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403(b) Plans in the News

November 2016
The New York Times has published a number of articles in the past few weeks that pertain to 403(b) plans. These articles have reinforced the notion that selecting the appropriate 403(b) provider for supplemental retirement savings can be a challenging task. While recent legislation has been passed to help clean up the industry regarding disclosure of fees, compensation and even accepting a fiduciary role, governmental 403(b) plans have remained mostly exempt from these regulations.

In light of this, we would like to take the opportunity to remind local associations about the options that NYSUT Member Benefits has put in place to assist NYSUT members with these important financial decisions. For starters, our 403(b) Field Guide can be found in our online Financial Planning Center; this document is a helpful reference for understanding the different types of 403(b) plans available and various fees that may be charged.

Next, our endorsed Financial Counseling Program can be joined on either a Voluntary or Group basis, and provides in-person consultations with a Certified Financial Planner. This program (provided by Stacey Braun Associates, Inc.) is available for $260 per year on a voluntary basis or $35 per plan participant per year on a group basis. To date, 29 local associations & benefit funds have made the Group Financial Counseling Program available to more than 15,000 members.

Consultations with Stacey Braun Associates can cover any financial issue and assist with determining the most appropriate retirement savings provider and the investments within. Stacey Braun Associates has also created a 403(b) Provider-Specific Workshop (available for $350) for local associations that discusses the most popular 403(b) plans available for that local, including associated fees and other costs of investing with those providers. This is a great opportunity for members to figure out their true cost of savings for retirement as well as if a change may be needed.

Finally, as we have previously mentioned, school districts can offer the New York State Deferred Compensation Plan (457(b) plan). 457(b) plans have the same contribution limits as 403(b) plans but also offer some distinct advantages when it comes to fees and investment choices.

For more information about the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan, you can contact NYS Deferred Compensation Plan Executive Director David Fischer at 518-473-6619 or david.fischer@nysdcp.com.

If you have any questions regarding the benefits outlined above, please contact Derek Clement at NYSUT Member Benefits at 800-626-8101, ext. 1251 or dclement@nysutmail.org.

-- Lynette A. Metz
Director, NYSUT Member Benefits Trust
CEO, NYSUT Member Benefits Corporation