You will indicate your benefit payment type
on your retirement application. As you weigh your decision, you should evaluate three major
factors: your potential beneficiary; your assets; and, your health.
First, determine if you even need to consider beneficiary coverage. Is your significant
other sufficiently covered by life insurance or his or her own pension? Are your children
already grown and on their own? In cases like these, you may not need a beneficiary for
your pension, and the Maximum might be the best choice for you.
If you are still unsure, consider your assets. If you take into account savings, investments,
tax shelters, real estate and Social Security, you may be surprised to find you have a significant
estate to pass on to a loved one. If that’s the case, the Maximum might still be your
best choice. If you need to provide for a beneficiary,
consider how long he or she will need coverage. If, say, it’s only until the mortgage is paid
off, look at a Guarantee Period Option. If long-term coverage is necessary, a Survivor
Option may be a better choice. Before selecting any option, you’ll want to
request benefit estimates from NYSTRS, and then compare those costs with private life
insurance policies. Besides cost, there are some other key differences
to consider. For example, in many cases private insurance is more flexible. With private insurance,
you can typically change policies, and add or end coverage. At NYSTRS, your option is
locked in 30 days after your retirement date. And if you choose a Survivor or Pop-Up option
that protects one beneficiary for life, you cannot change your beneficiary after those
first 30 days. Another consideration: Some private insurance
policies will allow for rate increases. Other policies will simply run out. With NYSTRS,
neither can happen. Your costs are fixed at retirement, and coverage is constitutionally
guaranteed. Also, your health is never a factor when selecting
a NYSTRS option; unlike most insurance policies, no medical exams are required. In contrast,
if you’re in poor health, private insurance may be expensive or may disqualify you for
coverage. That’s why it’s so important to do this comparison before you retire. Remember,
you cannot change a NYSTRS option after 30 days.
Speaking of health: If we had a crystal ball to tell us how long a retirement we’d get
to enjoy, it would be easy to make the right benefit choice. Because we can’t predict the
future, you need to consider your health, and the health of your beneficiaries, before
making up your mind. We understand that was a lot of information
to digest in a short time. That’s why we encourage you to refer to your Benefit Profile, a personalized
document mailed to you annually, and also available on our Web site for MyNYSTRS account
holders. The Profile provides you with a general idea of the cost for each option.
You should also schedule a benefits consultation with a NYSTRS representative. The rep will
answer all your benefit questions and provide estimates based on retirement data and beneficiaries
you choose. Make an appointment online through MyNYSTRS or call (800) 348-7289, Ext. 6100.
You’ve spent years earning your retirement benefits. Take the time to ensure the payment
choice you make maximizes those benefits for you and your family. Thanks for watching.