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Teacher Stories

Anthony, age 47

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As an Elementary Technology Teacher, Anthony teaches everything from touch typing to 3D design, printing and coding. He loves teaching news skills, and then watching the children apply them.

We asked Anthony 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 9 because I’m always learning something new. I have read many books and blogs and listen to many podcasts. The best one is Teach and Retire RICH!! I don’t feel I can learn everything. I’m always discovering new rules and "loopholes".

What is your biggest money worry?

Having enough money invested to live a very comfortable retirement. I’ve always worked two or more jobs so retirement to me will probably mean just working during the summers. I’ve worked every summer since I started teaching.

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 Vanguard. On a scale of 1 to 10, my satisfaction with my 403(b) plan is 10. If I could change anything about my plan, I wish I knew then what I know now! We’re not in terrible shape but I often wonder what those 5 years with Travelers plus the $7,000 surrender penalties really cost me? I was so bitter that I suggested rules to have “advisors” banned from entering schools during school hours. I run seminars about choosing providers, I send out emails reminding members about increasing contributions and I coach colleagues about financial strategies that allow you to get to maximum contributions.

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

Lol, no.

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


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

I’m going to be greedy and ask two. Can we retire early and can we actually afford it? I also wonder in what order I should withdrawal money from my various accounts: 403(b), 457(b), IRA, Roth IRA and our after tax investment accounts.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

My parents taught me how to work hard but not about how to make my money work hard. I’ve taken the opportunity to teach my children about saving by starting Roth IRAs with them, teaching them to try to live within their means etc. It's been very hard in the consumer driven society we live in. They have a really good early start but I’m sure given the choice, they’d rather buy clothes than put their summer checks into Roth IRAs. Schools need to do a better job to educate kids on financial literacy.

Anthony is our podcast guest in episode 80: Wealthy Teachers

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