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.




Truth be told, I don't know how to get a new provider in your district. What I do know is what worked here in Wayne.

On this page I will take you through what I did, and what I was thinking when I did it. Hopefully you will be able to use some of what I did to put your own plan in action.

Step 1: Get Educated
  BY FAR, the most important step in getting a new provider is to get yourself as educated as possible about 403(b) TSA's. Hopefully this site helps, but also be sure to visit 403bwise.com and sec.gov. Also be sure to read all the articles in the Web Links section of this site.  

If you are not a 403(b) expert, you will not have the tools and vocabulary to convince people that you need a new provider. You have to be able to put your evidence in terms that people can understand, and you can only do that by being an expert. Your strategy in getting a new provider will be to get as many people as educated as you are about the 403(b) industry. As someone once said, "If you knew what I know, you'd do what I do," and that quote certainly applies here. I have yet to sit down with someone and go over the differences between 403(b)'s and 403(b)(7)'s and have them say that a 403(b)TSA seems like the better choice but nobody knows the differences.

All things being fair, that is no one has an underlying personal stake in the issue, if everyone in a school district understood the differences between 403(b)'s and 403(b)(7)'s, they would probably only offer (b)(7)'s, but at worse they would offer both. My district unconscionably only offered 403(b)'s. Why? In my opinion there are are two reasons that a school district offers 403(b) TSA's and not 403(b)(7)'s, either the powers in charge have a personal stake in what companies are offered, or they are ignorant about why it matters. In my district it was both.

In my district, many of the people in charge, (i.e. Board Members and the Business Administrator), simply didn't know any better, and, our Superintendent at the time is married to a Valic rep, and her son works for Valic too. She claimed that this fact did not affect her decision not to add Vanguard but I remain unconvinced. One person who contacted me from another state was told by his Board that they didn't want to add a new 403(b)(7) provider because the reps for their existing providers were the same people they went to church with and to provide new companies would be to take away business from their friends. That's admirable in a sense I guess, but the business they are giving their friends is at the expense of their teachers, which in my opinion is not very admirable at all.

In my district, the companies we had were the companies we had always had, and because so few people really knew the difference between 403(b)'s and 403(b)(7)'s, the status quo was allowed to continue unchecked for many years. It wasn't until people started educating themselves (with a push from me) that as a collective we started to become a force even the Superintendent couldn't stop.

So what did I do? Click this link "How I Got Vanguard", to read an article I wrote about how I got Vanguard in Wayne. As you will read, once I did my prep work and became an expert on 403(b)'s, I couldn't help but share the news. I started by trying to get a meeting with the Board of Ed but was denied the opportunity so I sent each Board Member a letter outlining why I though adding new 403(b) providers was important. You can read this letter by clicking here. (If you would like the original Word version click here. Feel free to use it if you think it will help.) While I was contacting the Board, I also started sharing the news about 403(b)'s in my school. My first move was the place a flyer in each teachers mailbox. You can see the flyer by clicking here. The flyer generated discussion throughout the building and after a few weeks I held a meeting in which I went over the differences between a 403(b) and a 403(b)(7) for those who were interested. About 20 people came to that first meeting which generated more interest in the building and I held another meeting a few weeks later for another 20 people. (Click here to download a copy of my presentation, feel free to use what you like.) The natural progression was to then travel to other schools and offer similar presentations. Click here to see the e-mail I sent out to the entire district. I ended up traveling to 6 other schools in the district giving my 403(b) vs. 403(b)(7) presentation. Some presentations had 20 people and some had only 3 but the ball was rolling at this point. Click here to see a copy of the e-mail invitation I would send out to each school.




Finally I was starting to feel like the ball was rolling. I had made it my mission to get Vanguard in by the next school year and it was now the end of May and I was running out of time. At every meeting I went to I asked people to join my e-mail list and I would keep them updated about my progress and by now I was up to about 140 people on my list including a very supportive Board Member who was familiar with 403(b)(7)'s. The problem continued to be that the Superintendent was still stonewalling me. It was about this time that the "you know what" hit the fan with AXA Equitable.

