Jean Chatzky runs a great personal finance website and blog over at www.jeanchatzky.com, she also runs an online "Money School" that you would be wise to check out. Speaking of "be wise"...our very own WiseGuy Dan Otter of 403bWise.com has a guest post up today on Jean's blog, A 403(b) Crash Course.
A 403(b) Crash Course, By Dan Otter
Imagine you are at a retirement plan party. Not a retirement party — there are no gold watches being given out here. But a party attended by the various retirement plans. There’s the famous 401(k) and it’s quirky but increasingly popular sibling the Roth 401(k). There’s the modest IRA, with some of its cousins: the Roth IRA, the SEP IRA, and the Rollover IRA. Even the granddaddy of them all, Social Security, is in attendance. Then there’s this other plan. It’s kind of off by itself. You can’t quite place its name. Is it called the 401b? Or, wait, isn’t it called a tax sheltered something?
Close. The plan is actually called the 403(b). But it is commonly, and erroneously, referred to as a TSA or Tax Sheltered Annuity. Created in 1958, it predates the more famous 401(k) by twenty years, yet it remains a bit of a mystery. Why? Probably because the 403(b) covers a smaller subset of employees working in generally less glamorous positions: K-12 employees, college and university employees, pubic health care workers, and not-for-profit workers. Plus, public school teachers and administrators typically have pension plans, so for them the 403(b) is a supplemental plan.
Here’s what you need to know to make small talk with and about the 403(b):
For the rest, you'll have to jet over to Jean's blog.