Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

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ImUrHuckleberry
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:44 am

Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:08 pm

Hi All --

I'm looking into my wife's 403(b) options and they are pretty bad. However, one option is Security Benefit NEA Direct Invest which has a bunch of Vanguard index funds at Admiral ER and a $35 annual fee for accounts under $50k. (She will be starting at 0 in this account)

I did a forum search and older data (pre 2015) suggests this is a bad company. However, there were several folks that, although skeptical, were giving the then new SB NEA Direct Invest a shot starting in 2015/2016 and planned to keep an eye on things to see if any other expenses cropped up. Initial feedback was to expect no help getting questions answered, but the web app seemed to be easy and work well. No feedback on if anyone saw unexpected fees crop up.

I'm hoping some folks here might be able to give me some more constructive and up-to-date feedback now that this plan with low cost Vanguard options has been running for a few years.

The other options in her plan seem bad or are impossible to get info about. They apparently want you to sign up before sharing any info about fees and fund offerings. No thank you to that!

BashDash
Posts: 579
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:31 pm

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by BashDash » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:05 pm

I was a little unsure about Security Benefit Direct Invest as well but I transferred my high fee 403b there and could not be happier. My account is over 50k so I am essentially just paying expense ratios.

Check out 403bwise.com

And Ed LaFave's website Educators Fighting for Awareness and there is some info on security benefit direct.

Powerfultools
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 10:31 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by Powerfultools » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:44 pm

ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:08 pm
Hi All --

I'm looking into my wife's 403(b) options and they are pretty bad. However, one option is Security Benefit NEA Direct Invest which has a bunch of Vanguard index funds at Admiral ER and a $35 annual fee for accounts under $50k. (She will be starting at 0 in this account)

forum search and older data (pre 2015) suggests this is a bad company. However, there were several folks that, although skeptical, were giving the then new SB NEA Direct Invest a shot starting in 2015/2016 and planned to keep an eye on things to see if any other expenses cropped up. Initial feedback was to expect no help getting questions answered, but the web app seemed to be easy and work well. No feedback on if anyone saw unexpected fees crop up.

I'm hoping some folks here might be able to give me some more constructive and up-to-date feedback now that this plan with low cost Vanguard options has been running for a few years.

The other options in her plan seem bad or are impossible to get info about. They apparently want you to sign up before sharing any info about fees and fund offerings. No thank you to that!
Hi ImUrHuckleberry, I am six months now with SB NEA. No problems yet, started at $0. It was my only available option for Roth 403b. They break up the $35 into four charges of $8.75 quarterly. I am using Vanguard Total Stock Mkt Index .005% ER. I hope that helps. Thanks.

ImUrHuckleberry
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:03 am

Thank you both for the information. Looks like we're going to try it since her other options are so bad.

We will set up a simple 3 fund portfolio with Vanguard funds and set it to auto re-balance 2x per year.

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

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by krow36 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:35 pm

There’s been lots of discussion of the Security Benefit NEA Direct Invest on both this forum and on the 403bwise.com forum. There has been very little negative comment by those actually using the plan. On the chance that you haven’t checked out the 403bwise threads, here are the most recent:
http://board.403bwise.com/topic/6718-ti ... y-benefit/
http://board.403bwise.com/topic/6400-se ... ts-partic/
http://board.403bwise.com/topic/6597-se ... p-an-acco/
http://board.403bwise.com/topic/6120-se ... ral-funds/

Eagle618
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:02 pm

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by Eagle618 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:53 pm

I went through this process of getting started with Security Benefit NEA over the last year or so on our 403B. I will say that once we got it up and running it has worked well. It is most certainly the lowest cost of the options we had available in 403B.

Their website is light on details and they are a challenge to communicate with. However, after many month, the first statement arrived in the mail to examine, and it is functioning great.

No extra fees. Expenses as advertised. Could not be happier on that front. I'd highly recommend going through the process.

I posed a question on Bogleheads, and got the recommendation to review Security Benefit NEA from here. Glad we did.

Now... the next challenge is moving some previous 403B in crummy funds over to NEA. I'm in the middle of that now...should be fun.

ImUrHuckleberry
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:45 pm

Thanks for the links and feedback.

So we did go ahead and submit the online application today, and we'll submit the payroll withholding paperwork with the SAU this week aiming to start with the first payroll check in 2018.

