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Comparison Calculator

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Which Benefit Payment Option is Best for Me?

When you retire, you will have important decisions to make about your payment options. This interactive tool is designed for MOSERS members to compare how the dollar value of different retirement plans or benefit payment options add up over time. While one choice may be better in the short term, another may be better in the long term. Ultimately, you must make a decision based on your own individual circumstances and expectations about the future. While MOSERS staff cannot advise you, we want you to have all the information you need to make the best possible decision, which is why we are providing this tool for your use.

PLEASE NOTE: While this tool has been used successfully by benefit counselors since 2012, it may seem complicated for first-time users. Consider this a beta version. If members get good results with it, we intend to devote resources to develop it in a more streamlined format. For these reasons, it is very important that you read these instructions before you begin! We encourage you to print them to guide you through the process.

What does it do?

Use this tool to see how benefit payments add up over time:

  • Compare MSEP to MSEP 2000 (If eligible – At retirement you may choose between MSEP & MSEP 2000 if you were hired before July 1, 2000 and vested in MSEP.)
  • View the long-term impact of taking BackDROP (If eligible – At retirement, you may elect BackDROP if you worked at least 2 years beyond when first eligible for normal retirement. The maximum BackDROP period is 5 years. If you elect BackDROP, you will get a lump-sum payment and a monthly benefit. The tradeoff is that the monthly benefit will be reduced in most cases.)
  • Compare early and normal retirement or other differences in retirement dates.
  • Compare different benefit payment options.

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How do I use it?

This tool works best if you use Microsoft Excel 2007 or higher.

Watch the video explainations of how to use the Comparison Calculator:

  1. What is the Comparison Calculator?
  2. Member Login Video Tutorial
  3. Creating an Estimate video
  4. Using the Comparison Calculator video

Here is a preview of what you will see:

Comparison Calculator Screenshot 

In Brief:

Get Estimate(s) » Click on a blue or yellow box »

Input Information & Hit Enter » Compare Results

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Step 1 - Get your Benefit Estimate(s):

  • Log in to your secure Member Homepage. Click on Estimates, then on Estimate Your Retirement Benefit. You may wish to print several variations. Don’t use the back arrow on your browser. After you have printed an estimate, click the orange Build New Estimate button near the bottom of your screen.
  • Or, you may have received one or more estimates if you met with a MOSERS benefit counselor or attended a PreRetirement Planning Seminar.

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Step 2 – Click on a Blue or Yellow Box

  • The blue boxes (A1 & B1) have drop-down menus. Select MSEP or MSEP 2000. This impacts information you may enter and the calculations.
  • The yellow boxes have pop-up information telling you what to enter. You can move the pop-up box out of your way and it will go away when you click the next yellow box.
  • If you wish to skip an optional item such as BackDROP, use arrow buttons or the Tab button on your keyboard or simply click on another yellow box.
  • Box A9 & B9 (which default to “Normal Annuity”) have a drop-down menu that allows you to indicate a different benefit payment option. This is helpful information on your print-out but it doesn’t change the calculation. You must enter the appropriate information from your Benefit Estimate.

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Step 3 – Input Your Information & Hit Enter:

  • A2 Retirement Date – Enter the date shown on your Benefit Estimate.
    View this helpful graphic for help in locating this information on your estimate(s).
  • A3 Date of Birth – Enter your date of birth. This will automatically populate box B3 too.
  • A4 COLA % (Optional) – The default amount 1.5% which is an average of the past 15 years. If you believe it will be higher or lower, you may change it to an amount between 0 and 5.
  • A5 BackDROP Period in Months (Optional) – It may say 1 year or 5 years, etc., on your estimate. Convert that to months and enter. For example, 1 year would be entered as 12 months.
  • A6 BackDROP Amount (Optional) – Enter the amount shown on your estimate for the BackDROP period.
  • A7 Guaranteed COLA? (MSEP only)
    • Appears only when MSEP is selected in box A1.
    • If you were hired prior to 8/28/1997 and worked continuously in a MOSERS benefit-eligible position until vested in MSEP, select “Yes”. (You will get a 4% COLA until your base benefit equals 165% of your initial base benefit.)
    • If you were hired on or after 8/28/1997, select “No”. (Your COLA will be based on 80% of the percentage increase in the average CPI.)
  • A10 Base Benefit – Enter the amount shown on your Benefit Estimate.
  • A11 Temp. Benefit (Optional) – Enter the amount shown on your estimate.
    • This box will appear only if you selected MSEP 2000 in A1.
    • The temporary benefit is available only to members who take normal retirement under MSEP 2000/2011 when they are younger than age 62. It ends at age 62.
  • If you decide to compare a different option, be sure to delete old information and re-enter new information in ALL fields (except date of birth).

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Step 4 – Compare Results

  • Green shading indicates the option with the higher cumulative dollar value for that year. It may end for one option and begin for another.
  • Pink shading shows where the guaranteed minimum 4% COLA in MSEP ends (if applicable).
  • Print the worksheet by hitting File then Print and/or save the worksheet as an Excel file or an Adobe PDF.
  • Select an age from the tables and compare cumulative benefits for the same age in retirement from one option to the next. It may not necessarily be the last line on a page. For example, look at the cumulative benefit at age 85 on all tables.

MOSERS retains no record of estimates produced by this tool. If you wish to discuss an option with a benefit counselor, they must be able to view it.

See Which Plan am I In? for more information related to the provisions of various plans.

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  • The accuracy of results is dependent upon the accuracy of information you enter.
  • You must meet all legal requirements, and benefit amounts must be verified and, if necessary, corrected before any payments can be made.
  • There may be other factors that affect your individual benefit amounts which are not reflected here and your actual experience may vary from your assumptions. For example, future COLAs may be greater or less than you expect, you may get divorced, or you may return to work, etc.
  • Keep in mind that if you compare different retirement dates (different years), where it shows $0 on this estimate, you may be earning income from working, which is not shown. Also, if you retire prior to your full social security eligibility age, it may decrease your estimated social security benefits. This calculator compares ONLY your MOSERS retirement benefits; consider the information presented in this tool in the context of all potential sources of income for any given year.
  • This is simply a tool for you to use in comparing various options. Once you believe you have made a decision, be sure to verify your assumptions with information that has been provided by MOSERS prior to making your final election(s).

Open the Comparison Calculator Excel Document

Contact us if you need assistance.

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Missouri State Employees' Retirement System
Address: 907 Wildwood Dr., Jefferson City, MO 65102 Phone: 800.827.1063 URL: Email: Founded On: September 1, 1957