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Teacher Stories

Crystal, age 36

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As a Choir Director, Crystal teaches high school choir. She loves that she gets to sing, and play piano all day. Her biggest challenge is currently trying to figure out how to teach choir remotely.

We asked Crystal some questions about what she knows or wants to know about the 403(b) and saving for retirement, and this is what she 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 there's always more to learn, but given I'm less than 2 years from retirement at age 36, I've got a lot figured out.

What is your biggest money worry?

Don't really have any, I'll be FIRE by age 38 AND I just wrote a book called Retirement for Teachers, wishing I'd found this site sooner!

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 would change the withdrawal penalty. But that's why I have a 457(b) as well.

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

I opened it my first year as a teacher, with a totally awful company and got a fixed annuity at 1.5%!!!! What a sucker I was.

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. Someone who doesn't directly benefit from your investments but can give you (hopefully) unbiased information. Honestly, I don't even trust fiduciary advisors. I trust myself.

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

What are you invested in?

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I'm really passionate about helping people and I think with some additional connections I could get some serious stuff done. Note: Crystal is so passionate that she wrote a book to help teachers: Retirement for Teachers: How to Come Up with a Retirement Plan That Works for You

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