I had been doing my presentations throughout the district for a month or so and before I began the presentations I sat down with the Reps from two of our current 403(b) Providers to make sure I completely understood exactly what they offered in 403(b)'s. I knew I would be talking about their 403(b) offerings and I did not want to mislead people as to exactly how a 403(b) worked with an Insurance Company. Both reps were extremely helpful and forthright and I learned a lot at both meetings. One rep said, "If someone took the time to learn about investing they would not need me and Vanguard would probably be a better choice for them." I was impressed with his honesty. With the other rep, we debated which was better, a 403(b) TSA or a 403(b)(7) and we ended the meeting "agreeing to disagree," which I felt was fair enough. After a few more of my presentations however the good times were over between me and AXA Equitable.

At my presenations I would recommend that people find out exactly what fees they were paying for their 403(b) and compare them to the fees they would pay at Vanguard for a similar investment. When people started finding out how expensive it was to invest with an Insurance Company they began to stop their contributions to them and look for alternatives. Obviously, when someone stops contributing to their 403(b), the Insurance Company they were Investing with starts losing profits which makes Insurance Companies mad. In fact, that is what happened at AXA Equitable. A bunch of people were calling AXA wondering if the information I presented at these meetings was really true. Were people really paying upwards of 3% a year for something that cost less than 1% per year at Vanguard? Of course the answer is yes and so as people were ending their 403(b)'s at AXA, someone at AXA decided to try and scare me off from continuing my presentations. The rep from AXA sent me the following e-mail which I must admit scared me.

I could not catch up with you in school the other day, though I wanted to
share something you should be aware of. I received a call last week by one
of the managing directors of my group who worked in Wayne years ago and
still has a number of clients there. I was asked about a letter he received
from a client. Long story short- it was apparently your letter to teachers
and colleagues. In his opinion, this is a violation of SEC regulations. I
am not sending this to scare you but more so to let you know what is going
on and so you don't think that I stirred up anything. Reality is you may
get a letter from our legal dept. I did ask about what specific violations,
He rattled off a couple, the one that stuck out to me was giving advice on
products you have no licence or credential to advise the public on.

Just some fyi


I have a friend who works in Finance and he had already warned me that I need to be careful about how I present my credentials and that I should be careful not to give Financial Advice as I am in no way accredited to do so. I was so concerned after talking to my friend that I e-mailed the SEC and explained excatly what I planned to do. They responded that so long as I did not receive compensation I was free to say whatever I wanted at these meetings as guaranteed by the First Amendment. I was still scared by the e-mail however so I did the only thing that seemed to make sense, I called the newspaper.
  The reporter I talked to at the Bergen Record, Kathleen Lynn, was excited about the story, she had done a story on 403(b)'s a few years before and she had just one question for me, "Do the have the e-mail he sent you?" Of course I did and I sent it over to her. As much as I was scared by the e-mail, I was even more pissed that this multimillion dollar company was going after this little guy who was just trying to help his friends. The article made for a good story, Lord knows I love seeing my name in print, and it added to my credibility as an advocate for my fellow teachers, but it wasn't the turning point in getting Vanguard into Wayne. That came about a 2 weeks after I first contacted the newspaper.  

So I continued to present at the other schools in the district and my goal was to get into every school ( there are 13 schools in Wayne) before the end of the summer. When I sent out the e-mail to the entire district I heard back from at least one person in most schools and I used those contacts to help me distribute flyers before I would visit the school. I would e-mail the flyer and ask the teacher to make copies and put it in each persons mailbox. Unfortunately I did not hear back from some schools so I decided I would just drive over to the school and put the flyers in the mailboxes myself. When I got to the first school I was told by the principal that I would need to get the Superintendent's approval before I could put anything in the mailboxes and he called her right there on the spot. Now remember, her husband and son work for one of the 403(b) providers in the district. Needless to say, she denied me permission so I drove over to the Board Office to discuss it with her. She called me into her office and she had her backup crew with her, the Assistant Superintendent, the Business Administrator, and the Director of Personnal.


