For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Lita Payne and I’m the Executive Officer at LACERS – your retirement system. I’m retiring after 33 years of public service and taking this opportunity to share with you some of the things I’ve learned over my years of service, especially my 20+ years working in retirement systems.
But first, a little about me. I started my career with the City in 1988 as a Clerk Typist at the Department of Building and Safety. I worked at Counter A of the B&S One-Stop on the 4th Floor of City Hall – the Grading Division. There, I got to directly serve Angelenos, assisting them in getting their various approvals on all things grading. While working there, some of the inspectors tried to talk me into becoming an inspector – there was a program at the time to assist in getting more women inspectors. But, one day, the wife of one of the inspectors came to visit and gave me some advice that set the trajectory for my City career. She advised me to not become an inspector but instead pursue the Analyst series. I took her advice and here I am today. (Her name is Uta Hughey – thank you Uta!)
I worked for Building and Safety, the Department of Water and Power, and Public Works for the first ten years of my career, then went to work for Fire and Police Pensions (FPP). It was there that I found my public service calling and spent the balance of my career working for FPP and LACERS (with a short stint at the County’s retirement system, LACERA). 33 quick years later and I’m retiring. And, here’s what I have to share with you, based on what I’ve learned and plan to apply in retirement:
Open a MyLACERS account and visit it regularly. One of the most important reasons to open a MyLACERS account is that retirement accounts that have not been activated are favorite targets for hackers. Protect your LACERS account by opening a secure MyLACERS account. Visit it on a regular basis – if anything looks out of whack, give LACERS a call.
Check out LACERS Well. A few years into my retirement career, I started in the retiree healthcare area and I’ve been very closely aligned with retiree healthcare ever since. I have one hot tip for you if you want to “beat” the healthcare system – get and stay as healthy as you possibly can! We have great retiree health benefits – use them! See your doctor – talk to your doctor. What can you be doing to improve your health as much as possible? In my experience, small shifts in my behaviors can make a real difference in how I feel. Enough small shifts can really add up to feeling better and living my best life. Our LACERS Well retiree wellness program has so many neat features and our health plans have really neat wellness programs as well. Check them out – find a small shift you can make and try it out.
Be informed about Medicare. We are required to be enrolled in Medicare, once eligible, to continue to receive our health benefits – meaning the reimbursements, subsidies, and eligibility to enroll in a LACERS medical plan. LACERS has seminars and videos, as well as written materials, that help to communicate our Medicare requirements to us. Check them out – start looking at them at least six months prior to your 65th birthday so you know what to expect.
Subscribe to the LACERS YouTube channel. We’ve got so much great stuff there. If you take in information better by listening/watching as opposed to reading, this is the way to go! Our LACERS Well program and LACERS Medicare requirements are featured in many videos.
And, that’s it. I hope that some or any part of this helps you in how you’re engaging with LACERS in retirement.
It’s been my pleasure to be an employee of the City of Los Angeles and to have served LACERS Members for these past several years. Thank you to the City, LACERS (especially the great LACERS staff!), and our Members for the best career ever!
LACERS Executive Officer