No. of Recommendations: 3
I checked out the MainStay website. While they manage to list such things as betas and standard deviations for each fund on the site, they didn't list performance benchmarks (red flag #1) or the expense ratios and sales charges of the funds (red flag #2). To get those, you have to download and read their fund prospectus, which is 181 (!) pages long.

There's a reason they're trying to hide this information- the annual operating expenses are outrageous. For example, a 2.53% expense ratio + a 5% deferred sales charge for their "Select 20" equity fund. And those are just the expenses they *publish*. Hidden fees, like trading costs, could as much as double the total fees you actually incur. I hate to say it, but I'd rather pay the taxes and invest the remainder in a Vanguard taxable account than be taken advantage of like this. Or consider quitting your job in a couple of years so you can roll over the 403(b) into an IRA. (That Select 20 fund, by the way, has returned, on average, –24% per year since its inception on 12/29/2000.)

As mentioned, max out your Roth IRAs...there's still time to do make your $3,000 (+$3,000 for your spouse) contribution for 2002.

I'd shop around for other 403(b) plan administrators. I set up a couple of Keogh retirement plans through Vanguard for my corporation, which has 1 employee.

Nick
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