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  1. I live in NY and currently have a 457, but I would also like to contribute to a 403b. The school district I work for offers some not-so great options. Of the choices given, should I try and find the "least bad" option? Or find another way to invest my money? My husband and I have maxed out our Roth IRA for the year and we invest a lot in Vanguard, but are looking to possibly zero out my paycheck (or as close to as possible) to help at tax time. When I ask others in the school district who they use, many have gone with AXA and many don't know the types of fees they pay. It's very scary. Any input would be so helpful. Thank you. Axa-This one is NO for me. First Investors Corp FTJ/L&M Financial ING National Trust Met Life Insurance Co NY Life Insurance Oppenheimer Shareholder Svcs. RiverSource Life Insurance Co of NY Security Benefit The Legend Group/ADSERV Travelers Life & Annuity
  2. Goal: to compile a simple checklist for any teacher to ask of their potential (or current) 403(b) vendor. Please feel free to comment or add to this list: 1) Do participants have the option to self-direct? (This option is available with Vanguard, Aspire, Fidelity, TIAA?) 2) What is your "professional" opinion on Vanguard, TIAA or Fidelity? 3. Do you have your retirement savings in the company you are trying to sell to me? 4) Do you offer investment options that include low-cost (fees less than 0.3%) no-load mutual funds spread among a broad range of asset classes and include Target Date Retirement Funds? (403(b)ill of Rights; 403bwise.com) 5) Are you willing to sign a Fiduciary Pledge, putting your client’s interests above your own? 403(b)wise Advisor Fiduciary Pledge. (403(b)ill of Rights; 403bwise.com) 6) Can you supply me with a clear breakdown of all fees? 7) Are there any M&E charges? Why would I want that feature in my 403(b)? If so, how does that charge effect the long-term performance? Can you show me a comparison of performance with and without the M&E charge? 8) Do you offer funds with no-loads? 9)Do your offerings on the 403bcompare.com website apply to my district? If not, which ones do NOT apply to my district? 10) What are the exit charges, operating costs, maintenance fees, surrender penalties or any other costs not mentioned here? 11) Are there any 12b-1 marketing fees? How do those fees benefit me? How do they affect the long-term performance? 12) My district offers me a 457(b) option in addition to a 403(b) option. Assuming I can afford to contribute to only one, why would I choose a 403(b) over a 457(b) account? (Compiled in part from http://latebloomerwealth.com and 403bwise.com)
  3. Hello Forum, First, I'd like to say thanks for this group and the collective wisdom. I first came on about 1.5 years ago when I was trying to find an alternative to my small non-profit's sole vendor (Lincoln Financial Group Multi-Plan Select annuity) for our org's retirement plan. It took some time, but management has agreed to add another vendor so anyone so desiring can escape LFG's high fee structure. The choices have been narrowed down to two, T Rowe Price or Vanguard. Other vendors need to have more enrollees or total assets than we could provide. Vanguard has lower fund expenses, but charges $15 per fund that the employee invests in. That's waived once someone is in "Voyager" status ($50K + in total assets). Of course, Vanguard has low fund expenses, even for its managed funds. Entry-level or younger employees would likely be paying the $15/fund fee. T Rowe Price waives all fees if an employee signs up for electronic delivery of documents, and has higher, but still low fund expenses, and they have some very good funds. They also seem to provide a lot of help on their website to the employer. Vanguard is a bit more hands off. I've been asked for my advice and frankly, it almost seems like a coin flip to me. I have non 403b money in funds from both of them. I get good service when I call Vanguard. Thoughts? Am I missing something? I'm so grateful to get out of Lincoln that I want to tell them ASAP which I think is the better choice. Thanks again for this forum and Happy New Year! Mark
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