Appleton Area School District 403(b)
Welcome to The Appleton Group’s homepage for the Appleton Area School District 403(b) Program. On this page, you will find a summary of the Appleton Group 403(b) program, links to on-demand presentations detailing the many features of this program, advisor contact information, and additional resources to help you get started.
The Appleton Area School District (AASD) 403(b) enables current employees to direct a portion of their earnings toward a personal retirement savings account. These earnings can then be invested through a variety of 403b vendors (such as Appleton Group Wealth Management) that offer participants multiple investment options. Along with Social Security and the Wisconsin Employee Trust Fund pension, the AASD 403(b) program is an important part of the district’s employee retirement savings program.
Each individual participant in the Appleton Area School District 403(b) program can choose from the list of approved vendors, and then work with that vendor’s designated advisor to select and manage their individual investments. Depending on the vendor, participants may also receive additional services, including financial planning services, insurance planning, estate planning assistance, and more.
The Appleton Group is pleased to offer a comprehensive 403(b) package with many features and benefits for AASD employees and their families. As a participant in our firm’s 403(b) program, you will receive:
Access to our firm’s suite of professionally managed Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) portfolios. This suite of three risk-managed portfolios automatically adjusts your exposure to the markets as economic conditions change, working to keep your investment portfolio correctly positioned for whatever market environment we’re in. During rising market environments, your portfolio is automatically invested in growth assets (such as equities, U.S. real estate, international investments, etc.), offering the potential for meaningful growth during sustained market advances. During falling market environments, your portfolio is systematically shifted toward more conservative assets (such as bonds and cash), working actively to manage investment risk during periods of economic stress. No other AASD 403(b) vendor offers our firm’s suite of risk-managed portfolios;
Professional retirement planning services (which factors in 403(b) savings information, WETF pension assumptions, social security assumptions, retirement income planning, sustainability analyses, and non-403(b) investments);
Quarterly, in-person reviews of your 403(b) plan account with your personal Appleton Group Advisor;
A choice of either pre-tax salary deferral (traditional) or after-tax salary deferral (Roth);
In-person access to our portfolio management team (all investment management decisions under the program are made locally);
Access to periodic Three Minute Trend Talks, providing brief on-demand market commentary delivered directly to your email account;
24/7 access to your personal 403(b) account;
A: Application materials can be obtained either by contacting the AASD payroll office (832-6147) or by contacting the Appleton Group advisor above.
A: Generally speaking, The Appleton Group 403(b) is designed for AASD employees who are in their 40s, 50s or 60s, who are nearing retirement and who already have saved meaningful assets in their 403(b) accounts. Our firm’s expertise in retirement planning and investment risk management are designed for those employees who are concerned about reducing investment volatility, increasing responsiveness to changing market conditions and who seek full-time professional management of their 403(b) account.
A: Our firm offers professionally managed investment portfolios only, specifically for participants who don’t have the time (or the desire) to build and manage an investment portfolios themselves. Our portfolios work to actively manage investment risk, and as such are designed to be among the most efficient, flexible and responsive investment options available to AASD employees. Each of our portfolios is fully diversified, using a combination of low-cost exchange traded funds (ETFS) representing numerous market segments. As such, they are suitable for the entirety of a participant’s 403(b) plan assets. Participants who wish to build and manage their own investment portfolios are free to choose from additional vendors who are available under the AASD 403(b) program.
A: Each participant in the Appleton Group 403(b) program will have a dedicated, local advisor who will work with you to select the proper portfolio, answer any questions you may have about this program, assist you with transferring assets from other vendors (if applicable), provide all financial planning services (at no additional charge), and offer a quarterly review of your personal account performance (also at no additional charge). Participants have the ability to change the allocation of their 403(b) assets at any time, as well as the ability to change how their salary deferrals are invested.
A: Yes. All AASD 403(b) vendors can accept transfers from other vendors. While the Appleton Group 403(b) has no surrender penalties or sales loads of any kind, other vendors may impose transfer fees and surrender penalties.
A: We believe that cost effectiveness is a critically important part of any retirement plan, especially in today’s challenging economic environment. Appleton Group Wealth Management is compensated solely by the investment advisory fees charged to its clients, including all participants in the Appleton Area School District 403(b) program. Our firm charges a low, annual percentage fee on the assets in your personal account, and is currently 1.00% per annum. In addition, our 403(b) administrator (Pension Inc.) charges a one-time $10 account setup fee, and a $55 annual reporting fee, and an investment trading fee equal to 0.15% of your account balance. These reasonable annual fees are necessary to maintain your account, to ensure that all salary deductions are properly credited to your account, and to provide all account reporting to you (including quarterly statements and daily on-line access to your account). All fees under this 403(b) program are paid out of your existing retirement plan’s assets, and are completely transparent to you at all times. Please contact an Appleton Group advisor (listed above) to receive a current fee schedule.