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Help Needed- Security Benefit Self Directed

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I've had a 403b with AXA Equitable for the last year or so. I'm aware of the incredibly high fees and I'm exploring other options. I know there was a recent post regarding Security Benefit/NEA self-directed 403b. The investment options and low fees look excellent. I'm weary that it is too good to be true. I've began the process to open an account online.

Can someone please take a look and let me know if this seems legit? Has anyone used this program in the past?

 

http://www.nearetirementprogram.com/#!enrollment/cc0q

 

One of the additional providers for my district is 403b ASP Fundsource. Is this the same as Aspire?

 

Thanks for your help!

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Hey PE teacher,

 

Welcome to the board! I just contacted Mark Luckinbill, head of 403(b), 457(b) and IRA products for Aspire. He's really good about answering questions about Aspire here. He should respond soon. Stay tuned! - Dan

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Hi PETeacher. 403b ASP fundsource is an outdated name for Aspire. We'll contact your school district to let them know to change the name.

 

If you have questions about Aspire, email us at 403457@aspireonline or email me directly at mark.luckinbill@aspireonline.com. We can tell you more about Aspire and what we offer.

 

Some say the easiest way to describe Aspire is as a "mutual fund aggregator" who provides access to over 10,000 investments from hundreds of fund companies you know (and many you don't know). We look forward to hearing from you. - Mark L

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Hey krow36,

 

Thanks for your participation in this board and thanks for sharing that link. Interesting stuff. I just made a comment on that thread. - Dan

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The folks here at 403bwise are known to be the best source of information on 403b’s. So here’s my question: Is it possible that the NEA Valuebuilder Direct Invest 403b through Security Benefit is as good as it looks? Granted that all of SB’s 403b’s except the Direct Invest 403b, have loads, high expense ratios and other fees. Is it conceivable that after a widely publicized court case brought against NEA and Security Benefit, SB put in the Direct Invest 403b for DIY educators?

403bwise has had years of experience dealing with 403b’s that are good for everyone except the contributing educators. Here’s the NEA introduction to the NEA Direct Invest 403b:
"An option for the do-it-yourself investor

NEA® DirectInvest® is part of the overall NEA Retirement Program and is a voluntary retirement savings and investment program designed for educators. For those NEA Members who feel confident enough and wish to make their own retirement planning decisions, there's an online way to invest in the NEA Retirement Program. DirectInvest offers a convenient way to invest through a secure Internet connection. You should consider DirectInvest if:

You are familiar and comfortable with transacting financial business over the Internet

You understand investment principles and strategies

You have your own plan for closing the retirement gap

These are the Vanguard funds offered in Direct Invest:

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ER 0.05%
Vanguard Total International Stock Index ER 0.14%
Vanguard Intermediate Term Bond Index ER 0.10%
Vanguard 500 Index ER 0.05%
Vanguard Growth Index ER 0.09%
Vanguard Mid Cap Index ER 0.09%
Vanguard Small Cap Index ER 0.09%
Vanguard REIT Index ER 0.12%
Although the funds all have a 12b-1 fee of 0.01%, I believe that it is included in the ER.

Let’s find out more about Direct Invest!

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Hi krow,

I would look into your state 457b plans. Didn't you post your question and comment about SB on Bogleheads? Look, if you know that you will be paying what SB says it charges, go for it. I am not in the system, so I can't tell you anything more than was publicized on the NEA website. As I said on the Bogleheads post, enroll in the program and after a year of contributions, match the charges from the website to the end result of your statement.

Have a great weekend,

Steve

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Steve,

I'm a retired teacher who had an expensive VALIC 403b decades ago. I've been trying to help out on the BH forum and when corysold posted about the NEA Direct Invest 403b, it seemed worth a closer look. As neither 403bwise or the BH forums seem to be familiar with it, I decided to try and find educators that had used the program. It seemed ironic that lurking amidst a lot of crappy 403b's was a possibly excellent 403b with 8 great Admiral class Vanguard funds, and nobody knew anything about it.

 

I think it's fairly common that Security Benefit is listed along with other insurance 403b providers available to educators, and if it is, then the Direct Invest option might be the way to go. Granted, the Security Benefit rep is not going to be interested in the Direct Invest option, but it looks like this DIY 403b takes the rep out of the loop. It also seems ironic that, assuming it's as good as it appears to be, the program will only exist as long as Security Benefit can make millions off of the other expensive 403b's they sell to educators!

 

Thanks for your efforts (and for this website!) in the cause of better retirement options for educators!

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