WRS News Online Vol. 4, No. 1 - January 2018
ETF Move to Hill Farms State Office Building Set
The Department of Employee Trust Funds is moving to the new Hill Farms State Office Building during the last week of March. After April 1, ETF's new street address for appointments and deliveries will be 4822 Madison Yards Way, Madison, WI 53705-9100.
Please continue using ETF's current telephone numbers and P.O Box address for returning forms and correspondence, as these will not change with the move. Watch for more information on services, driving directions and free, on-site parking for visitors. Visit our website, sign up for ETF E-Mail Updates, or follow ETF on Twitter.
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View our We're Moving Flier.
Message from Leadership
WRS Continues to be Strong for Wisconsin
by Robert Conlin, ETF Secretary
As we kick off 2018, let me just say right out of the gate that your Wisconsin Retirement System continues to be in very good health. While the average funded status of public pension plans nationally hovers just north of 70%, the WRS funding ratio (a measure of whether a pension plan has sufficient assets to pay promised benefits) was 99.1% at the end of 2016, as measured under the Government Accounting Standards Board requirements. The State of Wisconsin Investment Board's strong performance in 2017 will increase this funding ratio and provide for a Core annuity adjustment of around 2% this spring, and exert downward pressure on contribution rates for 2019. The WRS is well positioned for the future.
Are there risks ahead? Yes. Stock prices — by many measures are — expensive. At some point, stock prices will likely correct. The period of economic recovery we've seen since the financial crisis of 2008 has been a long one and eventually the economy is bound to dip. Regardless of when these things happen, short-term economic projections — though not as dire as just a few years ago — indicate that it will still be a challenge to make money in the investment markets without taking excessive risk.
This year WRS consulting actuaries will be reviewing the various demographic and economic assumptions used to properly fund the WRS. The review is part of their regularly-occurring, three-year experience study of the WRS. One of the most significant assumptions they will review is the investment return assumption, which is currently 7.2%. They will be ask whether it is reasonable to continue to assume the WRS will be able to earn 7.2% per year over the medium and long term. In 2010 our actuaries recommended reducing the then — current assumption of 7.8% to today's rate. While 7.2% is somewhat conservative when compared to other public pension plans, we have seen many plans across the country revise their investment assumptions downward over the last couple of years — and many expect that trend to continue.
The actuaries will review multiple national economic investment forecasts, consult with SWIB's investment advisors, and calculate various investment outcomes based on SWIB's mix of assets — all to determine the reasonableness of continuing with today's 7.2% assumption. It's a rigorous process designed to keep the WRS well-funded in all kinds of investment climates.
Although lowering investment return assumptions in other states has led to larger unfunded liabilities and increased costs, the unique design structure of the WRS, coupled with our healthy funding level, will dampen any negative effects if the actuaries recommend a reduction. The WRS will continue to be strong for Wisconsin.
Other Items of Note for 2018:
SWIB: 2018 will usher in a change of leadership, as Michael Williamson is taking a well-earned retirement (see SWIB Names New Executive Director). Rick Smirl has extensive experience leading high-performing professional investment entities and he's well positioned to lead SWIB into the future.
New Location: The Department of Employee Trust Funds is set to move to a new location at the end of March. We will have brand new, up-to-date office space in the new Hill Farms State Office Building. It's been more than a decade since ETF staff have been in one building, and the move should improve our operational efficiency. We're also looking forward to introducing new individual and group counseling facilities to better serve folks planning for retirement.
Rick Smirl has been appointed Executive Director of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. Smirl comes to SWIB after serving as partner and chief operating officer at William Blair Investment Management. The firm provides investment solutions to individuals, pension funds, insurance companies, corporations, state and municipal government entities, sovereign wealth funds, and other leading institutional investors across the globe.
Smirl, who has more than 25 years of asset management industry experience with a demonstrated track record of success, begins his duties January 22.
"I was attracted to SWIB because of its compelling mission and focus on being a trusted and skilled global investment organization contributing to strong financial futures for the beneficiaries of the funds. That, coupled with my long-standing family ties to Wisconsin made this an exciting opportunity. I am looking forward to working on behalf of the public employees of the State of Wisconsin and building on SWIB's strong foundation as a pension fund leader," Smirl said.
