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Pittsburgh 403(b) No Longer the Pits 🎉

November 3, 2020

The city of Pittsburgh scored a huge victory recently, and I am not talking about the Steelers 28-24 triumph Sunday over bitter division rival the Baltimore Ravens. I'm talking about how teacher and 403(b) super advocate Adam Holy turned one of the worst 403(b) vendors lists into a merely terrible vendor list with one great choice. 

Before

Now

All of the previous bad choices are still offered, but now Lincoln Investment PDP (Participant Directed Plan) is available. Offered mostly in New Jersey, this product — which was put together by the New Jersey Education Association — is essentially a clone of the Vanguard 403(b). Several of our most active 403(b) advocates use this product. 

Adam exlaimed just how he was able to make this change happen in a 403bwise Facebook Group post last week...

October 26, 2020 403bwise Facebook Group Post

One year ago today, I brought a request to my union leaders to offer one low-cost vendor in our 403b plan options. I used data supported research from Dan Otter, 403bwise.org, and began a journey that took almost one calendar year to complete. It was a process that was frustrating, tested my patience, and I thought it would never happen. 

After constant emails, phone calls, town hall meetings, reviews by two different fiduciaries (including Scott Dauenhauer, CFP) and one financial consultant from the American Federation of Teachers - we finally have broken through in Pittsburgh Public Schools. 

After decades of only having advisor based plans with high fees and commissions, we now have access to Lincoln Investment PDP (Participant Directed Plan). I started the paperwork last week and my account is finally in transition from Retirement Solution Premier with 1.2% in-fees plus $60 annual maintenance charges and whatever fund expense ratio of the funds I chose.  Soon my account will be the Retirement Participant directed Account with Vanguard funds exclusively with an annual maintenance fee of only $60 annually plus Vanguards super low expense ratio of .04%. I am excited and want to encourage others to keep pushing and demanding low-cost options from their districts, college, or university. Thanks Dan, Scott, my wife, Christopher Nye, and this group for the encouragement and positive vibes along the way! - Adam Holy

Sidenote: Initially, the district wasn't interested in adding another vendor. It was pointed out that an existing vendor — Lincoln Investment — offered a low-cost option in a neighboring state: New Jersey. Lincoln agreed to make this option available to the educators of Pittsburgh Public Schools. 

If you want to work to get this Lincoln Investment offering available here are two resources:

  1. To get an application for this product send a message to inquiries@lincolninvestment.com and ask for the Participant Direct Program (PDP) application.  
  2. One of the 403bwise Facebook Groups most helpful contributors, Dan Dews, created a helpful resource (members only!)

Stay wise and well.