Without struggle, there can be no progress. 2016 was a year of both. We are devoted to the cause of providing retirement plans for teachers and other public servants that they deserve. We are also not naive to the challenges of accomplishing our worthwhile goals.
Hundreds of billions of dollars languish in expensive annuities that teachers don’t need or understand. We have embarked on the titanic struggle to break the strangle-hold monopolistic large insurers and brokerage firms have on this market.
No one ever said this was going to be easy. Though there is tremendous work still to be done, we have made some amazing progress in getting the word out.
Our first goal was to see this problem get national attention. Check!
Personal finance writers Tara Siegel-Bernard and Ron Lieber uncovered the murky world of 403(b) plans in a a 5-part series in The New York Times. Egregious fees, deception, and conflicts of interests are some of the kinder words that describe the major players in this vastly unregulated industry.
Our second goal was to create alliances with like-minded people. Check!
We have partnered with Dan and Scott from 403bwise to broadcast our message of looking out for teachers’ best interests instead of exploiting them. There are many podcasts and articles yet to come.
We also created an alliance with Aspire to provide a superior product (more on that later). We have found people like Mark Luckinbill and Takira Jackson who believe in what we are trying to do and are ready to help us take our program nationally.
Dimensional Funds has also taken a liking to us. With the help of their forward-thinking retirement staff, we have big things planned for 2017. Unique and transformative 403(b) solutions are words that would describe the potential of our collaboration with this great firm.
Our third goal was to create the infrastructure to handle the influx of liberated teachers. Check!
We have one of the best operational people out there in Erika Mauro. She is helping us devise an on-boarding process for all of the financial refugees we are looking to save. Though this part of our plan will stay out of the glamour department, it is the most essential part of our program. Teachers need help dealing with the intentionally complicated transfer forms the insurers use as a roadblock. It’s hard to change the world if we cannot move the money.
Finally, our fourth goal was to create a world-class portfolio that teachers could be proud to own. Check!
With the help of our investment committee and the portfolios created by Michael Batnick, we have done this and more. We have created an institutional-class, globally diversified, low-cost portfolio filled with best in class Vanguard and Dimensional Funds. Teachers will be moving from the Dark Ages of investing to a Renaissance of choice, value, and transparency.
We are chomping at the bit for 2017 to arrive. We are in this for the long term and will not quit until we have achieved our goal of unconditional surrender by those who have taken advantage of teachers for far too long.
It will not be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. We have taken the first and most important steps and we are that much closer to achieving our grandiose goal of providing a fair, transparent, and conflict-free option to teachers, nationwide.
Winston Churchill, speaking during the dark days of World War II sums up our progress pretty well:“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But is perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Let us know if we can help.