What Is 403 Retirement Plan


What Is A 403 Retirement Plan And How Does It Work

The basics of 403(b) & Roth 403(b) retirement plans

403s are retirement plans offered by non-profit organizations and some tax-exempt employers, such as not-for-profits and some governmental organizations. A 403 plan is named after the section of the Internal Revenue Service code for which they are designed.

As of 2018, about one in five U.S. employees had access to these accounts, according to the Investment Company Institute. In spite of this, they get far less attention than their private, for-profit counterparts, 401 plans. However, a 403 works very much like a 401 in that eligible employees can contribute to their retirement funds through payroll deductions based on a percentage of their salary or a personal budget.

As an additional benefit, employers can contribute to your accounts as well aka matching contributions. When you are ready to invest in the 403, be sure to invest at least that percentage of your employers match

403 plans are generally divided into two types: traditional and Roth. Just note that employees may not have access to the Roth version in all workplaces.

As part of a traditional 403 plan, pretax money is deducted from each paycheck and placed into the employees personal retirement account. At the same time, the employee has saved some money for the future and reduced his or her gross income and tax liability. And. taxes are due on those funds only when the employee withdraws them.

What Is The Difference Between A 401 And A 403

There are several differences between a 401 plan and a 403 plan, including:

  • Nonprofits, public sector employers, governmental entities, and other tax-exempt organizations are the only types of employers who can offer a 403. Some of these types of organizations could also offer a 401, but not the other way around. Private-sector employers are limited to offering a 401.
  • Both types of plans allow a $6,500 catch-up contribution for participants who are 50 or over. Some 403 plans offer the opportunity to contribute an extra $3,000 per year for five years if the participant has at least 15 years of service for the employer.
  • Employer matching is fairly common with 401 plans it is less common with 403 plans.
  • Many sponsors of 401 plans make profit-sharing contributions into participants’ accounts. Profit-sharing contributions are not allowed in a 403 as the sponsoring employers are not-for-profit entities.
  • A 401 plan is subject to the rules and regulations of ERISA as administered by the Department of Labor. ERISA has a number of rules governing how 401 plans are run and administered. Many 403 plans are not subject to ERISA.
  • Fees are often higher with a 403 than with a 401. This is often due to the nature of the investments offered by the 403.

What Arethe 403b Contribution Limits

403b contribution limits mirror those set by the IRS for 401k contribution limits. For 2019, the maximum individual contribution is $19,000 annually, with this limit applying to both pre-tax 403b accounts and Roth 403b accounts.

For 403b account holders age 50 and older, a $6,000 per year catch-up contribution is allowed, making the total allowable elective deferral $25,000.

Elective deferrals refer to the amounts you contribute to your own account. A separate overall limit applies if your employer contributes matching funds.

For 2019, the total overall limit for 403b contributions is $56,000 or 100% of the employees earnings, whichever is lower.

If you qualify for catch-up contributions, the overall limit is $62,000 including employer contributions.

Participation in other types of retirement plans can affect your contribution limit. The limits are usually shared across all retirement account types, so if you contribute to an IRA, the amount you can contribute to a 401k or 403b may be lower.

A notable exception are 457 plans, which have similar contribution limits to a 403b plan but which allow tandem contributions.

In effect, you can double the allowable contribution limit for tax-deferred retirement savings if you participate in both a 457 plan and a 403b plan. 457 plans are also commonly offered by public-sector employers.

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Complete The Online Enrollment Form For Each Vendor You Selected

Contact the vendor you selected directly to complete this step. You can do this either online or by phone:

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  • Basic contributions are the first 1-2% of your own contributions, up to 3% of Emorys matching contributions, and Emorys 6% employer contribution.

  • Any amount that you contribute above 2% is considered a supplemental contribution. You are not matched on supplemental contributions.

  • If you do not select funds, you will be placed in the default Lifecycle Fund of your selected vendor until you make your selections.

How Doesa 403b Retirement Plan Work

How Does a 403(b) Plan Work?

A 403b allows you to contribute up to a fixed amount annually, limited to $19,000 for 2019, with your contributions to the plan being tax deferred. At withdrawal, taxes are paid on the amount withdrawn at your tax rate for that year.

In effect, a 403b plan allows you to reduce your taxable income as you are saving for retirement and allow your contributions to grow without a tax burden.

Earnings from capital gains, dividends, or other growth in your account balance arent taxed until you withdraw from your account.

Because a 403b has tax advantages aimed at growing retirement savings, some important restrictions apply.

For example, withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty. However, if you retire or are fired or laid off after age 55, you may be able to access your 403b savings without penalty.

Much like a 401k, a 403b can leverage compound interest and time to multiply your contributions and grow your retirement savings.

