Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

Ask Jack: Can I retire after 30 years of service?
Can I retire regardless of my age at retirement without any deductions if I started teaching at age 25?

If you are a CalSTRS 2% at 60 member, which generally means you were first hired before 2013, you could retire as early as age 50 if you have at least 30 years of service. Otherwise, you cannot retire before age 55, and you must have at least five years of service. In either case, your benefit will be reduced for retiring at an earlier age.  

Your retirement benefit is based on a formula set by law that uses your age at retirement (age factor), times your years of service (service credit), times your final compensation, or age factor x service credit x final compensation. Your age factor is a percentage determined by your age in years and months on the last day of the month in which your retirement is effective.

Under the CalSTRS 2% at 60 benefit structure, from age 55 to 60, the factor is reduced by 0.01 (one one-hundredth) of a percent for each month or fraction of a month in which you are under age 60.

For example, if you are age 55 and one month when you retire, your age factor is 1.41 percent. Between the ages of 60 and 63, the 2 percent age factor is increased by 0.033 of a percent for each quarter year of age you are over age 60, up to a maximum age factor of 2.4 percent.

For members under the CalSTRS 2% at 62 benefit formula, the earliest you can retire is at age 55 for which the age factor is 2 percent at age 62. The maximum age factor is 2.4 percent at age 65. The age factor for early retirement at age 55 with five years of service credit is 1.16 percent.