Financial FAQ | Lifestyle FAQ | Retirement FAQ Form

Getting Ready to Retire

There are many layers to retirement from a community college in the state of Illinois. While working at Harper College, most employees are required to contribute to the pension system which is known as SURS (State University Retirement System). In addition to the pension system which requires participation, Harper also provides a voluntary 403(b) and 457 plan that can help supplement the SURS pension in retirement.

Since most Harper College employees don’t pay into Social Security while working, did you know that your Social Security benefits may be affected in retirement by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO)? More information about how they may affect Social Security benefits can be found in the tools below under Common Financial Questions.

The first concern prior to retiring is usually do I have enough money to retire? To help you address this question view useful calculators in the frequently asked questions below in Common Financial Questions.

Please contact Harper College Human Resources at 847-925-6217 to learn more about your benefits.

Common Financial Questions

Do I have enough money to retire?

Determining whether you have enough money to retire involves many variables. You usually need help from someone with financial expertise such as a Financial Planner. They can help you to gather all of your financial information, guide you in creating a retirement budget, and help you determine how much to pull out of retirement accounts and on what schedule. Below are links to free online calculators and a budget template to help you get started. There are many free retirement calculators and budget templates available online.

When can I retire with SURS?

Short answer: You can retire when you want to stop working and can afford to do so. See the SURS Retirement FAQ to determine when you are eligible to receive a SURS pension. Remember that you can’t begin collecting Social Security benefits until age 62 at the earliest and that Medicare begins at age 65. Workers who don’t receive medical benefits through an employer outside of Harper may decide to wait until age 65 to retire.

How much will my SURS monthly pension be?

  • Use the SURS Benefit Caculator if you want an estimate of benefits or can’t get a SURS counseling appointment.
  • SURS Seminars and one-on-one counseling sessions are helpful.

How much will I get from Social Security?

  • Social Security convenient and secure online benefits calculators help you to determine how much your monthly benefit will be in different scenarios: retiring early, at full retirement age, after full retirement age, including the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) or the Government Pension Offset (GPO) using your actual earnings record
  • WEP calculator allows you to estimate your Social Security benefit if you have a pension from work not covered by Social Security. 
  • GPO calculator determines if you will receive a pension for work not covered by Social Security (such as government employment), any Social Security benefits you may be eligible to receive on your spouse’s record may be reduced.

How much will health insurance cost?

  • See the College Insurance Program (CIP) and CIP FAQ to view information about you health care benefits. You must login to access the site.
  • Retiree medical benefits provided by Harper College. When you retire, the option to remain on the Harper medical and dental plans is not available. Please refer to your individual employee contract or manual for information on any insurance reimbursement benefits you may be eligible for. In addition, you may also be eligible for life insurance continuation. Contact Harper College Human Resources at 847-925-6217 to learn more about your benefits.
  • Medicare benefits available at age 65 years old. View the Medicare site to help you determine your Medicare health costs. Costs as based on contributions made while working, on retirement income and on Health Plan chosen.
  • You may have access to benefits due to your spouse’s Benefits

What taxes should I be aware of?

Common Lifestyle Questions

What will I do in retirement?

This is the question many workers fail to ask themselves even though it’s essential to a happy retirement. Advisors see many clients spend six months to a year getting acclimated to retirement, only to then find it boring after that. In some cases, they go back to work because they aren’t sure what else to do. Workers approaching retirement are advised to give thought to how they would like to spend these years.

Others, prefer to see this as an opportunity to try new things and then determine what they will continue to do.

  • Do some research, explore your interests, write down your thoughts and dreams, and map out a course. Maybe, create a bucket list.
  • Develop new, healthy routines that provide the missing structure and prevent you from feeling you’re drifting along through life with no purpose.

The important thing is to think about it and decide what makes sense for you.