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about retirement

NJ ABP for College Professionals

The New Jersey Alternate Benefit Program (ABP)

A successful retirement is the result of careful planning. To get the most out of your retirement packages, it’s important to be fully informed. This can be an overwhelming process for busy college professionals.

The New Jersey Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) is a tax-sheltered, 401(a) defined contribution retirement plan designed specifically for higher education faculty members. It provides retirement benefits, life insurance, and disability coverage.

Eligibility is generally limited to all full-time and adjunct faculty, part-time instructors, officers, visiting professors and certain professional administrative staff who possess a college degree or its equivalent. The plan is considered a mandatory plan if you meet the eligibility requirements.

If you’re eligible, you are required to contribute 5% of your base salary on a pre-tax basis, taken directly from payroll, and deposited into your plan’s account. Your employer is required to contribute 8% of your base salary.

The Additional Contributions Tax-Sheltered Program (ACTS)

The Additional Contributions Tax Sheltered Program (ACTS) is a 403(b) defined contribution plan. Eligibility is limited to employees of county colleges, state universities, and colleges. This plan allows voluntary contributions via pre-tax salary reduction. You choose how much to contribute, subject to limits imposed by the IRS. Your employer, however, does not make matching contributions to this plan.

As your contributions to both the ABP and ACTS plans are deducted from your salary on a pre-tax basis they are not subject to federal income tax withholding. You are not required to pay federal income tax on the growth or earnings of the investments until you begin distributions from the plans. As always, we recommend you consult with your tax advisor for details specific to your situation.

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Who Are Our Clients?

Our advisors specialize in working with participants in the New Jersey Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) and the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). We support faculty, deans, university presidents, and other college professionals.

We help our clients focus on what they do best while we offer the advice and counsel necessary to help ensure they reach their retirement and legacy planning goals.

Our Clients’ Goals

Our clients have diverse backgrounds, disciplines, and financial situations. However, most of them seek to:

  • Generate enough current income while still saving for retirement.
  • Minimize their risk.
  • Ensure they will not outlive their retirement income.
  • Incorporate effective tax strategies into their planning.
  • Plan to distribute their wealth to the people and charitable institutions they love, in the most efficient manner possible.

Why NJ College Professionals Choose Gitterman Wealth Management

Enduring Market Presence

Independence

Values

Today’s Complex World

* Services provided to participants of the ABP or ACTS plan are provided through Mass Mutual and not Gitterman Wealth Management. Gitterman Wealth Management and Mass Mutual are separate and distinct federally regulated entities.

More about the programs

When contemplating retirement, contact your human resources representative, as well as your Gitterman Wealth Management advisor, to discuss the options that are available. Retirement can be an emotional process; we can offer the tools to help you evaluate your readiness.

If you are eligible but haven’t signed up for the New Jersey Alternate Benefit Program (401(a) mandatory plan) yet, you’ll be glad to know that it’s incredibly easy to get started.

First, you will need to complete the following required forms:

If you are eligible but haven’t signed up for the New Jersey Additional Contributions Tax Sheltered Program (403(b) voluntary plan) yet, you’ll be glad to know that it’s incredibly easy to get started.

First, you will need to complete the following required forms:

Once these are complete, they will need to be provided to your human resource representative, then make an appointment with your Gitterman Wealth Management advisor to review your investment options.

When planning a retirement for teachers, it is important to give yourself enough time to review your benefits and options. Without the right support system, you might miss out on some of the many joys of retirement. Having the right people in your corner is not only essential for your financial health, but your overall well-being, too.

Even if you have put off proper retirement planning for years, it’s never too late to get started in the right direction. Gitterman Wealth Management works with people in all different stages of the planning process and we strive to create completely customized plans for each client.

Your pre-tax salary reduction contributions to either the ABP or ACTS plans are always 100% vested, meaning you have full access to these funds.

Within the ABP plan (voluntary 401(a) plan), the employer’s mandatory contributions will become vested the start of your second year of service, provided you have been employed for at least 12 months and have been making your mandatory pre-tax salary reduction contributions.

Once you are enrolled, understanding the fundamentals of the ABP or ACTS plans is the first step towards creating a solid retirement plan. Through our partnership with MassMutual, we are able to offer an array of investment options within the ABP and ACTS plans, regardless of what stage of the planning process you are currently in.

We have created our process to accommodate planning a retirement for teachers (whether you are just starting to save for retirement or have been saving for years and are looking for advice).

Our Process

Our retirement planning process begins with a detailed data-gathering meeting, which we generally complete in your home or at our offices. Your unique circumstances are analyzed and an individual retirement and investment analysis is prepared for your review. If there are any recommendations that our firm feels are appropriate, we will provide them to you in writing. If you choose to move forward with the recommendations, you may contact us and we will begin the implementation process. We will then begin to meet on a regular basis to track your progress toward reaching your goals.

Our Approach

At Gitterman Wealth Management, our goal is to develop a strategy to achieve your growth objectives. Through a disciplined approach and a long-term perspective, we help you avoid emotional investment decisions, while conscientiously preserving the capital you entrust to us. We leverage technology in a way that allows us to analyze financial intelligence and manage risk. These tools are also used to adjust your portfolio to reflect changes in your circumstances. In addition, you have easy and secure access to information about your investments.

A chart detailing our approach

Under IRC limitations, the maximum allowable outstanding loan balance is the lesser of 50% of your vested plan account balance or $50,000; however, if your vested account balance is less than $20,000, you may borrow the lesser of 100% of your vested account balance or $10,000.

Please note, these loan limits apply on a combined basis to the highest loan balance in the past year under all retirement plan accounts with the same employer. Your employer’s plan may have additional restrictions. If you have any questions, please contact your employer