The meeting started with me showing her the flyer and she re-denied me permission to hand them out. Furthermore, I had e-mailed her asking permission for the reporter to come watch one of my presentations to assist her in writing the article about my quest to get Vanguard and she denied that as well. No only did she deny the reporter access to my presentation but she raised her voice to me while pointing at me and she basically yelled at me that, "You will not make this district look bad." I calmly replied that my intention was not to make the district look bad, and in fact the article had nothing to do with the Wayne School District. She emphatically told me that I did not understand the way that newspapers worked and that they would twist the truth. Simply put, she was trying to intimidate me. My personal opinion was that she was afraid that it would be reported that her husband worked for Valic and since she was acting against adding Vanguard it would be seen as extremely unethical that she was acting as the Vanguard blockade, which by the way it was. She "confessed" to me during that meeting that her husband worked for Valic, which I already knew and I'm sure she knew I knew, and she also told me that she "didn't really understand all this 403(b) stuff," which I also found proposterous. You mean to tell me that the Superintendent who has been in Education for 30+ years and who was married to a Valic rep didn't know what a 403(b) was? You have to be kidding, but I didn't call her on it. Instead I explained that I didn't want to get rid of the other companies, just add one more. She then told me, "we already have Vanguard." I said "we do not have Vanguard." To which she turned to the business administrator and said "Don't we have Vanguard?" to which he innanely replied "yes." I repeated, "We do not have Vanguard as a choice." She said "yes we do, through Lincoln Investments." I explained that we do not have Vanguard, we can get access to Vanguard funds through Lincoln Investments which costs more money. She said, "Oh no, it doesn't cost more money," to which I replied, "you mean to tell me that you think Lincoln Financial is nice enough to invest in Vanguard funds for me and not charge me?" to which she replied "yes." I explained to her that at the time Lincoln Investments charged an additional 1.75% per year for access to Vanguard Funds. I told her that if she didn't believe me she should call them as I had done a few days before. She did not place the call.

As I had been using the Board e-mail system to contact the other schools, she was well aware of what I had been up to and that night I was planning on going to the Board Meeting to express my discontent that the Board had not seen fit to add Vanguard as a 403(b) provider in the district. I wasn't planning to "expose" the Superintendent but I was going to express that there was something going on that was keeping us from getting Vanguard. I had already been in contact with Board Members about the Superintendents stonewalling of Vanguard. The Board Meeting of that night also came up in my meeting with the Superintendent. She asked me why I was going to the Board of Ed meeting and I told her to express my displeasure with the Board for not adding Vanguard already and to make a long story just a little shorter, we struck a deal.
The deal was, if I could get 25 people to fill out the paperwork to sign up with Vanguard, and if I agreed not go to the Board Meeting that night, she would agree to add Vanguard. Part of me wishes I had gone to the meeting but my goal was to get Vanguard and I counted on her coming through on her promise which to her credit she did. I went to my e-mail list and e-mailed eveyone that if they understood what they were doing with Vanguard and would like to start a 403(b) with Vanguard then they should get a sign-up packet from me, fill it out and send it in. Initially there were 40 people who committed to sign up with Vanguard and that number has grown to about 85 as of September 07.

So that's my story. It was a ton of work and it was worth every minute.

If you scroll down you will see copies of some of the different e-mails that I sent out and that I received with an explanation of each one.

  This first series of e-mails was related to an e-mail I sent out to my entire school district regarding Vanguard. At this point Vangaurd was an approved 403(b) provider so I sent out an e-mail to the entire district just to let them know that Vanguard was now a choice. That is the first e-mail below. The next e-mail was a response I got back from one of the teachers in the district and this teacher didn't just reply to me, he replied to the entire district. After that are the responses that people who I had helped responded back to him and then my response to him is at the end. The reason I am including these e-mails is because you may come up against nay-sayers as you try to get low cost providers in your district. You will need to stay strong and concentrate on the positive responses you get because you know you are doing the right thing. The e-mails are below.  
  First is the e-mail I sent out to the entire district.  
  Hi Everyone,

This e-mail comes from a math teacher at Wayne Hills and is a public service message regarding your 403(b).

