Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans

Voluntary savings plans are available to most employees. Review the benefits eligibility matrix to determine your eligibility. View the retirement guide for new hires. 

CU employees have three voluntary savings plans from which to choose:


(Plans are known by the IRS codes that govern them.)

  • CU's 403(b) Plan - sponsored by CU
  • PERA 401(k) Plan - sponsored by Colorado PERA
  • PERA 457 Plan - sponsored by Colorado PERA

 

Employees do not need to be a PERA participant to have a PERA 401(k) or 457 account and, likewise, PERA participants can have 403(b) accounts.

How the plans work

The plans are defined contribution plans of an individual account, which you create to set aside money on a pretax basis. Your benefits are based on the contributions credited to these accounts, plus or minus investment gains or losses. Investment risk and investment rewards are assumed by each individual/employee/retiree, and not by PERA or CU.

How much you can contribute

While all three plans have the same 2017 contribution limit of $18,000, you may contribute a combined total maximum of only $36,000:

  • The 457 Plan has a separate contribution limit of $18,000.
  • That limit is combined for the 403(b) and 401(k) plans; that is, you can contribute a total of $18,000 to 403(b) and 401(k) accounts during the year.

All three plans allow catch-up contributions of $6,000 (or $12,000 total) in 2017, for people age 50 and older. Again, this limit is combined for the 403(b) and 401(k) plans, and it is separate for the 457 Plan.

All three plans have no minimum contribution. You can decide how much of your pay to contribute.

Choosing the plan that's right for you

There are two common approaches to choosing a plan: choose a vendor/service provider, or choose the plan with the features that fit your needs.

Choose your plan.
 

  1. PERA Plans
    • Voya is the vendor for PERA's voluntary plans. If you choose Voya, then you will open a 401(k) Plan or 457 Plan through PERA.
       
  2. CU 403(b) Plan
    • The university contracts with a single service provider, TIAA, to provide recordkeeping and education for the Plan.

403(b) Plan Investment Choices

  • The 403(b) Plan offers participants three tiers of investments:
    • Tier 1: Target date funds
    • Tier 2: Best-in-class core investments
    • Tier 3: Self directed brokerage option

Tier 1: Target Date Funds

Target date funds are professionally managed mutual funds designed for investors who want a simple yet diversified approach to investing. You select the fund that's closest to your expected retirement date and the fund managers adjust the underlying investments from more aggressive to more conservative as your target retirement date approaches.

Here are the selected target date funds:

Born Between These Years Investment Fund Name Ticker** Expense Ratio*
1900 - 1942 Vanguard Target Retirement Income Fund Investor Class VTINX 0.16%
1943 - 1947 Vanguard Target Retirement 2010 Fund Investor Class VTENX 0.16%
1948 - 1952 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 Fund Investor Class VTXVX 0.16%
1953 - 1957 Vanguard Target Retirement 2020 Fund Investor Class VTWNX 0.16%
1958 -1962 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 Fund Investor Class VTTVX 0.17%
1963 - 1967 Vanguard Target Retirement 2030 Fund Investor Class VTHRX 0.17%
1968 - 1972 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 Fund Investor Class VTTHX 0.18%
1973 - 1977 Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund Investor Class VFORX 0.18%
1978 - 1982 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 Fund Investor Class VTIVX 0.18%
1983 - 1987 Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 Fund Investor Class VFIFX 0.18%
1988 - 1992 Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Fund Investor Class VFFVX 0.18%
1993 - 2099 Vanguard Target Retirement 2060 Fund Investor Class VTTSX 0.18%

n/aCollective investment trusts (CIT) are not publicly traded funds and they do not have ticker symbols.


*—Expense ratios can and do change periodically based upon the administrative expenses of the fund sponsor. The expense ratios posted are accurate as of the date the investments were selected by the Plan trustee in January 2015.

**—Each fund in the series (for different retirement dates) has its own ticker symbol.

Tier 2: Core Investment Menu

The core investment menu offers those who are comfortable with investing a tool for building and managing an investment mix. Some participants who prefer this more hands-on investing style also may be interested in purchasing certain funds outside the core investment menu by accessing the self-directed brokerage option (see Tier 3 below).

Participants can construct their own diversified portfolios by allocating their contributions across 18 investment options. Options include both actively managed funds and passively managed (index) funds, as well as a guaranteed income option.

You can call TIAA or schedule a financial consultation to learn about how to construct a portfolio from these investments.

 

Investment Menu

The 403(b) Plan investment menu features investment options from four broad investment categories:

  • domestic equity
  • international equity
  • fixed income
  • specialty equity


Note that stable value funds (SVF) are NOT available in the 403(b) Plan. Most SVF are structured as a collective investment trust and, therefore, is not an investment that is available to 403(b) plans, due to federal regulations.

