ARE YOU PREPARED?

A checklist for each life stage

Your TRA pension, Social Security, 403(b), and personal savings can provide a comfortable retirement. But smart planning also means tending to key tasks throughout your career. Manage money well now, enjoy more security later.  

20s and 30s (early career)

  •  Make a budget. Know what your income is and learn not to spend more than that. That’s how you’ll start to build your wealth.
  • Pay down your debt and know the interest rates for each of your loans. Focus on paying down high-interest loans first. Paying more than the minimum payment on a lower interest loan like your student loan before paying off a higher interest credit card might not be in your best interest.
  • Sign up for your school’s 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity. Contribute the amount required to get the employer “match.” (Free money!) If you can afford it, also begin contributing to a Roth IRA.
  • Create a MyTRA online account. Update your profile so you don’t miss important communication from TRA. Review your annual statement to monitor your accumulated service credit, your contributions, and your employer deductions.
  • Keep your beneficiary designations up to date. When you name a beneficiary on an account, you’re designating who should receive the assets in the event of your death. This is a basic financial task you’ll have to return to, as your life changes.
  • Find a financial planner who will work with you for a couple of hours for a flat fee. He or she can give you a high-level overview of what you should focus on money-wise. This is another financial task you’ll return to as your life changes.

 

30s and 40s (mid-career)

  • Revisit your household budget. Make sure you’re living within your means.
  • Continue paying down debt. Know the interest rates for each of your loans and focus on paying down high-interest loans first. Paying more than the minimum payment on a lower interest loan like your student loan before paying off a higher interest credit card might not be in your best interest.
  • Sign up for a 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity. Contribute the amount required to get the employer “match.” (Free money!) If you can afford it, also begin contributing to a Roth IRA.
  • Create a MyTRA online account. Update your profile so you don’t miss important communication from TRA. Review your annual statement to monitor your accumulated service credit, your contributions, and your employer deductions.
  • Keep your beneficiary designations up to date. When you name a beneficiary on an account, you’re designating who should receive the assets in the event of your death.
  • Open an online Social Security account. Review estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivor benefits.
  • Find a financial planner. Talk with them about whether you have the right mix of savings—your TRA pension, 403(b), IRA, Social Security, etc.—for retirement.

50s (nearing retirement)

  • Work toward being debt free. You’re going to be living on a fixed income.
  • Determine eligibility. If you are age 55 or older and vested in TRA, you are eligible to apply for a retirement benefit, though it pays to wait until age 66.
  • Review TRA’s annuity plan options.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration to determine your options.
  • Generate TRA retirement benefit estimates by logging in to your MyTRA account.
  • Find a financial planner to discuss how best to turn your savings—your TRA pension, 403(b), IRA, Social Security, etc.—into income during retirement without getting hit with a big tax bill.
  • Contact any other Minnesota public retirement funds to which you have made contributions, even if refunded, for a possible combined service annuity benefit.
  • Make an appointment with a TRA retirement counselor. You will get a personalized, detailed estimate of your projected monthly retirement benefit. The retirement application process and key decisions are also explained.
  • Contact your employer to determine requirements for submitting your resignation notice. Resignation should be effective on the last day of work.
  • Review your health insurance options (through school district or supplemental insurance providers).
  • Submit your retirement application to TRA.

All about early retirement

You might be considering retiring early. If you do, your benefit

must be reduced because you will be receiving it for a longer period of time.

“Early retirement” is any age earlier than 66, and the younger you retire

before age 66, the higher the reduction – similar to Social Security.

Learn more about early retirement

Register for a MyTRA account!

Access your personal information, run benefit estimates, make appointments, and more.

If you are an employer contact and do not yet have an employer login, call TRA employer assistance 1-800-657-3853.

Already registered? Click the sign-in button below.

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