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MoeMoney

Aggregators, Such As Aspire

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Our district 403b list includes the usual: AXA, MetLife, Oppenheimer, Legend Group and Voya. It also includes GWN/Employee Deposit Account and Mutual Inc/Plan Member Services. I'm confused on what the last 2 are. It sounds like they might be aggregators, like Aspire.

I am actively working with Omni, our business leaders to add Aspire but in the meantime, I'm trying to do my research on how GWN and Mutual Inc work.

Is anyone familiar with either of them?

Thank you.

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In my district GWN sells insurance products and/ or American Funds . I think they also offer brokerage services into other funds. Thats who I originally purchased loaded (5.8% front load) American Funds from as my only alternative to Insurance products years ago. I quickly exited once Vanguard was added . Then suddenly Vanguard was eliminated. Once I stopped American Funds which had a load, the guy who represented them tried to sell me some non insurance mutual funds that had expense ratios of up to 1.75%. By then I had had enough with sales reps and I was finally smart enough to see that his products were overpriced.

 

Its unfortunate to say that if you are in a school district you will often have to deal with sales reps. Aspire requires no such intermediary. IMHO you should stay away from GWN.

 

I hope this helps

 

Tony

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Thanks Tony,

Yes, it helped a lot. It was timely too. My district likened Aspire to GWN and Mutual Inc. I would NOT have known the difference, (Honestly, I still don't fully understand it.)

This is an excerpt from a response I received:

We consulted with OMNI, and as I suspected, GWN is also a aggregator. They are currently on our approved vendor list. Mutual Inc. is also noted as an aggregator on the OMNI website.
Regarding Aspire, we will continue to look at adding them as a provider. The time-line will follow the district's 403b provider re-approval agenda, scheduled during the summer.

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Moe

 

GWN is not Aspire. The fees are higher. You will be feeding the advisor making him fat. Don't let them tell you its the same . Aspire is commited to lower fees Gwn uses a salesforce to make money. As I said before , you can self direct with Aspire and pay the underlying expense ratio of the fund you choose plus a small administrative charge I believe of about .15 % a year. If you choose a low cost option like Vanguard/Fidelity index funds you will come out smelling like a rose even with the minimal additional fee. As far as a 403b goes Aspire is a great choice or as good as it gets if you opt out of using an advisor and self direct instead

 

Good luck!!

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"Our district 403b list includes the usual: AXA, MetLife, Oppenheimer, Legend Group and Voya. It also includes GWN/Employee Deposit Account and Mutual Inc/Plan Member Services. I'm confused on what the last 2 are. It sounds like they might be aggregators, like Aspire.

I am actively working with Omni, our business leaders to add Aspire but in the meantime, I'm trying to do my research on how GWN and Mutual Inc work.

Is anyone familiar with either of them?

Thank you."

 

MoeMoney, have you checked out Mutual Inc/Plan Member Services? I think it is an aggregator and of their many 403b options, Planmember Direct looks promising. They have a number of Vanguard Admiral class funds available. For instance:

VTSAX Total Stock Mkt ER=0.05%

VTIAX Total Int'l Stock Mkt ER=0.12%

VBTLX Total Bond Mkt ER=0.06%

There’s a 0.35% per year Account Service Fee charged that is added to the fund’s expense ratio. So for a total expense of 0.41% to 0.47%, you can contribute to your 403b. I would first contribute 5.5k directly to your IRA every year because you can get those low ER's without the Account Service Fee added on. I think contributions to a 403b are definitely worth making at those higher ER's.

 

http://www.planmember.com/mutualinc/defaulthome2.cfm?pageid=27

Planmember Direct
Funds available in the Planmember Direct program:
Edited by krow36

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Thanks for your reply krow36. From Mutual Inc's website, it says they are distributors. To me, it sounds like "middle-men". I think we've had one of their independent adviser's in our school. Somehow, it doesn't sound like Aspire but more like GWN.

 

A PlanMember Financial Center in Farmingville, New York, Mutual Inc. is part of an exclusive network of distributors located across the country that deliver retirement plan solutions to individuals and employers.

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Tony,

I've listened to your podcasts, #11 and #6, so far. I will keep contributing to our 457 and await our district's decision to board-approve Aspire this summer. Then I will self-direct into Vanguard. (I cannot self-direct into Aspire unless our district chooses to take on Aspire, correct? It's a confusing term to me - it sounds like I can direct my monies somewhere but I suppose someone has to watch over me to make sure I'm in compliance.)

I'm also considering a Roth account but I'm still investigating the differences between a Roth IRA and a Roth 403b. I don't think we have a Roth 457 option.

Thanks for the forum, the podcasts, and the articles. They are enlightening.

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OK MoeMoney, I didn't realize that you had access to a 457b. That's great. Aspire looks like a better choice for an aggregator as they only charge 0.15% plus $40, compared to Mutual Inc/Plan Member Services' 0.35%. I think they both function as aggregators and third party administrators.

The OMNI P3 website lists both of the above as well as GWN and others as aggregators. Does your district use the OMNI P3 program? You quoted your district referring to OMNI?

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Our district does NOT use Aspire, though I have made an appeal and it's under consideration for the summer agenda. Yes, we have access to a 457 so I made that switch from Ameriprise 403b contributions last May, but I'd like to possibly contribute more in the 403b as well as advocate for our districts' teachers. Some are unaware or unwilling (?) to start a 'new' plan such as the 457.

Thank you for your input.

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Ameriprise -When they were called American Express I was one of their victims. Just an awful outfit if they still operate like they used to.

 

Tony

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Yes, our district uses ONLY Omni P3 vendors. Not all of them, just some. I have old money in an AXA account (it's over 12 years old now so I'm looking to exchange it out without incurring the penalty fee, that's when I started to dig deep but hit a brick wall with the no-better options). I have newer money in an Ameriprise account, bc I was told it was a better option (read my frustration:). Looking to the present, I now have a 457 with Vanguard funds.

 

I'm not going to get a full pension, maybe 20 years, so I want this in addition.

 

What's even more frustrating, I had all my kids start a Roth IRA once they worked at 16 years, and each one of their little accounts at Ameriprise were hit with a $50 annual fee! I felt like I was doing them a disservice! So I transferred them all into their new Vanguard Roth IRA's.

 

So, when you're reading and posting, KNOW that someone is reading and learning! Keep sharing your collective wisdom.

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