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2020-2021 Retirement Planning Memo

UCLA Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Personnel


Date:               November 17, 2020 

Subject:           Retirement Planning

To:                   Academic Senate Faculty

Dear Colleagues:

The purpose of this annual letter is to remind you how you can continue your professional lives after you have “retired” to emerita/us status.  The unique UCLA Pathways to Retirement program allows senior faculty to make firm plans for continued campus engagement after retirement, and to plan-out up to two transitional years prior to retirement, at full pay. In light of COVID-19, and what it has introduced into our personal and professional lives, I hope this letter will provide additional guidance as to what may be available to you to aid in setting a Pathways Agreement. There is no reason to postpone any retirement plans you may have in the hope of some imminent “golden handshake.” At this time, no such incentive has been announced by the University, nor the UCLA campus. I am also not aware of any planning or serious discussion of such incentives.

The UC Retirement Plan is quite generous and below are core points for Senate Faculty to consider when contemplating a Pathways to Retirement Agreement:

  • UC employees with 40 years of service receive pensions equal to their academic year basic salary.  In fact, even those with fewer years of service find that reduced deductions and new income sources make up the difference.
  • The UC pension is unaffected by furloughs or salary reductions that may be mandated by UC finances, and unlike employee salaries, the UC pension is NOT subject to contribution deductions for retirement, Social Security or Medicare; thus, take-home pay is approximately up to fifteen percent greater.
  • The UC pension has a guaranteed annual cost of living increase (usually about 2%) that is not contingent on the financial health of the University.
  • When you factor in income streams like Social Security, distributions from tax-deferred savings, and – for Senate faculty – the opportunity for Paid Recall for teaching and research, many emeriti find their total incomes rise substantially.
  • Emeriti maintain full membership in the UCLA Faculty Senate, along with all the rights that Senate membership bestows.
  • UCLA emeriti can choose the extent to which they continue to be engaged and active in their professional lives, including mentoring, teaching, serving as PI on research grants, chairing dissertation committees, and serving on Academic Senate committees.
  • Senate faculty who continue to be active in research and scholarship are eligible to apply to use the title “Research Professor” (or “Distinguished Research Professor” for Above Scale Faculty).  Consult Appendix 38 of the CALL for more information.
  • Although the majority of campus activities are remote or significantly reduced, Emeriti faculty on Paid Recall are allotted workspace, and many Schools and Departments provide some form of shared space for all their emeriti.


As you begin to consider retirement, please be aware of the following planning services and programs:

  1. Path Forward Workshops: exclusively for UCLA faculty, these Winter Quarter sessions examine opportunities for continued involvement after retirement in your department, the Senate and the campus, and also delve into the nuts and bolts of the UC retirement process, including special considerations for faculty.  These workshops will be on Zoom this year; please watch for the announcement about our 2021 program.
  2. Faculty Retirement Liaison: Professor Emeritus David Lopez, UCLA’s Faculty Retirement Liaison, coordinates the workshops, and consults individually (mostly via Skype, FaceTime or Zoom) with faculty who are planning for retirement, helping them make post-retirement arrangements with their departments and advising them about the retirement process.  Contact him at his Faculty Retirement Liaison website, by phone (310) 210-1118, or by email at
  3. Pathways to Retirement Plan: these individual plans specify a separation date up to two years in the future in conjunction with considerations both prior to retirement (e.g. reduced teaching loads, modest re-arrangement of sabbatical plans, suspension of an upcoming five-year review) and following retirement (office and/or laboratory space, recall teaching, research funds, etc.).  Individualized plans are developed in consultation with your department chair, subject to approval by your dean and my office.  In the past six months we have worked hard to provide increased flexibility and benefits in these arrangements, and continue to work with Chairs and Deans to tailor this program to your unique needs and concerns.  Over three hundred Senate faculty members have utilized this program in the past few years. More information can be found in the Guide to the Faculty Retirement Process.
  4. UCLA Benefits Office: Benefits counselors are available to consult with you about the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) and about your specific situation. Schedule a consultation by calling the UCLA Benefits Office at (310) 794-0830.
  5. Fidelity Retirement Services:  As the record-keeping company for the UC Retirement Savings Program’s Defined Contribution, Tax-Deferred 403(b), and 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plans, Fidelity can help you plan for your financial needs in retirement. Visit the Fidelity website to use its interactive planning tools or schedule a one-on-one meeting with a Fidelity Planning and Guidance Consultant by calling 1-800-558-9182 or clicking here to schedule online.
  6. UCLA Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center (ERRC):  The ERRC, led by Director Ayesha Dixon, serves as the connecting link between UCLA and its retirees. In partnership with the UCLA Emeriti Association and the UCLA Retirees’ Association the ERRC offers programs on wellness, economic sustainability, relationship building, social responsibility, civic engagement, and assists with emeriti privileges, and facilitates opportunities for retired faculty and staff to continue their engagement with the campus. For more information please contact the ERRC at (310) 825-7456 or
  7. Reduced Rate Parking:  Emeriti are eligible to purchase an “EMER” parking permit, with privileges similar to an X permit, at a substantially reduced rate (currently $150.00 for the entire year). 


If you want to begin making a formal plan for retirement in the future, or modify your existing plans for dates after July 1, 2020, I urge you to contact your department chair.  And for all matters regarding retirement, including how to craft a formal Pathways to Retirement Agreement, or just get through the UC retirement process, I encourage you to contact Emeritus Professor David Lopez, the UCLA Faculty Retirement Liaison (Faculty Retirement Liaison Website; or at

While we face new challenges due to COVID-19, we all look forward to a return to some form of normalcy in the not-too-distant future.  And, as a member of the UCLA faculty, I continue to be impressed by the support the University provides for our professional and personal growth.  The programs for faculty contemplating retirement and in their emeriti years are designed and implemented in that spirit.


Michael S. Levine
Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel