Financial Wellness

Financial wellness is the knowledge of personal finance which enables healthier financial decisions to achieve one's goals, and to enhance the overall quality of life. OPERS wants to partner with you throughout your career to help you gain a better understanding of your financial wellness so you can build a secure retirement in the future.

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Determine Your Gap

The retirement gap calculator will help you review your current spending habits and estimate your retirement income so you can identify your gap.

What is a "Retirement Gap?"

Your retirement "gap" is the difference between the amount of income you will have in retirement and the amount you will need. Knowing your retirement gap is an important first step in defining a personal map toward financial wellness. Knowing how to close the gap is the next step.

Identifying your gap and having a plan in place to close that gap are part of building a secure retirement.


Closing Your Retirement Gap

You can close the gap between how much you'll have in retirement and how much you'll need in a number of ways.

Two of the easiest ways to close your gap are by participating in Ohio Deferred Compensation or by working a few years longer and taking an unreduced benefit.

Working a Few Years Longer

Working longer – even just three to five years longer – can increase your monthly retirement benefit.

To see just how much, check out the front page of your annual statement. You'll be able to see how much more you can earn if you beyond your earliest eligibility for both a reduced and unreduced benefit.

Or, just take a look at the following example:

  • Jane, a group C member with a final average salary of $50,000 wants to replace 80% of her FAS, or $3,333.
  • If Jane works until she reaches the minimum requirement for a reduced benefit (age 57 or 25 years) her monthly benefit will be $1,079 or 26% of her FAS and her gap would be $2,254.
  • If Jane works until she reaches the minimum requirements for an unreduced benefit (any age, 32 years) her monthly benefit will be $2,938 or 70% of her FAS and her gap would shrink to $395.

Take Advantage of Ohio Deferred Compensation

As an OPERS member you have a unique opportunity to contribute to Ohio Deferred Compensation, a 457(b) retirement plan specifically for Ohio public employees. This plan is an easy way to supplement your pension.

Ohio Deferred Compensation provides you with educational tools, a diverse set of investment options, flexible savings and withdrawal options, as well as portability when changing jobs within the public sector.

OPERS and Ohio Deferred Compensation even share the same Board members, so the same people looking out for your retirement are looking out for your savings.

Some of the benefits of participating in Ohio Deferred Compensation include:

Enroll in Ohio Deferred Compensation

Enrolling in Ohio Deferred Compensation is easy. You can choose a no-hassle target date fund with the EZ Enrollment Form, or you can choose from any of the program's investment options.

Contribute to Other Retirement Savings Plans

Individual Retirement Account (IRAs) are retirement accounts owned and funded by you, the individual, not your employer.

Two common types of IRAs are traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. You may qualify for one or both types, but it's important to speak with a financial advisor or your bank to see which one is the best option for you.

Learn More about IRAs

To learn more about IRAs and other retirement savings plans, visit IRS.gov.

Consider Additional Retirement Income

Your work history could determine if you'll receive any additional retirement income that could help close your gap.

For instance, if you worked for a private employer you may have an old 401(k) or you may qualify for a Social Security benefit. This is something you should consider when assessing your retirement income and ways to close your gap.

401(k) Plan

A 401(k) is a defined contribution plan usually sponsored by a private sector employer, intended for long-term retirement saving. Typically, you would contribute pre-tax money each payday into an account set up for you by the 401(k) plan, and invest that money so that it can grow tax-deferred. When you withdraw money from the plan, it's taxed as ordinary income.

If you have a 401(k) from a previous employer. It's a good idea to contact your previous employer and find out if you are vested in your old 401(k), or speak with a financial advisor to see if you could benefit from rolling over your 401(k) into another retirement savings account.

Social Security

If you worked for a private employer, you likely paid into Social Security. Your Social Security benefit could provide additional retirement income, but that amount will vary from person to person and will be impacted by a number of factors.

The length of time you worked in the private sector could determine the amount of your Social Security benefit; however, your Social Security benefit could also be impacted by the amount of time you worked for the public sector. Your OPERS retirement benefit could reduce the amount of your Social Security benefit due to two provisions: the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

The WEP affects how your Social Security benefit is calculated by taking into account your OPERS benefits. Your OPERS benefits may also reduce the amount of Social Security benefits you may be eligible to receive on your spouse's Social Security participation. This type of benefit reduction is called Government Pension Offset (GPO).

The Social Security Administration provides online calculators to help you estimate your Social Security benefit with the WEP and GPO reductions.

OPERS - an important piece of your retirement

A sound financial strategy relies on several different sources of income in retirement.