How much am I paying for my SamCERA benefits?
Your contributions are structured as a percentage of your
bi-weekly earnings (also called your “contribution rate”), and
are collected through automatic payroll deductions.
In addition to these rates, certain members pay additional
contributions in the form of a “cost share” and a “COLA share.”
The cost share is a contribution which helps offset the plan
costs. The COLA share helps fund future cost of living
adjustments to your retirement benefits.
Your pay stub will reflect all of the contributions you are
making to SamCERA.
happens to my contributions?
Your contributions are held in trust by SamCERA. A separate
account is created in your name and all the contributions that
you make (and any employer pick-ups of your contributions) are
deposited in this account.
Interest is credited to your account on June 30th and December
31st of each year at a rate determined by the Board of
If you leave employment, you may withdraw your contributions and
interest. (You cannot withdraw your employer’s contributions.
Your employer’s contributions are only used to fund your pension
benefits.) If you withdraw your contributions, you waive all
rights to SamCERA pension and disability benefits.
Can I borrow money from my account?
No, you cannot borrow money from your account at any time, and
you cannot withdraw your employer’s contributions under any
The only way you can take money out of SamCERA is to terminate
your employment and take a refund of your contributions and
interest. If you do that, you lose all rights to your benefits.
How is the money invested?
The Board of Retirement invests the money in the retirement fund
in accordance with its Investment Policy that sets forth the
diversification of the investments. The Board works with
professional pension fund investment management firms to carry
out the investment functions and manage the assets.
SamCERA’s assets are generally invested in things like stocks,
bonds, private equities and private real assets.