Retirement Savings Plans

Your retirement plan through Willamette is an important part of your total compensation package. As a valued employee, we want to help you build a more financially secure future. Retirement funds are held by Transamerica Retirement Solutions and employees choose from among a variety of investment options.

Contact Information
Phone: 1-800-755-5801
Group #: TT069446 00001

The Willamette Retirement Plan offers 10% of gross base pay from the University in exchange for a mandatory contribution of 1% by the employee and immediate vesting.  Eligible employees begin to receive contributions effective the first of the month following date of hire.  Contributions and earnings are tax-deferred until you take a distribution. You do not pay state or federal income taxes on your contributions at the time they are made. However, you still pay the 7.65% FICA (Medicare and Social Security) tax.

Eligibility -  You must be 18 years or older and a regular (not adjunct) faculty or staff member, who works at least 1000 hours or more per year to receive in this benefit.

Meet with a Retirement Counselor - To schedule an appointment or to see the days, locations and times that they are available on campus, please follow the information below.
Click here to access the retirement appointment schedule.

  1. Enter zip code: 97301
  2. Select Willamette University and click Continue
  3. Select 1-on-1 and click Continue
  4. Select a day on the calendar with available appointments
  5. Select a time from the drop-down menu
  6. Provide your contact information and click Schedule It
You will receive a confirmation email and instructions on how to cancel or change your appointment, if needed. If you need additional assistance, or wish to make an appointment by phone, you can call Transamerica at (800) 755-5801. When you call, enter your information, and then say “Customer Service Representative” to reach a representative that can assist you in scheduling an appointment.

Contact Information
Phone: 1-800-755-5801
Group #: TT069446 00001

ContributionsAll current employees including our adjunct faculty and temporary employees, with the exception of student-employees, have the option to set aside money for retirement on a voluntary basis in either regular pretax contributions to the University retirement plan, or through Roth 403(b) contributions up to the annual IRS limit. The annual maximum for 2017 is $18,500. If you are age 50 or over, a "catch-up" provision allows you to contribute additional $6,000 into your account. It is also important to note that Willamette's contributions do not affect your maximum annual contribution limit.

Eligibility - You can start contributing toward your retirement the month following your hire date. 

Willamette University's Defined Contribution Retirement Plan provides investment options through an "open architecture" style investment platform, allowing Willamette to choose from among the best mutual fund choices available in the market. The plan is administered by Transamerica Retirement Solutions (formerly "Diversified"). Transamerica Retirement Solutions (TRS) has been consistently recognized each year as one of the highest-rated third-party administrators in the business, with systems that are easy to understand and simple to use, helping employees better manage their retirement savings. There is no side-selling of other products. TRS is focused solely on helping organizations provide an excellent retirement benefit program.

The investment menu includes the option to choose an automated investment solution called Portfolio Express, which automatically diversifies your investment selection based on your target retirement date. The plan also makes available a Personal Choice Retirement Account (PCRA) that permits transfer of funds under the plan to a brokerage window for those investors who want access to a wider range of mutual funds. Use of PCRA requires payment of an annual access fee. We strongly advise that employees using the PCRA consult with an investment advisor. In addition, you will find a Stable Value Fund option on the investment menu that provides for a guaranteed return. Further information on investment choices is available to participants by logging onto their account through the Transamerica Retirement Solutions website.

Stable Value Fund Information

Willamette University provides for a Stable Value Fund investment within its retirement plan. As summarized by the non-profit Stable Value Investment Association (SVIA), "Stable Value Fund investments are managed with the objective of maintaining principle stability, providing liquidity at Contract Value for participant-initiated transactions, and generating a positive and reasonably stable rate of return." Stable Value funds are not mutual funds. They are investments that are commingled with insurance protection to provide a periodically stated guaranteed rate of return.

Under the Willamette University Defined Contribution Retirement Plan, the University has selected the New York Life Guaranteed Interest Account (NYLGIA) as the Stable Value option for the plan. The NYLGIA is backed by the general account of New York Life Insurance Company.

As with most "Stable Value" funds, there can be limits to the ability to transfer monies out of the fund. This fund does allow full transfers out of the fund and into other investments within the plan, with some limitations as to what kind of fund you can transfer to. You cannot transfer assets out of the GIA fund and directly into a "competing fund" within the plan. Examples of competing funds include Money Market funds and Short-Term Bond funds. The transferred assets must be held in a non-competing fund within the plan for at least 90 days before it can be transferred to a competing fund. It should be noted that these "competing fund" transfer restrictions do not apply to post-separation transfers/rollovers into other plans (or post 59 1/2 in-service transfers out of the plan).

A full outline of transfer limits is available upon request and is based on the contract established under the plan.

Comparison of Stable Value and Money Market Funds

Willamette's retirement plan includes both a Stable Value Fund and a Money Market Fund as options for investment. Many confuse these two very different investment choices. Both are generally considered "lower risk" investments, however, they are quite different in how they deliver returns and the risks they take to provide returns. Stable Value funds, because they are backed by insurance contracts, are very different in terms of risk, but generally provide for higher returns than Money Market Funds.

Below you will find links to online articles that provide more information on the differences between these two common investment choices:



Retirement Plan Advisory Committee (RPAC)

The University's Retirement Plan Advisory Committee (RPAC) is responsible for ongoing monitoring of investment options made available under the retirement plan. The committee's oversight is guided by an Investment Policy Statement. The Retirement Plan Advisory Committee monitors fees on a regular basis, but fees are just one of many factors considered in selecting funds for the plan. If you think you might be interested in serving on the committee please contact us in Human Resources to discuss the nature of the commitment and potential meeting schedules.


Willamette University files an annual Form 5500 with the IRS and the Department of Labor. As part of this filing, the University is required to submit an independent auditor's report of the plan.

Fee Disclosure

Fee disclosure documents fees associated with any assets in the plan be disclosed to participants through an annual fee disclosure process. You may also find fee disclosure information by logging into your account through Transamerica Retirement Solutions. Transamerica assists Willamette in distributing all fee disclosures in a single envelope, including those from "legacy vendors" that still hold assets for the Plan.