PARTICIPANT ACCOUNT QUESTIONS:

You can easily check your balance by logging into your account.

You will see your total CRA retirement savings account balance on the account dashboard, and you can click on Account to see the specific saving amount in your 401(a) and, if applicable, 457(b) account.

On the account portal, you also can review your plan’s rate-of-return, transaction history, statements, beneficiaries, investments, loan and withdrawal history and forms to make changes to your account.

Alternatively, you can call 800.352.0313 during standard business hours to check your balance, or review your quarterly statement.

Forms for withdrawals can be accessed through your account under the Accounts tab, then Plan Forms, or by calling 800.352.0313. There are a variety of forms for different types of withdrawals, or distributions, depending on those that are allowed in your plan.

Although you never have to close your CRA account in order to continue enjoying the benefits of our services and support, you are eligible to receive a distribution from the retirement plan upon any of the following events:

  • Retirement
  • Termination of employment, at any age, for any reason
  • Death (payable to your beneficiary)

Be aware that distributions may be subject to standard income taxation and/or early withdrawal pentalties. In addition to losing tax-deferred benefits by withdrawing money from your account, you will be losing out on compounding interest that otherwise would position your money to grow with you and be available when you retire.

Some employers have elected to set up a loan program through their CRA retirement plans. Please contact your employer to determine whether they offer loans through the CRA retirement plan. Loans should be reserved only for circumstances of extreme financial need.

You may leave your CRA accounts intact when you terminate employment or retire. You will continue to have the ability to manage the money in your account, access personalized retirement counseling and all CRA features and services. Leaving your CRA account active may be more cost-effective and advantageous than moving your money elsewhere when you change jobs or retire.

We charge an annual account administration fee of $28 or 0.25% of a participant’s combined account balances (whichever is greater). This administration fee is capped for accounts with a balance exceeding $175,000, combined across 401(a) and, if applicable, 457(b) accounts. 

This is the only fee we charge to cover our annual budget and is highly competitive in this industry. And there’s no hidden fees – we’re up front and transparent about our costs.

No. Mutual fund rates of return are always net of their operating expenses. With CRA’s size and purchasing power, our institutional-class funds have some of the lowest expense rates in the industry.

RETIREMENT PLAN QUESTIONS:

These plans differ in terms of participation, contributions and financial risks.

Defined contribution (DC) retirement plan – e.g., 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), etc.

A defined amount is contributed into an individual retirement account each period.

  • Participation: Differs according to IRS regulations; 401(a) plans are only available to public-sector employees and may be mandatory for eligible employees.
  • Contribution: Employees make contributions. Often employers also make contributions, which typically follow a vesting schedule for payouts. Contributions are typically tax-deferred.
  • Financial risks: The long-term earnings depend on the rate of contributions as well as the performance of selected investment funds, minus administrative fees. The employee retains full control over their retirement savings. The retirement funds are placed in the name of the employee, not the employer. The employee may withdraw earnings upon retirement or changing employers.

Defined benefit (DB) retirement plan, or “pension plan” – e.g., Colorado PERA, FPPA, etc.

Plan defines retirement or other benefit based on certain conditions and formulas. Commonly referred to as a pension.

  • Participation: Available to employees if an employer sponsors the plan, which can include public- or private-sector employees.
  • Contribution: It’s 100% on employers. No contribution required from employees. Contributions are typically tax-deferred.
  • Financial risks: DB plans place the financial risk on the employer. If inadequate investment performance or longer payouts exhaust the pension fund, an employer will still be responsible for covering funding gaps. The employee receives payment upon fulfilling the requirements of the plan, such as completing several years of service.

Deferred compensation retirement plan – e.g., 457(b) and some 401(k), 403(b) and pension plans, etc.

Agreed-upon compensation is set aside and paid at a later date.

  • Participation: Available to public- or private-sector employees depending on the plan. Can be available to select employees within an organization and not to others.
  • Contribution: Employees and/or employers may contribute to the plan. Contributions may be pre- or after-tax depending on the plan guidelines. The amount of contributions that can be set aside toward some plans, such as the 457(b), are limited by IRS regulations.
  • Financial Risks: The employee carries the risk and long-term earnings depend on the rate of contributions as well as the performance of selected investment funds, minus administrative fees.

They are very similar by design. Generally, you will only find 401(k) plans in the private sector because governmental entities are no longer eligible for 401(k) plans. Likewise, 401(a) plans are only available to public-sector employees.

The 401(k) plan often offers discretionary participation, rather than mandatory participation, and there are other differences regarding contributions, distributions, etc.

The benefits of putting all of your retirement savings in one place include:

  • Potential savings – Compare our competitive rates to the fees that your other retirement plan providers charge
  • Simplicity – Manage all of your accounts in one place
  • Clarity – Get a more complete view of your retirement income statement

All of the money invested in your CRA retirement savings account continues to grow while also being tax-deferred and sheltered from current income tax. Additionally, you can continue to access CRA’s unparalleled support and services, including flexible investment options and professional retirement counseling.