As chief operating officer at Chicago-based William Blair Investment Management, Smirl oversaw all infrastructure activities across the firm's institutional asset management, mutual funds, and private wealth management businesses totaling more than $73.9 billion in assets under management. He also served as a member of the board of trustees of the firm's U.S. mutual funds and is a director of the European funds. The firm has more than 1,300 employees. Before joining William Blair in 2004, he served as the chief legal counsel of the former Milwaukee-based Strong Capital Management, an asset management firm that managed more than $50 billion in assets. He also was a partner at the law firm of Los Angeles-based Keesal, Young & Logan, where he counseled financial services firms.
The SWIB Board of Trustees conducted a nationwide search, which generated a large field of skilled and experienced applicants.
"We were impressed with the number and quality of applicants who were interested in leading SWIB," said David Stein, SWIB Board chairman. "We are excited to have chosen Rick, who possesses the management and leadership experience to lead an innovative, agile, and integrated investment organization like SWIB into the future."
Smirl replaces Michael Williamson, who became Executive Director in 2012 and recently retired.
Smirl holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California at Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He has also completed an executive education program at the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.
ETF Projections for Effective Rates, Annuity Adjustments
The State of Wisconsin Investment Board has announced preliminary 2017 investment returns for the Core Trust Fund and the Variable Trust Fund. How will this affect your Wisconsin Retirement System account?
The projections below are based on preliminary 2017 investment returns. ETF will announce the actual effective rates and annuity adjustments after final investment returns have been determined and an actuarial analysis is completed. Watch for announcements in February (effective rates) and March (annuity adjustments).
Core Fund Projections
Preliminary 2017 Investment Return
Projected Effective Rate
8.3% to 8.7%
Projected Annuity Adjustment
2.2% to 2.6%
By law, a Core annuity adjustment will be paid if the adjustment rate is at least 0.5%; if less than 0.5%, no adjustment is paid.
Variable Fund Projections
Preliminary 2017 Investment Return
Projected Effective Rate
22% to 26%
Projected Annuity Adjustment
16% to 20%
By law, a Variable annuity adjustment will be paid if the adjustment rate is at least 2%; if less than 2%, no adjustment is paid.
No matter your timetable for retirement, it's important that you fully understand your WRS benefits and how they work for you. We suggest learning about the following, so that you make the right decisions at the right time:
- How trust fund investment performance affects contributions both you and your employer pay into your retirement account;
- How effective rates and annuity adjustments (for retirees) are determined;
- How WRS retirement benefits are calculated and the role that investment returns play in your benefit amount;
- How you can enhance your eventual retirement benefit by making additional contributions, which annually are credited with the effective rate of interest each year; and
- How participation in the Variable Fund affects your WRS benefits, both as an active employee and as a retiree.
For more information:
- Participate in free ETF webinars on these topics. Sessions are offered at convenient times over the lunch hour and early evening.
- Check out the helpful resources on this Core/Variable Information web page.
The Great Recession: 10 Years Later
This is the first in a three-part series that looks back at the Great Recession, its effect on the Wisconsin Retirement System and how the State of Wisconsin Investment Board invests first to help protect the pension system from another major downturn and then to earn reasonable returns.
It has been a little more than 10 years since the biggest financial crisis the country has experienced since World War II. Yet, the impact of that single event remains a central part of SWIB's investment strategy today.
The Great Recession lasted from December 2007 until June 2009. Across the country home prices fell and foreclosures rose, household income dropped and unemployment shot up, and Americans watched their savings shrink. Economists point to the housing crisis and weak monetary policy as the key causes of the financial crisis that left the country desperately trying to recover from a dizzying economic tailspin.
In July 2006 U.S. home prices reached a peak, after decades of financial deregulation and government promotion of home ownership. The housing bubble would soon burst, causing investors in subprime mortgages to be left with worthless assets as foreclosures rose. By 2009, home prices, on average, dropped 30% from their peak in mid-2006.
As the crisis deepened, the number of Americans looking for work spiked between 2008 and 2010 from 5% to 10%, as roughly 8.7 million jobs were lost, according to the Department of Labor. No paychecks meant a loss of income for Americans. The net worth of U.S. households and nonprofit organizations fell from a peak of approximately $68 trillion in 2007 to a low of $55 trillion in 2009. Real median household income fell from $58,149 to $55,683 during that same time.
