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Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans

Today, more than ever, it's important to have a plan in place to be able to retire when you'd like and do the things you've dreamed of doing. Purdue offers two types of tax-favored Voluntary Savings Plans that can be an important part of your planning for retirement.

What are the Voluntary Savings Plans?

Voluntary Savings plans are tax-favored retirement plans that allow employees of non-profit organizations, such as Purdue University, to save for retirement and supplement income from other pension sources. These plans offer tax advantages, either as a pre-tax investment that allows your contributions and earnings to grow over time while deferring the payment of taxes until you withdraw the funds, or as an after-tax ROTH contribution that allows your already taxed contributions and earnings to grow over time with no tax liabilities upon withdrawal.

These plans offer a way to increase your retirement income through regular, planned investing. You manage your account by determining how much to save each pay period and your contributions are deducted from your pay and placed in the investment options of your choice. Purdue offers two voluntary plans for your retirement savings--the 403(b) Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan, and the 457(b) Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan, a deferred compensation plan. You can choose to contribute to one of them or maximize your savings potential by using both plans.

Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan Comparison

Features 403(b) Voluntary Retirement
Savings Plan
457(b) Voluntary Retirement
Savings Plan
Eligibility Eligible to participate from date of hire Eligible to participate from date of hire
Vesting Immediate vesting Immediate vesting
Tax savings now or in the future? Pre-tax contributions (taxes paid at time of withdrawal) Pre-tax contributions (taxes paid at time of withdrawal)
ROTH post-tax contributions option available.  No tax upon withdrawal No ROTH post-tax contributions option
Distributions Withdrawals allowed at age 59½ or at age 55, if separated from Purdue. Also allowed for severe financial hardship Withdrawals allowed at age 59½ or upon separation from Purdue. Also allowed for unforeseeable emergencies
Loan provision available Loan provision available
IRS Limits Your Contributions Each Calendar Year

IRS Calendar Year Maximums-under age 50
2023: $22,500
2024: $23,000

IRS Calendar Year Maximums-under age 50
2023: $22,500
2024: $23,000

Age catch-up provision allowed: if age 50 or over in current calendar year, may defer an additional $7,500 in 2023 and 2024.  Age catch-up provision allowed: if age 50 or over in current calendar year, may defer an additional $7,500 in 2023 and 2024. 

Maximize voluntary retirement contributions

Plan contributions to the voluntary 403(b) and 457(b) plans early, as updates generally take one to two pay periods to take effect. With the end-of-year holiday schedule, payroll processes occur even earlier in the months of November and December, and employees should plan accordingly. 

For 2024, the contribution limit per voluntary plan is $23,000 (2023: $22,500). Employees who are at least 50 years old during the calendar year may make additional catch-up contributions up to $7,500 for 2023 and 2024.

Contributions must be calculated as a percentage of pay, instead of a dollar amount.

Contribution updates can be made online via Fidelity's NetBenefits website or by phone at 800-343-0860. Employees needing assistance to set up a deferral may contact Purdue's local Fidelity office. Call 800-343-0860 to set up an appointment.

How to Sign Up for a Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan

To enroll in one of the Voluntary Savings plans, go to Fidelity's Purdue-dedicated site. Click on "Enroll Now" on the right hand side of the page. Then select the plan you wish to enroll in by clicking the "Enroll Now" button below the plan. Follow the instructions to complete your enrollment. You will indicate the amount you wish to contribute and the funds you would like to invest in. You will also need to designate your beneficiary.

Note for Graduate Staff, Limited Term Lecturers, Post Docs, Student Employees, Temporary Employees, and Visiting Faculty: To begin contributions to a voluntary retirement savings plan through Fidelity NetBenefits, you must first contact HR Benefits to request a voluntary retirement savings account be set up on your behalf. You may email your request to with the subject line “Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan Shell Account Request” or by calling (765) 494-2222. Once your shell account is established (typically 1-2 business days), you may then finalize your enrollment and elect your contribution percentage through the Fidelity NetBenefits site.

Need More Help?

  • Contact Purdue Benefits at 765-494-2222 or
  • To make changes to an existing Fidelity account (beneficiary, deduction amount, investment selections) or get help setting up a new account, call 800-343-0860 or go online to Fidelity's Purdue-dedicated website.
  • To meet one-on-one with a retirement counselor on campus to review investments and/or discuss retirement income planning, go online to or call 800-343-0860 to make an appointment.