Kentucky's teachers, you have been through the ringer this year with your pensions, traveling to Frankfort regularly to protest bills that would drastically affect your retirement.

The reformed bill would offer you a pension with defined benefits, instead of the 401K-like plan that was offered the last go-round. You would have to wait until 55 to retire, instead of being able to go after putting in 27 years (no small feat!).

What can you do while Kentucky lawmakers hold your pension in their hands?

Educate yourself on the bill. If you haven't yet, reach out to your teacher's union, talk with other teachers, read up, and follow the Legislative Research Commission so you know the latest.

Call your legislators to talk about it. Encourage friends, family and coworkers to do the same. To find yours, visit

Prepare for the inevitable: you will retire, and you'll need your hard-earned money to do it. You may face an unexpected illness, death or need to caretake for a loved one. Preparation is key.

Get your paperwork in order: get your last will and testament, insurance, and power of attorney done now so you can relax upon retirement. Talk to an experienced elder law attorney to make this painless.

Go to the doctor: Not only will this save you time, aggravation and money down the road, but any health issues will be brought to the forefront now so you can address them sooner rather than later. Long-term care for chronic health problems gets expensive, and you'll need help navigating those tricky waters, too.

The best legal advice I can give you is to be prepared. And there's no better time than now.

Scott E. Collins is an attorney for the Elder Law Practice of Scott Collins in Richmond.


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