Faculty and Staff in Virginia Retirement System Hybrid Plan: Auto-Escalation of Member Contributions Takes Effect in January

September 21, 2016

Financial Fitness, Retirement

Beginning January 1, 2017, the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Hybrid Plan’s auto-escalation feature goes into effect.  This feature is designed to help you save more for your retirement by slightly increasing the amount that contribute from each paycheck to your retirement savings.

Who is affected?

VRS Hybrid Plan Members hired on or before September 1, 2016 who are not contributing 4% in voluntary contributions are affected by auto-escalation.  Members of VRS Plan 1 and VRS Plan 2 are not affected.  If you are not sure which VRS plan you’re in, consult your VCU pay stub in eServices or your VRS member account at www.varetire.org/myVRS.

How much will the member contribution increase?

If you do not opt out or choose a different voluntary contribution amount between October 1 and December 15, your voluntary contributions will increase by 0.5%.  If you are currently making no voluntary contributions, your voluntary contribution will become 0.5%.  If you are already making a 4% voluntary contribution, no increase will be applied.

How often does this auto-escalation happen?

The voluntary member contribution amount will increase by 0.5% every three years until you reach the maximum 4%. The next auto-escalation will occur in 2020. You may choose to increase voluntary contributions more rapidly instead of waiting for auto-escalation.  The VRS Hybrid Plan allows members to make voluntary contribution changes once per calendar quarter.  For details, see: http://www.varetirement.org/hybrid/plan-info/voluntary-contributions.html.

Why is auto-escalation beneficial?

Auto-escalation offers you a convenient way to save more for your retirement.  The more you save in voluntary contributions, the more you receive in matching employer contributions from VCU. When you contribute the maximum 4% voluntary contribution, you receive an employer contribution of 2.5%.

Incremental increases help you make sure that you’re saving more as you get closer to retirement age, when you’re likely to start withdrawing retirement savings.

When does the auto-escalated member contribution amount start showing in my VCU paycheck?

Any increased member contribution amount due to auto-escalation will be reflected beginning with the January 13, 2017 paycheck.

Where do my voluntary VRS Hybrid Plan Contributions go?

Voluntary contributions go to the component of the VRS Hybrid Plan called the Hybrid 457 Deferred Compensation Plan.

What if I don’t want my voluntary contributions auto-escalated in January?

You can opt out of auto-escalation, or choose a different voluntary contribution amount, by logging in to your VRS Hybrid Plan account at www.varetirement.org/hybrid.  Click “View Account” for your Hybrid 457 Deferred Comp Plan #307059,  then select “Contributions” and click on “Change My Contribution Amount.”  You can choose an amount of zero or any other amount up to 4%.  Important:  You cannot make contribution elections through VCU Human Resources or VCU Payroll.  Contribution elections can be made only with VRS.

The VRS Hybrid Plan confuses me! Where can I find out more about the plan and how it works?

Lots of easy to understand information is available!

About benefits

The VCU benefits team administers employee benefits for faculty and staff of Virginia Commonwealth University. The team consists of: Daniel Jason (Benefits Manager), Daynon Smith (Senior Benefits Analyst), Sherri Goodine (Benefits Specialist), and Jennie Kim (Benefits Assistant).

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