This website presents the ideas and thoughts of a friend. The information contained within should not be used to make investment decisions. Please contact a licensed certified financial planner before making any financial decisions.

Good Luck, and Good Investing.


Once you decide to invest in a 403(b), you have 3 decisions to make.

  1. Should you invest in a 403(b) or a 403(b)(7)?
  2. What company should you invest with?
  3. How exactly should you invest your money?

On this page I will deal with question number 2, how to choose your company.


Your first decision in selecting a provider is based on whether you decided to invest in a 403(b) or a 403(b)(7).

If you read the page "What is a 403(b)", then you know the two types of 403(b)'s are the 403(b) Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) and the 403(b)(7) Custodial Account and hopefully you have decided which one to invest in.

If you have decided to invest in a 403(b) you will want to go with one of the Insurance Companies or with TIAA-CREF since these are the companies that offer 403(b) TSA's. My advice is to call the rep from each of the Insurance Companies and request a meeting and have them go over how their program works and learn about the fees and expenses associated with their products. You should also call TIAA-CREF and ask them to send you a packet of information on thier products as well. TIAA-CREF will not send a salesman out to meet with you which is one of the reasons you will likely find that the Insurance Companies cost more to invest with than TIAA-CREF.




If you want a 403(b)(7) Custodial Account, then you should contact Vanguard. At the time this website was written, October 2006, Vanguard is the only company in Wayne that offers a 403(b)(7) Custodial Account.


Okay, that may seem a little simple so here is more detail if you need it.

Whether you get a 403(b)TSA or a 403(b)(7), here is what you get.

  • Tax Deductible Contributions
  • Tax Defferred Growth
  • Access to the Mutual Fund Market
  • A Chance to Build a Nest Egg

If you get a 403(b)TSA with TIAA-CREF or an Insurance Company you also get the following

  • A Variable Annuity
  • The option to Annuitize your account at a later date
  • The possibility of taking out a loan against your account

If you get a 403(b)TSA with one of the Insurance Companies you also get the following.

  • A Rep who you can call and sit down with and who can and will help you manage your investments


403(b)TSA's with any Insurance Company will cost more in fees and expenses than a 403(b)(7) with Vanguard, however you get more in a 403(b) than in a 403(b)(7) (see above). You will need to decide if the extras you get are worth the extra cost. If you decide the extras are worth the cost get a 403(b) TSA. If you don't want the extras you will probably want to consider a 403(b)(7) with Vanguard.

If you do not feel capable of making this decision alone I recommend you hire a fee only financial planner to help you make this decision. He or she will be able to pick an appropriate company to invest with and an appropraite asset allocation based on your age, risk tolerance, timeline etc. The nice thing about using a fee only planner is that they should not motivated to put you in a particular fund because it means more money to them. Because they are fee only, you can be relatively sure that they will give you unbiased advice. To find a fee only financial planner try www.napfa.org.


This is an extremely important decision because it is complicated to change companies once you get started. Future regulations are scheduled to make it even harder to switch. You want to really try to get it right the first time. Take your time, get many opinions, get professional help if you need it and choose your company wisely.

  Finally, a way to see how your fees will affect your net returns is to use an online calculator. Get the fees of each 403(b) from the different providers and plug them into the following calculator. Online 403(b) Calculator