A laymans guide to retiring from the U of A

I am continually reworking this guide, which began as a list given to me by Alan Koski, who retired in August of 2009. As subsequent discussions yield new pearls and insights, I am adding them here, lest I forget something vital and important:
  1. Decide when to retire, more or less, or even pick a definite date.
  2. See how vacation and sick leave will end up:

  3. Go to a UA Human Resources "Transitioning to a Successful Retirement" talk.
        go to the UA web site:  http://www.arizona.edu/
        under "Faculty & Staff"
          click on "Employee Services"
        under "Career:"
          click on "Retirees & Retirement Planning"
        under "Planning for Retirement:"
          click on "Pre-Retirement Workshops"
          click on "Schedule/Registration"
        select a date for the Arizona State Retirement Plan (ASRS)
          and click on "Next"
        talk is about 2 hours

  4. Attend an Arizona State Retirement System meeting "Getting Ready for Retirement"
        go to the ASRS web site:  http://www.azasrs.gov
        under "Member Education"
          click on "Getting Ready for Retirement"
          click on "Getting Ready for Retirement - Tucson area schedule, "
        pick a meeting date and time -- meeting is about 3 hours
        call (520) 239-3100 to sign up for the meeting

  5. Try to attend an all day ADOA retirement class. Howard says that this is perhaps the most important of the three seminars. The rub is that since summer of 2009, they have not been giving these classes and this whole system is in disarray. The excuse of course is the current budget woes. These seminars were once given at the State building in downtown Tucson, and probably elsewhere.
        go to http://www.azgu.gov
        (this is the less than functional YES system, once was the STARS system).
        Call ADOA 1-800-304-3687
        (this was a fairly fruitless and annoying process, including
        long intervals of stunned and confused silence as I explained
        to the person listening that I was retiring soon and wanted to
        attend an ADOA seminar.  Expect to bounch through at least 4
        different individuals and phone numbers, including:
        The last number is Jerry Freeman, a recommended person in HR/benefits
        that I am told can answer questions in lieu of the class.

    As a university employee, you have the option of continuing with ADOA health benefits (which is what you have right now if you are a benefits eligible U or A employee, whether you realize it or not). Howard says this is a much better option than the ASRS health benefits. Of course you should get the figures and check for yourself.

  6. Note that you are dealing with 3 more or less independent agencies in all of this. The U of A, the ASRS, and the ADOA. This is a crucial point, and the sooner you come to grips with it, the better.

  7. Decide:

  8. ~30 - 60 days before retirement.

  9. ~30 days before retirement
    These two can be done at the same time:

  10. ~14 days before retirement

    Some notes on this. I have been given some sage advice to NOT deny these benefits entirely, but to "stay in the system" somehow. This can be done by enrolling in say individual dental or something. Then at any subsequent open enrollment or qualifying event, I could enroll for full medical coverage or whatever. If I deny benefits entirely when I retire, then I am out for good and that is that.

    Note also, that the state supplies up to a $150 credit or supplement which you can apply towards coverage like this by your spouse (and/or the suggested individual dental mentioned above). Considering just the dental for a moment, this is perhaps $30 per month, so staying in the system would be fully reimbursed and would cost me nothing. I am told that you need to apply for this reimbursement periodically (like every 6 months or year). As I understand all of this, I could claim $30 per month for the dental, then up to $120 per month to cover my part of any health plan I might enroll in. (See below under "January and July").

  11. --=============--
    ---== Retire ==---

  12. ~1 week after retirement

    You will get a letter from the ASRS congratulating you and announcing that you will get an estimated retirement check.

  13. ~2 weeks after retirement

  14. in January and July after retirement

    If your spouse has State medical or dental insurance, and includes you as a dependent, you can get some money to help with the cost of that.

        This will be for the expenses of the previous 6 months.
        Fill out the ASRS form "Reimbursement of Medical and/or Dental Cost"
          Section 1:  check mark "Active Member" (this is who is currently
          Section 2:  check mark "Retired Member".
          Sections 3 and 4:  filled out by Active Member's Benefit office.
        Turn in to your spouse's Benefit office.

Feedback? Questions? Drop me a line!

Tom's Info / tom@mmto.org