Everything You Should Know About Teacher Retirement

Dr. Lyne Ssebikindu
Dr. Lyne Ssebikindu
Retired elementary school principal; Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

When Does Teacher Retirement Start?

Teachers are eligible for full retirement after completing 30 years of creditable service. They can also retire at age 65 with five years of service credit or at age 55 with at least five years of service credit and meets the Rule of 80 (combined age and years of service credit total at least 80.)

There are several teacher retirement system benefits. You have worked most of your life and now it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. One of the biggest steps in life is planning for retirement.

 As educators, most employers begin contributing toward your retirement on your first day of work. Most employees in educational-related work receive retirement benefits. You should contact your human resources department to find out what benefits you will receive as you get closer to your retirement.

Teacher Retirement: Teacher Pension

Educators are likely to be eligible for a pension plan. A pension provides you with an income for the rest of your life. Most education systems have access to a defined contribution plan. As educators, you need to find out some information about your defined contribution retirement plan such as a 403(b). This can vary so be sure to check out teacher pensions by state.

As an educator, you need to consider how you will handle retirement when you are 62. Once you turn 62, you are eligible for social security retirement benefits. Make sure that you ask the Social Security Administration to find out that you have met the minimum requirements to qualify for Social Security. As a retiree, you can receive income from your pension and social security.

An important thing to keep in mind is that when you are working you might receive a check every two weeks but as a retired person, you might receive it monthly. Government pensions have some cost-of-living adjustment. Most educational systems have monthly retirement payments on the first day each month. In most cases there are direct deposits or electronic funds. This offers security of your funds. It is always advisable to have your check delivered electronically because there may be delays using U.S. mail or someone to tamper with your mail. Pension payments are paid in advance rather than the end of the month.

Advice for Retiring Educators

Only 28% of Americans are confident about retirement. Most Americans (55-64) only have $107,000 in savings. You should look forward to retirement with a peace of mind; this requires planning and educating yourself as you go along.

Most districts provide retirement workshops. Anyone who is within five years of retirement is advised to attend these workshops. These workshops are very informative, are provided by the district or a Retirement Planner, and normally last 60-90 minutes. Start attending those seminars as soon as you think about retirement.

Below are some of the steps I followed before retiring as a building principal:

Consider Your Financial Situation

You must carefully consider your income and your expenses. If you cannot pay your bills with your current paycheck, you may have to reconsider when you can retire, or scale back your cost of living. It is suggested that an individual needs 75% of their pre-retirement income to thrive fully in retirement. It is also the best idea to take care of large expenses before retirement if possible.

Benefits Plan

Attend workshops to help you start applying for your retirement. There are legal documents you need to fill out before you can retire, so it is crucial to get all the correct facts about the retirement process.

Health Insurance

Consider healthcare insurance. Make sure your employer provides healthcare insurance. If you retire before 65, make sure you have healthcare coverage from your employer or purchase private insurance, whichever is cheaper or provides better coverage.

A lot of retirees spend their time traveling and enjoying life. If you have any health concerns, it makes sense to go ahead and retire. Medicare is available if you are 65 and older.

Utilize A Financial Consultant

Talk to a consultant about your retirement plan as an educator. You need these resources to be successful. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, more people are working after 55 years of old. You need a strong budget in order to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Your income is going to change, so you need resources to help you enjoy your retirement. Seek advice from a trusted financial consultant.

Social Security

It is important to make your decisions around social security when looking at your retirement. You must decide when you are going to take your social security. Decide whether you will receive full or reduced benefit. Not all states pay into social security the same.

It is good for you to find out whether you participate in social security or not. Also, if you are married you might be eligible for Spousal Social Security benefits. Finally, if you take your social security benefits before you reach your retirement age, your income will be lower than if you waited until full retirement age.

Work with a Financial Professional

The best advice is to work with a professional counselor to help you with your financial decisions, questions, and worries.

Prioritize Your Savings

Set aside some money as a supplement to your pension. I controlled my money; I did not let my money control me. It is very important before you retire that you have a savings account for emergency.

Think about an investment plan for retirement and contribute to different retirement investments. This will allow you to have extra money after you retire. Investments require careful managing throughout your life.

Another way to prepare savings for retirement is to invest in mutual funds and real estate. It is advisable to start saving for your retirement as soon as you get your first job. Research shows that 64% of Americans aren’t prepared for retirement.

Reverse Mortgage

This income allows you to convert your home equity into a loan. The money is not taxable, you can pay it back if that is feasible, or after your death it goes to the holder of the mortgage.

Payroll Contributions

Most educational systems contribute towards your pension. If you are still enjoying your job and are in good health, perhaps it is in your best interest, or you want to keep working.

If you consider these variables, you will be able to make good retirement benefit decisions. Some people remain in the labor force after reaching retirement-age; this path is not the same for everyone. This is good for some people both financially and socially. Others dream of retiring as soon as they are able.

As far as retirement is concerned, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Each individual case is different. Make sure you seek advice from a financial adviser to work through the best plan for you and your family.

Looking for educator content? Check out our educator’s blog or 190+ available masters, doctorates, endorsements, and certifications to advance your career today!

graduate program favicon

Looking for a graduate program?