Q: What steps should I take to prepare for retirement?
A: Attending a free New York State Teachers' Retirement System Pension & Retirement Education Program (PREP) seminar is a great first step. Offered year round and open to all, the seminars cover NYSTRS benefits, financial planning, Social Security, estate planning and more. Call 800-348-7298, ext. 6180 for information.
You should also attend one of the many NYSUT retirement workshops offered by the union's TRS board teacher-member representatives. They can familiarize you with the many important retirement planning materials available through NYSTRS, answer questions and discuss NYSUT's efforts to improve your pension. For contact information, see the box at right.
Q: I'm considering retiring this year, but I'm unsure when I should submit my paperwork. What deadlines should I be aware of?
A: The filing period for a July 1 retirement begins April 2. You can file your Application for Retirement (RET-54) up to 90 days prior to your effective date of retirement, or as late as the date of retirement. TRS encourages members to file for retirement 30 days before their retirement date to avoid enrollment delays. You must indicate your retirement payment option ahead of time — take time to thoroughly review all your payment options before selecting. Making the wrong choice can cause difficult financial and emotional challenges later. If you need clarification, call 800-348-7298, ext. 6250.
Q: What if I change my mind? Do I have the option to withdraw my retirement application?
A: You have a limited window for withdrawing or changing the terms of your retirement. For your date of retirement, you have 14 days to withdraw your retirement application and 30 days to change your benefit payment option. TRS must receive the paperwork no later than day 14 or day 30. State law does not allow for exceptions.
DID YOU KNOW
TRS publishes a members' handbook for all Tiers, 1-6. Copies are available from the New York State Teachers' Retirement System. Call 800-348-7298.