My name is Bruce McNutt and I am the guy who got the financial company Vanguard in as a 403(b) provider in Wayne last summer.  Since Vanguard has been added as a provider 47 people in Wayne have either switched to Vanguard or started a new 403(b) with Vanguard.

Most of the 47 people who switched are at Wayne Hills which leads me to believe maybe a lot of teachers in the Wayne School District either don't know that Vanguard is now a provider of 403(b) products, don't know what Vanguard is, or the one that concerns me the most, don't know what a 403(b) really is and why the company you choose matters.

The purpose of this e-mail is to let you know that Vanguard is now a choice for your 403(b) investment and suggest some resources that I think you may be interested in checking out.

I am not proposing you switch, far from it. What I am suggesting, is don't you owe it to yourself, your spouse, and your family, to find out if Vanguard is the better choice for you.  For some of you it may not be, but if it is, wouldn't you want to find out now rather than later?

There are three resources that I suggest you check out to learn more about what Vanguard has to offer and to learn more about your 403(b).

Resource 1:  www.vanguard.com  This website will take you to the Vanguard site and you can learn about the  company and what they have to offer.

Resource 2:  www.mcnuttmath.com I wrote this website to try and share what I have learned about 403(b)'s.  I am not a financial adviser nor am I trained in financial advising, so you should not blindly trust the information in my site, I wrote it to serve as a stepping off point into your own Investing Education Journey. If you aren't sure if any of the information I present is accurate, run it by your current rep. with whatever company you currently invest with.  On the life of my children let me assure you that I get no financial gain what so ever from doing what I am doing, although I did get a nice letter from the CEO of Vanguard thanking me for being a "voice for Vanguard," I started this thing last year because I wanted Vanguard for me and my family, but it has grown into helping the people I call my friends make the best possible decisions they can for themselves and their families.  If you don't want to read any of the stuff I have personally written on my site, at least check out the articles from around the internet that I have compiled on 403(b)'s.  That part of the site is at http://www.mcnuttmath.com/403b/contents/web_links.htm

Resource 3:  www.403bwise.com  This site was also created by educators who wanted to share what they know about 403(b)'s and it is the grand-daddy of 403(b) sites.

Once again, I am not suggesting you switch, I am only suggesting you fully investigate all your options before you invest with a particular company.

Finally, I have an e-mail list of over 150 teachers (from both Wayne and elsewhere), Wayne administrators, even a board member, that I maintain. With that e-mail list I do a number of things.  First I send out internet articles that either I or someone else on the list finds about investing and 403(b)'s that we think are worth reading. Second, people on the list will e-mail me questions about their 403(b) or investing in general that I try to answer.  Lastly, I have been doing presentations on investing that the members on my e-mail list are invited to attend.  If you would like to be included on that e-mail list, just reply as such to this e-mail.  You are not committing to anything and if you ever want off the list just let me know.

As a person who feels pretty confident in my knowledge of the 403(b) and investing in general, I hope you at least take the time to review some of the sites listed above. I can't tell you how many people have told me, "I wish I knew this 25 years ago."  If you would like references from my e-mail list as to whether you would be interested in joining it just let me know and I will send you a list of people in Wayne and their e-mails.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I hope you find the resources worthwhile.


Bruce McNutt
Math Teacher
Wayne Hills High School
  This is the response I got, which was also sent to every other e-mail in the district, from a fellow teacher in a different school in the district.  

Are you certified, licensed or some how degreed in some financial investment capacity?  Are you willing to stand behind your advice if the need arises?  What are your professional credentials other than that you claim to be "pretty confident in my knowledge ".  I have also done a lot of research for my own investment strategies, but I do not give advice to others as I am not a professional investment counselor.

Please remove my name from your mailing list as I would prefer to not receive any of your mailings.

