For plenty of teachers and school employees, retirement planning seems complicated and even intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. At its simplest, retirement planning is setting aside dollars today, so you’ll have them when you retire. Keeping things simple, you want to put aside enough money now so that you’ll have enough money when you retire.

Step 1 Do Your Homework – Prepare for the Meeting

Before meeting with investment providers, you need to consider your retirement needs and your anticipated retirement income. Project your retirement expenses and gather information about your projected benefits. The better prepared you are, the more productive your meetings will be!

The three most common sources of retirement income are social security, a pension, and a supplemental investment plan. For Michigan teachers and school staff, that’s a 403(b). To know the potential retirement income from each, contact the Social Security Administration (for your Social Security benefit) and the Michigan Office of Retirement Services (for your pension benefit). You can then use our Retirement Calculators to explore the potential of your 403(b) plan.

Step 2 Meet with Investment Providers

The meeting is for learning more about the investment company and the investment products they offer. We recommend that you meet with multiple providers and specifically ask each provider to explain their fee structure and the total fees associated with each product. Also ask why they recommend specific products and what is the three, five, and ten-year performance of those products. A comparison of responses will help you determine the investment provider that will help you best meet your retirement goals.

To get started,  decide the companies with whom you would like to meet. You can learn more about them on the Our Partners page. Then complete our simple enrollment form. We will share your contact information with the companies you choose and representatives will contact you directly to schedule meetings.

Step 3 Begin Investing

Once you have selected an investment company, that provider will work with you to complete all of the necessary paperwork and submit to your employer’s business office, so you can begin payroll deduction and start contributing to your 403(b) account.

Where to get more detailed information on 403(b) plans

More information is available at Internal Revenue Service – 403(b) Plans.

Where to get more detailed information on your pension

While MRIC was formed to highlight the importance of your district’s 403(b) plan, it is also important to understand the pension plan you are entitled to through your employment. Your pension plan is offered through the Office of Retirement Services (ORS), which oversees the Public School Employees Retirement System, the State Employees Retirement System, the State Police Employees Retirement System, and the Judges Retirement System. The Office of Retirement Services is part of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

The Office of Retirement Services (ORS) has more information for public school employees at their website.