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Old 04-07-2012, 02:19 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Curious2077 View Post
-Are you all in agreement that I should not allow the guy from Swarthmore Financial to manage my Roth IRA if I decide to go that route?
Judging from what "advice" you've received so far, I wouldn't let Swarthmore Financial manage a one-car funeral procession.

However I agree that life insurance is a good idea when you actually have people depending on your human capital... as a parent.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:53 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
Perhaps someone with greater knowledge than I will weigh in, but I'm wondering if this is even possible. I am not aware that you can do a 403b rollover while you are still working for that employer. And even if you could, it seems like it would be a taxable distribution and would also incur a 10% early distribution penalty. I agree with others that tax rates now are about as low as you're ever going to see. That being the case, I would start contributing to a Roth IRA this year, and if you need to cut back 403b contributions to accomplish this, I would. You can call Vanguard and they will set up the Roth for you. You could fund once per year (that's what I do) or send them monthly checks.

Note that this assumes you get no matching contribution on the 403b (and I'll bet you don't). If you do, fund the 403b enough to get the match, then fund the Roth.
I had the exact same thought on the 403b>Roth conversion - it doesn't make sense.

If OPs employer offers both a 403b and a Roth 403b and if OP expects his tax rate in retirement to be the same or more than current then it seems to me the Roth 403b is the way to go.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:16 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
Judging from what "advice" you've received so far, I wouldn't let Swarthmore Financial manage a one-car funeral procession.

However I agree that life insurance is a good idea when you actually have people depending on your human capital... as a parent.
Specifically term life, not whole life or universal or any of the other "investment" insurance options. With term life you pay just for insurance, not to have an insurance company "invest" for you. That would be sort of like having your auto mechanic cater your wedding. And with term life, if you (for some unknowable reason) decide one of the other policies is a better option, you can just stop paying on it and go with the other choice. If you lock into something else and change your mid you are faced with penalties, often pretty severe. Just for clarification of Nords post.
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:09 PM   #24
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Hello,
My name is Tim. I am a 35 year old teacher who's head is spinning about how to set up the best possible retirement for myself? I am really hoping your experience and knowledge will steer me in the right direction? Here is what I have going for myself so far and some personal goals I have that I think should be factored in:
-I have a 403b worth $25,000 w/ Vanguard ($22,000 Wellington Fund, 3K in Target date Retirement Fund)
-I am debt free (I just paid off my $95,ooo house)
-I have no car payment (car is getting older however, it is a 1999).
-I am single (strong chance I may be married in next 1.5 years)
-I have zero children (but will immediately try to have kids if I marry)
-I have 25k in the bank which I have been saving for a down payment on a new house if I get married. House will cost app $220k and she will pay for half. She makes same salary as me.
-Annual gross income is 53k and will not rise anytime soon (our teacher contract is terrible and I put in 11 hour stress filled days daily...but anyway)
-I plan on retiring at 55 if I can swing it. I will have a pension but will be penalized for retiring early. Unfortunately I dislike my job but don't think switching careers after contributing into teacher pension for 9.5 years is smart.

Recently met w/ financial planner from Swarthmore Finance and he wants me to:
-Roll over my 403b into a Roth IRA with him
-Obtain some type of Life insurance
I am reading different things online about annuities and different Roths and other things I can do but I am very confused. I do think a Roth IRA is a good idea but not sure about life insurance? Should I even do a Roth with him?? Should I just do a mutual fund w/ Vanguard instead? Can anyone offer solid advice? Thank you so much, it is most appreciative!!
Sincerely,
Tim
You are young and life is short. Do not wish away the next 20 years of your life working long hours at a job for which you seem to have little passion. You are going to destroy your most valuable assets, your physical and mental health, if you have to slog through the next 20 years.

You don't have many financial responsibilities at this time so figure out something else to do and do it! You are lucky to have some portable savings. About 20 years ago I resigned from the Air Force after 10 years and never looked back.

