Jul 08, 2022

NGPF Podcast: Dina and Tony Isola are the dynamic duo on a crusade to improve 403(b) plans

 Want to learn the ins and outs of your 403(b) plan? Be sure to listen to this conversation that Yanely had with Dina and Tony Isola. 

Featured in the The Bogle Effect, a book chronicling the life and legacy of Vanguard's founder Jack Bogle, Dina and Tony Isola are described as the "husband-and-wife team at Ritholtz Wealth Management (RWM) trying to save schoolteachers from losing hundreds of millions a year in fee-ridden, and arguably predatory, annuity products." In this conversation with Yanely, Dina and Tony share why they are so passionate about serving teachers through their work at RWM. They provide tips of what to look out for in 403(b) plans, how to suss out those hidden fees and how to ensure more of your wealth generated by your investments goes to YOU. Enjoy! 


  • 0:00~3:00 Introduction
  • 3:00~6:37 A day in the life of Dina and Tony
  • 6:37~11:09 Working to free teachers from horrible 403(b) plans
  • 11:09~17:13 Professional pathway before Ritzholtz
  • 17:13~21:14 The power of money
  • 21:14~24:34 Doing research before signing
  • 24:34~36:57 Considering stock-bond allocations
  • 36:57~37:16 A word from NGPF
  • 37:16~43:50 Being aware of hidden fees
  • 43:50~49:06 How annuities work
  • 49:06~50:13 Conclusion



  • “Before you get in [to a 403(b)], be sure to do some research. Once you get in, it’s hard to get out.” -Tony

  • “Here’s the thing, it’s really important to know what your fees are. What are you actually paying?” -Dina


Interested in learning more about 403(b) plans? Don't miss this NGPF Podcast with Dan and Scott of 403bwise.org. 

Dan and Scott also have a podcast series focused on 403(b) plans they recently released:

Learned by Being Burned: Teachers & the K-12 403(b)
In this short 5-part series, teachers share how they were sold high-cost annuity products, the barriers they face to getting better, lower-cost investment choices, and the growing advocacy movement working to fix the K-12 403(b). Available on all major podcast outlets and at 403bwise.org/burned

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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