texasdiver wrote: ↑
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:07 am
You would think this might be a logical role for unions or professional organizations (in non union states). But that has not been my experience either. The unions seem to get very deep into the weeds on health insurance issues but I never heard one word about 403b options. As an experienced boglehead coming into education mid career from another profession it was easy enough to search out my best options. But the vast majority of teachers are simply ignorant and too trusting. And I just didn’t have the energy or interest in trying to educate everyone else.
Yes, you would think it would be logical for unions and professional organizations.
Both my wife and I received a packet of information during our respective orientations with perhaps a brief sentence or two from HR with regard to the retirement plans (mine was a packet from TIAA and hers was from her pension plan and the voluntary 403b/457b plans that were available). It was really skipped right over come to think of it. Much more time was devoted to other benefits, especially the health care plan options. This is most likely the norm. Throw in the societal stigma of talking about personal financial matters as more on the taboo side of the discussion realm, and it's not a shock to me that a lot of it remains a mystery
. I would like to see a workshop or a unit in classes for education majors to go over benefit plans and what to look for when applying for jobs to include benefits as part of their decision for choosing where to apply. Utopian idea maybe, but it would not be hard to include in their college education for prospective future educators.
Yes, I agree with you about the energy and interest when it comes to discussion with colleagues. I remember chatting with a group of colleagues a few years ago and I brought up the subject of ER fees for the various funds in our employer sponsored TIAA plan (Vanguard funds had been added to our plan). Not a single one in the room even knew what an ER fee was. Another time, a group was bemoaning that our employer match of 8% was being cut down to a lower percentage after the faculty elected budget committee had recommended it in an effort to help get the annual budget in line for our college at the time. I agreed that the employer match dropping from 8% to 5% was indeed going to be a loss of some nice free money for all of us that we had previously been receiving, but simply mentioned I was going to increase my part of the contribution to make up for it so I could keep on track for retirement (this was during the financial crisis years) and I got nothing but blank stares and a few "Huh's?"
I have been in a job hunt for the past 8 weeks, and believe me - I have reviewed and poured over every single benefit plan as part of my due diligence before even submitting my application(s). I received a verbal offer yesterday and the HR person asked me if I was aware of the 401k and benefits. I mentioned "Yes!" and that I had been studying them the past few weeks. I would imagine if new educators were more "in the know" before they applied, we might not see so many posts here at BH or other forms (403bwise.com) revolving around the subject of being in a bad plan with nothing but very high ER fees, and then the poster lists other plans that are available and asks for guidance on what to do. All it would really take would be a class unit or segment provided for the seniors in college going into education to go over some of the basics they could use for their own due diligence when applying for their first jobs. Many times it comes down to choosing between several offers, and if they knew which offer had the better plans as part of their information they could use to choose their first job....
Oh well. I've done my part over the years in working with college students to prepare them.