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Friday, December 19, 2014

Helping you stay on the right retirement track

When you planned for your retirement you dreamed it would be worry free, and in your control. As a retired member of MERS Hybrid Plan, you have the best of both worlds — the stability and security of a defined benefit plan, combined with the flexibility and investment choice of a defined contribution plan.

As a MERS Hybrid Plan retiree, you receive both a lifetime benefit (Hybrid Part I) and a separate account you manage (Hybrid Part II). 

How It Works

Your Hybrid Part I — defined benefit portion is based on the number of years you’ve worked, your salary, and a multiplier selected by your employer.

Your Hybrid Part II — defined contribution portion, offers you a variety of options on how to use your account. You can leave your account invested with MERS, roll your funds into an eligible plan, or take distributions. Please remember, you must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions when you reach age 70 1/2.

By keeping your account in the MERS Defined Contribution Plan, you’ll continue to receive the benefits of MERS Investment Menu, low administrative fees, and excellent customer service.

Distributions

There are several ways to receive payments from the defined contribution portion of your account — lump sum, substantially equal payments, periodic, amount certain, or period certain.
To begin taking distributions, or to change your distributions, download and return the Distribution/Direct Rollover Form (MD-304).

Please note that all payments are taxable in the calendar year you receive the money. We are also required to apply mandatory withholding for federal or any applicable state income taxes, although in some instances you may opt out of this withholding.

If you are married and your vested balance is equal to or more than $1,000, you must choose the Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity, unless your spouse consents in writing to another form of payment.
For more information about your distribution options, please see the MERS Hybrid Plan Member Handbook, available here.

MERS Investments

When it comes to investing, it’s important to understand all your options, needs and goals. That’s the first step to finding an investment strategy that best suits you. Even if you are a confident investor, it’s a good idea to make a regular evaluation of your investment choices. The MERS Defined Contribution Plan and the Defined Contribution portion of the Hybrid Plan have four strategic investment categories designed to help you meet your retirement goals. This streamlined approach offers a simple way to choose investments. You should also consult your financial advisor when choosing your investments. For more information, please read Understanding the MERS Investment Menu and the Investment Menu Summary.

The MERS Defined Contribution & Hybrid Plan Investment Menu consists of:

  • Retirement Strategies
  • Diversified Portfolios
  • Expanded Funds
  • Self-Directed Brokerage Window
Please remember, it’s always a good idea for you to review your investment options on a regular basis because investment objectives can change due to changes in your life circumstances, risk tolerances or finances.

Want to learn more? Click the links below for more about the MERS Hybrid Plan.

  • Publications
    • You’ll receive quarterly statements detailing your retirement account.
    • You’ll also receive the Retiree News, a quarterly newsletter full of important information about MERS, your benefits, and the issues affecting you.
    • You can also log into your account at mymers.mersofmich.com to find up-to-the-minute information about your MERS retirement at any time.
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Forms
  • Calculators
  • Service Center
    • Our Service Center offers friendly, knowledgeable, over-the-phone assistance for a wide variety of benefit questions and issues. The Service Center is available during business hours at 800.767.2308.

Working in Retirement

If you retire and later decide to return to the workplace, your pension benefits can be affected under certain conditions. There are no restrictions if you are hired anywhere other than the municipality you retired from.
If you rehire at the municipality you retired from, certain rules apply.

Taxability of MERS Benefits

Federal income tax, and under certain conditions, state tax is required on your MERS pension, with the exception of any post-tax employee contributions you may have made.
You choose how you want your taxes to be withheld at the time of your first payment. You may change your tax choice at any time.

Please see the Pension Recipient’s Federal Income Tax Withholding Authorization (Form 31).

Getting Ready For Retirement?

Make sure you’re prepared! Click here to view the MERS Retirement Readiness Checklist, or contact us to have a retirement packet sent to you.

View the MERS Investment Menu

Click here to see the streamlined MERS Hybrid Investment Menu.

Stay On Track

Are you still on the right road in retirement? Click here to estimate your future costs.

Find Forms

Want to change your investments, or your named beneficiary? Click here to find your form.

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Disclaimer
The information contained in this Web site is being made available as a public service. The information is not intended to constitute legal or investment advice, or to replace official versions of that information. Benefit Estimates or Service Credit Purchase estimates requested through this Web site are not official descriptions of any benefits, and do not represent a promise by MERS to provide any benefit(s) to any person(s). No one can detrimentally rely upon the information provided in, or requested through this Web site. MERS reserves the right to correct any errors, and presents this information without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information?s accuracy, timeliness or completeness. If you believe the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete, or if you have problems accessing or reading the information, please call MERS at 800.767.MERS (6377).