I am taking a new position at a non-profit organization. This company is offering a 403(b) retirement plan and I am wondering if I should take it or not. They will pay 75% after 1 year and I can make contributions, before taxes, of up to 10% and I can be fully vested after 3 years of employment . What is the difference between this and a 401K or other retirement programs really?

only real difference these days is who offers it. typically a 403b is offered by non-profits, governments, and educational facilities. In some cases they are exactly like a 401k and are protected by ERISA (federal law) and in other cases they don’t have the same level of protection. They don’t have the same level of protection because the offering institution is simply a conduit for the investment house and the individual rather than the company. Thus they (the offering institution) have no obligation to educate or ensure that the investment is appropriate….they simply forward the money and all responsibility lies on the individual. Often times these types of arrangements are more expensive than others because the mutual fund companies have to create educational and sales opportunities with multiple individuals instead of for a company…..