Preparing for Retirement
You’ve had a long, successful career at UC and now you’re thinking of the next phase: retirement. The process is fairly easy, but it’s important to plan ahead. You may want to consult a financial expert to ensure a comfortable worry-free retirement.
You can retire and receive UC benefits anytime after you become eligible — that is, when you have at least five years of UC Retirement Plan service credit and reach age 50 or 55, depending on which tier of the pension plan you’re in.
Once you’ve decided to retire, you’ll complete the application process and the election of your benefits. This process takes about three months and is outlined below.
Decide your retirement date and notify your department
Academic and staff employees should notify their department manager about their decision to retire three months before the retirement date.
If you accrue vacation and want to use it before retiring, you need to get department approval first.
Know your retirement benefit options
Read the Retirement Handbook.
Check out the retirement estimator tool on At Your Service Online to see estimates based on your salary and service credit. Or use the Retirement Roadmap on ucfocusonyourfuture.com to create a comprehensive picture of what your retirement income might be from all sources of income.
Some campuses hold pre-retirement workshops to help you plan for retirement. Check with your Benefits Office or campus Retirement Center (if available) to see what they offer.
Fidelity and UC also offer one-on-one meetings with financial planning and guidance counselors to help you with your retirement planning. Learn more here.
If you want to know whether you're eligible for retiree health benefits, you can read about eligibility and UC's contribution to the premiums here. Or you can view the "To your health" segment of our Preparing for Retirement video presentation.
Begin the application process
Contact the UC Retirement Administration Service Center (RASC) or your local Benefits Office to find out how to begin the retirement process, which varies depending on your UC location. (If you are an inactive UCRP member, you should call the Retirement Administration Service Center.)
When you call the RASC, request to speak to a retirement counselor about three to four months before the date you plan to retire. If you are an active employee, you can complete and submit the Request for Retirement Initiation Packet. Once you've submitted the form or called the RASC, you'll be assigned a retirement counselor who will assist you throughout the retirement process.
Your retirement counselor will then prepare your Personal Retirement Profile (PRP) and retirement packet. The PRP provides your personal UC retirement data, including your retirement income projections, your eligibility for retiree health insurance and the percentage of UC’s contribution to retiree health premiums you’ll receive, if applicable.
If you have questions about your PRP, contact your retirement counselor.
Review your finances so you understand what other income you can depend on in retirement
Talk to Fidelity about your options for your 403(b), 457(b) and/or DC Plan accounts, if any.
Check your eligibility for Social Security and Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration provides an online personal statement, which is updated annually. Visit www.ssa.gov to sign in or create an account in order to review your Social Security Statement.
Contact past employers and, if appropriate, the military to find out if you qualify for retirement income under their plans. If you have service credit with CalPERS or CalSTRS, you may be able to enhance your UCRP benefits. Read the appropriate fact sheet to learn more.
Start the retirement election process
Use your PRP and the election planning worksheet in your packet to help you decide which of the available retirement income options you want to receive. Typically, employees call or email their retirement counselor during this process, and many include a spouse, domestic partner or another family member in a counseling call.
When you've completed the worksheet with your choices, send it to your retirement counselor. He or she will use it to prepare the appropriate retirement election forms for you to sign. You'll receive those forms in an election packet, and if you're eligible for Medicare, you'll receive a Medicare packet, too.
Finalize your retirement election
Sign and mail your retirement election form along with copies of required documents such as marriage or birth certificates to the Retirement Administration Service Center. Be sure your spouse of domestic partner signs as well, if necessary.
Within four to six weeks, you will receive confirmation of your retirement. Your confirmation statement outlines your retirement income and when you will receive your first retirement benefit payment.
In some cases, the process requires special calculations or additional audit and review; as a result, the process can take longer than is outlined here.
To change or cancel
If you want to change or cancel your retirement election, fax a signed request as soon as possible to the Retirement Administration Service Center at 510-217-9122.
Your election cannot be changed on your retirement date or 15 days from the date of your confirmation notice, whichever is later.
Just because you’re retiring doesn’t mean you lose your connection to UC. Many opportunities are available for you to stay in touch and stay active. As a retiree, you will receive New Dimensions, a quarterly newsletter with news about UC, your benefits and your fellow retirees. You can also stay connected to the university and your colleagues through:
- Emeriti and Retiree Associations: these groups at all UC locations provide opportunities to remain connected to UC, to volunteer, to enjoy the company of fellow retirees and to represent your views to university administration. UC Merced retirees currently participate in UC Davis associations.
- Retirement Centers
- UC for CA provides opportunities for retirees to advocate for support of the university in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Also, be sure to keep your contact information up to date so we can send you the annual Open Enrollment information and keep you up to date on UC and your benefits. You can change your address online.