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1. First attempt - opened an account with Security Benefit, stopped contributions to AXA, started contributions to SB. Sent AXA paperwork with TPA paperwork to TPA to be forward to AXA requesting the exchange. Got a letter from AXA saying they needed new account provider signatures on the paperwork. No return of original paperwork. 2. Second attempt - sent AXA paperwork to SB with self-addressed stamped envelope, requested SB signatures so I could send to TPA to forward to AXA. No return of paperwork. SB sent a letter to AXA requesting fund transfer and cc'd me on the correspondence. AXA sent a letter saying no exchange because no TPA signatures. No return of original paperwork. 3. Round 3 - sent AXA paperwork with TPA paperwork with request to foward to SB. Attached all correspondence from SB and AXA to forward to SB. Attached letter requesting SB signatures & forward of all paperwork to AXA. Got a letter from SB stating request was sent to AXA about contract exchange & then a follow up letter asking about the length of time in completing exchange. No communication from AXA, but about a week ago, logging in to AXA online stopped showing contract information. Today, logging in to SB account showed account activity and "carrier to carrier" transfer of funds. Finally done... the whole process started about 5 months ago.
Well just to keep record of things that can go wrong when filling out paperwork.... I apparently missed a section on my contract exchange forms from AXA that I submitted to my TPA. I didn't get back any of the original paperwork (snail mail), just a letter from AXA telling me the paperwork was incomplete a section, and that this is the only paperwork they will accept. All paperwork still has to go through the TPA, who has their own set of paperwork to complete. Boo... so now I'm re completing the paperwork, which will probably take another month to jump through all the hoops. I'm also supposed to attach my contract with my paperwork, and it took me this long to realize that I had all the information I needed to register my AXA account online. I got so used to thinking that I had to go through the AXA rep that opened my contract. I'm surprised and not surprised that he never suggested I check things online. It was so easy to register, and the site is actually really user friendly. Now I can pull up all the information and the latest numbers online, much better than waiting on quarterly reports.
Aloha folks! So I learned a new term today... Thanks to this forum and the kind folks here, I started my journey toward fiscal responsibility and found out about my state's 457 "deferred compensation" program and a better 403b option with lower fees and better investment options. I got the 403b new account open and redirected my pre-tax savings into it. Now that that's squared away, I'm finally getting the exchange paperwork done. When I requested the paperwork and the account numbers, the advisor that set up the original 403b contract has suggested the use of a "free corridor" to avoid surrender fees. When I looked up the term, it seems as though surrender fees can vary from contract to contract... some fees drop off completely after a certain amount of time, and some reduce by steps year after year depending on a certain amount of time. Near as I can tell, my contract with AXA specifies that the surrender fee won't fall off until after year 7, and I'm only in year 4. From other internet reading, for some contracts, surrender fees are applied to the date of the monies being deposited , not necessarily the date of the contract start.... so "free corridor" is the money that can be transferred without surrender fees, which can be done in incrementally. The way I look at it now, my surrender fees are high, but not as bad as leaving the money in the account.... where I'd be accumulating an annual fee, expense ratios, and a quarterly penalty for an account under $XX,000. Haha... so my answer to my own question is... it's not worth it for me according to the math. So now, near as I can tell, I have all the information and paperwork that each provider and my state's TPA requires to get this done. Whew!