WRS News Online

What's My Minimum Retirement Age?

Deciding when to retire is a personal choice based on your individual finances, risk tolerance and other factors. It’s important to consider how your age at retirement may or may not affect your benefit.

For most Wisconsin Retirement System members, the earliest retirement age is 55. For those in protective occupations (e.g., police officer, firefighter), it’s 50. Among current WRS retirees, their average age at retirement was 59.6

First of all, it’s very important you know the difference between a Money Purchase and a Formula retirement benefit calculation. Your WRS benefit is automatically based on the higher of the two calculations.

A money purchase benefit is determined by your age and the amount of money in your account. A formula benefit is determined by four things: your final average earnings, years of service, a formula factor based on your employment category(ies) and any applicable age reduction factor if you are retiring before Normal Retirement Age.

Minimum Retirement Age (MRA):
Your MRA is the earliest age at which you can begin receiving a retirement annuity, providing you meet all other eligibility criteria. Keep in mind that your annuity could be reduced, based on your years of service and your age at retirement.

Normal Retirement Age (NRA):
Your NRA is the age when no age reduction factor will be applied to your formula benefit.

The MRAs and NRAs for each WRS employment category are as follows*:

Employment Category

Minimum Retirement Age

Normal Retirement Age

General employees and teachers

55

65

Elected officials and state executive retirement plan employees

55

62

Protective occupation employees

50

54

*Note:  There are exceptions. For example, Protective employees with 25 years or more of creditable service have a Normal Retirement Age of 53 instead of 54.

Here are some items for your to-do list:

  1. Learn about retirement benefit calculations
    a. Review brochure, Calculating Your Retirement Benefits (ET-4107).
    b. Attend a webinar or watch a video on this topic.
     
  2. Review your WRS annual Statement of Benefits, which includes a Money Purchase and a Formula retirement benefit calculation.
     
  3. Use the WRS Retirement Benefits Calculator.