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Help With Texas Teacher 403b
Old 04-10-2008, 07:42 AM   #1
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Help With Texas Teacher 403b

This is a rather specific question that can probably only be answered by someone in the Texas Teacher Retirement System. My daughter is trying to sign up for her 403b but is having some issues. I've been looking over their site to try to help pick a low cost fund but it's full of annuities with high fees and high fee mutual funds. Some have loads. It's a real pile of crap. You think they'd have a better system for teachers.

There isn't any local help other than "go to the website." My daughter said she's asked around and very few teachers participate. She got to hear all sorts of stories about how little they had saved, how far in debt they were, etc. It scared her that she could end up like that.

My question is what funds do you have in the system? I figure a good forum member that is a teacher in Texas has already researched the funds and can make a recommendation for a low cost index fund family.

TIAA-CREF has funds listed but they are also listed as "variable annuities." There doesn't appear to be any annuity fees or other issues I normally associate with annuities but I may be missing something. T. Rowe Price has a number of funds listed under "custodial accounts" so there isn't the "annuity" issue (if it even is an issue). They charge a $10 annual account fee for every fund bought that I'd like to keep from having my daughter pay.
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:37 AM   #2
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2B, I was hoping that someone with some real info might chime in. My lovely DW is a Texas teacher and my few efforts to look into 403b were frustrating. I seemed to see only annuities. The good thing for your daughter though is that the pension is fantastic!

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Old 04-10-2008, 09:46 AM   #3
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2B, investigate TIAA-CREF further. They offer no-load, low cost funds. They are "variable annuities" for historical reasons but can operate much as mutual funds. They are not the high load, commision generating variable annuities that you hear so much about these days.

They also offer a couple of investment opportunities that are fairly unique -- TIAA Traditional and TIAA Real Estate Fund.

I'd also suggest checking out the 403bWise site for good 403b information.

Disclosure: I've had a 403(b) with TIAA-CREF for 25 years.

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Old 04-10-2008, 10:27 AM   #4
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Check out 403bwise.com,they will probably know about Texas specific things. My wife retired from teaching and her 403b was miserable, wish she had TIAA-CREF, their annuities can actually be decent.
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:43 PM   #5
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From The TRS website is looks like Fidelity, Vanguard, TRP and TIAA-CREF are the only fairly low fee companies from the List of Certified Companies.

The 403(b)'s through Fidelity, Vanguard, TRP are likely 403(b)(7) custodial accounts, which charge $10-15 per mutual fund you pick. So a Target retirement fund might not be a bad choice for a while.

TC's variable annuities are pretty low cost [0.40-0.60%], so they could be an option, but one of Vanguard's TR funds might be better if your daughter is a hands off type of investor.

- Alec
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:35 PM   #6
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My sister was able to get her's into Vanguard somehow...

But I think they changed the options awhile back... I have a friend and another sister who is in them and IIRC there were four 'major' options with only one having anything approaching something good... but it allowed you to pick from a large number of funds (and I think it did have Vanguard and/or Fidelity)...

LOOK HARD before jumping...
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ats5g View Post
From The TRS website is looks like Fidelity, Vanguard, TRP and TIAA-CREF are the only fairly low fee companies from the List of Certified Companies.

The 403(b)'s through Fidelity, Vanguard, TRP are likely 403(b)(7) custodial accounts, which charge $10-15 per mutual fund you pick. So a Target retirement fund might not be a bad choice for a while.

TC's variable annuities are pretty low cost [0.40-0.60%], so they could be an option, but one of Vanguard's TR funds might be better if your daughter is a hands off type of investor.

- Alec
Fidelity and Vanguard are no longer available. There is one place on the site that says they were available and another place they aren't listed. My daughter tried to sign up with Fidelity and couldn't. The system is not very user friendly.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 2B View Post
Fidelity and Vanguard are no longer available. There is one place on the site that says they were available and another place they aren't listed. My daughter tried to sign up with Fidelity and couldn't. The system is not very user friendly.

OUCH!!!!
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:08 PM   #9
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Fidelity and Vanguard are no longer available. There is one place on the site that says they were available and another place they aren't listed. My daughter tried to sign up with Fidelity and couldn't. The system is not very user friendly.
In that case, I'd either go w/ TRP or TIAA-CREF. The expense ratios of TRP index funds are around 0.30-0.40%, which is currently lower than TC's variable annuity expense ratios.
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