Retirement Savings and Financial Planning

It's Never Too Early to Plan for Retirement

Columbia University's Retirement Planning & Financial Savings programs help you plan for your future and provide a foundation of retirement income in addition to personal savings, investments and Social Security benefits. Since the average retiree will need to replace 70%-80% of their annual income in retirement, saving while you work is important for your long-term financial well-being.  

Retirement Brochures


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.

2019 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.
  • In 2020 the maximum contribution is $19,500 (plus $6,500 if you are age 50 and over, for a total of $26,000).
  • The IRS limit applies to combined contributions, pre-tax and Roth.
  • IRS limits may change for 2021.

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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