403bwise is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The K-12 403(b) is broken.
Together we can fix it.

Teacher Stories

Marlin, age 34

Photo of Marlin

As a PE Teacher/Coach, Marlin inspires students to live a life of health, and fitness through various instructional methods. He loves not only getting to educate our future generation on healthy living and life lessons, but the job allows him to live a healthy lifestyle while "on the clock". His biggest challenge is motivating unwilling students to understand the importance of an active lifestyle, and finding activities that all 30 students enjoy at the same time.

We asked Marlin 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 understand the importance of choosing low-fee investment options, tax optimization, and having a pension. But I would like to understand all the nuances of our pension system and benefits.

What is your biggest money worry?

Doing everything right from a savings and investment standpoint. I also worry about running out of money in retirement due to uncontrollable circumstances.

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.

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

Learning of the tax benefits through reading personal finance stories.

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. A financial advisor that gives financial advice that is in the best interest of the teacher.

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

Are my allocations and amounts of investments adequate for my financial goals?

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I believe educators have the sacred job due to our ability to reach students on a personal level. My hope is that everyone (especially teachers) realize how valuable we are, and what a great job teaching is. Teachers can have a nice nest egg if we start early! We are resourceful out of necessity, so I know we can find ways to save if we are aware and are provided good options.

View all stories »