A person’s plans to spend their retirement years will vary widely based upon their age, health, ambitions and available resources to fund retirement. Besides creating a budget for retirement, you need to consider how you will use additional retirement benefits provided by the federal government, such as Social Security and Medicare.

Most people still think of 65 as the approximate age that they plan to retire, but that may mean you could be living off of retirement savings, Social Security and other retiree benefits for multiple decades.

Although retirement benefits are a significant portion of the Social Security program, benefits received from Social Security were never intended to fund a person’s entire retirement. Often, Social Security benefits represent less than half of a retired person’s income. Additionally, while some healthcare costs might be offset by Medicare, you may still be paying a monthly premium for certain services such as physician services, medical supplies and prescription drugs.

Generally, the rule of thumb for retirement savings is to accumulate enough to replace 70%-80% of your working annual income, including Social Security. Naturally, that percentage will vary depending on how comfortably you want to live. As retirement nears, it’s a good idea to calculate a more specific estimate of your retirement budget.

If you’ve got several years before you retire and are uncertain what percentage of your current income should go toward retirement savings, most experts today recommend striving toward saving 15%-20% of your income now to put toward future retirement income.

Explore retirement plans by different career stages

You may leave your CRA accounts intact when you terminate employment or retire. You will continue to have the ability to manage the money in your account, access personalized retirement counseling and all CRA features and services. Leaving your CRA account active may be more cost-effective and advantageous than moving your money elsewhere when you change jobs or retire.

You have several choices for your savings when you retire. Once you retire, you can access your money when you need it through a variety of distribution options, such as when you need it or on a periodic schedule. Be aware, however that whatever you withdraw from your account will no longer be tax-deferred or grow through compound earnings. You do not need to close your CRA account when you retire.

Many CRA employee participants choose to choose to take distributions over time to spread the tax consequence over several years. You should speak to a tax advisor to determine the best withdrawal method for you.

The voluntary 457(b) deferred compensation plan is not subject to the early withdrawal penalty, regardless of your age at the time of distribution. Remember though, a distribution from a deferred compensation plan may be subject to income tax assessment.

To withdraw a portion of your CRA plan, complete a Separation from Employment Withdrawal Request form, which can be accessed through the account portal or by calling 800.352.0313.

Additionally or alternatively, you might choose an annuity product to create a guaranteed lifetime income stream. We encourage you to speak with a range of lifetime income providers to discuss your annuity options; one you can contact is Hueler Investment Solutions at incomesolutions.com or by calling 866.297.9835.

Distribution Strategies

TAX QUESTIONS:

The amount of taxes that you will owe when you make a withdrawal will depend on your personal tax situation. 

Withdrawals from your CRA retirement accounts are considered “normal income” for that tax year. The amount of taxes that we are required to withhold from your distribution will vary depending on the type of distribution and the distribution reason. They may be subject to 20% IRS tax withholding. On top of that, distributions may be subject to 10% withdrawal penalties (on the full amount, not the 80% you actually received!) when you file taxes for anyone younger than 59½.

Consult a tax professional for tax advice and considerations.

STATEMENT QUESTIONS:

Participant account statements are issued quarterly, either by email or mail. If you have not received your quarterly statement, or if you would like to update your communication preferences, log into the account portal and click on your name. You also may call 800.352.0313.

“Future contribution allocation” refers to the investment of contributions not yet received. This section shows what percentage of each future (new) contribution will be invested in each option.

“Current investment allocation” refers to the allocation of the money already invested in your account. The figures show how much of your total account value was invested in each option on the last day of the statement report period.

INVESTMENT QUESTIONS:

Investments can be viewed and managed through your account portal. Click on the Account tab to view your investments, investment lineup and individual fund performance, values, trends and research, in addition to being able change your investments.

The changes you can make with your investments include:

  • Rebalancing – A common investment strategy that takes advantage of market growth to re-invest your gains
  • Change how future contributions will be invested (AKA change your allocation) – Change investments for your new contributions, without changing where your existing balance is invested
  • Change how your current balance will be invested (AKA fund-to-fund transfer) – Change how your existing balance is invested, without changing where your new contributions are invested 
  • Dollar-cost averaging – A common investment strategy that allows an investor to build retirement savings while reducing the impact of volatility

Changes can be made daily, as often as the New York Stock Exchange is open. CRA maintains a daily valuation record-keeping system that provides for daily investment transactions.

Employee Resources

self-guided tutorials

Self-Guided Tutorials

Step-by-step instructions to help you enroll, manage your accounts, understand statements, etc.

Investment learning center icon

Investment Learning Center

We make it easy for you to understand investment basics and how to start investing.

fees

Your Plans

Read about key features of your CRA 401(a) and/or 457(b) plans as well as distribution strategies.

Close Menu

Log in

Schedule a One-on-One Counseling Meeting

Office Closure Notice

Colorado Retirement Association will be closed on Monday, Nov. 11, for the Veteran’s Day government holiday. Please call our toll-free call center for assistance at 800.352.0313. CRA will reopen for standard business hours on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Get a Free Review of Your Existing Plan

We'll show you how to improve!