As we sit down to plan our retirement, we ask ourselves some tough questions: Am I saving enough? Am I ready for the lifestyle change? Do I need to tighten my budget now or will I need to in retirement?
These questions are all aimed at helping us answer one central question: When is the right time to retire?
According to recent Gallup research, there is often a significant gap between the age we plan to retire and how old we are when we actually do.
Gallup’s April 2016 survey asked workers, “At what age do you expect to retire?” And, it asked retirees, “At what age did you retire?”
On average, there is a significant gap between the percent of workers who plan to retire within a certain age range and the percent of retirees who actually did. For example, 31 percent of workers intend to retire at age 68 or older. However, only 12 percent of retirees actually do. And, only 23 percent of workers think they’ll retire before age 62. Nevertheless, 36 percent of retirees ended up doing so. On average, Americans expect to retire at age 66, but actually retire at age 61. That means a significant number of us may be underestimating how many years our retirement savings need to last.
Age and Your NYSLRS Pension
Regular readers may recall that most NYSLRS retirement plans have a minimum age requirement to retire with a full benefit. However, once you are vested, you are generally able to retire as early as age 55.
An early retirement may come with a significant — and permanent — benefit reduction, though. So, if you plan to retire with a full benefit at age 62 (or 63 for Tier 6 members), but end up retiring early instead, your pension will be less than you planned.
NYSLRS has several resources to help you make your retirement plans and stay on target. We distribute your Member Annual Statement (MAS) between May and July. It contains valuable information to help you understand your benefits and plan for the future, including: your earnings, your service credit total and up to three pension projections based on your specific details. You can also check out our Preparing for Retirement — A Checklist and 5 Step Plan for Retirement pages on our website. Our Life Changes: How Do I Prepare to Retire? publication offers a step–by–step guide to the retirement process, a list of available resources and some key factors to consider as you plan.
If you have any questions about your retirement plan, we’re glad to help. Email us using our secure email form, which allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.