You’re an international educator.
You didn’t go into your field to make money. Instead, you want to help people. You want to empower kids.
Most teachers don’t want to manage their own money. They don’t have the time or the interest. Instead, they want to find someone they can trust to do it for them. But many teachers swim with sharks.
Andrew Carnegie knew this. The Scottish-American philanthropist wanted to protect educators. So he started a non-profit financial firm called TIAA-CREF in 1918. It’s a low cost financial firm for educators only. Nobody earns a commission for selling a TIAA-CREF mutual fund. The firm’s employees earn salaries—and nothing more. There are no public shareholders. No fat cat sits on top of the money mountain. It’s like a non-profit school run with one goal in mind: to serve.
Carnegie protected teachers from sharks in suits. And the firm still does. Unfortunately, only U.S. based educators can open accounts with TIAA-CREF. That rules out American expats and other internationals.
Carnegie would flip in his grave if he could see what has happened. Too many international schoolteachers are being misled. They invest in products they can’t sell before a predetermine date, often having to keep those investments for up to 25 years. If their house burns down, if they get sick, if they need some money for a loved one, their financial service firm will penalize them for it. In almost every single case, they are never told this.
Teachers in the Middle East (especially) give up bundles of money to sharks each year. Such firms set up booths at international job fairs. They sponsor educational conferences. They’re deemed “respected” by many international school administrations.
Few teachers and administrators, however, know the difference between a high cost firm and a low cost firm. Sadly, the priciest firms are the most common. Their commission driven advisors are blessed with silver tongues. They’re good looking. They’re personable. They have fabulous websites. They have an extensive global presence. But they would send Andrew Carnegie running for a fire hose of disinfectant.
How can we educate teachers and administrators in the Middle East? How can we show administrators that most of them have invited foxes into their homes?
These aren’t rhetorical questions. Change is sorely needed. We can’t change the firms. But we can educate teachers and administrators based in the Middle East.
The question is, how can we do this most effectively?
Please share your thoughts below.