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I'm going to a NYSTRS Retirement Planning Seminar soon to find out what I should be doing now so I can retire at 55. I want to know how much I can expect my System benefits to be and when I should begin to collect Social Security. I also want to determine if I'll need to supplement my pension and how I can protect all my assets.

 

As you enter this important stage of your career, retirement issues will begin to come into focus. You may start to wonder: “How do I determine if I can afford to retire?” and “How much longer will I have to work?” You should start thinking about what you want to do and where you would like to live after your career in education.

At the same time, you may be faced with a changing family situation. Your children may be struggling to make it on their own and you might be taking on a greater responsibility for your parents or older relatives. These circumstances as well as your health, career changes, early retirement incentives and other factors may affect your retirement decisions.

PREP Sheds Light

In the years prior to retirement, you should attend our Pension & Retirement Education Program (PREP). A variety of retirement-related topics are covered during the program, with members able to choose which would be of greatest benefit.

This seminar will allow you to focus on the eligibility and calculation rules for a pension, the death benefit coverage that could continue into retirement, the retirement process, the choice of taking a benefit payment option or purchasing life insurance, the rules for working while receiving a pension, the challenges of adjusting to retirement, Social Security and estate planning. Schedules are posted in schools and through the PREP page of our website. You can book a seminar online through the MyNYSTRS area of our website, or by calling NYSTRS at (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6100.

Follow Up

After you attend a Retirement Planning Seminar, it's a good idea to obtain a more specific estimate of your retirement benefit to help you analyze your financial alternatives. You can obtain one by calling (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6020 and request that one be sent to you or by using the Pension Estimator on our website. You may also obtain an estimate at a personal or video consultation with System staff (see Meet With a Representative).

At a benefits consultation, a representative will access your file and produce a printed estimate based on your possible dates of retirement and expected salary increases.

You should bring the following to your consultation:

  • A photo ID (such as a driver's license);
  • Your most-recent Benefit Profile
  • Salaries by school year for last year, the current year and any future years; 
  • The amount of any local incentive, bonus or payment for unused leave; and, 
  • A list of questions you want answered at the consultation. 

In some locations you will meet with a representative in person. At other sites, you will meet with a System representative in Albany via video conference. Benefits Consultation schedules and the numbers to call to make a reservation are posted in your school building and on our website. You can schedule as many consultations as you need.

What you can get at a
Personal or Video Consultation:

  • A review of your service history;
  • Benefit estimates;
  • Information on benefit payment options;
  • Information on withdrawing your contributions;
  • Your questions answered; and,
  • Forms to file.

Saving for Retirement in Your 40s

  • Make it your #1 goal!
  • Tighten your budget to free up money for retirement.
  • Increase contributions to an existing retirement plan by 1-2% every six months.
  • A $1 million nest egg at 67 will cost $11,000 annually in savings.
(Source: Dee Lee, Certified Financial Planner)