You work so hard. I know. Oftentimes it may feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck. And teacher retirement may be one of the farthest things from your mind. But I also want you to gain financial literacy and have more control over your future. It will help you feel more empowered, be more in control of your dreams and goals, and be able to choose your own retirement age.
I am NOT an expert at teacher retirement. I am still probably ~20 years away if things continue to go well, but it could easily be 30+ since there are SO MANY variables. Regardless – I feel I have gained quite a bit of knowledge on teacher retirement over the last 20 years, and I want to share those resources with you today.
There are affiliate links in this post. This means I will earn a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link to buy. You can read my entire disclosure policy here.
Get Started with Teacher Retirement
I think many people choose to put their heads in the sand about retirement. It can feel overwhelming. Or you watch the news and hear about how stock prices are plummeting. But that’s not really true long-term. If you look at the stock market long term, it definitely trends up. That is obviously not a guarantee that it will forever, but that is what historically has happened. (You can see images to back this up here and here.) The world wants businesses to succeed, and we can have a piece of their success with our own investments.
But I truly feel like you have to get started. Sometimes that means figuring it out as you go. Sometimes it means gaining more information. Regardless – you have to force yourself to stop putting it off and start your teacher retirement today.
I love following Instagram accounts like Personal Finance Club. Jeremy and his team make it easy to understand investing and so many other financial things we often don’t get taught – or not taught well enough – at home or school.
I also like She Wolf on Wall Street. There are a variety of other accounts as well, or you can even follow a hashtag like #financialliteracy to have the content show up for you.
If you’re not one to follow accounts like the one above, then you have other options!
The book that really got me started on the road to feeling secure in my teacher retirement was Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam. I literally read the book, bookmarked the page where he walks through setting up an account, and went line-by-line through it to set up my first account. That was just over ten years ago and I can proudly say I have reached my annual contribution ever since!
Another book I enjoyed was Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This one is not teacher specific and has been around awhile, so you’re more likely to find it at your local library or a cheap copy secondhand.
Run Your Numbers
So many people are intimidated by learning about their financial literacy. I was definitely one of them! I was automatically enrolled in the South Dakota Retirement System plan when I was 22. I know they told me some other options that I had, but I knew I had student loans to pay back, a car payment, day-to-day living, and I just didn’t really think about it.
Now looking back, I wish I would have known that even $50 a month could have grown so much for me inside a 403b plan. (Every school is different, but many times someone in the admin office can point you in the right direction to learn more about your investment options.) Instead, I waited until I was about 27 to start supplementing my teacher retirement through a school run program. So while I do have a few thousand in that account, I know it could be much more.
If I had taken $50 a month and put it into a retirement account at 22 for those five years mentioned above, I would have had over $150,000 by the age of 65. That’s $50 a month for 12 months for five years at about 10%. That means I could have put in $3,000 and had it turn into $150,000 or more. BAH! Instead….I had no idea by not choosing to learn. #PleaseDontBeLikeYoungerMe
Keep Plugging Along
Maybe you are starting at what feels like the very beginning. You’re looking at your finances. You’re setting up a budget. You’re paying off debt. Dave Ramsey’s baby steps have helped a lot of people get out of debt. It may be a good plan for you as well.
Or maybe you’re throwing money into those investments every month – consistently. I truly believe in the phrase of paying yourself first. For me, that means a ROTH IRA account. At the time of writing this, I am no longer working in the classroom, so there is no longer a pension program or supplemental options. Instead I am also funding a business retirement option. It works. I started at 27 and may be able to retire if I continue to live frugally by the age of 55. Who knows – it could be 65 or later. But I happen to like options. 🙂
What else would you share about teacher retirement? Please share your teacher retirement thoughts, tips, and ideas in the comments below! I love when we can all learn from one another!
Love what you see? Then consider signing up for my weekly newsletter. I share random tips, ideas, and more for elementary teachers. You can join me here (and get a fun freebie in the process!).