By Carole Anne Luckenback
“Teachers are often so focused on educating others that they sometimes neglect educating themselves on things like financial literacy,” says Oak Grove Educators Association member Maggie Ellis. “The CTAinvest.org site is a really great way to arm members with the knowledge to close that financial literacy gap.”
A great way to work toward the goal of being more financially literate is to supplement your pension with a 403(b) plan. Because 403(b) retirement plans can appear complex, CTA launched a new website for its members, CTAinvest.org, in August 2009. Designed to offer members helpful financial tools and resources, www.ctainvest.org provides a secure and straightforward way to make better-informed decisions about your investments and retirement plans. And with new enhancements made as a result of CTA member feedback, the site includes even more features and interactivity — and no log-in is required.
“Educators in California have such a strong guaranteed retirement system in place with CalSTRS and CalPERS,” says Corning Elementary Faculty Association Vice President Philip Barletto. “But the reality is that retirement is expensive. We live longer, and inflation rates and health care costs continue to rise. We need to supplement our retirement with our own savings — and that can be done through a 403(b) plan.”
Because financial experts have suggested that individuals may need 90 to 100 percent of their pre-retirement income to maintain an uninterrupted lifestyle and cover health care expenses in retirement, it makes perfect sense to plan ahead.
“CTA works in partnership with CalSTRS on its members’ behalf to maintain and protect your pension,” says CTA president David A. Sanchez. “However, a CalSTRS pension will not replace 80 percent to 100 percent of your pre-retirement income. That’s where voluntary savings in the form of 403(b) and 457 plans come in, and why CTA has developed these financial tools for its members.”
The CTA State Council Retirement Committee has had a long-term goal to see more financial literacy education available to teachers. Too many educators have been taken advantage of by investment advisers. CTA believes the solution is for members to educate themselves. CTAinvest.org makes it easier for members to become informed, with tools like “CalSTRS 403(b) Compare” helping them see any hidden charges.
“Educators need to make time to plan for their retirement, and the earlier the better,” says Oak Grove Educators Association President KC Walsh. “It’s an easy-to-use website with so many helpful tools and resources. I tell members to visit CTAinvest.org even if they can only spare 15 minutes of their time — it is well worth the time invested.”
All-new features at www.ctainvest.org added from member feedback
- Five brief videos, averaging 2-3 minutes, loaded with resources to support your financial future.
- Interactive quizzes and answers to increase your knowledge of financial topics.
- A personalized checklist designed to help you remember to complete important financial tasks.
- “Ask the Advisor” lets you post general questions about financial topics.