The 403(b)/457(b) Retirement Plan is a defined contribution retirement plan. An employer, its employees—or both—make regularly scheduled contributions to an account set up in each participating employee’s name. Each account’s value depends on the amounts the employer and/or employee contributes, and investment gains or losses on those contributions.
You can invest the money in your 403(b)/457(b) Retirement Plan account through TIAA and/or Fidelity. If you need help with your retirement plan investment options or you need personalized financial advice, schedule an appointment with a TIAA or Fidelity representative.
403(b)/457(b) Retirement Plan highlights:
Grow your account through your contributions, University contributions and investment earnings
Contribute a percentage of your regular salary; the University makes a matching contribution up to 10% of your regular salary
Choose the contributions you want to make—pre-tax to the 403(b), after-tax (Roth) to the 403(b) and (if you qualify) 457(b)
Keep the money in your account if you leave the University. Or, transfer the vested portion (the money you own) to another tax-qualified retirement savings plan. The vested portion is always yours.
Your Financial Questions—Answered.
Fidelity and TIAA offer articles on a variety of topics, including saving and spending, retiring, budgeting, college planning and more. Visit the TIAAand Fidelitywebsites for more information.
You must contribute 3% of your regular salary, pre-tax, to the 403(b)
The University will contribute 5% of your regular salary automatically to the 403(b)
Starting July 2019, your required contribution will increase to 4% of your regular salary.
If you elect to contribute more than 5% of your regular salary (pre-tax or after-tax Roth), the University will match your contribution, dollar-for-dollar, up to 10% of your regular salary.
There are two types of contributions you can make to your 403(b):
Pre-tax: Contributions are made from your salary before state and federal taxes are taken out. You pay taxes on the money you withdraw at and after retirement. The required 3% contribution is pre-tax. (This increases to 4% starting July 1, 2019.)
After-tax (Roth): Contributions are made from your salary after state and federal taxes are taken out. Since you’ve already paid taxes on these contributions, you won’t pay them when you withdraw the money at or after retirement.
Note: You can only participate in the 457(b) Plan after you have reached the 403(b) Plan contribution limits before the end of each calendar year. To make a 457(b) contribution, contact your campus Human Resources.
You are vested automatically in your own contributions. This means you can take them with you if you leave the University for any reason.
You become vested in the University contributions if you:
Complete 24 consecutive months of employment in a benefits eligible position; OR
Reach age 65; OR
Become disabled as determined by the Social Security Administration or the University's long-term disability insurance provider.
If you are not vested when you leave University employment and return to the University after 30 or more days, your vesting period starts over. If you are vested when you leave University employment and then return as an employee at another University of Arkansas campus, you will still be vested. Once you are vested in the University retirement plan, you are always vested.
After you have chosen the retirement plan vendor to use (TIAA and/or Fidelity), you must set-up your retirement plan account directly with the vendor.
You can participate with one retirement plan vendor or both. To participate with both, you must set-up a retirement plan account and select investment options with each vendor. Retirement income planning tools are available on the TIAA and Fidelity websites if you need assistance.
Contact your campus Human Resources for the form required to:
Start, stop, increase or decrease your voluntary 403(b) contribution
Choose between pre-tax and/or after-tax (Roth) contributions
Switch between TIAA and Fidelity or change the split between TIAA and Fidelity.
Note:When enrolling for the first time, you must complete an application with TIAA and/or Fidelity.
Changes to your 403(b) will be effective in the month you make them, as long as they are made before the applicable payroll processing date. You can also make a change at a designated future date.
Changes to Your 457(b)
Changes to your 457(b) will be effective the first day of the month following the date Human Resources receives your completed form. Contact your campus Human Resources for a copy of the form.
Changing Your Beneficiaries
When you set up your retirement plan, you must elect a beneficiary—someone who will receive the money in your account if you die. It’s important that you review your beneficiaries at least annually to ensure the correct person will receive your benefit. If you open accounts with both TIAA and Fidelity, you must make beneficiary elections for both accounts. To elect or change your beneficiary:
You must set-up and/or update your beneficiaries on the 403(b) plan and the 457(b) plan if you participate in both plans.
Contact TIAA or Fidelity to schedule a free retirement planning session. Learn how to maximize your retirement savings, options for saving outside of your University 403(b) and 457(b), and steps you can take to prepare for retirement. All online sessions are posted to Documents. Check with your campus Human Resources to find the dates of any upcoming events on your campus.
If you transfer from one campus to another and were participating in APERS at your prior campus, you can elect to participate in APERS at your new campus. Note: A transfer is defined as a break in service of 30 days or less. You cannot remain in ARTRS if you transfer campuses.
Retirement Options for Non-Benefits-Eligible Employees
If you are a non-benefits-eligible University employee, you can voluntarily participate in the 403(b) Retirement Plan. The University will not contribute to your account. Contributions can be pre-tax or after-tax. You can participate through TIAA and/or Fidelity.
Contact your campus Human Resources for a form to elect contributions or make changes to your account(s). When enrolling for the first time, you must complete an application with TIAA and/or Fidelity.