Preparing for complexity: next steps for educators
The global coronavirus pandemic has caused a wide range of individual reactions: fear, anxiety, frustration, helplessness. But if there is one reaction that is universal, it is uncertainty.
Teachers were some of the first people to face that uncertainty. In many places, schools closed with no indication of when they would reopen. Teachers scrambled to create distance-learning programs for students, without knowing what technology or level of internet access their students would have at home. They have had to figure out how to care for their own families while helping their students all day — and often well into the night. The summer jobs many teachers rely on for income, such as camps and other summer programs, are in flux. And it’s still not clear when many schools will open their buildings again, and what will need to change to be safe when they do so.
It’s natural to look forward to the time when things return to “normal.” But the degree of change COVID-19 has caused in a short period of time is unprecedented. Beyond the impact on education, the economic effects of the pandemic have already been extremely disruptive. Just when teachers, in particular, are feeling overwhelmed on many fronts, it’s tough to also worry about how to manage your financial plan in this new environment.
The first step in preparing for a post-pandemic world is to adapt to ongoing complexity. It’s an unnerving prospect. But there are options that can offer a measure of certainty in an uncertain world. As you take steps to protect your health, such as wearing masks and observing social distancing, there are also steps that can offer some protection to your financial well-being.
Think about your future
It is not clear at this point what long-term impact COVID-19 will have on the global economy and on the markets. But for people close to retirement, waiting for the eventual market correction could mean significantly postponing their plan to retire.
Whether you are approaching retirement or still a few decades away, annuities may be one option to consider as a way to establish retirement income. While they vary in structure, annuities are, in essence, contractual agreements in which payment(s) are made to an insurance company, which agrees to pay out an income or a lump-sum amount at a later date. In general, they are long-term financial products designed for retirement purposes.
Finding the right annuity for you will depend on how much risk you feel comfortable with, how close you are to retirement, how much you have saved relative to what you will need in retirement and your particular set of needs, goals and circumstances overall.
Of course, you need to have retirement savings for annuities to be an option. If retirement is a long way off for you, this might be a hard time to think about saving for it. The economy is uncertain, and you may still be paying off student loans or saving for a house. Should retirement savings really be a priority? The short answer is yes. Even if it’s a small amount, you’ll be glad later that you did.
Protect yourself now, and your loved ones later
It’s common to think of life insurance as something that will benefit your loved ones, ensuring their financial security after your death. Certainly, that is one of the primary benefits, and a great reassurance.
But some types of life insurance can also offer a measure of security during your life. Permanent life insurance offers the potential to build a cash reserve you can use for emergencies, as well as for major expenses, such as college, or to maintain your standard of living in retirement.1
As circumstances like the coronavirus pandemic increase uncertainty, life insurance can offer some stability.
Ensure your care
One of the issues that has come to the forefront in recent months is the importance of safe, reliable eldercare. However, planning for that care can make for some difficult conversations, whether you’re planning for yourself or for family members. According to one survey, 92% of people say talking with their loved ones about end-of-life care is important, but only 32% have actually done it.2 As a result, many people put off planning, which can make it difficult to be prepared when the need arises.
Finding the right care setting — whether at home, with family, in a continuing care retirement community, assisted living, or another option — can be tricky. But understanding what is important to your family can help make the decision about the right setting, as well as how to finance it. If you, or your parents, are ready to start thinking about how to make this decision, Equitable has resources that can help.
Don’t go it alone
Finding the right financial option for you can be confusing in the best of times, and may feel particularly overwhelming now. An Equitable Advisors Financial Professional who understands educators’ specific needs can help think through the right plan for you based on your lifestyle, your purpose and your finances.
Equitable Advisors Financial Professionals offer securities through Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA, SIPC and offer annuity and insurance products through Equitable Network, LLC (Equitable Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC in CA; Equitable Network Insurance Agency of Utah, LLC in UT; Equitable Network of Puerto Rico, Inc. in PR).
1Loans and withdrawals from a life insurance policy reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit and increase the chance that the policy may lapse.
2Source: The Conversation Project National Survey, 2018.