I’ve Heard From Other Teachers That the TRS AAI Buyout is Less Money. Is That True?

Many educators think that the TRS AAI buyout will mean less money for them in the long-run. In some cases, this may be true. However, depending on your goals, taking the buyout may actually give you more savings over time. At First Glance At first glance, the answer to this challenging question is yes. Your […]

Why Should I Take an AAI Buyout – Is the Pension Not Secure?

The somewhat mixed-messaging coming from TRS is confusing for a lot of teachers and their families in Illinois. The buyout is painted as an excellent option for educators, but it leaves an uncomfortable question in the air: Is your pension safe if you choose to not opt for the TRS AAI buyout? To understand the […]

How to Make Sure You Don’t Run Out of Money If You Take a TRS AAI Buyout 

Whether you’re a teacher, or you’re married to a teacher in Illinois, taking the TRS AAI buyout can bring up a retirement savings fear: What happens if you run out of money after taking the TRS AAI buyout option? The truth is, it’s possible to overspend when you receive a lump sum of cash. This […]

How Big Will My AAI Buyouts Be and How Will My TRS Pension be Different If I Take It?

You may be wondering: If I take the AAI Program buyout, how much will my lump-sum payment be? And how will my benefits be impacted? The truth is, as an Illinois teacher, your pension is likely a large part of your retirement plan. Before deciding whether the AAI Program is right for you, it’s important […]

How Does a COLA Work on an Illinois TRS Pension, and Why Is It Important?

COLA, or Cost-of-Living-Adjustment, is a legally required automatic increase to pensions. Illinois state law has required an automatic annual increase to pensions since 1969. Currently, COLA is a fixed 3% each year (compounded, meaning the prior year’s benefit gets increased by 3%). This increase happens every year, and is supposed to help your pension benefit […]

What is the AAI Program for Illinois TRS retirees?

The AAI Program, or Accelerated Annual Increase, is a relatively new program that requires TRS to offer all Tier 1 members an accelerated retirement benefit. This accelerated benefit would be equal to a portion of your future pension benefit. By agreeing to the voluntary program, you’re agreeing to a one-time reduction in your annual increase […]

A Teacher’s Day In The Life (15): The Budget, Month Two

I’m still not using the Good Budget app like I should, and I still have a pile of receipts on the counter. It all just feels so overwhelming.

The psychology of retirement

If you ask me, the whole concept of retirement is weird. But now times have changed.

Uncovering secrets: The self-directed K-12 403(b)

Only available with a couple of vendors – Fidelity and Aspire (and Vanguard where they can be found) – this option allows you to not have a representative assigned to your account to help you manage the investments.

What do the “Higher-Ed” 403(b) lawsuits mean for the K-12 space?

While the result of these suits would be great progress in the world of retirement planning, I’m left scratching my head and pointing to the elephant in the room: What about the 3.5 million K-12 teachers and their 403(b)’s?