November 2011 Issue
October 28, 2011

TRS: It's never too early to plan for retirement

Source: NYSUT United

Q: I am considering retiring soon. Where can I get information and guidance?

A: The earlier you begin preparing for retirement, the more likely you are to have the funds necessary to have a secure future. Many retirees wish they began focusing on financial and retirement planning much earlier in their lives. Planning can be complicated, so New York State Teachers' Retirement System offers a variety of tools and services to help:

  • Your annual Benefit Profile contains valuable planning information, including a summary of your service credit and projections of your future retirement benefits. Your Benefit Profile is mailed at the beginning of each calendar year and also available online with a MyNYSTRS account.
  • Members of all ages are invited to attend a TRS Pension & Retirement Education Program (PREP) which is held throughout the year and across the state. 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, Social Security and more. Note: These seminars are not designed for individual retirement counseling. PREP is structured to allow you to stay for the entire seminar, or just the modules you're interested in. There is no fee to attend and your spouse/companion is welcome to attend, but you must make a reservation in advance.

Schedules are posted in schools and online at You can book a seminar online through the MyNYSTRS area of the website, or by calling TRS at 800-348-7298, ext. 6100.

  • One-on-one benefits consultations, held statewide and open to all members, enable you to meet with a NYSTRS representative to ask questions about your specific situation and receive printed estimates of your retirement benefit. You can meet with a representative either in person or via interactive video conference. In-person consultations are held year-round during regular business hours in Albany. For all other locations, see the 2011-12 school year schedule posted on the website. You may sign up for a consultation online or by calling 800-348-7298, ext. 6020. You can request estimates for different dates and see how much your benefit will increase if you continue to work.
  • An online Benefit Estimator allows you to project your pension based on salary and service data reported to us by employers. (You must have a MyNYSTRS account to use this tool.)
  • Keep in mind you should also speak with your local union leadership regarding local contractual rights and responsibilities. Local union presidents may contact us to arrange retirement workshops by one of the three teacher-members on the TRS Board of Directors.

Q: Does retirement begin automatically at a certain age?

A: No. You must file a retirement application with the system. Your effective date of retirement can be the same day you file, but you cannot apply any sooner than 90 days before your retirement date.