Put some joy in your life and forget the pension!
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:17 PM   #25
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Looks like your doing good on your own. But why wait to get married...need to have kids.....

My son could not get a teaching job...uc berk degree and not an interview...started learning java programing and in four months passed a test...got a job paying 3 times teacher pay and in the first year got two big raises. Java programers are in hugh demain...easy 6 figure start check it out. His degree was in history.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:03 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Curious2077
Wow, you guys/girls are great and are really helping me to start to undertand this stuff and are helping to form some more questions!
-Are you all in agreement that I should not allow the guy from Swarthmore Financial to manage my Roth IRA if I decide to go that route? (I decided to keep my 403b by the way, meaning I won't roll it into a Roth IRA.
-Shortin Seattle mentioned low cost index funds. Do they fall under a "Roth IRA"? I think Im set on at least starting a ROTH IRA, now I could use advice on what funds or indexes to put my $ into? Should I phone Vanguard and ask about Roth IRA mutual funds? Should I ask about index funds? And shortin Seattle, what investment co are you with, im curious?Thanks so much everyone, I look forward to your continued advice!
Ok, I'll add another book recommendation to the list: Personal Finance for Dummies. You don't have to be a Dummy to get good information from it.

Spend a few minutes learning the difference between a retirement account and an investment vehicle.

There are many different types of retirement accounts out there: 401(k)' 403(b), IRA, Roth IRA, SEP-IRA. They each have their own pros, cons, and rules. You already have a 403(b) which is a perfectly fine account. As you become a more educated investor you may choose a different account, but a 403(b) is a good starting place.

There are also many different types of investment vehicles: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, Options, etc. these also have their own pros and cons, and rules.

Opinions will vary, but it seems the standard advice for beginners is to put a good chunk away for retirement each month in a retirement account, and invest in low-cost index funds. (research "asset allocation" and "index funds" for more info.)

I don't think there is much "magic" in the brokerage you choose, but our accounts are with Fidelity. We take advantage of their financial advisor service, but make our own decisions.

Hope this helps! You've got some reading to do.

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Old 04-08-2012, 09:18 PM   #27
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You do not need an advisor.

You should save 15% of your income at all times, in all seasons, kids or no. A retirement account is good, but if you can only put in 5 or 10%, put the rest in the bank until you have the confidence to do things yourself. And you CAN do it yourself. You do not have to put it in a tax-protected account.

Check out Fidelity and Vanguard for simple programs. Go for REALLY simple to start with.

Money market, if you are hesitant about equities.

Otherwise, Total Stock market, say.

Or maybe a Margarita Portfolio: 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3: Total Stock Market + Total International + short-term bond fund. This can keep you going for years...or forever, it you like.

It is not hard. Keeping it out of the hands of thieves is hard.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:22 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by ducky911
Looks like your doing good on your own. But why wait to get married...need to have kids.....

My son could not get a teaching job...uc berk degree and not an interview...started learning java programing and in four months passed a test...got a job paying 3 times teacher pay and in the first year got two big raises. Java programers are in hugh demain...easy 6 figure start check it out. His degree was in history.
This is uncanny. I could have written that same thing, except my son did get a job teaching for 2 years and hated it. His degree was in Latin. He taught himself Java programming and passed the test in 4 months. He has done extremely well at a nationally known medical software company. He really enjoys it. He has had several raises and promotions.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:04 AM   #29
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I decided I will hold onto my 403b w/ Vanguard and continue to contribute. Gumby had mentioned the Wellington, its funny you say that as that is one of the funds that I have w/ my 403b. The other is the target Retirement Fund which I started about a year and a half ago.
-Meekie: I hear you however I am kinda burnt out with school. I have been in college more years then most people have gone to grade school/HS. I can't take the risk of quitting and then going back to school again if I plan on starting a family any time soon. IF my pension would transfer id do it in a heart beat....but obviously it won't...but thanks for the advice.
-I understand I have to do my research and that seems to be the common theme when I talk to people and thats why I am here. I am reading but im still in question mark land. The good thing is, I have decided that a Roth IRA would be appropriate for me. The bad thing is, Im not sure if I should go with an advisor that obviously will get paid or if its something I can do myself? As far as time, I am not one to check funds daily so I think The ETrade recommendation is not for me...that is if im understanding this correctly? I wangt to check the statuus of my funds every few months as I really don't have the time or energy do do it daily/weekly and my job does not allow me to check it from work.
should I start purchasing Wellington shares as a Roth IRA ?(I already have them as 403b). Should I purchase shares in the S&P 500 index every two weeks (that is when I get paid) and check back in 6 months to see how they arre doing? Orrr, should I just hand my $ to the advisor and let him do his thing? Sorry im making this so complicated.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:20 AM   #30
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I suggest that you start here:

