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Teacher Stories

Beatriz, age 42

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As School Psychologist, Beatriz supports students with their learning, and social-emotional needs. "Working with students is so fun—each child is such a unique individual," she says. Her biggest challenge is the IEP caseload. "It is so high and it’s grueling trying to keep up on assessments/reports."

We asked Beatriz some questions about what he knows or wants to know about the 403(b) and saving for retirement, and this is what he said.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being total understanding, how well do you understand saving for retirement? Why did you pick this number?

I picked 6 because I picked 6 because I know the ‘vehicles’ where I can invest within the district and outside the district. I understand about mutual funds/index funds. But I’m kicking myself for not having learned/researched at the START of my career. I wish I had been more aggressive in monthly contributions and selected a low-fee broker. (I’m 16 years in with AXA/Equitable, trying to decide where to roll that $ to). I also wish I had researched life insurance and 529 plans. I blindly got both through AXA..

What is your biggest money worry?

Figuring out the balance of saving for retirement, my children’s college funds, and having a reasonably sized-house with a reasonable mortgage (Southern California cost of living is ridiculous).

Do you have a 403(b)? If yes, are you satisfied with your investment? If you do not have a 403(b), why not?

I have a 403(b) with AXA/Equitable. They were the first company to catch me as they ‘roamed the halls’ after school. On a scale of 1 to 10, my satisfaction with my 403(b) plan is 3.

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

Knowing the importance of saving—that my pension alone won’t be enough for retirement. (Thanks to my lonely Saturday nights in grad school watching Suze Orman's financial show).

Did you ever hear about the 403(b) in your teacher preparation program?


Do you know what a fiduciary financial advisor is? If yes, how would you describe a fiduciary to a colleague?

Yes. A financial advisor who doesn’t earn money off your investments/what you invest in. You pay them a fee or hourly compensation for objective advice.

If you could ask a financial advisor one question what would it be?

Where to move my money. CTA Invest has low fees but I understand the moral/historical dilemma there (CTA fought legislation that would have allowed California school districts to put their 403(b) plans out to bid). So probably Vanguard or CalSTRS Pension2 are my next best options. Also, I would like to get some tips on where to rollover my kid’s 529. Because the AXA fees are insane. They are probably worse than the 403(b) fees. I guess I just want to make sure I'm on the right track.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

When is it worth it to ‘purchase years’ for my pension? I’ve taken over 1.5 years off in maternity leave. And I’ve been working a reduced FTE since having my babies.

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