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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.

Thanks!

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:

https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/security-benefits-nea-directinvest/

https://educatorsfightingforfairness.wordpress.com/aspire/

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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Thanks everyone. The links, instructions, etc were all very helpful and I'm finally getting around to this today.  We filled out the SB DirectInvest form online and I am now preparing the Salary Reduction agreement.  Does the school district or SecurityBenefit need to provide the "Plan Number", or should either of the two have it?

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I think you need to confirm with SB that your application has been accepted. This usually seems to take several weeks? The district or the TSA likely has their own Salary Reduction agreement, so you should ask them about that, and they can give you the SB plan number. 

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Hi D Junkins

Keep us updated about your progress. Very few people have successfully enrolled with SB DirectInvest and the more people who report their enrollment progress here help others.  

Steve

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1 hour ago, sschullo said:

Hi D Junkins

Keep us updated about your progress. Very few people have successfully enrolled with SB DirectInvest and the more people who report their enrollment progress here help others.  

Steve

I don't believe Steve's opinion that "Very few people have successfully enrolled with SB DirectInvest" is accurate. Although there have been complaints about the slowness of the process, and about the poor phone help, it's rare to read of a failure to enroll on this forum or on the boglehead.org forum. Once enrolled, posters are very satisfied with the very low-cost plan.

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I enrolled a few years ago and had no problems at all.  Couple calls and a little paperwork and it went through no prob.  Website is great too. I have it rebalancing my allocation for me automatically on my birthday.

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krow36 and Bashdash, 

Yes krow36, I know that once enrolled, people are happy with the product. But all I heard is that they had problems enrolling, not about the product. This is the first time I heard that enrolling is no problem at all as Bashdash said. Really! it is a snap now with a "great website" and rebalancing?  That's great news!

Still, I am curious about the question that we will never find out. How many K12 colleagues are currently enrolled in the SB DirectInvest? Since it is readily available. So my opinion, and it's just an opinion, about successful enrollment still stands. 

D. Junkins, lets us know how you are doing. 

 

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I would like to see the numbers of how many people are actually enrolled in NEA Direct Invest and how many even know it even exists and how many even care. Sales people are not going to recommend it so it's not going to change the  403b world and that's just the WAY Security Benefit and the NEA wants it.  You are not going to hear these companies and salespeople saying " Hey I have a program here that has rock bottom fees and I want to explain it to you and help you sign up for it even if I don't make any commissions on it"

That's why I think Aspire offers a better way out of annuities. It's visible on provider lists and offers an escape hatch that a teacher can find on their own instead of having to come to this obscure site to find out. The catch there is understanding that  the self direct  option which isn't advertised is the way to go.

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Steve, I agree with you I bet I may be only enrollee in my huge district I am in.  Same with the amazing state run 457 plan.  Without krow36 I wouldn't have ever known.  Yes, an anonymous helper saved my retirement! 

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None of the low-cost 403b vendors such as Vanguard, Fidelity, Aspire or Security Benefit’s NEA Direct Invest have a local rep explaining the importance of low-cost investing. We understand that the reason they are low-cost is because they have no local rep. And we don’t know the enrollment numbers of any of these vendors except that the numbers are low.

We all agree that SB’s main business plan is to take advantage of uninformed K-12 employees by selling outrageously expensive 403b annuity contracts. We all agree that NEA prostitutes itself by selling its name to these products. Sure, SB’s NEA Direct Invest doesn’t remove the sins of SB’s and NEA’s main relationship. And that main relationship is what makes NEA Direct Invest possible.

Steve is very proud of the very low expense ratio of his portfolio. If his only choice of vendors was SB’s NEA Direct Invest and Aspire, would he choose Aspire and add 0.15% to his overall ER? Probably, but others (BashDash and Ed LaFave) choose Direct Invest. I think either choice is valid, but I don’t think we all have to agree to that.

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