Frequently Asked Questions - Retirement

What is the deadline for deciding between SERS and the Penn State Alternate Retirement Plan with TIAA?

You have 30 days from the effective date of your appointment to choose your retirement plan (either SERS or the Penn State Alternate Retirement Plan.) If you do not make your decision within the 30 day period state regulations require that you automatically be enrolled in SERS. Once your choose a plan the decision is irrevocable, and you can not change retirement plans. However, you may enroll in a TIAA supplemental retirement plan at any time.

How can I save more for retirement in addition to my mandatory contributions?

All Penn State employees are eligible to open a supplemental retirement account with TIAA. You can choose either the 403(b) tax-deferred annuity and/or the 457(b) deferred compensation plan. This is in addition to and separate from the mandatory contributions you make to your Penn State retirement plan, whether you are in SERS or the Alternate Retirement Plan. You can open the new account at ANY TIME during the year, and can change or stop your contributions whenever you like. See the Supplemental Retirement page to learn more about this feature.

How do I enroll in a supplemental retirement plan account?

See the Supplemental Retirement page and scroll down to Enrollment to learn how to open an account.

What investment options are available in the TIAA retirement plans? 

See a complete listing of all investment options available from TIAA.

How do I change the amount I'm contributing to my 403(b) or 457(b) supplemental retirement plan account?

You can change the amount you're contributing to your 403(b) or 457(b) account at any time by completing a voluntary salary reduction agreement, and mailing or faxing it to Employee Benefits.

How do I change my investments in any of my TIAA retirement plans?

You can change your investments in any TIAA retirement plan at any time either by accessing your TIAA account online, or by calling them at 800-842-2252, weekdays 8a.m.-10p.m. or Saturday 9a.m.-6p.m.

How can I determine if I'm saving enough money for retirement?

The best way to determine if you're staying on track to meet your retirement needs is by speaking to a TIAA representative dedicated to Penn State employees. You can reach them at:

328 Innovation Boulevard
Suite 301
State College, PA  16803
(814)278-5000   

If you want to do a quick check on your own you can use either the retirement calculator or the retirement advisor.

How can I set up a one-on-one meeting with a TIAA representative?

You can set up a free confidential one-on-one consultation with a TIAA representative dedicated to Penn State Employees. You can reach them at:

      328 Innovation Boulevard
      Suite 301
      State College, PA  16803
 

You can schedule by phone at 1-800-732-8353 Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, or you can schedule online.

How can I set up a one-on-one meeting with a SERS representative?

You can set up a free confidential one-on-one consultation with a SERS representative by contacting them at:

    2525 Green Tech Drive, Suite AA
    State College, PA  16803
    800-633-5461

 

How can I have TIAA conduct a seminar or workshop at my location?

Workshops and seminars can be done at your college or campus location, or even at an alternate site. TIAA will take care of all the details. All you need to do is provide an appropriate space. Possible topics include everything from making and maintaining a personal budget, to a mid-career retirement checkup, to transitioning from career to life after retirement. If you would like to learn what opportunities are available or to schedule an event, please contact TIAA at 814-278-5000, or the Office of Human Resources at 814-865-1473.   

Can I view a TIAA presentation at my desk via webinar? 

Yes. Click here to see the webinars that are available for you to view on your schedule. 

How do I change the beneficiary on my TIAA retirement account?

You can change the beneficiary on any of your TIAA retirement accounts at any time either by accessing your TIAA account online or by completing a Beneficiary Designation Form and sending it to TIAA.

How do I change the beneficiary on my SERS retirement account?

You can change the beneficiary on your SERS retirement account at any time by completing a Beneficiary Designation Form and sending it to SERS.

How can I learn about the differences between SERS and the PSU Alternate Retirement Plan with TIAA?

To learn about the differences between SERS and the PSU Alternate Retirement Plan with TIAA see the Retirement page and scroll down to Retirement Plan Comparison. 

How can I learn about the differences between a 403(b) and a 457(b) supplemental retirement plan account?

To learn about the differences between a 403(b) and a 457(b) supplemental retirement plan account with TIAA visit the supplemental retirement page. 

Why are the expenses and fees for variable annuities higher than those for mutual funds?

While annuities and mutual funds incur similar expenses for things such as portfolio management, variable annuities are basically contracts between insurance companies and individuals. There are expenses associated with creating and maintaining many of the insurance guarantees offered by annuities, such as mortality and expense risk charges and other administrative charges, which cover the operating costs of the insurance company. There is also a cost associated with having the ability to convert the annuity into payments when you retire, known as "annuitization." These insurance protections and features are not available through investment products, such as mutual funds. It is important to understand the costs and features annuities offer before investing to ensure they are the best fit for your situation.    

What happens to my retirement plan when I leave University employment?

A faculty or staff member who is leaving University employment may be able to port their retirement benefits to the retirement system of the new employer.  They should contact the appropriate retirement plan provider listed below regarding possible benefits or the withdrawal of contributions.

  1. Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) – Contact the nearest SERS regional counseling center, or the Harrisburg office at 1-800-633-5461.            
  2. Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA) – Call 1-800-842-2252.
  3. Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) – Contact the nearest PSERS regional counseling center or the Harrisburg office at 1-888-773-7748.
  4. Federal Civil Service Retirement System - Contact the Agriculture Extension Office.

How can I learn about all the other benefits available to me as a PSU employee?

To learn about all of the fantastic benefits available to you as a Penn State employee visit the Office of Human Resources website, contact us at 814-865-1473 Monday-Friday from 8:00am - 5:00pm EST, or email us at benefits@psu.edu. We're here to help you!