With the start of a career in teaching, it can be extremely overwhelming for a first year teacher to understand everything they should be doing to make sure they're on the right path. It's hard to find extra time between trying to keep a class attentive and listening, designing classroom material, and staying on top of paperwork. Below are three things every teacher should know regarding finance.
Know Your Pension System
For most, pension systems can be complex and extremely confusing to say the least. Understanding your pension and how it works should be one thing that you should spend a little time studying. Do you know when you will qualify for your full pension benefit? When you're fully vested? Do you contribute to Social Security? How much income will your pension replace? These are all questions that might come up for teachers looking to explore the complexity of their pension system. For Missouri teachers, a great place to start is the Missouri PSRS website. For Kansas teachers, you can go to the KPERS website.
Know Your Retirement Plan Options
For teachers especially, knowing what company to choose for a 403(b) or 457 retirement plan can be confusing. Many school districts have multiple providers for these retirement plans. For each of these providers, there's different investment options and fees. These investment options and fees can vary widely across the board. It's important to know exactly how each of the plan providers are compensated, all fees associated, and what kind of ongoing help you will receive from them. A call or email to your employee benefits department is the first place to start!
Know Your Student Loan Forgiveness Options
Most teachers with federal student loans are eligible for at least one federal loan forgiveness program. Some, are fortunate enough to be eligible for two! The faster teachers can explore these options, the faster they can start maximizing the benefits of the forgiveness options that are available to them. Making sure you're on the correct repayment plan, maximizing the benefits, and applying can be very confusing. Especially when loan servicers are notorious for making mistakes along the way or saying you don't qualify when you actually do. It wouldn't hurt to seek a professional that can help point you in the right direction that has a background in student loan planning. One place teachers can start for more information is the Federal Student Aid Website.