CalSTRS guide professors through retirement decisions

Rocio Valdez

California State Teachers’ Retirement System provided a workshop for Cerritos College instructors with information and guided them through their retirement decisions.

CalSTRS is part of the State of California’s Government Operations Agency which provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits for educators from prekindergarten through community college.

Mike Lynch, a retirement specialist at CalSTRS said, “Their job is to educate students and I’m here to educate them about their retirement.”

By creating a CalSTRS account, those who are on the process to retire have access to all their update information.

Walk-ins are welcome at any of their locations, as well individual appointments and group planning sessions which is made up of a small group setting of 8-15 people where where the members get their personal information to help with planning their retirement.

“You essentially have to decide three things; one is when you want to retire and that’s usually the hardest part, secondly is if you want to pick an option for a loved one and may also want to consider how to collect that supplemental account,” Lynch said.

Health care, social security, Medicare, and taxes are all part of the retirement process which Lynch briefly explained.

Through the presentation, Lynch pointed out multiple times it is important to have 30+ years of work experience or reach age 63 to receive a better amount of money.

The workshop benefitted professors like Educational Technology Professor Vykki Morgan, “I thought it was all very beneficial, it’s something to plan ahead.”

Professors were interacting throughout the presentation, but Lynch suggested for them to schedule an appointment to ask more about their personal questions since there are no specific answers because it differs with each case.

Edward Rother, architecture professor, planning to retire in the next 10 years, already knew most of the information due to it being provided on the CalSTRS website.

“I knew most of it, but you have the chance to ask somebody a question, whereas with the website you can’t ask anybody,” Rother said.

Sally Havice, english professor and faculty coordinator for student grievance, mediation, conduct & title IX progression, has been working at Cerritos College for 40 years.

Havice was already well informed, but she shared, “the laws have changed; the legislature came up with this ridiculous provision in the law that we have to wait 180 days to work again in public service in the same retirement system.

“They were actually trying to avoid people who are on the administrating level who come back and get an enormous salary on contract but they included us too and we don’t get an enormous salary.”

She also expressed she was concerned about retiring because being a teacher was always her dream job so she will truly miss her job once she does, which she thinks it won’t be that soon as she still has obligations.