Retirement Benefits

4 Important Questions to Ask Your Partner Before You Retire

Senior couple watching digital tablet together at home

Having a conversation with your partner and asking these questions ensures you’re both prepared for what lies ahead in your retirement journey.

1. When Do We Want to Retire?

Choosing your retirement age depends on your personal needs and circumstances. Not only does your retirement age affect the amount that you’ll receive from your CalPERS pension, but it can also impact your health care options, the amount you’ll receive in Social Security, and how much savings you have available.

Before you decide, make sure you have the financial resources needed to tackle this new stage of life. View our Planning Your Financial Future series on YouTube to help you prepare.

2. Where Do We Want to Retire?

Currently, 84% of CalPERS retirees and beneficiaries reside in California. However, you may also be thinking about moving out of California in retirement. Before making a move, consider taxes, health benefits, and more. Do your research and consider contacting a financial advisor to make sure you understand the financial impacts of retiring out of state.

3. Do We Want to Fully Retire or Continue Working?

Before returning to work as a CalPERS retiree, be sure to do your homework. While we’ve covered your options when it comes to working after retirement, it’s important for you to use the resources we’ve shared so you have a clear understanding of each one and follow the rules and regulations accordingly.

In addition, we recommend checking out our Working After Retirement video from our CalPERS Quick Tip series. To read more on retired annuitant rules, see A Guide to CalPERS Employment After Retirement (PUB 33) (PDF).

4. What Happens if One of Us Passes Away?

This is a topic few couples want to talk about, but it’s a must. Do you know how your Social Security survivor benefits and other income streams may be affected by the loss of one partner? Do your research and talk to your financial advisor so you know what to expect. Many factors affect CalPERS benefits payable, so it’s not possible to know exactly what you’ll receive until we review all the required documents after a death is reported.

CalPERS death benefits are paid according to the valid beneficiary designation on file, so be sure yours is up to date — not only for your CalPERS pension, but all retirement accounts and insurance policies held in your name. Read more on beneficiaries and survivors on page 9 of Your CalPERS Benefits: Planning Your Service Retirement (PUB 1) (PDF).