Retirement Ready

Ready to retire? You've found the right place to start!

Thinking about retirement? This page has all the information you need to start on your path to retire from the University of Colorado.

To start, click on the tabs below that relate to your retirement plans for guidance and instructions, as well as Retirement Ready videos, booklets and checklists.

The following resources will give employees enrolled in a 401(a) retirement plan full details and instructions on the retirement process.  

401(a) retirement booklets

View our interactive 401(a) Retirement Ready booklet and checklist here.

Using the interactive guide: You can flip through the booklet on your computer or device. You have two options to turn the pages: 1) click the edge of a page to navigate back and forth or 2) click and drag the bottom corner of each page to make it flip. If you prefer, click the link underneath this interactive version to download the original PDF.

Download a PDF: 401(a) Retirement Ready booklet and checklist.

401(a) narrated retirement presentation

This narrated presentation walks through all the major points to consider as you retire from CU. Please watch in Chrome, our supported browser.

Watch the presentation

Basic retirement overview

The lists below contain basic information for all 401(a) retirement plan enrollees. Note: You must meet age and years of service to be eligible to retire with the University of Colorado. The minimum age to retire is 55 and years of service include all years in which you worked 50 percent time or greater in a 401(a)-eligible position.

Normal Retirement

To be eligible for retiree benefits with the University of Colorado you must:

  • Be in an active university 401(a)-eligible position with a 50 percent or greater appointment immediately preceding your retirement date; AND
  • Meet the age-and-years-of-service requirement for post-retirement benefits. Normal and early retirement is defined by the Board of Regents.

If you meet both age and years of service requirements, you are eligible for normal retirement and entitled to receive 100 percent of the university's contribution toward retiree benefit plans upon retirement.

Early Retirement

If your age and years of service at CU meet the minimum requirements outlined below, you are eligible for early retirement. The University of Colorado contribution for your benefits will be prorated based on the actual years of CU service divided by the required years of CU service for normal retirement and full contribution.

Age and Years of Service Requirements for Early Retirement


5 years of service at age 65+

11 years of service at age 59

6 years of service at age 64

12 years of service at age 58

7 years of service at age 63

13 years of service at age 57

8 years of service at age 62

14 years of service at age 56

9 years of service at age 61

15 years of service at age 55

10 years of service at age 60

 

Faculty Retirement Agreements

The University of Colorado Faculty Retirement Agreements allows the chancellor of each campus to authorize retirement incentives designed to give participants of the 401(a) Plan incentives and options for transitioning into retirement. Agreements may allow eligible CU faculty to pursue personal or professional interests and continue their academic and professional lives in gainful part-time employment. Options include negotiated differentiated workload, phased retirement and post-retirement CU employment, consulting opportunities, and more.

See detailed information about Faculty Retirement Agreements, including all authorized incentives.

What Steps Should I Take?

3-5 years before retirement:

Familiarize yourself with the process of retiring from CU.

  1. Talk to TIAA-CREF and other professionals about your retirement options.
  2. Contact a benefits professional to discuss pre-retirement tasks.
  3. Develop a retirement plan and track your progress. Consider:
    • When you’re eligible to retire
    • Your retirement date goal
    • Necessary savings for the retirement lifestyle you want
    • Tax-deferred savings plan limits (based on the Internal Revenue Service’s annual calendars)
    • Your CU benefit service years
    • Which, if any, current CU benefits you can retain in retirement
    • An estimate of your Social Security earnings
2-3 months before retirement:
  • Review your eligibility for retirement. 
  • Schedule a meeting with a CU benefits professional. 
  • Review CU’s retiree benefits. 
  • Notify your department of your intent to retire. 
  • Work with your department to calculate a payout of your vacation and sick leave balances. 
  • Review final contributions for any tax-deferred retirement savings plans to which you’re contributing via CU payroll deduction. 
One month before retirement:
  1. Submit these forms to Employee Services:
  2. Notify your department of your expected retirement date.
  3. Confirm with your department your vacation leave and, if applicable, sick leave payouts.
  4. Ensure your final payroll deductions toward your voluntary retirement plans (CU’s 403(b) Plan, and PERA’s 401(k) and 457 plans) are correct.

 

The following resources will give employees enrolled in a PERA retirement plan full details and instructions on the retirement process.

PERA retirement booklets

 View our interactive PERA Retirement Ready booklet and checklist here.

Using the interactive guide: You can flip through the booklet on your computer or device. You have two options to turn the pages: 1) click the edge of a page to navigate back and forth or 2) click and drag the bottom corner of each page to make it flip. If you prefer, click the link underneath this interactive version to download the original PDF.

Download a PDF: PERA Retirement Ready booklet and checklist.

PERA narrated retirement presentation

This narrated presentation walks through all the major points to consider as you retire from CU. Press the arrow button in the lower right corner to view the presentation full screen. Please watch in Chrome, our supported browser.

 Watch the presentation

 

CU PERA retirees, spouses and dependents who are Medicare-eligible are not eligible for CU retiree medical and dental benefits. Contact an Employee Services Benefits Professional at 303-860-4200, option 3, or email benefits@cu.edu for more information.

