Aug 03, 2018

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To 403(b) Crusader Steve Schullo


Ten years into his retirement, former LAUSD elementary school teacher and author Steve Schullo is still fighting the good fight for teacher retirement plans. This go-getter shares the insights from his teaching career and his passion to fix the current 403(b) mess. As the author of Late Bloomer Millionaire, you will learn how Steve's savings and investing plan helped him achieve a healthy nest egg. Listeners will also learn why he wrote Fighting Powerful Interests and the changes he would like to see to the current retirement plans for teachers. The topic of these retirement contribution plans is near and dear to his heart, and that’s evident from his personal anecdotes and the advice he offers to teachers. Be prepared to be inspired!


  • 0:00–1:03 Introduction
  • 1:04–2:27 Retirement hasn’t slowed him down
  • 2:28–5:45 Back in his teaching days…
  • 5:46–13:00 Annoying annuities and other dilemmas
  • 13:01–15:03 The decentralized decision-making process of dealing with 403(b)s
  • 15:04–17:35 Unintended consequences of LAUSD’s defined contribution plan
  • 17:36–19:45 403(b) versus 457(b)
  • 19:46–20:12 A word from NGPF
  • 20:13–24:42 Steve’s advice to teachers: be prepared to get involved
  • 24:43–25:53 No fiduciary would dare sell fixed annuities, but it’s happening
  • 25:54–29:11 Steve discusses Fighting Powerful Interests
  • 29:12–30:54 How to become more knowledgeable & start advocating
  • 30:55–34:33 His take on target date funds
  • 34:34–37:27 It’s your money
  • 37:28–39:15 Conclusion

Steve's books:

Resources mentioned in the podcast:

New York Times 403(b) articles:

Los Angeles Times

Video: Hat tip to NGPF Fellow Charles Kafoglis for pointing out this Frontline documentary where Steve makes an appearance. 


  • “[All these newspapers] say the same thing: that 403(b)s for K-12 public schools are horrible, and yet nothing has changed.”
  • “Be prepared to serve [on an advisory board]... We’re very knowledgeable and very passionate about doing this right and starving out the 403(b). We’ve grown assets from $0 in 2006 to about $150 million today.”
  • “Nobody was doing anything! The union wasn’t doing anything, the district, of course, hardly even talked to me… All I was asking is that I wanted Vanguard on the 403(b) on the list, that’s all.”
  • “I think most people would like to know a little bit more about their money because it’s their money!”

About the Authors

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!

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.

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