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Retirement Readiness

So you're thinking about retirement - but are you asking yourself the right questions?

How much do you have saved? How much do you need, and when do you need it? Are you on track for your goals - or have you even set them? What about insurance?

Don't worry: there are resources to help you answer these important questions. You can always schedule an in-person meeting with a retirement or investment counselor to talk things through, and there are several online resources, as well. In addition, the University puts on Road to Retirement twice each year, aimed at Purdue employees who are approaching retirement.

How much do you have?

Determining whether you're on track to retire when you wish starts with assessing the current value of your retirement accounts.

How much do you need?

As the next phase in your life approaches, taking the time to ensure you'll be equipped for your retirement needs is as important as retirement itself.

To determine how much you need in retirement savings, estimate how much you'll need to spend and the income sources you'll have. Consider your essential expenses such as housing, healthcare and food, as well as discretionary expenses such as travel, entertainment, dining out and other "nice to haves" - and consider that they might cost more than you think.

calculate retirement funds

Retirement ready? Check

It's never too soon to make sure you're on track. In addition to determining what you'll need in retirement and taking stock of what you have, if you're within two years of retirement, here's a printable checklist to guide you along the way.

Medical insurance for official Purdue retirees

Health care expenses continue to play a large role as you prepare for retirement. Medical insurance plans are available to official Purdue retirees. (Get more information on the options for official retirees.)

Retirement readiness - Frequently Asked Questions

When can I retire?

Only you can decide when you retire - it's a personal choice.

Purdue’s criteria for “official retiree” is an individual age 55 or older who has been employed by the University in a benefits-eligible position for 10 or more years. There are also provisions for retirement as part of the long-term disability program outlined in the policy that specifies benefits available to retirees. Keep in mind, however, Purdue’s retirement programs do not require you to qualify as an official retiree. You may access retirement funds when you leave the university even if your years of service at Purdue fall short of the 10-year mark. There are age-related tax rules that you will need to investigate before requesting these funds.

There are many factors to consider, so it's important to fully understand your options and to connect with Purdue's retirement counselors, investment company consultants, Social Security and other trusted advisors so you can make an informed decision.

Does Purdue offer phased retirement?

Faculty and administrative/professional staff participating in the Purdue Standard Retirement and Savings Program may explore whether a Voluntary Early Partial Retirement (VEPR) arrangement might be possible. Individuals age 55 and up with at least 10 years of University service in a benefits-eligible position may be able to arrange a reduced work schedule with their dean, director and department head/supervisor for a specified period of time (not more than five years) prior to full retirement. Since responsibilities and staffing levels vary, a VEPR agreement must be mutually beneficial to the employee and the department. During the VEPR period, benefits are based on full-time basic annual budgeted salary. 

What's an annuity?

An annuity is an investment that pays an annual sum - a set amount of money at regular intervals.

What's a pension?

A pension is one kind of retirement pay - a fixed amount of money paid during retirement by a former employer.

How can I get a copy of my retirement statement?

Contact the appropriate investment company:

  • PERF: 888-526-1687
  • TIAA: 800-842-2252
  • Fidelity: 800-642-7131

Who can help me with my retirement planning needs?

Purdue has a dedicated team to answer questions about your retirement plan and enrollment, offer assistance with pre-retirement planning and educate you about maximizing your benefits.

You can also meet with a Fidelity representative to discuss retirement needs (whether you're participating in a Fidelity plan or not).

For employees covered under the Public Employees Retirement Fund (PERF), workshops are available for those within 18 months of retirement. View the PERF workshop schedule for more details.

What do I need to do before meeting with a retirement counselor?

If you're going to meet with one of Purdue's retirement counselors, here are some helpful things to do beforehand:

  • Have a retirement date in mind
  • Have the birthdates of your beneficiaries
  • Think about how you want to receive your funds (lump sum vs. monthly)
  • Consider the tax bracket you'll be in at retirement

If you're meeting with Fidelity, it's helpful to bring as much information as possible with you, so the counselor can get a complete financial picture of where you stand. Take information on your mortgage and other debts, as well as an estimate of your Social Security benefits. You're welcome to bring your spouse or partner, as well.

Most importantly, come in early - don't wait!

What is full Social Security retirement age? What if I retire before or after reaching full Social Security retirement age?

Full Social Security retirement age is based on your date of birth. It's the age defined by Social Security at which you'll receive a full Social Security benefit. However, you can choose to retire before or after full Social Security retirement age. More information on the impact of timing and Social Security benefits is available at or by calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.

How can I save more for retirement?

Contributing to your retirement now can have the potential to significantly impact your lifestyle after retirement by providing additional income. Increasing your voluntary retirement contributions allows you to take advantage of pre-tax options and allow these funds to grow tax free until you choose to withdraw and use them.

All faculty and staff who receive a regular paycheck are eligible to contribute voluntarily to the Purdue University 403(b) Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan and/or the Purdue University 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan. Contributions can be made to these plans by designating a percent of gross pay from 1 percent to 85 percent. Contributions to the plans can be started, increased or decreased at any time at

At the age of 50, the voluntary contribution limit increases, allowing you to contribute even more to your voluntary savings plans. For 2017, the additional catch-up amount is $6,000 for the 403(b) and 457(b) voluntary plans.

Can I continue my life insurance or other benefits after retirement?

At age 65, any continued term life insurance coverage will terminate. You then have two options that do not require any proof of good health.

Life coverage paid for by the University prior to retirement may be converted to an individual policy. You can maintain this coverage throughout your life. Premiums are based on the age rate applicable at the time of conversion. Life coverage paid for by you prior to retirement may be ported to age 70. This coverage continues to be a group term life policy, though your rates are higher than those paid as an active employee and those paid during retirement prior to age 65.

Voluntary benefits may be continued on an individual basis.

What happens to my Health Savings Account (HSA) when I retire?

When you retire, you retain your HSA. You take over the account fees and can use your HSA funds tax-free on eligible expenses. Once you reach retirement age, you can withdraw funds and pay for other expenses penalty-free.

Can I return to work at Purdue if I retire?

When Purdue's faculty and staff members retire, a 30-day separation is required before they can be reemployed by the University in any capacity. There are IRS provisions and state statutes that prescribe this "break-in-service." Purdue welcomes back many retirees who return to work in temporary or part-time positions, but it is important to note that this 30-day break occurs before returning to any paid position. Further guidance is available for faculty regarding post-retirement appointments.

Retirement Resources