Retirement Benefits

How Will You Stack Up Against Other CalPERS Retirees?

Man using calculator while going through bills and home finances

We’ve got the skinny on CalPERS retirees, including average monthly pension payments, years worked, the average retirement age, and the top five states members reside once they’re living the retired life.

Think you know the answers? If you follow our annual Facts at a Glance reports, you may know more than the average CalPERS member. If not, we’re here to shed light on some of the more interesting facets of retirement life as a CalPERS member.

What’s the Average Pension Payment?

One of the most fundamental components of retirement is how much your pension will be. Did you know:

  • The average annual CalPERS pension for all retirees who retired with a service retirement is $42,516, which breaks down to more than $3,500 per month.
  • Overall, 61.6% of all CalPERS service retirees receive $3,500 a month or less, while only 6.4% receive more than $9,000 per month.
  • If you’re a state retiree, the average monthly pension was $4,133 per month, school retirees received $2,038 per month, and public agency retirees averaged $4,492 per month.

How Many Years Do Members Work on Average at Retirement?

The longer you work, the higher your pension benefit will be generally speaking. Let’s look at some numbers:

  • The number of years that all retirees worked was 20.2 years. Overall, 50% of all retirees worked 20 or more years before they retired.
  • Specifically, miscellaneous retirees (those not involved with law enforcement, fire suppression, or the protection of public safety) averaged 20.1 years, while safety retirees worked 23.4 years before they retired.
  • State members averaged 23 years of service, school members 17.6 years of service, and public agency members averaged 21.2 years of service.

At What Age Do Most Members Retire?

The earlier you retire, the longer you will likely enjoy your retirement benefits, but your monthly payment may be lower. The later you retire, the higher your monthly payment might be, but your retirement period may be shorter.

Let’s crunch some numbers:

    • The average age for all CalPERS retirees at retirement was 58.9 years. However, this average varies depending on the type of employer.
    • The average age at retirement for state retirees was 59.7, school retirees was 61.6, while the average for public agency retirees was 58.8.

Where Do CalPERS Retirees Mainly Live?

Another consideration of retirement is where you decide to live. You might want to stay in the same place, move to a different city or state, or even relocate to another country. Check out what most CalPERS retirees choose:

      • The majority (81.2%) of CalPERS retirees (556,421) live here in the golden state. This is followed by
      • Arizona (17,571)
      • Nevada (14,021)
      • Oregon (12,471), and
      • Texas (11,508)

More than 18% of CalPERS retirees live in other states, and fewer than 1% live internationally.

How Can You Prepare?

By comparing yourself to the CalPERS facts you can get a better understanding of how you stand in relation to other retirees and what options you have before you retire.

If you’re nearing retirement you can use our various tools and resources to help you plan and prepare for your retirement. The sooner you start planning, the better off you will be in retirement.

Learn more about CalPERS pensions by reading Facts at a Glance Retirement Plan Members (PDF). You can also read our other Facts at a Glance for more information.