How It Works
The MERS Defined Contribution Plan (MERS DC) is a qualified retirement plan under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. This plan allows employers and employees to make pre-tax contributions to an account that accumulates tax-deferred. Upon retirement, the benefit is based on the total amount of money in an employee’s account.
An employee’s benefit at retirement is based on a four part formula:
Funding The Plan
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Employer and Employee Contributions
- Made on a pre-tax basis
- Not taxable until withdrawn from the plan
- Employer contributions may be subject to vesting
- Three contribution formulas permitted under the plan:
- Fixed dollar or percentage, without any required employee contributions
- Fixed dollar or percentage, with required employee contributions
- Fixed percentage of employee contributions is matched
- You can require your employees to contribute a set dollar amount or percentage of their pay
- You may offer a match contribution rate, where your contributions are tied to the amount employees contributes
- Employees make a one-time election of their contribution at the time of enrollment
- Once the employee contribution rate has been established, it cannot be changed unless you as the employer makes changes to the plan
- Required contributions are pre-tax for state and federal income tax purposes
- Subject to Social Security FICA taxes
- You may structure your plan to match employees voluntary contributions in the MERS 457
There are many benefits of the MERS Defined Contribution Plan.
Because we operate on a not-for-profit basis, the MERS DC Plan is offered at no cost to employers, while participants pay low costs under a straightforward fee structure.
It is available to both full-time and part-time employees.
The DC investment menu provides your employees with select investment options to design a diversified portfolio to match their investment needs.
MERS employs behavioral economics to design a streamlined investment menu that guides participants to make decisions in their own best interest, while giving them the freedom to pursue their own investment choices.
DC plan participants are provided ongoing, customized educational opportunities with a focus and frequency that meet your needs as the employer, and provide your employees the information they need to plan for a financially secure retirement.
Retirement Readiness Resources
In addition, MERS has taken a proactive approach to helping participants achieve their financial goals with a truly comprehensive retirement readiness platform. Customized annual Snapshot Reports give participants a picture of their projected income in retirement, as compared to their current income, using the information that MERS has along with Social Security. There is no action required by the participant to receive these free reports.
Our goal is to give participants an understanding of where they are in meeting an industry standard definition of retirement readiness and drive them online to complete their customized Full Picture report. Free online investment guidance is offered to assist participants in achieving their retirement goals if they are not on track to do so.
Defined Contribution Plus
We’ve made flexibility an option! MERS Defined Contribution PLUS is an optional enhancement that pairs our traditional MERS Defined Contribution Plan with a 457(b) supplemental savings program to function as a single, flexible plan with multiple benefits.
- Employers can require mandatory participation in the Defined Contribution portion of this plan
- Employers can incentivize employee savings through matching pre-tax contributions
Please contact your regional manager to learn more.
As the sole fiduciary for our retirement plans, MERS takes on the liability for selecting the investment options, monitoring fund performance, and ensuring fees are reasonable. Learn more about fiduciary responsibility.