A Retirement That’s Ripe for the Picking

For TCDRS member Laura Payne, meeting with a financial planner and scheduling a TCDRS Online Counseling appointment helped her see how to keep growing her retirement savings.

By John Martin

Imagine your retirement savings as an orchard. You may have one tree you’ve been tending to or a handful of trees that have started bearing fruit.

Just as you would wait for an apple to ripen, you want to have an understanding of your retirement savings before venturing into retirement so you don’t harvest before the time is right.

When TCDRS member and Smith County court reporter Laura Payne got an email from her HR department about a financial planner being available to staff, she took the opportunity to hop into a meeting and get some of her questions answered about retirement.

Soon after that meeting, she also scheduled an online counseling session with a TCDRS representative to better understand her benefits as she has two TCDRS accounts with different employers.

“I would really encourage people to get [TCDRS] information,” Laura says. “Set up a quick little Zoom meeting and see what you got.”

While Laura ultimately decided she isn’t quite ready to retire, she now feels confident in the steps she needs to take to set herself up for success. Her retirement goals are to maintain a similar lifestyle to what she enjoys now and be debt free.

To accomplish that, she’s focusing on building multiple sources of retirement income. “I would encourage other county employees to take advantage of the 457(b) plan,” she says. You can also check to see if your employer offers a 401(k) plan or open your own Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Adding more trees to your orchard doesn’t mean you have to start drawing from them at the same time either. What’s important is finding a strategy that suits your needs.

So, if you have the opportunity to reach out and be more informed, take it! You’ll be glad you did.


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