The Value of Membership

"I could not have survived 30 years in school business without the support I've received from ASBO. No matter how much you may think your problem is unique, it's not. I've always found support from colleagues facing the same issues no matter where they work, and I've shared solutions. We have a lot to learn from one another, so I value my memberships in Tri-State ASBO, New Hampshire ASBO, Vermont ASBO, and ASBO International."
—John Aubin, South Burlington School District, South Burlington, Vermont
Member since 1992

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ASBO International Strategic Partner

For more than half a century, VALIC has served as a leading retirement plan provider for higher education, as well as for K-12 schools and school districts, healthcare, government and other not-for-profit institutions. VALIC, the group retirement division of AIG, has more than $94 billion in total assets under management as of November 2, 2017, and manages plans for nearly 23,000 groups serving approximately 1.9 million participants.

VALIC is one of ASBO International's longest-standing partners, steadfastly supporting the association at the highest sponsorship level every year for over 10 years. VALIC was the first sponsor of the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting and remains committed to its success. ASBO International members have benefited from VALIC's expertise in all aspects of retirement plans, including innovative investment options, employer plans, and financial planning. VALIC has developed comprehensive programs that educate participants and the varied factors associated with retirement planning.

Read about K–12 retirement plan consortium structures.

Explore VALIC’s materials for 403(b) plan guidance in our resource center.

Strategic Partner Spotlight

Chris Brown, VALIC

Putting your hard-earned money into trusted hands is a critical decision. Leading retirement plan provider Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC) is the choice of many, including hundreds of thousands of public school employees.

“VALIC = education,” says Senior District Vice President Chris Brown. “Our methodology and training are centered on educating employees. We take more of a consultative approach, so it’s a natural progression for people to request our services.”

Chris was drawn to the field in part because his father-in-law was in the business and advised him to seek out a company with a niche market. Chris has always been drawn to education because his mother was a teacher, as is his wife. He became a VALIC advisor in 1995, serving in that capacity for several years before moving into management.

“I loved developing relationships with principals and then their employees,” Chris says. “Teachers can’t afford to make a mistake. They need help, and that’s why I’m so passionate about the education VALIC provides—it gets them on the right track.”

VALIC representatives excel at educating clients on the big picture as well as the details. Chris notes that VALIC was the first company to offer 403(b) plans to public school districts, beginning in 1964 with Dade County, Florida, which is still a client today. The company has been persistent in staying up-to-date on government changes to these plans and equally diligent in keeping their customers informed of those changes.

While the 403(b) plan works well for many, it isn’t for everyone. “You need to factor in age, when you plan to retire, and your tax bracket,” Chris says. For example, if a person starts teaching at age 22 and retires after 30 years, they can’t touch their 403(b) money until age 59 ½. In this case, a 457 plan, which has no age restriction, may be a better choice. Chris notes that Roth 403(b) plans, which allow money to grow tax-free if certain conditions are met (vs. tax-deferred), are becoming more popular as well. “It’s not just ‘the’ plan, it’s ‘which’ plan—and an advisor can help with that decision.”

Keeping clients informed of their choices is crucial, so VALIC representatives regularly hold workshops for various groups to help them understand their options. Chris has presented hundreds of workshops over the years, including to employee benefits directors and, most recently, to school district wellness coordinators.

“Wellness programs usually focus on physical health,” Chris says. “But financial health plays a role in overall wellness. People experiencing financial hardship are likely to worry more, which can affect their physical health.” Pinellas County, Florida, one of Chris’ areas of supervision, now recognizes VALIC as an integral part of its health and wellness program. Now that’s thinking outside the box!

VALIC is the proud sponsor of ASBO International’s Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (COE) program. “VALIC supports the program because ASBO understands its importance to their membership,” Chris says. “Tax payer financed school districts must offer transparency to ensure public support of their mission.”