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire

You need advice, but not an advisor. You can do it yourself with a little effort and then you take command of your finances. The most important thing is deciding an asset allocation (AA) that fits you, then selecting low-cost index funds and investing regularly, rebalancing periodically and looking at your AA across all of your accounts.

Vanguard has a number of easy to use tools that help you do this. Portfolio Watch and Financial Engines are two of the more useful tools available.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:23 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious2077 View Post
I decided I will hold onto my 403b w/ Vanguard and continue to contribute. Gumby had mentioned the Wellington, its funny you say that as that is one of the funds that I have w/ my 403b. The other is the target Retirement Fund which I started about a year and a half ago.
-Meekie: I hear you however I am kinda burnt out with school. I have been in college more years then most people have gone to grade school/HS. I can't take the risk of quitting and then going back to school again if I plan on starting a family any time soon. IF my pension would transfer id do it in a heart beat....but obviously it won't...but thanks for the advice.
-I understand I have to do my research and that seems to be the common theme when I talk to people and thats why I am here. I am reading but im still in question mark land. The good thing is, I have decided that a Roth IRA would be appropriate for me. The bad thing is, Im not sure if I should go with an advisor that obviously will get paid or if its something I can do myself? As far as time, I am not one to check funds daily so I think The ETrade recommendation is not for me...that is if im understanding this correctly? I wangt to check the statuus of my funds every few months as I really don't have the time or energy do do it daily/weekly and my job does not allow me to check it from work.
should I start purchasing Wellington shares as a Roth IRA ?(I already have them as 403b). Should I purchase shares in the S&P 500 index every two weeks (that is when I get paid) and check back in 6 months to see how they arre doing? Orrr, should I just hand my $ to the advisor and let him do his thing? Sorry im making this so complicated.
What exactly have you read aside from posts here? I'm a little surprised to hear a teacher who freely admits he/she doesn't want to read and learn more. This post sounds like you are still trying to piece together a plan instead of understanding the big picture. That's a good way to make some costly mistakes. Honestly no disrespect intended, but many of your questions would be answered by fully reading & understanding any of the countless books we've recommended (not just my list, there have been many other good ones).

Most people here are DIY investors who retired early without (sooner or later) using any advisors. Few if any of us are rocket scientists, in fact we came from all sorts of different backgrounds and means - but we know the fundamentals and how all the moving parts work together. Doesn't mean we stop learning, most of us learn more and more. And you can start in with one decent balanced fund, or a simple 2/3/4 low-expense index fund lazy portfolio, and then build from there as you learn more.

And there's no rush to act. IMO you should not take on an advisor until you've tried to learn for yourself. Even if you take on an advisor, if you really don't understand what he/she is doing on your behalf, you could get well fleeced long before you catch on. So the education is worthwhile no matter how you proceed.

My earlier post FWIW
Quote:
Welcome aboard. I'd also hold off on a financial advisor for now.

Learning everything you need to know piecemeal (reading from here and there online) could lead to some misunderstanding, you know that as a teacher. Once you have a good foundation, you can branch out from there if you're so inclined, but you only need the basics to invest successfully.

