403b

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.

403b

Postby plau » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:53 pm

I am almost 30 years old and am employed at a public university. I am just beginning to educate myself on investing. I currently contribute to my 403b plan which is through Fidelity. I was just wondering what opinions there are about Fidelity and if it would be wise to look into other companies.
plau
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:48 pm

Postby ObliviousInvestor » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:56 pm

Welcome to the forum. :)

Fidelity can be a great place to build a low-cost, diversified portfolio.

If you share the funds available in your plan, you'd probably get some helpful input. If you want the best input, see this thread for what information to provide.
Mike Piper, author/blogger
User avatar
ObliviousInvestor
 
Posts: 2284
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am

Postby livesoft » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:01 pm

With a 403(b), one has to use the funds that your employer makes available. One cannot just go out and invest in anything. So if Fidelity is what your employer offers in its 403(b), then it really doesn't matter what opinions folks have about Fidelity because that's what you have to use.

Now if one said something like, "I can choose Fidelity or Vanguard or TIAA-CREF or American funds, then which one should I choose?", then that's a different more narrowed question.
This signature message sponsored by LadyGeek.
livesoft
 
Posts: 34935
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

403b

Postby plau » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:46 pm

I do have other companies available such as TIAA CREF and T. Rowe Price. I just want to make sure I've got my money in the right place. I'm still young and obviously want to get the most from my investment.
plau
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:48 pm

Postby friar1610 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:55 pm

You need to be careful with 403B's. Generally speaking, TIAA-CREF is a reliable, low-cost provider. But some 403B providers are actually putting you into high-cost, high-exit fee annuities. These fees can dramatically reduce yor returns over the years. Even if what is being pitched is funds from Fidelity (a generally low-cost, reputable provider of mutual funds) it is possible that you are buying into an annuity which "wraps" Fidelity funds inside of a high cost annuity.

Go to 403Bwise.com and educate yourself before you make any irrevocable decisions. And also be aware that there are a few "good" annuities (like TIAA-CREF's) and many "bad" annuities.

Don't completely take my word for this - be skeptical of all advice you get (including mine.) But please make sure you go into your decision with your eyes opened via self- education.

My frame of reference is studying in great detail the 403B options offered to my daughter at a hospital she worked at a few years ago. They were basically more favorable to the hospital and the provider than they were to her but you had to dig to figure that out.

Good luck.
Friar1610
User avatar
friar1610
 
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:52 pm

Postby cheese_breath » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:13 pm

I had a 403B through TIAA-CREF when I worked at a University and had no problems. After I retired I rolled the 403B over to a TIAA-CREF IRA and still have that IRA.... My experience with Fidelity was not as good. They gave me all kinds of excuses and delays when I wanted to roll my GM 401K over to Vanguard. I guess they just didn't want to part with the money, but they lost a potential customer for good.

(I can't say if TIAA-CREF would have given me problems or not if I had tried rolling the 403B over to Vanguard.)
User avatar
cheese_breath
 
Posts: 3457
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: 403b

Postby retiredjg » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:28 pm

plau wrote:I am almost 30 years old and am employed at a public university. I am just beginning to educate myself on investing. I currently contribute to my 403b plan which is through Fidelity. I was just wondering what opinions there are about Fidelity and if it would be wise to look into other companies.

Welcome to the forum! The way to pick your funds (and the custodian) is by the costs. You need to look for low expense ratios combined with low or no other management costs.

See the link below for how to get help specific to your situation.
retiredjg
 
Posts: 18571
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Postby grabiner » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:36 pm

livesoft wrote:With a 403(b), one has to use the funds that your employer makes available. One cannot just go out and invest in anything. So if Fidelity is what your employer offers in its 403(b), then it really doesn't matter what opinions folks have about Fidelity because that's what you have to use.


However, it may matter in your decision whether to invest in the 403(b) or elsewhere. You'll surely want to invest enough to get any match from your employer (which is an instant 100% or 50% return on your money), but beyond that, the quality of your 403(b) is an important consideration in the decision whether to invest more in the 403(b) or in something else such as a Roth IRA (which can be invested with any provider).

Fidelity is usually a good provider, with a selection of low-cost funds, but the specific options in your 403(b), or any extra fees imposed by the provider, can make a Fidelity 403(b) a bad investment.
David Grabiner
User avatar
grabiner
Advisory Board
 
Posts: 13550
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:58 pm
Location: Columbia, MD

Postby anonenigma » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:55 pm

I'm very pleased with TIAA-CREF. Their Traditional Annuity is more like a savings account and currently pays 3%.
anonenigma
 
Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:58 pm

Postby sschullo » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:11 pm

Tiaa-Cref!
Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except the best. -Henry van Dyke, poet (1852-1933)
sschullo
 
Posts: 1611
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:25 am
Location: Rancho Mirage, CA

Re: 403b

Postby celia » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:31 am

retiredjg wrote:The way to pick your funds (and the custodian) is by the costs. You need to look for low expense ratios combined with low or no other management costs.

There is a lot more to picking a fund (and custodian) than costs. I think costs could be the final deciding factor between two similar funds. But that is not the primary reason to pick a fund.

Start by figuring out your risk tolerance and desired asset allocation. Keep it simple until you have $50,000 or so in assets, meaning about 3 funds.

Then find the funds that match your goals.

Lastly, use costs to distinguish between similar funds.

To keep things really simple, use a target retirement fund by looking to see which one has the stock/bond ratio that is closest to your desired allocation. (This is better than selecting a target retirement fund with a year which is close to when you turn 60 or 65.)
User avatar
celia
 
Posts: 2094
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal


Return to Investing - Help with Personal Investments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bgaspard, Bing [Bot], Lafder, MatsuGrabik, memcpy, mhalley, noco123, reisner, westhermes and 70 guests