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September 2007

Planning for retirement

UCAR holds town meeting on policies, procedures

As more staffers from the baby boomer generation approach retirement age, UCAR management is holding several town hall meetings to discuss retirement issues. On August 21, HR director Bob Roesch moderated one such meeting at Center Green, addressing different retirement options, retiree benefits, emeritus/emerita status, and TIAA-CREF plans. He also touched on Social Security and Medicare.

"There is no mandatory retirement—it's very much a personal decision," Bob told the audience. "But any time somebody leaves the organization, there are some transitional issues."

Bob stressed that UCAR does not offer any incentives for early retirement. "There are no deals," he said.

UCAR instituted a formal program for phased retirements in May 2004. The option remains open to all staff, but it must be compatible with the responsibilities of a particular job. Generally, staffers make agreements with their supervisors to cut back on hours over a certain time period (typically two years) leading up to a predetermined retirement date. UCAR supplements the employee's part-time salary to account for the increase in health coverage payments that results from working less than full-time. Employees have the option of taking money from their TIAA-CREF accounts during this time if they are over age 59 and a half.

"We have tremendous flexibility with these plans," Bob said, adding that staffers approaching retirement can also choose to work part-time on an indefinite basis without a predetermined retirement date. In this case, UCAR does not provide extra funds to supplement the higher health coverage payments.

After retirement, staffers have the option of retaining casual status, working on and off. Senior scientists, lab directors, and others nominated by their divisions may qualify for emeritus/emerita status. This designation requires at least 10 years of distinguished service and approval by the UCAR Board of Trustees. Support can include computer, office, and travel expenses.

Bob pointed out that UCAR is part of an increasingly small pool of employers that offer health and dental insurance to retirees. Retirees must buy the insurance from UCAR at full rate; however, this rate drops when Medicare goes into effect at age 65 as primary payer.

Bob recommended that staffers contact TIAA-CREF directly for questions regarding retirement accounts. Questions about Social Security are best addressed to the Social Security Administration but, generally speaking, employees may collect reduced Social Security beginning at age 62 or may wait and collect full benefits at full retirement age. Employees can both work and receive Social Security after full retirement age.

The next town hall meeting on retirement issues will be announced in Today@UCAR. In addition, UCAR Staff Development offers pre-retirement planning seminars. A seminar geared toward employees under age 50 is scheduled for February 22 and one geared toward employees over 50 is scheduled for March 21. Additional information on these seminars can be found in the Staff Development Catalog. Staffers may also contact Bob directly at ext. 8704.

In this issue...

A smoother ride

HAO's Phil Judge returns full-time after cancer

More power for the TeraGrid

Summer school—but not the remedial kind

Planning for retirement

SOARS poster session

Symposium salutes Warren Washington

Art + Science: EcoArts returns to Boulder area

UCAR ranks high in Colorado's Best Companies contest

Just One Look


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