Countdown to Retirement – 12 Months to Go

The final months leading up to your retirement date go by quickly. When you are 12 months from your planned retirement date, you should consider your post-retirement finances. Putting together a good picture of your expected income and expenses should be a big part of your countdown to retirement.

Countdown to Retirement - 12 months To Go

Estimate Your Pension

Your NYSLRS pension is likely to be a major source of retirement income, but how much will you get? Most members can estimate their pension in Retirement Online.

A Retirement Online estimate is based on the account information we have on file for you. You can enter different retirement dates to see how an earlier or later date would affect your benefit. You need a Retirement Online account to use the online benefit calculator.

If you are unable to use the online calculator, you can request a benefit projection by calling our toll-free number at 866-805-0990 or by submitting a Request for Estimate form. Also, most Tiers 1 through 4 members can still use the Quick Calculator on the NYSLRS website. 

Review Other Retirement Income

One year out is a good time to take a closer look at other sources of retirement income. If you have an account with the New York Deferred Compensation Plan, review your latest statement. If you have an old 401(k) or IRA from another job, you should review those plans as well.

Social Security is a major source of income for most retirees. Although most NYSLRS members can retire as early as age 55, you cannot start collecting Social Security retirement benefits until age 62. Your Social Security benefits will be reduced permanently, however, if you retire before your full Social Security retirement age. You should still familiarize yourself with the program and estimate how much you’ll get. The Social Security Administration has several benefit calculators on its website to help you do that.

Review Your Health Insurance Coverage

NYSLRS doesn’t administer health insurance benefits, but health care can be a significant retirement expense you’ll need to plan for. Check with your employer’s health benefits administrator to determine what coverage you’re eligible for once you retire. Now is the time to research private health insurance plans if you’re not eligible for post-retirement coverage or if you need to supplement it.

If you are a New York State employee, you may want to review the Planning for Retirement guide from the Department of Civil Service.

If you’re close to age 65, learn more about Medicare benefits.

Make a Retirement Budget

How much will you spend each month after you retire? By preparing a post-retirement budget before you retire, you can set goals and establish guidelines that can help you stay on track throughout your retirement.

One of the best ways to plan for the future is to track what you spend now. For a more realistic budget, keep a record of your current spending for a month or two to get an idea of your expenses. Be sure to factor in periodic expenses, such as car insurance or property and school taxes.

To help you with your retirement budget, we’ve created monthly income and expense worksheets. These forms can help reveal your current spending habits and assist you in projecting your future needs.

Counting Down

Your planned retirement date will be here before you know it. If you missed it, you may wish to read our earlier Countdown to Retirement post. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for rest of this series for steps to take at four-to-six months and one-to-three months before your retirement date.

14 thoughts on “Countdown to Retirement – 12 Months to Go

  1. Linda McDonough

    I filed withdrawal papers in February 2022. I wish it had said somewhere that it would take 6 months to process the paperwork, as I assumed a month would be the average as in the corporate world. I would have filed it much sooner had I known and when I called it said to call back after 6 months if I had not received a check by then.

  2. tom carey

    I am retiring on march 11,2022 with 21 years with a county nursing home … sadly they sold it to a private sector,…. would of had 30 years next july but never did …

  3. Michael MArcanio

    Im retiring January 29th 2023 after 31yrs in healthcare in Monroe County. When’s the best time to start my online process? I have already to my work place my timeline as NYSLRS gave me my date.

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      You can apply for your NYSLRS pension 15 to 90 days before your retirement date.

      Now is a good time to sign in to your Retirement Online account to review the information we have on file for you, such as your estimated total service credit, and use the online benefit calculator to estimate your pension. You may also be interested in the retirement timeline on our website. It shows the steps you’ll need to take and highlights topics and information you’ll need to consider.

      As you get closer to your retirement date, you may wish to read our blog posts about applying for retirement benefits and choosing a pension payment option.

      If you have account specific questions, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      1. Michael Marcanio

        Sounds good. I already signed up last year to keep track of my retirement. They have been very helpful to give me a timeline when i can officially retire

      2. Cynthia Stein

        I find the pension estimate useless as the service credit is not up to date – not even close. Sometimes it says my retirement date gives me a penalty because I am .27 years short of 30 years and other times it says I am just over 30 years and will get full pension. The number is always different. If the numbers aren’t up to date, how about saying “this is your service credit as of 3/23/22”? I don’t want to work an extra 3 months just to be sure I will not be penalized. The salary info is also off about $5-6k based on my paystubs and contract info.

        1. NYSLRS Post author

          For assistance with your service credit and salary questions, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form ( Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      You can call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2, then follow the prompts. A representative can also explain any benefits you may be entitled to.


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