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MoeMoney

This WSJ reporter needs you!

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Hello,

Anne Tergesen from the WSJ is writing a piece on the 403(b) plans. She is looking for more teacher's (or participants) who can answer a question or two. She is particularly interested in hearing from anyone who invested in a product due to or partly due to the fact that the product is recommended /endorsed by their union (or NEA). If you know of anyone in your circles too - it doesn't have to be you.

If you would be willing to, message me and, with your permission, I'll give Anne your contact information or give you her contact information. O

Thanks for considering it. 

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Thanks, Moe for doing this. I have already recommended a couple of educators and both agreed to speak. 

After talking with her a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking that the "pay to play" with vendors and the teachers union doesn't really get to the heart of the 403(b). It is the massive conflicts of interest that have been going on for 50 years. The agents who will say and do anything to get a sale and collect that commission and move on to the next sale. These agents will sell 22-year-olds a fixed annuity or transfer an older teachers annuity which may have a bundle of money to another annuity so that agent can collect even bigger commissions. While in the 401k world, those kinds of actions are totally illegal under ERISA. 

That's the problem. It was told in the NY Times series but it needs to be focused and highlighted more. 

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Compounding that is the annuity sale reps come and go leaving teachers feeling alone and unguided, allowing new annuity sales reps to come in and forge new relationships, continuing the vicious cycle of transferring annuities.

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Pushing this up.

Still looking for teachers to interview. You do not have to give your name. 

Please consider talking to her.

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I had a lot o colleague that signed up with ING in NY state when it was endorsed by NYSUT.  I since have moved the many teachers over to Vanguard or Fidelity. 

Insurance agents continue to be an issue in our district even though we have some of the best options, Fidelity, Vanguard and the NYS Deferred Compensation plan (457).   We also provide all teacher with Fiduciary Financial Advisement paid for by the teachers Trust Fund, I'm the chairperson.  

I run financial seminars through the year for teachers and Admins and sterr them into low cost investing.  My sister in law in a neighboring district got screwed by her district and it's a sad story.  

Happy to Speak to anyone.

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Thanks arich. I'll send you a message for contact information. 

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I actually have a great idea for an article if anyone wants to run with this.  

In NY the TPA that many districts use is OMNI.  They've gotten VERY big.  If you look at what they've done it's criminal.  They dangled a carrot in front of districts after the 2008 crash when district were cash strapped and offered to absorb the costs of running the 403/457 programs IF the districts would limit their offerings to only companies that were willing to absorb the TPA fees.  This about and RFI that essentially completely eliminated the access to Vanguard and Fidelity in most districts.  They called this the Omni P3 Programs and it looks great but it smells like............

My sister in law was caught up in this and was so disgusted that she stop her 403 contributions.  LONG STORY.  My wife and I happen to be in 2 of the 6 districts in the area that do not offer P3.  We have access to Fidelity, Vanguard and the NYSDCP (457) of which we max out both plans for a total contribution of $76,000 to Vanguard and NYSDCP.  

In a time when we're fighting for better and fewer choices, OMNI is making it easier to insurance companies to build a foothold in the NY schools.  It would be interesting to see if local unions are even able to negotiate this.  I have tried for 4 years to have Vanguard reinstated at my sister in laws district.  all my requests to admin and the local union have fallen on deaf ears because I don't work there.  I'm in the finishing stages of putting her in Security Benefit NEA Direct Invest to gain access to to Vanguard Index funds.  

Hear in my district we've essentially chased out all the insurance companies from roaming our hallways.  I don't know how put they still get to my young teachers and then I have to show them the way to low cost investing.  

What do you think, would this make a good article.

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arich,

You've identified a huge part of the problem. The articles and interviews are highlight the annuities that the insurance salesmen sell teachers and their tactics. Today I spoke with the Barron's reporter and though I talked about OMNI being the TPA, I didn't present it as concisely as you. 

I'd like to learn who owns OMNI and Id like to learn how to go about getting districts (starting with mine) to agree to drop the P3 in favor of a single vendor like Vanguard. Knowing that it doesn't cost the district anything to use OMNI (only the participants) it seems challenging (to say the least). Additionally, the added administrative costs and responsibilities of record-keeping in-house would be their reasoning to do nothing about it. 

It would take an army, a vocal army, to get my district to stop using OMNI and allowing non P3 vendors, such as Vanguard and Fidelity. Those who had them prior to 2012 are grandfathered in but the rest of us who unwittingly did not jump on board are out of luck. I know it has been done but I just haven't figured out how to teach enough teachers and then get them to join in the battle. My union has been hearing it from me, but told me they don't want to appear to be giving "investment advice". I think they are hiding behind that excuse.

I asked admin to let me make a presentation to teachers on the 403(b) and I have included an explanation of OMNI and its role. I will carefully educate and not "advise", of course. And it's not until September.

Featuring a story on the TPA is a great idea, IMO. 

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I’m too lazy to type much, but I got Vanguard and Fidelity added to my wife’s district. Nobody helped me and I wasn’t even an employee.

This is achievable. I can help. 

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I read about your successes with keen interest. I know it was time-intensive and required many meetings. 

With less than half the teacher’s contributing to a 403b or a 457, I’ve been focusing on educating the teachers which I deem an easier battle to win. Aspire is not so bad.

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Thanks for your offer. I’d like to chat about it to see if I understand it clearly. 

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Thanks Moe Money for bringing this up.

Just a few minutes ago, I have spoken to this reporter (and dozens of others over the years). She stills needs to talk to teachers who were sold 403b produces endorsed or approved by their union. 

PLEASE CONSIDER TALKING WITH the WSJ. This paper is politically on a different mission against our public education values, but this reporter and the WSJ are totally correct when it comes to exposing the 403b with what it really is: a money maker for the powerful insurance industry and its minions, the sales agents. 

For those of you who will not speak to this or other reporters, please realize that you are not alone. If you are reading this message, you know this website is full of previously published articles and information that our colleagues are still getting sold costly and inappropriate annuity products. Furthermore, this website has been in existence for almost 20 years! 

We need you to talk to this reporter. The only bad experience I have had about the 403b was when I was sold two terrible annuity products in the 1980s. I never got any so-called "retribution" from my district or the union for going public with my 403b story in several newspapers and publications including U.S. News and World Report.  In fact, the opposite was true. When my face and story was first published in the Sunday edition of the L.A. Times, 25 colleagues wrote me an old fashion paper and pencil letter and offered support! I thought I was the only one who wanted to improve the 403(b). Was I wrong!  Some of these colleagues are still friends for all these years! So you might make more friends. 

As we have reported here by many contributors, the unions and the districts do not care about the 403b. By association, these same unions and districts are way too busy to be concerned about one teacher or one union member being quoted by the WSJ. In fact, you too might find more friends!

thanks in advance

Steve and the entire reform 403(b) movement,

 

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Anne the WSJ reporter informed me that she got a call, but she needs more K12 teachers who have been sold an annuity that was recommended or endorsed (or on some type of "approved by your union" list, etc) by any teachers union (local, state or national).  It doesn't matter if you didn't know the product you were sold was endorsed by your union, chances are the agent who sold it to you had access to you and your colleagues because of the union endorsement. 

Please spread the word on all of your SM connections. 

 

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Pushing this up. 

 
 
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On 5/10/2019 at 11:14 AM, arich said:

Happy to Speak to anyone.

Great Arich!

This is not just "anyone." It's the Wall Street Journal and Anne and her colleague are interested in your story.

Call Anne ASAP: (212) 416-3225

Keep up the fight!

Steve

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