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

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

Teacher Stories

Bob, age 60

Photo of Bob

Bob was a school counselor at the same school for 20 years, and just retired. He loved the variety. What he did on a day-to-day basis kept him engaged and challenged. "A school counselor" he shared, "never knows what they are going to deal with on any given day. I'm not a fan of monotony!" Bob loved working with kids. He tells educators that if you don't really enjoy hanging out with kids, especially if you're in a middle school, you need to change careers. He believes the universal problem with education is dealing with all the non-essential tasks that get in the way of what educators love to do: work with kids. As the years went by, he saw himself working less and less with kids, and dealing more and more with paperwork, reports, and planning.

We asked Bob 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 have been very active in learning personal finance concepts for several years. My undergrad is actually economics, which didn't get used very much in school counseling. In the years leading up to retiring in May, I spent a lot of time learning about retirement. My interest in personal finance has led me to start up my own financial coaching practice.

What is your biggest money worry?

As a recent retiree, my biggest money worry is: Did I make the right call retiring when I did? Is there enough funds in my retirement nest egg to do the things I want to do?

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

No, because we have always fully funded a Roth IRA and never had enough extra funds to do a 403(b).

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

If I did in my early training, it was just a small amount of info.

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

Yes. A fiduciary is a financial advisor who is legally obligated to keep the best interest of his/her clients foremost in their decision making. [Note: Learn more about Working with an Advisor.]

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

Why haven't you asked me if I have taken care of all my other financial needs such as an emergency fund before encouraging me to invest with you?

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I think educators fall into the complacent trap of thinking that since they have a pension plan, they don't really need to worry about retirement and planning for their financial future. This is so far from the truth.

View all stories »