Over the past few months, we here at WPRI have issued a number of reports regarding the fact that state government employees pay nothing for their pensions. And for suggesting that state employees actually pay the “employee” portion of their pension benefits, we’ve gotten significant blowback. (See “Growing Anger Over Free Government Pensions” from our Refocus Wisconsin project.)
As it turns out, it’s not just actual state employees that can live the dream of paying nothing for their retirement benefits. Just take a quick trip over to the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds website, and fill out the Retirement Benefits Calculator the ETF provides on its site.
In order to figure out your lifetime annuity, all you need to do is fill in your date of birth, the date on which you hypothetically plan to retire, and your three hypothetical highest earning years.
For the purposes of this exercise, I plugged in that I was a 20-year teacher with a 3-year high salary of $75,000, $76,000, and $77,000, and would be retiring in 2026. As a result of my 20 years of service, I would receive an estimated lifetime annuity of $$1,669.89 per month. (I have the option of getting more up front and less on the back end if I choose the accelerated payment option.) All, of course, for my monthly required contribution of zero dollars and zero cents.
So at your next dinner party, fire up the website, gather the guests around, and play “guess what my monthly annuity would be if I were a state employee?” It’s bound to be a hit.
See the benefit calculator here. (Click the “I have read the disclaimer” link at the bottom.)