Wall Street was also reeling. The S&P 500 stock index fell 57% from October 2007 to March 2009. Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest investment bank in the country, filed for bankruptcy protection. Lehman's bankruptcy filing is the largest in U.S. history.
Like the rest of the country, the pains of the Great Recession were felt by Wisconsin Retirement System members. In 2008, the Core Fund returned -26.2% and the Variable Fund returned -39.0%. The Core Fund loss set off five years of annuity decreases for retirees who were above their base retirement amount ("Core floor"). It was the first time in the history of the WRS that retirees experienced Core annuity decreases.
The federal government passed a number of policy reforms to end the crisis. Fiscal stimulus programs like the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 were enacted in hopes of jump starting the economy. The Federal Reserve also took a number of steps including reducing the federal funds rate from 5.25% in September 2007 to a range of 0-0.25% in December 2008.
WRS member Bob Schaefer retired in December 2008, after 33 years as an engineer with the Department of Natural Resources. As the financial crisis deepened, he worried for his mother and sister, who also received WRS annuities.
"My dividend the next year was zero, since I was at my Core floor," Schaefer said. "However, my bigger concern was for my mother and sister, who felt the full effect of the annuity reductions."
Outgoing SWIB Executive Director Michael Williamson notes that the WRS is unique because of its shared risk and reward structure.
"Unlike many public pension funds, WRS employees and retirees share the investment risk with public employers," Williamson said. "That is why, after watching the impact the Great Recession had on the trust funds and WRS participants, we have focused on implementing a strategy that is designed to first help protect the trust funds and members from another market downturn, and then to earn reasonable returns."
Williamson said the struggle is finding the right balance between taking enough risk to make sure the WRS is providing the benefits promised to its participants and taking too much risk that could cause volatile swings in annuity adjustments and contribution rates in a severe market downturn.
Eventually, the country's economy began its rebound following the Great Recession. But what are the lessons learned and what can be done to help protect the WRS from another major market downturn? In the next edition of WRS News Online, read about the strategies SWIB has implemented to help make money, manage risk and optimize costs.
The Wisconsin Legislature is expected to wrap up the 2017-2018 session in late February or early March. The following is the latest legislation or legislative actions affecting the benefit programs administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds.
Assembly Bill 676
On January 9 the Assembly on Corrections held a hearing on AB676, which classifies county jailers as Protective category participants under the Wisconsin Retirement System without a requirement that their principal duties involve active law enforcement. Currently, approximately 20 counties classify their jailers as Protectives, while the remainder of the counties classify their jailers as General category employees. Historically, the state has recognized that Protective occupation employees are exposed to a high degree of danger and have protected them by providing them an earlier retirement age, a higher retirement benefit, and duty disability insurance benefits.
The bill would essentially require county jailers who are currently employed by a county that does not classify county jailers as Protective participants and who become Protective participants under this bill to pay the employer share on the higher WRS contribution, as well as the duty disability premium, which is currently an employer cost. If the employee does not wish to pay the additional cost of being a Protective, the bill allows them at the time of hire to make the irrevocable choice to be classified as a general employee. The proposed legislation also provides that county employers who currently classify their jailers as Protectives can continue to pay the employer cost for current and future employees.
ETF's remarks in testimony before the Committee focused on the bill's departure from current policy regarding Protective participants and potential consequences. Providing Protective employees increased benefits is a recognition that these jobs are dangerous and critical to maintaining public safety, and that those who perform these jobs may not be able to perform them for as long as non-protective employees. This bill changes that policy — it recognizes that jailers should be classified as Protective, but require the employee, and not society in general, to pay for these extra protections. The testimony can be found here.
Audit of Group Insurance Program
On December 20 the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved an audit of the Group Insurance Board, ETF and the State Group Health Insurance Program, which the Legislative Audit Bureau aims to complete before the Legislature starts work on the next biennial budget. The Legislature included a similar provision in the 2017-19 budget, but the language was vetoed.
SWIB Wins Pair of Allocators' Choice Awards
The State of Wisconsin Investment Board has received two Institutional Investor Allocators' Choice Awards. In a recent ceremony SWIB took home top honors in the Technology User of the Year and Team of the Year categories. SWIB was among three finalists for Technology User of the Year and one of seven finalists for Team of the Year.
