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Paige

PLEASE HELP!! Young teacher with a 403b

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Great suggestions here. I echo Tony's sentiments about starting a Roth IRA with Vanguard. They can help with everything including the transfer process. Excellent info on the 457. These plans are often lower cost because their is more employee oversight required. 

Also, I am doing a free webinar Get Wise to the 403(b) on the 403(b) on Wednesday, September 11 from 7-8PM EST that you might want to sit in on. 

Let us know how it goes! - Dan 

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On 8/28/2019 at 8:40 PM, raido_me said:

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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This is incredible! Thank you all so much. Things have been hectic - school year has just started as well as my second job! You guys know how it is. I’m going to move towards the process of switching to the 457b. Have to do my research! Any tips along the way? Have I completely lost the money I’ve already put in? Switching the Roth IRA to Vanguard sounds like the right move as well. Should I keep my life and disability insurance with Mass Mutual or do we think there’s something better out there? I finally feel like I’ve found some real guidance! Thank you everyone. I know it’s taken me a while to respond to this but I have been reading the posts and am thinking about this everyday. It is towards the very top of my back to school to-do list! 

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Paige

I'm glad you are back. I'd see about getting the 457b plan on the  district books and then we can help you pick the funds. I think you will need to convince your school system to add it. 

1 hour ago, Paige said:

Should I keep my life and disability insurance with Mass Mutual

I would drop it and buy these policies independent of annuities or investments. Look into term insurance and check to see if you may already have liability insurance included in your employment package of benefits. Ask. Are you sure you even need life insurance? Do you have kids? are you married?

1 hour ago, Paige said:

Switching the Roth IRA to Vanguard sounds

Yes. Call Vanguard and they will tell you about the paperwork you will need to fill out. Expect to fill out paperwork with Mass mutual as well. If you get stumped we can help you . After the transfer (it can be a slow process sometimes so don't be discouraged)goes through we can help you pick an appropriate choice.

 

I don't want you to be discouraged. You can do this.

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On 9/3/2019 at 10:21 PM, tony said:

Paige

I'm glad you are back. I'd see about getting the 457b plan on the  district books and then we can help you pick the funds. I think you will need to convince your school system to add it. 

I would drop it and buy these policies independent of annuities or investments. Look into term insurance and check to see if you may already have liability insurance included in your employment package of benefits. Ask. Are you sure you even need life insurance? Do you have kids? are you married?

Yes. Call Vanguard and they will tell you about the paperwork you will need to fill out. Expect to fill out paperwork with Mass mutual as well. If you get stumped we can help you . After the transfer (it can be a slow process sometimes so don't be discouraged)goes through we can help you pick an appropriate choice.

 

I don't want you to be discouraged. You can do this.

Thank you so much for your support! It is a little discouraging because I do feel lost and overwhelmed, but it's so nice to know I have found people on here to lean on and come to for help! I don't have kids and am not married so I think dropping the insurance sounds good. I will be calling Vanguard tomorrow. I'm meeting with HR Thursday about my health insurance, so I can bring up the 457 plan at that meeting. Does it need to be added to the district if the state plan is available for all? I'm a little confused as to how that works.

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Paige

Your system will have to add the state program to your choices. This will have to be done through minimal paperwork which your school system can do fairly easily. They can contact the state plan reps for guidance. I would convince your district that the  state 457b its a much better low cost plan than what is currently offered and would offer an alternative to what is currently offered-annuities and  higher expense ratio products and other fees which your system actually warns you about on their webpage!!

Of course  remind the powers that be not to consult with mass mutual on this because obviously it would take business away from them so they won't be supportive and may attempt to convince the system from adding it. You need to realize this. The 403b can be a dirty little business and you need to realize this too, that it's not about helping you, its about sales, profits,  and commissions. They get the gold mine and the investors get the shaft.  Getting your system to the 457b would be a good move because the 457b state plan will have more oversight and ethics AND MUCH LOWER FEES with no salivating salespeople in the middle of it all.

Now your system may use the argument that the 457b might not offer Advisor assistance. Remind them that the plans have do it yourself plans that are managed internally making it easy not to use an advisor. Just push that you and others deserve alternatives to what is being currently offered.

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Paige

I want to commend you on your persistence and attitude on this issue. You truly are a special person. Years ago when I pushed teachers , many in your age group, to ask for changes in our 403b plans they didn't show much interest. Some teachers also reacted as if I was the Anti-Christ for going against insurance companies. Your stand up attitude will help not only yourself but others as well. Teachers deserve better choices.

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