Q: Is there a “magic” number of combined years of service and age that will give me an unreduced retirement benefit?
A: No, there is no magic number. For employees in all Wisconsin Retirement system employment category(ies) other than Protective, a member with 30 years of service can get a formula retirement benefit with no age reduction factor applied at age 57. If you have less than 30 years of service, an age reduction factor is applied if you retire before age 65 (this varies for those in the Elected Officials/Executive/Judge employment category. See Calculating Your Retirement Benefits (ET-4107) for details).
Remember: Age reduction factors are calculated based on years of service and age—the more service you have (and therefore the older you are), the lower your age reduction will be. Protective category employees with at least 25 years of service can get an unreduced formula benefit at age 53; with less than 25 years, an unreduced benefit is payable at 54.
Note: your retirement benefit will always be the higher of the two benefit calculation methods—formula and money purchase. The formula benefit is based on final average monthly earnings, a factor based on your employment category(ies), years of service, any age reduction for early retirement, and participation in the Variable Trust Fund (if applicable). The money purchase benefit is based only on the dollar balance in your account (employee contributions, employer contributions, and accrued interest) and a money purchase factor based on your age at retirement. The concept of an “unreduced benefit” is not applicable to money purchase retirement benefit calculations.