What is the Best Approach for Managing a 403b Retirement Plan?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Understanding the 403b Retirement Plan

A 403b plan is a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan available for public education organizations, some non-profit employers, and self-employed ministers. It’s similar to a 401(k) but tailored for employees in specific sectors.

Best Strategies for Handling a 403b at Retirement

  1. Assessing Risk and Reducing Stock Exposure:
    • At retirement, it’s crucial to evaluate your risk tolerance. If you cannot afford to lose money, consider reducing your exposure to stocks. This step helps in safeguarding your retirement savings against market volatility.
  2. Determining Withdrawal Needs:
    • Calculate how much money you’ll need regularly during retirement. This planning includes considering your living expenses, healthcare needs, and any other personal financial goals.
  3. Rollover to an IRA Fixed Indexed Annuity (FIA):
    • Rolling your 403b into an IRA FIA is a recommended strategy. This move offers more control over your retirement funds with no immediate tax consequences.
    • An FIA provides protection against stock market losses while offering potential growth based on a stock market index.
  4. Choosing Between Income Options:
    • If you need regular income, consider adding a Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) to your FIA. This option automates the withdrawal process and typically offers higher payouts than traditional retirement methods.
    • If income is not immediately needed, the FIA still offers growth potential and protection.
  5. Benefits of this Approach:
    • This method provides control over assets with liquidity.
    • Ensures a retirement income that cannot be outlived.
    • Beneficiaries will receive the remaining balance as a lump sum.

Advantages Over Traditional Financial Advisory Services

  • By managing your 403b this way, you can potentially save a significant amount of money that would otherwise go toward paying financial advisor fees.


Managing your 403b effectively at retirement involves reducing risk, understanding your income needs, and considering a rollover to an IRA FIA for greater control and potentially better financial outcomes. This approach addresses the basic financial needs of a 403b owner, providing a balanced mix of safety, growth potential, and income security.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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