FAQs - Retirement Estimate Calculator

When is the earliest I can retire?

For most people, the earliest you can retire is age 50. If you became a member on or after January 1, 2013, you must be age 52. State Second Tier members cannot retire until at least age 55. If you're not sure which CalPERS formula you're under, check with your personnel office.

Who can be my beneficiary?

You may name any person, a corporation, your estate or a trust as your beneficiary. Your survivor can also be your beneficiary. More information on beneficiaries is available in your Member Benefit Publication.

How do I designate my beneficiary?

As an active member, to designate a beneficiary you need to complete a Beneficiary Designation (ny|CalPERS 0772) (PDF) form. You can download this form or ask your personnel office for a copy. Please note that the information you enter in the Retirement Estimate Calculator is not considered an official beneficiary designation.

I am in the State Alternate Retirement Program. Can I use the Retirement Estimate Calculator?

Since you don't enter full CalPERS membership until after 24 months of employment, you can use the CalPERS On-Line Retirement Estimate Calculator that lets you enter your own data.

While your results will not include any ARP benefits, you can add in future employment and retirement date information to get an idea of your retirement benefits once you are a full CalPERS member. Since this is a planning tool, you can use this information to determine how your benefits will increase if you later convert your State ARP time to CalPERS service credit.

Why can't the Retirement Estimate Calculator do calculations for reinstatements, various complex option 4's, partial service, disability, industrial disability retirements or for temporary annuity payments?

These calculations are too complex and include too many variables to be performed by the calculator. If you are an active member within one year of your expected retirement date, you may request a CalPERS-generated retirement estimate by completing and mailing a Retirement Allowance Estimate Request Form (BSD-470) (PDF). You are limited to two CalPERS-generated requests within a 12-month period.

How do I find out what CalPERS benefits my employer provides?

You can check with your personnel office or Contact Us.

I've heard that my final compensation will be reduced by $133.33 when calculating my retirement benefits since I'm covered by Social Security. When I enter my final compensation in the calculator, am I supposed to reduce my final compensation by $133.33?

No. The calculator does this reduction automatically if you select yes for the question, "covered by Social Security."

Why does the retirement estimate I received from CalPERS have different retirement allowance amounts than my estimate from the Retirement Estimate Calculator?

The online Retirement Estimate Calculator is a tool to help you with your financial planning. If you log in to my|CalPERS using your password, the calculator uses the latest data already reported to CalPERS by your employer. Our retirement estimates use your official CalPERS account information, which may change due to additional payroll reported by your employer since the time you completed your original estimate.

I recently elected to convert my State Second Tier service credit to the First Tier. The calculator still shows that I am in the Second Tier. What do I do?

If you have changed formulas, and your account has not been converted yet, you can use the CalPERS On-Line version of the Retirement Estimate Calculator that lets you enter your own data to get an estimate of your retirement.

My employer recently contracted for a different retirement formula. Can I do an estimate based on the new retirement formula?

You can use the CalPERS On-Line version of the Retirement Estimate Calculator that lets you enter your own data to change your formula for your current employer as well as your past employers.

Why is my retirement estimate lower than what I think it should be?

If you were a safety member prior to January 1, 2013, a "benefit cap" may be applied to your retirement benefit depending on your retirement formula. For example, if you are in the Local Safety 2.5% at 55 formula, you cannot receive a retirement allowance that is more than 90 percent of your final compensation. If you have safety service with more than one employer, and under different safety formulas, more than one maximum benefit cap could be applied to your retirement allowance.

Can the Retirement Estimate Calculator take my unused sick leave into consideration when calculating my retirement estimate?

Yes. You can enter the amount of unused sick leave hours or days you have, and the Retirement Estimate Calculator will factor them into your retirement estimate.

I am a State member who elected the Actuarial Equivalent Reduction to convert my Second Tier service to the First Tier. Can I use the calculator to get an estimate of my retirement benefits?

No. The calculator cannot apply the Actuarial Equivalent Reduction to our estimate, which means your results on the calculator will be too high because it does not include the lifetime reduction.

I am unable to calculate an estimate using the online calculator and have already requested two CalPERS-generated retirement estimates in the last 12 months. Can I get another estimate?

Effective September 1, 2012, if you are within a year of your expected retirement date, you may request two estimates, but you are limited to two within a 12-month period.

How do I know if I can get a CalPERS-generated retirement estimate?

If you are within a year of your expected retirement date you may request a CalPERS-generated retirement estimate, but are limited to two in a 12-month period effective September 1, 2012.

What options do I have for getting a retirement estimate for future retirement dates?

You have two options to request an estimate for future retirement dates. The first option is to use the CalPERS Retirement Estimate Calculator on CalPERS On-Line. The calculator allows you to generate multiple estimates, customizing them to include projections. The second option is to log in to my|CalPERS, which requires a username and password, to obtain an estimate that incorporates data already reported to CalPERS by your employer.

What if I am further than a year from retirement and the online calculator is unable to process my estimate request?

For additional assistance please contact the Customer Contact Center at 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377).

What if I don’t have a computer at home?

We recommend members contact their employer, visit a CalPERS Regional Office or visit a local library to use a computer.

How do I get to the online calculators?

Visit our Retirement Estimate Calculator area to access both versions of the calculator.

Dated: 08-25-2014