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Some think saving for retirement is pointless and not worth the time and effort.

But really, is saving for retirement overrated?

Saving for retirement is not overrated. It’s better to have some money saved than none at all. While you may love your job or can’t imagine not working, life and time has a way of changing things. It’s best to be prepared because the future is uncertain.

[Disclaimer]: The opinions expressed in this blog post are for educational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any savings/investment vehicle.

For more accurate information regarding your unique financial situation, speak with a professional financial advisor.

Imagine doing something you love without having someone oversee you doing it.

No boss, no office politics, no asking permission to take time off.

You can come and go as you want.

You call all the shots.

Want to start working at 6 a.m?

Go right ahead.

10 a.m or noon sound better?

No problem.

Start whenever you want.

And just so you know, you can go home whenever you feel like it, too!

Don’t even feel like working today but instead want to volunteer at your favorite charity for a few hours?

I’m sure the organization will welcome you with open arms.

Need a vacation to ease your mind and disconnect for a few days, weeks, or even months?

Take off any time you want.

If you also want to visit family or friends in another state, it’s at your leisure, my friend.

All of these scenarios show how retirement can be, if you design it that way.

When I left the U.S. to go teach abroad, I had at that time only 4 years of classroom experience.

I vividly remember the Human Resources department telling me that I should stay an extra year or two in the district so that I could get vested into the Teacher Retirement System.

Good advice, yes.

But one thing I’ve realized about teacher retirement plans is that they’re really great if you stick around the district for years.

However, if you ever leave the teaching profession for an extended period of time, switch school districts (or worse, states!) or decide to change career paths, you then get yourself in a sticky situation.

You know how those teacher retirement formulas go…

Your age + number of years working = something, divided by some other numbers (you get the point).

Throw in the mix leaves of absence, district/state moves, maternity leave, etc., and it gets kind of loco.

This is one of the reasons why I believe that in addition to the pension, teachers should save/invest for retirement outside of their jobs.

In this day and age, jobs are so unpredictable, and you’re never safe.

Plus, the older you get, the more discrimination you face in the job-hunting market (even if the hiring committee can’t say so).

And from having been on the hiring side of things, I’ve worked alongside vindictive administrators who would do everything possible to make a tenured teacher (you know, those “set in her ways”) miserable.

In my humble opinion, no one should 100% rely on the financial security of one job.

Even if a company can’t legally fire you, it can make your work life and environment less-than-pleasant.

In the past year, I’ve had two acquaintances be let go from their jobs.

One worked for her school for 25 years.

The other was a new employee, and her contract was not renewed after her first term.

She was given a lame, politically-correct reason and was completely blindsided, hurt, and confused.

Because of her “at-will” contract, the company could do as it pleased.

Working in a public school doesn’t always guarantee protection, either.

Due process is in place for the powers-that-be to hear your side, but not necessarily keep you on board.

The moral of this story is this…

One of these acquaintances was prepared financially. 

When she was let go, in addition to her retirement account which she cashed out, she had saved additional funds throughout the years.

She didn’t need to search for other employment because she had saved enough.

The other had some money saved in her teacher retirement, but it wasn’t enough for her needs.

She had no extra money, and she scrambled to find a job.

Saving for retirement is not overrated. It’s a safety net and the key to freedom.

Make it a priority because you never know what the future holds.

Even some teacher retirement systems say that teachers should invest extra money on their own.

7 Reasons Saving for Retirement is Overrated to Some

1. Few or No Interests Outside of Work

Have no clue what you’d do if you didn’t have a job? You love your job so much and are very passionate about it.

Ample time to travel, volunteer, learn a new skill, and explore new hobbies doesn’t seem that much of an interest ~at least not to the point of wanting to do so whenever you want.

Take-away: Saving for retirement is still important!

You can still do want you love when you retire. Just volunteer your time.

The best part is that you’ll be able to set your own schedule!

You won’t have the limitations of a 9-5 job.

2. Accustomed to Working for Someone Else

Most of us are accustomed to working for someone else.

That’s how we were brought up.

That concept is so ingrained into people’s mindset that it can be hard to shake.

Know that movie The Shawshank Redemption? It’s fantastic!

There’s a memorable scene where the ex-con Red (played by Morgan Freedom), who’s just been released from prison after 40 years, is working as a bagger at a local supermarket.

He’s diligently, but anxiously, doing his job, not accustomed to not being watched. At one point, he asks his supervisor, “Bathroom break, boss?”

His boss reminds him that he doesn’t have to ask every time he needs to go to the bathroom.

Red, the main character in that scene, had the mindset of a prisoner because he had been one for so long. 