  I was definitely taken aback when I got the e-mail but was very pleased when the following e-mails came out, also replied to all.  
Hey Bruce -
Normally I would not "reply all" with this, but since someone already has, I figured I would as well.
Are you a professional - oh wait, of course you are not, you only mentioned that in EVERY SINGLE EMAIL YOU SENT OUT AND REPEATEDLY IN THE AFOREMENTIONED EMAIL!  Hence the term "suggest ' - used at least 3 times, "do not blindly trust me", "stepping off point", "decide for yourself", "no personal financial gain", "information from MY investing journey", "hope you find the resources valuable", etc. etc.
For those of you who do not know Mr. McNutt or are not aware of what he has been doing, Bruce has provided a wonderful and informative "service" for all to ignore or listen to. He never said he would "stand behind" anything, and quite to the contrary, has practically begged people NOT to just do what he says, but rather, to work for themselves to make wise investing decisions. Him sending out the attached email is yet another example of someone selflessly looking to help his colleagues, despite the fact that it will provide no gain, financially at least, for himself. He is literally doing it out of the goodness of his heart.
To ask to be off his list is one thing, and totally understandable; heck, we all get mail that we don't want. But the First couple of points, somehow questioning the validity of what he does, is simply uncalled for.
But hey, what do I know, I am just a guy who paid high Met-Life fees for the last 7 years...
Michael Shale

The tenor of your letter to Mr. McNutt was, in my opinion, uncalled for.  Mr. McNutt is a good person and a good friend.  Simply stated, he wants to help his fellow teachers.  He has never encouraged any of us to follow his advice.  Rather, he encourages us all to self-educate regarding investments, retirement, etc.  That is what I have done and continue to do. I am better for it.  My family is more financially fit.


I wish you well,


S. Thomas Summers



Dear Bruce,

I am the husband of Mary Jones, a guidance counselor at Valley.  Because we do our financial planning together, I have been researching supplemental retirement plans, such as educators' 403(b) and 403(b)(7) plans.  Mary showed me Mr. ______'s e-mail.  On behalf of Mary,  I would like to thank you for making it possible for her to save much more for retirement.

You have enhanced the benefits of all district employees by obtaining the choice of saving through low-cost 403(b)(7) custodial accounts instead of being restricted to high-cost  403(b) retirement annuities.  (The cost of tax-deferred annuities is largely wasted when held in an already tax-deferred retirement account.)  You are also providing a continuing forum for sharing information on investing responsibly and saving for retirement efficiently.

Anytime an individual takes his time to share the fruits of his labor with others, he deserves thanks and support.  In my former office, we are following in your footsteps.  I read your e-mails and consider them to be extremely informative.  You have spent a lot of time on research  -  research which adds to my own.  You continuously remind us that you are not a financial advisor.   Please keep doing  what you are doing.  

Mike Jones


Dear _______,

It is quite unfortunate you had to e-mail  the entire school  staff when you clearly do not understand or know Mr. McNutt's intentions.  Speaking for myself,  Bruce has been quite informative and has suggested valuable resources whereby I could research for my own needs. 

Perhaps you had an off day and were angry about something not pertaining to Bruce.  But please, if you decide to complain again about Bruce, be sure to take my name off your mailing list.   Smile and have a good day!                                  
  Finally, these are the two e-mails I sent to the person who was so upset with what I was doing.  

I didn't mean to offend you by offering advice.  I wanted to stop doing this stuff after I got Vanguard in, I really did, but there is a tremendous need for teachers in this district, and in general, to take control of their financial future.  I'm not saying they should be with this company or that one, I'm not telling them they should be investing a certain way.  I am just trying to get teachers to care about their finances.  You have obviously taken the time to learn investing strategies, but what about the teachers who don't know any better.  You are comfortable saying to them "who cares about you, it's your own fault you haven't taken the time to learn about investing," while I'm not comfortable doing that.  Especially with my friends.  I have prefaced every e-mail, meeting, presentation etc with the information that I am ABSOLUTELY  NOT trained in finance and you should not do anything because I say it is so.  That would be as ignorant as someone blindly choosing to invest with a company they know nothing about. To your credit you are actually the only person of the hundreds of people I have e-mailed that had the balls to share your negative response other than AXA themselves.

I will probably send out one more e-mail to the entire Wayne staff reminding them to e-mail me if they want more info and I apologize that you will necessarily be included on that list.  When you see my name I ask that you just delete the message.

