You have been an educator for several years now, but you still have a number of years remaining before you can fully plan your retirement. However, now is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with specific details regarding your forthcoming TRS pension benefit.

As you work each day to enrich the minds and lives of Georgia’s youth and adults, you are also a member of one of the nation’s leading retirement funds, which will ultimately provide you with retirement security and income.

Your TRS retirement plan is a defined benefit plan which requires contributions from you and your employer, is determined by a formula based on your years of service and/or age and your final average salary, and is guaranteed to last for your lifetime. Eligibility for this benefit makes you an exclusive member of a small population of employees in the country who are fortunate enough to have such a pension plan. According to Towers Watson, between 1998 and 2015, the percentage of employers still offering a traditional defined benefit plan to most newly-hired employees fell from roughly 50% to 5% ( 2-22-16).

Another wonderful aspect of your TRS plan is that your benefit is not tied in any way to the stock market. Whether stocks go up or down, you can always rely on your TRS benefit to stay the same from month to month. When there is inflation, you may also be eligible to receive a cost-of-living adjustment, which can increase your benefit each year. And if you decide to take a retirement plan that leaves a benefit to your beneficiaries, their benefit is also guaranteed for life!

What you receive from TRS is based on a formula that involves your length of service and your high average salary. TRS uses a very generous formula compared to other state plans as we calculate your benefit using your highest 24 consecutive months of salary when other states use 3 to 5 years of salary. Basically, the longer you work, and the higher your salary is, the more money you will receive from TRS.

Each section to the right has been created to help you navigate through your remaining years, so you make the best choices for you and your family. How you answer these questions can affect your TRS pension and retirement income. Here are some questions you should keep in mind as you continue your career in education as a TRS member:

  1. Do you pay into Social Security?
    • If yes: How many years have you been paying into social security?
    • If no: Does your employer contribute money into a defined contribution plan (e.g., 403b, 457, etc.) on your behalf?
  1. Are you contributing money into a defined contribution plan offered through your employer?
  2. Are you contributing money into other retirement accounts, such as an IRA with your local bank
  3. Are you eligible to purchase any outstanding creditable service? (i.e. previous employment under TRS/ERS/PSERS of Georgia, Out-of-State public or American Dependent School Teaching Service, Military (Active duty, not reserves), Private School Employment in Georgia, Study Leave, or Visiting Scholar)
  4. Have you accumulated any unused sick leave with your current and/or previous employers?

Be sure to review the related information on this page to understand all aspects of your TRS benefits.