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Quick Tips to Retire from Teaching Early

Teaching can be a wonderful profession. However, it does take a lot of effort and many educators find themselves ready to retire before they are actually able. For those just beginning their teaching career or veteran teachers closing in on retirement, here are a few tips that may help reach your end of career goals a little faster.

  1. Purchase service credit from other states. If you worked in another state, you may be able to purchase those years of service at a reduced cost.

  2. Purchase military active duty time. Prior active military veterans may be able to purchase up to five years or more of service credit. This type of credit is usually inexpensive compared to other service credit options.

  3. Educational leave service credit. If you interrupted your teaching career to add a graduate degree, you may be able to purchase those years and apply them to your retirement so long as you were teaching in the same state before and after you returned to school.

  4. Other public service credit. If you are employed as an educator in the same state in which you previously worked as a public servant, those years may also be applied to your teacher retirement plan.

  5. Air time. Some states allow educators to purchase up to 3-5 years of "air time". This is usually the most expensive type of service credit to buy.

  6. Sick days. Many states allow you to accrue sick days and use them at retirement.

  7. Early retirement penalty. If you have not yet put in 30 years or reached your 60th birthday, you may be able to retire anyway. However, there will be a penalty and reduced benefit in this situation.

Check with the teacher retirement system in your state to find out which of these options you may qualify for. You may also find that your state has additional options not listed here. Good luck! Stay well and take care of yourself. Retirement should feel like the beginning of a new phase in life and you should be healthy enough to enjoy it!

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