Thanks for your understanding and candid reply,


  Hey _______,

I met Mike (I don't remember his last name) the other day at the Waterfront and I asked him what your motivation was in sending your reply last week and he explained to me that you didn't know who I was or what I had done and you figured I was out trying to make a buck off the teachers.  I hope you have talked to Mike and he explained to you that nothing could be further from the truth.

As for your response it was the completely appropriate response. I hope my reply about me caring about other people and you not wasn't too over the top.  I apologize for that remark.  I know nothing more about you than you know about me so that remark was completely uncalled for and I hope you accept my apology.

As for what I have accomplished in this district on behalf of the teachers of Wayne, I am extremely proud of the impact I have had on the teachers in this district.  More teachers are more aware of what investing means, and how the company you choose to invest with matters than ever before.  I have spent a lot of my own time and resources teaching people to care about thier investments and take an active role in knowing where their money goes, especially where their 403(b) money goes.  I have not tried to sway them into choosing one company over another but I have shown them the differences between the insurance companies for a 403(b) and Vanguard.  If you have done your research like I imagine you have, you know as well as I do that no one in their right mind would choose an Insurance Company over Vanguard for their 403(b).  All I have tried to do is educate people as to the difference and if they want to switch great and if the don't, that's great too, I just want them to know what they are doing and be confident in their decision.

If you were to go to the people in your building and ask them if they know what an expense ratio is, what is a deferred variable annuity, what is a surrender fee, what is tax-deferred growth, what are wrap fees, what is a death benefit, what are M and E fees, unless they came to my presentation, I would bet they have no idea what any of those things are.  Most teachers who have 403(b)'s are with the company that came in and sold them a contract that they really don't understand.  Most people completely trusted that the insurance rep that sold them thier contract had their best interest in mind which clearly they don't.

The most ironic thing about all this is that your response to me is exactly how all these teachers should have approached thier insurance rep.  They should have been much more critical and learned about thier 403(b) before investing and the simple truth is that most people didn't.  Most people blindly trusted their insurance rep and that is why over 500 people in Wayne have 403(b)'s with insurance companies. And that is why I won't stop educating people who want the education until I am sure all 850 of them knows exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it.

Once again I appreciated your candid comments and I hope you have a better appreciation for what I am tring to accomplish here in Wayne.  Maybe someday we can sit down over a beer and compare notes on investing strategies, I am always trying to learn.

  Another set of interesting e-mails came back when I first put the very first set of flyers in the mailboxes of the teachers in my school. My goal in distributing the flyers was to get people to start thinking and talking about 403(b)'s. One of the teachers I distributed it to took it to a friend of thiers who works in the Insurance Field and more specifically in the Annuity Industry. What follows is the series of e-mails that we exchanged. to be reminded of what the flyer said click here to see it.  
Dear Bruce,
An associate of mine provided me with the newsletter you had prepared.  His wife is a teacher within the Wayne school district. 
I respectfully disagree with some of the content and feel that your newsletter is biased and not completely accurate.  I would like the opportunity to show the other part of the equation to your group as a learning experience and not at all in a sales like manner.  I think you would be amazed if you saw how today's annuities really worked.  They are not your Father's annuities anymore.  So if you have outside speakers come in and you want to have a point/counterpoint session, I would like to speak about this with you. 
Thank you

PS:  I would like you to show me your 3rd point about when one dies "the most it would be worth is maybe $10,000."   Also, I would like you to "prove that the probability that one will use the annuity portion of an investment is 1 in 1,000,000


