Most American workers believe they will have enough money to live comfortably after they retire, but do you share their retirement confidence?
As a NYSLRS member with a defined benefit pension plan, you have reason to be optimistic about retirement. But there is more to a financially secure retirement than having a pension. Think of retirement security as a three-legged stool, with three parts working together to provide financial stability when your working days are over. Understanding each of these sources of income will help you better plan for your future and boost your retirement confidence.
Leg 1: Your NYSLRS Pension
At retirement, vested NYSLRS members are eligible for a pension based on their final average earnings and the number of years they’ve worked in public service. Your pension is a lifetime benefit, which means you’ll receive a monthly payment for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live. Unlike workers who rely on a 401(k)-style retirement plan, you won’t have to worry about your money running out.
Most members can use Retirement Online to estimate how much their pension will be. But if you’re a long way from retirement, it may be better to think in terms of earnings replacement. Financial advisers estimate you’ll need to replace 70 to 80 percent of your income to retire with financial confidence. Your pension can help get you there. For example, if you retire with 30 years of service, your NYSLRS pension could replace more than half of your earnings. (Replacement percentages vary among retirement plans. You can find out more in your retirement plan booklet.)
Leg 2: Social Security
Less than half of Americans believe Social Security will be there for them when they retire, according to a recent poll, and younger workers are even more pessimistic about Social Security’s future. While there’s no denying that Social Security faces challenges, things aren’t as bleak as some people think.
Social Security trustees estimate that Social Security reserves will be depleted by 2035 and they will only be able to pay about 76 percent of scheduled retirement benefits. But consider this: Social Security now replaces about 36 percent of the wages of a typical worker who retires at full retirement age. In the future, even if it only replaces 25 to 30 percent of pre-retirement earnings, it would still be a significant source of retirement income.
But these are worse case scenarios. The truth is that lawmakers have many policy options that could reduce or eliminate the long-term financing shortfalls in Social Security. It seems likely those options will be explored.
Leg 3: Retirement Savings
Having a secure, lifetime pension will be a substantial financial asset, but it’s still important to save money for retirement. A retirement nest egg can help in case of an emergency, act as a hedge against inflation and boost your retirement confidence.
Saving is the retirement factor you have the most control over. You decide when to start, how much to save and how your money will be invested. The key is to start saving early, so your money has time to grow, even if you can only afford to save a small amount in the beginning.
With the New York State Deferred Compensation Plan, you can start out by saving as little as $10 per pay period. That money would be automatically deducted from your paycheck, so you won’t even have to think about it. The money is tax-deferred, which means you don’t pay income taxes on your Plan account contributions or earnings until you begin to take payments from your account. This may lower your taxable income now and in retirement. The Deferred Compensation plan is not affiliated with NYSLRS, but New York State employees and some municipal employees can participate. If you’re a municipal employee, ask your employer if you’re eligible for the Deferred Compensation Plan or another retirement savings plan.
When is the best time to talk to an retirement coordinator?
A consultation is not required, but if you’re nearing retirement and you have questions, you can speak with one of our information representatives.
NYSLRS provides personalized pre-retirement consultations to members by telephone. You can call 866-805-0990 to make an appointment. The Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am – 5:00 pm.
Before a consultation, you may wish to sign in to Retirement Online to review the information we have on file for you, such as your total service credit, and use the online benefit calculator to estimate your pension. If you don’t already have an account, go to the Sign In page and click the “Sign Up” link under the “Customer Sign In” button.
You may also be interested in the retirement timeline on our website. It shows the steps you’ll need to take and highlights important topics and information you’ll need to consider.
Start planning early. I looked into it at 17 yrs on my job . It took 12 years for me to save enough to retire. Back then in 2012 I needed 500,000 in savings to retire on most retirement calculators. . Add 3% a year to that figure. If your retirement income covers your bills for 10 yrs ,you can retire with less ,assuming your savings grows at 10% norms.
You left out a very crucial fact: The DCP offers not only a pre-tax account but an after-tax Roth account. Please include this important fact in you correction
Never knew that
Thank you for this good advice !
Happy you found it helpful.