Investment Workshop Evaluation Results
UTLA Worshop

SST Benefits Consultant, Barbara Healy, presenting the ins and outs of setting up your retirement plan with LAUSD’s Award Winning 457(b) program

Investing Workshop Feedback

April 14, 2016 UTLA Headquarters

38 participants answered the following questions. 


Did this workshop meet your expectations? Yes or no.

 36 said yes and two said no. One wrote, “exceeded.”  

What did you learn that you found helpful/worthwhile?

About indexes.

Can’t transfer 403b to 457b.

More knowledge about what to get 403b or 457b investments.  

Asset allocation.

457b, everything, loved all of the info presented.

Asset allocation.

 Everything well explained and helpful.


That I could roll over my 403b into another one.

Ms. Healy’s presentation, hint: please have her presentation first, then Mr. Rutter’s-so that it will be easier to understand or helpful to understand.  

A lot of info to help an uninformed or beginning investor.

All useful, second time I attended, every time I learn more.  

457  and

The Blackrock 2050 seems to be great.


About 457b.

About investing, portfolio allocation.

Very helpful with making future retirement plans.

Difference about 403b and 457 plans.

CalSTRS component.

About 457b vs 403b and investing as a late starter.

Roll overs & fee comparisons.


Index allocation, 457b and CalSTRS info was very good.

All of it.


Definitions, 403b vs 457b.

How to deal with 403b and 457b. Saving.  

457b details.

The differences in 403b/457b and benefits of doing both.



Ms. Healy’s presentation on the 457 and the comparison of physical health to financial health, made it easier to understand.

Where to get help for retirement.


What would you like to see in a future investment workshop?

Look at 403b vendors.

Specific examples of an investment plan.

Low-cost 403b reps.

More of the same.

More, continue these workshops.

Valley location.

Same financial investment knowledge like today.

Please provide small bagels as breakfast, better than cookies!

More investment workshops like this one.

CALSTRS, 403b-what do I do with it?

More about 457b and more about STRS.

More of anything.

Small group.

Peers struggles or what lies ahead & how some of the panelists can resolve. Everything was helpful.


Post retirement planning.

More books on investing for sale.

Spend more time explaining about 403b and 457b.

Basic beginners info A-Z. STRS buyback pros, life insurance options and cons.

Names of advisers.

More outreach to the beginning and mid-career teachers.

Individual time to set up your plan.


Do you currently have a 403b account, a 457b, both or neither? 

Have only a 403(b): 18 Participants

Have only a 457(b): 3

Have 403(b) and 457(b):

Neither: 10

One person wrote: have a 457(b), and 403(b) but not contributing to the 403(b).


Did you find CalSTRS’ presentation helpful? Yes or no

403bcompare logo


27 said yes and, 2 said no.

The rest left this blank

Note: Click on the logo above to take you to the site and check it out yourself. 

How did you hear about this workshop? Social Media, Email, UTLA paper?

Most heard about the workshop from the UTLA newsletter and email, probably from my email announcement. About 4 or 5 participants have attended previous workshops. One teacher told me enthusiastically that this was her third workshop as she “learns something new each time!”

11 said UTLA newspaper

7 said Email

3 said UTLA website, UTLA or the internet

9 said both email and UTLA paper

2 said pre-retirement committee

2 said from the retirement workshop previously held

1 said email, flyer at area meeting and UTLA paper

1 said here at the retirement conference on Feb 2016

1 said colleague-utla rep, UTLA paper-previously attended-look for it every year

1 said UTLA paper-previously attended-look for it every year


With 72% of our LAUSD colleagues who do not participate in a 403b or 457b retirement plan, why did you come today?

Editor’s favorite comment: “I’m smart. ALL EXCELLENT, THANK THOSE WHO GOT THIS FOR US, I was preyed on by an insurance salesman.”

Editor’s 2nd favorite comment: “My wife insisted.”

Editors 3rd favorite comment to all LAUSD employees:

For 25 years I was unaware of the information provided, if I had known of it before I would have invested, I believe LAUSD and UTLA do not provide enough information to new teachers about investments.”