Employers may also contribute to your account to help build your savings. Money invested in a 403b plan might be invested in mutual funds, money market funds, or annuities.

Federal rules prohibit direct investment in individual stocks through a 403b, limiting options to funds or annuities offered through the plan.

An individual retirement account is a better option if you want more freedom when investing for retirement purposes.

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How To Open A 403 Account

The only way to open a 403 account is through your non-profit employer. When you first start the job, youâll receive information on opening an account through the organizationâs plan provider. You will also receive a list of the investment options, growth charts, fees, and other information, including your employerâs match .

The process of opening a new 403 isnât necessarily time consuming, but it will require you to submit personal information and decide which funds you want to invest in. If youâre rolling over an existing 401 into your new 403, it typically involves coordination with your previous employerâs plan provider.

If you didnât opt into your employerâs 403 retirement plan when you first started, you can probably enroll at any time. Contact your companyâs benefit administrator or human resources department to request the information needed to open a new account.

Once your account is set up, youâll want to notify your benefits administrator if you wish to make contributions through your monthly paycheck. You get to decide how muchâa set dollar amount or a fixed percentageâgets withheld from your paycheck and goes towards your retirement plan. You can change the amount at any time.

Can You Rollover A 403b Into 401k

If your plan allows rollovers, you can roll a 403b into a 401k or 457 plan or , or even into a traditional IRA.

However, not all plans allow rollovers, which can make an IRA your best option for rollovers.

When rolling over funds from one qualified retirement account to another, you have 60 days to move the money into another plan or retirement account after the funds are withdrawn from the first account.

After 60 days, the amount withdrawn becomes taxable as income and may incur an early withdrawal penalty.

If possible, arrange a direct transfer from one plan to the other plan to avoid penalties and possible tax withholding.

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Does Wells Fargo Offer 403b

Wells Fargo offers a variety of retirement plans specifically for nonprofit organizations through our mutual fund partners and insurance carriers. A 403 plan is a special tax-advantaged retirement plan designed exclusively for employees of the following types of organizations: Scientific and research organizations.

The Difference Between A Tsp And A Monthly Retirement Annuity

403b Retirement Plan Explained: Retirement for Teachers, Schools, Nurses, Hospitals and Non-Profits

A 403 plan is a special type of annuity-based retirement plan that is sponsored by your employer. Unlike 403 plans, which are offered only by certain non-profit companies, hospital organizations and educational institutions, any employer can choose to offer a 403. Roughly similar in effect to a traditional pension, 403 plans are usually funded by insurance company-backed annuities and can offer yearly payments.


A 401 annuity is an employer-sponsored plan that allows you to invest through payroll deductions and your employer can contribute and receive withdrawals of income at a later time.

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What Is A 403 Catch Up Contribution

A 403 has something called a catch-up contribution. After you turn 50, youâre allowed to make one extra payment per year, up to $6,500. Essentially, the catch-up payment allows you to accelerate your savings for retirement as you get closer to the end of your career.

If you haven’t yet turned 50, but you have worked at your non-profit employer consistently for at least 15 years, you might be allowed to make catch-up payments anyways. It depends on your employer and your planâs rules.

Retirement Plan Contribution Limits Distributions And Penalties

403 plans have contribution limits, early withdrawal penalties, and tax implications, just like other employer-sponsored plans. The maximum employee contribution to a 403 plan is $20,500 in 2022. The total contribution limit for retirees over 50 years of age in 2022 will increase to $27,000 when they make catch-up contributions of $6,500.

A 10% early withdrawal penalty applies if you withdraw from your 403 before you are 59 ½. You would also lose the growth potential of those dollars. That means you could be depriving yourself of thousands of dollars down the road.

What about distribution? This is when you withdraw money from your 403 plan without being penalized. The reason? Youre either 59 ½ or youre transferring the money from one qualified plan to another.

If you are a member of the reserves, you are exempt from the early withdrawal penalty. The IRS doesnt apply a 10% penalty to qualified reservist distributions if youre called to active duty for more than 179 days . However, distributions are still taxable in this case. But, unless you need this money for an emergency, you should leave it alone so that it can continue to compound and grow.

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What Are The Advantages Of Participating In A 403 Plan

You may gain five benefits for contributing to a 403 plan.

  • Your contributions and any earnings are tax-deferred
  • Your money has the chance to potentially grow with the power of time and compounding
  • You may be eligible to take a tax credit for contributions to your account
  • You may be able to take withdrawals at age 59½, without penalty
  • You may be able to take a hardship withdrawal, if your situation meets certain qualifications

You will pay ordinary income tax when and as you withdraw from your plan account.

