The march of the Net

A new service in (where else?) California shows another innovative use of Internet and computer technology. State and local government workers who are members of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System can now get a rough idea of how much they will receive in pension benefits when they retire — instantly.

To obtain a retirement estimate, a member simply logs on to the CalPERS Retirement Planning Calculator and enters some personal information such as date of birth, date of expected retirement, years of service, and highest monthly salary over a 12- or 36-month period. The online calculator instantly provides an estimate of monthly retirement benefits.

The calculator also gives members an opportunity to see how an earlier or later retirement date affects their retirement benefit amount for five consecutive years of retirement dates. In addition, it calculates estimates for various retirement options that reduce a member’s unmodified benefit amount.

This an excellent example of an intelligent and helpful use of the Internet, that will no doubt be emulated by the larger Canadian pension funds. Of course, for some, the retirement benefit news might not be so goo but this technology will give many people an early warning (or pleasant surprise) about what to expect in their golden years.