UC Retirement Choice Program

For employees hired July 1, 2016 and after

When it comes to choosing your primary (required) retirement benefits, you have two options — Pension Choice or Savings Choice.

Both options are designed to provide retirement income in addition to Social Security benefits and any retirement savings you may have.

Eligibility

You are eligible for a choice of primary retirement benefits if you:

  • Are hired into an eligible faculty or career staff appointment on or after July 1, 2016; OR
  • Are hired in an ineligible position on or after July 1, 2016 and then become eligible for retirement benefits.

If you’re represented by a union, your retirement benefits are governed by your union’s contract with UC. As a result, your benefits may be different than the benefits outlined here. Please refer to your collective bargaining agreement for details.

Rehired, newly eligible and former CalPERS-covered faculty and staff >

Compare the two options

Deciding which option is right for you depends on many factors, including your age, the length of time you expect to work for UC, your personal financial situation, your investing style and risk tolerance, and how much retirement income you expect from other sources (e.g., Social Security). Both options offer a valuable retirement income opportunity, but each works differently. Below is a side-by-side overview comparison:

Pension Choice

UCRP pension benefit
Supplemental 401(k)-style component

Savings Choice

Stand-alone 401(k)-style

Pension with predictable benefit payments throughout your lifetime in retirement. Includes disability benefits and options for income for eligible survivors.

An account you withdraw money from during retirement. Remaining funds can be left to your beneficiaries. Does not include disability or survivor benefits.

Two components:

  1. Pension benefit based on eligible pay up to PEPRA maximum ($118,775 in 2017);
  2. 401(k)-style supplemental account for designated faculty, and for all other eligible staff and academic appointees with eligible pay above PEPRA maximum

Understanding your choices: eligible pay, retirement earnings maximums and designated faculty >

One component: A stand-alone 401(k)-style benefit based on eligible annual pay up to the 2017 IRS pay maximum of $270,000, with mandatory contributions.

Understanding your choices: eligible pay, retirement earnings maximums and designated faculty >

  1. Pension benefit is based on UCRP service credit, highest average 36 months of eligible pay (up to the PEPRA maximum) and age at retirement.
  2. Balance of supplemental account depends on contributions from you and UC, plus investment performance.

Account balance is based on contributions from you and UC, plus investment performance.

You contribute 7% of annual eligible pay, before taxes, up to the IRS maximum.

For the pension benefit for all employees, UC contributes 8% up to $118,775.
For the supplement for eligible faculty, UC contributes 5% on all eligible pay up to $270k.
For the supplement for eligible staff and other academic appointees, UC contributes 3% on eligible pay above $118,775 up to $270k.

You contribute 7% of annual eligible pay, before taxes, up to IRS maximum.

UC contributes 8% of eligible annual pay up to IRS maximum.

UC invests the money in the UC Retirement Plan. You invest any money in the supplemental account.

You invest the money. UC’s tools, resources, and one-on-one guidance help you understand investment choices.

You will “vest” in UCRP (become eligible to receive pension benefits, subject to plan rules) once you have earned five years of UCRP service credit. You begin to earn service credit for your time worked when you start making contributions.

Your contributions to your supplemental account will vest immediately. UC’s contributions will vest after you have earned five years of UCRP service credit. Distributions are governed by plan rules.

Your contributions to your account will vest immediately. UC’s contributions will vest after one year. Distributions are governed by plan rules.

Enrollment in Pension Choice is permanent. Employees who do not make a choice within the 90-day period will be automatically enrolled in Pension Choice.

Understanding your choices: Switching from Savings Choice to Pension Choice >

Subject to IRS approval, UC may offer employees who initially choose Savings Choice a one-time future opportunity to switch to Pension Choice.

Understanding your choices: Switching from Savings Choice to Pension Choice >

Consider Pension Choice if you:

  • Expect to work for UC for most of your career.
  • Want predictable retirement income payments.

Consider Savings Choice if you:

  • Want a portable retirement benefit you can roll over into an IRA or another employer’s retirement plan if you leave UC.
  • Are comfortable choosing and managing your investments.
See A Complete Guide to Your UC Retirement Benefits for full details

Making your choice

The sooner you decide which option is best for you — Pension Choice or Savings Choice — the sooner UC begins contributing to your retirement benefits. You have 90 days from your retirement option eligibility date to choose a primary retirement benefit; your enrollment window closes once you submit a choice. If you don’t choose a primary retirement option, you automatically will be enrolled in Pension Choice at the end of the 90-day period.

Once you’ve decided which option is best for you, making your choice is fast and easy. See these step-by-step instructions for more information about how to enroll.

  1. Make your choice online at myUCretirement.com/choose You’ll get a quick refresher on the options and how they compare.
  2. Register and log in when prompted. Then select the option you’ve decided works best for you.
  3. You’ll receive a confirmation statement reflecting your choice.
  4. Your contributions will begin to be deducted from your paycheck following your choice (usually within one to two pay periods).

Need help deciding?