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Dear younger me: What I should have done differently when I started my teaching career

Pension Sense blog | January 17, 2023 | Barbara Zumwalt

Two women using a computer

If your career has just begun, and you want to make sure you’ll have a secure retirement, learn from your experienced colleagues who are now preparing to retire.

Many have reflected upon their careers with fond memories—and noted a few mistakes. Among the top regrets: not planning earlier for their future. Here are key steps you should take now to prepare for the day when you retire:

  • Read the Welcome to CalSTRS booklet, which outlines benefits and other services for new educators.
  • Sign up for myCalSTRS, your online resource to manage your personal details, access key benefits information, and receive answers to your questions through our secure online messaging system. You can even set your retirement goals, adjust them as your needs change, and follow your progress.
  • The average retirement benefit replaces about half of a career educator’s salary. Learn now how to boost your retirement income through a voluntary supplemental savings program, such as Pension2. Retirees who contributed to it years ahead of their retirement date are grateful they have more funds to tap into.
  • See our member publications page, where you’ll find useful information for every part of your career and as your life situation changes (getting married or having children, for example).
  • Most California public educators are not eligible for Social Security. Learn why and whether you’re an exception with our publication Social Security, CalSTRS and You.
  • Take some time to review our Learn and Discover: Early Career guide.
  • Book an appointment (online or in person) with a CalSTRS specialist who can help explain your benefits.

And remember, we’ll always be here to assist you at every stage of your retirement planning.

For information on how to reach CalSTRS, visit the contact us webpage.