Additional Ways to Save for Retirement
Piggy bank

As an MUS employee, there are a variety of investment options available to you to continue to help you save for retirement.  These options are voluntary supplemental retirement plans that allow you to contribute and invest pretax dollars.  As MUS employees, you can invest in the MUS 403(b) supplemental plan and/or the Montana Public Employees’ Retirement Administration’s (MPERA) 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan. Although there is not an employer contribution to any of the supplemental plans, adding even one of these additional options is a great way to help build your retirement savings. 

MUS 403(b)

Sponsored by the Montana University System Board of Regents (BOR), the 403(b) plan allows you to save above and beyond what you and your employer are contributing toward your retirement through either the MUS-RP, PERS or TRS.  All MUS employees are eligible to participate in the 403(b) plan.   The plan allows you to contribute a portion of your compensation on a pre-taxed basis.  The amount invested, plus interest credited on any fixed options, and any gain on the variable options, is not taxable until you withdraw the funds at a future date.  Values may increase or decrease based on the investment performance of the mutual fund(s) you select.  Employees can enroll in the plan by completing a Salary Reduction Agreement and returning it to your campus payroll or HR and setting up your account online.

The 403(b) offer a wide range of investment options to help meet the retirement needs of our employees.

NewBeginning February, 1 2018 the MUS launched a new MUS 403 (b) plan with an enhanced investment lineup and record keeping services provided by TIAA. Contributions, new accounts, and loans will no longer be available through MetLife, Voya, and Valic from that point forward.  If you need to contact these legacy vendors, please see the below contact information:

Frequently Ask Questions

How does the plan(s) work?

You elect the amount you wish to defer from your gross salary each pay period and choose investment options.  The amount you elect to defer is withheld from your paycheck before taxes.  Because pre-taxed investments reduce the amount of federal and state tax withheld, your net salary is not reduced by the total amount you defer.

How much can I defer?

Under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), the annual deferral limit is the less of 100% of “includable compensation” or the applicable dollar limit.  The applicable dollar limit for 2019 is $19,000.  As an MUS employee you can contribute up to the limit for both the 403(b) and 457(b) plans, which means for 2019 you could have contributed a total of $38,000.  Your 403(b) account limit may need to be coordinated with other certain retirement options.  

“Additional” Age 50+ Catch-up Provision allows those that are 50 or older to make additional catch-up contributions except during years when regular catch-up contributions are being made.  The additional catch-up amount that may be deferred is $6,000 for 2019.

When can I join the plan(s)?

You can join at any time.  Your deferral becomes effective as of the first day of the month following the filing of your application and Salary Deferral Agreement (SDA).  Please contact your human resource office for more information.

Can I change my deferral amounts?  Can I stop deductions?

Yes.  You can request increases, decreases or cessation of your referrals at any time.  Requested changes become effective as of the first day of the month following your filing of an SDA.  Please contact your human resource office for further assistance.

What happens if I leave the MUS?

The IRC allows distributions of funds only upon retirement, separation from service with the participating employer, or attainment of age 70 ½.  At the time you sever employment, you may:

  • Keep your money invested in the plan(s) and, if desired, continue to manage your money within the offered investment options.  However, you will not be able to continue to make contributions.
  • Roll your money into another qualified retirement plan.  Be sure to confirm that the new plan will accept your rollover.  If you are under 59 ½ years old, you may also have to pay a 10% additional income tax for early distributions depending on the retirement vehicle.  Please contact a tax professional before making a final decision.
  • Withdraw your money in an elected and defined method, subject to ordinary income tax.

What if I need to withdraw some of my funds while still working?

The 403(b) plan allows for in-service distribution for:  age 59 ½, hardship and/or disability.  Loans may also be allowed.  Loans are subject to being repaid with interest by you to your investment account and usually must be repaid within five (5) years.  A hardship withdrawal may be subject to tax.  All loans and hardship withdrawals must meet specific criteria and be approved by the plan administrator.  For more information, please contact your human resources department.  We also recommend contacting your financial or tax advisor before making a final decision.

Please note, in-service withdrawals are not allowed from the MUS-RP, PERS Defined Benefit Retirement Plan, the PERS Defined Contribution Retirement Plan, or the Teachers’ Retirement System.

When can I withdraw my money without penalty?

With a 403(b) plan, you can withdraw your money when you retire or when you turn 59 ½ even if you are still working.  You must begin taking withdrawals by age 70 ½.  Federal and state taxes will apply.


Manage Your Retirement

Take advantage of the guidance, education, and tools that each of the MUS 403(b) recordkeeper, TIAA, to help you maximize your retirement savings.  Please contact your human resource office or visit the MUS 403(b) website or call 1-800-842-2273 for more information or to schedule a one-on-one consultation.

Disclaimer: If there are any discrepancies between this website and the provisions of Supplemental Retirement plans, the Plan Documents will prevail.

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