403bwise is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The K-12 403(b) is broken.
Together we can fix it.
Dan's Blog

Getting Better 403(b) Choices 🥇

January 5, 2021

It usually goes like this...

  1. A teacher learns that her 403(b) choices are not great. Worse, she may have been sold a high-cost, high-commission product.
  2. She contacts us and/or joins the 403bwise Facebook Group
  3. She shares the current vendor list with us and/or posts it on the 403bwise Facebook Group
  4. The list often contains high-cost companies like American Fidelity, AXA Equitable, National Life Group, and Security Benefit
  5. The list often fails to include low-cost companies like: Aspire Financial Services, Fidelity Investments, ICMA-RC, T. Rowe Price, TIAA, and Vanguard

We advise the following...

  1. Use the 403bwise Advocacy Tools to enlist colleagues and lobby employer
  2. Connect with fellow advocates on the the 403bwise Facebook Group who have had similar experiences
  3. See if a 457(b) plan is available. This is another supplemental plan available to school employees. Costs are often lower and the plan has a few major advantages over the 403(b)

What usually happens...

  1. Pushback ensues. We have heard some version of the following: This can't be done; the union makes those decisions; take it to the School Board; take it to the Third Party Administrator; vendor won't join (usually false); can only have so many "slots"; we have to offer advisor* sold products. 
  2. In almost zero cases do school districts make this easy. Often the best response is that some number of other school employees must be willing to sign up with a new vendor. 

*When they say "advisor" they are unwittingly or wittingly, referring to non-fidcuciary, high-comission sales agents. This is the exact opposite kind of advice one should you use

Three Who Succeeded

On Wednesday,  January 6th from 4-5:15pm PAC/7-8:15pm EST, three teachers who refused to take no for answer will share how they were able to successfully add at least one low-cost option. They will also take questions. This is a free event via Zoom. See: Registration information.


Stay wise and well.

Related Podcast:

Saying No to No Undaunted by roadblocks, a 30-year-old Speech Language Pathologist adds a better 403(b) vendor to her employer's offerings. Listen Now »

Related Podcast:

What a Fiduciary Advisor Can Do for Teachers pt. 1 How an advisor can assist the new teacher, and the mid-career teacher. Listen Now »

Related Podcast:

What a Fiduciary Advisor Can Do for Teachers pt. 2 How an advisor can assist the teacher approaching retirement. Listen Now »