Saving for retirement

Retirement is a phase of life that most educators look forward to. Of course, we love our jobs, but we also love the idea of the freedom and relaxation that can come after our careers. Even though we are not at retirement age now does not mean we should not be thinking about it. Retirement requires proper planning and preparation.

Saving for retirement is an essential aspect of financial planning, yet it is often overlooked by many people until it is too late. In this article, we will discuss the importance of saving and some tips for getting started.

First and foremost, saving for retirement ensures financial security and independence during your golden years. Retirement can last for several decades, and it is crucial to have enough money to support yourself without relying on others. Without proper planning, you could end up struggling financially and sacrificing the quality of life you hoped for–even with a teaching pension. That alone will likely not support your lifestyle in retirement.

Secondly, saving for retirement early can help you take advantage of the power of compounding. The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow, thanks to compound interest. Even small contributions made consistently over time can add up significantly, thanks to the power of compounding.

Thirdly, retirement savings can serve as a safety net in case of unexpected events such as illness, disability, or job loss. It is not uncommon for unforeseen circumstances to arise, and having a financial cushion can help you weather the storm without depleting your retirement savings.

So, how much should you be saving for retirement? Financial experts recommend saving at least 15% of your annual income for retirement. This can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are just starting, but it is important to start somewhere. Every little bit counts, and even a small percentage of your income can make a significant difference over time.

You may want to consider how much you are saving “involuntarily” through your schools pension program. My state automatically deducts a certain amount per paycheck which goes towards the Virginia Retirement System. Your state likely has something similar. Assuming this savings would be enough to support me in retirement would be a mistake for me, and likely for you as well.

Here are some tips to help you get started with saving for retirement:

  1. Start early: The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. If you haven’t started yet, don’t wait any longer. Even if you start with small amounts, the power of compounding will work in your favor. Check out my article Retirement account opinions for teachers to learn more about your saving options.
  2. Make it automatic: One of the easiest ways to save for retirement is to set up automatic contributions from your paycheck or bank account. This way, you don’t have to remember to make contributions each month, and you won’t be tempted to spend the money elsewhere. Most school systems work directly with financial institutions that can set this up for you and will likely even provide a financial advisor at no cost to you.
  3. Increase your contributions over time: As your income grows, aim to increase your retirement contributions. This way, you can maintain your standard of living in retirement and ensure that you have enough money to support yourself.
  4. Seek professional advice: If you are unsure about how much to save or which retirement plan is best for you, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor. As I mentioned above, most school systems already have free advisors in place.

In conclusion, saving for retirement is essential to ensure financial security and independence during your golden years. Starting early, making automatic contributions, and increasing your contributions over time are just a few ways to get started. Remember, every little bit counts, and the power of compounding can work in your favor. So, start saving for retirement today and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are prepared for the future.

If you found this post helpful, check out some of my other posts:

10 month vs 12 month pay checks

Teacher pension plans

To do list for the summer before your first year teaching

Recommended reading for future/new teachers

8 Reasons to become a teacher

Should I teach?

Why should I teach?

Unexpected perks of teaching

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A Teacher's Guide

I am a National Board Certified educator currently teaching in Virginia. I have taught the following: English 9, 10, 11, and 12 (on academic, collaborative, and honors levels); Dual Enrollment English; Mass Communications, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Communications Technology. I have experience in five different school systems, four in Virginia and one in Maryland. I served as my school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and was a top five finalist for the Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. I am passionate about recruiting and retaining quality educators in our public schools. Let me help you find your path to changing lives through teaching!

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