Friday, April 22, 2016

NEA Still Not Practicing What It Preaches

The NEA Valubuster Plan Is Up To 21x The Cost of Their Own 401(k)
Fifteen years ago I exposed the National Education Association's (NEA) poor practices when it comes to the 403(b) in a piece titled "Does The NEA Practice What It Preaches?". Very little has changed. The NEA's wholly owned subsidiary NEA Member Benefits Corporation continues to operate, market and profit from the selling of 403(b) products to their members, all the while installing a top notch retirement plan for themselves.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

NEA Making Big Bucks From Members By Selling Expensive Annuities

NEA Member Benefits Reported Annual Fees of $2.7 Million
The NEA's wholly owned subsidiary NEA Member Benefits receives a base fee of $2.7 million per year (escalating each year depending on specific unmentioned milestones) to promote the expensive NEA Valuebuilder 403(b) product(s).  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It's Time For The SEC To Regulate Indexed Annuities

Indexed Annuities Need More Regulation
Indexed Annuities are big business and are the path to big profits, yet they are essentially unregulated and sold by people who have no requirement to put their client's interest ahead of their own. It's time that Indexed Annuities and the people who sell them become properly regulated.

Monday, April 18, 2016

403bWise Launches Site Re-Design and Expansion

Top 403(b) education, advocacy and news site has launched a re-design and an expansion.

Since 2000, has provided unbiased information on 403(b) plans to our nation's educators. In addition, the site has helped advocate for better 403(b) plans. 403bWise is the best known 403(b) site on the internet (much to the consternation of the insurance industry) and today it just got better, with promises of additional improvements in the future.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

NTSA Continues Shameful Campaign Against California Public Employees

There is only one thing more scary to the insurance 403(b) industry than the word Fiduciary, auto-enroll.

This is my opinion.

Back in 2012 I spoke at a Town Hall in North Carolina to announce a new statewide 403(b) program that was just passed by the state legislature (yes, North Carolina did pass one law that we can all get behind). The audience was a group of insurance companies and insurance agents and they were angry, very angry. They did not like that the state wanted to offer a fiduciary based 403(b) program for teachers and they made their displeasure known.

Monday, April 11, 2016

American Retirement Association Opposed CA Auto-Enroll For Public Employees

You'd think that an organization with the word "retirement" in their name would actually support...retirement. This is not the case in California where the American Retirement Association's "premier" associate the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association (NTSA) has written a letter opposing Senate Bill 1297 which is aimed at easing the ability of public employers (including teachers) to auto-enroll their employees into quality supplemental retirement plans.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Teachers Now In Insurance Agents Crosshairs After DOL Rule

The long awaited Department of Labor (DOL) Conflict of Interest rule was finalized this morning.

This is a good thing. In fact, it's a great thing.

The DOL managed to do something many thought impossible in this day of special interests dominating Washington. I am proud of the DOL and wish them a sincere congrats. It was a job well done and a long, hard fight. Unfortunately, the new (some would say revolutionary) rule does not apply to non-ERISA retirement plans such as the 403(b) and 457(b), plans which millions of government employees contribute to instead of a 401(k).

Monday, April 04, 2016

Debunked ASPPA Study Used To Push Industry Agenda in Michigan

Back in 2011 I thoroughly debunked an ASPAA (now the American Retirement Association or ARA) research paper which claimed that reducing vendors in 403(b) plans leads to a drop in contributing participants.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Feeling The 403(b) Fee Bern: High Fees Strike Sanders Wife

Money magazine called me about a month ago to ask if I would go through federal disclosures for Bernie Sanders and help them write a story about the structure of the Sander's family money. I literally dropped everything, spent the next three hours examining the disclosure and briefed the reporter the following day. The resulting article is Bernie Sanders Is A De Facto Millionaire.

While I think the title is a little misleading, it's actually not the most interesting thing about the Sander's finances.

What I found surprised me.