Employee Elective Deferral Contribution Limits

Important Changes to Your 403(b) Retirement Plan

Employees can contribute up to $19,500 in 2021. Those over age 50 can also contribute up to an additional $6,500 in catch-up contributions. Regardless of age, employees with at least 15 years of service with the same employer and an average annual contribution of less than $5,000 per year may be permitted to defer an extra $3,000 per year over and above normal IRS deferral limits .

For plans with employer contributions, you can contribute up to 100 percent of your salary, or $58,000, whichever is less. This limit rises to $64,500 if age 50 or over. Contributions made over and above the IRS elective deferral limits are made on an after- tax basis.

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Am I Eligible For A 403

Chances are, if your employer isnt offering you a 403, then youre not eligible for one. Thats because the administrative costs of the 403 are much lower than that of the 401. If youre an employee involved in the day-to-day operations of a public school then youre eligible. If youre not sure whether you qualify, the best thing to do is ask your employer.

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Our reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most how to save for retirement, understanding the types of accounts, how to choose investments and more so you can feel confident when planning for your future.

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Can You Make Early Withdrawals

If you withdraw funds from your 403 account before you reach the age of 59 ½ there will be a 10% penalty added to the tax on the money not already taxed. But, you can avoid the early withdrawal penalties in a few cases, including

  • The Rule of 55. Withdrawals from a 403 plan are penalty-free when you leave your employer at age 55 or later. However, any money in an IRA or previous employer retirement account will be penalized as usual
  • Substantially equal periodic payments . You can avoid the 10% penalty for early withdrawals by sticking to a payment schedule under a rule known as 72. These distributions must be taken for at least five years or until you reach the age of 59 1/2, whichever occurs later. If you need help calculating your SEPP withdrawals, speak to a financial advisor.
  • Medical emergency. You can take an early withdrawal to cover unreimbursed medical expenses greater than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income without paying a penalty if those expenses exceed 7.5%.

Consider your situation carefully before taking an early withdrawal under section 403. And, always take a look at whether early 403 funds are worth paying for if you cant avoid it.

Who Is Eligible For A 403 Retirement Plan

What is a 403(b)? | 403(b) explained

Its important to note that 401 plans are not open to everyone. Participants must be employed by certain organizations and institutions for tax reasons.

Those who are eligible to participate in a 403 plan include:

  • People who work for tax-exempt 501 organizations
  • Employees of public schools, state colleges, and universities
  • Public school employees of Indian tribal governments
  • Those who work for cooperative hospital service organizations
  • Members of the faculty and staff of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
  • Ministers employed by 501 organizations
  • A minister or chaplain who is employed by a non-501 organization, but who functions as a minister in their daily professional responsibilities
  • Ministers who are self-employed

In accordance with the IRS, employers can exclude employees who work less than 20 hours a week from participation in a 403 plan.

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The Secure Act And Annuities In 401 Plans

However, with the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, employees may see more annuity options offered in their 401 plans. This is because the SECURE Act eliminates many of the barriers that previously discouraged employers from offering annuities as part of their retirement plan options.

Additionally, under Section 109 of the SECURE Act, annuity plans offered in a 401 are now portable. This means that if the annuity plan is discontinued as an investment option, participants can transfer their annuity to another employer-sponsored retirement plan or IRA, thereby eliminating the need to liquidate the annuity and pay surrender charges and fees.

Get The Help You Need

Talk with a Retirement Specialist if you have questions about 403 plans or plan participation. Information provided by Retirement Specialists is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax or investment advice.

Nationwide Retirement Solutions and Nationwide Life Insurance Company have endorsement relationships with the National Association of Counties, the International Association of Fire Fighters-Financial Corporation, the United States Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Police Organizations.

Nationwide may receive payments from mutual funds or their affiliates in connection with certain investment options. Learn more about these payments.

Retirement Specialists provide information for educational purposes only. This information is not meant to be used as investment advice. Retirement Specialists are Registered Representatives of Nationwide Investment Services Corporation, member FINRA, Columbus, Ohio.

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What Is A 403 Plan

The term 403 plan refers to a retirement account designed for certain employees of public schools and other tax-exempt organizations. Participants may include teachers, school administrators, professors, government employees, nurses, doctors, and librarians. The plan, which is closely related to the better-known 401 plan, allows participants to save money for retirement through payroll deductions while enjoying certain tax benefits. There’s also an option for the employer to match part of the employee’s contribution.

How Do I Get A 403 From A School District

Retirement Plan Basics: What is a 403(b) plan?

Members Contact the HR department at your school district or charter school. Companies, school districts and charter schools Consult your legal counsel. A 403 plan is tax-deferred retirement savings plan offered to public school employees through their school districts or open-enrollment charter schools.

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