Retirement Planning Checklist

Overview

Retirement Planning Checklist

Five or more years prior to retirement

Evaluate all retirement income sources
List the various sources from which you will receive income upon retirement, such as a federal or state pension, private retirement plan and personal savings.

Register and login to your myOCERS account
Once you have registered for myOCERS, you can use the Benefit Estimator to calculate your future retirement allowance from OCERS. Using this online tool, you can estimate your future retirement benefit based on the date you plan on retiring and your projected final monthly compensation (FAS).

Review your beneficiary information
Review the beneficiaries on your account and make any necessary updates.

Submit divorce documents for legal review (if applicable)
Your OCERS benefits are considered community property under California law. Contact us to verify if your divorce impacts your benefits.

Three years prior to retirement

Gather all documents required for retirement
Gather your original birth certificate, your spouse’s/Qualified Domestic Partner’s birth certificate, marriage certificate, and domestic partner registration and bring them to OCERS. They will be photocopied and returned to you while you wait.

Review the OCERS Summary Plan Description (“SPD”)
For a refresher course on all issues that pertain to your upcoming retirement, review your OCERS SPD for information on retirement benefit payment options, reciprocity, service credit purchases (“buybacks”), death and survivor benefits, taxes and other important topics. 

Attend a Pre-Retirement Session
OCERS offers a number of Pre-Retirement Sessions. These include sessions on OCERS’ benefits, County of Orange health care options, Social Security, as well as options for withdrawing funds from your 457 plan. These free sessions are offered several times a month and are open to all active and deferred members.

One year prior to retirement

Calculate Your Retirement Benefit
Use the myOCERS Benefit Estimator to generate a personalized estimate for financial planning purposes. The estimate is based on your biweekly payroll data as transmitted by your agency.

Educate yourself on the process of enrolling in Medicare
If you will be age 65 or older at retirement, visit the Medicare website, Medicare.gov, or call 1-800-MEDICARE regarding details about enrolling in Medicare and information about benefits and eligibility. You can also contact your local HICAP office. HICAP is the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program in the State of California. 

Attend a Pre-Retirement Session
If you have not been to an OCERS Pre-Retirement session yet (or if you need a refresher), you will want to attend now. The sessions are free and cover information about OCERS’ benefits, County of Orange health care options, Social Security, as well as information about withdrawing funds from your 457 plan.

Two months prior to retirement

Submit your Online Retirement Application
When you are nearing retirement, be sure you have registered for myOCERS. You may then login and submit your Application for Service Retirement and all required forms online, including your tax withholding election and direct deposit forms. Once received, an OCERS retirement specialist will contact you within a few days to provide more detailed retirement counseling. An Application for Service Retirement can be submitted up to 60 days before your retirement date.

Contact Your Employee Benefits department
Contact your Employee Benefits department through Human Resources to gain information on retiree health insurance options as soon as possible. 

Contact Deferred Compensation Plan Administration
If you have participated in your employer’s deferred compensation plan, contact a representative to discuss options for withdrawing funds from your deferred compensation plan.

Coordinate your retirement date with your department
We strongly suggest you notify your department’s payroll representative of your pending retirement date well in advance. Timely processing of your termination by your department will help ensure there is no delay in processing your OCERS retirement allowance.

If you have reciprocity, contact all reciprocal retirement systems to file separate retirement applications
If you have established reciprocity, you must retire from all reciprocal retirement systems on the same retirement date. This condition requires you to contact all reciprocal systems and to file a retirement application with each system. Failure to comply with this provision may result in reciprocity being broken and the loss or reduction of retirement benefits.