Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
Post Reply
EdLaFave
Posts: 333
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:31 am

Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by EdLaFave » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:58 pm

To participate in a 403b/457b my wife seems to have the option of opening an account with:
  • American Century Services
    AXA Advisors
    Great American
    Reliastar (VOYA)
    LSW
    Plan Member Services
    Security Benefit Group
    TIAA-CREF
    VALIC
I'm going through these company's websites and they're a real pain to deal with. All of our current investments are in Vanguard Total Market, Total International, and Total Bond. Does anybody have any suggestions for which of these companies offer investments that best adhere to the boglehead/3-fund portfolio principles?

student
Posts: 2534
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by student » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:13 pm

I am familiar with TIAA-CREF and they have a good reputation.

User avatar
Svensk Anga
Posts: 437
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:16 pm

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by Svensk Anga » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:31 pm

My wife used American Century (403b) and AXA (457b) for a few years.

I cannot recommend AXA. They were high-fee and opaque about it. It was our least-bad choice to get a 457b. The saving grace was that the account was started only a few years before retirement so a roll-over to a better option was in sight.

American Century was better. Still the typical active managed fund shop. No hidden fees. We used an aggressive multi-class fund, "One Choice Portfolio", AOGIX with about 1% ER. I just plotted it against a Vanguard index competitor: Life Strategy Growth Fund, VASGX, and AOGIX outperformed over 10 years. VG was better over shorter, more recent spans, but not dramatically. So American Century has been just skilled enough to cover their higher expenses. I do not recall any issues with their web site. Using one fund, there was nothing to do but change the contribution percentage with the payroll department every now and then. It rolled to a Vanguard IRA without incident a year ago.

johnz1001
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:41 am

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by johnz1001 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:43 pm

student wrote:I am familiar with TIAA-CREF and they have a good reputation.
+1 - I should have stayed with TIAA-CREF when I started out.

corysold
Posts: 647
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:58 pm

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by corysold » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:53 pm

viewtopic.php?t=180418

You might read through this thread on the DirectInvest option Security Benefit offers. Seems to be a great choice and the one my wife uses.

In fact, she uses essentially the same portfolio you mention, although she has to use Intermediate Bond instead of Total Bond, but I'm guessing the results are similar enough.

Miriam2
Posts: 2290
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:51 am

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by Miriam2 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:21 pm

Here are several other links for teachers:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=161747- 403b plans by sschullo
http://www.403bwise.com
teachandretirerich.com/podcasts

Interesting, but it appears we do not have a Wiki on teachers and school employee financial planning??

Naismith
Posts: 373
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:58 pm

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by Naismith » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:23 pm

I would avoid VALIC like the plague. I have been forced to use VALIC for a mandatory 401a, and thought it would be easier to do the 457 there as well.

But it is a nightmare. In three years, they have never once gotten things right on the first try.

Their website is also not as transparent as TIAA about what part was your contribution and what your employers, etc.

Tom1320
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:23 am
Location: lost in the Carolina foothills

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by Tom1320 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:52 pm

Another American Century user here. Of my DW's Florida 403b plan offerings they were the best. We used one of their target retirement funds with a 0.84% ER. Website and phone assistance has been satisfactory. They also offered a closet S&P 500 index fund with a 0.54% ER.

Had to use them after the plan dropped Vanguard as an option :annoyed
"And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction! - Our 16th President

radiowave
Posts: 1789
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by radiowave » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:59 pm

EdLaFave wrote:To participate in a 403b/457b my wife seems to have the option of opening an account with:

. . .

I'm going through these company's websites and they're a real pain to deal with. All of our current investments are in Vanguard Total Market, Total International, and Total Bond. Does anybody have any suggestions for which of these companies offer investments that best adhere to the boglehead/3-fund portfolio principles?
It will depend on your plan. Even TIAA-CREF can vary on the actual funds offered so you'll have to dig a bit deeper what you will have available.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

EdLaFave
Posts: 333
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:31 am

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by EdLaFave » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:12 pm

Thanks everybody for the feedback. We're leaning toward using Security Benefit Group for the 403b and Plan Member Services for the 457b.

I thought I'd post the data I found during this search in case somebody finds an error or oversight...and maybe it'll be helpful for people who find this thread later.

...johnz1001, why'd you wish you'd stayed with TIAA? Where did you go instead?

===Security Benefit Group===
https://www.veritas-solutions.net/Secur ... =270394302

-Their "NEA DirectInvest" option is only for 403b and the rest of their programs for the 457b seem to be tied to advisers, which sounded expensive but I didn't look closely at it.
-3 Fund is available via Vanguard Total Market, Vanguard Total International, and Vanguard Intermediate Bond.
-The only fee seems to be $35/year if your balance is below 50k, otherwise no fee.

===Plan Member Services===
https://pdfs.planmember.com/PDFs/PMPART ... tSheet.pdf
http://planmember.com/programinfo/index ... %20Program

-Their "PlanMember Direct" option is for 403b and 457b.
-3 Fund is available via Vanguard Total Market, Vanguard Total International, and Vanguard Total Bond.
-Fee of 0.35% of assets per year (charged quarterly).
-$95 fee to close or transfer the account.

