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Teacher Stories

Jessica, age 37

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As a Speech Language Pathologist, Jessica works with students of all ages to better use and understand language, social skills, vocabulary, assistive technology, fluency, speech sounds, and comprehension. When asked what she loves best about her job she said, "I love having a bit of variety in my day-to-day work. I also love that moment where the lightbulb clicks and my students 'get it' is the greatest feeling of accomplishment." Jessica loves seeing her students move between the speech room and the classroom. Working together with teachers, other service providers (psych, PT, OT, counseling etc.) makes her feel like she's always learning and growing as well. Her biggest challenge is that there is usually only one Speech Language Pathologist per building. Since there is only a handful in the whole district, it's common to be "forgotten" in school plans.

We asked Jessica 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 three months ago I would have said 2. I've been reading a lot lately and listening to podcasts. I still get very overwhelmed, but believe I could AT LEAST pick an option to start with now.

What is your biggest money worry?

I have been budgeting and am confident with those skills. However, when I hear the number and alphabet soup (IRA, 403b, 457), I feel overwhelmed. I haven't even set up anything into school retirement options because I'm in analysis paralysis.

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 I have worked on contracts one academic year at a time. Each year I'm with a new district. I now realize that it would have been perfect to set up a 457! However, I've not understood retirement options well enough to make confident decisions.

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. This is NOT the guy who comes into the school during lunch to "help you set up your/(their) retirement." You have to find your own "fiduciary" advisor who will honestly explain what's in your best interest. They cannot push you towards something because of a commission they'll earn.

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

Look at my family's situation and variables. Look at the options I have at this district. Help me set up a retirement plan that I can automate and not stress over each year!

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I truly wish it didn't feel like learning a new language + law + tax codes was required to manage my own money. But, I'm grateful there are people out there (like Dan and Scott of 403bwise) who make the information a bit more accessible.

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