Will participation in a 457(b) plan reduce future Social Security benefits?
I have 10 substantial earning years in corporate jobs where I paid into Social Security (40 quarters). The next 11 years, I was raising my children. I became very passionate about children and education and am considering a career change to become a teacher in Texas. I understand my SS future benefits will be subject to WEP and GOP (extremely disappointing). I am so discouraged, it feels like a dream is being shattered and now I am not sure if getting a teaching certificate at this point in life would make sense causing my future SS benefits to be reduced.
Do you have any thoughts/advise on this? I have about 21 years until full retirement age, but was hoping not to have to work that long.
I am afraid I would have to teach a lot of years to end up with a decent monthly pension from the school system upon retirement. How would I find out what my break-even year would be? Would working for a school district that participates in both SS and Teacher’s Retirement Pension avoid WEP and GOP?
Is participation in a 457(b) plan (the substitute teachers do not participate in TRS, but instead in 457(b)) evoke WEP and GOP the same way?
You have multiple questions so let me walk you through them one at a time.
As you stated if you become a teacher in the state of Texas you would particpate in TRS. Typically when you work for a public institution in Texas that particpates in TRS you do not pay into the U.S. Social Security System thus any benefits that you would receive would have to follow through the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). So basically you are switching Social Security for Texas Pension. https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf
For calculating your pension benefit, starting on page 33 of the handbook you can figure out your tier and then it gives you the formula for what your pension could be. https://www.trs.texas.gov/TRS%20Documents/benefits_handbook.pdf
I would honestly tell you not to get burdened by social security versus pension. Either way if you go to corporate versus public you will want to save additional money for retirement. You must follow what your heart is telling you and my experience is that if you do what your heart tells you, particoapte in pension plan and save additionally into 457 also you will enjoy your life and retirement.
My wife has been a teacher for five years here in Texas and I've been asked a few of these questions. First, let me say that if you are a natural born teacher, you'll do great.
As for the WEP which affects your benefits, if you have 30 plus years of paying into social security, you'll be exempted. So being at a school district that pays both, would help with this.
In regards to the GOP which affects your spousal and widow benefits, as long as you're paying into social security the last five years before retiring from teaching, you'll be fine. So at the very least, be working at a school district that pays into social security your last five years.
The 457 is a supplemental retirement plan and in no way affects WEP or GOP. I would suggest that if you decide to go into teaching, whether you pay into social security or not, open a 403(b) with a mutual fund platform. Stay away from annuities. They come with hefty fees that ultimately affect the bottom line of your investment returns.
Here is a useful fact sheet about WEP and GOP: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/gpo-wep.html
As a general rule, you should put the maximum into a 457 plan which your employer will match. You should also put the maximum for yourself and your spouse into Roth IRA accounts each year; 5500 per person annually or 6500 if you are over age 50.
You can't do much about tax rules which were mostly established in 1977 and are unlikely to change any time soon. Adapt to them as best as possible.