Retire Ready Tennessee

for Higher Education Employees

As a public higher education employee in Tennessee, one of your most valuable benefits is your comprehensive retirement plan

RetireReadyTN: Combined strengths for higher education employees


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RetireReadyTN is the state’s retirement program, combining the strengths of:

  • One of the nation's strongest defined benefit plans, provided by the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS)
  • Or, Higher Education staff exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act can select a deferred compensation Optional Retirement Program (ORP)
  • A 401(k) plan through services provided by Empower Retirement
  • Retirement readiness education

As a higher education employee in Tennessee, you have unique retirement plan options available to you, including additional savings opportunities through a 457 defined contribution plan.

Get to know your unique retirement plan

RetireReadyTN provides faculty and exempt employees of Tennessee’s Public Colleges and Universities with access to a 401(k) plan offered through Empower Retirement and a choice between membership in the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) or the Optional Retirement Program (ORP). All higher education members have access to retirement readiness education regardless of the plan they choose.

Your member contributions to the 401(k) qualify for a monthly dollar-for-dollar match!

The State of Tennessee offers an employer match of $1 for every $1 you contribute, up to $50 a month. Contribute a minimum of $50 per month to take full advantage of your employer match.

Day one: Choose between the ORP and TCRS

Faculty and staff exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act must choose between the ORP and membership in TCRS upon their first day of employment. If you do not make an election, or if you are not exempt, you will be automatically enrolled into the TCRS Hybrid Plan.

Review the TCRS/ORP Decision Guide

female faculty member looking through documents

Option 1: Optional Retirement Program (ORP)

The ORP is a deferred compensation plan that lets you take control of your retirement by contributing to investment options of your choice. You are immediately vested in the ORP and can decide how your money should be invested given your individual goals, risk tolerance, and timeline. The amount you receive from your ORP account in retirement is based on the value of your account at the time of distribution.

Selecting your ORP provider

The ORP is offered through three plan providers: TIAA, Valic, and Voya***. More information about their specific investment options can be found here:

TIAA VALIC VOYA

*** TIAA, VALIC and Voya are not affiliated with GWFS Equities, Inc. or its parent company, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company. The Defined Benefit Plan and the Optional Retirement Plan are not offered by Empower Retirement. Only the 401k and 457 Plans are offered by Empower Retirement. Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company and/or its subsidiaries is not responsible for, nor does it endorse, the content contained in the additional third-party material provided.

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Your ORP retirement contributions

Depending on your date of hire, you are enrolled in either the Hybrid ORP Plan or the Legacy ORP Plan.


Hybrid ORP Plan (for employees hired on or after July 1, 2014)

Exempt faculty and staff hired after July 1, 2014 are eligible to participate in the Hybrid ORP Plan. Hybrid ORP members are automatically enrolled in the state’s 401k plan at 2% of salary.

Contributions to your ORP

Employer contributions Member contributions Total contributions
ORP 9% 5% 14%
401(k) 0% 2%** 2%
TOTAL 9% 7% 16%

** Your contribution to the 401(k) plan may be modified at any time, including a 90 day window to opt out of the 2%. Contributions are subject to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) limitations, $18,500 for 2018.


Legacy ORP Plan (for employees hired before July 1, 2014)

Exempt faculty and staff who were ORP members prior to July 1, 2014 are in the Legacy ORP Plan. The Legacy ORP plan is closed to new enrollees.

Additional information about the Hybrid and Legacy ORP plans can be found in the ORP Member Guide.

Option 2: TCRS Hybrid Retirement Plan

The Hybrid Retirement Plan is comprised of two valuable components: a defined benefit plan provided by the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) and a 401(k) plan offered through Empower Retirement.

Your defined benefit plan

The Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS), provides lifetime retirement, survivor and disability benefits for employees and their beneficiaries.

