6 Common Retirement Questions for Educators: Part 1

| May 2, 2017

The retirement landscape is not what it once was, and for many, the ability to retire can seem elusive. Many Americans are worried about whether they can afford to retire and how to ensure that their savings last as long as needed.

Retirees and pre-retirees in the education field have the added challenge of dealing with complex and ever-changing retirement benefits and often need help understanding their options. For educators who have spent a lifetime helping others achieve their best, deciding to retire may involve a mix of emotions. You may be worried about whether you can afford to retire. You may feel ambivalent about leaving colleagues and a beloved profession. You may also wonder about what you will do when you are no longer working. We’ve developed this special guide to help teachers, administrators, and other professionals in the education field understand their options and strategize for a comfortable retirement.


If you are concerned about being able to retire, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans worry about whether their retirement savings will be enough to live comfortably. In fact, when Americans think about retirement, the top concern for many is a fear of running out of money — which they fear even more than death.

In the education sector, that concern is compounded by complicated retirement plans, student loan debt, and universities’ budgetary issues. A 2015 study found that 55% of educators expecting to work beyond normal retirement age state that their personal finances require them to keep working. So a vast majority of professors are pushing off their retirement date for as long as they can.

The decision to retire is a very personal one that depends on a number of important factors, such as your age, financial circumstances, health, and family situation. You also need to know whether you are eligible to collect a retirement benefit from your pension or sponsored retirement plan. Be aware that many traditional pension plans have both age and service requirements you must meet before you can start collecting a retirement benefit. If you have questions about your eligibility, be sure to speak to your financial representative about your specific circumstances.

Get Ahead Today

If you are evaluating when to retire, take time today to address a few important steps and determine whether you’re financially on track. While a financial representative can help you explore your personal situation in greater detail, you can also get ahead by starting to brainstorm your various needs and goals.

Step 1: Start by estimating your retirement expenses. Add up all of your basic living expenses and desired discretionary spending to develop a better idea of how much money you may need.

Step 2: Next, identify any sources of income you have, and add them together.

Step 3: From there, subtract your expenses from your income. If your expenses are larger than your income, then the difference is the amount that you will need to cover through your retirement-savings withdrawals.

Know Your Unique Needs

Today’s retirement culture demands that retirees develop personalized retirement strategies that reflect your unique financial life. As you look ahead, you’ll need to understand how various factors affect your calculations, such as life expectancy, wealth, income needs, risk, and market environment.

If you have run the numbers and think that you may have a retirement-income shortfall, don’t panic. Several strategies can help you increase your potential retirement income or reduce your expenses.

Know How to Address Any Retirement Gaps

  • Increasing your savings rate
  • Delaying retirement
  • Downsizing your home and living expenses
  • Working during retirement

Please look out for 6 Common Retirement Questions for Educators: Part 2 next week.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Bush Wealth Management and LPL Financial are separate entities.

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