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Teacher Stories

Gigi, age 53

Photo of Gigi

As Assistant Principal, Gigi is also a former science teacher, and when asked what she likes best about her job she said she loves interacting with students. "I help them understanding the importance of maintaining a learning environment. I also work with amazing teachers". Her biggest challenge at the moment is the increase in the number of students who Vape. "We are providing education about it, and working with our counselors and social workers to provide students opportunities to understand the dangers."

We asked Gigi 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 8 because I know that a person can retire if they have saved 25x what they spend in a year. I know what my husband and I spend annually so I know how much I will need to have in my pension and what I will need to fill the gap..

What is your biggest money worry?

Paying for children’s college.

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 I started with Horace Mann. I now use Hooker and Holcomb. . On a scale of 1 to 10, my satisfaction with my 403(b) plan is 1. If I could change anything about my plan, Fees. Plus I would like it if I could go through Vanguard for my 403(b) but I found out that tis not available.

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

A former student came into my classroom and asked if I was preparing for retirement. He worked for Horace Mann.

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

Nope. Never.

What is a question you would ask about your 403(b)?

I wonder how much my 403(b) funds will be taxed once I am retired and ready to withdraw. What do I need to prepare for both mentally and fiscally? Is there a way to legally decrease the amount that will be taxed?

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 would want to know the best way to optimize my tax situation when the time comes to utilize both my pension and my investments. I am still confused about capital gains, losses and the Roth conversion ladder.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I guess the question that I have pertains to how to have the open conversations with colleagues about retirement savings including 403(b) and the 457 (b). Do the young teachers know and understand how to maximize their savings in order to be financially free? How does one get that conversation started in their own district? How could I help other teachers across the state learn more about the importance of saving for retirement?

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