Mark Your Calendars Los Angeles Educators!
Saturday, October 7, 2017, 8 AM to 1:00 PM
(Scroll to the bottom of the page for when and where, and other details. To register, click on the link: www.utla.net/contact/investmentworkshop100717)
SALARY POINTS AWARDED! LAUSD teachers! For the first time in LAUSD history, or for the history of public K12, 4.5 hours of professional development credit will be awarded for attending this financial education workshop.
What does professional development credit mean? When you have accrued 30 hours of credit you advance yourself on the salary scale! That’s always good. When I was a young teacher I took every workshop available and got to the top of the salary scale within five years. It makes a huge income difference over many years.
A little history of these rare financial workshops in Los Angeles Unified School District.
In a profession where no district or union ever talks about the 403(b) or 457(b) publically, how and why did these workshops start?
These workshops are initiated by a team of employees and us retired folks. More than 500 have gone to at least one in the last five years. Way back in the 90s, another educator, Sandy, and I, started an informal group and met at a restaurant, just to chat. People would leave their emails and I would grow that list and keep people informed. This is way before the powerful social media tools we have today. Our first Saturday morning investment workshop was at Monroe Senior High just four blocks away from this current venue. We drew 55 teachers on a beautiful Saturday morning. This is back in the dark ages of 2002. Dan Otter, the webmaster of 403bwise.com, was present and the first time I met him. I was the primary presenter but we had a panel of your colleagues. We figured about 5-10 would show up. But people stayed for over three hours and wanted more information.
Our colleagues are begging for objective financial information, and are fed up with annuity sales pitches from the sharks that roam our district with impunity. After all of these years, the word is slowly spreading that annuities are not a good plan, but it is still a MAJOR problem.
In those early days, we sometimes had only one colleague show up. That was fine because NOBODY else was doing anything like this ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY WITH PUBLIC K12. I cannot overestimate that–even today, I don’t know more than a handful of people who organize some type of 403(b) or 457(b) meeting, website, or presentation covering the basics of investing.
The topics of those early meetings are still presented.
1. Stay the hell away from ANNUITIES of all types, except for those offered by TIAA. Annuity contracts with any insurance company will never get regular stock or bond market returns. Our pension plan CalSTRS (also endowments and foundations) never use annuities because pensions have a fiduciary agreement to provide the best returns, and annuities fall way short of those basic fiduciary standards.
2. Never pay commissions! This is still a problem with public K12 because the new Department of Labor regulations requiring fiduciary standards for financial advisers does not affect the 403(b) or the 457(b) plans in public k12. You are not protected from the sharks who will sell you plans only because the salesperson gets a commission.
3. Showing your colleagues the low-cost investments that are available in your 403b or 457b plans: Vanguard, Fidelity, TIAA, and the low-cost third-party administrators.
4. Here in California, we have the great state-wide 403(b) CalSTRS’s Pension 2.
5. Finally, LAUSD employees are very lucky to have available an Award Winning 457(b) plan. This plan has genuine investment choices (NO ANNUITIES): index funds, no-load mutual funds and bond funds for balance and diversification. The problem is that few employees know that it exists because the annuity sales force will never tell you. OH YEAH! They know it excits, and they know that more and more teachers and employees are taking advantage of the low costs and opting for genuine investments that will earn stock and bond market returns.
Retirement Investment Advisory Committee (RIAC)
One of the most important facts about LAUSD 457(b) plan is that an oversight/advisory committee composed of a rep from each of the collective bargaining units sits on the committee. You have representation and our meetings are open to the public. We meet on the third Thursday of most months from 3:00 – 5:00. Public comments are allowed at 4:30 so you have enough time to come to our meeting at the 28th floor of Beaudry Building in Benefits Administration.