Educators Being an educator requires expertise and that you stay current on developments in your field. However, that level of ongoing attention can make it difficult to find the time to stay on top of issues that affect your finances, or to put together a comprehensive financial plan. Whether you work directly with students or focus on research, whether you are just starting your career or have achieved distinction in your field, you may benefit from working with a financial professional who understands an educator's special concerns. Here are some issues that may not have been at the top ofyour to-do list, but that can affect your long-term comfort and happiness.1. Addressing tax issuesMany educators, particularly contingency or adjunct faculty members, have multiple sources of income. For example, you may teach at several institutions, and/or earn consulting fees or royalties on your work. Welcome as that income doubtless is, it also may complicate tax planning and preparation. Other tax issues you may need help with include the deductibility of student loan payments, tax issues thatarise from pursuing an advanced degree, and the taxation of employer-provided benefits such as faculty housing. Getting tenure is cause for celebration, but it also islikely to affect your tax situation. Moving into a higher tax bracket could mean it's time to make or rethink decisions about how much you need to save for retirement, the immediate and long-term benefits of various retirement savings accounts--both taxable and tax-advantaged--and how your retirement savings are invested.2. Planning for retirement and beyondOne key to any potentially successful retirement plan is starting early. The sooner you can put a well-thought-out plan in place, the better your chances of financial security. Saving for retirement is like building up an endowment; it gives you the freedom to expand your horizons. Because academic salaries tend to remain relatively predictable (at least compared with corporate salaries) once you've gottentenure, you may have an advantage when it comes to retirement planning. Why? Because you may be able to make more accurate forecasts of your lifetime earning capacity than people in other professions, which can in turn help you make more informed decisions about how you should manage your money now. Statistical analysis tools can estimate the likelihood that a given financial strategy may beadequate to meet your long-term needs. Take full advantage of the tax benefits of your employer's 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) plan, especially if there's an employer match (it's essentially free money). You can defer up to $18,000 in 2015 ($24,000 if you're 50 or older), or 100% of your pay if less. Also, any deferrals you make to a 457(b) plan don't reduce the amount you can contribute to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan. So, for example, if you're eligible for both a 403(b) and 457(b) plan, you cancontribute the maximum to both, for a total contribution of up to $36,000 ($48,000 if you're 50 or older) in 2015. Beyond employer-sponsored plans, you may also beable to use other tax-advantaged retirement savings vehicles, such as a traditional or Roth IRA. In 2015, the annual contribution limit for traditional and Roth IRAs is $5,500 (plus an additional $1,000 if you're 50 or older).3. Investing responsibly An understanding of investing fundamentals is essential to making informed decisions with your money. A financial professional can help you understand not only the mechanics of investing, but demonstrate why a given strategy might be appropriate for you. Most common investing strategies are derived from a wealth of research on the historical performance of various types of investments. Though past performance is no guarantee of future results, it can help to understand the various asset classes, the way each class tends to behave, and the function each fulfills in a balanced portfolio. Asset allocation is a method used to help manage investment risk; it does not guarantee a profit or protect against investment loss. You might findassistance especially useful if you are the recipient of a lump sum, such as a cash award, prize or grant for your work. Do you have ethical concerns about investing?Socially conscious investing has entered the mainstream, and there are many investment options that could help you address your financial needs andstill support your convictions. Even if you're an experienced investor, you may needto adjust your strategy periodically as your circumstances change over time--for example, after you receive tenure or as you near retirement. The sooner you establish a relationship with a professional, the sooner you might benefit from theexpertise of someone who deals with financial issues daily.