As employees of Washington State, plan 3 members earn a pension or “paycheck” in retirement. This is calculated using the formula found below, taking years of service multiplied by 1% which gives a percentage. That is the percentage members will receive of their average highest, consecutive five years of salary including stipends.
Years of Service x 1% x Average Five Year Highest Compensation
20 years x 1% x $50,000 = 20% of $50,000 or $10,000/ year (pension)
Members with 30 years of service or more, who were employed before May 2013 can collect their pensions in full at Age 62 with no penalty. Members without 30 years of service or those employed after May 2013 can collect their pensions at Age 65 with no penalty. Other characteristics of the plan include survivorship options which may be elected at the time of collection.
The other part of the plan 3 retirement plan consists of an investment account, funded by the personal contributions of the member. Members elect to save anywhere from 5-15% of their paycheck per month into their account, which is invested with the state of WA and is available for their use when they separate service. As long as they are working, this account is hands-off with no access, and all money being saved into the account is pre-tax, meaning members will owe taxes when they go to spend it. The percentage being saved into the account may only be changed if the member changes employers, in which case they will have a 90-day window to make any changes. Other characteristics of this account include the state investment options, where members may choose their own investments or allow the state to use their default fund option.
To find out more about how your plan fits into your retirement picture, please feel free to reach out for a review!