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Having a sound financial plan is a key element of retirement. Even though you are retired, you may want to consider working with a qualified financial planner.


In retirement, you have various sources of income, including but not limited to your employer, the government, and your personal savings.

From Your Employer: The Pension Plan

If you were vested in the Pension Plan as an active member and did not cash out your pension benefit, you and your eligible survivors have guaranteed lifetime benefits (based on service, salary, and the pension option you select) throughout retirement. You receive monthly pension payments throughout retirement, and your eligible survivor receives monthly survivor’s pension payments (if applicable) after your death.

The monthly benefit you receive depends on your age when you retired and the payment option you chose.

  • If you began your “normal” retirement pension at age 65, your benefit is equal to your total pension credits accrued on the date of your retirement, payable monthly for life.
  • If you elected a joint and survivor pension option when you retired, your monthly pension benefit was reduced to reflect that payments will be made over the lifetimes of you and your spouse.
  • If you started your pension before age 65, your pension benefit was reduced to reflect the likelihood that you will receive pension payments for a longer period of time.
  • If you did not start your pension until after age 65, you could receive an increase in your accrued pension credits to account for salary and service after age 65.
  • If you retired between age 55 and 62, a Social Security Leveling Option was also available to you if you wanted to ensure that your total income was consistent before and after receiving Social Security at age 62.

Important! The Board requires that your pension benefits be paid to you through direct deposit (electronic funds transfer). If you have not already done so, you can submit your information through Benefits Connect or complete and submit the Authorization for Direct Deposit form.

From the Government: Social Security

Social Security may be another source of income if you, like most people, had Social Security taxes withheld when you were working full time, and your employer matched those withholdings.

If you qualify for Social Security benefits, you can begin receiving reduced benefits at age 62. Full retirement benefits depend on your year of birth. Earnings limitations apply if you choose to begin taking Social Security before your full retirement age. Be sure to understand how these work before initiating your benefit.

Year of BirthFull Retirement Age
1937 and prior65
193865 and 2 months
193965 and 4 months
194065 and 6 months
194165 and 8 months
194265 and 10 months
1943 to 195466
195566 and 2 months
195666 and 4 months
195766 and 6 months
195866 and 8 months
195966 and 10 months
1960 and later67
 Source: Social Security Administration


From You: Personal Savings, Retirement Savings Plan, and Investments

Most likely you will supplement your retirement income from your pension and Social Security through various personal savings and investments. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 403(b) plans, mutual funds, stocks and bonds, savings accounts, and variable life insurance are some of the possible vehicles.

Retirement Savings Plan

While you were working, you may have saved through the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP), a 403(b)(9) plan.

  • Your account consists of contributions you and/or your employer made, along with the earnings on those contributions. If you saved on a pretax basis through this plan, you were able to defer paying federal (and in some cases, state) income tax on your pretax contributions and earnings on those contributions until withdrawal. If you used the Roth after-tax contribution option, no income tax was withheld on those contributions at withdrawal because they were taxed when you contributed them. Qualified Roth earnings, as defined by the IRS, may also have been withdrawn tax-free. 
  • You can choose to withdraw your funds from the Retirement Savings Plan after you retire (at age 55 or older) or you can keep them in the plan. After you retire, you must begin to take the minimum required distribution no later than April 1 following the calendar year in which you reach age 70½ and continue to do so annually thereafter.

Investments and More

If you have other personal investments, it is important to stay actively engaged in the financial planning aspect of retirement even though you have already retired.

  • If you do not already have a financial planner and want to find one, you should interview several and request evidence of their professional designations. Contact their references, and make certain you understand how the planner will be compensated (e.g., fees only or fees and commissions).
  • Assess your investments periodically to make certain they and their percentage in your portfolio continue to be appropriate for the amount of risk you are comfortable with at each stage of retirement.
  • Review your portfolio regularly and work with a tax and/or financial adviser. Managing your retirement assets is an ongoing process that requires your attention.

Housing Allowance

If you are a minister of the Word and Sacrament or a commissioned lay pastor who was granted sacramental function by the presbytery, you may exclude all or part of your pension and Retirement Savings Plan distributions from taxable income (including Social Security taxes) as a housing allowance, subject to three requirements:

  • Your employer must designate this amount in advance. (The Board annually designates 100 percent of pension payments and RSP distributions as housing allowance.)
  • The amount must actually be spent.
  • The amount excluded cannot exceed the fair rental value of the home (including furnishings and utilities).
  • This housing allowance designation is not applicable for spouses after the minister member has died.

The Assistance Program

The Assistance Program provides grants to qualifying church workers, including retirees, surviving spouses, and their families, who have urgent or long-term financial needs.

Unlike the Benefits Plan, which is funded by dues, the Assistance Program relies on other funding sources, including half of the Christmas Joy Offering, gifts, legacies, and income from endowments.

Programs include Income Supplements, Housing Supplements, Shared Grants, and Emergency Assistance Grants.

  • Income Supplements ― Designed to help ensure that retirees can live modestly and continue to maintain their independence, the program supplements the monthly income of retired church workers and their surviving spouses whose total income from all sources is below levels established by the Board of Directors of the Board of Pensions.
  • Housing Supplements ― Depending upon the type of housing and the levels of personal income and assets, applicants may receive financial assistance to help with the costs associated with a current home or apartment, and/or pay the monthly room and board fee for a unit in a retirement community. This program also may help eligible retirees or surviving spouses with the cost of an entrance fee to a retirement community.
  • Shared or Emergency Assistance Grants ― Retirees who have unanticipated short-term financial needs, such as large out-of-pocket medical or mental healthcare expenses, or other emergency situations, may be considered for a Shared Grant or an Emergency Assistance Grant. Contact the Board for further information.

Estate Planning

You may have done most of your estate planning before retiring. Nevertheless, it’s important to review your plan for your estate on an ongoing basis to ensure the information is up to date and in line with your current desires and laws.

  • Can your executor, personal representative, trustee, and/or guardian still fulfill the responsibilities and obligations you originally intended?
  • Are all of your contracts, your will, and any trusts you have current?
  • Where is all of the current paperwork related to your estate plans?
  • Should you make any adjustments to the list of individuals or causes you included?
  • Do your insurance policies continue to meet your needs?
  • Have your personal assets or liabilities changed since the last time you reviewed your plan?
  • Are you meeting your debt payment commitments?
  • Have any laws changed that affect income, gift, estate, and inheritance taxes?
  • Are the witnesses to your will still available?
  • Do the people responsible for executing your will and other contracts and desires have access to all of the paperwork they require, and is that paperwork current?
  • Do those individuals also have a list of all of the advisers they may need to contact (attorney, accountants, financial adviser, pastor, trust officer, etc.)?