Does the balance in my annuity savings account figure into the determination of my retirement benefit?
No—the MTRS is a “defined benefit” plan, which means that your retirement benefit is calculated based on your age at the time of your retirement, your years of creditable service, and your highest three-year salary average (Tier 1 members) or five-year salary average (Tier 2 members). Unlike with a “defined contribution” plan, such as a 401(k), or an IRA, your retirement benefit is not a return on what you put into your annuity account.
Some of the information on my statement is out of date or incorrect. How should I submit the correction(s)?
|To update or correct your…||Please…|
|Name or address
|Active members: NOTIFY YOUR PAYROLL OFFICER–NOT THE MTRS. We receive this information directly from your employer; when your payroll officer sends us your retirement deductions, our database is automatically updated. In other words, if it’s right with your employer, it will be right with us–and if it’s wrong with your employer, it will be wrong with us.
Inactive members: If you still have funds on account with the MTRS, but are not currently working, please update your address in our online account system, accessed from the member sign in page. If you have not already created an account, you can do so using your Social Security number and your MTRS member number, which appears on your annual statement.
|Personal information (marital status, date of birth, spouse’s date of birth, gender or number of dependents)||Go to the member sign in page, to access our online member account system, and update this information yourself.|
|Financial data||EMAIL us at email@example.com or WRITE to our main office.|
|Beneficiary||DOWNLOAD a Beneficiary Designation–Active and Inactive Member form|
You are always welcome to submit your update or inquiry in writing. When writing, please:
- Include your member number—not your SSN—on your correspondence.
- Keep a copy of your correspondence and all attachments for your records.
- Address your correspondence to our main office: MTRS, 500 Rutherford Avenue, Suite 210, Charlestown, MA 02129-1628, ATTN: Employer Services.
I either do not have a beneficiary on file with the MTRS or want to update my designation. What do I need do?
Simply complete and submit a Beneficiary Designation–Active and Inactive Member form at your earliest convenience. For more information, please see our page on Survivor benefits.
Where does the money I contribute go?
Your school district forwards your contributions to us and we establish and maintain an annuity savings account on your behalf for your retirement. Your MTRS annuity savings account consists of two parts:
- contributions, which are deducted from your paycheck by your school district and
- interest, which is earned on your prior year’s ending balance and credited at a rate determined annually by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC). The rate is equal to an average passbook savings return.
Additionally, if you have purchased creditable service, your payments will be included in your annuity savings account balance.
As an active, contributing member, will I have access to the funds in my annuity savings account?
No. The MTRS is a defined benefit pension plan. Your contributions, along with an annual appropriation by the Commonwealth and the investment earnings on the system assets, are used to fund your future pension benefits. As a member who is actively contributing to the MTRS through regular payroll deductions or who is on an authorized leave of absence, you are not eligible to withdraw any portion of your annuity savings account balance, or borrow money from this account.
How is the interest rate on my MTRS account determined?
This interest rate bears no relationship to the actual return earned on the annuity savings fund; rather, it is an “artificial” rate of interest established by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC). By law, this rate is determined by the average interest rate paid on individual savings accounts, which is obtained from a representative sample of financial institutions in Massachusetts.
The contributions from active members are pooled and invested for the MTRS by the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board in the Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) Fund. The interest you earn on your balance does not reflect the MTRS fund’s actual investment return. The fund’s excess investment return is transferred to the system’s reserve fund, which ensures the future stability of the system.
Who manages the investment fund?
The Pension Reserves Investment Trust (a pooled investment fund established to invest the pension reserve assets of the Massachusetts State Employees’ and Teachers’ Retirement Systems) is managed by the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board. PRIM’s mandate is to accumulate assets through investment earnings and other revenue sources in order to reduce the Commonwealth’s unfunded pension liability and to assist local participating retirement systems in meeting their future pension obligations.
The PRIM Board consists of nine elected and appointed members, including two representatives of the MTRS (one appointed and one elected). For more information, visit PRIM online.
What happens to the money in my annuity savings account?
Depending on what you do in your career, the money in your account will be paid out in the form of either a refund to you, or a retirement benefit to you or your beneficiary(ies). Specifically, if you:
- Leave Massachusetts public service before retiring, you may withdraw your account (also known as taking a refund). If you take a refund, then your account will be closed and you will no longer be a member of the MTRS or entitled to MTRS benefits.
- Retire from the MTRS, your funds will remain on account with the MTRS and will be paid out to you over time as part of your monthly lifetime benefit. You do not have access to this account after you have retired.
- Die before retiring, depending on your marital status and the type of beneficiary you have selected, we will either pay your account balance in a lump sum to your named beneficiary(ies), or use it to pay a portion of the benefit to your survivor.
If you leave our system for employment with another Massachusetts public agency that requires your membership in its retirement system, we cannot refund your balance; in that event, we must transfer your funds directly to that other Massachusetts contributory retirement system, unless you were a member of more than one contributory retirement system (a “dual member”) on or after January 1, 2010.
When I retire, will I also receive a refund of my annuity account balance?
No, you will not receive both a retirement benefit and a refund of your account.
Can I access my annual statement online?
Yes, you can access your current and past annual statements in MyTRS, our online member account system. Here’s how:
- Go to the member sign in page. If you do not already have an account, click Don’t have an online account? Create one. Then, using your Social Security number and MTRS member number, follow the onscreen instructions to create your self-service account.
- Using your username and password, sign in to your MyTRS account.
- On your home page, under the heading My Retirement Account Information, click Documents. In the table listing your available documents, look for documents titled Annual Statement of Annuity Savings Account, and then click on the icon at the end of the row to download the form (two pages, front and back).
- To exit MyTRS securely, click Logout in the top right corner.