Frequently Asked Questions About Saving for Retirement

Can I save more money from my paycheck for retirement?
Any Iowa State University employee with a budgeted salary commitment is eligible to participate (casual hourly employees are not eligible, Post-Doctoral students are not eligible).  Even if your basic retirement plan is Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS), Federal Retirement System, or any other substitute basic annuity plan (other than TIAA-CREF), you can participate in a voluntary elective salary reduction savings program.

What is an SRA or GSRA?
An SRA is Supplemental Retirement Annuity and a GSRA is a Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity with TIAA-CREF or an alternative approved retirement plan vendor.  Currently GSRAs are available for active employees starting voluntary retirement savings through payroll deduction.  These are accounts that allow you to contribute additional funds to your retirement on a tax-deferred or after tax basis.  Even with Social Security, pension plans, and savings accounts it can be difficult to save enough for retirement.  SRAs and GSRAs can be a good asset in helping you prepare for retirement.

How much can I contribute to a GSRA or SRA?
All contributions to a GSRA must be made by payroll deduction. The minimum contribution is $20.00 per month. During the 2017 calendar year, most employees can contribute up to $18,000 to their GSRA.
Those who will be 50 or older in 2017 may be eligible to contribute an additional $6,000. Certain employees who have been in Iowa State for at least 15 years may be able to contribute an additional $3,000.
These maximum amounts apply only to the additional voluntary contributions by the employee, not your required contributions or the University matching. To see how much you are eligible to contribute, contact the Benefits office by calling 515-294-4800 to have your maximum calculated.

Will the University match my GSRA contributions?
No. GSRAs are for additional voluntary employee contributions only.  The university matching is automatically calculated and contributed to the "basic" (or mandatory) annuity along with the employee's required portion.  These required amounts cannot be changed by the employee.

How often can I change the amount of my GSRA contribution?
Changes can be made to your contribution amount at any time.  You can also start or stop contributions at any time.  All changes must be made at least two weeks before payroll by submitting a new signed Elective Payroll Reduction agreement to the Benefits office.
Click here for Elective Payroll Reduction agreement instructions and application form.

Can I put "extra" money into my "basic" retirement annuity?
No. Additional tax-deferred contributions must be put into a GSRA or other Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) while still employed with the University.  These are the only types ISU offers.