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D Junkins

CT Vendor list for wife

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Hi everyone, my wife has the following vendor list having recently moved to a new school district here in CT.  She does not currently have a 403b, we've been funding mine at Tiaa-Cref and Roths at Vanguard.

Having donor a little research here and elsewhere and it seems like Aspire may be my best option for a self-directed account?

I don't think the CT state employee Prudential provider is available to her.


Dan Junkins

TSA Approved Vendor List.pdf

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D Junkins your pdf does not open for me. Please copy and paste it.

Sounds like you are already on the right track with Aspire

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You have Aspire. You can direct invest without an advisor into Vanguard. Its a decent choice. Read some other recent posts for more info how to self direct.

You also have Security Benefit. You can sign up for NEA Direct Invest. Get the paperwork online. See the links below. its an even better choice  in some ways if you want a basic simple portfolio but stay away from other products SB might offer. Stay away from advisors. They don't want you to know it exists.

this info will help you immensely:



So things look good for your 403b

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You have 2 low-cost options on you vendor list. The lowest cost is NEA Direct Invest from Security Benefit. The NEA, the national union, has "rented" their name to Security Benefit (SB) for several million bucks a year. SB put NEA on a number of very expensive annuity based 403b plans. Several years ago, NEA arranged for SB to offer a low-cost alternative. It offers a small number of low-cost Vanguard index funds and charges only $35 per year for balances under 50k. It’s based on the internet and does not use a local rep. Repeated phone calls have sometimes been reported as necessary. It’s bare-bones but adequate for those who want very low-cost and can do without handholding. 
Just this year the NEA logo is no longer on new SB accounts, while the old, expensive NEA-labelled accounts have been grandfathered (and continue to provide a kickback to NEA). Currently, the only new SB  403b account with the NEA logo on the title is the very low-cost NEA Direct Invest.
The only NEA Direct Invest funds needed are:
Vanguard Total Stock Mkt Admiral, expense ratio (ER) = 0.04%
Vanguard Total International Stock Mkt Admiral,  ER = 0.11% 
Vanguard Intermediate-term Bond Index Admiral,  ER = 0.07% (a good substitute for Total Bond Mkt Index Admiral fund)
You should not use their TR Price target retirement funds as they are way too expensive.
This webpage gives the basics of NEA Direct Invest    
On this webpage, click on “Enroll Now” to access the steps to get started.
The other vendor worth using is Aspire. All or most Vanguard funds are available, with a 0.14% added to the expense ratios. The admin fee is $40 per year. The Vanguard target retirement funds are low-cost and an excellent one-fund-does-it-all choice.
Either NEA Direct Invest or Aspire would be an excellent choice as a 403b provider. Aspire can also be used as a 457 plan provider if it is on the school district’s 457 provider list.

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Security Benefit's NEA DirectInvest is an elite 403b plan. I enrolled my ex-wife in that very plan.

  • I documented the details of the plan here.
  • I documented the exact steps to enroll in the plan through OCPS (FL) here.
  • You may benefit from reading the Investing 101 page I wrote here.

Sadly this plan isn't offered as a 457b, so if you're able to max out the 403b then your next best option for the 457b is Aspire, which I documented here.

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