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Paige

PLEASE HELP!! Young teacher with a 403b

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5 hours ago, MNGopher said:

That's great that your district puts a warning about annuities and insurance salesmen right on their website!  I bet if you call the HR/benefits office at your school they could tell you which companies are allowed vendors for 403Bs.  The fact that they warn you about annuities indicates that you probably have some low cost mutual fund custodians available to you.

 

now that is rare. Wow finally somebody in the main offices gets it.

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17 hours ago, raido_me said:

The new job doesn't have Fidelity but Vanguard is an option so I'm psyched about that. 

In my opinion you don't lose much going from fidelity  index funds to vanguard funds. So you are good to go. Both offer tremendous value compared to others. Vanguard wins with their overall low fee variety of funds but Fidelity scores a bit cheaper with their index funds. Its a win that even though you lost Fidelity you now have Vanguard. Good for you. I wish others were as lucky.

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Hi everyone! I have heard back from Human Resources with what seems to unfortunately not be such a great response. Below is his email. If anyone has any thoughts or could guide me in the right direction for what to do from here it would be so greatly appreciated! I’m still learning all this stuff and am happy to be able to connect with people so knowledgeable. 

Hi Paige-  The Mass Mutual plans are the only options that Chicopee employees have.  For the most part, they carry most of the investment options (mutual funds, safety accounts, etc) that other vendors have.  I'd recommend that you show the list of options to your financial advisor, so that they can recommend the investment options that would work best for you.

If another City employee suggested another option, please let me know, and I will find out about it for you.

Best wishes for a successful school year.

Rich

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1 hour ago, Paige said:

If another City employee suggested another option, please let me know, and I will find out about it for you.

Page I have to wonder what else these so called  Mass Mutual plans might offer beyond what you showed us. Could you post all the options you have within these Mass Mutual plans? Your district warns teachers against annuities but lets a company like Mass Mutual run the show??? Might a good option be hidden somewhere within your plans? I certainly don't find his response adequate or clear.

I would ask for the Massachusetts 457b plan be implemented as an alternative to Mass Mutual Plans as Raido_me  has mentioned in a previous post and  ask  it be made available to teachers in your school district. It Raido had access to it through his school district than why not your school district ?

Raido care to comment? how she might proceed?

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1 hour ago, Paige said:

The Mass Mutual plans are the only options that Chicopee employees have

I went to your district homepage in hopes of finding so info . It's very primitive. Not much information there. Perhaps you have to log in as an employee to search for your benefits page.

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14 hours ago, tony said:

 

I went to your district homepage in hopes of finding so info . It's very primitive. Not much information there. Perhaps you have to log in as an employee to search for your benefits page.

Hi Tony! I am so confused! I didn't find his email clear either....

"If another City employee suggested another option, please let me know, and I will find out about it for you." 

I'm a little confused specifically by this response. Another option? 

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2 hours ago, Admin said:

Hi again, Paige,

Do you have a Roth IRA? If not that may be your best option as you can open it with any company you choose (Fidelity, Vanguard etc.). Here's a link to more info: https://403bwise.org/education/other (scroll to the bottom). - Dan 

Hi Dan... I do have a roth IRA but it is unfortunately through Mass mutual 😞

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Hi Rich,

 
Thank you for getting back to me. Your prompt response and willingness to help means a lot to me. Chicopeeeducators.org warns us against annuities, so I have some concerns over Mass Mutual being the only option. Is it possible for our district to implement other plans to help teachers get better options?  Would the 457b plan be able to be implemented as an alternative to Mass Mutual plans? 
 
BELOW IS THE RESPONSE
 
The options that the city affords are a big deal.   Often they are dictated by law (like the retirement system), and often there are substantial contracts involved.    The decisions on the options are made (I believe) by the city treasurer.   The terms of those agreements are complicated. 

 
Your stuff is further complicated by the teachers retirement system that you are in. 
 
I'm not even close to an expert on this stuff,  so I'd recommend that you talk to Dean Godek, who (I believe) is the broker/ agent.  He helped me develop my own personal plan when I started in February.  me 
 
Check in with him,  and let me know how it goes. 
 
Rich 
 
 
 

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I'm confused about why he keeps mentioning "the city" in his responses to you.  Is there a third party that oversees both the school districts and other city employees retirement plans?

 

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Paige

Rich as he said  himself is no expert. So he will be no help to you. He probably has a high cost plan but is ignorant about the fees. 

