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Teacher Stories

Jeff, age 50

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Jeff teaches government, and psychology courses at the high school level. He loves his students. His biggest challenge is the "stuff" that goes on outside of the four walls of his classroom.

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 9 because I have been investing since my first years of teaching back in the early 90s. I can see the fruits of early investment strategies. I consider myself a Boglehead (devotee of Vanguard founder John Bogle's low-cost investing approach).

What is your biggest money worry?

Will I have enough money to retire comfortably?

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 My 403(b) vendor choices are poor so I invest with the state based 457(b) plan (called Minnesota Deferred Compensation). It has low fees. On a scale of 1 to 10, my satisfaction with my 403(b) plan is 2. If I could change anything about my plan, I'd like to see a low-cost vendor like Fidelity or Vanguard become available. That way teachers could take advantage of low fees in both the 403(b) & 457. .

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

Back in the day, I was a 22-year-old teacher with no investing experience. A sales rep from a financial institution said, "Can you spare $25/check for a retirement account?"

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

No, my university did not have any courses in preparing me for retirement investments.

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

Yes. Someone who is not trying to "sell" you a product but rather looking out for your financial well being.

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

What are your thoughts on a 403(b) Roth for someone in their last decade of teaching?

Anything else you would like to share with us?

Start investing early. Pick a low-cost vendor (if available).

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