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Part-Timer Retirement: Should You Switch to Social Security?. Presented by Cliff Liehe Los Angeles, April 13. 2007 Revised by Phyllis Eckler, February 2008. What’s Happening?.

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Part-Timer Retirement: Should You Switch to Social Security?


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part timer retirement should you switch to social security

Part-Timer Retirement: Should You Switch to Social Security?

Presented by Cliff Liehe

Los Angeles, April 13. 2007

Revised by Phyllis Eckler, February 2008

what s happening
What’s Happening?
  • Part-Timers in the Los Angeles Community College District may soon have the opportunity to switch from the CalSTRS Cash Balance (CB) retirement plan to Social Security.
  • If you are in CB, you need to decide if you should switch to Social Security; i.e., if the switch would benefit you.
how does cb work
How Does CB Work?
  • CB is a “cash balance” plan (hybrid of a “defined benefit” plan and a “defined contribution” plan)
  • Immediate vesting
  • Contributions: 3.75% employee, 4.25% employer, and tax deferred
  • Guaranteed interest rate
  • “Portable”: if you quit teaching, your CB funds can be rolled over to another retirement plan
  • No administrative fees
how are cb benefits calculated
How are CB Benefits Calculated?
  • The retirement benefit is the employee’s account balance at time of retirement: i.e., total of all contributions (employee and employer) plus all compounded annual guaranteed interest
  • The benefit is paid as a lump sum or, if over $3500, may be paid as a lifetime annuity based on age and account balance
what would my monthly annuity from cash balance be
What Would My Monthly Annuity from Cash Balance Be?

A chart of your monthly Cash Balance annuity benefit is available at the site below :

http://www.calstrs.com/Calculators/DBS_annuity_calcs_SR_REVISED.pdf

how does social security work
How Does Social Security Work?
  • A “defined benefit” plan (sort of)
  • Requires 40 “credits” (previously calendar quarters), subject to maximum of 4 credits per year, to vest
  • Contributions: 6.2% from employee, 6.2% from employer, and not tax deferred
  • Not portable
how are social security benefits calculated in general
How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated In General?
  • The retirement benefit formula is based on an employee’s highest 35 years’ earnings (many more years than other defined benefit plans)
  • The formula favors lower wage earners
how are social security benefits calculated specifically
How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated Specifically?
  • First, all past earnings, subject to a maximum for each year, are indexed for inflation
  • Then the highest 35 years’ indexed earnings are added together
  • Next, the sum is divided by 420 (number of months in 35 years) to get average monthly indexed earnings
  • No, this is not the benefit. We’re not done yet--see next slide.
how are social security benefits calculated specifically9
How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated Specifically?
  • Then:
    • (1) The first $680 of monthly average is multiplied by 90%
    • (2) The amount of monthly average over $680 and not over $4,100 is multiplied by 32%
    • (3) The amount of monthly average over $4100 is multiplied by 15%
  • Finally, the three products are added together and the sum is rounded down to next lowest dollar to get the retirement benefit at “full retirement age”
example of calculating social security retirement benefit
Example of Calculating Social Security Retirement Benefit
  • Assume that a worker’s highest 35 years’ indexed earnings add up to $1,500,000
  • $1,500,000 divided by 420 = $3,571.42 average monthly indexed earnings
  • (1) $680 x 90% = $612
  • (2) $3,571.42 - $680 = $2,891.42
  • $2,891.42 x 32% = $925.25
  • (3) $0 x 15% = $0
  • $612 + $925.25 + $0 =$1,537.00/month
what are the wep and gpo
What Are The “WEP” and “GPO”?
  • “WEP” is the Windfall Elimination Provision
    • It may reduce your Social Security retirement benefits
    • See SSA publication No. 05-10045
  • “GPO” is the Government Pension Offset
    • It may reduce or even wipe out your Social Security spousal, widow, or widower benefits
    • See SSA Publication No. 05-10007
should you switch to social security
Should You Switch to Social Security?
  • [Will Social Security Go Broke?]
  • Will You Be Vested in Social Security If You Switch?
  • When Do You Plan to Retire?
  • Do You Want Portability If You Quit Teaching?
  • How Much Withholding Can You Afford?
  • Will You Be Affected by the WEP or GPO?
  • Will You Get More Retirement Income If You Switch?
will you be vested in social security if you switch
Will You Be Vested in Social Security If You Switch?
  • Need 40 credits (up to 4 per year) to vest in Social Security
  • In 2007, you receive one credit for each $1,000 of earnings, up to the maximum of four credits per year
when do you plan to retire
When Do You Plan to Retire?
  • CalSTRS CB: no minimum retirement age, but tax penalty if withdrawn before age 55
  • Social Security: 62 minimum retirement age (with reduced benefits)
do you want portability if you quit teaching
Do You Want Portability If You Quit Teaching?
  • CalSTRS CB: Portable to another retirement plan
  • Social Security: Not portable
how much withholding can you afford
How Much Withholding Can You Afford?
  • This should be irrelevant!
  • CalSTRS DB: 3.75%
  • Social Security: 6.2%
will you be affected by the wep and or gpo
Will You Be Affected By The WEP and/or GPO?
  • CalSTRS CB is considered an “alternative pension”, even if benefits are paid as a lump sum, and may subject you to the WEP and/or GPO
  • What if CB funds are transferred to an IRA or other retirement plan?
  • The WEP offset may be reduced or eliminated entirely if you have 21 or more years of “substantial earnings”
  • Other exceptions to the WEP or GPO are rare
slide18

