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Susani --

I see that another poster referred you to 403bwise.com and I highly recommend it. My daughter is a nurse and she is in much the same situation you are. (Maybe you even work at the same hospital which I will not name but it is a well know institution in the same city where Cal Ripken plays baseball.)

http://www.403bwise.com/storysampleletter.html is a letter I helped her write to her personnel department. That letter does not directly address 403B(7's) but asks for a TIAA-CREF (low cost variable annuity) plan OR a direct plan with someone like Vanguard. She has not received a reply yet. If she is successful, I will send information to 403bwise.com and I am sure they will post it as a success story. (Even if we don't succeed, I will update the story.) Feel free to borrow it and adapt it for your purposes.

I would make two points to you, both of which you have probably considered because you seem very knowledgeable:

1. You mentioned in your subsequent posting then I will (as advised in an article) place the money into one of the offered money market accounts, and transfer my money to Vanguard penalty free at regular intervals. Please be sure to understand thoroughly what, if any, surrender fees are associated with your plan. For example, my daughter's employer offers VALIC which has a rolling 7 year back end load. That means that you have to pay 7% surrender fee the first year, 6% the second year....1% the 7th year to get your money out. And because the folks at VALIC are such swell folks, every month when you make a deposit, it restarts the 7 year clock!!! So you will want to make sure you understand whether or not you have surrender fees and what they involve. Also, as I am sure you are aware, you will probably want those to be 1035 transfers so you avoid income tax and penalties.

2. The bottom line with my daughter ultimately was that she wanted no part of any of the existing offerings from her hospital, so she has stopped all her 403B contributions. If they go along with her request and offer better plans, she will start up again. But if they don't, she is at least as well off (and probably better) by making after tax contributions to a low cost tax managed mutual fund.

It's really a shame that teachers and nurses get screwed so badly by the 403B choices generally available to them. You have broken the code and realized that you need to ask for better treatment. If more people do maybe the voices will be heard.

Good luck.

jtmitch
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