Investment Planning

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Retirement Plans

All eligible employees must be enrolled in a retirement program and are eligible for participation in the State Retirement and Pension System (SRPS) of Maryland.  A member of the faculty, administrative, or professional staff, whose position requires and who possesses an earned baccalaureate or higher degree, may opt-out of SRPS and into the Optional Retirement Program (ORP).

State Retirement/Pension System (SRPS). This is a defined benefit plan. The retirement benefit is based upon a combination of length of service and average final salary. Vesting occurs after the tenth year of membership for those employees joining the system on and after July 1, 2011. There are provisions for disability retirement and pre-retirement death benefits. The state contributes an amount which is determined annually by the State System's actuary. Effective July 1, 2011, a 7% employee contribution is required, which is taken via payroll deduction; the employee contributions are immediately vested and accrue interest.

Optional Retirement Program. This is a defined contribution plan, for which certified professional positions/employees are eligible. The retirement benefit is based upon your accumulated account balance. Vesting is immediate. The state contributes 7.25% of your base salary to your account with one of the following state approved carriers: TIAA-CREF and Fidelity. No employee contribution is required.

Tax Sheltered Annuities

Supplemental retirement annuities (SRAs) are tax-deferred annuities that offer you an easy and affordable way to build assets for retirement. This 403(b) plan is similar to a 401(k). A portion of your salary is deducted before you pay taxes and placed in an investment program under your direction. You pay no taxes on your SRA earnings until you receive them as income. You may choose either TIAA-CREF or Fidelity.

The calendar year contribution limit for 2015 (effective January 1, 2015) is $18,000 with a catch-up contribution limit (for those age 50 or older) of $6,000.

You can also set aside additional funds in a 457(b) with TIAA-CREF or Fidelity. 457(b) contribution limits for 2015 are the same as above.

(Pre-tax) Dependent Care Spending Accounts

An eligible employee who has predictable child care expenses may fund a Dependent Care Spending Account.  The maximum amount you may contribute to this account for the plan year is $5,000. The amount is deducted from your salary before you pay taxes, resulting in a considerable tax savings. You submit eligible child care receipts, and PayFlex issues a check from the available funds in your account to reimburse you.

Direct Deposit

Eligible employees may have their paychecks deposited directly to their bank account(s). The current maximum number of banks is four.

Credit Union

Employees and family members are eligible to join the Educational Systems Employees Federal Credit Union (, a full service financial institution. Available services include: savings accounts; a share draft checking account with no minimum balance requirements and no monthly service charges; special purpose club accounts; money market accounts; IRA savings & certificate accounts; various loans; online banking.

Employees and family members are also eligible to join the Naval Research Lab Federal Credit Union (, a full service financial institution. Available services include: savings accounts, checking accounts with no minimum balance requirements or monthly service charges; special purpose club accounts; Traditional and Roth IRA savings accounts; credit cards; auto, home and personal loans; and financial planning services.

Savings Bonds

Employees may purchase U.S. Savings Bonds offered through Treasury Direct. Visit the website at