The recognition for Technology User of the Year is based on SWIB delivering on time and on budget its three-and-a-half year, $48 million technology overhaul. The new technology provides staff with easily accessible, high quality and timely data. The technology upgrade is part of SWIB's efforts to implement its investment strategy, manage risk and optimize costs. SWIB's investment strategy is designed to first help protect the Wisconsin Retirement System from another downturn and then to earn reasonable returns.
Managing more assets internally allows SWIB to better manage risk and to optimize costs by reducing reliance on external money managers. Since 2007, SWIB moved from investing just 21% of assets in-house to approximately 64% today. SWIB's greater reliance on internal management saves $72 million per year, compared to what similar funds would pay to manage the same assets.
The nomination for Team of the Year recognized that SWIB is home to top talent in American public fund investing. To manage more funds internally, SWIB has assembled a team of highly qualified professionals throughout the organization that work to help fuel one of the best-funded public pension funds in the U.S.
The Allocators' Choice Awards are new financial awards given by Institutional Investor — a leading international financial publication — to recognize industry leaders. The awards were created as a way for asset allocators to choose peers deserving recognition for their work in different categories. Finalists were selected based on nominations submitted over the summer and were vetted by the publications editorial team.
Why Are You in Public Service?
Tell us why you are working to serve the public, your community and the people of Wisconsin. Take our survey today.
New Year, New Resolve: Get Financially Fit with ETF's Program
Along with the usual resolution to get in better physical shape, how about resolving to get financially well and fit? You can do it with ETF's Financial Fitness Program — and end up feeling more confident about your financial future, to boot.
This free online program, available to all WRS members, offers exclusive education and planning tools to help you feel confident about setting and reaching your financial goals.
Start with a 10-minute Financial Fitness Checkup, a confidential and secure online survey. You'll discover your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to personal finance, saving and investing, and retirement planning. After the Checkup you can access:
- New and improved tutorials, calculators and tools in the online Financial Fitness Academy; and
- Financial Fitness Coaches who will work with you to understand your personal financial situation and help you set goals, create a plan, answer your questions, and much more!
Here are just a few of the online tutorials members have recently taken:
- Introduction to Retirement Planning
- Principles of Financial Planning
- Personal Finance Basics
- Save Money on Taxes While Saving for Retirement
- Automatic Savings and Investment Plans
- Financial Planning Made Simple
Get started on your financial wellness improvement journey today!
Sponsors and Partners
The Financial Fitness Program is offered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds in coordination with the Wisconsin Retired Educators Association, Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin, and state and local government employers. Our project partners include:
- Financial Fitness Group
- Ameriprise Financial
- Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
- Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Personal Finance Employee Fund
- University of Oxford
For More Information
- Informational webinar (recorded): Get Financially Fit: ETF's Financial Fitness Program (51 min.)
- Elearning: ETF's Financial Fitness Program (2 min.)
- Financial Fitness Program FAQs and more
Pharmacy Benefits: Saving on Your Prescriptions
Watch this ETF eLearning to learn how to reduce your out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. The program provides an overview of members' cost-share for generic, brand name and specialty drugs, along with tips for saving money. Also includes a handy, printable resource sheet with tips, phone numbers and information on copayments/coinsurance.
Know Your Benefits
Q: I want to learn more about my WRS benefits and how they work for me. Where should I start?
A: We want you to make sound, strategic decisions about your WRS benefits over the course of your career and not miss out on any opportunities available to you. We suggest the following:
- Ask your employer if there is a "WRS benefits introduction" type of seminar for new employees. These sessions are valuable sources of information and are often customized by employer for their own employees.
- Participate in ETF's 30-minute interactive webinar, WRS Benefits: For New and Mid-Career Employees. Questions are encouraged; ask your own or simply listen while learning from other participants' questions.
- Check out the videos, recorded webinars, Elearnings and live presentation schedule on our Member Education webpage.
- If you're within a year of retirement and already have your retirement estimate, schedule an appointment with an ETF benefits specialist.
Near Retirement? Schedule an Appointment
Members who have retirement estimates and are within a year of retirement can schedule an appointment with an ETF benefits specialist. ETF offers three kinds of appointments, all of which provide a thorough explanation of your retirement estimate, annuity payment options, the retirement process itself, and much more:
Book an individual retirement appointment. Contact ETF to schedule a one-on-one appointment, held in our Madison office.
Book an online appointment. This is a secure, one-on-one meeting conducted online. All you need is a computer, a telephone and an internet connection. Contact ETF to schedule an online appointment.
