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Tax time is the perfect time to revisit your retirement savings strategy

calculator with 2021 and a clock and tax forms

No matter where you are in life, Stanford provides access to workshops and personalized guidance so you can maximize your contributions and tax savings.

There are several tax advantages that come with participating in a program like the Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan (SCRP). For example, you can lower your taxable income with your contributions, plus you can defer paying taxes on your investments and earnings until you retire (or avoid paying taxes on them altogether, depending on the type of account). 

Know when it's time to rethink your strategy

But there is so much more, says Lori Branley, director of retirement programs at Stanford, and this is the perfect time of year to dig a little deeper and understand the best options for your circumstances.  

“I often ask people a series of questions about how well they understand their SCRP,” Lori says, “and if you don’t know the answers to some of these questions, it might be time to sign up for one-on-one help or join us for a monthly workshop.” 

For example:

  1. What is the maximum amount of before-tax contributions you can make in 2021? How much can you contribute to your Roth 403(b)? Does your age matter?
  2. When should you consider rolling over your former employer's retirement savings account and/or IRA to the SCRP?
  3. Can you lose university contributions if you contribute too much in before- or after-tax dollars?

When it comes to retirement savings, many employees like to “set it and forget it” Lori acknowledges, but because there are important tax implications that shift as you age, it helps to check in periodically so you know what’s ahead. 

Where to find help

The value in Stanford’s generous retirement savings program, Lori adds, is the access to a variety of investment types and access to free professional help along the way, including: 

  • 1-1 Counseling with Fidelity, Vanguard or TIAA - now offered via Zoom

  • Monthly SCRP Workshop - live webinar format, open to anyone, provides a deeper dive into the plan (and you can earn a BeWell Berry for attending)

  • Monthly SCRP for New Hires - live webinar format, targeted to those who have just attended Welcome Center, provides an overview of the program

  • SCRP Enrollment Demo - live webinar hosted by Fidelity, targeted to those who are ready to get started in the My Retirement Savings portal.

  • Partner Workshops: Fidelity and other partners provide workshops and webinars on various topics depending on your investment goals.  

  • For questions about in-service distributions from your SCRP account, call Fidelity at 888-793-8733. If you are in the legacy plan the Staff Retirement Annuity Plan and want to learn more about the age 62 lump-sum distribution option, call the Stanford Pension Center at 877-249-6648.

Upcoming events are listed on the Financial Wellness and Retirement Savings Workshops page on Cardinal at Work

Benefits & Rewards, Retirement