The rate of retirements at WSU has not tapered off despite the plummeting stock market and recession, according to Ann Monroe, WSU senior human resource consultant.
That pace may yet decline, however, she said, due to the global drop in stock values, which directly impacts many retirement account values.
People with retirement accounts held by the Public Employee Retirement Service (PERS) are not expected to be as greatly deterred from retiring, Monroe said, as PERS guarantees a specific level of retirement based on a formula.
Those most affected will be people whose retirement accounts are with a stock-based retirement fund like TIAA-CREF.
“There are numerous ways in which TIAA-CREF participants may diversify their investments to provide some stability,” said Monroe, “and they are encouraged to speak with a TIAA-CREF representative to review their portfolio.”
Specific planning for retirement should begin, ideally, several years in advance, with more direct, intense planning and steps taken during the last three to six months. There are a multitude of issues to address, including:
• When are you officially eligible to retire?
• How much income will you need once you retire?
• If your spouse continues working, will you both be covered by his/her medical insurance? Or will you need to arrange for an alternative form of medical insurance?
• How much per month will Social Security provide?
• How much per month will your retirement program provide?
• Are you eligible to receive Medicare?
• Are you eligible to participate in the state’s Voluntary Employee’s Benefit Association (VEBA), which allows you to apply ¼ of your sick leave benefits toward health costs and insurance?
• Should you participate in one of the tax-deferred investment programs to increase the value of your retirement options and resources?
If all the variables are causing your head to spin, take heart. To help in the planning process, WSU Human Resources has published two checklists — one for people under state Department of Retirement Services’ PERS and LEOFF programs, and one for people under WSU retirement programs like TIAA-CREF. These lists are available ONLINE:
For more information, you can make an appointment with someone at WSU Human Resource Services at 335-4521 or hrs@wsu.edu.