Windfall Elimination Provision

If any part of your government pension is based on work not covered by Social Security, you may be affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision.

slide19

How Social Security Determines Your Benefit

Social Security benefits are based on earnings

Step 1 Your wages are adjusted for inflation

Step 2 Find the average of your 35 highest earnings years

Step 3 Result is “average indexed monthly earnings”

In 2007, the maximum earnings taxable for Social Security is $97,500 gross. Because of these maximum limits, the maximum payment in 2007 is $2116.

example
Example:

AIME = $4225

  • 90% X 680 = 612.00
  • 32% X 3420 = 1094.40
  • 15% X 125 = 18.75
  • Primary Insurance Amount 1725.00

272.00

40%

1385.00

slide21

Exception of the Windfall Elimination Provision

% of First Factor

Years of Coverage in Benefit Formula

30 or more 90

29 85

28 80

27 75

26 70

25 65

24 60

23 55

22 50

21 45

slide22

Government Pension Offset (GPO)

If you receive a government pension based on work not covered by Social Security, your Social Security spouse’s or widow(er)’s benefits may be reduced.

slide23

Government Pension Offset (GPO)

Spouse’s Benefits Only

2/3 of amount of Government

pension will be used to reduce the Social Security spouse’s benefit

Example:

$900 of Government pension 2/3 = $600

Social Security Spouse Benefits = $500

No cash benefit payable by Social Security

will you get more retirement income if you switch
Will You Get More Retirement Income If You Switch?
  • You need to estimate your CB and Social Security benefits under different scenarios and compare the results
  • The bad news:
    • Math is involved
    • All estimates require making assumptions which may or may not turn out to be true
  • The good news:
    • Social Security has calculators available to do the math for you
what are the possible scenarios
What Are The Possible Scenarios?
  • 1) You stay in CB and will have no Social Security benefits
  • 2) You stay in CB and will also have Social Security benefits
  • 3) You switch to Social Security and will have minimal or no CB benefits
  • 4) You switch to Social Security and will also have CB benefits
how do you estimate your cb benefits conservatively
How Do You Estimate Your CB Benefits (conservatively)?
  • You need your latest annual CalSTRS Retirement Progress Report (statement) and a calculator
  • Find account balance on statement
  • Add this year’s employee and employer contributions (estimate or use last year’s ) to previous year’s account balance
  • Multiply sum by 1.0475 (interest rate for 2006-07 is 4.75%) to get new account balance
how do you estimate your cb benefits conservatively27
How Do You Estimate Your CB Benefits (conservatively)?
  • Repeat for each year you are in CB after this until your Social Security “full retirement age” (for comparison)
  • This lump sum estimate is in today’s dollars and assumes same load, salary, and 4.75% interest rate each year
  • To determine equivalent monthly benefit, use the CalSTRS DBS Member-Only Annuity table (also used for CB)
example of estimating cb benefits conservatively
Example of Estimating CB Benefits (conservatively)
  • Assume annual CB statement for last year (2005-06) showed $2,000 current year contributions (employee and employer) and $20,000 account balance
  • Assume employees stays in CB until Social Security full retirement age in 2010
  • ($20,000 + $2,000) x 1.0475 = $23,045 estimated new balance end of 2006-07
  • ($23,045 + $2,000) x 1.0475 = $24,139.64 estimated new balance end of 2007-08
example of estimating cb benefits conservatively29
Example of Estimating CB Benefits (conservatively)
  • ($24,139.64 + $2,000) x 1.0475 = $25,286.27 estimated new balance end of 2008-09
  • ($25,286.27 + $2,000) x 1.0475 = $26,487.36 estimated new balance end of 2009-10 (payable as lump sum or lifetime monthly annuity)
  • Looking at the CalSTRS DBS Member-Only Annuity table, the equivalent monthly benefit will be a little more than $205 per month
how do you estimate your social security benefits conservatively
How Do You Estimate Your Social Security Benefits (conservatively)?
  • You need your latest annual Social Security Statement and a calculator (hard way) or an online computer (easy way)
  • Note: your statement includes estimates
  • Hard way: follow instructions on back of SSA publication No. 05-10070, Your Retirement Benefit: How It Is Figured
how do you estimate your social security benefits conservatively31
How Do You Estimate Your Social Security Benefits (conservatively)?
  • Easy way (sort of):
    • Go to www.ssa.gov
    • Under Retirement near middle of page click on “Calculate Your Benefits”
    • Download Calculator 3, Detailed Calculator
    • When it asks amount of other government pension, enter monthly CB amount previously estimated (calculator includes reduction for WEP)
    • Be sure to save your file (for future use) before ending calculator program