Normal Retirement

If you’re enrolled in PERA, you must meet the following requirements for normal retirement:

  • Hold an active university benefits-eligible position with a 50 percent or greater appointment immediately preceding your retirement date, AND
  • Have a minimum of five years in a benefit-eligible position with a 50 percent or greater appointment.
  • Meet PERA’s age and years of service requirements.
  • Retire with PERA. If you elect to receive a lump-sum distribution from PERA or elect to postpone your retirement date, you will be considered terminated (not retired) from the university and, therefore, ineligible for university retiree benefits.

Employees who have worked for CU in a benefits-eligible position (50 percent or greater) for at least 20 years will receive 100 percent of CU's contribution toward retiree medical, dental and basic life insurance premiums.

Early Retirement

Employees who have worked for CU in a benefits-eligible position (50 percent or greater) for less than 20 years are eligible for early retirement and will receive a prorated percentage of CU's contribution toward retiree medical, dental and basic life insurance premiums. Employees must have a minimum of 5 years of qualified service with the university.

What steps should I take?

3-5 years before retirement:

Familiarize yourself with the University of Colorado retirement procedures.

  1. Contact a benefits professional to discuss pre-retirement tasks.
  2. Talk to PERA and other professionals about your retirement options.
  3. Develop a retirement plan and track your progress. Consider:
    • When you’re eligible to retire
    • Your goal retirement date
    • Necessary savings for the retirement lifestyle you want
    • Tax-deferred savings plan limits (based on the Internal Revenue Service’s annual calendars)
    • PERA service credit
    • Your highest average salary for PERA retirement earnings
    • Your CU benefit service years
    • Which, if any, current CU benefits you can retain in retirement
    • An estimate of your Social Security earnings
2-3 months before retirement:
  • Review your eligibility for PERA retirement.
  • Schedule a meeting with a CU benefits professional.
  • Review CU’s retiree benefits.
  • Contact PERA.
  • Review PERA’s medical and dental benefits.
  • Notify your department of your intent to retire.
  • Work with your department to calculate a payout of your vacation and sick leave balances.
  • Review final contributions for any tax-deferred retirement savings plans to which you’re contributing via CU payroll deduction.
One month before retirement:
  1. Submit these forms to CU Employee Services:
  2. Notify your department of your expected retirement date.
  3. Confirm with your department your vacation leave and, if applicable, sick leave payouts.
  4. Ensure your final payroll deductions toward your voluntary retirement plans (CU’s 403(b) Plan, and PERA’s 401(k) and 457 plans) are correct.

 

3-5 years before retirement: Catch-up Provisions

As you get closer to retirement, you may decide to start saving more of your salary to pad your nest egg. Voluntary retirement plans, available to all CU employees, are a great way to accomplish this.

University of Colorado 403(b) Voluntary Retirement Plan:

Deadline for Enrollment and Changes: Employee Services must receive forms no later than 5 p.m. on the 10th of the month to change end-of-month contributions.

2017 Calendar Year Limit: $18,000

2017 Age 50+ Catch-up Provisions: $6,000

Additional Catch-up Provisions: There is a 15-year catch-up provision for employees with 15 or more years of CU service. You may contribute up to $3,000 for five years (or $15,000 for a lifetime maximum) if you under-contributed in prior years.

Qualifying Distribution Events: Retirement, severance of employment, disability, attainment of age 59 1/2 or financial hardship. Note: There are early withdrawal penalties before age 59 1/2.

PERA 401(k):

Deadline for Enrollment and Changes: Employee Services must receive forms no later than 5 p.m. on the 10th of the month to change end-of-month contributions.

2017 Calendar Year Limit: $18,800

2017 Age 50+ Catch-up Provisions: $6,000

Qualifying Distribution Events: Retirement, severance of employment, disability, attainment of age 59 1/2 or financial hardship. Note: There are early withdrawal penalties before age 59 1/2.

PERA 457:

Deadline for Enrollment and Changes: Enrollment and changes must be made with the plan administrator by 2 p.m. on the 25th of the month to affect the next month's contribution.

2017 Calendar Year Limit: $18,000

2017 Age 50+ Catch-up Provisions: $6,000

Additional Catch-up Provisions: For three consecutive years before normal retirement age, you may be able to contribute up to twice the available limit if you under-contributed in prior years.

Qualifying Distribution Events: retirement, severance of employment, disability, attainment of age 70 1/2 while employed or for an unforeseeable emergency. Note: There are no early withdrawal penalties before age 59 1/2.

What steps should I take before I retire?

90-days before retirement, be sure to contact the vendor of your voluntary retirement plan. They will be able to assist you through the retirement process. The contact information for each vendor is provided below.

University of Colorado 401(a) Retirement Plan

TIAA 1-800-842-2776 www.tiaa.org/cu

Public Employees' Retirement Associate (PERA)

PERA 1-800-759-7372 www.copera.org

 

The chart below provides the contact information for additional resources as you embark on your retirement journey.

Service Provider Phone number Website
Medicare 1-800-633-4227 www.medicare.gov
Standard Insurance Company 1-800-628-8600 www.standard.com
TIAA (CU 401(a) Plan/ CU 403(b) Plan) 1-800-842-2776 www.tiaa.org/cu
PERA (401k/457) 303-832-9550 or toll free at 1-800-759-7372 www.copera.org
Anthem 1-800-735-6072 www.anthem.com/universityofcolorado
Kaiser 1-877-833-6698 my.kaiserpermanente.org/universityofcolorado