Investment Funds

The chart below shows the fund lineup for the 403(b) Plan.

Note:

  • Collective investment trusts (CIT) are NOT allowed in the 403(b) Plan, due to federal 403(b) regulations.
  • Stable value funds (SVF) are not available within the 403(b) Plan. (Learn more within the investment menu section above.)
  • The annuity option in the 403(b) Plan has no liquidity constraints but a lower minimum payout guarantee.

Having trouble viewing the chart below? Download a PDF of the tier 2 investment fund options.

Investment Option Investment Fund Name Ticker Expense ratio*
Large Cap Value Dodge & Cox Stock DODGX 0.52%
Large Cap Core Vanguard Institutional Index VINIX 0.04%
Large Cap Growth Harbor Capital Appreciation HACAX 0.65%
Mid Cap Value BlackRock Mid Cap Value Opportunities MARFX 0.86%
Mid Cap Core Vanguard Mid Cap Index VMCIX 0.08%
Mid Cap Growth Artisan Mid Cap APHMX 0.95%
Small Cap Value DFA Small Cap Value DFSVX 0.52%
Small Cap Core Vanguard Small Cap Index VSCIX 0.08%
Small Cap Growth Voya Small Cap Opportunities ISOZX 1.02%
International Value Dodge & Cox International DODFX 0.64%
International Core Vanguard Total International Stock Index VTSNX 0.12%
International Growth American Funds Europacific Growth RERGX 0.49%
Real Estate Morgan Stanley Global Real Estate Fund MRLAX 1.02%
Socially Responsible TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity Fund TISCX 0.18%
Core Fixed Income (Passive) Vanguard Total Bond Market VBTIX 0.07%
Core Fixed Income (Active) Met West Total Return Bond Fund MWTSX 0.39%
Money Market CREF Money Market Account QCMMIX 0.32%
Guaranteed Income TIAA Traditional Retirement Choice Plus n/a ***

 

Tier 3: Self-Directed Brokerage Option


Click to download our detailed flier on the self-directed brokerage option.

Investors who select this option will be responsible for vetting and monitoring the funds they select; CU provides neither fiduciary oversight nor recommendations for these investment options.

The self-directed brokerage option is for experienced investors who prefer to take an active responsibility in managing their investments.

To access this option, participants must fill out an application with TIAA and sign a university waiver (online, as part of the application process). Please note that there may be additional expenses and fees associated with these investment options.

 

Use TIAA's step-by-step guide to set up your self-directed brokerage option account.

 


Your Brokerage Options

View the mutual funds

Download a list of the mutual funds available in the self-directed brokerage option. This spreadsheet contains tickers, fund family names, fund descriptions, Morningstar categories and any minimum purchase requirements. Please note: This listing was accurate as of May 1, 2015, and is subject to change.

 

Download the mutual fund menu.

 


Fees and Expenses

The self-directed brokerage option does not have an annual maintenance fee.

See a complete listing of fees on page 9 of TIAA's self-directed brokerage option customer agreement.

Mutual funds
Each mutual fund will have its own expense ratio.

Some mutual funds will have $35 transaction fees, while others will have no transaction fees. Mutual fund transaction fees are waived for individual purchases of specified funds for participants who establish an automatic investment plan. There is a minimum $100 purchase.

Any mutual fund load fees are waived. Exchanges within the same fund family cost $8.

Short-term redemption fees apply on some funds if shares are sold in fewer than 90 days. This fee is $50.

Participants should review the thousands of mutual funds for no transaction fee funds available on the TIAA platform.

Other pricing varies. For more information, see page 9 of TIAA's self-directed brokerage option customer agreement.

In addition, institutional share classes may be available (subject to minimum initial purchase requirements). Please review the fund details carefully to assess short-term trading fees, load fees, expense ratios and performance histories. As noted above, CU provides no oversight on these investment options.

  • The 403(b) Plan's self-directed brokerage option allows participants to invest only in mutual funds. This is due to regulations limiting the investment options allowed in 403(b) plans.

Visit the websites below to learn more about the PERA and 403(b) plans. You may also call the customer service numbers below to see how you like working with their financial professionals.

PLAN SERVICE PROVIDER/VENDOR

Plan Service Provider/Vendor

Phone

Website

TIAA 1-800-842-2252 www.tiaa.org/cu
Voya (PERA only) 1-800-759-7372 PERA Plus 401k/457

Choose a plan based on features.

The plans differ on additional catch-up provisions, loans, qualifying distribution events, and whether there are penalties for early withdrawal.

This matrix will help you compare those plan features.

