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Retirement Savings Programs

We are excited to announce the upcoming changes to the TSA program. There will be more opportunities to strengthen the goals to meet financial and investment objectives. Fidelity will feature leading-edge online planning tools, expanded investment options, convenient online account access at any time, and more.

For more information, please go to: or view the CSU Town Hall Presentation.

Retirement Savings Programs allow you to save for your retirement while providing you with a tax break. It allows you to select an amount by which the gross salary can be reduced and tax-sheltered. The tax deferred portion of the gross income is not included as part of your gross earnings for State and Federal tax purposes. Thus, the employee receives a current tax advantage. Income taxes are paid at the time funds are withdrawn or at annuitization. The maximum amount an employee can "shelter" in these programs is determined by the Internal Revenue Service and/or the agent of the company with which the employee chooses to enroll.

Retirement Savings Programs include:

  • Tax Sheltered Annuity (403b)
  • Thrift Plan (401k)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (457)

Tax-Sheltered Annuity (403b)

Effective April 1, 2016, Fidelity will be the only fund sponsor participating in this program. VALIC, TIAA-CREF, MetLife and Voya will become legacy funds.

  • Fund Sponsor Representatives
  • Frequently Asked Questions about TSA

Thrift Plan (401K) and
Deferred Compensation (457)

These two plans are administered by the State of California Savings Plus Program (SSP) at the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). You may obtain more information by visiting the Savings Plus website or by calling toll free: (855) 616-4776.

Dual Participation

Contributions to a 403(b) plan are no longer offset by contributions to a 457 plan. For example, for tax year 2016, a participant could elect to contribute up to $18,000 to a 403(b) plan AND up to $18,000 to a 457 plan, for a total contribution of up to $36,000. However, contributions to a 403(b) plan are offset by any contributions to a 401(k) plan in the same tax year. Employees contributing to both a 403(b) and a 401(k) plan are restricted by IRS regulations to a combined total of $18,000.

Each employee is responsible for their own calculations and to make sure the IRS limits are not exceeded.



All employees are eligible to participate in a 403(b) program, regardless of time base (with the exception of certain student classifications), including rehired annuitants.

Enrollment Procedures

Enrolllment in the CSU 403(b) Program is through an online process using the VALIC Retirement Manager system will end on April 1, 2016.

  • March 1, 2016:
    • The last date current payroll contributions will be directed to MetLife, TIAA-CREF, VALIC, Voya or Fidelity in your current investment lineup.
  • March 7, 2016:
    • Participants may enroll or make changes to their contribution amount for the May 1st pay warrant through Fidelity NetBenefits at or by call Fidelity at (800) 343-0860.
    • Early Choice Window Opens. Participants will have the opportunity to elect from the new investment line up.  Review the new investments online at
    • Designate your beneficiaries.
  • March 28, 2016:
    • Early Choice Window Closes.  If you didn’t make an investment election, your contributions will default to one of the Vanguard Target Retirement Date funds (based on the year in which you turn age 65).
    • Individuals will not have access to the new fund line between March 28, 2016 and March 31, 2016.  Access to the fund line up will resume on April 1, 2016.
  • April 1, 2016:
    • Participants may begin to transfer account balances form their current vendor to Fidelity should they choose to.  For more information contact Fidelity at (800) 343-0860.

Maximum Exclusion Amount

The annual maximum exclusion amount is set by the Internal Revenue Service and changes periodically. For 2016, the maximum exclusion allowance is the lesser of $18,000, or 100% of your adjusted gross income. Please contact your tax advisor to determine your personal maximum exclusion amount.

Minimum Reduction Amount

The minimum monthly investment for 403(b) is $15 per month per company. The minimum monthly investment for the 457 and 401(k) plans are $50 for your initial investment, then you can alter the monthly amount to a $20 per month contribution.

Important Information

The December pay period begins the new tax year (warrant has an issue date of January 1st). This is important for calculating maximum contributions for a tax year.

You are eligible to make changes to your elective deferral on a monthly basis. The cut-off date to make changes in Retirement Manager is the fifth (5th) of each month by 9:59 PM Pacific Time (PST), or the next business day by 9:59 PM if the fifth (5th) falls on a holiday or weekend.

Catch-Up Limit

There are two "catch-up" provisions for making additional contributions; if you qualify, you may participate. To verify eligibility, please complete the online Maximum Contribution Worksheet available on NetBenefits

Under Internal Revenue Code IRC) Section 402(g)(7), employees that have at least 15 years of service (full-time equivalent) with the CSU may be eligible to contribute an additional $3,000 per tax year for up to five years, for a total lifetime catch-up of $15,000. Employees who want to take advantage of this catch-up allowance must complete the catch-up form and submit it to Benefits Services.

Under IRC section 414(v), employees who are, or will turn age 50 by the end of the current tax year (December 31) may contribute an additional $6,000 (for 2016) to a 403(b) plan, or to a 401(k) plan, and also contribute an additional $6,000 to a 457 plan.

If an employee qualifies for both of the catch-up provisions, additional contributions will first be applied to the 15 year catch-up allowance and then to the age based catch-up provision.

Please note, that the sum of all contributions to all 403(b) and 401(k) plans an employee participates in is generally limited to the lesser of $53,000 or 100% of the employee's compensation in 2016.


All changes (increases, decreases and cancellations) are done through the online Retirement Manager until March 31, 2016. Starting April 1, 2016, all changes are done through Fidelity's NetBenefits.

Category: Savings

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