I'm playing catch up on my 2010 goals and finally submitted the paperwork to buy back my pension credits. It wasn't so bad, I had to log into the site, print out the relevant form and mail it (yes snail mail) it back to the state.
The form required me to know my exact starting date at the job at which joining the pension system was optional (which is kinda b.s. because I know for a fact our H.R. director can pull up this info on me in the state's database already). So I called my former employer and got the exact dates.
And I happen to remember my exact salary even though they didn't ask for it. I did the math and 3% of 8 months should cost about $660 (go ahead and do the math backwards and find out my crappy old salary!).
Two weeks later I received a letter in the mail from the retirement system. I'm excited because I think it is going to give me instructions on how to buy the credits (the jury is still out on whether I can pay with pre-tax money). Nope. The letter acknowledged the receipt of my application and stated that they would begin an investigation into my prior service and determine the cost of buying it back. It estimated that this investigation would take five months.
Five months?!! What the heck?! Call up my former employer and ask if I worked there, for how long and how much did I make? Crappy salary/12 = Y x 8 = (Yx8) x 0.03 = $660. I barely survived high school math class and I was still able to figure this out in less than five minutes.
So it looks like this goal may not be achieved within 2010. Oh well, I guess I tried. I usually defend the state when people complain about bureacracy having seen the other side but I cannot even fathom why this inquiry should take so long.
At least New York's pension fund is currently in good shape unlike 11 states whose funds are in danger of running out. I *think* New York's will be okay since they recently enacted some reforms requiring newer (before me!) members to continue their contributions for the entire length of their employment (I only have to contribute for ten years).
But since I'm neither a mind reader nor an economist I am not putting all my retirement eggs in one basket. See more on that (as well as more on my 2010 goals progress) sometime later this week.