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Educate yourself

We know the last thing teachers often have time for is to do homework about retirement planning. That’s why we’ve created a few study guides to make it easier to learn about your options.

Browse our reference library here.

Educational Materials

All about the 403(b)

Understand your 403(b) options and how best to benefit from them.

A 403(b) plan is a smart way to save for retirement, offering tax-deferral advantages, flexibility and control of your savings and the option to take guaranteed future income when you’re ready.

Created to meet the needs of employees of public schools, non-profits and certain churches, a 403(b) retirement savings plan can work alongside any pension your employer may offer. With a traditional 403(b) plan, your contributions are made on a pre-tax basis and grow tax-deferred while in the plan. You only pay taxes when you take it out of the plan. With a Roth 403(b) plan you pay taxes on the contributions up front, but the money grows tax-free.

Saving in a 403(b) allows you to:

[icon] Take control of your retirement security by contributing directly to a 403(b) savings plan through payroll deductions.
[icon] Accumulate money on a tax-favored basis, to supplement your pension or another retirement plan.
[icon] Keep your money, no matter where you go. Transfer your savings to other employer plans or into a traditional IRA if you leave your job.

403(b) Q&A

See what other educators are asking and find answers too.

How do I make contributions?

Contributions must be made through payroll. A salary reduction agreement is required and will inform your employer of your decision to participate. You can change the amount of your contributions by completing a new salary reduction agreement.

May I contribute from a checking or savings account?

No. All 403(b) contributions must be made through payroll.

How much can I contribute?

The IRS sets annual deferral limits on how much may be contributed. Special catch-up provisions may apply for participants over age 50 and for longevity of service with the same employer. A retirement specialist can assist you in calculating the Maximum Allowed Contribution.

Are loans available to me?

If the 403(b) plan allows, loans are permitted to individuals. The plan sponsor must approve loans in advance. Loan limits apply and are aggregated with any other loans in 403(b) accounts within the plan and any loans from any other qualified retirement plan of the employer.

When can I take money out?

You can take distributions from the 403(b) plan at age 59½, if you are fully disabled, or at separation of service. To qualify for the federal tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, a Roth 403(b) must be in place for at least five years, and the distribution must take place after age 59½ or due to death or disability. Distributions due to financial hardship may be available. Please check with the Plan Administrator for eligible hardship distributions and be able to provide any supporting documentation of the hardship. All distributions must be approved by the plan administrator.

What is a Plan Administrator?

Most school districts engage a third-party administrator (TPA) to establish and manage their 403(b) plan document to ensure compliance with IRS rules and guidelines. A school district’s benefit office can provide you with information regarding their TPA.

What happens if I change jobs?

You have control of your 403(b). The portability feature allows you to roll over the funds in this account into another retirement plan you may have. Or, you can leave your account in place and any balance has the potential to continue to grow tax-deferred.

Optimize your 403(b)

Rollovers, exchanges and transfers

Your 403(b) gives you additional advantages in flexibility and control. Rollovers, exchanges and transfers are just three of the ways to you can confidently maintain and manage your retirement savings plan.

Rollovers
A rollover refers to moving money from one plan to another plan and requires a 1099R.

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Example: Jane works now works for ABC School District, but previously worked for XYZ School District where she had a Fixed Index Annuity (FIA) from another company in her 403(b) Plan with a cash value of $10,000. Jane wants to move her $10,000 from XYZ school District to ABC School District, where she would like to purchase a FIA from Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, a member of National Life Group. This functions as a rollover, but is an IRS reportable, but not taxable event.

Exchanges
An exchange refers to changing investments within an existing plan.

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Example: Jane works for ABC School District and currently owns a Fixed Index Annuity (FIA) product in her 403(b) Plan with a cash value of $10,000. Jane wants to move her $10,000 from her current policy into a FIA policy from Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, a member of National Life Group within the same plan. This transaction would be an exchange.

Transfers
A transfer refers to money moving from one plan to another plan but does not trigger a 1099R.

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Example: Jane currently works for ABC School District, but previously worked for XYZ School District where she had a Fixed Index Annuity (FIA) in her 403(b) Plan with a cash value of $10,000. Jane wants to move her $10,000 from XYZ school District to ABC School District, where she would like to purchase a FIA from Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, a member of National Life Group. If the plan were to send the funds directly to the new plan, this transaction would be a transfer. HOWEVER, IRS rules dictate that the receiving plan “must not be less restrictive” than the distributing plan. This stipulation is very difficult for Plan Administrators to adhere to, therefore most plans do not permit transfers.
Consider and Calculate

Understand the high cost of waiting

It’s never too late to start to save for retirement. But the numbers show that the earlier you begin, the better your outlook will be.

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Calculate your contribution

Use our calculators to find gaps and learn how—and how quickly—to address them.

How much will I need to save for retirement?

Use this pre-retirement calculator to determine how much you may need to save on a regular basis to help improve your retirement outlook.

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Traditional or Roth or both?

Use this calculator to determine if you may be eligible to contribute to both a Traditional and a Roth IRA.

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Local Resources

Learn about the retirement savings options your district offers in three quick steps.

1 Find and download your Employee Handbook.

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2 Discuss your options with the benefits resource in your district.

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3 When you’re ready, contact us for help saving for a secure retirement.

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Videos

A compassionate culture of doing good

We work to bring peace of mind so you can focus on what matters most.

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Celebrating LifeChangers
We are proud to recognize outstanding educators across the country with our LifeChanger of the Year program.
Our Cause
We live our values: “Do Good. Be Good. Make Good.” Hear our head coach tell you why.
Morning on Main Street
For 170 years we’ve been serving Main Street, not Wall Street. Take a walk with us down Main Street.

Who is your LifeChanger?

LifeChanger of the Year is an annual program sponsored by National Life Group that recognizes and rewards K-12 educators and school employees nationwide. Our program celebrates those who are making a significant difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership. Nominations for the 2018-19 LifeChanger of the Year program are now open.

NOMINATE YOUR LIFECHANGER