Retirement Savings and Financial Planning

Retirement Financial Planning

In times of uncertainty, financial planning is more important than ever. Columbia University’s Retirement Planning and Financial Savings programs help you plan for your future and provides a foundation of retirement income to supplement your personal savings, investments and Social Security benefits. Now is a good time to explore the resources and tools available to you through our website as well as our retirement partners – Vanguard and TIAA.


You enroll and make adjustments to retirement savings accounts* via CUBES. However, you manage your accounts and find resources via the TIAA and Vanguard websites:

  • Vanguard  (You will first need to register under "Sign up for online access". Follow instructions and input Plan #096141.)
  • TIAA  (You will first need to register under "New user access.")

Important Reminder on Beneficiaries: Assign your beneficiaries in the Vanguard and TIAA plans via their websites (not only in CUBES).

*Retirement benefits may vary according to your employment group.

Retirement Fee Disclosures

Student Workers

Voluntary Retirement Savings Program (VRSP)

The VRSP is a 403(b) retirement plan that lets you contribute from 1% to 80% of your eligible pay, on a pre-tax (deducted along with any other taxes) and/or Roth after-tax (deducted from take-home pay) basis, up to the annual IRS limit.

  • Eligibility begins on date of hire.
  • You are always 100% entitled to the value of your own contributions.
  • The IRS sets a maximum contribution limit each year, which applies to combined contributions, pre-tax and Roth:
    • The 2022 maximum contribution is $20,500 (plus $6,500 if you are age 50 and over, for a total of $27,000).
  • The Social Security wage base will increase for 2022 from $142,800 to $147,000.

You have a wide range of funds to choose from for investing your savings, available through TIAA and/or Vanguard.

Make Sure You Are Signed Up

Not sure if you are participating in the VRSP? The simplest way to check is to look at your payroll statement.

To enroll in the VRSP, log in to CUBES; select "Retirement" and follow the prompts. 

Your contributions

Pre-tax contributions to the VRSP are deducted from your paycheck with taxes withheld. 

Making pre-tax contributions allows you to defer paying taxes until you make a withdrawal from your retirement account. 

A Roth contribution is money that you contribute to your VRSP after taxes. Roth contributions are taxable like the rest of your current pay.

Because Roth contributions are deposited into a VRSP after taxes were deducted, withdrawals will be tax free, subject to certain rules. 


Are you a currently retired Columbia Officer or Support Staff member—or planning for your retirement? Find all benefits information and planning resources on the Retiree Benefits website.


Benefits Service Center

Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 am - 4 pm


The Vanguard Group

  • Telephone: 1-888-523-1188

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