Editor’s reminder: That comment above is so true. We need your help to “provide enough information to new teachers about investments.” If you want more workshops contact both UTLA and LAUSD. Write or call LAUSD Benefits Administration (213 241-4262 and Board of Education (213 241-6389) and let them know. 


Other comments:

Always had an interest.

Try to understand the 403b options.

I am interested in enrolling in either 403b or 457b.

Aware of retirement.

I attended last year and loved the information presented.

It helps me with my retirement plans.

Great info.  

To learn more about investing, money for my retirement.Interest on investment, savings and get information.  

My 3rd time, less than five years to retirement, I learn more everytime.

I am very interested in pension2.

I’m getting older & want to start making better choices & have a priority for investing.  

Would like to increase my retirement income.

Learn more about financial planning.

I want my money to outlive me.

Interested in my retirement income.

I want to be ready when I retire.

To inspire and to learn more about investment.

To see if it would be worth starting one at my age.

Because better informed.

Check up on plans.

Want more info about 457b.

Wanted a lot more $$$ @ retirement (note: when does the retirement committee meet & who can join?). My wife insisted.

I want to learn more about investments.

Future planning.  

I need to start putting into a plan again and get serious abut bing in better $ shape-THANK YOU!

I’ve been coming for years because I want to make educated decisions about my retirement income, I have recommended these workshops and colleagues know its important but have been putting off.

Be prepared.

I always learn something.

I believe in promoting financial literacy among my colleagues.

To prepare for retirement.

Because I will be retiring within 4 years and need to maximize my investments.


Every participant got two complimentary copies of an investing book

1. Fighting Powerful Interests: Educators Challenge Tax-sheltered Annuities and Win! by Steve Schullo, LAUSD retired teacher (You can download a free PDF file by clicking on the link).

2. Index Funds: The 12-step Recovery Program for Active Investors by Mark Hebner of Index Fund Advisers, an advisory firm located in Irving, CA. One of his advisers presented at the workshop.


  1. Great workshop…I try to encourage my colleagues to attend, but no one takes me seriously. How do I convince more of my co-workers to attend?

    Need a bibliography of other recommended books, i.e., John Bogle and such.

  2. Hi Rafael,
    Ask your Chapter Chair for about ten minutes of the union meeting’s time to show them the first three minutes of the PBS Frontline national broadcast documentary, “The Retirement Gamble.”

    During the first three minutes the first two feature participants are interviewed and the 2nd one will get everybody’s attention. It will show our very own LAUSD elementary teacher Crystal Mendez has amassed $115,000! Heck, I didn’t even start my 403b until I was 37. Crytal has $115,000 at age 32!

    It can be done. Crystal has the option of not having to save any more for the rest of her career because for the next 30 years that $115,000 will grow to a comfortable nest egg to supplement SS or a pension by the time she is 62. Not bad for a single female teacher! Her story should be inspirational to get any of our teacher (and non-teacher) colleagues started.

    The Retirement Gamble can be shown from here:

    Let me know what happens. Remember it’s only the first three minutes, but the 50 minute documentary is all excellent as it shows more of Crystal and the others, struggling to save for retirement.


    • Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your site on my iPhone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, superb site!

  3. Hi Rafael,
    I thought about your question about getting more colleagues interested in the personal finance.

    snip “When asked what is the “single largest influencer when it comes to your workers’ financial decisions,” three in four (74%) of 150 corporate benefits leaders surveyed by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) pointed to “family members, friends, co-workers or peers.”

    Entire article here:

    Rafael and all LAUSD colleagues. To get the attention of our less informed colleagues who roll their eyes when you try to talk retirement planning, introduce the subject by using the more popular “Wellness Program” concept, which refers to physical health and fitness. So there are also programs for financial wellness and fitness. No older person ever regretting saving for retirement, not ever regretting spending too little, but the opposite is very true.