I'd recommend you read a comprehensive book on the subject of investing and/or retirement planning to get the big picture. Taking random information for here may serve you well, may also be a disaster - how will you know which is which?. There are more (get rich quick) bad books than good ones, there are other good ones but I'd recommend:

Bogleheads on Investing
Bogleheads on Retirement
The Four Pillars of Investing or
any of Jack Bogle's Books

Or if you want something really hands off, maybe:
The Coffeehouse Investor or any of the "lazy portfolio" approaches (Scott Burns Couch Potato for example).

After some reading, if you still think you want an advisor, so be it. There are a lot of sharks among the seemingly friendly financial advisors though, another reason to learn some basics on your own. Best of luck...
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:45 AM   #32
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Most people here are DIY investors who retired early without using any advisors. Few if any of us are rocket scientists, in fact we came from all sorts of different backgrounds and means - but we know the fundamentals and how all the moving parts work together.
I would agree with this with one caveat. Most of us are DIY investors who have retired early despite having had advisors early in our investing lifetimes. In my case, at least, the advisors that I have dealt with placed me in high cost, average performing investments that I didn't (and still don't) understand well. They charged very high fees for doing this. Now, with significantly less educational effort than you've had to deal with, I've learned that I can invest my own money in equally average or better performing, low cost investments without paying an advisor a cent. It's really easy, and you'll never put in a small amount of time and effort educating yourself in something that will pay off better.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:04 AM   #33
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SO where are m ost people getting their Boggleheads investment book from? Amazon? Do most of you feel that is the best book for me to read? Thanks
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:16 AM   #34
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Obviously you're missing the whole flow of our cheapness LBYM lifestyle here. Library, dude.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:34 AM   #35
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Obviously you're missing the whole flow of our cheapness LBYM lifestyle here. Library, dude.
+1. While I've bought all the books I recommended (and others), I've always read them from a library or a friend first.

I won't recommend again, there have been other good suggestions here. I'd only caution you stay away from the many get rich quick books (if the title sounds too good to be true, it is) AND pick something broad/comprehensive on many aspects of investing to start, not a book on Roth IRA's, purely asset allocation, purely picking stocks, etc. For example:

Bogleheads Guide to Investing
Part 1: Essentials of Successful Investing
Chapter 1. Choose a Sound Financial Lifestyle
Chapter 2. Start Early and Invest Regularly
Chapter 3. Know What You're Buying Part I
Chapter 4. Know What You're Buying Part II
Chapter 5. Preserve Your Buying Power with Inflation-Protected Bonds
Chapter 6. How Much do You Need to Save?
Chapter 7. Keep it Simple
Chapter 8. Asset Allocation
Chapter 9. Costs Matter
Chapter 10. Taxes Part I
Chapter 11. Taxes Part II
Chapter 12. Diversification
Chapter 13. Performance Chasing and Market Timing Are Hazardous to Your Health

Part 2: Follow-Through Strategies to Keep You on Target
Chapter 14. Savvy Ways to Invest for College
Chapter 15. How to Manage a Windfall Successfully
Chapter 16. Do you Need an Advisor?
Chapter 17. Track Your Progress and Rebalance When Necessary
Chapter 18. Tune Out the "Noise"
Chapter 19. Mastering Your Investments Means Mastering Your Emotions
Chapter 20. Making Your Money Last Longer Than You Do
Chapter 21. Protecting Your Assets by Being Well-Insured
Chapter 22. Passing It On When You Pass On
Chapter 23. You Can Do It - The Bogleheads Will Help

The Four Pillars of Investing:Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio
The Nature of the Beast
Chapter 1. No Guts, No Glory: Risk and return in the capital markets from the ancient world to Yahoo!
Chapter 2. Measuring the Beast: Where stock and bond returns really come from.
Chapter 3. The Market Is Smarter Than You Are: How to get on the good side of an 800-pound gorilla.
Chapter 4. The Perfect Portfolio: All right, you can�t have it. But you can get tolerably close.