8 hours ago, Paige said:

'm not even close to an expert on this stuff,  so I'd recommend that you talk to Dean Godek, who (I believe) is the broker/ agent.  He helped me develop my own personal plan when I started in February

I would not get roped in to this broker/agent he referred you to. You can transfer your mass mutual IRA to Vanguard or Fidelity on your own  and into their index funds. I would start there. I know from experience that if you call Vanguard they can help you with this process. A target fund would be a good choice or perhaps as young as you are straight into Vanguard total stock market index. The fees are rock bottom and you money will grow better over time. You can have auto withdrawals made monthly directly from your checking and savings account into the Vanguard IRA. You could put 500.oo a month into an IRA and that would equal 6,000 a year. Of course you could have less withdrawn monthly if your finances donot allow you to max it out.

 

As Dan mentioned I think too that an IRA might  be a good choice for starters as you can put $6,000 dollars a year away, get a tax deduction if you chose Traditional and not be beholden to this Mass Mutual nonsense. I would also keep your antennas up about trying to get that 457b added. Call the state 457b administration number and ask them straight up how to get that state plan added to your school system. Then talk to your superintendent about it directly or contact the city treasurer as advise and ask how you can proceed to add better options..  You can do this!!

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16 hours ago, MNGopher said:

I'm confused about why he keeps mentioning "the city" in his responses to you.  Is there a third party that oversees both the school districts and other city employees retirement plans?

 

Mn Gopher

I can tell you from my past experience that Rich may be a competent employee in his position but that does translate into financial competence. I think he  is shooting from the hip with his responses and doesn't  really have a clue about why the school district  403b plan is substandard. Paige needs to go in a different direction.  AS far as his referring to" the city"  I would guess that perhaps the school district and city employees might share the same 403b plans. Why the 457b plan is not available makes no sense as city municipal employees would at least certainly be eligible for it. Then of course I don't know how Massachusetts operates compared to Virginia so maybe things don't work the same there.

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Hello everybody,

Sorry I've been away. I'm by no means an expert on how Massachusetts does things but, I have figured some stuff out through asking questions and experience. I believe to be compliant with 403b laws, school districts/towns are required to have an "expert" on all things retirement benefits. I've been in a small district where they were decidedly non compliant as their person who dealt with these things was far from knowledgable (Paige, it sounds like that may be the case in your district). Other, often times large districts, will hire an outside company to deal with these matters. I've have to deal with TSA Consulting Group with a few of the larger districts. They often take over all responsibilities for the towns/cities. The good news is that TSA Consulting is all over the country. If a district works with TSA you can easily figure out what options are available by looking on their website. I imagine many people outside this discussion would be interested in this. I'll join the FB group and post it there as well

https://www.tsacg.com/individual/plan-sponsor/

Like I said, Chicopee isn't on there. Sorry, Paige. But all is not lost. I did some searching around the interwebs and I found the form that Chicopee uses for payroll deductions. Its a bit dated but school systems aren't known for keeping these things up to date. Looks like you do have options, but none of them are Fidelity or Vanguard:

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But there is a ray of hope in this otherwise dreary info dump. I believe the state 457 plan is available to all.  I spoke with one of their representatives a few years back and did a little bit of investigating myself and here's what I remember. The state plan has 2-3 different options depending on how much assistance you would like with your plan. You can go it alone or pay different fees depending on how much help you want. They do offer some low fee index funds in the mix. The representatives are hired by the Mass Treasury Dept. and as such don't work for commission. They won't try to over sell you more than you need and have your best interest in mind. Given your options with Chicopee, I would recommend going the 457 route. Below you will find a site map with the various district representatives. Chicopee is on there. Best of Luck! Keep us informed.

 

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1 hour ago, raido_me said:

But there is a ray of hope in this otherwise dreary info dump. I believe the state 457 plan is available to all.  I spoke with one of their representatives a few years back and did a little bit of investigating myself and here's what I remember. The state plan has 2-3 different options depending on how much assistance you would like with your plan. You can go it alone or pay different fees depending on how much help you want. They do offer some low fee index funds in the mix. The representatives are hired by the Mass Treasury Dept. and as such don't work for commission. They won't try to over sell you more than you need and have your best interest in mind. Given your options with Chicopee, I would recommend going the 457 route. Below you will find a site map with the various district representatives. Chicopee is on there. Best of Luck! Keep us informed.

 

Radio-me .  U R Awesome !!  Thanks for your help with this. You rock.   What say you Paige?

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