The General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) is a defined benefit retirement plan PEBA administers for members of the South Carolina General Assembly who were first elected to the General Assembly prior to November 2012. GARS was closed to new members as of November 2012.
If you were first elected to the South Carolina General Assembly in or after the November 2012 general election, you are eligible to participate in either the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) or the State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP).
Being an active member of GARS means you were first elected to the General Assembly prior to Nov, 2012, are serving in the General Assembly, earning service credit toward retirement, and making regular contributions to a GARS account.
You contribute a tax-deferred 11 percent of your gross pay, which includes your salary, in-district expense and, if applicable, additional line item compensation (see GARS Member Handbook). Your GARS account earns 4 percent interest compounded annually until you retire or your account becomes inactive.
Retirement plan assumes life expectancy and investment risk
If you’re like many of us, you look forward to retirement as the time when you will be able to enjoy the things you like to do with the people about whom you care the most. As a member of GARS, you need to meet the plan’s eligibility requirements to retire and receive a benefit. See the GARS Member Handbookfor details.
While meeting the plan’s retirement eligibility requirements is something to look forward to, being eligible to retire doesn’t necessarily mean you are ready, financially or emotionally. What you do during your years of employment can make a big difference in whether or not you are prepared for your future.
Planning for your future resources
Whether you’re a new employee or someplace else in your career, PEBA has retirement awareness resources that can help you as you plan for a secure financial future. If you make planning and saving for your future a priority now, you’ll be glad you did when you become eligible to retire because it may mean the difference between being eligible to retire and being able to retire.