If you’ve just started your first teaching job, the experience is likely to be both exciting and overwhelming. But now that you’ve decorated the bulletin boards, copied your handouts, stacked the books and met your students, you should also take a little time to think about your own life and career.
That means becoming familiar with one of the key benefits of a public school teaching job – your future pension.
When you started teaching in a state public school, you joined us – the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, or NYSTRS. We are NOT your labor union; that’s New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). We don’t negotiate your contract, provide health insurance or do any lobbying. Our sole mission is to provide our members with a secure pension that they can’t outlive.
Now you’re probably thinking that you just started your career and retirement is not at all on your mind. That’s OK. We just want to make you aware of what we do and tell you that we’ve got your back.
One of the first things we suggest you do now is create a secure, online MyNYSTRS account, where you will be able to find all your NYSTRS membership information. Registering is easy.
Creating a MyNYSTRS account also allows you to sign up for e-subscription of Your Source, our active members newsletter, and to request email delivery of your Benefit Profile, an annual personalized summary of your membership status that you will begin receiving once you have completed one year of work.
To learn more about your Retirement System membership, visit the New Members page at NYSTRS.org. There you will find links to several short, entertaining videos about NYSTRS (such as "A Two-Minute Tutorial for New Members" and "PSI: Prior Service Investigation") as well as some useful brochures (including What New Members Need to Know About NYSTRS and Your First Look at NYSTRS).
While you should start saving for retirement on your own as well as early in your career as you can, you have already started building for a secure retirement as a NYSTRS member. As a Tier 6 member of the System, you will automatically contribute 3-6% of salary, depending on your pay scale, and your employer also contributes a certain amount annually for all eligible employees.
These contributions, combined with investment earnings generated by the Retirement System, provide what is known as a defined benefit pension, a guaranteed pension payment for the rest of your life after retirement.
Your pension is vested, or guaranteed, when you achieve 10 years of service credit.
In addition to a secure pension, your NYSTRS membership will provide additional benefits as you reach certain service milestones. Some of these benefits include: an in-service death benefit, a disability retirement benefit, and the ability to borrow against your contributions.
Now, enjoy your new job, assured that you’re a part of one of the best-funded and most-secure pension systems in the nation.