DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars

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Pre-Retirement Page

New York State offers its Executive Branch employees pre-retirement planning information through the full-day DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Seminars and online resources.

What is a DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Seminar?

DIRECTIONS was developed to assist eligible New York State employees in planning for one of the most challenging and exciting periods in life - retirement. New York State offers its Executive Branch employees pre-retirement planning information through both online resources and DIRECTIONS seminars. The seminars, designed for employees who are at least 50 years of age and eligible to retire within five years, provide information on planning and the benefits available to state retirees. Due to the great demand, seating is limited and employees may only attend one time in their career.

DIRECTIONS is sponsored by the Governor's Office of Employee Relations and the Office of the State Comptroller, with funding from the collective bargaining agreements for Executive Branch employees.

The following is a sampling of the information and tools that are covered at DIRECTIONS seminars to provide a better understanding and awareness of:

  • The benefits available to you with regard to your pension, health insurance, social security, and the Deferred Compensation Program.
  • How retirement may affect your lifestyle
  • The resources available to retirees
  • What is included in comprehensive retirement planning

Are you interested in attending a seminar? Click here to contact your agency liaison to learn how to enroll.

Two of the PowerPoint presentations used at the seminars are available. If you'd like to print a copy to take with you, click here for:
New York State Health Insurance Program

New York State Deferred Compensation

Social Security Administration N/A

NYS Office of the State Comptroller N/A

Self-Help Guide to Pre-Retirement Planning for New York State Employees

The Self-Help Guide to Pre-Retirement Planning is the same manual given to DIRECTIONS seminar participants and covers 11 content areas that are important for planning your retirement.

Retirement Planning Resources Workshop

The Retirement Planning Resources Workshop is a free, one-hour training, available to state agencies for their employees, regardless of age or years of state service. The training will not cover specific retirement information, and is not a substitute for the full-day DIRECTIONS seminars. Instead, the goal of this training program is to educate Executive Branch employees about the resources available so they can begin planning their retirement.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Overview of the Work-Life Services employee benefits
    • EAP
    • DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars
    • NYS-Ride
    • Flex-Spending
    • Network Child Care Centers
  • Highlight of key resources and tools in the Self-Help Guide
    • Chapters 1 thru 7-Planning, Lifestyle Changes, Health & Wellness, Housing Options, Employment Considerations, Budgeting, and Legal Affairs
    • Chapter 8-Deferred Compensation
    • Chapter 9-Employee Retirement System, not TIAA-CREF
    • Chapter 10-NYS Health Insurance Plan (NYSHIP)
    • Chapter 11-Social Security
  • Pre-Retirement Checklist for New York State Employees
    • This checklist highlights some of most critical steps you should take with regard to Deferred Compensation, NYSHIP, Pension, and Social Security
  • Demonstration of how to access the online retirement videos
    • 23 short videos addressing each of the content areas included in the full-day DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Seminars

If you would like to schedule this training for a minimum of 20 employees, you may contact the DIRECTIONS Seminar Program Manager at or 518.473.4018. If you are attending the Retirement Planning Resources Workshop, print this pdf version of the Self-Help Guide that includes page numbers.

Online Benefit Calculators

The New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP), Social Security, Deferred Compensation, and the New York State Pension System each have a benefit calculator available online. See the instructions below for each program.

To estimate the value of your sick leave credit, go to: From the homepage, under Benefit Programs, click on NYSHIP Online, click on Active Employee, answer the two individual questions, choose Planning to Retire, and then Sick Leave Credit Calculator.

Social Security
Social Security has an online calculator at Retirement Estimator that will provide immediate and personalized benefit estimates to help you plan for your retirement. The Retirement Estimator is tied to your actual Social Security earnings record and eliminates the need to manually enter earnings information.

Deferred Compensation
To use to the online planning tool, go to Retirement Planner and click Get Started for suggestions on improving your retirement outlook.

NYS Pension
You can use the Benefit Projection Calculator on the Office of the State Comptroller’s website to project your approximate pension based on the retirement date you choose. The calculator also projects benefit amounts under the various payment options available to you at retirement. Visit Projecting Your Pension to use the calculator.

More Online Tools

The Planning Your Successful Retirement Video Guide consists of 23 short videos which highlight key information from the seminars. Presentations from our partner agencies include: the Office of the State Comptroller, the NYS Department of Civil Service, the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan, and the Social Security Administration.

The Retirement Checklist for New York State Employees can help you in planning for retirement and should be used in conjunction with the Self-Help Guide. Instead of being all-inclusive, this short checklist highlights some of the critical steps you should take.

Retirement Planning Tips is a listing of quick reminders for Executive Branch state employees. A new tip is added each month.

The Retirement Planning Resources Quick List has a few primary resources including websites and phone numbers to assist Executive Branch state employees. Numerous additional resources can be found at the end of each chapter in the Self-Help Guide to Pre-Retirement Planning.

Need NYS Retirement System forms? In chapter 9 of the Self-Help Guide to Pre-Retirement Planning (above) you will find samples of the following forms:

  • RS 5042 - Supplemental Statement of Services
  • RS 6030 - Request for Estimate
  • RS 6037 - Application for Service Retirement
  • W4P - Federal Tax Withholding (for pension)
  • RS 5127 - Designation of Beneficiary with Contingent Beneficiaries (for active employees, not retirees).

To download and print the actual forms, go to the Office of the State Comptroller website at:

Written Employee Feedback on the DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars

"Presenters were articulate and knowledgeable. Written material is thorough and user friendly."

"Very impressive, very professionally done. Materials - very good. Speakers - all personable and clear. I wish I had access to this info a number of years ago. I would have attended such a seminar on my own time at my own expense."

"It couldn't have been better. I was very impressed with the patience spent explaining everything to us and answering our questions."

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