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Teacher Stories

Marka, age 51

Photo of Marka

As High School English Teacher, Marka provides students with opportunities and instruction to develop essential communication, such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. "When students find a connection with a book or character and I know they are hooked - that is the best!" she said. Her biggest challenge is teaching writing in the age of technology and texting.

We asked Marka 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 5 because five is in the middle; that is where I am in my understanding. I am becoming more informed, but I have much to learn.

What is your biggest money worry?

I worry about not having enough money to carry me through my post-retirement years.

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 Security Benefit and it is a 403(b)(7) Advisor Mutual Fund Program. 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 would like to pay less in fees and for the vendor to be forthright.

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

When I got divorced and realized I would be on my own financially, I figured I better start saving for the future.

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

That was too long ago to remember!

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

Yes. A fiduciary financial advisor works in your best interest, always, and charges an upfront fee rather than getting paid through a percentage of your investments.

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

Assuming I am asking a fiduciary financial advisor, I would ask for help finding the best retirement plan for me.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I have had my 403(b) plan since 2011, but the impact of COVID-19 led me to look more closely at my savings and retirement plan which ultimately led me to 403bwise.org. I am grateful to be part of this community and not feel so isolated in figuring out the next steps.

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