Q & A

"Happiness……… is having something to look forward to."

-Charles M. Schulz

 

ASK SHARON:

 

My husband and I do not agree on the path we should take with our finances. My husband wants to save our money like his parents did many years ago. He said “everyone” does it this way. Any advice?

Financial planning is not a “cookie cutter” approach, especially for those of us with defined pension plans (what we get from the PSRS and PEERS). It is helpful/important to discuss your family’s finances with your significant other, as well as your trusted financial professionals on a regular basis. And you should be sure to choose a professional who will discuss the pros and cons of your approach to “saving money,” and who is proactive about reviewing YOUR unique financial picture, while strategizing with you and your family to gain greater control of your money.

 

Sharon, when should I start planning for my retirement?

We plan our daily lessons, dinners, parties, vacations…..Why not plan for our retirement, too? PSRS allows you to plug in your age and years of service to give you retirement date options. These options allow you to start thinking about long range planning and goal setting. The possible retirement options need to be examined carefully to see what will fit your life, based on your personal situation. You may have plenty of years to figure it out, but as I always say, “It is important to get your ducks in a row.” Have a plan, gain confidence, and control your finances. It is never too late, nor too early, to start planning (baby steps are great, as well)!

As you know, time seems to “fly by” faster and faster every year. When I reflect on my career, I can’t believe I spent 27 years teaching. Where did the time go? I am thankful that I planned my retirement years ago. Also though I remember thinking that May 2017 would never arrive….well, it did and I was ready!

 

How did you retire at the age of 47 with full benefits?

This is not a secret, nor is it magic! I sought the help of a trained and trusted financial professional that was well versed with our retirement system (PSRS). I then followed their advice. I was able to purchase 2.5 years of service credit because I had paid into Social Security for a couple of years. I was then able to purchase .5 years of service credit when I was within 5 years of retirement. (In short, I taught for 27 years and bought 3 years of service credit for my full 30 years.) I also met each year with my financial professional to review and update my retirement plan as needed. In addition, I stopped putting money into my 403B at the advice of my financial professional. This gave me more freedom with my money without sacrificing my retirement benefits. Since we put 17% of our salaries into our retirement, I did not need a second plan with the 403B.

 

How did you pay for the 3 years of service credit? I heard it is VERY expensive.

I rolled money from my 403B to pay for my three years of service credit. My financial professional helped me complete the paperwork to send to the Social Security office as well as to the PSRS office. The Social Security office looked at my records to determine how many service years I was eligible to purchase and the PSRS office then sent me the cost for the eligible years. I then rolled my 403B money over to my PSRS account to purchase the service credit.

Expensive? Well, that makes a good discussion. I am now enjoying retirement at the age of 47 years. If I would have left my money in the 403B, I would not be able to access it until the age of 59.5 years. So, I think the transfer of money was well worth the cost!