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Another Excellent Ny Times 403(B) Article!

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Hi everybody,

This is where our movement has to go! The PRESS. The NY Times is at it again! https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/your-money/401ks-and-similar-plans/when-teachers-face-the-task-of-fixing-their-retirement-accounts.html?emc=eta1&_r=0


We can talk and debate about Vanguard and TIAA low-cost plans here on this website, but the vast majority of our colleagues are still getting the shaft with annuities. This great website, 403bwise had been online and active for 17 years! And as Tony said, few of our colleagues are coming here and posting, asking questions so we can learn together.


What do we do? If this website is not reaching our colleagues after 17 years of service with the same people posting over and over again, what can we do? I have a suggestion that I have said before. Sorry for repeating. Keep this article alive by saying thank you to this reporter, Ron Lieber, and write a comment in the reply section. There are about 40 something replies already. That's where a discussion is being held, and it will reach thousands of people.


Ron is Tara's colleague. Tara was the lead reporter for last fall's 403(b) outstanding articles. Share it on your twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Tell the unions on twitter https://twitter.com/NEAToday and https://twitter.com/AFTunion to read these articles.


If you are not on twitter, it's simple to start an account a tweet away. It is a powerful and direct way to communicate with influential people. We need to network with the media, politicians, attorneys, and to locate any union leader that care about their members.


I have not heard a whisper from the unions about all of this 403(b) publicity.


And another gentlemen to thank! Matthew Lessor http://www.housedems.ct.gov/Lesser a state representative from Connecticut, who read the NY Times article last fall, introduced a bill that would disclosure CONFLICTS OF INTEREST in 403(b) Plans. Now that's novel! Somebody else thinks like we do, that conflicts of interest are not good for our educator colleagues!


After 55 years, the TSA monopoly might be cracking. It's up to us to spread this article to as many of our colleagues as possible, and keep it alive.

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Ron Lieber does a fantastic job and is truly an advocate as is 403bwise. No Fake News Here!!


Thanks Steve For Posting This.




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Great article! I just listened to the latest podcast on the article which includes a chat with the CT state representative. I wonder if Ron Lieber had posed as a teacher instead of a NY Times journalist (or had an actual teacher make the contacts), he would have received more call backs? No doubt the high fee product sellers want to sit down face to face so they can practice their salesmanship on a very asymmetrical relationship. Phone and email contacts are for after the contract has been signed. Every state needs their own 403bcompare.com that details the many fees of each 403b product. Of course that’s just a start because the K-12 employees then have to USE IT!

Here's the Greenwich Schools' 403b provider list:

The USAA Life Insurance Co. only offers a Fixed Annuity presently with a rate of return of only 1%. It only charges $30 per year but has a rolling surrender fee of from 3% to 7% for 7 years. At least in CA this was their only offering. The Greenwich Schools provider list didn’t include the USAA Investment Management Co. which offers an S&P 500 Index fund with an ER of 0.26% and a fee of $10 per year.

Security Benefit does offer the NEA Direct Invest with 8 Vanguard Admiral class index funds and charges $35 per year. However it’s highly unlikely that SB will ever mention it unless asked about it directly by someone who already knows about it.

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This is the link to our next hero, Connecticut state senator, Matt Lesser. There will be a vote in his committee today about his k-12 403b disclosure bill.

Please send him a message of support. Below is what I sent him to get you started.




Mr. Lesser,

I heard your interview with Dan and Scott last Saturday. I am a friend and part of a small advocacy group of teachers from around the country. A politician who not only read last fall's NY Times article, you have introduced a bill to disclosure the widespread 403(b) conflicts of interest in your state. But the implications for other states will be huge! We will hopefully have a precedent.


We have been trying to do something similar for over 15 years. There have been over 30 previous print media publications, they wrote the same thing over and over, 403(b) TSA with public K-12 are a TERRIBLE high-cost plan in which the annuitant will never get stock and bond market returns. But finally, one politician, YOU, are trying to do something.


I thought that the NY times articles were dead. Once again, nothing much as changed. Perhaps a few teachers got informed, but the big unions have been totally silent again (some of us have been tweeting like mad for weeks to make them pay attention). Unfortunately, despite that wonderful five series Times article, there was no widespread awareness of the horrific problem from inside our k-12 education profession.



Thank you, thank you Mr. Lesser for doing the right thing,


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Mr. Lesser sent the following message today!


The bill passed out of committee unanimously! It now heads to the floor of the House.



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Remember Senator Lessor of Connecticut and his full 403b transparency bill?: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/15/your-money/teacher-ct-retirement.html?_r=0&referer=https://www.google.com/


NYTime's reporter, Tara, on the great 403b series last fall is back in action with the following article. We need to take advantage of these opportunities to get this article in front of our colleagues, cause nobody else is going to do this for us.


Excerpt: "This bill grants teachers the same fee and conflict-of-interest disclosures available to private sector workers having a 401(k) and allows the comptroller to make lower-cost plans available directly to local boards of education,” said Mr. Lesser, a Democrat."


Here is a financial planner who cares about teachers: " Joshua B. Gottfried, a financial planner in Connecticut who works with many teachers, has said he often tells them to avoid the 403(b) altogether, given the dismal lineup of available investments and the high fees. He said the state-run plan is a better option. “Compared to many of the products we see in local districts, it does provide a better platform by offering teachers the benefits of low-cost funds and diversification,” Mr. Gottfried said."


Why don't our teachers' unions do the same and advise their members to avoid the 403b plans altogether? Our own state teachers union instead of supporting our great, low cost Pension2, they offered their own questionable 403b plan! That's how backward California is compared to what is going on back in the East Coast. It's absolutely pathetic in California, nobody talks about this either.

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