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Teacher Stories

Rob, age 30

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Rob teaches math and personal finance, and loves that he gets to work with students every day, and teach subjects that he is truly passionate about. His biggest challenge is the income limitations of the profession which is why he is actively engaged in multiple "side hustles." He said there's no financial incentive to work harder at your job, but fortunately he is internally motivated.

We asked Rob 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 8 because I feel I have a strong understanding of how retirement works and what I need to be doing for it, but I am not naive enough to think I know everything about it! There's always more to know.

What is your biggest money worry?

Due to pre-existing health conditions, there is always a worry that we may end up going down to a single-income household. This has resulted in my wife and I trying to build as many active and passive income streams as possible to reduce financial risk.

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 NEA DirectInvest. On a scale of 1 to 10, my satisfaction with my 403(b) plan is 10. If I could change anything about my plan, I'd love for it to be easier to switch into, but I'm very happy with the account itself, and definitely recommend it for any teacher if the other options aren't great.

What prompted you to start a 403(b)?

A rep from a well-known insurance company came into my school and provided a "free" lunch. I knew about the benefits of saving early, but I should have done my homework before signing up with this company.

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

Definitely not. There was a brief mention in the new teacher orientation but very little information was provided.

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

Yes. It means the financial professional has to pledge to put your financial interest first. A fiduciary adviser is someone who will help you to manage your finances and investments, solely with your best interests in mind.

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

Which assets are best kept in a 403(b) vs. a 457(b), IRA, and a brokerage account?

Anything else you would like to share with us?

Teaching is a great profession for allowing you time to work on side hustles that you are passionate about and which can boost your income! For example, I am publishing a workbook this year, called The Simple Startup, which is a beginner's guide to starting a business. You can also sell the resources you created and worked hard to make top quality on a site such as Teachers Pay Teachers. You can check out my site at Teachers Pay Teachers.

If you'd like more ideas about personal finance and financial independence for teachers, I highly recommend you follow me on Pinterest. You can reach me at: thefieducator@gmail.com

Rob is our podcast guest in episode 93: Teacher Rob FI-elan

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