Employer-Funded Retirement Plans
The University makes retirement contributions for each employee in a benefit-eligible position. Eligible employees are automatically enrolled in the applicable retirement plan. These plans are fully funded by the University, employees can not contribute to these plans. The two employer-funded plans are the Utah Retirement Systems Plan and the 401(a) Defined Contribution Retirement Plan.
- Faculty and staff university employees
- The plan has two parts: a defined benefit, meaning you receive a predetermined amount when you retire; and a defined contribution, meaning you receive a predetermined amount while you are working which is deposited into a 401(k) account.
- Faculty and staff university employees
- The University’s contribution is based on a percentage of your salary
- You direct how your funds are invested by choosing from a variety of investment options
Need More Information?
Contact the Human Resources Office for additional information on the employer-funded retirement plan applicable to you.
Retirement Plan Features
Should an unexpected financial need arise, loans are available on a portion of the money you have contributed into either a 403(b) or 457(b) Supplemental Retirement Savings Plan account. Loans are not available in the University’s 401(a) Plan or the URS Plan. Contact the investment provider or the Human Resources Office for additional information.
Withdrawals are subject to income taxes and may be subject to IRS early withdrawal penalties. Each retirement plan has a 32-day waiting period following termination of employment before you can withdraw or rollover funds from your account. The waiting periods do not apply to withdrawals:
- Upon retirement from the University (in accordance with University Policy 348)
- If you become permanently disabled, or
- If you meet the eligibility requirements defined by the 403(b) or 457(b) Plan for a hardship withdrawal.
It is important to designate a person or persons to receive the amounts in your retirement account in the event of your death. Please complete a beneficiary designation form for each account and investment provider. Forms are available on the investment provider’s website or in the Human Resources Office. If you do not complete a beneficiary designation, your account will be distributed according to the provisions of the Plan. If you designate your spouse and then subsequently divorce, the beneficiary designation for that individual will be automatically void.
Online Educational Resources
Visit the investment providers websites for online planning tools and to learn how to make the most of your retirement.
Savings for a University Education
The Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP), Utah’s 529 university savings plan, is an available option for saving for university. Through the UESP, you can save after-tax money for any beneficiary you choose – your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or friend. The money can be used at any university or university. Earnings in your account grow tax fee and Utah taxpayers receive a state tax deduction for money deferred. Once you have an account, you can set up University payroll deductions to the account. For information or to enroll now, visit www.uesp.org
Employee-Funded 403(b) and 457(b) Supplemental Retirement Savings Plans
The University sponsors two supplemental retirement savings plans to help you save for your retirement. You choose how much of your paycheck to put into one or both plan(s) each pay period. You direct how your money is invested by selecting from the investment provider and investment options offered to University employees.
All University employees may participate in the supplemental retirement savings plans regardless of whether they are employed in a benefit-eligible position. Some important information about the plans:
You can defer a minimum of $12.50 per pay period up to an annual maximum of $19,500 in 2021 to each supplemental plan. The maximum amount is reviewed annually by the Internal Revenue Service and may increase in future years.
Each plan includes two catch-up provisions, an age 50 or older provision and a special catch-up provision, that allow eligible employees to contribute amounts above the maximum stated above.
You can rollover assets from other similar accounts into these plans.
The 403(b) Plan has a traditional pre-tax option and a Roth post-tax option. The Roth option allows you to contribute after-tax money to the Plan. The annual maximum contribution amount above applies to your combined after-tax and pre-tax deferral to the 403(b) Plan.
All withdrawals of Roth savings are free from federal income tax in retirement (including any income received on your investments), as long as you are age 59 ½ or older when you make a withdrawal and have had the account for at least five tax years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where can I find information about the investment options, including the amount of fees charged?
- A. Each fund publishes a document known as a prospectus. The prospectus gives detailed information about the fund including its investment strategy and fees. A listing of each of the available investment options and up-to-date performance information is available on the investment provider’s website.
