Working in the public sector can provide an employee with some unique retirement benefits that are not generally available to those who work for private companies. One such benefit is a Special Pay Plan, which pays out based on special forms of compensation, such as unused sick leave or vacation pay. These types of compensation are normally paid out as taxable earned income and are reported on a W-2 form. A Special Pay Plan mitigates this tax hit and provides a valuable investment vehicle in the process. If your employer offers a Special Pay Plan, it’s adding value for you in many ways.
A Special Pay Plan is an interest-bearing 401(a)/403(b) retirement account that is established by your employer in your name. Your employer makes pre-tax deposits/contributions into this account in lieu of disbursing a check for your unused sick leave, separation of service pay, or other retirement incentive pay. The funds deposited into the Special Pay Plan are invested, which leads to earnings over time, helping you to meet your retirement goals.
From a tax perspective, a Special Pay Plan is a valuable benefit in the following ways:
Besides the built-in tax advantages, a Special Pay Plan provides a valuable savings vehicle for your retirement in other ways. During your working years, the benefit continues to grow. Once you retire, you are free to roll the accumulated funds into an IRA or another qualified plan, or take a partial or lump sum distribution. If desired, periodic distributions may be taken monthly, quarterly, or annually. The funds can be used at your discretion, for any expense. This type of plan provides complete liquidity for withdrawals or rollovers, enabling you to manage your financial future on your terms.
As a public sector employee, you already know your retirement benefits offer some unique opportunities. If your employer offers a Special Pay Plan, consider yourself fortunate. This lovely benefit converts otherwise taxable incentives into a tax-advantaged retirement option for you. Having this added sense of financial security may convince you to get off the fence about retiring early.
A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) is another valuable savings tool that can benefit you in retirement. If your employer offers an HRA, please click here to learn how this benefit can make a difference for you.