  The e-mail was signed with his full name, which I won't reveal because it is not relevant, but the letters after his name were MBA, CPA, CFP, CLTC and I was still learning so I didn't feel completely confident that I could "Debate" him. but this was my response.  
Dear Larry,
I would love to sit down with you.  As I told the teachers I talked to, this is the information as I understand it, do not take my word for it, take this information and do the research and come up with your own conclusions.  I am fully willing to accept that an annuity may be the best ortion for some people, I just have never had anyone explain to me how.
I am not against annuities in general and I know there are appropriate annuities for certain people, but the annuities I think most people in education have is not that appropriate for their risk and timeline.  I didn't tell anyone not to be involved in an annuity, I just told them to make sure it is right for them.
As for the "most it is worth is $10,000" comment, I assumed that an investor had been investing $10,000 for 10 years their principal would be $100,000, and had that investor been well diversified in the market, he would be very upset if after 10 years that account had fallen to below $90,000.  Based on my knowledge of a well diversified portfolio and the stock market, that would be considered a pretty poor 10 years.  I know the market has had times like that, but the probability that he has more than $90,000 is certainly better than the probability that he has less than $90,000 based on historical market returns.  That's where the "most it is worth is $10,000" comes from.  By the way, the annuity fee at Equitable as I understand it in their prospectus is 1.04%.  That is obviously around $1000 per year.  For $1000 per year I could get a life insurance policy worth about 2.5 million.  Why would I protect against a loss of even the entire $100,000 for $1000?
As for the "1 in a million comment," you're probably right.  I estimated that the average 24 year old had about a 1 in a thousand probability of dying in the next 20 years and it is probably higher than that, and I estimated that the probability of a sustained loss if investing $10,000 per year over 20 years is about 1 in 1000 as well.  Since they are independant, the probability of them both occurring is is their product, or 1 in one million.  I may have overestimated these probabilities, but I don't have access to the actuarial tables used to calculate death rates and I really don't think I am that far off.  This is certainly one of the things I would love to discuss with you.
The bottom line is that when many of my friends and collegues signed up for these programs, they had no idea what they were signing up for because almost all of them are in annuities and virtually none of them know what an annuity is.  I can't help but feel like my friends were being taken advantage of, or at least not fully informed on what they were getting into.  As far as I am concerned, that is their fault, not the fault of the salesman, and I am going to try to educate them to the best of my ability. 
If I am biased, which I am sure I am, then maybe they will get some misinformation, but in my presentation I already told them that.  I'm not looking to take away anyones business or give bad advice.  I encouraged everyone to learn everything about every product and then pick the one that is best for them.  To me that is good advice.
My specific investing advice is if you are 25, you should invest in a 403(b)7 and invest in a well diversified portfolio of low cost index funds.  I would like to hear a financial adviser refute that. 
Once again, obviously you know more about these than me, and these people are my friends and I want to lead them down the path to financial independance.  If you think you have relevant information that I can share with them, I would love to sit down with you and discuss it.  I am available most days after 2:30.
Bruce McNutt
  I felt pretty good about my response and this is what I got back from Larry.  
Dear Bruce,
Sure we can get together and discuss the pros and cons of annuities anytime.  Please note that I am not saying that annuities are right for everyone and in the cases you cited such as a 24 year old, I could not agree with you more that an annuity is inappropriate UNLESS that person has a CD mindset and the variable annuity will get that person to be more investment oriented as he/she should be at 24.
I also agree that no one should buy an annuity or any other investment for that matter unless they have been informed of the positives and negatives associated with that specific product.   Please do not think that I have any agenda here and I am pro annuity in every or even most cases because I am not.
As a CPA and the chairperson of my Chapter's financial planning division I have debated the age old question of how good or bad an annuity is.   Often what I see is these accountants have misunderstandings about them as they have relied upon old information.  
Today's annuities are getting better and better as insurance companies see the opportunity that lay ahead for them as baby boomers as starting to retire and they will inherit either via parents or via pension plan payouts anywhere from $2 - $5 trillion dollars.   As a result, actuaries have sharpened their pencils and are coming out with more in innovative programs each year.
You mentioned your father in the article.   Ironically he may be (because I am assuming he is retired or very close to it) the appropriate person for an annuity if he truly understood all of the pros and cons of what a variable annuity can provide.  
Have a good day.   If you want to talk about this and get together, or if you would like me to speak at one of your meetings, please let me know.   Thanks and kudos to you for reaching out to help your friends.
  I felt good about that and here is my e-mail back.  

I just read your e-mail again and I wanted to thank you for it's tone.  I think I am doing what's right for my friends and I am contacting the plans that most of them are in to clarify the annuity issue.

