Monday, April 03, 2006

My Retirement

I don't pay into social security; rather, as is the way things are done here in the Golden State, I pay into California State Teachers Retirement System, or CalSTRS. Those 14 years I paid into social security--I can kiss most of that money goodbye. And even if Congress repealed the Windfall Elimination Provision, the law that keeps me from getting the social security I paid for, there probably won't be any left for me anyway because of those darned Baby Boomers--the last of whom was born mere months before I was, I might add.

Well, I don't need social security, you say, because I have State Teachers Retirement. Except that's currently underfunded to the tune of 20 billion dollars. That's about $670 for every person in California. There's talk of increasing teacher, district, and state contributions to the program; teacher contributions are already higher than the withholdings for social security!

While CalSTRS points out the fund has enough assets to pay benefits for six decades, trustees want to keep the gap from widening. If left unchecked, the shortfall could grow to $170 billion over the next 30 years as more baby boomers retire.

When do I plan to retire? In just under 30 years. Dang boomers.


Lillian said...

Plump up your 403B. Just $300 a month off the top of your paycheck before taxes, can help you accumulate compounded wealth for retirement. You'll only notice a slight diff in pay...maybe a little over $100 less with each check. Teachers can get very nice 403B's (our counterpart to the 401K).
Teachers have to stop depending on their employers for their financial futures.

Darren said...

While you're correct, what the heck am I paying 8% to STRS for?

rightwingprof said...

"because of those darned Baby Boomers--the last of whom was born mere months before I was, I might add."

Groan! Where's my wheelchair?

You've heard of Evan Bayh, made quite a reputation for himself as governor by running Indiana in the black. You know how he did it? He raided Indiana's equivalent, the retirement fund for state employees, and almost bankrupted it.

Polski3 said...

However, if you are vested in social security (40 quarters or whatever), that is kinda like a small insurance policy should something happen to you.....your son, up to about age 18, could get "survivors benefits".

Retire? Are they going to let teachers retire? I hear rumblings about raising the age for teacher retirement, like social security is doing.....yep, we can 'retire' at 55, but who wants a minimum wage paycheck as a retirement check for all those years spent in the classroom. Just another fine mess California is heading into....

Lillian said...

Darren Dear,
STRS is not bad, but it's not the only thing you should be doing for your latter years. The 403B option is a wonderful tool for retirement, but an annuity (New York Life Insurance has some good products, as do most bonified insurance companies)is even better.
My bottom line point is that we cannot depend on employers for our retirement income. Those days are as much over as the days when employees depended on unions.
Financial literacy is something that teachers need to invest time in. It can make all the difference in the world with how you live after retirement, and even give you freedom to decide when you WANT to retire.
Teachers, by nature, are not risk-takers, but in these modern times when Baby Boomers (such as myself) are living longer...we must experience a paradigm shift in our thinking about retirement, assets, liabilities, cash flow, insurance, real estate, etc.
You are still have time to become wealthy through the tools available to you as a teacher. You still have time to have more money than you could have ever imagined, setting up a financial legacy for your son, and letting your money work for you long after you're gone. Even your grandchildren will benefit.
But please please not depend on just one component, ie., social security, STRS, mutual funds, CDs, etc.
Can you say...portfolio???