According to the 2021 EBRI/Greenwald Retirement Confidence Survey, over 7 in 10 workers are at least somewhat confident in having enough for a comfortable retirement, including 3 in 10 who are very confident.
Yet on average, people have $98,800 saved for retirement. At the same time, people’s expectations for how much they’ll need to retire comfortably is $950,800 (Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress Study 2021). Nearly half (45%) of Americans say the pandemic has impacted their timeline for achieving long-term financial security, with most saying it’s a setback of one to two years.
And despite many having rather lofty retirement income expectations, only four in 10 workers have attempted to calculate how much they will need to have saved to meet those expectations. Most workers ages 40 and up are not saving nearly enough to generate sufficient retirement income to meet their retirement expectations, with one in four having no savings at all (Retirement Readiness Among Older Workers 2021, Insured Retirement Institute).
Not only are Americans seemingly unprepared for retirement, most don’t even know it. Social Security’s future is uncertain, private sector pension plans are disappearing, life spans are increasing, COVID has affected many people’s finances, and health care costs are rising. Working longer and living on less will be a harsh reality for many.
The good news
As a public school employee, your employer contributes to the Wisconsin Retirement System on your behalf, covering a portion of your retirement needs. But that’s not all.
As a public school employee, you are eligible to open a 403(b) retirement savings account. A 403(b) is a great opportunity to build additional savings with before- and/or after-tax contributions conveniently deducted from your paycheck. A 403(b) can help you achieve your retirement dreams, regardless of your age.
Start today. The longer your time horizon before retirement, the longer your money can work for you. You can start a 403(b) with as little as $20 per pay period. When selecting a provider, compare fees. Even one percentage point can make a big difference in your account balance at retirement.
Take time to calculate your retirement income needs. Our retirement planning calculators can help you approximate how much you need to save, determine the impact of changing your retirement savings payroll deductions, ascertain projected shortfall or surplus at retirement, and more.
Work toward contributing the maximum allowed. Include after-tax (Roth) contributions, if available in your district, to your 403(b) account to help reduce your tax liability in retirement. Please check with your employer for the availability of after-tax contributions.
Member Benefits’ 403(b) program
Most public school employees in Wisconsin have access to Member Benefits’ 403(b)—a program recognized nationally by Forbes and the LA Times for its sound management and low fees. Call one of our consultants at 1-800-279-4030 for more information.