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Two Steaming Piles Of 403B.S.

FYI: (This is a follow-up article.)

Teachers in Pennsylvania and Texas are waking up screaming from a midsummer night’s 403(b) nightmare.

Traditionally, large insurers enjoy blasting teacher’s retirement accounts with high fees and unnecessary products. Two states are willing accomplices to mass financial exploitation.

Pennsylvania and Texas passed some of the most blatant anti-consumer 403(b) legislation in modern history.

Deciding it was a crime against humanity having a single low-cost vendor servicing teachers retirement accounts, Pennsylvania took action.


  • A classic example showing how legislators can be "influenced" by campaign contributions, to the detriment of their constituents.
    Some years ago, I realized how much I was paying in M&E fees to my 403b provider, so I switched to Fidelity. Some restrictions on the Fidelity funds I could purchase, but no fees, except those built into the funds I selected.
    At retirement, I rolled it over to a Fidelity IRA.
  • Just opened a Fidelity brokerage today. Not even funded yet. That's a great decision by someone, to attract new clients: no minimum. And I like the low online trade fee of $4.95. I'm no trader, just wanted to finally get a brokerage acct. in order to make literally one or two trades per year. Most of our stuff is with TRP, and I checked into their brokerage. TRP Website utterly broken!
  • @Crash
    In the way back days, example: one could open an IRA with Fidelity for mutual funds and also process a separate linked account with the brokerage paperwork for buying/selling other vendor funds; as well as stocks, etc. The brokerage feature ultimately became part of the package.
    Good to read you've "seen the light". I personally don't think you'll be disappointed with their service and offerings.

  • Unbelievable. But yet totally believable, given Wall Street.[1]

    I opted for the 403(b) over the pension system at my state uni system precisely to afford me flexibility in investments. If I made (or lost) money, I wanted to be the one doing it, not some faceless state pension board with who knows what level of investing competence. Thankfully we have about 25 or so uber-low-cost funds/annuities/TDFs in our basic account package- but if things changed for the worse, I'd move everything out of that account and into the 403b's brokerage window to invest in what I find attractive.

    [1] Reading the article I'm reminded of this quote from Steve Carrell's character in 'The Big Short'

    "The banks have given us 25% interest rates on credit cards. They have screwed us on student loans that we can never get out from under. Then this guy walks into my office and says those same banks got greedy, they lost track of the market, and I can profit off of their stupidity? F--k, yeah, I want him to be right!"
  • edited August 2019
    +1. And that was a great role for him, too. Great film. Go straight in to 7:29 to catch the quote, above.
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