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Teacher Stories

Chad, age 51

Photo of Chad

As a High School Special Education Teacher (and football coach), Chad provides daily instruction and case carrier presence for students with specific learning disabilities, and often one of the other 12 federal categories of eligibility. He thinks educators are being forced to wear too many hats. Despite this, Chad still loves being in the classroom where he gets a daily jolt of "juice" from working with students.

We asked Chad 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 while I understand some of the ways to get money into a retirement account, I feel unprepared to get the money back out!!! Estate planning and distribution philosophy is a definite area of weakness for me.

What is your biggest money worry?

I fear not finishing my goal of helping my family to a better legacy. My most current anxiety is college funding for my two daughters. I am taking Lynn O’Shaughnessy's College Solution course. She is an outstanding wealth of knowledge.

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 8. If I could change anything about my plan, it would be to have Vanguard reconsider how they are servicing the 403(b) population. Several years ago they made the decision to have the Newport Group service their 403(b) plans. I can no longer get specific 403(b) information answered by Vanguard. If I tell them I have a 403(b) I get transferred to the Newport Group. So now when I call I tell them I have a 401(k).

I was used to an extremely high customer service standard for the first 10 years of my experience with Vanguard and I am hopeful they will consider a bit of rethinking in how they perform customer service. Having said that, Vanguard continues to be a great product with some of the lowest fees in the industry. It would be difficult to find a better product than Vanguard. Note: Newport Group has told 403bwise that they are always working to improve their customer service experience.

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

My interest was piqued when I became interested in money matters and an attempt to manipulate the tax liability for my family on a yearly basis

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?


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

Before I give you my money to invest, may I see your personal balance sheet of what you are investing in and how you have made your situation better for your family? Proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

Starting early with just a little bit of money is so cliché but it is so true. It can pay off. You can invest on your own and there is a whole community of great people out there ready to help you get started with really keen and savvy advice. And you can Teach and Retire Rich! I will let you know in 10 years if I am able to do it.

Chad is our podcast guest in episode 77: Football Coach Scores with 403(b)

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