Grow your retirement savings beyond a teacher's pension

Teacher in front of chalk board thinks about adding a 403(b) to supplement her pension

Key Takeaways:

  • Your pension is an important part of your retirement plan.
  • You have additional tools available to ensure a  comfortable retirement.
  • A 403(b) plan can work hand-in-hand with your pension to approach your future with confidence.

As an educator, you have been blessed with the tools to teach and inspire future generations with passion, talent and vision of a brighter tomorrow. You may also have access to a tool that many in the private sector don’t have that can help secure your financial future: a pension. 

Your pension gives you a steady income throughout your life that starts when you retire. If you live in a state that offers Social Security to educators, you are even more prepared for retirement. The question is: is it enough?

How much retirement savings do  you need to retire?

If you worry about having enough savings to retire, you are not alone. 68% of Americans are concerned they won’t have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Retirement needs are based on your individual needs, but a good rule of thumb is that your retirement income should equal about 80% of your pre-retirement income.

Based on that number, your pension may not be enough to cover your needs. 

How to bridge the pension gap with a 403(b)

As teachers, you have more than enough on your plate to even think about saving for the future. Nearly 45% of teachers could not identify their retirement plans, and 30% are unaware of how long their benefits will last.

While many teachers rely on their pensions for the future, it’s easy to forget that a pension isn’t enough and should only be used as a foundation of your income. You can use other savings tools to bridge the gap to help you be where you want to be. 

The benefits of a 403(b) plan

As an educator, you have access to a 403(b) savings plan. This is tax-deferred savings tool to supplement your pension and help you better prepare for a more comfortable retirement. A 403(b) works similar to a 401(k) plan.* You can select a wide range of investments to help your money grow tax-free until retirement. 403(b) contributions can also lower the federal income taxes withheld from your paycheck and lower your annual taxable income. That means you can save money on your taxes today while building your retirement for tomorrow. 

Take the next step now

Enroll in an Equitable Financial 403(b) retirement plan today — and find an Equitable Advisors
Financial Professional who can help build your financial future with confidence.

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Even small retirement savings contributions help

We know what you’re thinking: "how can I invest in anything on a teacher’s salary?" With the average teacher salary at $61k nationally, there may not be much wiggle room in your budget to invest in your retirement. In 2023, you can contribute up to $22,500 in a 403(b) plan per year, but starting at any amount is a step in the right direction.

If money is tight, trimming a few things in your budget can give you what you need to get started. Ideas include:

  • Making your morning coffee at home instead of buying one on the way to school.
  • Packing a lunch instead of eating out or in the school café.
  • Cancel streaming subscriptions you aren’t using.
  • Shopping with a cash back credit card (but always pay your balance in full each month).

And, as your income grows, you can add to your yearly contributions, which can eventually snowball into a successful investment strategy. 

Consider the savings and growth

The more you save in a 403(b) plan, the less you’ll pay in taxes. That means if you invest $2,500 a year, your taxable income is lowered by $2,500. Those tax savings add up, especially if you are investing for the long haul. Plus, the money you are investing is also growing tax-free in your account, so you can benefit from compound interest. 

Instead of focusing on the monthly burden of contributions, think about the long-term benefits. In this case, every dollar you can invest is important. 

Worry less about retirement planning while gaining more

You work hard for your money. That’s why it’s so important to build on that momentum by supplementing and strengthening your retirement investments. Anything you can do today toward investing can make you feel more confident in the future. A 403(b) plan goes hand-in-hand with your pension and is a smart way to ensure a comfortable retirement. 

Get started today to discuss how to put a plan in place by talking with your local Equitable Advisors financial professional. They can help you take the right steps towards retirement investing and discuss the advantages of a 403(b) savings plan.

* A 403(b) plan, often referred to as a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) plan, is a retirement plan available specifically to employees of public schools and certain 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations – i.e., non-profit organizations. By comparison for context, a 401(k) plan is a qualified plan available specifically to employees of for-profit companies. While they have similarities, 403(b) plans and 401(k) plans are not interchangeable or entirely comparable.


This informational and educational article does not offer or constitute and should not be relied upon as investment or financial advice, and the advice of your own such professionals should take precedence over any information provided in this article. Equitable Advisors, LLC and its associates and affiliates do not provide tax, accounting or legal advice or services.

Equitable is the brand name of the retirement and protection subsidiaries of Equitable Holdings, Inc., including Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) (NY, NY), Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America (Equitable America), an AZ stock company, and Equitable Distributors, LLC. Equitable Advisors is the brand name of Equitable Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI and TN).

GE5707543.1 (06/2023) (Exp. 06/2025)