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*.

*Member-Directed and Combined Plan members: do not use this calculator as formulas are being updated.

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.

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 working a few years longer or and taking an unreduced benefit and by participating in Ohio Deferred Compensation.

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 (55, 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

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.

Recorded Presentations

OPERS - an important piece of your retirement

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

Personal Budgeting

When it comes to improving your overall finances and economic wellbeing it's important to know where your money is coming from and where you are spending your income.

Creating a personal budget allows you to plan for how you will spend and save your money each month and keep track of your spending patterns. Though making a budget may sound like an intimidating task, it's vital to keeping your financial house in order.

The Golden Rule of Personal Finance: Pay Yourself First

Paying yourself first involves:

The advantage of "paying yourself first" out of your paycheck is that you build up accounts to secure your future and create a cushion for financial emergencies.

Know Where Your Money is Going

A personal budget can help you identify where your money is coming from, how much you have and where you're spending your money each month.

Know If Your Expenses Exceed Your Income

Once you know how much income you have and where it's going, you may realize your expenses exceed your incoming. By having a personal budget, you can make adjustments to your expenses or spending and improve your financial situation. Quite often, by reallocating small portions of your income little-by-little, you can begin making positive changes.

Ways to adjust your budget:

Organizing Your Expenses with the 50-20-30 Rule

The 50-20-30 budgeting rule is a quick and easy budgeting method where you divide your paycheck into three categories:

The OPERS online budgeting tool can help you apply this method to your personal budget. This online tool can help you track your expenses and create a budget. You can also use this tool to adjust your budget and see the impact of those changes.

Apply the 50-20-30 rule to your budget

Our online budgeting tool will help you apply the 50-20-30 rule to your finances, so you can build a budget that works for you.

Webinar: Personal Budgeting

The second webinar in the financial wellness empowerment series takes a more in-depth look at your current net income and where you are spending your money. During this webinar, you'll learn how to apply the popular 50-20-30 budgeting rule to help you organize your expenses in the short-term and accomplish your long-term goals. You'll also be introduced to a new online tool that will help you track your expenses and develop a budget that works for you.

NEW Webinar: Health Care: The Hidden Cost in Retirement

This webinar will review the long-term cost of health care and better prepare you for retirement. Health care is no longer something you just have in retirement, it's something you need to plan for.

Topics include:

Recorded Presentations