Advice From a Retired Educator

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

There is No Such Thing as Too Early

Teacher retirement planning and savings are extremely important, but many people do not think of this in their earlier age. As you begin your career you want to make sure you have enough savings that your future will thrive.

The best day to start saving is today. You should save as much as you can every month, as early in your teaching career as possible. If possible, it helps to save a little more than the previous year. The earlier you start saving, the better you will be during your retirement. Start small and then increase later as your salary increases; starting too late and saving too little can be a big regret for your future.

You must start with a saving strategy early on in your career. This will help you to maximize your money and to secure your retirement plans. It is your responsibility to invest in a good savings plan. Even small savings will go a long way. If possible, seek help from a reputable financial advisor.

There is a wide range of retirement plans that can grow your savings. Your account options depend on where and how you work. Many smaller companies do not offer 401(k). You need to find a plan that will work for you. When investing you should consider risks, fees, and expenses. Check into a plan that will make money for you.

Those plans include but are not limited to the following:


This is a tax-deferred savings plan for educators. Your employer will match some of your savings. With a 401(k) you don’t pay income taxes on the money you set aside. It is available through your school district. Your contribution to this plan can lower the federal income taxes withheld from your check. This will help you to have the extra money in the future.

This plan protects your money and generates your income. No income taxes will be due on earnings if the money stays in the account; you can even make higher tax-deferred contributions if you are over 50 years old.

Personalized Portfolios

These are good for long-term goals. The stock market changes from day to day and from month to month. So don’t get too hung up on your retirement portfolio’s performance. Professionals normally manage these portfolios; they move the portfolio from a more growth-oriented strategy to a more income-oriented one as the target date for your retirement gets closer. Intermediate-term core bond portfolios invest in invest-grade U.S. fixed-income issues.

I.R.A. (Individual Retirement Accounts)

This is funded with after-tax contributions. People who are setting up their own retirement accounts use I.R.A.s. These are available at financial services. As with 401(k)s there may be limits to how much you can deposit annually. After 59 and a half years of age, qualified distributions, including any potential earnings are federal income tax-free if certain holding requirements are met.

Index Funds

These offer instant diversification in stocks and bonds.

Know Your Pension

Most educational systems match a portion of your contributions. A lot of educators are counting on their pension and social security for their retirement. Unfortunately, this income may not be enough for you to enjoy the retirement you deserve. You must evaluate your income potential and add in other savings to make sure that your needs are met.

As you think about your future when you are a retiring teacher, you should also get guidance from a financial professional. Talking to a professional advisor will help you to select your investment with less risk. The financial professionals will help you make smart choices for your future and will provide you with investment strategies that will help your future. When consulting a financial professional, you should carefully read the documentation before you put your signature on anything.

Consider the age-based investment before you commit to any plan. Some of these professionals offer complimentary assessments with no strings attached. They offer advice on retirement income planning. You must get guidance on which investment best fits your future needs. Also, you must find ways to track how your money is doing.

Save, Save, Save

Start saving extra for retirement and grow your savings as you start making money in your career, maximize your savings. If you put $150.00 in pre-tax dollars per pay period into your 403(b), your savings could grow to $332,230.00 in 30 years. You can use a 403(b) Savings Calculator to calculate this out. Additionally, pushing your retirement back could be beneficial if you are able to. The longer you wait to collect your social security the more your monthly benefit will increase.

Additional Tips

Here are a few additional tips that you can follow before your retirement:

  • We all want to be confident that we have enough money for our retirement. It would be best if you tracked key dates, make big decisions, and be responsible for those decisions.
  • Make your retirement contribution automatic each pay period.
  • Make simple adjustments like bringing your lunch to work instead of eating out every day.
  • If you get a raise or a bonus, do not just spend on things that do not count. It is a big temptation to spend that money on yourself but instead put that money in one of your savings accounts. Adjust your contributions right away.
  • Do not spend based on your friend’s wealth; every individual is different.
  • If you decide to leave your job, you may choose to move your money to another savings account. Make sure that you are not penalized for early withdrawal.

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

graduate program favicon

Looking for a graduate program?

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies. View our Privacy Policy.