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Subject:  403B Fees Date:  12/4/1998  1:12 PM
Author:  dweiss3 Number:  7000 of 87994

Thanks to those who answered my earlier post. I wanted to pass along what I learned about my wife's 403B retirement plan.

Her school system designates Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) providers that are authorized to receive payments into 403B accounts. Initially these were all insurance companies offering annuities but three years ago they added an option to invest in mutual funds. However, you had to work thru Lincoln Investment Co. who charged a 5% fee up front. Thus $10,000 withheld from my wife's salary each year resulted in only $9500 being invested in the Vanguard funds we selected. Other than one of their salesman filling out the initial paperwork for my wife, Lincoln Investments did nothing visible to earn that $500 per year. I finally called the school board to determine if there was any way to avoid that heavy up-front charge. It turns out that they have also designated T.Rowe Price as one of their authorized providers. TRP accepts the TSA contributions with no fees, and no account maintenance charges. We are filling out the paperwork today to terminate the contributions thru Lincoln Investments and begin them through T.Rowe Price. The Price funds are low cost, like Vanguard, and they have a wide choice of fund types (index, growth, small cap, etc.) This is like getting an instant 5% boost in investment return. I'm only sorry I didn't find this out sooner.
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