Colorado PERA Retirement Options 1, 2 and 3

Most Colorado educators are generally aware of the formula that calculates their PERA pension benefit: Years of Service Credit x 2.5% x Highest Average Salary (HAS) They also are generally aware of which HAS Table they use so they know when they qualify for a "full" retirement (non-green-shaded areas of your HAS Table). If you … Continue reading Colorado PERA Retirement Options 1, 2 and 3

Health Insurance: PERACare vs. the ACA Marketplace

First, a caveat. Health care - and health insurance - are complicated and nuanced topics that are heavily influenced by individual circumstances and options. The following post should be generally applicable for folks who are in a similar situation as we are, but you should always investigate the particulars for your situation carefully. This post … Continue reading Health Insurance: PERACare vs. the ACA Marketplace

Are the WEP and GPO “Fair”?

Like many teachers, the first time I heard about the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), my first response was, “That’s not fair!” Why should my Social Security benefit (by WEP) or Social Security Survivor’s Benefit (by GPO) be reduced simply because I worked as a public employee and earned a pension … Continue reading Are the WEP and GPO “Fair”?

Health Insurance and Using Your HSA as a Stealth Retirement Account

I’ve written a bit about health insurance before, going through the options for Littleton Public Schools (LPS) and Douglas County School District (DCSD). I was recently helping someone and thought I would update the numbers given LPS’s current insurance offerings, and also spend a bit more time talking about possibly using your HSA as an … Continue reading Health Insurance and Using Your HSA as a Stealth Retirement Account

Salary Schedule Lanes: How Much Difference Do They Really Make?

Many school districts have a salary schedule for teachers where your pay increases based on a combination of the number of years you have taught in the district ("steps") and the educational level you attain ("lanes"). While steps are automatic (well, except for the occasional bad budget year where steps are frozen), lanes are dependent … Continue reading Salary Schedule Lanes: How Much Difference Do They Really Make?

Fees Matter: Vanguard, PERA, TIAA and MetLife Comparison

Inspired by some of the work Ben Johnson has been doing, I decided to revisit two posts I've previously done on the retirement plans (401k/403b/457) available through Littleton Public Schools and Douglas County Public Schools. (Note that the expense ratios are slightly lower now than when I wrote those posts.) It's probably worth reading at … Continue reading Fees Matter: Vanguard, PERA, TIAA and MetLife Comparison