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raido_me

Rolling Over My Axa 403 B

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Hello Brain Trust,

 

Just a little update and encouragement. I've been trying to roll over my AXA 403b for the last couple of weeks and been going back forth with the rep about options. It comes down to this. To get my money out now it'll be a 2% charge because I'm still in year 10. In Nov 2017 (year 11) It'll be a 1% charge. And in Nov 2018 it'll be free to withdraw. But the sooner I can get out of this, the better. Here is the email I wrote him on Friday:

 

OK Adam,

There are certain things I know about business and certain things I do not. What I do know is that, if you travel far enough up the ladder, you'll find someone with enough authority to waive fees. I wish you were that person, because you've been pretty helpful so far but you are not. I do imagine that you could find the person who does have that ability, though. I'm going to ask that you find that person and waive the fee so I can get out of this horrible annuities contract.
That $600-$700 hundred surrender fee means a lot to someone like me who works long and hard for little pay, but for AXA it is just a drop in the bucket compared to the millions in AUM of the company. But I do want to highlight what your company does stand to lose by not waiving that fee.
Both faculty and administration have become interested in the research I've been doing with 403 b's the last month. It turns out roughly 74 other employees all have AXA 403 b's. Being a union rep for my building, I meet once a month with union leaders to discuss matters that are important to us. I am scheduled to give a presentation next week to my fellow executive board members. What I plan to do is present all the options we have available including low fee company's like Fidelity and Vanguard as well as the 457 SMART Plan from the state. High fees and how it affects bottom dollar cost over time will definitely be a topic of conversation.
This is going to happen Monday after school no matter what. However, if I can surrender my AXA 403b without paying the fees now and not in 2018, I will leave it at that. But if not, (And I hate saying this because you seem like a decent guy, but the fact is, you work for a horrible company) I'm going to get the names of every employee that has an AXA account and personally give them the run-down of whats going on. I'm going to encourage/help each and everyone one of them get out of their EQUI-VEST annuity. Word travels fast in the world of teachers. When Joe Ferrara left AXA, I know he took a bunch accounts with him over to American Funds. I'm sure AXA will not be happy with losing most of the rest.
I also know that our superintendent happens to have an AXA account. He too has heard about what I am doing and has asked me keep him appraised of the situation. Google his name if you think I am bluffing about his account. If I'm still in my annuity contract next month, I plan on having a sit down with him and recommending we stop allowing AXA to solicit in the Winthrop Public School Systems. I'm going to recommend that he stop subjecting his most vulnerable employees to the predatory practices and yellow note pads of your company. I truly am sorry because I think a lot/most of these accounts are yours and you've tried to help me. But, facts are facts, its a bad product for teacher's to be involved in. I hope we can find a solution that benefits both of us. 2% surrender fee on a small individual account seems like a small price to pay given what your company stands to lose. Good Luck.
I got a reply email on Sat. Paraphrased synopsis: "Whoa Whoa. Let's not do anything too hasty. Give us time to figure this out"

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radio me

 

I don't have any ideas about how to get your fees waived. Money comes and money goes. Just transfer it. You will get it back. Fidelity Index Fund fees are very very low and you will quickly recoup your loses. Let go. Just do it. Thats what I did and I am in better shape today.

 

I commend you for your assertiveness. If you could get dozens of teachers to leave AXA that would send a message that insurance companies need to change how they are doing business.

 

I would not attack AXA too much. I would just promote the better choice in your investment menu which is Fidelity and specifically focus on their index funds. I would also encourage your school system to revisit the choices they are offering in their 403b choices and make some modifications. Offering more non-insurance based low cost options would be a great start . A committee could do this. Also I would do an in service explaining the impact of fees on investment returns.

 

Have you read Dan Otter's Book-Teach and Retire Rich? For the novice investor this book is great because it is easy to read and understand and suitable for new investors. I would take orders at your school and then ask Dan for a better price on a bulk purchase. Its worth every penny.

 

You are fortunate because when I tried to enlighten my teaching community I met with some resistance from teachers. They trusted the insurance advisor more than me!! I also pissed off some advisors who saw me as the enemy. So when they met with clients and the clients would bring my name up they would say I was an idiot who didn't know what he was talking about. That I had no training. Eventually though I did reach some who saw that I was telling it straight.

 

Continue to be an advocate!!!

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I agree with Tony. Yes, of course the surrender fee sucks! Especially on a teacher's salary. I don't think it is a good plan to ask for a special deal that is not available to everyone. And if you don't get the special deal, you will work to get your colleagues out of their AXA 403b annuities? You are making a threat that doesn't fit with your aim to help your colleagues.

 

$600-$700 is the cost of your education on annuity-based 403b plans. You signed the papers and I think you're stuck with the bill. Lots of posters have paid $1000s to get out, and still consider it a smart move.

 

If your annual fee on your ~30k account is about 2%, your annual fee would be about $600 wouldn't it? If that's so it doesn't make sense to hold on and wait for the surrender fees to expire.

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