Retirement Planning Memo
October 31, 2014
I want to express my hope that you will enjoy a long, successful, and satisfying association with UCLA. The occasion for this annual letter, however, is a reminder that those who have had long associations with our campus may have opportunities to continue doing so after they have retired.
During more than three years as Vice Chancellor, I have seen many faculty take advantage of the financial benefits of our excellent retirement system to launch productive and personally rewarding post-retirement endeavors, including mentoring, teaching, serving as PI on a research grant, chairing a dissertation committee, and serving on an Academic Senate committee. Because of recent increases in contributions to the retirement system (now 8%), the incentives to consider opportunities for retirement have grown, especially for faculty with 30-40 years of service. For example, simulations run by the Office of the President have shown that depending on your age, coordination with Social Security, and current contributions to a 403(b), faculty members in that range of service years may be able to take home as much as $2,000 more per month if they retire, even if they have opted for a survivor benefit. I encourage you to run the numbers at the “Retirement estimator” on the bottom right hand corner of https://atyourserviceonline.ucop.edu/ayso/.
Of course, financial considerations, alone, do not guide any faculty member’s decision about retirement. For those who want to explore the social and personal dimensions as well, UCLA Extension is developing a program to assist in retirement preparation, consisting of workshops with a focus on UCLA faculty. When Extension announces the program, sometime in Winter Quarter, I will make sure the entire faculty is notified. In addition, my office and the Academic Senate’s Emeriti Affairs Committee will be co-sponsoring a program early in 2015, featuring first-person accounts by faculty who have established fulfilling relationships with UCLA as emeriti. You will be notified of that event as soon as the date is set.
I am also aware that space to work on campus is a major concern of faculty contemplating retirement, as well as a scarce resource for UCLA. In 2009, Chancellor Block asked all Deans, Chairs, and Directors “to provide, whenever possible, adequate office and laboratory space (individual, when feasible, or shared) for our retired faculty, as well as access to appropriate departmental services.” I have recently surveyed campus leadership to determine the current state of policy and practice on allocation of office space to emeriti. I have learned that for most of the campus, faculty active on recall are allotted work space, and those less active have access to shared space. I am following up on the results of that survey, to see where improvements can be made.
When you begin to consider planning for retirement, you should be aware of the following programs that the University offers, including, in some cases, an individualized Pathway to Retirement Plan (described at #7 below).
- UCLA Benefits Office: Our on-site benefits counselors are always ready to consult with you about the various retirement benefits available through the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) and about your specific situation. You may consult with one by calling the UCLA Benefits Office at (310) 794-0830.
- Fidelity Retirement Services: As the record-keeping and account services company for the UC Retirement Savings Program [Defined Contribution, Tax-Deferred 403(b), and 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plans], Fidelity Retirement Services can provide account balances and other information about your accounts. Its website has interactive planning tools and other information to help you plan for your financial needs in retirement: http://www.netbenefits.com. In addition, Fidelity has recently reintroduced a service enabling faculty to meet with a Fidelity Planning and Guidance Consultant on a face-to-face, one-on-one basis at the Wilshire Building, Suite 200. To make an appointment, call 1-800-558-9182 or go to: https://getguidance.fidelity.com/universityofcalifornia.
- UCLA Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center (ERRC): The UCLA ERRC sponsors excellent programs that assist faculty as they plan the transition from active work to retirement and anticipate ways of spending time in retirement and remaining active in our campus community. Discussions on topics of interest are offered throughout the academic year in conjunction with the established emeriti/ae programs. The ERRC staff are also available to assist with emeriti/ae privileges. They may be reached at (310) 825-7456 or by visiting the website at: http://www.errc.ucla.edu.
- Research Professor and Distinguished Research Professor Working Title: Professors Emeritus who maintain an active research program and who demonstrate that their research activities have led to certain outcomes, including research funding or proposals, publications, and scholarly presentations, may be eligible to use the working title of Research Professor. Above Scale faculty who retire may be eligible for the Distinguished Research Professor working title. Emeriti have found that this working title can be helpful in securing grants and invitations to present at scholarly conferences. For more information about this working title, see Appendix 38 of The CALL.
- Cataloging and Archiving of Papers: Through the Panunzio/UCLA Library Endowment Fund, money is available to employ student researchers to assist the UCLA Archives with the evaluation of the scholarly and personal papers contributed to the Archives by emeriti faculty. Thus, retiring faculty may be able to access these funds in order to facilitate the organization and disposition of their books and papers.
- Reduced Rate X Parking: Emeriti with over five years of service are eligible to purchase an X parking permit at a substantially reduced rate (currently $150.00 for the entire year).
- Pathways to Retirement Plan: Through an individual Pathways to Retirement Plan, you can establish a specific date for separation up to two years in the future and a plan of research, teaching, and service prior to separation. Since the Pathways program began in 2008, 57 faculty have taken advantage of its terms; and the numbers have been increasing each year. If you are interested in such a plan, you should tell your Chair, who may then choose to develop one in consultation with you, subject to review and approval by your Dean and, ultimately, my office. Components of such a plan prior to separation may include a modified teaching schedule for up to one year, deferral of an upcoming five year review (which could otherwise entail augmented teaching or service responsibilities), and summer ninths for specific research or assignments performed. Components of such a plan subsequent to separation may include: office or laboratory space and research funds. If you are at least 60 years of age with at least 5 years of UCRP service credit, your Chair may also include consideration of a pre-retirement Recall Agreement, promising recall to teach or engage in research for up to three years after retirement. Please remember that “separation” is distinct from “retirement” and that you must have contacted your Benefits Representative to retire upon separation. Also note that separation does not have to occur at the end of the academic year; other possible dates are at the end of the pay period for a particular quarter or semester, which, you should be aware, does not always coincide with the end of instruction.
As a member of the UCLA faculty for more than forty years, I continue to be impressed by the support the University provides for our professional and personal growth. The programs for individuals contemplating retirement are designed and implemented in that spirit.