You’re eligible to retire! Before you take the next step, let’s make sure you have all your bases covered.

Retirement Preparation

I’m Eligible.

Now What?

Becoming eligible to retire puts you that much closer to retirement, but this important milestone isn’t the last step on your journey. Before you submit your application, take a little time to find out if you’re really ready to retire.

Step-By-Step Retirement Prep

Step 1

Create a Budget

Estimate your post-retirement income

Include your TCDRS benefit, Social Security, personal savings and any other investments. To estimate your TCDRS retirement benefit, simply sign in or register for online account access.

Make a detailed estimate of your post-retirement expenses

Include basics like housing and everyday living costs, as well as healthcare, big-ticket items like a new car, and fun money for travel and leisure.

Compare your estimated income to estimated expenses

If your income-to-expenses projection appears closely matched, there’s a good chance you still need additional income in retirement. It’s not too late to start saving and investing extra money, and you might consider delaying retirement or working part-time.

Step 2

Ask About Healthcare Coverage for Retirees

If your employer offers retiree healthcare coverage, find out what you need to do to qualify for it. Consider getting a full medical exam while you are still covered as an employee.

Step 3

Target a Retirement Date

You are eligible to retire when you meet any one of the following requirements:

At age 60 | once you are vested

Rule of 75 or 80 | your age plus service time equals 75 or 80,
depending on your employer s requirements

At any age | 20 or 30 years of service time
(the amount of service time is set by your employer)

To find your employer’s requirements, simply sign in or register for online account access.

Just because you can retire at a certain age doesn’t mean you should. Working longer gives your TCDRS savings more time to grow. It also boosts your future Social Security benefit.

It’s also important to consider the timing of your first benefit payment. Your first payment will be issued on the last business day of the month following your effective retirement date. For example, if your retirement date is March 31, your first benefit payment will be issued on April 30.

You can experiment with different dates to find the best fit for your retirement needs. To run benefit estimates, simply sign in or register for the Member Portal.

Step 4

Apply for Retirement with TCDRS

Give yourself plenty of time

We recommend three months. Some of the decisions you make about your retirement options cannot be changed after you retire, so don’t rush the process.

Preview our online application

Once you have a target date in mind, you can preview the steps in our online application by viewing the Meet the Online Retirement Application flyer.

Apply online

When you are ready to begin your retirement journey, sign into the Member Portal and click “Apply for Retirement” button on your Account Summary page.

Destination Retirement Handbook

Explore our retirement roadmap by downloading our helpful Destination Retirement and Passport to Retirement guides. 

Step 5

Choose a Benefit Payment Option

Choosing a benefit payment option is one of the most important things you'll do when you apply for retirement with TCDRS. All of the TCDRS benefit payment options provide you with a monthly payment for the rest of your life. The difference in the monthly amounts reflects the possible payments to your beneficiaries after you pass away.

Payment Options

Step 6

Decide Whether You Will Take a Partial Lump-Sum Distribution

Some employers give you the option of taking a single payment of up to 100% of your TCDRS account balance when you retire.

A lump-sum payment lowers your monthly benefit

You still get monthly benefit payments for life, but the payments will be smaller based on the amount of the lump-sum payment.

A lump-sum payment may have serious tax consequences

We are required by the IRS to automatically withhold 20% of your payment for taxes. You may also be subject to additional tax penalties. You can specify additional withholding when you apply for your partial lump-sum payment.

Step 7

Consider Applying for Social Security Benefits

Visit the Social Security website to apply for benefits online or to request an estimate. Remember, if you wait and start your Social Security benefit later, it will be higher. The monthly benefit for your spouse after you pass away may also be higher if you wait.



Supplemental Income

Returning to Work

Working in retirement is a great way to supplement your income. With TCDRS, you can go back to work for the employer you retired from, but you have to meet certain requirements:

  • You cannot have a prior agreement or understanding with your former employer that you will be rehired.

  • You must have a break in service of one full calendar month. For example, if your employment terminated on April 15, you can’t go back to work for that same employer before June 1. The entire calendar month of May must pass before you can be rehired.

If you don’t follow these requirements, you must return the money you received from your TCDRS account. That includes money you rolled over into another qualified retirement account, such as a traditional IRA.

Life events

Making Changes When Needed

While you may be eligible to retire, that’s probably not the only thing going on in your life. Changes to your marital status and other life events might require you to update your TCDRS account.

Getting married

Having a child

Getting divorced

Serving in the military

Losing a loved one

Woman smiling at her work desk

Member Services

Online Counseling

Talk with a TCDRS representative about your benefit payment options. No webcam is required.

Schedule Now

Estate Planning

Put Your Wishes in Writing

Estate planning can save you and your family money. In a crisis, it can also save time, avoid confusion and guarantee that your wishes are carried out and your interests protected, even if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Estate Planning

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Have questions?

Call us at 800-823-7782.