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

Retirement decisions are among the most important you’ll ever make, and the key to success includes a well thought out plan. We have all of the information and resources you need to begin on your path to retirement from the University of Colorado.

To get started, click on the tabs that relate to your retirement plan.

The following resources provide CU 401(a) Retirement Plan participants full details and instructions on the retirement process.  

CU 401(a) Retirement Plan booklet and checklist
The booklet is for those participating in the CU 401(a) Retirement Plan. It walks you through the final phase of planning, the retirement process and the transition from employee to CU retiree.

Download the Retiring from CU: 401(a) Participants booklet 
 

Eligibility

Two factors determine your eligibility to become a CU retiree:

1. Position classification 
You must be in an active CU 401(a) Retirement Plan eligible position with a 20 hour (or more) appointment, immediately preceding your retirement date. The only exception: If you are in a contracted Phased Retirement agreement with your department.

2. Minimum age and years
Meet age and years of service requirements for either normal or early retirement as defined by the Board of Regents (see page 13 of the Retiring from CU: 401(a) Participants booklet). 

Premium rates: Normal vs. early retirement

Premium rates
Your age and years of service determine how much CU will continue to contribute to your retiree benefit premiums.  

Normal retirement
If you qualify for normal retirement, CU will pay 100 percent of the employer contribution toward your benefit premiums. You will be responsible for the retiree cost. 

Early retirement
If you qualify for early retirement, CU will pay a prorated employer contribution toward your benefit premiums. You will pay the employee cost and remainder of the prorated employer portion.

  Calculate your premium rate and determine your years of service on page 13 of the Retiring from CU: 401(a) Participants booklet

Benefit options for CU 401(a) retirees

Retiree benefits may include medical, dental and life insurance plans for qualifying retirees and their dependents.

University medical and dental retiree plans 
The university currently offers medical and dental plan options for eligible retirees and their dependents, whether they are non-Medicare eligible, Medicare-eligible or a combination of both (one family member is Medicare eligible and the other(s) is non-Medicare eligible).

University basic life insurance
As a retiree, your CU basic life insurance plan continues. It is reduced to a $3,000 benefit at the time of retirement. Accidental death and dismemberment coverage is not available as part of retiree basic life insurance.

University optional life insurance 
If enrolled before retirement, you may elect to continue up to 25 percent of the benefit, not to exceed $9,500. Accidental death and dismemberment coverage is not available as part of retiree optional life insurance.

Two CU employees in one household
When two members of a household are employed and/or retired with the university and/or university affiliates:

  • They and their dependents cannot be covered as both an employee/retiree and a dependent for any university medical or dental plan.
  • A retiree can be insured as both a retiree and a spouse of an active employee, up to a maximum combined optional life insurance benefit of $500,000.
  • Each parent employee/retiree may enroll in different plans, and may enroll different dependent children under his or her coverage.

Note: The Life Insurance policies do not have a cash value or provisions for loans. Retiree benefit options may change from year to year. As you prepare for retirement, stay up-to-date on retiree benefits.

  Review current plan options

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 CU 401(a) Retirement 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 with part-time employment. Options include negotiated differentiated workload, phased retirement and post-retirement CU employment, consulting opportunities and more.

What steps should I take?

3-5 years before retirement
At this stage, you should complete two important tasks: 

  • Seriously consider the cost of your retirement. 
  • Assess your retirement savings. Understanding where you currently stand and where you’re headed will help determine what needs to be done to successfully complete the process leading up to your retirement day.

  View a checklist on pages 6 and 7 of the Retiring from CU: 401(a) Participants booklet

2-3 months before retirement
When you are 2-3 months away from your retirement date, it’s time to set the retirement process into motion. Make sure you’re aware of important deadlines that will affect your retiree benefits and schedule an appointment to meet with a benefits professional to ensure a smooth transition. 

  View a checklist on pages 8 and 9 of the Retiring from CU: 401(a) Participants booklet

 

The resources below provide PERA retirement plan participants with full retirement process details and instructions.

PERA retirement plan booklet

  Download the Retiring from CU: PERA Participants booklet

Eligibility

The factors below determine your eligibility to become a CU PERA retiree.

Position classification 
You must be in an active benefits-eligible position with a 20 hour (or more) appointment, immediately preceding your retirement date. 

CU years of service
You must have at least 5 years of qualified service with CU. 

PERA requirements
You must meet PERA’s age and years-of-service requirements and officially retire with PERA. If you elect to receive a lump-sum distribution from PERA or postpone receiving your retirement pension until a later date, you will be resigning (not retiring) from CU and ineligible for CU retiree benefits.

Medicare
Medicare-eligible CU PERA retirees, spouses and dependents 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.

Premium rates: Normal vs. early retirement

Your years of service determine how much CU will continue to contribute to benefit premiums. 

Normal retirement
Employees who have worked for the university in a benefits-eligible position (20 hours or more) for at least 20 years will receive 100 percent of the university contribution towards eligible retiree medical, dental and basic life insurance premiums.

Early retirement
Employees who have worked for the university in a benefits-eligible position (20 hours or more) for a minimum of 5 years, and fewer than 20 years, are eligible for early retirement. They receive a prorated percentage of the university contribution toward eligible retiree medical, dental and basic life insurance premiums.


