Voluntary savings plans are available to most employees. Review the benefits eligibility matrix to determine your eligibility. 

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

The 2018 contribution limit is $18,500.  However, you may contribute to a combination of accounts a combined total maximum of $37,000:

  • That limit is combined for the 403(b) and 401(k) plans; that is, you can contribute a total of $18,500 to 403(b) and 401(k) accounts during the year.
  • The 457 Plan has a separate, yearly contribution limit of $18,500.

All three plans allow catch-up contributions of $6,000 (or $12,000 total) in 2018, 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

 

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 http://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 $18,500 (or $24,500 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 $18,500 (or $24,500 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.