The Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System is a contributory retirement system governed by the Commonwealth's retirement law, Chapter 32 of the Massachusetts General Laws. The MTRS, which is the largest of the Commonwealth's 105 contributory retirement systems, provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to Massachusetts teachers, administrators and their families.

The MTRS is a defined benefit retirement plan intended to provide a meaningful retirement benefit to the employee who has chosen a career in public service. It operates as a qualified plan under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Your MTRS benefits

Your MTRS benefits are very important to your financial future—the MTRS is your retirement plan. During your retirement, your MTRS pension may be your greatest financial asset. The plan provides the following types of benefits to eligible members:

Under the MTRS "defined benefit" plan, your retirement benefit is determined according to a set formula, and the amount is guaranteed regardless of fluctuations in the pension fund's performance. Likewise, your benefit amount is payable for your lifetime.

In contrast, a "defined contribution" plan is dependent on the contributions made by the employee, and possibly by the employer, and the growth of those assets over time as they are invested in the financial markets. A defined contribution plan is very susceptible to fluctuations in the market; nothing is guaranteed.