Author Topic: 403b meeting questions  (Read 613 times)

RollingGreen

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403b meeting questions
« on: February 21, 2019, 06:25:16 AM »
My employer is a human services agency so we have a 403b, which I've been contributing to since I started working there two and a half years ago.

A representative from the company that offers the plan will be available next month for questions about it. By the way, I have just been blindly contributing other than knowing the basics of the 403b. My employer matches 2%, but I really don't know how my contributions are distributed within the plan.  If I sign up for an info session, what are the best questions to ask to make the most of this time with the representative?

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terran

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Re: 403b meeting questions
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019, 07:10:06 AM »
I guess that depends on what information you can get without talking to them. Can you find out what you're currently invested in? What the available investments are and what the expense ratio of those investments is? If there are any plan level fees (either percentage or flat fee)? Can you change investments without meeting with them?

If there one of the iffy providers (which is pretty common for a 403(b)) they're likely to be cagey about answering your fee questions, so if you can just get that information without talking to them that would probably be easier.

If you can come back here with the answers to those questions people here can probably be more helpful than the representative will be, so you could skip that meeting.

RollingGreen

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Re: 403b meeting questions
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 08:23:05 AM »
Good points, terran. Thank you. I'll look into it and respond. Again, I'm very new to this so please excuse the ignorance. I'm trying to get a handle on how this 403b works.

terran

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Re: 403b meeting questions
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 09:48:02 AM »
No worries, report back with what you find out. I suspect you'll get better answers here, so you just need to track down the relevant information for your plan.

RollingGreen

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Re: 403b meeting questions
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2019, 03:14:52 PM »
Ok. I've attached screenshots that I hope can answer some of the questions, and below should help with the rest.

Average annual total returns    1 year: -5.32%    5 years: 6.64%    10 years: 9.08%    

Total annual operating expense 0.96% or $9.60 per $1000

I believe I can change investments online without meeting.

Again, this is learning a foreign language to me so please let me know if there's other info that you need. I realize I'm not contributing a lot now, but that's to get out of debt, which will happen this year (finally.) I know that debt and emergency funds should be the focus before retirement/investing, but I just want to plan ahead and be more familiar with the terms when the time comes.

This is more of a what-would-you-do situation, so I'd like to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

terran

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Re: 403b meeting questions
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2019, 09:59:04 PM »
That seems like an ok option, but the expense ratio is quite high. Have you been able to find what other investment options you have, including expense ratios? In particular, look for anything with the word "index" or possible abbreviations like "idx" in the title.

TomTX

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Re: 403b meeting questions
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2019, 05:25:50 AM »
As a benchmark, my 401k/457 (government) has operating expenses* of 0.16% ($1.60 per thousand dollars per year) to run the plans - and my fund fees total 0.04%

*Those nice people who come to visit you and explain the plan need to get paid somehow! Etc.

radram

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Re: 403b meeting questions
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2019, 06:51:37 AM »
I agree the fees look high, but until you can post the list of available options, we won't know if you can do better. Some companies just have crap choices, but in most cases paying the fees still beats not investing in the plan. From what you have already shared, you get a 2% match with a 1% fee. It would be helpful to know more details of that. Is it a 100% match for the first 2% of income? If so it should be worth it to invest, but only up to the company match. Then take your investment dollars elsewhere.

Keep posting and sharing.