Q&A with retired nurse, current volunteer: How Mayo Clinic’s pension plan helps in the golden years

Learn how Rick O'Meara, a Mayo retiree and volunteer, is pursuing his dreams in retirement, thanks to the benefits he earned while working.

Richard "Rick" O'Meara, D.N.P., retired in 2021 after 39 years of caring for patients at Mayo Clinic.

In less than a year, O'Meara came out of retirement and continues to provide supplemental nursing support in various areas throughout Mayo Clinic. When he is not serving patients or traveling to national parks with his wife, he volunteers at the Francis Building information desk at the Saint Marys Campus of Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, supporting patient and visitor needs.

O'Meara shares a look at how some of Mayo Clinic's retirement benefits have helped secure his family's future so he can enjoy his retirement.

How has Mayo Clinic's pension plan offered you security in retirement?

O'Meara: The pension plan allows my wife, Kristin (also a retired Mayo nurse), and me to feel secure in our retirement. The pension plan is very robust compared to many organizations.

Another great retirement benefit is the 403(b) and associated matching funds. I encourage everyone to take advantage of that benefit at the beginning of their careers. Investing a percentage of your income (even small amounts) will add up to a significant amount of savings over the course of 30 to 40 years. 

What is security in your retirement allowing you to do?

O'Meara: The Mayo pension plan allows us to travel in our retirement. We both love the national parks and enjoy traveling and hiking. Last year, we visited Biscayne, Everglades and Dry Tortugas in Florida; Denali, Lake Clark, Kenai Fjords and Glacier Bay in Alaska; and Mt. Ranier and North Cascades in Washington. This year we have more trips planned to hike our great national parks. Mayo's pension plan and our health allow us to pursue our dreams in retirement. 

How has volunteering at Mayo affected your retirement?

O'Meara: Volunteering allows me to give back (in a small way). I volunteer at the Francis information desk on the Saint Marys Campus and really enjoy interacting with patients, their relatives and friends.  

Mayo Clinic has been such a great organization to work for. Often, it is not until one nears retirement that you realize how important and generous our retirement benefit package is.

Rick O'Meara

I also volunteer for Mayo Clinic's No One Dies Alone program. There are times when relatives are unable to be with a dying loved one. We help fill that void by sitting with patients to ensure they have someone with them when their end of life comes. 

Volunteering is a great way to help others and stay connected to Mayo. I get much more out of my volunteer experiences than I give in dedicating my time.

About Mayo Clinic's pension plans

Here's a quick overview of how Mayo Clinic cares about you with a pension plan that helps you secure your future.

What is a pension plan, and why does Mayo Clinic invest in them?

While many employers have ended pension plans because of the expense involved in maintaining them, Mayo remains committed to ensuring the financial future of its staff with a fully funded pension plan. Mayo offers different ways to access this benefit. Some staff are automatically enrolled. For organized staff with a pension plan, the details are decided through a negotiation process. Mayo Clinic pays all contributions, and the amount you receive at retirement is based on a formula related to your salary, years of service and age at the time of distribution.

Who gets a pension plan, and how do you receive it when you retire?

Staff over 21 and whose full-time equivalent hours are 0.5 or greater are eligible to participate in the Mayo Clinic Pension Plan. Certain staff categories, such as residents and students, are not eligible to participate.

To receive a pension benefit, you must become vested in a plan. Each pension plan has different vesting requirements, but most plan participants become vested after just three years of full-time service. Once you become vested, you own your plan benefit.

When you leave Mayo Clinic or retire and are vested in the pension plan, you can opt to receive a monthly payment for life or a one-time lump sum payment.

Where can I learn more about my Mayo Clinic pension plan and options?

Find all the details about your pension plan through the HR Benefits intranet site. You can review all of the retirement planning options and get support from a Human Resources expert by attending one of the regular HR Benefits webinars or in-person advisory events.