By now, you’re probably pretty comfortable in your career as an educator and it's a good time to make sure your finances are squared away. The actions and steps you take today can make a big impact in the future.
With time still on your side, a disciplined savings and spending approach will ensure that you get the most out of your money. Here are some helpful actions you can take.
Sign up for a retirement plan
If you haven't already, start a retirement savings plan. Your CalSTRS/CalPERS pension will replace only 50%-65% of your pre-retirement salary, and you are not covered by Social Security for your CalSTRS employment, so it's important to have a supplemental retirement savings plan. An easy way to do this is to open a 403(b) plan, since your retirement plan contributions happen automatically every time you get paid.
CTA has developed a 403(b) plan for educators, and it is the only plan endorsed by the union.
If you are already saving for retirement, make sure to gradually increase your contributions every year.
Review your budget
Having a budget and sticking to it will help you achieve your goals. Make sure you review your budget and adjust to changes in your life. Prioritize paying off debt, because credit card debt is very expensive and can have a corrosive impact on your long-term finances. If you have student loans, there may be options to have them forgiven. For more information on this, you can go to: Options for Paying off Student Loans
Make sure you have at least a month's worth of living expenses saved. Life is full of unexpected emergencies, and having a cushion can help make sure you do not go into debt.
Learn about life and disability insurance
Find out if life and disability insurance are offered as part of the benefits that have been bargained for you and paid by the district. If not, or if you need more insurance, you can find information on voluntary union benefits by visiting: https://www.ctamemberbenefits.org/Insurance