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MoeMoney

403b Health for Teachers PD course

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I think we’ve discussed this before and it frustrated me that I need to ask again. I am writing a teacher Professional Development class on 403b’s. The objective is to alert them to the advantages and pitfalls of this type of investment. I am far enough along where I know most local districts will not approve it for them to receive any Pd credit for it because it doesn’t benefit students or district goals.  However, I will end up with a course I can take anywhere and will have awakened some teachers in my class, at the very least.

Goals are to become aware of 403b options; to set a personal goal for investment with a time frame; understand the 4% rule; identify their potential pension amount after number of years; identify if they are likely to live off their pension; be able to explain the effect of Fees on investment returns. I will have them identify their district 403b options and search to identify the costs. I will refer them to their district office to dig, and to a salesman. I will refer them to this blog, of course. I will require readings, and post/comment their findings. I will teach this with a (zoom) webinar, and discussion board. 

What else would you add and how would you go about teaching? I appreciate any advice, especially from those who have already taught teachers, or presented to them. I cannot find the presentations that have been shared and I apologize for requesting duplicate information. 

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I've considered something similar at my rural district. I already teach a 1/2 hour a day Financial Independence course to HS students. I'm seen as the crazy investing guy though to staff. 

 

I would include calculators/examples on how to calculate how much one needs for retirement, and a budget allocator, such as myannualbudget.com, where they can play with numbers and see how saving pretax opens up come wiggle room due to the reduced tax load.

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I was never able to teach students about retirement effectively. Too far into the future. They tuned out. Math wasn't my forte so I kept it to basics but math is a good way to go as are calculators that let them project into the future.Instead I focused on short term goals like saving for a car and budgeting your money in college or while renting your first apartment. That seemed to work very well. Once I got into goals past 10 years I would lose them.

Educating teachers was even more impossible. Of course in a captive class you might have more control and better luck. I was often frustrated with a general lack of interest in pursuing a retirement goal. Many thought all they needed was a pension. Many, with that attitude  never even lasted long enough in the classroom to collect one.

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I think it’s important to get teachers to understand that when they are dealing with the reps in the building they are customers being sold a product.  I think there is a tendency to see these individuals as retirement specialists who are there to help us plan for retirement.  This changes the way we approach them.  You wouldn’t go to a car salesman and say, “ I don’t know anything about buying cars, you’re the expert.  I have $10,000 dollars just tell me what to do with it.”  But, this is the approach I took when I started and I know many other teachers who have done the same thing.

i would provide them with questions that would help them become an informed customer when considering what plan they are comfortable starting or when considering if they want to switch plans

 

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Hi Moe,

You have gotten good comments on your question. As you know, I have been doing this since the late 1990s when another colleague and I just had some informal meetings at a local restaurant. 

First off, don't discourage yourself by thinking about the 70% of our colleagues who are not interested. 

Focus only on those colleagues who are interested because of the systemic challenges the participants will face. When our colleagues leave your presentation, THERE IS NO SUPPORT OR HELP ANYWHERE! Think about this: your presentation may be the only objective (none sales job) presentation that they will ever get in their careers! Be sure and give them a clear NEXT STEP, such as starting with a Target Date Fund or a balanced fund (stock and bond) such as Wellesley or Wellington. 

Whatever you do, get feedback! I wrote up the feedback on a financial workshop we coordinated for our Los Angeles teachers a couple of years ago:  http://latebloomerwealth.com/investment-workshop-evaluation-results/

You are doing a great service because it is the right thing to do. 

Let us know how it went, and share the feedback you get from the participants. 

Steve

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In a way I can understand why teachers as well as the general public might postpone learning about retirement to the level they should. Life at every stage is complicated and many are busy solving more immediate concerns like family expenses, home ownership, and paying for daycare and then college all of which can be overwhelming to say the least. But, your personal development idea is a good one and like Steve stated it truly may be the only truly honest  advice on investing they may ever get sad to say and you may  very well save some souls from the sharks that are surrounding them at every moment.

Jebjebitz, your comments ring so true. Funny how we open up our finances so easily to these sharks and naively think they are there to help us and put our interests first. I made that mistake myself.

 

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Thanks for your helpful answers. Steve, when you put it that way, it makes it easier for me to push forward. If no one else gets their ear objectively, then I don't want to miss that opportunity. And I’ll ignore the 70% that don’t want to take the class, for the time being, and be inspired that there are some motivated teacher-learners. Lastly, I am seeking to have them discover and state their own action plan. I will just need to guide them to it. 

I will definitely report back here. Please keep the thoughtful suggestions coming as I’ll be building the class over the next month.

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Here is my outline and objectives, so far. I have assessments and resources too, including personal living resources. 

Week # 1 - Intro and expectations Objectives - Participants will:
 
Objective 1:
meet and use Zoom and Class Management program.
 
Objective 2
self-assess where they fit in on the 403(b) plan continuum, create a learning community.
Objective 3
Explore course expectations and objective, policies and resource list.
Objective 4
identify the available 403b vendor options at your workplace.
  Objective 5
  Evaluate the NYSUT endorsed 403(b) outline document and definitions
Week #2 - Learning and planning Objectives- Participants will:
  Objective 1
  Summarize the difference between an annuity and an index fund
  Objective 2
  explain how to add vendors at the workplace.
  Objective 3
  Rank their personal values and set 3 goals, including a financial goal. Hypothesize how much money you will need when you stop working.
 
  Objective 4
  identify the requirements of being a sales rep for a 403b vendor, while defining what a fiduciary is.
  Objective 5
  Constuct questions you’d ask a potential sales rep and vendor when choosing which plan to invest with.
Week #3- Research Objectives- Participants will:
  Objective 1
  Be able to identify and state the way Fees are incorporated. Determine and compute the effect of fees on investment returns.
  Objective 2
  Compare potential results of savings goals (from 2.3) using three different vendors, encompassing fees.
  Objective 3
  Be able to articulate the 4% rule.
  Objective 4
  Apply the 4% rule when establishing a personal goal for their investment, stated in dollars and including a time frame
  Objective 5
  Build a network of 403b human resources
Week #4 - Create Objectives - Participants will:
  Objective 1
  Create a wellness plan for a 403b maximizing the results utilizing components of the course
  Objective 2
  Identify attributes of a healthy 403b account
  Objective 3
  Compare your current 403(b) plan with the healthy plan you identified previously.
  Objective 4
  State the actions steps necessary to implement the healthy plan identified in 4.1
Week #5 - Implement Objectives - Participants will:
  Objective 1
  Implement the action plan to build a healthy 403(b) plan.
  Objective 2
  Hypothesize on why there are regulations in place preventing employer personnel from providing education or guidance on plans such as 403b’s and 457’s.
  Objective 3
  Explain the difference between a 401k and a 403b and be able to define the ERISA ruling.
  Objective 4
  Reflect on what changes would need to happen in their workplace for others to benefit from what they've learned.
Week # 6 - Assess Objectives - Participants will:
  Objective 1
  Summarize your findings. Identify the pros and cons of the 403(b) plans.
  Objective 2
  Create a proposal for your school district to positively enhance the way 403(b) plan offerings are implemented.
 
Objective 3
 
  State the current conditions of 403b plans available in the workplace and create a 2 minute video summarizing them.

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