Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New public employees should work to 65

Article - Opinion - California Focus: New public employees should work to 65

Here is an article written by Keith Richman that is advocating all new public employees work till 65. This might be a good idea for most public employees, but I do not believe it is a good idea for public school teachers.

For one thing, I am doubtful that there will be much cost savings in getting educators to work an extra 2 - 10 years till age 65. Assume that a 60 year old educator who wants to retire today has a total compensation package of $90,000, and a new teacher has a total compensation package of say $45,000. The present value of the difference in compensation is about $200,000.......I say let that educator retire.

I work with a lot of educators and on average, by the time they reach 55 they are getting tired. They haven't lost their passion for kids, its just that 30 years of being in the classroom can really wear someone down. Don't get me wrong, just because a teacher has reached the age of 55 doesn't mean they are no longer effective, in fact many of them have more energy than I feel I do at times. It's just that there are some educators who reach these stages and feel that continuing to teach will begin to wear on them physically and mentally, they need a break. They need to retire.

Allowing an educator who has spent his or her life serving the children to retire on a timeline that is reasonable (the current system is reasonable) not only encourages more and better teachers to enter the profession, but it encourages those teachers who feel like they just can't do it anymore to retire with grace. Imagine if we forced a teacher who simply didn't want to teach to continue to teach, just so they wouldn't be impoverished in retirement.....is this best for our educators and our students?

Perhaps I see where Mr. Richman is going with this. A teacher who is forced to teach till age 65 might be more worn down and statistically may not live as long.......thus reducing the pension liability.

I'm all for fiscal responsibility, in fact my stomach churns when I see the deficits being piled up everywhere I look, but when it comes to our teachers in California, we need to take a hard look at so-called "simple solutions", they may not turn out to be so simple.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF
949-916-6238
www.meridianwealth.com
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