Understanding Your 403(b) Plan

Whether you have a 403(b)1 tax-deferred annuity or a 403(b)7 custodial account, it can be challenging to understand the inner workings of your 403(b) plan. Fees, loan provisions, investment options and sales representatives are just a few of the factors that go into these various plans.

In light of this, NYSUT Member Benefits has created specific publications and programs to assist NYSUT members with better understanding their 403(b) plans.

Our 403(b) Field Guide is a helpful reference for understanding the different types of 403(b) plans available as well as providing assistance in determining what fees may be charged and the effect those fees have on investment returns.

The Member Benefits Corporation-endorsed Financial Counseling Program is available 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.) costs NYSUT members $260 per year on a voluntary basis or $35 per plan participant per year on a group basis. Consultations with Stacey Braun Associates can cover any financial issue and assist with determining the most appropriate retirement savings provider along with the investments within.

In addition, our Financial Counseling Program now offers a 403(b) Advisor Option. For an annual fee of $100, NYSUT members receive up to two phone consultations totaling 90 minutes with a certified financial planner to discuss their 403(b) plan. This discussion can range from choosing a provider (along with the investment options offered by that provider) to reviewing their current provider (fees, investments, etc.); in-person consultations are not available for this option.

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, 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 overall plan fees.