Before you retire: A checklist

As you approach retirement, you should:

1. Choose your retirement date.
While early retirement is an option beginning at age 55, you won’t receive full pension benefits unless you wait until age 65 to retire.

2. Request a pension projection. 
A pension projection provides a comparison of your monthly payment amounts under the different options available, based upon your benefit earned to date. While you may request a pension projection at any time, be sure to request a current projection within three months of the date you want to retire. To request an analysis, call Participant Services at (800) 562-4690. Please remember that a pension projection  is only an estimate. Your actual benefit will be calculated when you retire.

3. Consult with professionals.
Financial and tax advisors can help you weigh all the factors that could affect your financial security in retirement.

4. Choose a payment option. 
After reviewing your pension projection, select a payment option and apply in writing to the AFTRA Retirement Plan office at least two months before you want to retire. If you are married, make this decision with your spouse. The automatic payment option for married participants is the Qualified Joint & Survivor Annuity, and federal law requires written approval from your spouse to elect another payment option.

5. Select a beneficiary. 
If you’re married when you retire, your spouse is your beneficiary for Retirement Fund benefits, unless your spouse consents in writing (on the Application for Retirement Benefits) to you naming another person. In order to designate a beneficiary or to change a beneficiary you previously designated, you must submit a completed Designation of Beneficiary Form to the AFTRA Retirement Plan. Once you begin receiving pension payments, your beneficiary can’t be changed.

Standard annuities
Optional annuities
Who qualifies for retirement benefits?   
How are contributions and earnings credited?
How your pension is calculated
When you can begin receiving your pension
Survivor benefits

Retirement Fund section intro page

For additional information, refer to the Retirement Fund Summary Plan Description and any subsequent Benefits Updates.