 

CU's 403(b) Plan

PERA 401(k) Plan

PERA 457 Plan

Additional catch-up provisions None None For the three consecutive years before your normal retirement age, you may be able to contribute up to twice the available limit if you under-contributed in prior years.
Loan provisions Contact TIAA at 1-800-842-2252, to learn about your eligibility and to get started. Yes. Contact PERA customer service at 1-800-759-7372. Yes. Contact PERA customer service at 1-800-759-7372.
Qualifying distribution events retirement, severance of employment, disability, attainment of age 59½, or financial hardship retirement,severance of employment, disability, attainment of age 59½, or financial hardship retirement,severance of employment, disability, attainment of age 70½ while employed, or for an unforeseeable emergency
Early withdrawal penalties before age 59½ Yes Yes No

 

Deciding how much to save

For many people, the best way to figure out how much to save is to meet with a financial consultant to discuss their retirement income needs. TIAA provides in-person financial consultations at no cost to you. (It's already paid for in the administrative contract.)  Phone consultations are also available.

Check the Employee Services events calendar for a schedule of upcoming TIAA campus visits.

If you want to start saving even before you have a conversation with a professional, then there are a couple of approaches: choose a dollar amount you know you can afford (e.g., $20 per month), or choose a percentage of your compensation (2 percent). After you meet or speak with a financial professional, you can easily change your contribution amount.

Deciding how to invest your money

Once you've chosen a voluntary retirement plan and how much to contribute, you'll need to choose how to divide your money among stocks, bonds and other investment options. This is known as choosing your allocations.

The TIAA and PERA websites offer tools to help you decide how to allocate your money. You can also speak to financial professionals when they are on campus or call the customer service center.

If you want to get started saving before you can meet with a financial professional, you may choose to temporarily allocate your money into a target date fund. This type of fund uses your age to determine an appropriate allocation of your funds among stocks, bonds and other investment options, and automatically changes your allocations as time passes. While Target Date Funds do simplify investing, they may not be right for everyone. You should do your own research or speak with a financial professional to see what's best for your situation.

How to enroll

The enrollment process is slightly different for each plan.

CU's 403(b) Plan

  1. Complete the 403(b) Salary Reduction Agreement.
  2. Create an allocation strategy and put it into place by accessing your account at www.tiaa.org/cu.
  3. Select a beneficiary for your account by logging in to www.tiaa.org/cu.
  4. Complete a Salary Reduction Agreement and return it to Employee Services. Forms received by 5 p.m. in the 10th of each month will be processed in time to have contributions reflected in end-of-month pay.
  5. To increase, decrease or stop contributions, complete a new 403(b) Salary Reduction Agreement and return it to Employee Services by 5 p.m. on the 10th of the month.

PERA 401(k) Plan

Contact PERA at 1-800-759-7372.


PERA 457 Plan

Contact PERA at 1-800-759-7372.

How to increase, decrease or stop your contributions

CU's 403(b) Plan

To increase, decrease or stop contributions, complete a new 403(b) Salary Reduction Agreement and return it to Employee Services by 5 p.m. on the 10th of the month.


PERA 401(k) Plan

To increase, decrease or stop contributions, complete a new PERA 401(k) Contribution Authorization Form and return it to Employee Services by 5 p.m. on the 10th of the month.


PERA 457 Plan

To increase, decrease, or stop contributions, log in to your account at www.copera.org and look for the appropriate menu.  Enrollment and changes must be received by PERA no later than 2pm on the 25th of the month to be effective the first of the next month.

How to resume contributions that you've previously stopped

CU's 403(b) Plan

Complete a new 403(b) Salary Reduction Agreement and return it to Employee Services by 5 p.m. on the 10th of the month.


PERA 401(k) Plan

Complete a new PERA 401(k) Contribution Authorization Form and return it to Employee Services by 5 p.m. on the 10th of the month.


PERA 457 Plan

Log in to your account at www.copera.org and look for the appropriate menu. 

How to change your investment allocations

CU's 403(b) Plan

Log on to the TIAA website or call TIAA to access your account.


PERA 401(k) Plan

Log in to your account at www.copera.org, or call 1-800-759-7372, and select the PERAPlus menu option.


PERA 457 Plan

Log in to your account at www.copera.org, or call 1-800-759-7372, and select the PERAPlus menu option.

For those who have already reached this year's contribution limit(s)

If you reached your limit by contributing to a 403(b) and/or 401(k) plan, you may open a 457 Plan account and contribute up to $18,000 (or $24,000 if you are 50 or older).

If you reached your limit by contributing to a 457 Plan, you may open a 403(b) and/or 401(k) plan account and contribute up to $18,000 (or $24,000 if you are 50 or older).

See the "How to enroll" section above for specific plan enrollment instructions.

About catch-up provisions

If you are older than 50, you are allowed to contribute an additional $6,000 into a 457 Plan, and an additional $6,000 total into a 403(b) and 401(k) plan.

If you have a 457 Plan, for the three consecutive years before your normal retirement age, you may be able to contribute up to twice the available limit if you under-contributed in prior years.