Retiring

Retirement is a big decision in anyone’s life. Your decision to retire will be based on many factors, including the amount of retirement income you’ll have.

The UBC Pension Administration Office is here to help with any questions you may have regarding your options for receiving your pension benefit, time frames, paperwork and forms – please let us know how we can help you.


Countdown to Retirement

The decision to retire will be based on your own personal situation – the best time will be unique to you. For example, some things you may consider are your health and financial situation. The following are a few examples of ways to help you start planning for your retirement:

Attend a Staff Pension Plan Workshop

Visit the Workshop page to register for an in-depth workshop on the SPP.

Take a Retirement Planning Course through UBC Continuing Studies

UBC Continuing Studies offers opportunities to learn more about retirement planning such as a customized retirement planning course and retirement success profile. Visit the UBC Continuing Studies website for more information.

Work with a Financial & Retirement Consultant

Many financial institutions offer financial and retirement consulting services to assist you with planning financially for retirement.

Generate Your Own Pension Estimates using the Contributions Calculator

The Contributions Calculator is a tool that provides you with an estimate of your pension benefit. It is a helpful tool for retirement planning; however, your actual pension can only be calculated on the information available at the date of your retirement.

Learn About the UBC Retirement & Survivor Benefits Program

UBC offers a Retirement and Survivor Benefits program which provides continuation of group benefits to UBC community members who retire or leave the University for any reason after age 55.

Working Past Age 65

If you decide to work past age 65, you have two options with regards to your pension:

  1. You may continue making contributions and accrue your pension until age 71, at which point, you must elect to start your pension benefits. Or you may elect your pension at any time before age 71.
  2. You may elect to stop making contributions and begin your pension at age 65 or the first of a later month.

If you choose Option 2, there will be changes to your medical, dental, and extended health benefits. For more information , please contact the Benefits team at UBC Human Resources.

See the UBC Human Resources website for additional information on Retiring at UBC.


The Retirement Process

It is important that you notify the UBC Pension Administration Office as early as possible of your retirement date. The SPP team is happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding the time frames, paperwork, and your options for receiving your SPP benefit. The following describes some of the steps and decisions you will encounter on the road to retirement with the SPP:

Request an Illustration Package

When you are within a year of retirement, you are encouraged to contact the UBC Pension Administration Office and request an illustration package. This package will be mailed to you within four to six weeks with an illustration of your retirement options. The benefit calculations are for illustration purposes only and your actual benefits will be calculated at your actual retirement date.

Members age 55 and over who are leaving UBC but are not retiring may also receive an illustration of their retirement options, as they are eligible to elect a retirement option at age 55. You may choose to defer your decision to a later date; however, once you turn age 71, you will be required to make an immediate decision in regards to your accrued benefits with the SPP.

Schedule a Retirement Information Session (RIS)

Also within a year of retirement, you are encouraged to schedule a Retirement Information Session at the UBC Pension Administration Office to review your retirement options in more detail. If you have a spouse, you are encouraged to bring them with you so you both understand your options. To book an appointment, please call a member of our staff at 604-822-8883 or 604-822-8119.

Your Retirement Package

After you have selected a retirement date, you will be contacted by the UBC Pension Administration Office once your pension benefit has been calculated and your retirement package is ready for signing. This typically occurs during the second week of your retirement. You may choose to sign your package in person by scheduling an appointment, or you may ask for the package to be mailed, emailed or faxed to you.


Retirement Ages

No matter what age you start your pension, your pension will be paid for your and your spouse’s lifetime. The amount of your monthly pension payments may be adjusted if you retire early or after age 65 to account for the longer or shorter period over which you will receive pension payments. Therefore, it is important that you consider your age and as well as whether you are eligible for a bridge benefit when you are thinking about when to retire.

See the Retirement Ages & Early Retirement Considerations Information Sheet for a detailed explanation of retirement ages and how it affects your pension.


Retirement Options

There are two Monthly Lifetime Pension options available. Both options are available to those plan members that qualify under specific criteria.

In addition to reviewing the information below, please also read the Retirement Options Information Sheet for a detailed summary of the retirement options, pension forms and guarantee periods.

Monthly Lifetime Pension

A Monthly Lifetime Pension calculated according to the pension formula. This pension benefit is payable for the lifetime of both you and your spouse (if you have a spouse).

Monthly Lifetime Pension with Lump Sum

A reduced Monthly Lifetime Pension and a Lump Sum transfer out of the Plan. Only members who have made contributions to the Plan before 1993 are eligible for this option.

A portion of the lump sum must be transferred to an RRSP, and therefore will be tax-sheltered. The remaining portion must be taken as cash, and will be subject to withholding taxes.

Lump Sum Payment in the Event of a Small Pension

In certain cases, a member’s plan benefit may be determined to be a small pension at the time of retirement. If your plan benefit is determined to be a small pension, you will receive a lump sum payment from the Plan in accordance with B.C. pension legislation, instead of a Monthly Lifetime Pension option.

