Participating in your district's 403(b) or 457 plan doesn't have to be overwhelming. Here are five simple steps to get started.
1. Contact your district:
- Request a copy of your district's 403(b) plan document and/or 457 plan information, including a summary of the plan provisions such as loans, transfers, exchanges and any fees.
- Be sure to get the list of approved vendors for both ongoing contributions and exchanges.
- Ask for enrollment forms and any associated paperwork.
2. Brush up on the details:
- View the videos, particularly "Why Participate in a 403(b) or 457 Plan?" for a basic overview.
- Read the retirement checklist article appropriate for you age in this section. This will help you figure out where you need to be at this stage of retirement planning.
- Read more about 403(b) and 457 plans.
- Request a copy of "Closing the Gap," the CTA 403(b)/457 guide.
3. Choose your vendors and products:
- Read the investing articles.
- Request a copy of "Know What You're Paying For," the CTA guide to financial advisors and fees.
- Review the vendors and investment options offered by your plan.
- Determine which products best match your timeline (the amount of time until you need to access the money), goals (how much money you would like to accumulate) and risk tolerance (how much volatility – or changes in value – you are willing to accept).
4. Decide how much to save:
5. Sign up:
- Complete and submit a salary reduction form with the amount you want to contribute.
- Complete and submit enrollment forms indicating the investments you want in your plan.
Congratulations on taking a big step toward planning for your financial future!
Tip: Complete the personalized financial checklist. You can choose to download a copy to keep or sign up for regular e-mail reminders that can help you stay on track.