Retirement Benefits News & Events

Retiring on the Spot at a CalPERS Benefits Education Event


Seventy-year-old social worker and grandmother Susan Carns spent the last 30 years working for Humboldt County’s public health agency and “just wanted to set a retirement date.”

When Carns attended a CalPERS Benefits Education Event (CBEE) in Eureka over the summer, she was surprised to learn she could not only retire within the year, but she could do so in 60 days.

“I really appreciate the way I was walked through the process — that’s what I was hoping for,” said Carns, who spent much of her career as an outreach worker for the North Coast AIDS Project and as a case manager for people living with HIV and AIDS. “I needed help and didn’t come here thinking I would actually retire, but now that I’ve done the paperwork and given a date, it feels pretty good.”

“It’s hard to know where to start,” she said. “But the CBEE really helped me.”

What Is a CBEE?

CalPERS members who are later in their careers such as Carns often “retire on the spot” at CBEEs. There are three in-person and two virtual CBEEs each fiscal year, all of them free, with the next virtual event scheduled for Dec. 5 and 6. To receive updates on the next CBEE in your area or elsewhere, sign up for CalPERS newsletters and alerts.

Kevin Harris, a CalPERS retirement counselor who assisted Carns in submitting her retirement application, says he loves helping members and “seeing the light go off in their heads when they realize they can either retire or are close to retirement and can still live comfortably.”

“It’s smiles everywhere when they realize that they are done working and didn’t have to figure it all out themselves,” Harris says. “Being able to provide that type of support as members move into the next phase of their lives is invaluable.”

Why You Should Attend the Next CBEE

David Rubio, chief of CalPERS’ Customer Education and Outreach Division, says all CalPERS members, at any point in their career, should consider attending one of these educational events.

“Knowledge is power when it comes to your retirement and health benefits, and our goal is to empower members with this essential information,” Rubio said. “We bring retirement, health, deferred compensation, and Social Security experts so members get the information they need.”

The two-day event (both days contain the same information) includes live, instructor-led classes and an Ask the Experts room hosted by our CalPERS programs and partnering organizations.

Carns, the retiree from Eureka, said while she loves her job helping homeless clients get into housing and toward self-sufficiency, “it’s time for me to let someone else do it.”

When it comes to how she’ll fill her soon-to-be open schedule, Carns said she likes to keep busy. “I’m sure I’ll be spending more time in the garden and with my grandkids,” she said. “I also love animals so I might become more involved in fostering animals or doing daycare for children.”