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The Next Steps for K-12 403(b) Reform

Advocate Steve Schullo says reform is moving in the right direction, but there is more work to do.

W. Scott Simon, 07/09/2015

My interview with Steve Schullo, a reform advocate for 403(b) plans in the K-12 marketplace, concludes this month. The first two parts of this interview may be accessed here and here. Steve's latest book, "Fighting Powerful Interests: Educators Challenge Tax-Sheltered Annuities and WIN!," can be downloaded (as a PDF) for free. He is also a blogger at Late Bloomer Wealth

Scott Simon: Please explain the nature of 403bwise.com in California and how it may (or may not) be helpful not only to teachers in California but to others all across the country.

Steve Schullo: Dan Otter, a former teacher in California, launched 403bwise.com in 2000. He has been a tremendous advocate for change in the California K-12 403(b) marketplace. The website features a discussion forum and tons of information about 403(b) and 457(b) plans, and California state insurance code section 770.3 and the legislative fights to reform that ancient code. Instead of me telling you about it, your readers can see for themselves:

1. Since the reform of 403(b) plans is so important right here in California, Dan has devoted an entire section to it: here and here

2. When the California Teachers Association (CTA) crushed our latest legislative effort to reform California insurance code section 770.3, 403bwise.com was right there reporting it all, which angered CTA.

3. Our Participants section has comprehensive, objective information on both 403(b) and 457(b) plans

4. The website really pushes the fiduciary perspective hard with their Advisor Fiduciary Pledge available at our home page (lower right).

After 15 years of being a registered member of 403bwise.com, I have posted more than 3,700 messages in the Discussion Forum. I love helping my teacher colleagues and debating about investment options that are low cost and well diversified with a stock-bond balance. From the beginning, I and other educators have wanted to keep the discussion about terrible 403(b) plans going and help our colleagues get out of annuities and instead invest in low-cost, best-in-class investment options in diversified portfolios of stock and bond index funds.

W. Scott Simon is an expert on the Uniform Prudent Investor Act and the Restatement 3rd of Trusts (Prudent Investor Rule). He is the author of two books, one of which, The Prudent Investor Act: A Guide to Understandingis the definitive work on modern prudent fiduciary investing.

Simon provides services as a consultant and expert witness on fiduciary issues in litigation and arbitrations. He is a member of the State Bar of California, a Certified Financial Planner, and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst. Simon's certification as an AIFA qualifies him to conduct independent fiduciary reviews for those concerned about their responsibilities investing the assets of endowments and foundations, ERISA retirement plans, private family trusts, public employee retirement plans as well as high net worth individuals.

For more information about Simon, please visitPrudent Investor Advisors, or you can e-mail him at wssimon@prudentllc.com

The author is not an employee of Morningstar, Inc. The views expressed in this article are the author's. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Morningstar.

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