In order to successfully plan for your retirement, you need to understand how contributions are made to your TRS account. Your pension is funded by 3 sources: member contributions, employer contributions, and investment earnings.
All members must contribute 6% of their pre-tax, earnable compensation, the salary payable to a member to for full, normal working time, to their TRS account by a payroll deduction. Earnable compensation does not include salary for secondary jobs such as night school. Unlike a 401(k), you cannot contribute more than the required 6%.
TRS membership, and therefore regular contributions, are a required condition of employment for TRS covered positions. Once you have achieved 40 years of creditable service, you may elect to discontinue your TRS contributions. If you will be receiving salary increases, it may be to your advantage to continue your contributions since it will increase the amount generated by the TRS benefit formula. If your date of membership began on or after July 1, 1996, the maximum earnable compensation for which TRS contributions can be reported or which can be used to calculate retirement benefits is limited by Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The employer contribution helps fund TRS for current and future retirement benefits and is not part of any individual member’s account. Unlike the member rate, the employer contribution rate is not fixed. You may view the current rate here.
Lastly, TRS is funded by investment earnings, which is simply the gains from the financial markets. Compared to member and employer contributions combined, investment income currently funds the majority of our of members’ pension income.
If you leave your TRS-covered position for another TRS-covered position, your account will remain the same. Our staff will simply update your employer information in your file and your new employer will take over the Employer Contributions.
If you leave your TRS-covered position for a non-TRS-covered position, you can no longer contribute to your TRS account. However, your account status will remain active for up to 4 years without out a member contribution. Therefore, you will have the option to keep your contributions with TRS or transfer them to another retirement account provided by your new employer.
In accordance with Georgia law, your TRS account cannot be levied, garnished or attached, and you may not assign payment of your benefits to another person or entity. The only exception is the payment of eligible benefits to your designated beneficiaries at the time of your death.
Neither your contributions nor interest as an active member or your monthly benefit as a retiree can be divided through a divorce decree or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.