Retirement Savings Plans and Investment Funds
Tufts provides a generous, university-funded retirement plan to eligible faculty and staff. If you are benefits-eligible, Tufts University contributes a percentage of your base salary to your retirement savings plan. If you wish to save more for retirement, you may also choose to make contributions to a self-funded retirement plan offered through the university. For both plans, you have the option to select your investment funds or use the plan default.
Tufts University-Funded Retirement Plan – 401(a)
You are automatically enrolled in the Tufts University-Funded Retirement Plan on your date of hire if you are a benefits-eligible employee* and age 21 or older. This is a 401(a) plan.
- If you are age 21 to 39, the university will contribute 5% of your base salary, up to the Social Security wage base, and 10% of your salary above the Social Security wage base.
- If you are age 40 or older, the university will contribute 10% of your base salary, up to the Social Security wage base, and 15% of your salary above the Social Security wage base.
Note: The Social Security wage base for 2021 is $142,800. Any changes for the next calendar year will be added when available.
If you do not make an investment election, your contribution will be invested into the Plan default, a Vanguard Target Date Fund.
You are 100% vested in the Tufts University-Funded Retirement Plan once you have completed three years of eligible service.
Self-Funded Retirement Plan – 403(b)
To supplement your 401(a) Plan savings, eligible employees may also choose to enroll in the Self-Funded Retirement Plan to contribution their own pre-tax contribution up to the IRS annual limit. This is a 403(b) voluntary retirement plan. You can enroll in the 403(b) Plan or change your elections at any time. All changes will be effective with the next available payroll.
As of July 14, 2021, new employees will be automatically enrolled with a 6% contribution in the 403(b) Plan after 35 days of employment. If you want to choose another deferral percentage or opt out of this benefit (0%), you must change your election accordingly during your initial 35-day enrollment period. All changes will be effective with the next available payroll.
Once your 403(b) contribution is processed, it cannot be refunded until you are eligible for a distribution*. You may increase or decrease your 403(b) deferral at any time in the future. All changes will be effective with the next available payroll.
You may contribute to the 403(b) Plan up to the maximum IRS annual limit each year. Below are the IRS limits for calendar year 2021. Any changes for the next calendar year will be added when available.
- If you are less than age 50, you can contribute up to $19,500 for calendar year 2021.
- If you are age 50 or older by December 31, 2021, you can contribute up to $26,000 for calendar year 2021.
- You are always 100% vested in the 403(b) Plan.
- Hardship and loan provisions are available under this plan.
- You may roll over funds from other employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans into the 403(b) Plan.
Investment Fund Options
You have the choice of 22 mutual funds for investing both your Tufts-University Funded and Self-Funded Retirement Plans. You may choose to invest through Fidelity and/or TIAA. Use this chart to see all your investment options.
If you do not choose a vendor or mutual fund for your investments, your funds will automatically be invested in the Plan default, a Vanguard Target Date fund, offered through Fidelity. If you choose TIAA as your vendor but do not choose an investment, your funds will automatically be invested in the TIAA default, the Vanguard Balanced Index Fund.
Investment performance is included on the Fidelity and TIAA microsites:
- Funds at Fidelity for 401(a) and 403(b) Plans
- Funds at TIAA for 401(a) Plan
- Funds at TIAA for 403(b) Plan
Using NetBenefits to Access Your Retirement Accounts
Starting on July 14, 2021, regardless of which vendor you choose (Fidelity and/or TIAA), you will use NetBenefits to enroll, increase or decrease your contributions, or to change your investment choices. For step-by-step instructions, refer to the tip sheets below:
- If you do not have NetBenefits or need help logging on to the NetBenefits site: Tip Sheet: How to Register
- If you want to enroll in the 403(b) Plan: Tip Sheet: 403(b) Enrollment
- If you want to change your Retirement Plan provider (Fidelity or TIAA): Tip Sheet: How to Change Your Provider
- If you want to change your 403(b) contribution: Tip Sheet: How to Change Your 403(b) Plan Contribution
If you have questions about NetBenefits, please contact Fidelity at 800-343-0860.
Unless otherwise stated in the employee's employment letter, a foreign national employee who is eligible to participate in the Tufts University domestic benefit programs, may only participate in the University-Funded Retirement Plan (401(a)) and the Self-Funded Retirement Plan (403(b)) if the employee has a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
Before participating in the Self-Funded Retirement Plan, the employee should consult a tax advisor familiar with the tax laws of the United States and the employee's home country.
*See Summary Plan Description for full details.