Q. What are the main differences between the 403(b) and 457(b) Supplemental Retirement Savings Plans?
- A. You may withdraw funds from your 403(b) account while you are still actively employed by the University at age 59 ½, but must wait until your employment ends or you reach age 70 ½ to withdraw funds from your 457(b) account. In the 457(b) account there are no early withdrawal penalties at any age if your withdrawal is made after your University employment ends. If you withdraw funds from your 403(b) account prior to the date you reach age 59 ½ (either after termination of your employment or if you experience an eligible hardship), the amount you withdraw may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty in addition to applicable taxes. A Roth after-tax option is available in the 403(b) Plan only.
Q.How much will it cost me to move my assets from one investment provider to another?
- A. There is no charge to move assets from one University investment provider to another. Depending on your investment and the length of time you have held the fund, you may be charged a Redemption/Short Term Trading fee.
Q. Are there any restrictions on moving assets from one investment provider to another?
- A. Most investment options do not have transfer of asset restrictions. However, there are three exceptions: (1) employees can only transfer TIAA Traditional assets over ten equal annual installments; (2) the TIAA Real Estate Account allows one transfer out every 3 months; and (3) if you are enrolled in the URS Plan, your investments must remain with URS as long as you remain employed by the University.
Q. Who can assist me in making my decisions?
- A. The investment provider has individuals licensed to provide investment information to you. You can speak with a customer service specialist by contacting the provider at the telephone numbers shown below. You can also find information and use calculators on the provider’s website. In addition, the investment provider offers confidential consultations to University employees. The Human Resources Department can provide instructions regarding forms and processing, but cannot provide investment advice.
Utah State Retirement (URS) Planning Session FAQs
Q. How do members schedule an appointment?
- A. Online, by registering through their URS account. Can an employee call to schedule an appointment? Unfortunately no, as we need to have one central place to track which appointments are open or taken. And that central place is the URS web site via the member’s myURS account.
Q. What if someone needs help setting up an appointment or simply accessing their URS account?
- A. Members can always call our 401k department for help with re-setting passwords, getting access to their account, navigating the URS online system, etc. Members can call 800-688-4015 or 801-366-7720 between 8 am and 5 pm for assistance.
Q. What if the appointments are already taken; will there be additional planning sessions in my area?
- A. We post the available dates, times and locations about 4 weeks in advance. That allows members enough time to plan ahead for the appointment, but not so far in the future as to forget about making the appointment. If the day a member is interested is full or no longer listed on the schedule (which means that day is full), then maybe every 2-3 weeks or so, members can log into their URS account and check to see if any new planning sessions are scheduled for their area. Employers will also be notified when a planning session has been set, and employers often pass that information along to their employees.
Q. What if a member needs to cancel or reschedule?
- A. We always encourage members who need to cancel to do so online, so that their appointment time can be freed up for another member to use. A member who needs to reschedule can do so simply by signing up for an appointment at a future planning session.
Q. What can a member do to prepare for their planning session?
- A. The best preparation is to attend a URS retirement presentation first. In those presentations, we explain the basics of how a member’s retirement plans work. Once a member understands the basics of his/her plans, we can spend more time in the planning appointment exploring the member’s unique situation.
Q. What else can a member do to prepare?
- A. Members can complete an investor profile through their myURS account (click on the “What Kind of Investor Are You” link on their myURS home page). Getting an estimate of a member’s Social Security benefit, if applicable, is very helpful. Members can obtain their estimate through the Social Security web site at www.ssa.gov. If the member has 401k, 457 and/or IRA holdings outside the URS system, getting an estimate of the monthly income those balances will provide at retirement is also helpful. Members can contact the institution that currently holds those accounts for those monthly estimates.
More info about the new URS retirement planning process is here: https://www.urs.org/Counseling/Members
For additional information on the retirement plans, please contact the Human Resources Office.
Beyond contacting either TIAA or URS through the information to the right, utilize this Quick Guide to a Well-Rounded Retirement as part of your retirement planning.