For additional information:
Review our How to Retire webpage
Call ETF at 1-877-533-5020 and speak with a specialist. Phone hours are 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, CST.
How Divorce Can Affect Your WRS Account
If a marriage is legally terminated, the court can award a certain percentage of your Wisconsin Retirement System account to an alternate payee (your former spouse). The court order that awards a portion of the account to the alternate payee is called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. The QDRO must award a percentage of the account to the alternate payee — not a dollar amount — and it can be up to 50%. This percentage applies to all parts of the account, including employee and employer contributions, additional contributions and creditable service (including military service).
If you have not yet taken a benefit from your account, your contributions and years of service as of the decree date are divided and a portion is transferred to a separate account in the alternate payee's name. Each separate account earns interest on the balances in that account. All new contributions and years of service that you earn after the decree date are credited to your account alone.
Whatever the alternate payee does with the account has no effect on your account or benefits. He or she can take a benefit from this account right away, even if you are still working. However, until you reach minimum retirement age and/or are vested, the alternate payee is only eligible for a separation benefit (employee contributions only). Once you reach minimum retirement age and are vested, the alternate payee is eligible to apply for a retirement benefit based on both employee and employer contributions.
For More Information
How Divorce Can Affect Your WRS Benefits (ET-4925). Topics covered include most common reasons ETF rejects a domestic relations order; effects of divorce on service and purchased service, insurance benefits, and monthly annuity payments; FAQs.
Senate Confirms Reappointment of Trustee Sheehy
Trustee Tim Sheehy has been reappointed to serve on the State of Wisconsin Investment Board's Board of Trustees.
Sheehy is a gubernatorial appointment. The Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues recommended Sheehy's reappointment and it was approved by the full Senate in October. Sheehy will serve a six-year term that expires in May 2023.
Sheehy, who was originally appointed to the Board in 2016, is president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. Prior to being named president in 1993, he served in various capacities with the MMAC in governmental affairs and economic development. Sheehy is a Ford Foundation Fellow on Regional Sustainable Development, a graduate of the Institute for Organizational Management and a certified chamber of commerce executive. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in political science.
The SWIB Board of Trustees consists of nine members meeting specific requirements. These include:
- The secretary of administration or a designee;
- One member appointed for a six-year term representing a local government that participates in the Local Government Investment Fund;
- Five public members appointed for staggered six-year terms and four having at least 10 years of investment experience; and
- Two participants in the Wisconsin Retirement System appointed for six-year terms, one a teacher participant appointed by the Teacher Retirement Board and one a participant other than a teacher appointed by the Wisconsin Retirement Board.
Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to act solely in the interest of the WRS trust funds. They also appoint the executive director and internal auditor. Trustee responsibilities include establishing asset allocation, investment guidelines and performance benchmarks.
Spring is Statement of Benefits Time
In April, the Department of Employee Trust Funds will distribute the 2018 Annual Statement of Benefits to actively employed Wisconsin Retirement System members. The statement is a summary of your WRS pension account, including year-end balances. Visit this webpage after you receive your statement for additional information, including:
- Explanations of your statement
- Interactive statement — a step-by-step review of each section of the statement
- Frequently asked questions
Most state employees will receive their statements in the mail. University of Wisconsin System and local government employees will receive their statements from their employers.
Why It's Important to Keep Your Beneficiary Designation Upated
When it comes to your Wisconsin Retirement System account, few things are more important than keeping your beneficiary designation up to date. Did you know that your beneficiary does not automatically change when your life circumstances change, or that your will does not constitute a WRS beneficiary designation?
Be sure your WRS beneficiary designation accurately reflects how you would want your WRS benefits paid in the event of your death. The law requires the Department of Employee Trust Funds to follow your written instructions on the WRS beneficiary designation form we have on file — even if, for example, it lists old information, such as a former spouse.
What is the easiest way to ensure your designation is current? Call ETF at 1-877-533-5020 or download a Beneficiary Designation form from our website. Complete the form and submit it to ETF by mail or fax. If you have a Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program account, make sure your beneficiary designation for that account is current as well. Call the WDC at 1-877-457-9327 or visit the WDC's website.
