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How Do I Choose?

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I've been a participant in 403(b) for many years thru my employers, but have reached a place where I'm ready to do more for my retirement. I work for a state university that makes the 457 available, but have no idea where to start!


To begin with, I've got to choose between AIG VALIC, Lincon Financial, TIAA-CREF (where I have my 403), or the State Retirement System. I don't know enough to make that decision and have no idea how to start to educate myself!


Then, I'll have to decide how I want my investments allocated. When I signed up with TIAA-CREF 10 years ago, my father helped me with that (he's a retired accountant). I'm 39 and can afford some risk, but DH's retirement portfolio is not very diverse, so I feel like I'm the one that has to be.


My employer is having a program in November about retirement planning, but the presenter will be a rep from one of the investment companies and they'll be focusing on the 403(b). Although I suppose generally some of that information would be helpful, I've got a raise coming in October and would like to get started sooner as opposed to later.


I've printed off all the Beginner's Guide on this site to start reading, but any additional advise or direction would be greatly appreciated!




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kat, I like the 457bwise site but it does not get the traffic of other sites.


Read this info from the diehards site here http://www.diehards.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=384


and try posting your question at http://www.diehards.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=1


The more information you provide, the better the help.


gerry lef



kat, here is the info I was looking for. It is something I used when I first started, and I modified it after educating myself with books, reading the diehards.org site and other sources.


4 funds – simple portfolio – Taylor Larimore (from diehards.org)


Taylor Larimore's 4-Fund Portfolio specifically mentioned anywhere on this site.

It is a pinnacle of portfolio sophistication and simplicity.




A Money-Market Fund

Total Stock Market Fund

Total International Fund

Total Bond Market Fund




Fill-up your taxable account in the order shown. Put what's left into your tax-deferred account(s).




Maximum Diversification (low risk)

Zero overlaps

No manager changes

No style drift (from benchmark index)

Desired stock/bond/cash allocation is easy.

Never a need to rebalance within asset classes

High probability of beating most funds

Never below index performance

Minimum maintenance

Lowest possible cost

Low taxes




Every portfolio will be different, there are no perfect portfolios, each individual will have a different risk level, time to retirement, etc, etc, etc. You could also use a lifestyle or target retirement fund to get started and as you get a better comfort level with your money management change things.


From the providers you listed, TIAA-CREF would be a great place to start.


gerry lef



edit on 9/5/07

kat, also see this link for additional ideas: http://bwise.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=2461

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Of your choices, I would STAY AWAY from Valic. Run the other way! Fees are not fully disclosed though you will find them in the very fine print. You will be told things that will never pan out. They are paid on commissions and will do anything to sell you. RUN THE OTHER WAY from valic!

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