He was accustomed to working for someone else.

And even though he was now free, that prisoner “mindset” stayed with him. He didn’t really understand that he was free.

Is that you?

Are you more comfortable with someone telling you what to do?

Take-away: If you really don’t mind working for someone else, kudos to you. But if you’re not completely comfortable with the thought of working for someone else for the rest of life, take note!  You’ll need to save for retirement to be able to do your own thing one day.

And know that there are plenty of people who retire who still need extra funds.

So saving a little extra outside of work when you’re actually employed is a good idea.

3. Saying It’s Overrated As a Defense Mechanism

Many have been saving for retirement for years.

They’ve put in the hard work and hope to get at least a decent ROI.

But then what happens?

Social Security keeps changing its rules. Teacher pensions sometimes change their formulas, too. 

You take 2 steps forward, and then you get moved back 4.

It’s frustrating when you work your butt off for a company but get the feeling that you’ll never make it to the finish line.

The bar gets pushed higher and higher; no one can get ahead.

So instead of stressing out over the matter too much, you just resort to the notion that retirement is overrated.

You’ll be too tired and unhealthy to really enjoy it anyway, right?

Take-away: Don’t get suckered into this mindset!

While you may not have much control over your social security, teacher pensions, and traditional retirement accounts, you can save and invest extra money into taxable accounts.

While taxable accounts don’t offer the same tax benefits of retirement accounts, what they do allow is flexibility and access.

There are several other advantages to investing and saving into taxable accounts.

4. Not Enough Money Saved

This reason kind of goes with the one above.

Instead of hunkering down and saving for retirement, you’d rather just throw in the towel and say how pointless it is.

Or maybe you didn’t start saving until your 30s or 40s and beyond. 

You spent your early years paying off debts, barely getting by.

Maybe you did everything right but later in life had to pay college expenses for your child, help care for an elderly family member, cancel unexpected medical bills, etc.

Take-away: You look at your accounts and think you’ll never catch up.

But it’s not too late. Though you’ll have to save longer and/or put in more money, it’s a doable goal even if you started late.

Something is better than nothing.

5. Retirement Not Equated to Freedom

Retirement gives you the freedom to do what you want, when you want to do it, and how.

What you enjoy doing for work can still be done during retirement and under your own terms.

You think maybe you won’t live to see retirement? But maybe you will.

Take-away: Who says retirement has to wait until a certain age? The money that you’ve saved in retirement accounts has to wait, but what actions can you take today to create a retirement mentality?

The next point explains what I mean by a retirement mentality.

6. Lack of Realization that They Can Create Their Own Definition of Retirement

I’ve been formally saving for retirement since I was 23.

When I moved abroad in my mid-twenties, my life changed forever.

I learned a language, traveled extensively, explored new hobbies, met amazing people with beautiful stories, dabbled in entrepreneurship, and discovered so much about myself.

I wanted to live that way forever!

Those years abroad taught me to do my best to live life on my terms. That’s been part of my mentality ever since.

While traditional retirement is okay, I want to enjoy my life to the fullest now.

That’s one reason I moved abroad in my 20s. No regrets.

Now I see myself taking “mini-retirements” throughout my life. 

Take-away: Redesign or redefine how you view retirement. It’s not all or nothing. Self-employment, taking a sabbatical or even a break from teaching count as “mini-retirement” experiences!

7. Influenced By Others’ Thoughts

We all know someone who has retired but keeps working another job anyway.

Because those individuals keep hustling long after they have to, some people think retirement is overrated.

You never know why someone actually decides to go back to work. They could have financial obligations, a need to socialize, or just enjoy doing a certain job.

Take-away: Everyone’s situation is different, so don’t let what others’ do affect your goals.

And that includes me.

If you’re happy with just your work pension or teacher retirement account and desire not to save more than those, then by all means, be happy!

No one has to live your life but you. 🙂

So, How Should Teachers Save for Retirement?

[Disclaimer]: The opinions expressed in this blog post are for educational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any savings/investment vehicle.

For more accurate information regarding your unique financial situation, speak with a professional financial advisor.

When you’re ready to save additional funds for retirement, check out some of the options below:

Wrapping Up: Is Saving for Retirement Overrated?

Time has a way of changing things. 

You may be nonchalant now about not saving more for retirement, but what about in the future?

Is saving for retirement overrated?

Absolutely not.

However you view it, retirement is freedom.

Freedom to design life on your own terms.

Why not start saving a little more today?

Do you think saving for retirement is overrated?

How else are you saving for retirement as a teacher?

Talk later!

~Missi

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