Helpful Information for PG&E Retirees

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As a resource for those who have retired from PG&E, this page provides information to help guide you through life after working. 

From pensions to 401(k) handling and everything in between. Many of you have asked me for insights, information or help with an abundance of varying topics.

Simply put, the purpose here is to offer all the information I have coupled with my interpretation or opinion on it, paired along with links for additional information. 

Social Security

** SSA Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/

Contact Social Security : https://www.ssa.gov/agency/contact/

Steps To Get Detailed Earnings Statement: https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-02507

Form SSA-7050 Request SSA Earnings Information: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-7050.pdf

2020 Cost-of-Living Adjustment COLA Information: https://www.ssa.gov/cola/

Press Release 2018 Social Security COLA: https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/#/post/10-2017-1

Transitioning To Medicare

DOL Department of Labor Home page: https://www.dol.gov/…/publications/retirement-toolkit.pdf

USA Understanding Medicare : https://www.usa.gov/medicare

NAIC State Insurance Departments: http://naic.org/state_web_map.htm

State Insurance Departments can provide information about Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies and other private health insurance.

(SHIP) State Health Insurance Assistance Programs: https://www.shiptacenter.org/

SHIPs offer local, personalized counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families.

Financing Your Retirement

You’ve formally decided to retire and now there are endless decisions that need to be made, especially pertaining toward your finances. With several immediate pressing decisions that need to be made, the best first step is to conduct your own research, and figure out how best to plan. While some folks may be able to do all the planning themselves due to their background in finance, investing, social security, taxes, estate planning, etc. others may have a planner with whom they are very happy with. At the same time, some may have a planner but are unsure they’re handling and doing their job to the clients best interest.

Regardless of where you exactly sit, there is no need to panic. Though you may feel a lot of pressure to decide on how to proceed, don’t make any abrupt decisions. You will typically have a bit of time to sort things out to make the best decision possible.

In order to begin, you need to map out all the information you have. Consider between what you need and how to obtain it. Then, determine if this is something you would need help sorting out and planning. While many prefer to do it within themselves, seeking the advice of a Retirement Specialist who has years of experience handling these situations can be beneficial. Understanding what you want is very different from figuring out how you’ll get there.

It is advised to map out any information you have, what information you need and where to obtain it. Then determine if you need help sorting it out and making a plan. Knowing where you want to be is one thing. Figuring out how you’ll get there is another.

Patrolling various groups online, I’ve seen numerous posts advocating others to “pull your pension cash balance – it’s the smartest thing to do” when in reality, that is not necessarily the case for everyone. For some, yes, but not for everyone.

Some may benefit from taking 401(k) distributions as early as 55 with no penalty! For others, it may be better off collecting unemployment for 6 months, then beginning their pension or 401(k) distributions. Discussing with an adviser can help you determine these things.

Are you aware if it makes more sense to take your cash balance or the annuity and why? And if you decide on the annuity, is it beneficial to take the employee only payout or opt for the lower payout but paired with spousal benefits?

No matter what route you choose to go, our advice is to document everything and to keep printed out documents somewhere safe. This is particularly important if you decide on the pension annuity with spousal-survivor benefits. In this occasion your spouse may need to prove this was the choice, with proper paperwork and documentation. To assume PG&E will have all your necessary documents is a mistake. You’ll be gone and your spouse will struggle navigating through retiree benefits especially if she wasn’t the employee. Document thoroughly, map out and develop a plan, and get your documents in order.

There are numerous benefits to seeking the advice of a retirement specialist. They trim any unnecessary outgoings, develop a plan for spending less, and consider contacting creditors to refinance your mortgage or reschedule any repayment plans.

If you are looking for more details about your benefits, reach us at TechStaffer.

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