When Markets Go Berserk Chapter
5. Tops�A History of Manias: How you and your neighbors got snookered in the market�s oldest con game.
Chapter 6. Bottoms�The Agony and the Opportunity: When only your grandfather owns stocks.

The Analyst�s Couch
Chapter 7. Misbehavior: Meet the enemy, the face in the mirror.
Chapter 8. Behavioral Therapy: It hurts and it�s not easy. But it is the only chance you�ve got.

The Carny Barkers
Chapter 9. Your Broker Is Not Your Buddy: How Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney have their hands in your pocket.
Chapter 10. Neither Is Your Mutual Fund: The new opiate of the people.
Chapter 11. Oliver Stone Meets Wall Street: Bread and circuses for John Q. Investor.

The Winner�s Game
Chapter 12. Will You Have Enough? How to avoid a diet of Alpo and Little Friskies.
Chapter 13. Defining Your Mix: Asset allocation without microprocessors.
Chapter 14. Getting Started, Keeping It Going: Getting off the dime. Sailing through the rough patches.

The Little Book of Commonsense Investing Jack Bogle
Introduction.
Chapter One: A Parable.
Chapter Two: Rational Exuberance.
Chapter Three: Cast Your Lot with Business.
Chapter Four: How Most Investors Turn a Winner’s Game into a Loser's Game.
Chapter Five: The Grand Illusion.
Chapter Six: Taxes Are Costs, Too.
Chapter Seven: When the Good Times No Longer Roll.
Chapter Eight: Selecting Long-Term Winners.
Chapter Nine: Yesterday’s Winners, Tomorrow’s Losers.
Chapter Ten: Seeking Advice to Select Funds?
Chapter Eleven: Focus on the Lowest-Cost Funds.
Chapter Twelve: Profit from the Majesty of Simplicity.
Chapter Thirteen: Bond Funds and Money Market Funds.
Chapter Fourteen: Index Funds That Promise to Beat the Market.
Chapter Fifteen: The Exchange Traded Fund.
Chapter Sixteen: What Would Benjamin Graham Have Thought about Indexing?
Chapter Seventeen: "The Relentless Rules of Humble Arithmetic."Chapter Eighteen: What Should I Do Now?


And if you're still reading and you really don't want to read a book from the library, here's a good place to start online.
http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:57 PM   #36
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I echo the comments on reading some of the suggested reading lists. It really helps you develop a foundation for investing.

I also wouldn't stress about rolling over the 403B. My understanding like Gumby's is that a can be a hassle to roll over a 403B while working. It certainly depends on the administrator and given you work for a school district, my assumption is if it is out of the ordinary request you'll probably be frustrated by the situation.

Instead I would open up a Roth on your own with Vanguard. You are allowed to withdraw $10K (in contributions) tax free to purchase a home. If you hustle you maybe able to do this year.

Absolutely no need for life insurance beyond what is almost certainly offered by your school district, unless you have kids and even then it is dubious.

Given the horrible pension situation in IL, I'd say keep saving. I suspect that you'll be seeing some reductions in your pension. Oh and welcome to the board.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:47 AM   #37
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I am a Vanguard fan but about the best site for 403b information mostly for teachers is: 403(b)wise . The Leading Source of 403(b) Information on the Web
There is a good book 'Teach And Retire Rich' by Dan Otter which I gave to my nieces when they started teaching. My wife taught for 25 years, loved teaching but it is absolutely remarkable how unconscious/uninterested teachers are in financial matters. Good that you are asking questions. The Boglehead site, Vanguard, this site and the 403b wise are great places to explore and post questions.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:40 PM   #38
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Obviously you're missing the whole flow of our cheapness LBYM lifestyle here. Library, dude.
I'm also a huge fan of buying used books online.

BookFinder.com: Search for New & Used Books, Textbooks, Out-of-Print and Rare Books
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