Retirement Planning

Social Security Credits

Check with the social security office to determine what benefits you will receive. In many cases, public pension income causes a reduction in social security benefits. Make sure you determine how the windfall elimination provision (the WEP) and the government pension offset (the GPO) affect you.

Public Service Credits

If you have retirement funds in another Massachusetts public system, tell your retirement office. The funds and service credits can be transferred to your current account. If you have withdrawn funds, you can arrange to buy back the service credits.

Military Service / Public Service

You can pay through these service credits through payroll deductions. Set up your payment schedule to make sure you have completed the payments before you retire.

Date Planning

Your retirement benefit is based on salary, years of service, and age. As you plan your retirement date, keep those factors in mind:

  • If you are under 65, choose a date that is after your next birthday, in order to increase your age factor.
  • Service is calculated in full months. Choose a date based on your hire date to maximize service. For example, if you started work on the 15th of the month, choose the 15th of the month to retire.
  • Salary is based on your highest 36-month average. Waiting for a raise won’t help you that much, because the new raise won’t help your average.
  • If you retire and take a payout of your vacation time, you will not get service credits for the vacation time. You can take your vacation as paid time and then retire to increase your service credits. It may be more beneficial to you to take the vacation as a payout. Retirement estimates can help you determine this.

You can use the online retirement calculator to help you decide on a retirement date. You can also ask the retirement staff to do a more accurate estimate for you.

Benefit Estimate

There are two ways you can obtain an estimate of your retirement benefit. You can call 413-587-1211 or stop by our office and we can provide you with an estimate (the time it takes us to do an estimate can vary from a couple of days to a week or two), or you can use our online retirement calculator. The online calculator works fine for many employees, but for some, such as employees with gaps in service or part-time service, it might better suit your needs to contact us for a more personalized estimate.

The retirement calculator can provide you with an estimate of benefits you may be entitled to when you retire. It is only intended to be used as such and is in no way a guarantee of actual benefits. As mentioned, for a personalized estimate, please contact our office. You will need your employee number to access your information. This number can be found on your paystub if you are an employee of the City of Northampton. For Forbes Library and Northampton Housing Authority employees, a unique number has been assigned and will be mailed to you soon.