here and make the case for low-fee 403B7 investments, a person who in fact can counter point-by-point the current gate-keeper's arguments. All you have to do is give the go-ahead." Now . . . the problem. Is there any such person who does this? And I don't mean who does it for free. Even for a fee, is there anyone who does this? Someone from Vanguard? T. Rowe Price? Fidelity? Dan Otter himself? Any of the main gurus at this site? In our district, I even know the parties who would pick up the fee if only such a person were available. Is there such a person? -- C Wood
  6. No, no, no . . . . You are not "missing something." It was my hope that you would weigh in on the DH Thread and ADD something to that discussion of 403b reform. I see that you did both -- you weighed in and you added significantly. (Ira got in a plug too.) Thanks, Cary
  7. I wish Dan, Steve, AP, Ira, Joel or other of the eloquent teacher advocates on this board would check out thread 50054 over at the Morningstar "Vanguard Diehard" forum. That site has a huge readership. It seems to me some important "consciousness raising" could be done. -- Cary
  8. Actually, I think I'll still get the last laugh here. It's true my 05 Roth contribution got un-Rothed because my wife and I overs the earnings limit for 2005 (the 160K threshold). But it's also true that my wife and I are both retiring in May. For 2006, our earnings will not only be below the $160K threshold (thus permitting a Roth in 06), but below $100K (thus permitting a CONVERSION of our re-characterized 05 Roth back to its original state). I checked with the Fairmark people and this Roth IRA to a non-deductible traditional IRA back to a Roth IRA is a bit of a whipsaw, but very doable -- especially now that our 06 income is going to stay in five figures. It's just that all this hoop-jumping to preserve the Roth could have been prevented if I had been well-advised on ALL my 403B choices before calendar year 05 began. I might add, Ira, that I'm a hard-core Dieharder. We are on the same chapter and verse with regard to index funds. I appreciate this site, -- Cary
  9. Thank you, Joel. I went to the link and now I'm more put out than ever (not at you, of course). The Oklahoma plan has been averaging 10.4% annually for the last ten years. Yet when I went to inquire last summer about opening a 403B plan, no one in benefits or payroll told me the opportunity existed. They just glibly stated, "Have your agent contact us and we'll sign you up." They obviously had been programmed to steer inquirers toward annuity-based 403b products. From the pamphlets they handed me, I deduced (wrongly) that annuity-based products were all I had to choose from. Yet even now, I don't know whether malice or ignorance is behind the "oversight." When I asked the district ladies this afternoon if I could have an application for the Oklahoma 403b plan, they said they didn't have such a thing and that I would have to call the Oklahoma Teacher Retirement System office in OKC. I did. OTRS staffers said to try my district headquarters again because the locals OUGHT to have the application. I called district headquarters still again and gave them the OKC phone number for a resolution of the issue. Sure enough, 45 minute later I was notified by phone by the local benefits manager that the application I need had been "found." Grrr. . . I'm not talking here, Joel, about a little hick country school that doesn't know better. I'm talking about the 6th largest school district in the state of Oklahoma (15K students k-12) with a fully staffed ad center. I'd give money to know if the cluelessness of the local ladies was genuine or coached. In any event, I have been injured by their ignorance. I just did my 2005 tax return and I'm now going to have to re-characterize my 05 Roth contribution as a non-deductible IRA because my wife's and my AGI was just over the limit. A five-figure draw-off into a 403B would have given us all the advantages of the 403B set-aside PLUS a Roth that wouldn't have to be undone. Hoo boy . . . My rant is over. Thanks for listening. -- Cary
  10. I'm dashed. I've spent this whole school year in something of a stew because my district only offered high-fee annuity-based 403b products to teachers when what I wanted was a nice 403b7 opportunity with any of several solid, low-fee mutual fund companies. My district simply would not hear of it. So I wound up funding nothing. Then just this week I learned that the state of Oklahoma (my state) offers a 403b through the state teacher retirement system. I could have pulled five-figures off my income and preserved my wife's and my Roth eligibility for 2005 had I known this. The state-sponsored 403b is NOT an insurance-managed plan, but it is not a 403b7 either. Or I don't think it's a 403b7. Teacher retirement staffers don't call it a 403b7 plan. In any event, what IS this plan? Is it common for state retirement systems to offer such a plan? Is it easy, come retirement time or "separation from service" time, to roll the money over into a mutual fund IRA? My copy of "Teach and Retire Rich" is currently loaned out. I don't remember Dan talking about 403b's that are in the hands of neither insurance companies nor mutual funds. (Or did he say?) If anyone knows something about this, please share it. I'm especially interested to know if many states offer this type of 403b. I talked to a gentleman at the Diehard site who said his wife had effortlessly converted her state-sponsored 403b to a Vanguard IRA. But he never said the name of the state. Thanks, Mr. Wood
  11. Chuck Jaffe is a highly respected analyst at Marketwatch.com. In today's column (St. Paddy's Day), he celebrates the three-year anniversary of his "stupid investment of the week" feature. Toward the end of the column, he sums up: "The biggest hope realized in three years of writing this column has been that many of my best ideas have come from readers, so keep the questions, concerns and suggestions coming. Better yet, if you are pitched an insurance policy, variable annuity or some other financial product that you think has stupid written all over it, send me the paperwork (PO Box 70, Cohasset, MA 02025-0070)" There. A big-name columnist actually trolling for the outrageous . . . who actually uses the word "stupid" in his header. He's on our side. Jaffe is not only widely read at the Marketwatch website, but he is often linked to by posters at other forums.
  12. Thank you, Yanikowski and Moneyturtles Team. Now I get it. As a public school teacher, my plan is not an ERISA plan, so I'm home free. I appreciate your shared wisdom. -- CDWood
  13. Thank you, Putnaml, for taking the time to reply. I'm still confused though -- but not by you. The situation still confuses me. The other posters at the Diehard site (use the "jump to" feature to find Thread #48586 if you care to look) said something about a "highly compensated individuals" clause that is the problem-causer in instances of over-contributions. I even followed one of the links to IRS Publication 571 ("Tax Sheltered Annuity Plans") and couldn't figure it out. I think I'm just going to have to bow out of this one. Thanks anyway. -- CDWood
  14. I was over at Diehard earlier today and read a post by an unhappy person whose sizable 403B contribution was within contribution limits but which was just the same charged with being "excessive." Subsequent posters said the problem has something to do with there not being enough contributors in the original poster's school system. I have never heard of this. It bothers me because I was planning to make a five-figure contribution to my 403B next year because right now it looks like that is going to be the best way to hold my income down lest my wife and I surpass the $150K Roth threshold. (SHE is the main breadwinner in the house.) I will be totally stymied if I pay in the big bucks and then get blindsided later with a notice that I have paid in too much. Does anyone know the story here? Does this surprise notice happen a lot? Please comment.
  15. Dodge & Cox Balanced is closed to new investors, as is Dodge & Cox Stock. D&C International is still open. The "honor roll" at fundalarm.com sifts out fund winners if one is looking to re-balance with mutual funds.
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