Learn some of the basics about retirement and pension benefits.
As you approach retirement, there are many things to think about. Experts advise that you will need about 80 percent of your pre-retirement income to continue your current quality of life. The exact amount depends on your individual needs. Some important factors to consider include:
- At what age do you plan to retire?
- Can you participate in an employer’s retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) plan, or a traditional pension plan?
- Will your spouse or partner retire when you do?
- Where do you plan to live when you retire? Will you downsize, rent, or own your home?
- Do you expect to work part-time?
- Will you have the same medical insurance you had while working? Will your coverage change?
- Do you want to travel or pursue a new hobby that might be costly?
Resources to Help You Prepare for Retirement
To help you plan for retirement:
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Determining a Target Retirement Saving Rate
Make a plan with the Retirement Saving worksheet. Learn more at Savings Fitness.
Social Security Retirement Benefits
If you’re like most Americans, Social Security is a key piece of your retirement savings. But how much you will get depends on your earnings over your lifetime, the age at which you’ll begin receiving benefits, and whether you’ll be eligible to receive a spouse’s benefit instead of your own.
You can use Social Security’s retirement planning tools to:
- Estimate your benefits at each age, from 62 (the earliest you can receive them) to 70 (when you hit your maximum amount)
- Apply for retirement benefits
- Manage your account
Finding More Social Security Information
Social Security also administers disability and survivor benefits. Get the answers to many of the top Social Security questions.
Protecting Your Private Pension Benefits
Avoiding Errors and Getting Help
If your job is covered by a traditional pension plan, make sure you get the pension amount you’re owed.
Federal Insurance for Private Pensions
If you’ve earned a traditional pension, you’re likely to receive it even if your company runs into financial problems.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC):
Is Your Pension Insured?
Find an Unclaimed Pension
More than 38 million people in the U.S. haven’t claimed pension benefits they have earned. Find out if you, or someone you know, is owed a pension.
Federal Employee Retirement Planning and Management
If you are a federal employee planning to retire or a federal retiree looking for information about your benefits, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)’s Retirement page can help you:
If you are the survivor of a deceased federal employee or federal retiree, you may be eligible for death and survivor benefits. Visit the OPM website to report the death and apply for death benefits.
Thrift Savings Plan
In addition to the defined or basic benefits provided by your CSRS or FERS plan, if you are a current federal employee, you can boost your retirement savings by participating in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The TSP offers the same types of savings and tax benefits as a 401(k) plan.
Credit for Military Service
Military service does not automatically count toward civil service retirement.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers an online tool and an online publication to help you determine whether or not your pension or annuity payment is taxable.
Contact OPM’s Retirement Operations Center
For benefits information or help with a transaction, contact OPM’s Retirement Operations Center.
State and Local Government Employees
If you are a state or local government employee and have questions about your pension plan, contact your agency’s personnel department. You can also contact the Employee Benefits Security Administration (ESBA) for help.
Public Service and Volunteerism
Many federal organizations offer volunteer opportunities:
- Serve.gov – Sign up for volunteer opportunities and create projects. Tool kits are available to help develop your ideas into projects.
- JoiningForces.gov – Start a volunteer project, send a message of thanks or give service hours to support our service members and their families.
- PeaceCorps.gov – Find volunteer programs where you serve abroad and make a difference by working directly within communities to build capacity in education, health, environment and more.
- CitizenCorps.gov – Get training in first aid and emergency skills. Volunteer to support local emergency responders and disaster relief efforts.
- NationalService.gov – Offers grants for service and volunteering; programs include the AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Social Innovation Fund.
- Volunteer.gov – Volunteer opportunities in America’s natural and cultural resources, including national parks.
- Volunteer.VA.gov – Volunteer at a Veterans Affairs (VA) facility in your area.
- Federal Election Volunteers – Become a Poll Worker – Assist election officials in your state.
- Natural Resources Conservation Earth Team Volunteers – Work with private landowners to improve soil quality, conserve water, improve air quality and enhance wildlife habitat.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Volunteers take part in research, observation and educational roles that benefit science and the planet.