It seems like just yesterday I shared my list of Summer Break Tips for Teachers. Now, a new school year is right around the corner and it’s time to prepare for it! Here are three financial tips to consider as you prepare for the upcoming school year. 1. Take Advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday In Ohio, August 5-7 has been designated a sales tax holiday. Not in Ohio? Use this chart to determine whetherRead More
As I’ve worked with more and more members of STRS Ohio, it’s become clear the recent changes to the system are not only on the mind of the participant, but also the participant’s spouse. In fact, on several occasions I have been sought out by a spouse of an STRS Ohio member to provide clarity regarding the changes. Few STRS Ohio members seem to have a complete grasp on how their benefits have changed andRead More
There’s no denying the fact that this post contains some bias. After all, I am a financial advisor. However, when I talk to people about their financial and life goals, the one response I frequently hear is “I wish I had one of you earlier”. To clarify one thing, there is a difference between a “financial advisor” and someone merely trying to sell you a product (e.g. 403(b) vendor or insurance agent). Anyone that’s had aRead More
In my experience, I’ve found most teachers understand the need to save beyond their STRS Ohio pension in order to meet retirement goals. The 403(b) is perhaps the most common type of retirement savings account utilized for this purpose. However, many teachers don’t seem to be fully aware of other options, nor do they understand the future tax consequences of their decision. As previously discussed, a 403(b) is a tax-deferred retirement savings account available toRead More
In a recent post, I provided some practical tips for setting financial goals. Let’s be honest, setting goals is hard. And actually putting together a plan (and carrying it out!) to reach your goals is even more difficult. But to further complicate things, what happens when you identify goals that seem to be in direct competition with one another? “Should I save for retirement or pay down debt?” This is a question I frequently receiveRead More
For many teachers, summers provide a break from the late nights, stressful days, and countless hours of planning. They’re a time to travel to a favorite vacation spot, finally tackle that project around the house, or maybe even work a part-time job for extra income. However, summers may also be used as a time to “get ahead.” Here are three things STRS Ohio members may wish to consider as the summer months approach. 1. IncreaseRead More
If you’re a mid-career member of STRS Ohio, with five (5) to twenty-five (25) years of service credit, you may be wondering what opportunities you have to plan for your future. After all, most decisions related to your STRS benefits were made as a new member. While the decisions you have to make regarding your STRS benefits may be minimal, there are some important STRS milestones to keep in mind and financial planning opportunities existRead More
Most people think that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates the investment markets and providers of investment advice, and that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulates the Wall Street sales agents. But in fact, when it comes to your retirement plan, like a 403(b) account, the chief regulator is actually the United States Department of Labor.  Anybody who provides advice to these plans has to meet standards generally defined in the 1975 lawRead More
A 529 account is a common way of saving for future college expenses due to the tax benefits the account may provide. In my experience, I’ve found many people have a basic understanding of why saving to a 529 may be a good idea if paying for college expenses is a goal. However, what I’ve also realized is many people are unaware of their options when establishing 529 accounts. The purpose of this post isRead More
While I couldn’t possibly cover all the ins and outs of 403(b) plans in one post, my goal is to provide answers to some frequently asked questions I receive from STRS Ohio Members regarding 403(b)s. What is a 403(b)? A 403(b) is a tax-deferred retirement savings account available to most members of STRS Ohio. 403(b)s are separate from the three retirement plan options offered by STRS Ohio (i.e. Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution, and Combined), butRead More