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Unique Planning Opportunities for Wisconsin Educators

During my middle school years, one of my teachers organized a stock picking simulation that aimed to instill financial knowledge in our group. I remember thinking it was magical (yes, I’ve always been a bit nerdy), and it set me on a path of continuing to learn more about finance and explore ways to leverage my expertise to assist others.


Fast forward to my college days, where I had an internship opportunity in financial services. Excited, I shared this with my finance professor. He pulled me aside after class and gave me some advice that changed the way I viewed the profession. Without his mentorship, I may have ended up in a different industry altogether.


Just about everyone has a story like these. It’s part of the reason I’ve used my fascination with personal finance to study the benefits that are unique to educators in Wisconsin.


WRS Pension

The Wisconsin pension system is one of the strongest in the country. Below are a couple of the main considerations Wisconsin educators should understand:


Retirement Savings Plans

School districts typically provide 403(b) accounts to help staff save for retirement, but some provide access to the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation 457(b) plan as well. These plans work very similarly in that they may both offer pre-tax or Roth contributions, and you can save to both directly from your paycheck. However, there are some key differences:

  • 403(b) may offer an employer match; 457(b) doesn’t

  • 457(b) generally offers lower costs

  • 403(b) accounts are subject to early distribution penalties that don’t apply to 457(b) accounts


Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

For teachers who have student loans, there are a couple of potential forgiveness programs that could save you thousands of dollars.


The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program applies to all public service workers and provides full forgiveness after 120 qualifying payments - including COVID forbearance months, whether or not you made payments.


The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program applies to teachers who work in a school that’s listed in the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory for at least 5 years. The amount of forgiveness under this program ranges from $5,000-$17,500.


Strategies to maximize forgiveness are situation-specific, so if you have student loans, consider doing additional research or working with a financial planner.

 

As always, keep in mind that you don't have to go it alone. Check out my website to see what it's like to work with me and reach out if you have any questions.


If you found this post helpful, help spread the word! But remember, this is solely for educational purposes - it's not advice.

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