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401(k) Plans

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The 401(k) was originally with "for-profit" companies in mind. The University of Tennessee was grandfathered into the 401(k) with the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Currently, the plan is administered by Empower Retirement through a contract set by the State of Tennessee. There are currently 18 investment options in the 401(k).

The University of Tennessee is now offering a Roth 401(k) as part of our benefit package.  The Roth 401(k) is a hybrid that combines features of Roth IRA and traditional 401(k) plans.   The combined total contributions to either or both plans cannot exceed the Internal Revenue Service limit set for individual plans--that is, $18,000 (or $24,000 for employees age 50 or over) per year.  There is a 10% penalty for withdrawal before the age of 59 1/2 (although the withdrawal is subject to ordinary income taxation).  An employee who participates in both plans must designate the amount to be applied to each plan. Once a decision is made, the participant cannot switch money between the plans. This plan offers a $50.00 per month maximum match by the University. For example, if you contribute  $50.00, the university will contribute $50.00. If you contribute $200.00, the university will contribute $50.00.   No matter which plan you choose,  the  traditional 401(k) or the ROTH 401(k) , the university’s contribution will go into the traditional. 401(k )  The amounts you specify are deducted from each paycheck you receive excluding longevity pay.

The primary purpose of the deferred income plan is to allow you to postpone receipt of a portion of your current income until after you retire. The amount of current earnings deferred will not be considered as income for federal income tax purposes until you actually receive the income, usually after retirement when you may be in a lower tax bracket. At that time, it will be taxed as ordinary income. By deferring payment of income taxes until you receive the value of your account as a retirement benefit, you can invest more of your current earnings for retirement. By doing so, you may reduce the total amount of income taxes paid during your lifetime and thereby accumulate a larger sum for retirement than would have been possible had you invested after-tax dollars.


Employee Self Service - Empower Retirement, University of Tennessee, Tennessee Consolidated Retirement and the Optional Retirement Program


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Campus/Institute Contacts:
Family Practice- Chatt. 
Health Science Center  
Knoxville Area    
UT Memorial Hospital

Deferred Compensation (401k, 457, 403b) Forms:
     Total Rewards/ Benefits & Retirement Office
     600 Henley St, #115
     Knoxville, TN  37996-4115

Insurance Forms:
     Insurance & Retirement
     P115 Andy Holt Tower
     1331 Circle Park
     Knoxville, TN  37996-0100

Retirement Forms:
     Total Rewards/ Benefits & Retirement Office
     600 Henley St, #115
     Knoxville, TN  37996-4115

Other Links:
Deferred Compensation (State site)
Deferred Compensation (Empower Retirement site)
Optional Retirement Program (ORP State site)
Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS State site)
Office of Personnel Management- OPM (CSRS & FERS)