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Serving as a teacher in Houston has been one of my greatest honors.

I became a teacher because I wanted to wake up every day knowing that my work mattered — I wanted to be an example to my students and their families while having the opportunity to both learn and teach. Although my job title is different, education remains at the forefront of how I serve. Serving as a Financial Advisor offers me the opportunity to continue to be a teacher and a counselor; I know my work matters to my clients and their families.
In my work as a Financial Advisor, I focus on serving Texas educators (TRS members). I, myself, am a member of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). As an educator of 7 years, I can attest to the fact that I didn’t know much about the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. And honestly, there is more I wish I would have known. Below I share the top 3 things I wish I would have known as a Texas educator.Whether you are new to the profession, new to Houston, a veteran educator, have left or are considering leaving — there is something here for you.
  1. Pensions are rare these days — as a Texas educator you have this great benefit available to you.All I knew about TRS was that they took money out of my hard-earned check each month. No one took the time to explain the value of TRS to me. TRS is a defined benefit pension plan and one of your most reliable sources of retirement income. That is because your pension is guaranteed for life — you cannot outlive it. Your pension is based on a formula and includes your years of service and your highest average salary that you earn throughout your career in education. I can prepare a report for you to show you what your pension will look like.
  2. I am a lifetime TRS member and you can be too!After 5 years working for a TRS employer, you are vested. I, for example, have 7 years of service in a TRS covered position. TRS members can either be active contributing or active non-contributing members. You can remain active as a non-contributing member if you have at least 5 years of service credit at which point you become eligible to receive a benefit in retirement (like me!). If you have less than 5 and are not currently employed by a TRS covered employer, you have a 5 year window in which you can remain an active non-contributing member before your membership is terminated.
  3. Even if you are no longer an educator, you might consider remaining a TRS member.As I mentioned above, I am a lifetime member and will be eligible to receive a benefit — I do not have any intention of removing my account balance. One reason is that my years of service will be wiped out to zero if I do; if I ever decided in the future to work for a TRS covered employer, I would have to start my membership all over again. If you have already withdrawn your account balance and are back in a TRS covered position, you may be eligible to purchase those years back!
What made you leave education and become a financial advisor? Almost every one of my educator clients asks.
I am a financial advisor because of my parents and the financial experiences I saw them experience growing up. Like many of you, what I learned about money was what I learned from my parents. I knew from an early age that I wanted to do things differently. As an adult, I understand that my parents did the best with what they had and what they knew. My senior year in college, a good friend of mine who I worked with in the Office of Admissions introduced me to his finance professor. That first conversation was the start of me unlearning what I knew about money to that point and started me on a path that has changed the trajectory of my life — a healthy mindset around money. Over time, my passion for personal finance continued to grow. I soon realized, that like my work as a teacher and counselor, serving others in this capacity could also be life-changing. I still wake up every day knowing I am having a positive impact on families and communities. My days as a teacher, counselor and mentor have only begun.

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Jesse is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and earned his Master’s in Education from Harvard. In his education career, he served as a teacher, counselor and Director of Alumni for YES Prep Public Schools. He is a member of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and takes pride in helping fellow educators better understand their pension and plan for their future.

Neither Lincoln Investment, Capital Analysts, nor any of their representatives are affiliated with the Teacher’s Retirement System of Texas (TRS); and TRS does not sponsor, authorize or endorse the retirement educational services described in this or other communications of them.