Recognized as one of the best managed defined benefit plans in the country, TCRS provides lifetime retirement, survivor and disability benefits for employees and their beneficiaries. After a five-year vesting period, an employee becomes eligible to receive a monthly benefit at retirement once the age requirement is met. The benefit is calculated by the employee’s years of service and salary. The benefit provided by TCRS is a solid foundation for building a retirement future.

Learn more about the TCRS Login to TCRS Self-Service

Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) logo

A strong foundation. Peace of mind for your retirement future.

Your Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) is recognized as one of the top 5 strongest pension funds in the United States by Standard & Poor's (S&P).

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Your 401(k)

The 401(k) plan lets you take control of your retirement by investing in fund options of your choice.

You are immediately vested in the 401(k) and can decide how your money should be invested given your individual goals, risk tolerance, and timeline. The amount you receive from your 401(k) account in retirement is based on how much you save, plus any accumulated earnings from your investments.

View 401(k) plan highlights Enroll in the 401(k) plan Login to your 401(k) account

Did you know?

You may spend 20 to 30 years — or more — in retirement. That’s great, but you want to make sure your savings last that long, too. And don’t forget that things will cost more in the future. If inflation averages 3% per year, groceries that cost $50 today will cost more than $120 in 30 years.

Check your retirement dashboard

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Your TCRS retirement contributions

Depending on your date of hire, you are enrolled in either the Hybrid Plan or the Legacy Plan.


Hybrid Plan (for employees hired on or after July 1, 2014)

Your retirement is funded by contributions from both the State of Tennessee and you, the member. The State makes a contribution equal to 4% of your salary into TCRS and 5% into your 401(k).

You, the member, contribute 5% to TCRS and 2% to the 401(k) plan. Your contributions to the 401(k) plan may be made on a pre-tax or after tax (Roth) basis, meaning you can choose whether the money will be taxed now or in retirement. The State of Tennessee provides a retirement plan that gives you an excellent start towards securing a successful financial future.

Contributions to your Hybrid Retirement Plan

Employer contributions Member contributions Total contributions
TCRS 4%* 5% 9%
401(k) 5% 2%** 7%
TOTAL 9% 7% 16%

* These employer contributions fund the future monthly retirement benefits for you and all other employees of the State, and are not refundable to the State or the member. ** Your contribution to the 401(k) plan may be modified at any time, including a 90 day window to opt out of the 2%. Contributions are subject to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) limitations, $18,500 for 2018.


Legacy Plan (for employees hired before July 1, 2014)

Members hired prior to July 1, 2014 are in the Legacy Plan, and are non-contributory to their defined benefit (TCRS) plan. Members can also participate in the 401(k) and 457 plans.

Your member contributions to the 401(k) plan may be made on a pre-tax or after tax (Roth) basis, meaning you can choose whether the money will be taxed now or in retirement. Your member contributions to the 401(k) also qualify for a monthly dollar-for-dollar match, up to $50 each month.

Take charge of your retirement by enrolling in the 401(k) and/or 457 plan

Additional savings opportunity

As an added benefit, the State of Tennessee offers the ability to save through a 457 deferred compensation plan. The 457 has the same investment options as the 401(k) and does not share a contribution limit with other retirement plans. By participating in the 457 plan you can save and invest additional money for retirement.

401(k) and 457 plan highlights 401(k) and 457 plan comparison My TCRS login

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Access quick resources

With RetireReadyTN, you have all the resources you need to manage and optimize your retirement planning.


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Do you know who your beneficiary is?

Check your beneficiaries

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Meet your local representative

Find your local representative

Contact Us


Have questions about your retirement account? We're here to help!

(800) 922.7772 (Main line)

(800) 766.4952 (TDD)

TCRS.CustomerSupport@tn.gov

Mailing Address


TCRS
Andrew Jackson Building, 15th Floor
502 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN  37243-0201

Deferred Compensation Program
Empower Retirement
545 Mainstream Drive, Suite 407
Nashville, TN  37228