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Hello pjrn:
Thanks for all the resources.

Don't mention it. That's what we're all here for; to learn and help each other.

When did you get out of Valic?

My wife stopped contributing a little over a year and a half ago.

I asked the Valic advisor about fees, and he told me that there were none through the 403(b) that i had to pay. Could this be true?

Well, I looked through all the pamphlets and prospecti that VALIC distributed to plan participants last year, and I saw FEES. I'm at work and I'll be out of town for a few days beginning this afternoon, so it may be a while before I can get back with the exact fees involved, but if they distributed a prospectus or three to you, take a look for yourself. I know the reading is boring, but there are different sections in the prospectus that discuss the different expenses involved with VALIC. IIRC, in the first few pages each fund's expenses are disclosed. Then comes the account maintenance fees. As I said, I still have the booklets, but it's been a while since I looked at them, so I can't recall what each fee is specifically called.

I had a choice between Valic, Fidelity, and Tiaa-cref when i first opened my 403(b) through my hospital.

Most participants of a 403b plan through TIAA-CREF have pleasant things to say about their plans. In fact, they and Vanguard are usually well-regarded here, from what I've read in some posts on the message boards.

I chose Valic because the advisor works within the hospital and he is very easy to get in touch with.

But help me understand what's so important about that? What is he providing you in person that can't be done over the phone? He's not selecting mutual funds for you, is he? I know that some investors require more attention and assistance than others, and elect to use a full service broker (and pay dearly for it, mind you). Might this be the case with this "advisor"? IMHO, there really isn't much to gain from his that you couldn't accomplish with a little due dilligence, if you're willing (and being at the Fool, I assume you are).

If you're able, I would look into having your plan with TIAA-CREF. Call them up, explain the situation, and allow them to explain if it can be done. You ask the VALIC person, and they may deter you from this by giving one reason or another. But, as you said, if the hospital gave you the option of VALIC, Fidelity or TIAA-CREF initially, maybe someone in human resourses can tell you your options.

I will be working at this hospital for at least another 3 years, but not permanently, so i will probably leave my money with Valic. They really have increased the amount of options a person can choose from. That causes me problems because i can't figure out what is best for my account.

You have the option of taking your retirement money with you to your next employer, with a few exceptions. That way you can compare the two plans, and if the future employer's plan allows and it's a better plan, move it there. Al those options are great, but if all they're doing is making you that much more unsure what to select, then it's not really much of a benefit, is it.

In order for you to determine how you should divy up your retirement stash, you need to do a few things first. You should take into account your tolerance for risk, your overall timeframe until this money is needed, how this fits into your overall portfolio asset allocation (if this applies), exactly how diversified you want to be, and how much you plan to set aside for this account. Hopefully you've read the 13 Steps (here: ), to see a Foolish take on investing and how simple and basic it may need to be for you. Some make investing as simple as just a total stock market index fund (like VTSMX), or some may add a bond fund or small-cap fund, and set-it and forget-it. I'd like to provide a few links on how one might select funds for a retirement plan, and different thoughts on asset allocation. From there, it's up to you to decide where your money goes.
Just my opinions, HTH

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