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Hello Fools,

I'm invested in a 403b plan through the hospital I'm working for. My account is with VALIC, which has two portfolios to choose from. The hospital has contracted for the less attractive portfolio, which has actually turned out to be a blessing of sorts in that it got me off my butt with regard to researching the world of retirement investing and led me to the vaunted Mount of Fools. Here's my question: Do I have any options with my 403b other than the pittance offered by VALIC. I'd like to free up the funds to be invested in ways more under my control. Am I stuck with their little self-serving portfolio. Most of the funds are those of their parent company, American General.

Thanks

Mike R.
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Check with your hospital to see what other plans are available to its employees. I set up my 403b with VALIC just prior to becoming Foolish, and quickly dropped them. High fees coupled with a 15 year surrender charge made me want to stay away from this company.

Dave
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Mike R. (a/k/a oneirus) -

You asked: "Do I have any options with my 403b other than the pittance offered by VALIC. I'd like to free up the funds to be invested in ways more under my control. Am I stuck with their little self-serving portfolio."

Well, that depends upon your employer's plan rules!
They may permit other 403b/403b(7) vendors in or not.
If the employer contributes to your account, it's most likely an ERISA plan & only one vendor is chosen. If you and enough other employees are dissatified, you'll need to lobby the administration for a change.

Good luck, PP


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Hi, I too have a 403b with VALIC.
Yes, they have 2 portfolios (Portfolio Director 1 and 2), but at least in my case I am free to pick any fund or combination of funds within my portfolio. There are some decent funds in there. Both portfolios include the American General Stock Index Fund (an S&P 500 index fund) as an option. However I was particularly impressed with the American General Science and Tech fund's performance last year. It went up nearly 100%! I moved some money into that one in July and made about 50% on it in 6 months. Not shabby. This fund is available in both portfolios. In Portfolio Director 1 you also have the option of the Fidelity Contrafund, which has had returns approximating or exceeding the S&P 500 for several years now. There are also a bunch of bond funds, money market funds and low-performing small cap and foreign funds in there too, but you probably don't have to own them.

You should check further into this. Sometimes these 403b and 457 administrators try to convince you that you need their idea of a "balanced portfolio", or they just present them to you like you have no other choice. However, I suspect that you might have more options than you think. Go to www.valic.com and look around in the funds menu. Then log into the "my account" menu and see if it will let you trade the crummy funds for some decent ones.
But if you are truly locked into a fixed-composition portfolio, maybe you could lobby with your employer for a change.
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