Your PERS Financial Advisors
PROVIDING GUIDANCE THROUGH THE OREGON PERS SYSTEM
Deciding how to utilize your retirement funds can be difficult. While the Oregon PERS system provides many benefits, it also adds a layer of complexity to your retirement. Speaking of complexity, Oregon PERS is set up in tiers, each providing different benefit levels, depending on your date of hire.
Additionally, there is an IAP (Individual Account Program) and an EPSA (Employee Pension Stability Account). Finally, you likely have your own retirement accounts and perhaps those of a spouse or partner to consider.
At Illuminate Financial Group, we are happy to educate you about all aspects of Oregon PERS so that you can maximize the benefits of this complicated system. Our team can also walk you through all the paperwork needed to file for retirement benefits through Oregon PERS.
Five Commonly Asked PERS Questions
The Illuminate Financial Group team members are your Oregon PERS resource. We have been helping clients make sense of Oregon PERS for over 20 years. Our in-depth knowledge can help you understand your pension so that you can make the right financial choice.
WHAT TIER AM I?
The most common question we hear about Oregon PERS is: “What tier am I?” Here is a short, simple answer:
Tier One: You qualify as a Tier One member if you began working for an Oregon PERS participating employer on or before December 31, 1995.*
Tier Two: You qualify as a Tier Two member if you were first employed by an Oregon PERS participating employer between January 1, 1996, and August 28, 2003.*
OPSRP: This is the plan for anyone who began work at an Oregon PERS participating employer on or after August 29, 2003.*
*There are added nuances, depending on the type of public service you provide. For example, judges have a different Oregon PERS than teachers.
IS THE IAP OR EPSA PART OF MY PENSION?
The short answer to this question is: no. The Individual Account Program (IAP) is not a pension. The IAP is a “defined contribution plan,” which is essentially a pool of money to which all employees contribute and from which you will get paid a specific amount. As of January 1, 2004, all tiers began contributing to the IAP.
The Employee Pension Stability Account (EPSA) began on July 1, 2020, and is a redirected portion of your IAP contribution. Oregon PERS will use the funds in your EPSA account to pay your pension benefits. However, the value of your EPSA has no bearing on your Oregon PERS pension. All tiers contribute to the EPSA at different amounts based on your income level and tier.
WHAT WILL BE MY MONTHLY BENEFIT?
While we can’t tell you the specifics, we can work with you to estimate your monthly benefit. We can also help you navigate the Oregon PERS Online Member Services site to examine different scenarios.
In addition, our knowledgeable team can help you through Oregon PERS’s formal benefit estimate process once you are within 24 months of retirement eligibility. Your estimate accuracy is based on how close you are to retirement.
HOW CAN I INTEGRATE ALL OF MY RETIREMENT SAVINGS WITH MY PENSION?
Your Oregon PERS pension is just one piece in the retirement planning puzzle. You likely have other retirement or savings accounts, as well as Social Security. If you have a 401(k) or 403(b) from a previous employer or a Traditional or Roth IRA, that money can and should be integrated into your retirement plan.
In addition to your own accounts, you may have a spouse or partner who has retirement savings that need to be integrated into the retirement income. We can help put all the pieces together so that your retirement income is no longer a puzzle but a clear picture.
CAN I LEAVE OREGON IF I RETIRE WITH PERS?
Fortunately, the answer to this question is: yes! You can retire anywhere in the world and still count on your Oregon PERS pension to supplement your retirement income.
GET YOUR OREGON PERS QUESTIONS ANSWERED, AND BEGIN RETIREMENT PLANNING TODAY
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STAYING ON TOP OF OREGON PERS
Oregon PERS has had numerous changes over the years that have impacted members’ benefits. Between local newspaper articles and what you might hear in the break room at work, it can be difficult to know what changes have happened and whether or not they impact your benefits.
At Illuminate Financial Group, we pride ourselves on staying on top of any changes to Oregon PERS and knowing how they impact our clients. We work hard to make sure you have the most current information about Oregon PERS and that you have a team to reach out to for help.
Information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not approved or endorsed by the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). Equitable Advisors, its affiliates and financial professionals are not affiliated or associated with Oregon PERS.
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