Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
BeetleBounce

TIAA optional SRA...

Recommended Posts

My place of employment's TIAA benefits plan states:

A voluntary retirement plan is available after one year of employment to all employees over age 21 who work at least 1000 hours per year.  Participating employees are required to contribute a minimum of 2% (up to a government-defined maximum) of their annual salary to the TIAA/CREF retirement plan to be eligible to receive the employer contribution of 5% of their annual salary. Optional Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) in TIAA-CREF Mutual Funds and IRAs are also available.

I am assuming that the limits for contributions - be they in the defined contribution plan to receive the employer match plus anything that would go into the optional supplemental retirement annuity cannot exceed 403b limits, correct? So the 2018 limits of $18,500 for under age 50, or $24,500 for age 50+ would be it - combined, yes? One couldn't put the maximum in the defined contribution plan, and then add more in the optional SRA. I'm pretty sure the answer is no, but thought I'd get clarification. The employer does have a 457b plan, but it is private and only for cabinet members (our highest paid employees).

Just searching for ways to max out beyond the 403b and Roth IRA besides going to taxable investing.

TIA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "voluntary retirement plan" is certainly worth using because of the 5% employer contribution. I'm not sure what your contribution limit is on this plan, probably a 401a plan. The employer's 5% isn't part of your limit. Here’s a discussion between professionals on 401a and 403b contribution limits. https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/forums/topic/voluntary-contribution-limits-to-401a-and-403b/ and also https://thefinancebuff.com/retirement-plans-galore-401a-401k-403b-457-sep-simple.html
Ask your HR office about that. It probably depends on how your employer’s 401a plan is written?

The "Optional Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA)", would be a 403b plan with an 18.5k contribution limit. 
Of course your IRA with it's contribution of up to 5.5k is completely independent of your employer's retirement plans. 

EDIT: Here's a more complete and recent article by Harry Sit:  https://thefinancebuff.com/401a-plan-contribution-limit.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, krow36 said:

The "voluntary retirement plan" is certainly worth using because of the 5% employer contribution. I'm not sure what your contribution limit is on this plan, probably a 401a plan. The employer's 5% isn't part of your limit. Here’s a discussion between professionals on 401a and 403b contribution limits. https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/forums/topic/voluntary-contribution-limits-to-401a-and-403b/ and also https://thefinancebuff.com/retirement-plans-galore-401a-401k-403b-457-sep-simple.html
Ask your HR office about that. It probably depends on how your employer’s 401a plan is written?

The "Optional Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA)", would be a 403b plan with an 18.5k contribution limit. 
Of course your IRA with it's contribution of up to 5.5k is completely independent of your employer's retirement plans. 

EDIT: Here's a more complete and recent article by Harry Sit:  https://thefinancebuff.com/401a-plan-contribution-limit.html

Thanks for the links. My wife has a 401a mandatory pension plan she contributes 8.% and the employer match totals it up to 14.88%. She also maxes out the voluntary 403b, and it looks like she may have a voluntary 457 plan as well we could utilize.

My plan is a 403b which I max out, but the 457b available for my institution at TIAA is closed (private) and only for those higher earners (cabinet members) who "toil and contribute to the institution" - which is about 7 or 8 cabinet members. So all I see listed for our plans is an optional SRA. It would be nice to have an additional salary reduction investment option, but I realize an employer is not required to offer one. Not sure how the SRA gets counted or if any contributions to it would also be part of my limits within a 403b. I should hear from HR/Payroll tomorrow if it is an option and answer some of my questions.

If there is no option to use salary reduction outside of the 403b where I work, I will check with my wife's employer to see if she is eligible for their 457 plan. Two income household that find ourselves as empty nesters with the ability to play catch up with retirement contributions for the next 5-8 years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's unfortunate that your employer doesn't make a 457 available to all employees. Is your wife's 457 a "governmental" or a "non-governmental" plan? How about your unavailable 457 plan? Good luck on hearing that you are able to participate in the TIAA "voluntary retirement plan" (a 401a?)! Perhaps it is a plan you didn't sign up for at the beginning of your employment and so don't now have access to? Hope not.

Quote

 

Not sure how the SRA gets counted or if any contributions to it would also be part of my limits within a 403b.


 

TIAA is an insurance company and so their terminology is sometimes confusing, at least to me. My wife has a TIAA Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA) and they seldom if ever label it as a 403b plan, but it is a 403b. I think your 403b account is what TIAA calls a SRA. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/1/2018 at 8:45 PM, krow36 said:

It's unfortunate that your employer doesn't make a 457 available to all employees. Is your wife's 457 a "governmental" or a "non-governmental" plan? How about your unavailable 457 plan? Good luck on hearing that you are able to participate in the TIAA "voluntary retirement plan" (a 401a?)! Perhaps it is a plan you didn't sign up for at the beginning of your employment and so don't now have access to? Hope not.

TIAA is an insurance company and so their terminology is sometimes confusing, at least to me. My wife has a TIAA Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA) and they seldom if ever label it as a 403b plan, but it is a 403b. I think your 403b account is what TIAA calls a SRA. 

Yes, it is a 403b plan. I've got it now - or at least think I do.

The institution calls the portion of the 403b where I contribute 2%, and the employer match of 5% the "defined contribution" portion of the TIAA 403b. The "optional SRA" is whatever else over and above that an employee wants to contribute until one hits the max - be it $18,500K for under age 50 or $24,500 for age 50+ for 2018. That total limit includes the 2% I contribute in the portion they label the "defined contribution".

Unfortunately there is no other option for employees who would like to contribute beyond the 403b with an additional plan such as a 457b. I have to wonder that professors and staff who may be in a dual income household where they have no children, or are empty nesters in their final decade or so of working when income is high enough between the couple, and expenses low enough where they could utilize the opportunity to go to the IRS limits of the combined 403b and 457b to sock money away for retirement. It's obviously available at other institutions. I can't believe I would be the first to have asked my institution for an additional option, but do know I am only one of a small group that max out our 403b. So perhaps the lack of demand is the reasoning.

Regardless, my wife heard back today from her employer that she is indeed eligible for her employer's 457b plan (it's through the state). So we could max out her 403b and 457b using the age 50+ catch up in both - along with my 403b doing the same age 50+ catch up all due to being empty nesters with low expenses. Having gone through the college years with our kids, which involved plenty of cash flow from us - it's a new position we find ourselves in, so never really bothered to check into our additional options at our employers before this year because of the reality of two college kids. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps you should make a request to HR that the state 457 plan be offered to all employees. As you say, you may be the first to ask for it! Maybe you can find other employees to do likewise? I guess if your institution is a private, non-profit, it can only offer a "non-governmental" 457, which have disadvantages. 

Thanks for explaining your 2% required contribution and the employer's 5% match as being part of your 403b and not a 401a. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×