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Finances and some canning

July 10th, 2016 at 01:10 pm

It's been an interesting financial week to say the least.

Almost 30 years ago I started a 403b. I had met this person who was a financial advisor and although I didn't know squat about retirement accounts, I knew I had to do something besides a savings account and a checking account. Since I was a teacher, he said I qualified for a 403b. It was with Lincoln Financial and through the years, it really seemed to be going OK, except when we had the huge recession.

Then the feds decided to change the rules and school districts had to do some other things. The way I understand it, they could be liable for financial things if they handled it on their own, so my district hired a company called Gatekeeper that would take care of sending my pretax 403b. Except the catch was I could no longer use Lincoln, I had to use one of the 5 companies they worked with. I wasn't happy that the first three payments didn't go to the right company that I chose and so I lost out on some interest until Gatekeeper finally got their act together and put it with the company I chose. This company hasn't had the same dividends that Lincoln did either. So, now that I'm retired, I called my financial advisor and asked if there was any way to move my 403b from this later company to Lincoln. Unfortunately, no. But, I have learned a couple of things while all these queries have taken place. First of all, because of the federal rules put in place, anytime I want to take money out of my 403b, I have to get a form filled out from the district stating I am retired and I am not working anymore. Really? This is my money. It isn't like I was going to take it out and squander it.

So, the financial advisor came up with another plan. Roll the 403b money into an IRA so we can eventually remove it from the company and park it in another IRA that makes better interest. Easier said that done, apparently. The company told the financial advisor that we had to have a letter from the district and then fill out a written request. So, they typed all that up and I took it to the payroll department. The very nice lady shook her head and said no, since Gatekeeper was the one that "handled" your money, you have to fill out this form to get permission to request to do anything with your money. Sheesh. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. So, I am going to return to my financial advisor's office with the "official" form so we can start over. Somehow the skeptic in me thinks someone somewhere got a pay off to make it so difficult to get access to what is my money. All I want to do is put it someplace that pays something.

We had our financial overview for our car and home insurance this week. Never had one before. I was afraid it was going to be one long sales pitch. I was very pleasantly surprised. We took some things off the homeowners (jewelry being one rider) since I have sold most of the jewelry I had other than my wedding set.

Unfortunately DH's cucumber plants have a blight. I have gotten a few cucumbers, but the plant is starting to look sickly. This is the first time he has tried to grow them. We purchased some cucumbers at the Farmer's Market and with the few from his plant, I made sweet pickles yesterday. I also made apple jelly. DH likes apple juice with Sunday brunch and after reading articles on store bought juice containing arsenic, especially those from apples from China, I make juice for him. I apparently have gotten overzealous and had lots of juice, so I decided to make jelly. So, I have some jars of pickles and jelly for the pantry.

9 Responses to “Finances and some canning”

  1. AnotherReader Says:

    "seemed to be going ok" is not a good measurement. Lincoln was fired for a reason. Lincoln is an insurance company and you were likely paying heavy fees to invest with them. Mutual fund loads and high expense ratios are typical for 403 (b) plans offered by insurance companies. Your results are likely inferior to investing in low cost, no load mutual funds.

    Since you retired, you can roll the 403 (b) into an IRA. Please do yourself a favor and investigate the alternatives. You would likely be better off at Vanguard or Fidelity. Don't let the insurance guy talk you into putting IRA money into an annuity. It's already tax deferred and the annuity rates are very low. If you were at a higher rate under the old plan, you won't be able to duplicate that. The only winners if you invest with Lincoln are him because of the sales commission and the insurance company.

    If you invest with Vanguard or Fidelity, they can initiate the rollover transfer. Your adviser cannot, because he's a salesman and not employed by the ultimate custodian.

  2. Carol Says:

    Scott Burns,a financial writer, wrote many articles critical of the way some 403(b) teacher retirement plans were handled.
    Another Reader's advice to look into Fidelity or Vanguard for low cost investment choices is sound.
    Good luck!

  3. rob62521 Says:

    I guess I did not make it clear. Sorry. The insurance overview was with an insurance agent at a different time. My financial advisor is not an insurance agent, but a certified financial planner. When I put money into Lincoln, the fees were reasonable. The company I had to go to, the fees are far more expensive and this was the least of all of them. I will have to look up Scotf Burns's writings. Thanks.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    If Gateway is the administrator, they are the one that will cut the check when you move the money to the IRA. There is no reason it can't be done. It is very likely Gateway needs all the paperwork. They will want to mail the check directly to the IRA company, so it is best to have an account open already to they can reference an account number when they mail the check. This should be VERY common transaction for the administrator to handle.

  5. AnotherReader Says:

    I'm sorry, I misunderstood. I thought the FA was the district's Lincoln representative. I had a 457 plan that was administered by an insurance company. The investment choices were mediocre at best and the representative pushed annuities for retiring employees with pensions.

    I'm a big fan of inexpensive, DIY investing. I can understand using an adviser if you are not comfortable with DIY. Just be careful about the fees you are being charged and the type of investments you are sold.

  6. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Why can't you have them wire or directly mail a check to vanguard or fidelity? We like TD bank too.

  7. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Ah, that's a shame about the cucumbers. Maybe he can try again in a couple weeks.
    Carol, so glad you mentioned Scott Burns. I've been trying to conjure his name for months!

  8. rob62521 Says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the great suggestions. It is just frustrating that this whole 403b is such a problem. The company told us incorrect information about how to get the money transferred to an IRA. It just seems it is far more difficult than it needs to be.

  9. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    It took me a bit of effort to get my money out of the teacher retirement plan - lots of forms to fill out. But eventually it got rolled over into an IRA.

    Hope you get this resolved soon without too much more hassle.

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