1. Where Should I Start
If you’ve already decided to join our group of happy retirees the best place to start is by visiting the TRS website. www.trs.state.tx.us . There , if you haven’t already done so you can order the packet you need to fill out to make your retirement official. The TRS website also has calculators for determining your retirement annuity( TRS refers to your monthly payment as an annuity) and you can also find out where TRS is holding meeting for retirees. I found these meetings most useful and reassuring and I believe most of you will also.
2. What Is A Standard Annuity And What Are My Options
The standard annuity is quite simply the maximum annuity you can receive. The standard annuity is calculated by : first the average of your five highest salaries , second multiply your years of service by 2.3 and, third multiply your second figure by your average salary and you have your annual annuity. In addition to the standard annuity there is the joint and survivors annuity. These options allows the retiree’s spouse or beneficiary , in return for a reduced standard annuity, to receive a percentage of the retirees annuity if the retiree predeceases the beneficiary. Under option 1 the beneficiary would receive 100 percent of the annuity, under option five 75 percent and under option 2, 50 percent. This is a critical decision and the employee and his/her spouse needs to think this over carefully. The amount of the reduction from the standard annuity depends on an actuarial calculation. You will need to contact TRS to get the exact amount; hey, sorry, I measured in history, not math.
3. What About Health Insurance?
You could of course try to go with out health insurance just as you could choose to sleep over night in a rattlesnake den but neither would be a wise choice! If you are a “seasoned” citizen and have reached the age of 65 you will need to apply for Medicare. If you are eligible or receiving social security, Medicare will contact you; however if you are only with TRS you will need to contact Medicare at least three months before you turn 65 to sign up. If you are retiring before 65 you will probably want to sign up for the health insurance option for retired teachers: TRS Care. You can also sign up your spouse for TRS Care if she is no longer working. TRS Care has two options with different deductibles and premiums; make certain you reflect carefully on these options as TRS will not allow changes When you turn 65 ,TRS Care will become your secondary policy and will pay most of what Medicare does not pay. Also if your spouse is still working you could find out the cost of the coverage for you and compare this to your Medicare and TRS Care options.
4. Can I Work In The Public Schools After Retirement?
The short answer is yes. However the state legislature passed a law in 2001 that limited the amount of work a retiree can work in a public school or college to 50 percent of what is considered full time for that month. For example in the public schools, a retiree may teach for a half day or two weeks of a month. Adjunct professors at a community college could teach two classes in the spring and fall semester since five classes are considered a full load and one semester in the summer since two classes are considered a full load. So what happens if you exceed this limit? You will receive a nice little letters from TRS saying you must return your annuity for that month; I know because I once received one of those “ nice little letters”. There is no limit on the amount a retiree can work in a private school and no limit on substituting, except your desire to go fishing that day.
5. What About My 403 B
If you have a 403 B plan at work, which allowed you to invest tax free, and hopefully was matched by your district, (sometimes referred to as an annuity) you will need to decide what to do with your investment. Your first step should probably be to visit with your plan administrator to check on your options; usually these include rolling over to an IRA or keeping your investment with your districts plan. If the thought of investing is about as appealing as translating ancient hieroglyphics ,you might want to consider finding a financial advisor or better yet educating yourself. Allow me to make one suggestion: there is a wonderful website called www.bogleheads.org that has a lot of guys and gals who are very knowledgeable about investments. Best of all they will answer your questions with great insight and the only cost is the time needed to sign onto the internet.
6. Are There Any Organizations For Retirees
I’m really glad you asked that question! We have a wonderful organization called Texas Retired Teachers Association. www.trta.orgAustin and Washington. You will also be able to avail yourself of many discounts such as dental insurance and you will have an opportunity to meet a lot of nice folks in your local chapter.
7. What Will I Do With My New Spare Time?
This is not a trivial question and merits serious thoughts; however I think I have thrown enough words at you so I’m going to make that the subject of my next blog. Yes this is a shameless enticement to keep reading my blog.
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