Financial habits are very important to adopt for people in any line of work. However, teachers should pay close attention to their financial habits to help better their future. It can be difficult to get promotions and pay increases as a teacher due to limited upper-level positions. So, it is important for teachers to work with the salary that they have today, as their future promotions are often uncertain. Below, you will find three important financial habits that we have found teachers should have.
1. Live Within Your Financial Means
In our culture, it can be very tempting to live outside your financial means. We all would love to drive extravagant cars and live in mansions, but for many job fields, this is difficult to achieve. For teachers, it is very important to keep track of your expenses to help ensure you are not overspending. As you do this, plan to have money left over at the end of each month to put towards your monthly debt payments, add to your emergency fund, and invest in your retirement account. To do this, you may have to make some changes in your life, but this is a financial habit that is well worth the effort it takes.
2. Invest in Your Retirement Plan
As mentioned in our article, “Investments to Make Before Retiring as a Teacher,” teachers are able to invest in defined-contribution retirement plans. These plans are 403(b) and 457(b), which are both designed for government employees. It is very important to consistently invest in these retirement plans so you are prepared for retirement. For many people, it is very helpful to set up automatic deductions from their checking accounts to go into their retirement accounts. This way, you don’t have to remember doing it each month, and you won’t be tempted to spend the money now. As you have likely heard before, it is never too early to plan for retirement. So, even if you are a younger teacher, investing in retirement is a great financial habit to adopt.
3. Track and Deduct Out-of-Pocket Classroom Expenses
Many teachers find themselves needing to purchase items for their classrooms. Oftentimes, these items are tissues, whiteboard markers, hand sanitizer, and more. Purchasing these items can get very expensive, especially on a teacher’s salary. Thankfully, you are able to deduct those purchases in your taxes. Each year, you can deduct up to $250 for classroom expenses.1 However, you must keep track of the receipts so you can prove the items were purchased to the IRS. Even though $250 may not sound like much over the course of a year, it can add up greatly throughout your career as a teacher.
If you need help implementing some financial habits into your life as a teacher, please let us know. We are very experienced in helping teachers get their finances in order and advising them on their investments. Our goal is to make sure you are setting your future self up for success.
The information provided is based on our general understanding of the subject matter discussed and is for informational purposes only. Equitable Advisors, LLC, its affiliates and financial professionals do not provide tax or legal advice.
1 “Tax Tips for Teachers: Deducting Out-of-Pocket Classroom Expenses” Anonymous TurboTax, 2019