    Older people always regret that they did not start early, spent too much on new cars and expensive gadgets or toys, never bothered to learn about their employers 457(b) plan or never went to a personal financial workshop. Unfortunately, many educators (and workers in general) have to quit teaching because of health or other reasons before they qualified for a decent pension benefit (or social security) and lived below their accustomed lifestyle in retirement. Others have lost their enthusiasm and cannot quit because the CalSTRS benefit has not reached their salary level. Its a terrible situation and every school has a teacher who cannot retire. They are noticeably tired and burned out. Sad.

    You might have to scare our colleagues a little to get them thinking about their own future. One thing I do not tolerate well is when older teachers now claim that nobody told them about “saving for a rainy day.” I beg to differ, no parent has ever not suggested to their children, even as adults to “put something away.” Retirement planning is all over the media frequently and has been for decades.

    Always be enthusiastic and use yourself as an example. You save a little on your income taxes too by using LAUSD’s Aware Winning 457(b) plan.

  4. Steve,
    Thanks for posting the feedback. I wish we had an SST Benefits Consultants to present on the East Coast, and a Steve Schullo.
    I think your served all 38 well, and kudos to the 10 who came who didn’t have a plan prior. They took a leap. They don’t know what they don’t know.
    Amazing to me is the large percentage of teachers who do not participate, overall.
    I bet you put your personality and passion into the presentation – how could peeps not show up again??m There’s always much to learn.

  5. Hi Nancy,
    Thanks for the kind remarks. There are many savvy investor teachers all over the country. They are shy, but when asked I believe they would want to help.

    Post your request here: There are teachers on the East coast who make presentations.

    SST Benefits has clients all over the country. You can reach them by phone: 916.270.2020 and tell them I referred you and ask for Barbara Healy.

    Thanks so much for your comment.
    We need educators like you to keep the discussion going. We have had these workshops for five years and about 550 LAUSD educators have attended, and rarely do they come here or to continue what they learned by entering a discussion, continuing their education between these rare workshops and to keep learning.
    But we press on and on trying to keep the discussion going by just being available.
    Have a great day and let me know what SST Benefits says.

  6. Steve,

    I appreciate your comments. You obviously know a lot more about these things than I ever will. But I do want to warn future retirees that they will be heavily taxed if they withdraw a large amount of money from their tax deferred accounts in the same year. It’s not just paying tax on money earned. The additional money will put you into a higher tax bracket. You then have to pay a larger percentage in taxes. For people who are planning to retire in a few years and think they may withdraw a large sum, perhaps to buy a new residence (as I did), I recommend that they take out a portion each year for a few years. Of course, everybody should ask a tax advisor for specific information. But this was something I never thought about and I was taxed very heavily in 2015, the year of my retirement. Luckily, I saved enough to be able to pay it, but I would have rather avoided the situation. I’m not sure whether all that savings in TSAs was the best thing in the end or not. I don’t think I’ll ever know because the math is way too intricate for me to figure it out. But I’d like others to learn from my lesson.

    Debbie Bloom
    Former School Psychologist and Teacher

  7. Hi Debbie,

    Thanks for your message! And an important one too. I wonder if people know that ordinary income taxes must be paid for their CalSTRS’s retirement benefit as well. I have listened to CalSTRS presentations. Their reps always tout rosy financial scenarios about how much we will get in retirement. Yeah, CalSTRS casually mentions that taxes will have to be paid. But they need to give specific examples or a couple of tax brackets that show what a more accurate benefit looks like after ordinary taxes are paid. Ordinary income taxes are higher than capital gains, as you pointed out. Thus, it’s no wonder that 72% of LAUSD employees do not save at all in 403b or 457b plans, they probably feel too comfortable with just relying on their pension plan. They do not know how much risk they are taking in terms of forced retirement because of a health issue, injury, burned out, divorce, or death of a spouse (I had cancer when I was 53). Terrible things do happen. We have all seen teachers who are only teaching because they have to keep working to get a higher pension benefit. Working past your enthusiasm and prime is a stressful position. And much of these risks can be addressed with supplemental savings plan, CalSTRS” Pension2 or the Award Winning 457(b) plan available to all LAUSD employees.



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