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Teacher Stories

Jeff, age 54

Photo of Jeff

As a custodian (a.k.a. The Wealthy Custodian), Jeff provides maintenance and custodial services to an elementary school in Central California. He loves interacting with students, teachers, and staff personnel, but as with all jobs there are always issues and problems to address.

We asked Jeff 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 10 because because I feel that I am not saving for retirement, I am building wealth so that I can reach financial independence when I am too old to work.

What is your biggest money worry?

I have never had any money worries. I have always lived within my means.

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, it would be that we had automatic enrollment and auto increases in contributions when I was first hired in 1987. Even with my modest lifetime wages I would have close to a million dollars in assets now. Though I am not far from that number now. I wish for others that we would add these features now.

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

I learned about the 403(b) plan in a 1996 personal finance class at took at Shasta College

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

Doesn't apply.

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

No questions. I am very satisfied with my low cost investment choices.

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 think I know the answer but I would ask: How am I doing?

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I want to leave readers with these messages: 1) Please, please become financially literate. My personal net worth started to grow once I became financially literate; 2) You can build wealth on any income. For example, my lifetime income is projected to be $1.2 million over 42 years of working, but my net worth is close to $900,000 today at only 32 years of work history. I owe it all to becoming financially educated, and the saving and spending choices I have made in my life. I live a very modest life. My greatest hope is that my story will inspire readers to become financially literate and have the life they dream of wanting.

Jeff is our podcast guest in episode 74: The Wealthy Custodian

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