Human Events Blog

Teacher upset she can’t retire at 47

Terri List says she would tell her students not to become a teacher in Michigan.


One of the reasons is because the Saginaw Township Community School District English teacher won’t be able to retire at age 47 as she has hoped.

List was highlighted by the Michigan Education Association as one of the critics of Senate Bill 1040, which would require public school employees to contribute at least 5 percent of their compensation to their retirement plan.

The MEA reported on its website: “Saginaw Township teacher Terry (sic) List had hoped to retire in the next three years when she was 47 years old. That wouldn’t be possible under SB 1040. List would have to work another 16 years to be eligible for health benefits.”

“By the time I’m 60, I would have put in 43 years of service, earning a salary at the top of the pay scale. How does that save the district money? You could hire two people for the cost of one and encourage young people to join the profession. Right now, I would not recommend to my pupils to become a teacher in Michigan.”

List didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

According to the school’s most recent teacher’s contract, List earns between $70,000 and $80,000 a year depending upon her level of education. Factor in expected pay raises over the next 15 years and it’s likely List would make more than $90,000 by the time she retires, said Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Van Beek estimated List’s pension would be $60,000 a year in retirement and it would increase 3 percent a year and she would get health benefits when she retired at age 60. Van Beek also said that it is likely that List bought “years of service” because she said she would have 43 years of service by age 60. Van Beek said that practice is basically extinct in the private sector.

Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, called List’s comments “amazing.”

“Wow. They have reached the politicians’ level of entitlement,” Drolet said. “She thinks she is entitled to retire at 47? Holy smokes. I don’t know what more to say to that. A government employee thinking that 47 is a reasonable expectation to retire shows just how deep inside their own bubble they live, insulated from the real world.”

Charles Owens, president of the Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, said tongue-in-cheek that List was “spot on” in her complaint.

“If you want to retire if you are 47, apparently teaching is not the place to go,” Owens said. “The least Terri could do is provide a list of places other people could go so they can retire when they are 47.”

Reposted from the Michigan Capitol Confidential

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  • HC

    WOW! See what kind of culture we have created…It’s just like welfare…people think they are entitled to things on our tax payer nickel. 

  • Nick099

    To be able to retire at 47 is a privilege not a right. Those benefits were given at a time when teachers did not make $80k a year, but probably $35k. Now the contracts and the law is changing because of the extraordinary abuse of these benefits and the obscene costs to the Taxpayer. What is so shocking is that this teacher is so completely self-absorbed and probably a hypocrite.

    A hypocrite because she is most likely a Democrat and an ardent Obozo supporter. Obozo who wishes to take other people’s hard earned money and re-distribute it according to how he think is best. How does it feel when the shoe is on the other foot eh????

  • Firepower

    These filthy swine Government BUREAUCRATS are what destroyed Michigan. Not “blacks” or even the failing auto economy.  Both were around long before SWINE like these BENEFIT-SUCKING mooches dosed the taxpayers with a fatal disease.

  • bagittagit

    Maybe her math skills suck.  Seems to be a failing with most gov. employees.

  • creeper00

    You left out one small detail.  If she retires at 47, she’s paid for thirteen years of no work on top of those after 60.  The state doesn’t get a thing in return and they have to pay her replacement to boot.

    She may make more money, costing the state more in retirement, if she stays the thirteen years till age 60 but that’s not money down a rathole.  The state gets something for its money…her services as a teacher.

    On second thought…

  • redwolf6911

    I am sure the voters in Michigan would be glad to retire her, without the big pension though.

  • sctallgirl2000

    I would never have gone into teaching had it not been for the defined benefit retirement program that allowed me to retire after 23 years of service in SC. I was allowed to buy 5 and get out early, draw my retirement, keep my health and dental benefits (with my paying my share of the premiums). I knew I’d never make much as a teacher here, and I only made $50,000 at my peak, but I knew I’d draw a retirement check that I could supplement with another job until I reached Social Security age. If the retirement program hadn’t existed, I’d have chosen another major and would have gone into another field where the money was better. That’s the plain and simple fact. Nothing about teaching is enticing to a graduate because of the low pay and government control paperwork and regs, so there has to be a benefit to get people to choose that career. Yes, most go into it for the children and love them, but in reality, one has to pay the bills and live. Teaching sucks the lifeblood out of a person.

  • vadave

    My ex-wife was a U.S. Gov’t executive who retired on (mental) disability at 48 years old receiving $80K yearly. If she lives till the current national average age for U.S. women she will make more in retirement (2.3 mil) than she did working full-time for the government for 27 years. BTW, she worked as a D.C. bureaucrat who never left the safety of her office building.
    I retired from a large corporation after 30 years service receiving a full retirement of $23K a year. Though I retired from the company my plan was to immediately find a comparable paying job supplimented by my retirement pay. I landed that job and am doing just fine. I computed what my retirement would have been using my ex’s Gov’t retirement formula and if I had worked for the Federal Gov’t my retirement would have been 2 1/2 times greater. Some would say that my company is ripping me off, I say not! The difference is that my company’s retirement fund is solvent and in the black whareas the Feds retirement plan is unsustainable without raising taxes to pay exorbitant retirement “salaries”.
    Here’s the really insane part of the comparison. I worked for a large corporation who employs 200,000, pays their benefits, healthcare and makes a profit to boot. That’s 200k families that the government does not have to take care of. My ex worked for a gov’t organization that can only exist by taxing individuals and corporations that actually make a profit but her retirement compensation ended up being 2 1/2 times greater than mine. What a topsy-turvey world we live in!

  • john811c

    Let her retire, there will be a savings, she can pay her own medical insurance thru cobra like the rest of us, and why is it so difficult to have to contribute to your own retirement many of us private sector workers do that 5% is paltry She probably isn’t that good of a teacher anyway we can get 2 for her price and maybe the will be non union (wishful hoping)

  • john811c

    that is an incredible concept purchasing time on the job I guess that gives her wage increases too for the additional “years of service purchased” Its all about money and greed

  • Raymond Supper

    She should not despair – her paltry pension will qualify her for a nice subsidy under Obamacare