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Choosing Your Retirement Date

Both the campus and CalPERS offer excellent workshops on planning for retirement. You should attend at least one of these during the year before you plan to retire. You also can request an estimate from CalPERS of your retirement benefit. In addition to attending campus and CALPERS sponsored workshops on retirement planning, you should request, at least one year in advance of your anticipated retirement date, a copy of the booklet, “Stepping into Retirement… A Guide to Completing Your CalPERS Service Retirement Election Application.” This is available at the CalPERS website at http://www.calpers.ca.gov/.

The booklet contains several useful guidelines, including the Calculator, which, in contrast to the Estimate Request, allows you to construct different computer scenarios to see the impact of age, final salary, and years of service on your retirement allowance. It also shows how the various retirement options, such as continuing benefits for your surviving spouse, will affect your monthly allowance.

An equally, if not more important, resource for choosing your retirement date is our Human Resources Department. They can help you determine whether it is worth teaching an extra semester or year to reach an extra year of age and/or service. Most faculty members retire at the end of the academic year. (Since the CalPERS age credits increments quarterly, it may be to your advantage if you plan to retire at the end of the academic year to wait until you reach that date during the summer to actually retire.) Human Resources can help you determine which date is more beneficial for you. If you plan to enter FERP and also wish to teach summer school, you will need to pick a date that is after the end of the summer session that you teach. The situation is further complicated for 12-month Chairs and other such employees who can “cash out” unused vacation hours, but only if they move directly into retirement after the last day of their 12 month contract. The CSUF office of Human Resources will be a valuable tool in your decision-making. They are located in College Park, room 700, extension 2425.

CSU-ERFA also makes available without charge a retirement planning program developed by three Cal State Fullerton faculty members -- Herb Rutemiller, Gerry Marley, and Bill Heitzman. This program can be used by academic year and 12-month faculty members as well as academic administrators who are under age 70. The Rutemiller-Marley-Heitzman program provides a detailed 13-page report that allows the faculty member to compare all CalPERS retirement options for a range of retirement ages that bracket the faculty member's target retirement age. The report also includes estimates of Social Security benefits and FERP salary as well as an estimate of the present value of each retirement option. For more information please see the CSU-ERFA Retirement Planning page.