Skip to main content
Full Menu Close Menu
You Should Know

Your financial well-being

You Should Know
planning for retirement

Congratulations! Because you are a UFT member, you are well on your way to long-term financial well-being.

That’s because when you retire, you will have a defined-benefit pension, as rare today as it is valuable. That benefit alone puts you in the minority of Americans. Only 20% of U.S. workers participate in a defined-benefit pension plan, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With a defined-benefit pension, you don’t have to worry about the ups and downs of the stock market that affect 401(k) savings plans. Your pension benefit stays the same throughout your retirement.

No matter where you are in your career — just starting out, mid-career or nearing retirement — the defined-benefit pension is a valuable building block for financial security in your later years. It is a benefit the UFT fiercely defends in its daily work.

Appointed teachers, other pedagogues or paraprofessionals in city public schools automatically become members of the Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS. Most others, including nurses, therapists and substitute teachers as well as other part-timers, may join the Board of Education Retirement System, or BERS. Both feature defined-benefit pensions.

In addition, TRS and BERS each offer a voluntary program, the Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA), which allows you to save additional money for your retirement. This is another phenomenal program that eligible members should take advantage of. These TDA programs offer a savings fund with a guaranteed rate of return set by New York State.

More than 40% of Americans rely on Social Security alone for retirement income, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security. UFT members, however, have their Social Security, a defined-benefit pension and, if they have opted in, a tax-deferred annuity, plus their health insurance and UFT Welfare Fund benefits. Together, that creates a strong base of financial security.

Maintaining your financial well-being

Now you know you’re off to a great start! But it's also important to maintain your financial well-being in the present. Creating and sticking to a budget and living within your means are key to your financial health. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be thoughtful about your spending habits and try to curb impulsive spending.
  • Lower your debt and use credit responsibly.
  • Make step-by-step plans to reach your short-, mid- and long-term financial goals.
  • Try to put aside some of your paycheck regularly to cover unexpected expenses such as car or home repairs.
  • If you need help tackling your finances, consult with a financial adviser.

The union has your back, offering a reputable financial counseling program that provides unbiased advice customized to your financial situation for an annual fee. The program, provided by Stacey Braun Associates, Inc., is offered by the union’s state affiliate, NYSUT, and gives participants up to six hours of toll-free telephone consultations with a certified financial planner or registered investment adviser.

Ways to save

Thanks to our union membership, in-service UFT members can save money on a variety of goods and services, from apparel to entertainment (theater, movies and sports) to travel, gifts, gym memberships and more.

On that same page, you can access benefits from our state and national union affiliates, NYSUT and the AFT. These range from car and truck rentals to life insurance, homeowners insurance, pet insurance and other services.

Did you know all in-service UFT members are automatically enrolled in the union’s Legal Services Plan? The plan provides members with access to attorneys who can prepare a will, a living will, a health care proxy and a power of attorney annually, free of charge. To access this legal plan, call the UFT-dedicated phone line at 212-331-6325.

The UFT Pension Department offers virtual webinars on financial wellness and pensions throughout the school year. The next financial wellness webinars will be offered in early spring and again near the end of the school year. 

Related Topics: Pension