Two things that are not clear to me yet, in case anyone knows:

1) Do they email or snail mail instructions for setting up the online account? Couldn't find anything on the website for how to set up an account but I've read that they do have a pretty good web application.

2) Couldn't find anywhere in the application for opting into electronic statements only. I've read there is an extra fee if you don't opt out of paper statements. Maybe this comes after you have access to the online account?

Powerfultools
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 10:31 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by Powerfultools » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:12 am

ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:45 pm
Thanks for the links and feedback.

So we did go ahead and submit the online application today, and we'll submit the payroll withholding paperwork with the SAU this week aiming to start with the first payroll check in 2018.

Two things that are not clear to me yet, in case anyone knows:

1) Do they email or snail mail instructions for setting up the online account? Couldn't find anything on the website for how to set up an account but I've read that they do have a pretty good web application.

2) Couldn't find anywhere in the application for opting into electronic statements only. I've read there is an extra fee if you don't opt out of paper statements. Maybe this comes after you have access to the online account?
1. Originally, I completed the online application, but I was unsure it was processed correctly (the UI is horrendous IMO). So I contacted them directly the next day via email and sent scan of completed application. All communication from then was thru email. They said it would take 4-6 weeks to setup account. I pressed them and contacted them frequently for quicker set up and they got it done in less than two weeks. :happy

2. If I remember correctly, one opts in for electronic statements automatically with the initial application. Once your account is set up you can change your preference. Good luck!

ImUrHuckleberry
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:16 pm

I'm wondering if anybody here can help with a direct email or phone number for a Security Benefit Direct Invest dept. or a representative?

We submitted the application online on December 16th and emailed a copy of it to the email listed on the website on December 19th and haven't heard back at all. We called yesterday and nobody seems to have a clue about what's going on or who we should talk to when it comes to Direct Invest accounts.

The first payroll is going to run on Jan 4 so we're hoping to have the account set up before then.

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

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by krow36 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:27 pm

Try sending a Private Message to EdlaFave or BashDash. They have been using Direct Invest.
viewtopic.php?t=223663

Powerfultools
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 10:31 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by Powerfultools » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:47 am

directinvest@securitybenefit.com is the email I used in June to contact them. I hope it helps.

mlobur
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:09 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by mlobur » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:30 pm

Last spring I was able to get Security Benefits added to the approved vendor list in my school district. My wife, who is also a teacher, recently had them added to her district's vendor list as well.

I signed myself and my wife up using the mail-in application here, Step 4 option 2
http://www.nearetirementprogram.com/enrollment

After about 4 weeks, I called the phone number on the top of that application for both my wife and I.
1-800-747-3942

They told me my account was made, they provided me with a temporary username and password and the webpage to logon to my account
I changed my password and was ready to go for both my wife and I.

Overall, I couldn't be happier as if I don't believe it. I see my coworkers at school using Valic or Equitable and no matter how many times I tell them they are getting ripped off , they don't change vendors, with a few exceptions.

I use Total Stock Market and Total International Stock market as 2 of the 4 funds in my AA. The others are in my Roth.
My wife uses a 3 fund portfolio in her 403b of Total Stock Market, Total Int Stock Market and Int Bond as well as Target 2030 in her roths.

I hope this helps, if only a little.

Matt

ImUrHuckleberry
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:11 pm

Thank you all.

We'll try the phone number and the email address provided in the last few posts. I think both of those are different than the contact info my wife has been having no luck with.

ImUrHuckleberry
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:03 pm

Wow this company is something else.

We called the number provided above, ended up transferred to 3 different people, eventually found out they do in fact have the application, but it was held up because we sent it to the wrong place (impossible since we submitted through the online process), and were then told it will be another 3-5 BD until it gets processed because they have to scan it. Apparently, "had we faxed it like everyone else does it would have been processed by now".

Then the rep told us the correct number we should have called, which turned out to be the number from above that we called in the first place before being transferred 3 times!

They don't exactly inspire confidence in their company.

ImUrHuckleberry
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:13 am

The account is now set up and the first deposit registered yesterday. Thanks all for your help.

Powerfultools
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 10:31 am

Re: Feedback on Security Benefit 403(b)

Post by Powerfultools » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:53 am

ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:13 am
The account is now set up and the first deposit registered yesterday. Thanks all for your help.
Great news!

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