How to Calculate Your CalPERS Pension Benefit

When you receive your annual statement from the California Public Employees' Retirement System, it tells you how much your pension would be worth if you cashed it out. Unlike your annual Social Security earnings statements, the CalPERS statement does not tell you how much you will get each month. You must do that yourself. Using the information in your CalPERS pension statement, however, you may figure out the amount of your monthly benefit for yourself.

Step 1

Obtain a copy of your last CalPERS statement. If you do not have one, visit the CalPERS website and register in order to view it online.

Step 2

Calculate the number of service credits (years of service) you will have when you retire. The CalPERS earnings statement will tell you how many service credits you have accumulated as of June 30, the date that marks the end of the fiscal year for California. Add the number of years you expect to work past that date. For example, if you have 25 years of service as of June 30 and plan to work one more year past that date, use 26 as the number of service credits.

Step 3

Identify your CalPERS pension formula. Your annual CalPERS statement should contain the formula. If not, obtain it from your employer.

Step 4

Determine your age as of your expected date of retirement. You must be at least 50 years old to draw benefits.

Step 5

View the chart for your CalPERS pension formula on the CalPERS website or obtain it from your employer. For example, if your plan is 2.5 percent at age 55, you need the 2.5@55 chart. The chart will show number of years of service on one axis and your age at retirement on the other axis.

Step 6

Use the CalPERS pension formula chart to determine what percentage of your current monthly income you will earn in retirement based upon the amount of service credit and your age. For example, if your monthly income is $3,000 and the chart says you'll earn 70 percent of it, your monthly benefit will be $2,100 at the very most.

Tip

The CalPERS website features retirement calculators, but the most accurate estimates will come from CalPERS when you retire. Many elements, including contributions to Social Security, will affect your benefits.

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