Why Is a 403(b) Plan Important to Me?
Are you counting on your CalSTRS or CalPERS pension to provide all of your retirement income? Your CalSTRS or CalPERS pension is not enough. A career educator will receive less than 65% of pre-retirement income from CalSTRS and about 50% for CalPERS members. Financial experts recommend that you will need 90% – 100% of pre-retirement income. That’s a significant gap.
You also need to take into account the number of years you will live in retirement, as well as anticipated higher health care costs.
Living longer is usually a good thing, but it can also mean that you run out of money if your savings are insufficient to cover decades without a paycheck. Even a very low rate of inflation can erode your savings over a long period of time. The average age of retirement for CalPERS members is
60, and 61.3 for CalSTRS members.
That means you could easily spend 20 years or more without a paycheck. And don’t forget health care. It’s estimated that a married couple age
65 may need $295,000 in retirement savings just to cover health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses during retirement.
As an educator, you can save for your retirement on a pre-tax basis via payroll deduction in a defined contribution plan such as a 403(b) plan. Your earnings grow tax-deferred. A 403(b) plan is sometimes referred to as a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) and it is similar to a 401(k) plan in the private sector. A 403(b) plan gives you an opportunity to supplement your CalSTRS or CalPERS defined benefit plan with your own savings.
- 30% to 40% of educators take
advantage of a 403(b) or 457
- A CalPERS school member
retiring at age 55 with 25 years
of service will receive about
50% of pre-retirement annual
- Americans will need to
accumulate an average of 15.7
times their preretirement pay
in order to maintain their
lifestyle during retirement.***
* Source: www.CalSTRS.com
** Source: Retirement Security in California – CalPERS
Pension Benefit Primer, October 2009,
*** Source: Hewitt Associates, “Retirement Income
Adequacy at Large Companies: The Real Deal,” 2010,