The WRS benefit, when combined with Social Security, is intended to give you a retirement income that is 50-85% of what you earned before retirement. This percentage comes from a full career (25-30 years) under the WRS. Therefore, you will need additional savings or investments to reach your pre-retirement income.
A secure and stable retirement income is like a “three-legged stool.” One leg is your WRS retirement benefit, the second leg is your Social Security Retirement benefit and the third is your personal savings and other investments.
The WRS offers several ways to increase your retirement income. Before you decide what’s right for you, think about the following:
- Your Savings Target: How much money do you want to save by the time you stop working?
- Your Timeline: How many years do you have to save and/or invest your money before you start retirement?
- Your Risk Tolerance: Can you afford to absorb the ups and downs of the stock market from year to year – and for how long?
The WRS offers several ways to increase your retirement income:
You can make additional contributions to increase your WRS benefit. This can be done by making payments directly to ETF, or through payroll deduction (if your employer offers payroll deduction). See the Additional Contributions page for more information.
Buying Creditable Service
If you are eligible, additional years of creditable service can increase the amount of your retirement.
You may be eligible to buy service that you lost (forfeited) because of taking a separation benefit. Members that have worked in other governmental service (federal, state or local) outside of the WRS, may also be able to buy service. See the Buying Creditable Service page for more information.
Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program (WDC)
The WDC offers a simple, flexible way you can save for retirement with a variety of investment options and planning resources. This program is available to all state employees and some local employees if offered by your employer. See the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation pages for more information.