Gearing up for your moment

February 16, 2017

You’ve worked your entire career for this moment, and just like any championship, you’ll need to prepare for retirement.

You want to make sure you’re warmed up and in great shape before the main event.

Every year we see about 3,000 teachers retire in July. If you’re planning on being one of them, then the earliest you can apply for your July pension is in March.

Whether you’re one month or three years away, think of this time leading up to hitting “submit” on your pension application as your pre-season.

The warm-up

Over the course of a season, players get hurt, traded and sent up and down to the minor leagues. Throughout your career we’re betting you experienced a few shake-ups along the way too. Maybe you got married, divorced, had a baby or your spouse died?

It’s important that your profile in your Ontario Teachers’ online account is up-to-date to reflect any of these changes in your life.

Visit your Document Centre and check to see what you may need to add to your profile, so that we can pay your pension.

Upload your documents directly to the Document Centre anytime.

Take a look at your profile under Your Pension in your online account.

Do we have your current personal email address on file (you won’t have access to your school board email account after you retire)? Is your mailing address and phone number up to date? Has there been a change in your marital status? You can update these at any point during your career.

Check to see if you have any leaves from the past five years that are eligible to pay for. Sign in to your online account and visit the Buyback Centre to see if there is a leave you can pay for, and the impact it'll have on your retirement. You’ll maximize the value of your pension by paying for them.

Taking care of the fans

Your loved ones are your biggest supporters and have cheered you on throughout your teaching career.

When you apply for your pension, you’ll be asked to confirm a survivor pension level. Almost half of retirees opt for the default 60% survivor pension level, and more than a third choose to lower it to 50%. If you choose to lower your survivor pension to 50%, we’ll need a waiver form signed by your spouse before you retire.

Once you apply for your pension, if you selected 60% or higher, the reduction to your pension is permanent, even if your spouse dies before you.

Consider the 10-year pension guarantee option. If you die before collecting 10 years’ worth of pension payments, this option provides 100% of your CPP-adjusted pension to your eligible spouse for the balance of the 10 years at a minimal cost.

Game time

The surge of excitement that comes as you approach that monumental moment won’t pay your bills.

To set up the direct deposit for your pension, have your financial institution’s information and your bank account number handy when you apply. You can find all of the information we’ll need on a cheque.

You can apply for your pension before you resign. Make sure you give your employer a resignation letter before your intended resignation date. Don't be worried about us informing your employer of your resignation. Unless you are receiving long-term income protection benefits, or currently on a leave, we will not contact your employer.

It's important to note we can't backdate a pension application. To ensure you don't lose any pension payments, make sure you give your employer a resignation letter before your resignation date. The resignation date on your pension application must be the same date you include in your resignation letter.

When you're ready, don't forget to hit "submit" when you apply for your pension. You can work through the pension application at your own pace, but we won't start processing your application until the final buzzer sounds when you hit "submit."

Postseason

Capturing the ultimate prize is one thing, but you want to enjoy your post-career too.

While we don’t offer health and dental coverage, some employers extend health coverage to pensioners. If your employer doesn’t, or you wish to shop around, there are three independent organizations who also extend this type of coverage. They’re ARM Retiree Health Plan, The Retired Teachers of Ontario, and Ontario Teachers’ Insurance Plan. Contact them directly for details and to arrange for coverage.

Consider the social implications of retirement. Keep in touch with us and your colleagues through Facebook, follow us on Pinterest and subscribe to YouTube. You’ll be able to connect with colleagues and get tips from fellow retirees on adjusting to retirement.