Fyffe Coach Paul Benefield after earning his 300th victory.
Most coaches get into the high school football business to work with young people and coach the game of football that they grew up loving. But as coaches enter their mid 40s and their children began to enter college, it always helps to have a financial plan for the latter years of your career.
A coach may stay at a school for a number of years, and he and his family love living in that community and going to school there. Often his children want to play sports and graduate from that school. There are a number of factors that are involved in a coach's decision making concerning the last years of his career. "Doubling up" is the term most educators use to describe a teacher or coach who retires from education with the state of Alabama and continues to work another job outside the Alabama Retirement System.
Here are some options that coaches have used to help make a little more money after hitting those 25 or 30 year marks.
1) Retire at 25 or 30 years and coach out of state - This is a great option for those who live near the Alabama state line. Coaches can take a job in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi or Florida while drawing their 50-60% of their salary in retirement. They may be able to drive across the line without having any living expenses and still reside in the same house they have lived in for years. Plus they do not have to pay state tax on their Alabama retirement. If a coach retires after 30 years at age 53, he could take an out of state job (Florida) and work there for 10 or 12 years. In most states, you can get vested to draw retirement after 10 years of work if you are 65 years old. So that coach at age 65 could draw his Alabama retirement, a Florida retirement check as well as his social security. He would pay no state tax on any of those checks. If that coach wanted to continue to coach into his late 60s, he could do so drawing his Alabama check, his social security check (after age 66+) and his regular Florida monthly work check. Coaching out of state is a great option. Some of the head football jobs in other states may pay a littler more than Alabama, so that check from that other state can really boost your money as you get into your 60s.
2) Retire at 25 or 30 years and coach in a private school. This is a good option for many coaches who may not live near the state line. There may be a private school job nearby whether they compete in the AISA or the AHSAA. Again, coaches can draw their retirement and then draw their private school coaching salary. Coaches should check into whether or not a private school offers a 401K plan for their faculty. Many of them do, and the school often pays into that account for the coach, based on how much money the coach contributes to the plan. This could be quite a nest egg over 12 years or so. All of the money in that account, being invested and drawing interest. It is a great way to add to your Alabama retirement and social security check as you enter into your mid 60s.
3) Retire at 25 years and take a job outside of education. Often coaches can retire from the public schools and then take a job at age 48 or 50 in the business world. They can often work for 15 or 20 years and be a part of the retirement plan for that business. Often these jobs pay better than coaching. If a coach retired after 25 years and his retirement benefit was $40,000, he might take a job outside of education that paid him $85,000. Therefore, he could make $40,000 plus $85,000 = $125,000 for many years. That salary would be subject to raises plus retirement benefits from that business when he retired from his second job. He just bumped his salary by $55,000 by going outside education. It is a great way to pay off debt, pay for college or buy that boat or cabin that you always dreamed about. Another plus can be the reduced stress. Many jobs in business are pretty relaxing compared to teaching a group of 30 students and coaching the local team on Friday night.
4) Retire at 40 years and coach only, drawing the minimum salary allowed. We have some coaches out there that have lived in a small community for many years and been very successful as head coach of their team. Let's say they have coached 40 years and at age 63 no longer want to teach but would still like to coach the team. If their salary was based on $80,000, they could draw 80% of $80,000 which would be $64,000 in retirement. The school could then pay that coach the minimum salary ($33,000) to coach the team. They would go from making $80,000 to a salary of $113,000. That is a nice raise. When they reached full social security age at 66+, they could start drawing their social security. That social security check would probably be about $30,000. Still coaching the team at 66, that coach would be drawing about $143,000 at that time. And all of this for just coaching. In most of these situations, the coach has the morning off and may show up for athletic period at 2:00 pm and leave school whenever he gets ready. That's a pretty cool part timer job.
Coaches have worked through the pressure and stress of coaching and teaching for all of those years and deserve an opportunity to make some extra money at the end of their career. As coaches enter their mid 40s, they really should get a plan in mind to make the most of their money and enjoy their retirement years.