2018 WRS Governing Board Meetings
The issues discussed and decisions made by the five governing boards of the Wisconsin Retirement System affect the benefit programs administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds. The 2018 meeting schedule for these boards has been set, as indicated below.
|2018 Board Meetings|
March 29, June 21, September 20, December 13
Group Insurance Board
February 21, May 16,
SWIB Board of Trustees
February 13-14, April 10-11, June 12-13, July/August 31-1, October 8-10, December 11-12
To receive notification of WRS governing board meetings, agendas and materials, sign up for
ETF E-Mail Updates or follow ETF on Twitter
Learn more about WRS governing boards.
Learn more about the SWIB Board of Trustees.
Free Wellness Webinars
The Well Wisconsin Program continues its series of free wellness webinars for members covered under the group health insurance program. The first two webinars in the new year are as follows:
2018 Program Overview and Portal Demo
Date: February 21, 2018
Time: 12:00 noon to 12:30 p.m.
Learn about the Well Wisconsin Program, including how to earn your $150 incentive! Make this the year you focus on your health and well-being — join us! Register via the Well Wisconsin program portal.
Life Hacks for Greater Health and Well-Being
Date: May 16, 2018
Time: 12:00 noon to 12:30 p.m.
Description: Do you take an all or nothing approach to healthy living? Join us to learn how quick and easy changes can have substantial impacts on your emotional and physical health and well-being. Join us! Register via the Well Wisconsin program portal.
P&I Video Interview with David Villa
Watch this brief Pension & Investments video interview of David Villa, SWIB Chief Investment Officer, on the rewards and challenges of managing the WRS Trust Funds. Specific topics include important tenets of investment philosophy, portfolio development, investment staff acquisition and development, shared investment risk and reward, and SWIB's investment in technology/operational changes.
Coming Soon: A New Online Experience with the WDC
In the coming weeks, some big changes are coming to the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program website, www.wdc457.org. These include:
- A mobile-friendly design and fresh look overall
- New features designed to help you understand your account activity and investments and take action when appropriate
- Upon log in, new tools to make it easier than ever to keep tabs on account information and take certain actions like set or change contributions, designate or change contribution amounts, set or update beneficiary designations, manage transfers/direct rollovers.
In addition, using data you enter, the new website can offer recommendations for saving and investing strategies that can help you reach your retirement income goals. You can even receive a customized spend-down plan for using multiple retirement income streams (such as personal savings and Social Security benefits) in the most advantageous way!
Visit www.wdc457.org or call the WDC's Customer Service center at (877) 457-WDCP (9327). Representatives are available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday.
ETF Seeks Individuals with Abandoned Accounts
Every January ETF publishes a notice of individuals age 70 or older who have abandoned WRS accounts. Members or their heirs have 10 years after published notification to apply for the benefit. Find the current list of individuals with abandoned WRS accounts and their benefit application deadlines on our website.
Request Retirement Benefit Estimate Online
Do you plan to retire within the next 12 months? If so, have you requested an official retirement benefit estimate from your account? It's easy to do online. Complete the required fields and we will send you an estimate based on your account. The current wait time for estimates is about 4 weeks.
For more information:
- Use ETF's calculator to run your own (unofficial) benefit projection. Or, review our brochure, Calculating Your Retirement Benefits (ET-4107).
- Participate in our webinar, Choosing When to Retire, to learn how retirement timing can affect your annuity amount and other benefits. You can also ask questions and benefit from other participants' feedback.
- If an interactive webinar doesn't fit into your schedule, you can watch a previously-recorded session of Choosing When to Retire anytime, 24/7.
Returning to Work After Retirement
So, you're going to retire soon — congratulations! Every year approximately 10,000 Wisconsin Retirement System employees join our retiree ranks. But before you make it official, we must ask: Do you have plans to work after retirement? It's important to note that you can work for a non-WRS employer at any time — your WRS benefits administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds won't change.
However, if you plan to work for a WRS employer, know and follow state laws ahead of time to avoid jeopardizing your benefits. In general, you must have these two things before you can return to WRS-covered employment:
Do your homework ahead of time: Put ETF's informative brochure, Information for Rehired Annuitants (ET-4105) on top of your reading list. Topics covered include:
- What constitutes a valid termination and break in service
- How annuity suspensions work
- What happens when you "re-retire"
- How part-time elected service affects your benefits
- Effects on other WRS benefits such as health insurance and life insurance
- Return-to-work scenarios with questions and answers for additional comprehension and study