Author Topic: How do I evaluate company's many retirement options?  (Read 1233 times)

LizzyBee

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How do I evaluate company's many retirement options?
« on: September 17, 2016, 09:58:59 PM »
I just started investing in the last 5 years, but it is all very confusing to me. I am wondering how I evaluate my company's retirement options.

I work in education in Colorado so I automatically contribute to my pension (Colorado PERA). I am also eligible for a 401K, 403b and 457b. The only 401k plan I am eligible for is the Colorado PERA 401k plan which is somehow associated with my pension (Colorado PERA), but is a separate account with separate contributions. The Colorado PERA 401K plan has the lowest fees of all of my choices by far (0.35%), but I am concerned with putting too much of my money into Colorado PERA because they are constantly in the news for not being able to meet it's future obligations. http://www.denverpost.com/2016/06/21/colorado-pera-investment-returns-at-8-year-low-only-60-4-of-future-obligations-funded/

Is it smart to invest in the Colorado PERA 401K if Colorado PERA isn't financially healthy? Would there ever be a scenario that Colorado PERA cannot meet it's financial obligations for its pension and starts pulling money from the 401K investments? 

There are about 10 companies I could choose to invest with for a 403b and 457b. The lowest fees in any of those companies are .6, but most are closer to 1.0 and above. In general, what do I look at beyond the fees to evaluate where to invest my money? Should I invest in straight index funds or should I balance it out and do some target retirement date funds? Should  the company itself be a consideration? For example, I feel like Primerica and AXA have shady reputations and wouldn't want anything to do with them.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and want to make sure I made the best choices.



humblefi

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Re: How do I evaluate company's many retirement options?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2016, 10:29:11 PM »
Perhaps listening to another's educator's experience may help: http://www.madfientist.com/millionaire-educator-interview/

In addition, a one-time consult with a for-fee financial planner to review your financial plan may be useful.

Hope that helps.

MDM

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Re: How do I evaluate company's many retirement options?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2016, 11:05:27 PM »
... a one-time consult with a for-fee financial planner to review your financial plan may be useful.

Especially if said planner is familiar with the PERA options.  It seems - from a quick read - of https://www.copera.org/sites/default/files/documents/14-25.pdf that the 401k funding is separate from the pension funding.  If so, the 401k is likely to be better for you than the 403b.

Bicycle_B

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Re: How do I evaluate company's many retirement options?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2016, 11:19:06 PM »
The PERA should be - shoouuld be - separate and reliable.  Because the 401k is custodial, meaning it just holds assets for you, the exact assets you picked out and paid for.  It's a bucket that holds your very own flowers. They are safeguards in place to ensure they can pay these back. Nothing is foolproof, but the odds are better you'll get something.  The drawback is that your 401k investments can go down as well as up; there's no guarantee how much you will get.

I am supposing here that your other account is PERA's Defined Benefit plan.  Defined Benefit means if you work a certain amount of years at such-and-such salary, the plan defines a specific benefit such as $x thousand/year you will get in return.  It's guaranteed in theory, based on the work you put in, but relies in practice on the state collecting enough taxes to pay you (and managing its investments along the way).  So a state could fail to pay, as PERA might.

Not an expert on PERA, just sharing definitions in case it sheds light.