Forever Young?

With any luck, you’ll be reading this when you have a spare minute. It’s important, because you will get to be old one day. Think not? Or just trying not to think about it? Well, think of the alternative for a moment. I know you don’t have a third option, because if you did, you wouldn’t be teaching for long hours and low wages in an environment where you’re having your feet held to a fire by a corporate-political messaging campaign.

So let’s think about that for a moment; why are you doing this job? Well, I hope it’s for the love of kids and a belief you can make lives better for them. Assuming that’s the case, thank you for contributing to a civilized America. At the same time, there are some other benefits to teaching that might not be so clear and profound. One of those benefits is the promise of a pensioned retirement once you do get older. Now, you’re giving up higher salaries and rich salary increases, and you’re giving up a slice of the salary you do get all so you can have this promised pension. What you’re getting for that is twenty or maybe thirty years of secure income for the last piece of your life. That’s a lot. And it has a history.

In the old days, really old days, grandparents would reach a point where they could no longer do the heavy work they had done, so they switched to light domestic work and child care in the family home. Three generations lived together, caring for one another, and at the two ends of life being cared for by the rest of the family. These days, in a truly supportive society, we have reassigned the familial roles into societal roles. As a caring society, we care for the very young and the very old—the whole village idea.

But just like the old days, there are some who try to fly solo, loners who strike out Pinocio-like from the family and hope to make it on their own, lured by charlatans.  Some do make it and some don’t make it, but they all believe they’ll soar. What didn’t happen then was that the loners forced their risky life style on the whole family. That’s just what some free marketers would like you to do now, because like a croupier, they’ll take a litle piece of every play made, win or lose. So the more people they can get to the table, the better for them, but there won’t be any more winners, just more players who wind up losers. So put this together with getting older.

Think about getting older, and what it will mean to do that with a secure financial base or your casino winnings. The Minnesota Teacher Retirement Association is part of good family-style management, the pain we feel now rather than the much bigger pain of an empoverished old age. And you get this pension for caring about kids and making their lives better. A fair return on that investment. So be informed and engaged; protect your investment in your future.