Author Topic: Starting a new job -need advice selecting new 403b provider  (Read 2944 times)


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Starting a new job -need advice selecting new 403b provider
« on: March 29, 2015, 05:35:40 AM »
I'm starting a new position in the fall and unfortunately it appears I will not be able to continue with vanguard. Does anyone have any experience with the providers listed  below?

AIG/VALIC (Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co.), Nashua, NH. (603) 594-8340
American United Life Insurance Company
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Minneapolis, MN (800) 862-7919
Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation, Lincoln, NE (800) 745-1112
ASPire Financial Services, Tampa, FL (866) 634-5873
AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, Wellesley, MA (781) 237-8264
Commonwealth Annuity and Life Ins. Co., Topeka, KS (800) 457-9047
Fidelity Investments Mutual Funds
Great American Advisors, Inc., Cincinnati, OH (800) 216-3354
Great American Financial Resources, Inc., Cincinnati, OH (888) 497-8556
Horace Mann, Springfield, IL (866) 999-1945
Kemper Annuity and Life Ins. Co., Topeka, KS (800) 457-9047
Lincoln Investment Planning Mutual Funds, Waltham, MA (781) 647-3050
Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, IN (800) 454-6265
MetLife, Bloomfield, CT (860) 768-0139
MetLife of CT, Bloomfield, CT (860) 768-0139
Midland National Life
North American Company for Life and Health
New York Life Insurance Company, Sleepy Hollow, NY (914) 846-5608
Protective Life, Topeka, KS (800) 457-9047
The Union Central Life Ins. Co., Cincinnati, OH (800) 825-1551


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Re: Starting a new job -need advice selecting new 403b provider
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 07:18:35 AM »
I don't personally but a few comments:

1.  Might need to get your new company's plan id for each of these.  AIG for one company 403b could vary with the options they offer your company.  You may need plan id for each provider listed.

2.  I know you aren't asking but I'd call each one and reference plan id and ask do you have load/sales charges and what are they. Make note and hopefully one or more options do not have this. These tend to far outweigh even high expense ratios. My wife's 403b had 5.75 sales charge up front.  I called her company 403b representative to ask about vanguard and fortunately it was in the works. You could call and do this if you think they would be receptive.


3.  If you have a 403b contact for your company you may want to consider this option.....especially if these all have loads. Get 403b contact info for new company and give vanguard a call with a soft lead. Just say I will be working for company x and I want them to use you. Say clearly I can't give my name and make a joke unless it's for commission.   This was my next step.....


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Re: Starting a new job -need advice selecting new 403b provider
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2015, 07:20:45 AM »
I'm thinking Fidelity might be your best bet, as long as you can invest in whatever you choose.

The Spartan Index funds have expense ratios that are very close to Vanguard's.


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Re: Starting a new job -need advice selecting new 403b provider
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2015, 08:01:14 AM »
I only personally know that Fidelity's Spartan index funds have lower costs similar to Vanguard's. If you're able to buy those funds without extra fees, that's probably a good way to go. You'd have to poke around the other providers to see what they offer. Many providers vary their ERs based on how big the employer is, so make sure you get the correct ER for your employer.


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Re: Starting a new job -need advice selecting new 403b provider
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2015, 12:20:09 PM »
I had a hard time finding a company I could live with.  My employer has 5 different providers, and they all had different offerings.

I would enroll in a plan with a fund I was OK with, only to find out the fund wasn't there.  It was listed in the documentation because it used to be there, but it wasn't a current offering.

So until you get to the screen that lets you pick your elections, you may not know what is available.

I ended up in two, and I'm not wild about either.  VALIC is one, they had a nice vanguard fund only available to institutional investors with an expense ratio of .004 iirc.  VALIC's website is, meh.  Does the job.  I haven't been able to figure out how to turn off the mail from them, so I get the big packets full of info I don't need printed on trees that never hurt me.  VOYA is the other one I'm in, but I don't see it on yours.  Neither is so great that I'd recommend them over trying something else.

The good news is it ought to be possible to move the funds between providers if you end up not liking one.

As I spoke with the various reps about how this came to be, apparently each provider submits a bid to the institution with various funds in it.  The institutional officer in charge of selecting providers is often an idiot who knows nothing about investing or mutual funds.  They'll make changes, dropping the "silly index fund" in favor of one recommended by their brother-in-law.  So you basically have a financial products salesperson talking to an HR rep, neither of which cares about you.  Hopefully they accidentally set the institution up with at least one investment choice that isn't nonsense.

Do they also offer a 457b plan?  If they do, it might be worth it to do that one as well/instead, rumor has it there's no 10% penalty on early 457 withdrawals.


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Re: Starting a new job -need advice selecting new 403b provider
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 12:30:22 PM »
Fidelity has a lot of great funds available. Look into them first to see if you can buy the Spartan funds through your plan. If so, no need to look farther; these funds are basically just as good as Vanguard funds.


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