Preparing for Retirement
The journey to retirement requires careful planning and preparation with many choices to consider. The retirement process is easier when you start early.
As you take steps toward retirement, follow this roadmap checklist. This is the suggested route; some skip steps, some go a different route, and some go really fast. Do what works for you.
Here are the different live representatives that can assist you in your preparation:
- Pierce College HR Benefits Office
- Individual appointments with DRS retirement specialists can be made by email or by calling 800-547-6657 or 360-664-7000.
- DRS Retirement Planning Seminars
- Schedule a one-on-one consultation at a local TIAA office
- Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) — SHIBA provides free, unbiased, and confidential assistance with Medicare and health care choices.
Items to Consider
Retirement Income Options
PERS, TRS or other DRS Members
If you are a PERS or TRS member, contact the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) to request an Estimate of Retirement Benefits for the date you wish to retire. These services can also be accessed online at the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) website.
- Use the Online Benefit Estimator to estimate your future monthly benefit.
- If interested, sign up for DCP or SBVIP voluntary retirement plan. You might also consider using a “catch-up” savings option.
- If interested, contact DRS to find out whether you’re eligible to purchase optional service credit.
If you participate in the Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP), call for information on distribution options. Call 1-888-327-5596 OR visit the DRS website.
SBRP/SBVIP (TIAA) Members
If you are a State Board Retirement Plan (SBRP) member or if you contribute to the State Board Voluntary Investment Program (SBVIP), TIAA administers your retirement benefits.
- Review your plan information: State Board Retirement Plan Information or SBVIP Summary.
- Contact TIAA to request information about the different income options available to you at 800-842-2776.
If you were employed by a community college and in the TIAA/CREF retirement program before July 2011, you may be eligible for a supplemental retirement payment through the State Board. The Legislature eliminated this benefit to SBSRP participants who were not active participants in the SBRP prior to July 1, 2011.
- Complete the Intent to Retire Form and return to Human Resources.
Social Security Benefits
Social Security can provide you, your spouse, and other eligible members of your family with benefits when you retire. Review Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare benefits.
Retiree Health Insurance
Review the Health Care Authority’s (PEBB) Retiree Health Care Coverage. Note: Pay close attention to the deadlines for application. Eligibility is time sensitive and a decision to opt out is final.
- Call 1-800-200-1004 or 360-725-0440 for applications
- PEBB Retiree Page - Preparing for Retirement
Sick Leave Cashout (VEBA)
If you are eligible for “normal retirement” under SBRP rules (age 55 or 30 service credit years or by means of disability), you may be eligible to transfer the value of your sick leave balance to a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) with VEBA. A health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) is an account-based health plan you can use after becoming claims-eligible, to reimburse your qualified out-of-pocket medical care costs as defined by the IRS. Common qualified expenses include co-pays, deductibles, prescription drugs, retiree insurance premiums, etc.
The value of your sick leave balance is calculated at the rate of ¼ the dollar value. Remember, if you do not enroll into the VEBA you will forfeit your sick leave cash out.