Learn the importance of getting an early start on retirement planning and offers his advice on how to make your retirement goals a reality.
As an educator, you have many things to worry about—the well-being of your students, communicating with parents, grading school work, taking care of your own family, etc.—so planning for your own retirement is most likely low on your list of priorities. However, in a recent webinar presented by Scholastic and Comcast Business, 4 Important Retirement Planning Strategies for Educators, Matt Drummond, head of 403(b)/457 sales and business development at AXA, emphasizes the importance of getting an early start on retirement planning and offers his advice on how to make your retirement goals a reality.
The first step to understanding where you stand in your retirement planning is to know whether or not your pension will be enough. In order to receive a pension, educators must work for a certain number of years within a given system, so it’s crucial to understand the details of this system and where you stand within it. Less than half of the nation’s teachers vest fully in state systems, and only 30% of new teachers will stay in a retirement system long enough to receive full benefits, despite decades of work. Regardless of the number of years you’ve been working, it’s important to get a full understanding of your pension system so that you can accurately plan for your future.
Once you gain a good sense for how your pension works, the next step is to develop a sustainable plan for predicting the cost of your retirement and saving enough funds to meet your needs. Here are four steps for creating a plan that will help position you for a successful retirement:
- Create a savings plan
The key here is to get an early start on putting money away and saving it for the future. The easiest way to control how much money you have is to set aside a portion of your current income, using a 403(b) plan, for instance. Not only will you earn tax deferral benefits, you’ll also earn increased interest the longer you save.
- Diversify your investment
To put it simply, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket when deciding where to invest your money. By allocating your assets into a diverse profile of funds and classes, you will reduce your overall investment risk and achieve more consistent results in the long term. A conservative investor strategy consists of 50% bonds, 30% stocks, and 20% cash equivalents.
- Stay on track
In order to ensure a successful retirement, it’s important to stay on top of all of your planning and saving. Ideally, you should plan to increase your contributions to your 403(b) plan annually, rebalance your portfolio when allocation changes, and take a balanced approach to trading.
- Develop a retirement income plan
You’ll never be able to predict exactly what you’re going to need in the future, but you can get a head start on understanding your spending habits now. To start, estimate your retirement expenses by understanding your fixed expenses, discretionary expenses, and unexpected expenses. Next, match the expenses with your income sources—pension, social security, retirement savings, etc. Finally, assess your income gap and determine how to minimize it.
While retirement planning is generally an afterthought for many in the education system, it’s important to get a head start in understanding the how to plan for the future. Whether you’re just starting your career as a teacher or you’re lining things up for your retirement in a few years, it’s never too early to start planning for the retirement you deserve.
To learn more about planning for your retirement, watch the full webinar here.