The checklist below may help you through many of the steps to retirement.

Planning

Planning and preparation are essential for a successful retirement. Here is a list of things you can do to help ensure a smooth changeover to retirement.

  • Make sure your employer and ETF have your correct contact information. See the Change My Address or Direct Deposit page or complete the Address/Name Change (ET-2815) form to update your information.
  • Use the online WRS Retirement Benefits Calculator for an unofficial retirement estimate to give you an idea of what your benefit(s) might be.
  • Use the Social Security Administration’s Retirement Estimator Calculator to estimate your Social Security retirement benefit.
  • Review other sources of income you have for retirement (savings, annuities, other assets), including:
  • Consider all the ways you can enhance your benefit, such as:
  • If you participate in the Variable Fund, evaluate whether your risk tolerance will change after retirement and understand your options to cancel. See the Variable Fund page or the How Participation in the Variable Trust Fund Affects Your WRS Benefits (ET-4930) brochure for more information.
  • Understand how retiring will affect your other WRS benefits, such as:
    • Life Insurance
      • If you are enrolled in the Group Life Insurance Program and are eligible to continue your coverage after you retire, your life insurance will be continued automatically.
      • Premiums will be deducted from your monthly annuity until you reach age 65. The value of your life insurance is reduced beginning at age 65.
    • Health Insurance
      • State Employees: If you are enrolled in the Group Health Insurance Program your coverage is continued automatically. You will pay the full cost of the insurance. Premiums can be paid by sick leave credits, a deduction from your annuity or by direct payment to the insurance plan.
      • Local Employees: If you are enrolled in the Group Health Insurance Program, you have the right to continue coverage. Your employer must complete a verification form in order to continue. You will pay the full cost of the insurance. Premium payment options vary by employer.  Generally, premiums are paid by a deduction from your annuity or by direct payment to the insurance plan.
        • ETF will supply information about the Local Annuitant Health Insurance Program (LAHP) to all eligible members not covered under the WPE plan.
    • Refer to the WRS Guide to Retirement (ET-4133) brochure for more information.
  • Update your Beneficiary Designation (ET-2320) form on file with ETF. Understand how WRS benefits will be paid to your survivors upon your death before and after you retire.
  • If you have active duty in the military prior to January 1, 1974, send a copy of your discharge papers (DD214) to ETF before requesting a retirement estimate.
  • Sign up for ETF E-mail Updates. Choose from the list of topics that interest you.
  • Visit our Retirement Planning page and attend a live ETF-hosted benefits presentation in your area. See our Member Education section to review our online videos, webinars and eLearnings.

Applying

  • Request a retirement estimate and application within one year of your anticipated retirement date.
  • Review the material in your retirement packet.
  • Consider your payment options carefully. The option you select becomes permanent 60 days after your first retirement payment. See the Payment Options page or review the Choosing an Annuity Option (ET-4117) brochure for more information.
  • Contact ETF with questions.
  • Schedule an appointment with a benefit specialist if needed:
    • ETF offers three types of appointments that all offer the same information:
      • Online (Virtual)
      • Small Group (offered at locations statewide). These appointments allow you to learn from questions from other group attendees.
      • Individual (at ETF in Madison).
    • Plan ahead: It can take 6-8 weeks to get an individual appointment.
  • Complete and submit your retirement estimate and application to ETF within 90 days of your termination date: 
    • If you are not currently working under the WRS you may apply:
      • Up to 30 days before you reach age 55 (age 50 if you were in a protective employment category).
      • If you are already 55 (or 50) you may apply immediately, or up to 60 days before the date you choose as your benefit effective date.
    • The back of the estimate and application gives you instructions on how to complete it, or you can refer to the WRS Guide to Retirement (ET-4133) brochure for step-by-step instructions.

For more information about retirement see the Applying for Your Retirement Benefit (ET-4106) brochure.

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