Ways teachers can save money for retirement
**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**
A guest post by Batool Ali
Being a teacher gives you the opportunity to inspire learning in your students. You have the extraordinary chance of changing your students for the better. Many often teachers devote so much for students – their time and resources – that they tend to neglect their own selves. I am sure there is at least one teacher we all can name who really affected our lives positively.
While your students are important and you are doing a great job touching so many lives you should not fail to look at your own needs too. If you are a teacher, it is extremely important that you have a plan for a secure retirement. Teachers are not usually paid well and someone who wants to be rich would not venture into this profession, but that does not mean that teachers should not retire with dignity after having given so much to the society. If you have already thought about it and started working on saving for retirement, then it’s well and good. If not, you need to do that right away. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the better it is.
Yes, you may be eligible for a state pension plan that could possibly keep you covered and the amount would probably be determined by how many years you have served and your last salary. However, teacher pension plans are now underfunded and states have had to cut benefits for teachers. The new retirees are no longer eligible to the same pension and benefits that previously teachers enjoyed. So, the pension may not always be enough and you would probably require additional money to live comfortably after retirement. Always have a backup and look for alternatives and additional sources of income.
Since pension is not adequate you need to have a proper retirement plan. Being a teacher you might have vast knowledge regarding history or physics or whatever your subject is. But you probably do not have enough know-how regarding retirement planning. In such a situation it would be best to consult an expert to help you speed up the planning. You can look for financial planning firms that assist teachers in planning for retirement or you have the option of financial advisers who, although do not particularly specialize in this area, but know enough to give you some valuable advice. If you look around you may even be able to get some free help; for example state retirement counselors or state benefits counselors.
Your retirement plan would definitely include starting to save up now for later. No matter how little you earn you should set aside a certain portion of your salary and forget about it. Even a little amount matters. If you are unable to do that you seriously need to cut back on your expenses. Keep a track of where you are spending your money so you would know how much of the purchases you made were not out of necessity and to what extent you need to control your impulse buying behavior. Or if you do not think you are responsible enough for that you could have a percentage of your salary automatically transferred to your savings account each month. Over time the money would build up through compound interest and you would be surprised at how much your saved money earned you.
Another way you might be wasting your money could be through unpaid balances on your credit cards. Pay them off starting with the card charging you the highest interest rate. Try to pay it off as early as you possibly can. If you add up the interest you are required to pay on unpaid balances you will be surprised at how much you can save by simply paying off your cards on time. Same goes with other debts you might have such as mortgages and student loans. In fact, you may even be eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program, a special provision under the Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Act. Considering that teachers are the backbone of a society, the US government is seeking ways to keep them happy and help them in their position. This program, although coming with certain conditions, is a great way to relieve the financial situation of teachers.
Batool Ali is a passionate blogger who loves to write on finance and education. Her writings are inclined towards student welfare making students self-reliant.