Your total lump sum amount may be taken as cash, or you may transfer a portion to an RRSP and take the remainder as cash. Any cash amounts are not tax-sheltered and will be subject to withholding taxes.

Note: Any lump sum amount taken as cash is considered taxable income.

Forms of Monthly Lifetime Pension & Guarantee Periods

When you elect a Monthly Lifetime Pension option, you will also need to make decisions about two other things – the form of the pension and the guarantee period. All forms of pension are paid for your lifetime and your spouse’s lifetime (if you have a spouse). The different forms of pension in the Plan determine how much pension is paid after your death to your spouse and/or your designated beneficiary. The normal calculation of pension benefits is based on a Single Life pension with a 10-year guarantee period. If you choose a pension option that is different from the normal calculation then the amount of your monthly pension payments will be adjusted depending on the form of pension you choose to reflect the cost of paying a pension for more than one lifetime or for shorter or longer guarantee periods. Also, each pension option has a choice of three guarantee periods (60, 120, or 180 monthly payments). The guarantee period pertains to the payment of your pension benefits to a designated beneficiary in the event of your and your spouse’s deaths (if you have a spouse). Further information including helpful examples regarding pension forms and guarantee periods, please review the Retirement Options Information Sheet.


Receiving Your Pension Payments

If you elect a monthly pension benefit from the Plan and have completed all related paperwork by the 15th of the month after your retirement, your first pension payment will be made the month following your retirement date and will include a retroactive payment for the first month of your retirement.

Example:

Laura Doe elected a Monthly Lifetime Pension option and has a retirement date of September 1. If the Pension Administration Office had received Laura’s completed and signed Retirement package by September 15, the first pension payment she will receive will be on October 1. She will receive a monthly pension payment for October as well as a retroactive payment for the month of September.

Receiving Your Lump Sum Payment (If Eligible)

If you qualify for a lump sum option, your payment will be issued the last business day of that month, providing we have received your signed Retirement package by the 15th of that month.  If you return your retirement package in the last half of the month, your payment will be available at the end of the following month.

Example:

Roger Smith elected a Lump Sum option and returned his signed Retirement package on September 13. Roger’s payment will be available at the end of September. If Roger returned his signed Retirement package on September 23, his payment will be available at the end of October.

The Pension Benefit – “SPP Basic Benefit”

When you retire, you are entitled to the value of your accrued pension benefit calculated according to the pension formulas. See the Overview page for the pension formulas.


Increase Your Pensionable Service: Buy Back Service

You may buy back past service if you were eligible to join the Plan but did not enrol. You may also qualify if you were a member of the Plan and there was a period when you were on an unpaid leave of absence and you did not make both employee and employer contributions. Buying back past service allows you to contribute for eligible service that you missed; therefore, increasing your pensionable service and increasing your pension at retirement. The cost of buying back is equal to the increase in value of your pension. The following is the eligibility criteria for buying back past service:

  • You must elect a Monthly Lifetime Pension Option from the Plan.
  • You can only buy back past service for months before July 1, 2009.

Details and examples are available on our Buying Back Past Service Information Sheet.


Cost of Living Adjustments

After you begin receiving your pension, a COLA (indexing) may be applied to your pension payments subject to the Plan’s ability to finance it. This is also known as an inflation adjustment. Plan benefits may be adjusted upwards or downwards if the Plan’s financial health falls outside limits defined in the Plan’s funding policy.

The COLA represents the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Canada over the previous year (October to October). The SPP’s method of calculating the COLA matches the method and timing of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) indexing.

Visit the Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) page for more information as well as past COLA percentages and the current percentage being paid to SPP retirees.


Death Benefits After Retirement

If you die after your pension payments have started, any death benefit payable will be determined by the form of monthly lifetime pension option and guarantee period you elected at the time of retirement.

Notifying the Pension Administration Office

If you or your spouse dies, your representative (Power of Attorney / Executor / Spouse) needs to contact our office. A letter will be mailed to the spouse or Executor / Power of Attorney explaining the benefit that may be payable based on the option that you elected at retirement as well as a request for any required documentation.


Other Considerations

Pension Income Splitting

Eligible taxpayers may allocate up to half of their eligible pension income (income that qualifies for the pension income tax credit) to their lower-earning spouse or common-law partner. Visit the CRA site for more information on pension splitting and the application form to make this election.

Non-Residents of Canada

See Living Outside Canada if you are or will become a non-resident of Canada.

Government of Canada Income Security Programs

You may be eligible for government pensions in retirement. To obtain more information on public pensions and to apply online for the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security pension, visit the Government of Canada’s Pensions and Retirement website. You can also view our SPP Details information sheet regarding Canada Pension Plan Retirement Income.