===TIAA Cref===
-Approximation of the 3 Fund is available via Vanguard 500, Vanguard Extended Market, Vanguard Developed Markets, and Vanguard Total Bond.
-The only fee seems to be 0.58% of assets per year.

===American Century===
-Approximation of the 2 Fund is available via American Century Equity Growth Fund (BEQGX 0.67% ER) and American Century Diversified Bond (ADFIX, 0.6% ER).
-I didn't notice any fees, but not 100% sure

===AXA Advisers===
-They offer funds from a 1290 Family, which had high loads and expense ratios.
-They offered funds from other families but exactly which funds weren't clear.
-When I called and explained this was for a school employee, they made it seem like I could choose between expensive annuities or the 1290 fund family.

===Reliastar (VOYA)===
-Couldn't find any information on their web site.
-When I called they said they required the school's plan number before they could give any information. Since I didn't have the plan number I just moved on.

===Great American===
-Their website only seemed to talk about annuities.
-When I called whatever menu system I got into only talked about annuities.
-I just moved on.

===Valic===
-I couldn't find any investment data on their site.
-When I called they said I had to be paired with a financial adviser.
-I just moved on.

===LSW===
-Their web site wouldn't load.
-When I called, I still hadn't spoken to a real person for 1.5 minutes so I moved on.

krow36
Posts: 1856
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:05 pm
Location: WA

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by krow36 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:57 pm

EdLaFave wrote:We're leaning toward using Security Benefit Group for the 403b and Plan Member Services for the 457b.
Based on what TIAA offers in CA and using 403bcompare, there is a fee of 0.45% added to their funds ERs. I see a S&P 500 Index fund and an International Equity Index fund with ERs of 0.31%. The lowest cost bond fund I saw was 0.56%.

The Security Benefit NEA Direct Invest 403b is being used by a number of BH posters with no problems reported. The PlanMember Direct 403b is also reported to be as advertised. I don’t know of anyone that is using their 457.

EdLaFave
Posts: 333
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:31 am

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by EdLaFave » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:08 pm

krow36 wrote:The Security Benefit NEA Direct Invest 403b is being used by a number of BH posters with no problems reported. The PlanMember Direct 403b is also reported to be as advertised. I don’t know of anyone that is using their 457.
Thanks! That adds to my confidence.

User avatar
uncle otto
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:39 am

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by uncle otto » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:31 pm

I've been trying to navigate the security benefit site and I keep getting passed around from one person to another when I call. Does anyone have a direct contact page or phone number I can call to get info on their 403b options? I also read they had 2 separate 403b plans. ONE managed and one self directed. I've also read on other sites that their fees were not so transparent after all, but couldn't find info on what that actually means.

EdLaFave
Posts: 333
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:31 am

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by EdLaFave » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:50 pm

uncle otto wrote:I've been trying to navigate the security benefit site and I keep getting passed around from one person to another when I call. Does anyone have a direct contact page or phone number I can call to get info on their 403b options? I also read they had 2 separate 403b plans. ONE managed and one self directed. I've also read on other sites that their fees were not so transparent after all, but couldn't find info on what that actually means.
As I said earlier, the NEA DirectInvest seems to be the logical choice:

800-888-2461
https://www.veritas-solutions.net/Secur ... =270394302

livesoft
Posts: 62716
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by livesoft » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:03 pm

Don't forget to also consider an IRA instead. If one isn't going to put more than the IRA limit into a 403(b) that has no match and family income is moderate, then what's the point? Why not just put the money in an IRA in the first place?
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

krow36
Posts: 1856
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:05 pm
Location: WA

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by krow36 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:04 am

uncle otto wrote:I've been trying to navigate the security benefit site and I keep getting passed around from one person to another when I call. Does anyone have a direct contact page or phone number I can call to get info on their 403b options? I also read they had 2 separate 403b plans. ONE managed and one self directed. I've also read on other sites that their fees were not so transparent after all, but couldn't find info on what that actually means.
uncle otto, the Security Benefit NEA Direct Invest 403b is internet based, not rep based. It's assumed that very little help will be needed. Don’t expect any help from a local rep, and telephone support from the main SB office will be minimal. SB has a number of very expensive annuity based 403b plans, and their mutual fund based 403b plans are also very expensive. Don’t touch them with a 10 ft pole! The only SB 403b plan you should consider is the NEA Direct Invest plan. https://www.securitybenefit.com/individ ... nvest.aspx
On this webpage, click on “Enroll Now…”. Study the Enrollment page and the links provided. Follow the Steps. Ask for help here if you need it. If there questions on the application form, ask them either here or on your thread. I wouldn’t use any of the offered funds except the Vanguard funds.

johnz1001
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:41 am

Re: Best option for a Florida public school employee's 403b/457b?

Post by johnz1001 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:59 am

EdLaFave wrote:Thanks everybody for the feedback. We're leaning toward using Security Benefit Group for the 403b and Plan Member Services for the 457b.

...johnz1001, why'd you wish you'd stayed with TIAA? Where did you go instead?
I went to Fidelity. I ended up chasing funds at the time. This was the mid-90s. In truth, it worked out okay for me, but TIAA-CREF always has had a good reputation. I don't think that you can go too far wrong with them.

Post Reply