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Teacher Stories

Craig, age 41

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Craig teaches different levels of high school math including state level, and AP level courses to grades ten through twelve. The best part of his job is getting to know students and having an impact on their lives. The biggest challenge is the business side of education, and the tough situations outside of school that so many students face.

We asked Craig 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 8 because I have learned a lot through reading books, listening to podcasts, doing personal finance presentations, following the Financial Independence (FI) movement, and asking questions of people with a vast amount of knowledge.

What is your biggest money worry?

Not having enough money saved so that my wife can retire early as well.

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 Ameriprise. On a scale of 1 to 10, my satisfaction with my 403(b) plan is 4. If I could change anything about my plan, I would move my 403(b) plan to a different vendor, but it's tricky. I know in my heart the importance of fees and index funds but my financial advisor is a family friend. I have taught her nephew. She has given my family tickets to local events, and done great things for my parents finances. I am scared to break that relationship and trust. I am afraid of what my parents will say and how my financial advisor will take the news. I know these things sound ridiculous but it is what has prevented me from changing vendors to this point.

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

My parents ingrained in me from a young age the importance of saving for retirement.

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 fiduciary financial advisor legally has to act in the best interest of their client.

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

What are some services I would need a fiduciary financial advisor for outside of my 403(b), 457(b), and Roth IRA accounts that I might not being thinking about?

Anything else you would like to share with us?

My district doesn't currently offer objective information on saving for retirement, but I am working with my union president to change this.

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