403(b)

Hidden Investment Costs Are The Most Expensive

Nothing in life is free. The last place to locate this fairy tale is in an insurance company. Recently, we called a large insurer about the surrender fees in a Science teacher’s 403(b) variable annuity. Besides the usual Ground Hog’s day responses, we received this beauty. Dina inquired about the overall costs of this godforsaken…

The Future is Now

It has been almost two years since Tony and I formally embarked on a mission to educate and free teachers from expensive and inappropriate investments in their 403(b) accounts.  Our main message has been buyer beware. A teacher, Chase Malia, has taken it a giant leap forward – proposing Resolution #41 to his union, NYSUT,…

Even A CFA® Can’t Make Sense of Teachers’ 403(b)s

“Make intimidating things painless. Make complicated things simple. Make boring things exciting.” – Morgan Housel This brilliantly describes the attributes of great businesses. The woeful world of public school teachers’ 403(b) retirement plans strikes out on all three of these concepts. It is unfathomable that a new kindergarten teacher will have mind-numbing terms like this thrown at her…

The Worst of Human Nature

   No fun; these two words perfectly describe the ordeal public school teachers endure when they attempt to open up a 403(b) retirement account. On January 14, 1978 in San Francisco, California, the Sex Pistols performed their last concert at the Winterland Theater. Before departing, the group’s leader, Johnny Rotten sneered at the crowd, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been…

Exit Light, Enter Night — We’re Off to 403(b) Land

“Sleep with one eye open gripping your pillow tight.”– Metallica Ruthless predators in disguise are raiding the retirement accounts of public school teachers. Just like wildlife lurking in the rain forest on the banks of the Amazon River, they manipulate their environment to consume unsuspecting prey. In the words of some other famous head-bangers, welcome to…

Conflicted Salespeople Are Ruining a Great Tax Shelter

Here is my latest story for my friends Scott and Dan over at 403bwise. Teachers have some amazing ways to save on their taxes. Unfortunately, their biggest tax shelter, their 403(b) plan, is often riddled with high-cost products sold by conflicted financial salespeople. Imagine a world where teachers could lower their taxes and also have an awesome…

403(b) Plans: The Best Option is often Avoidance

“It’s a sad state of affairs when workplace retirement plans are so compromised that the best move is to avoid them.” – Ron Lieber The state of public school teachers’ 403(b) retirement plans is getting worse. This is despite the critically acclaimed five-part N.Y. Times Public Sacrifice series that exposed the sordid world of teachers’ retirement plans….

C’mon Man!

Some people will say just about anything to justify an obscene compensation structure. The Case for the Traditional K-12 403(b) Model  takes the absurdity cake! This reminds me of the popular ESPN show C’mon Man! During this weekly broadcast before Monday Night Football, the hosts lampoon weekly NFL bloopers.  The point of the show can be summarized…

Radio Free 403(b)

  The information flow directed to teachers about their retirement plans is either non-existent or worse, highly conflicted. The war of ideas is being won by messengers preaching the virtues of high-fee and commission-based products that reward the salesperson much more than the retirement investor. This situation brings back memories of the worst days of…

High-Cost Annuities Poison the Well of Teachers’ Retirement Plans

High-cost annuities have ABSOLUTELY no place in the 403(b) plans of public school teachers. Every day we are looking at the vendor choices for school districts and have come to this conclusion: They are appalling and are an affront to basic human decency. Roger Wohlner wrote something today called “Annuities: The Wonder Drug for Your Retirement?” If…