On a humorous note, how many of your clients have actually inherited between 2 and 7 trillion dollars, or was that aggregate?

  His reply.  
Naturally the aggregate.   Hope all is well.

  My point in adding this series of e-mails is that the facts rule the discussion and you MUST BECOME AN EXPERT YOURSELF before you try to get a new provider added.  
  Finally, the following set of e-mails are offered to give you the strength and courage to take on the challenge of trying to get in a new 403(b) provider. While I did piss off some, most were extremely grateful. Here are some of the nice words people had to say about what I did.  


Your actions is what makes people great. Well done.



I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much I appreciate the information you presented at your meeting.  It motivated me to start asking questions of my current 403b "advisor" and researching 403 b comparison/information sites and discussion forums on the topic.  I have learned a tremendous amount in the last few days that I would have never even considered to be a factor had it not been brought to my attention.  You are absolutely right on when it comes to the TSA I am invested in with Equitable. I am now recognizing the inflated  expense ratios and death and morality fees I am providing just to  pay some sales man's commission, not to mention the bs surrender fees. My advisor actually tried to rationalize my variable rate annuity by saying that it gave more more investment options and in the process I am avoiding front and back end fees that I would have to pay with other firms when moving between mutals. Too bad he didn't mention  the long list of Vanguard's no load mutals minus the inflated expense ratio, annuity fee, and surrender fees. Maybe the benefit lies when comparing it to their own a and b mutals for standard investment? Having Vanguard as an option in this district is a must, if you need any help of any kind, or need me to put something in writing, or whatever, please let me know.  I have spoken to several teachers in the science department who were not at your meeting and they are also equally interested. I also think that a teacher investment discussion group in the future would be a great idea.

Hi Bruce,

Just wanted to thank you again for taking time out of your very busy schedule to come talk to us at Fallon. We really appreciate the special attention. All who attended remarked the next day that they felt so much better about investing with the right company. I have my accountant and my husband reading your articles and my accountant is looking into consolidating some things for me. I have an IRA with Vanguard. I have also stopped the deductions to AXA E. You made things look a little clearer for me so again ,I thank you.

Take care.
Hi Bruce,

I wanted to thank you for giving your presentation last week.  It was incredibly informative and I admire you for taking so much time out of your schedule to help educate people on something so important.  I would like to be on your mailing list so if you could add me I would greatly appreciate it if you put me on. 

Thank you,
Dear Bruce,
 I am very interested in attending the meeting in May and would like to learn more about what my options are. 
You are very correct in saying that most new teachers simply sign their 403B with Equitable because they are the company that is in our building (why not trust them-- I did!).  Without your e-mails, I probably would have never even thought twice about a better 403B investment option. 
Thank you for being so helpful and dedicated to helping others...I think it is wonderful. I have recieved your e-mails and have reviewed many of the websites.  I even have asked a few friends in the finiancial field and they agree that the right thing to do is switch to Vanguard.  I look forward to learning more about this.  Thank you.


i just wanted to thank you again for a fantastic
presentation here at packanack. i can only speak for myself
but when i had dinner with some friends last night i said it
was like having a husband without all the work:}.... you
really have given me a sense of empowerment over something i
have been avoiding for a majority of my adult life. i also
wanted to let you know that if you'd like some help on the
clerical side i would be more than happy to make copies for
you or whatever you thought needed to be done in that sort of
capacity. thanks again for sharing your information with us
and i will be writing to dr. nucetelli strongly suggesting
that as a member of her district there are lots of us who are
interested in seeing your vision come to fruition. enjoy your
weekend and again thank you.


Hi Bruce,

Wow.  I don't understand how you have the time to publish all
of this information.  However, I've been busy with a new prep
and obtaining a master's degree, so I haven't had time to
research investment options.  This site is easy to navigate
and the information gets right to the point.  So, once again,
I would like to thank you for all of your efforts.  I will
recommend this site to my other teacher friends in South
Jersey.  I am definitely going to take the first steps soon to
join Vanguard.

  So that's it. If you understand the differences between a low cost provider for a 403(b) and an Insurance Company providing a 403(b) go tell your friends, then tell your Board and make a difference.