These workshops are initiated by a team of employees and us retired folks. More than 500 have gone to at least one in the last five years. Way back in the 90s, another educator, Sandy, and I, started an informal group and met at a restaurant, just to chat. People would leave their emails and I would grow that list and keep people informed. This is way before the powerful social media tools we have today. Our very first Saturday workshop at a high school just four blocks away from this current venue drew 55 teachers! YES, 55! on a beautiful Saturday morning. This is back in the dark ages of 2002. Dan Otter was there and the first time I met him. I was the primary presenter but we had a panel. To tell the truth, I was not that organized because we figure about 5-10 would show up. But people stayed and wanted more support.
Our colleagues are begging for objective information, and are fed up with sales pitches. After all of these years, the word is slowly spreading that annuities are not a good plan, but it is still a MAJOR problem.
Just start meeting and be there no matter who shows up. In those early days, we sometimes had only one colleague and that was fine because NOBODY was doing anything like this ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY WITH PUBLIC K12. I cannot overestimate that--even today, I don't know more than a handful of people who frequent here organize some type of meeting, website, or presentation covering the basics:
1. Stay the hell away from ANNUITIES of all types, except for TIAA. Tell them that because of costs and restrictions, they will never get stock or bond market returns from annuities, both fixed and variable. Our pension plans (also endowments and foundations) never use annuities because they have a fiduciary agreement to provide the best returns, and annuities fall way short of those basic fiduciary standards.
2. Never pay commissions!
3. Showing your colleagues the low-cost investments that are available in your 403b or 457b plans: Vanguard, Fidelity, TIAA, and the low-cost third-party administrators.
4. Show them any state plans that are low cost. Here in California, we have the great CalSTRS's Pension 2.
5. Show them the 457(b) plan if its an open architecture with genuine investment choices (NO ANNUITIES): index funds, no-load mutual funds.
In this workshop coming up, there will be one or two people who will come up to me and say that they met me 15-20 years ago at that restaurant, and thank me and Sandy for offering that opportunity to straighten themselves out.
So Imua, announce that you are going to be at such and such restaurant and the subject will be the infamous 403b, and or the 457b. Most restuarants have meeting rooms that you can use for free but people have to order a meal.