Archived Emails

August 2015

403(b) Sales Tactics - Don't Be Fooled

The beginning of the school year is here and 403(b) representatives and/or vendors will be gearing up their marketing activities. This may include mailings to your home, email solicitations, or offering you pizza in the faculty lounge.

Some 403(b) vendors will offer to provide you with information on your "State Retirement Benefits" or "Free CalSTRS or CalPERS estimates." These are often used as sales tactics to secure an appointment to sell you an insurance product.

It's easy to use the CalSTRS or CalPERS on-line tool for an estimate of your retirement benefit, visit CalSTRS Retirement Benefits Calculator or CalPERS Retirement Estimate Calculator. Or, if you are interested in meeting with a counselor, visit CalSTRS Find a Local Counseling Office for a list of offices or to schedule a telephone benefits counseling session with CalSTRS or visit Contact CalPERS.

You can also visit which includes videos, consumer guides, calculators and other tools to help you make an informed decision with your 403(b) or 457 investments.

Don't be pressured into making a quick decision. Some products carry high fees and surrender charges. Before purchasing a product, be sure to ask the representative to disclose ALL fees and commissions, and put their recommendations in writing. Read or download the free CTA Guide to Working with a 403(b) or 457 Advisor.

You have options – check out for a list of 403(b) vendors including disclosure on fees and performance.

September 25, 2013

These Three Actions Can Help You Save More and Manage Your Finances

✔ Increase contributions to your 403(b) or 457 plans. Contributions are taken out of your paycheck on a pretax basis. Use this handy calculator to find the impact on your take-home pay.

2013 Eddy Awards

✔ Check your credit report. Make sure there is no incorrect information on your record. You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies each year – just go to

✔ Cut the cable. Are you paying for hundreds of channels you don’t watch? Consider using free and low-cost online services instead and save hundreds of dollars each year.

Learn more about supplementing your calSTRS or CalPERS pension with a 403(b) or 457 plan at

Learn more about making the most of your 403(b) or 457 plan at, first-place winner for ongoing education-public sector in Pension & Investment’s 2013 Eddy Awards.

September 4, 2013

Make an Informed Decision

The beginning of the school year is here, and so are the 403(b) reps trying to sell you on the products they represent. Don’t be misled by smooth talk and pizza or muffins in the lunch room!

Read or Download the free CTA Guide to Working with a 403(b) or 457 Advisor.

✔ Ask the rep to disclose ALL fees and commissions and put their recommendations in writing (see pages 16-18).

✔ Don’t be pressured – take your time to make the right decision for you.

✔ You have options – check out for a listing of plans in your district as well as their fees and performance. Can Help

For help in understanding the different types of investments available in 403(b) plans and choosing those appropriate for you, visit, CTA's investment education website. The site offers a wealth of retirement planning and investment education and information, and no log-in is required. You can also order print versions or download pdfs of two helpful publications, "Closing the Gap: Supplementing Your Pension with a 403(b) or 457 Plan" and "Selecting a 403(b)/457 Advisor & Understanding Plan Fees." Both these publications were developed by CTA to help educators make informed choices for their retirement investments. Or, contact CTA Business Initiatives at to request a copy.

Don't be sold – be informed. Visit