  Learn how to calculate your premiums on page 13 of the Retiring from CU: PERA Participants booklet

Benefit options for PERA retirees

University medical and dental retiree plans
The university offers medical and dental plan options for non-Medicare eligible retirees and their dependents. When the retiree, spouse or dependent becomes Medicare eligible, they are ineligible for CU medical and dental benefits. Consult PERA for benefit options if you are or become Medicare eligible.

University basic life insurance
Your CU basic life insurance plan continues as a retiree. It is reduced to a $3,000 benefit at retirement. Accidental death and dismemberment coverage is not available as part of retiree basic life insurance.

University optional life insurance 
If enrolled before retirement, you may elect to continue up to 25 percent of the benefit, not to exceed $9,500. Accidental death and dismemberment coverage is not available as part of retiree optional life insurance.

Two CU employees in one household 
When two members of a household are employed and/or retired with the university or university affiliates:

  • They and their dependents cannot be covered as both an employee/retiree and a dependent for any university medical or dental plan.
  • A retiree can be insured as both a retiree and a spouse of an active employee, up to a maximum combined optional life insurance benefit of $500,000.
  • Each parent employee/retiree may enroll in different plans, and may enroll different dependent children under his or her coverage.

Note: Life insurance policies do not have cash value or provisions for loans. 

What steps should I take?

3-5 years before retirement
At this stage, you should complete two important tasks: 

  1. Consider the cost of your retirement. 
  2. Assess your retirement savings. Understanding where you currently stand and where you are headed will help you determine what needs to be done to complete the process leading up to your retirement.

  View a checklist on pages eight and nine of the Retiring from CU: PERA Participants booklet

2-3 months before retirement
When you are 2-3 months away from your retirement date, it’s time to put the retirement process into motion. Be aware of important deadlines that will affect your retirement and retiree benefits. To ensure a smooth transition, work with PERA to determine your PERA retirement eligibility, and a CU benefits professional to determine your CU retirement eligibility. 

  View a checklist on pages 10 and 11 of the Retiring from CU: PERA Participants booklet

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

  1. Hold an active university benefits-eligible position with a 50 percent or greater appointment immediately preceding your retirement date AND have at least 5 years in a benefit-eligible position with a 50 percent or greater appointment.
  2. Meet PERA’s age and years of service requirements.
  3. Retire with PERA. If you elect to receive a lump-sum distribution from PERA or postpone your retirement date, you will be considered terminated (not retired) from the university and 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 more than 5 years, but less than 20 years, are eligible for early retirement. They will receive a prorated percentage of CU's contribution toward retiree medical, dental and basic life insurance premiums.

 

Need to save more? Explore catch-up provisions

As you approach retirement, assess your retirement savings. CU voluntary funds are a great way to increase your savings potential, and catch-up provisions allow anyone over age 50 to save even more.

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.

2019 calendar year limit: $19,000

2019 age 50+ catch-up provisions: $6,000

Aggregated contribution limit: The 403(b) and 401(k) are aggregated. That means you have one contribution limit between the two plans. You can contribute $19,000 (and age 50 catch-up provision of $6,000) to the 403(b), the 401(k) or a combination of both, but you cannot exceed the limit of $19,000 ($25,000) between the two.

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.

2019 calendar year limit: $19,000

2019 age 50+ catch-up provisions: $6,000

Aggregated contribution limit:  The 403 (b) and 401(k) are aggregated. That means you have one contribution limit between the two plans. You can contribute $19,000 (and age 50 catch-up provision of $6,000) to the 403(b), the 401(k) or a combination of both, but you cannot exceed the limit of $19,000 ($25,000) between the two.

Aggregated 415(c) contribution limit: The contribution limit for the 401(a) plan is $56,000. The 401(k) and the 401(a) are aggregated. Your contributions between the two (excluding the 401(k) plan catch-up contributions) cannot exceed this limit.

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.

2019 calendar year limit: $19,000

No aggregated limits: The 457 plan has its own set of contribution limits and is not aggregated with any other plan. You can contribute an additional $19,000 into the 457 plan and an additional $6,000 ($25,000) if you are age 50 or older.

Additional catch-up provisions: For three consecutive years before normal retirement age, you may be able to contribute up to twice the available limit ($38,000), 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?

Be sure to contact your voluntary retirement plan vendor 90-days before retirement. They can assist you in your retirement preparation.

CU 401(a) Retirement Plan Public Employees' Retirement Associate (PERA)
Phone
1-800-842-2776
Online
www.tiaa.org/cu
Phone
1-800-759-7372
Online
www.copera.org

 

Looking for additional contact information and resources? Review the chart below.

Service provider Phone Online
Medicare 1-800-633-4227 www.medicare.gov
The Standard Insurance Company 1-800-628-8600 www.standard.com
TIAA (CU 401(a) and CU 403(b) plans) 1-800-842-2776 www.tiaa.org/cu
PERA (401k and 457 plans) 303-832-9550 
Toll-free: 1-800-759-7372
www.copera.org
Anthem 1-800-735-6072 www.anthem.com/universityofcolorado
Kaiser 1-877-833-6698 my.kp.org/universityofcolorado
Delta Dental 1-877-356-7728 https://www.deltadentalco.com/CU/