Florida Deferred Compensation

FAQ

General Information

What is "Deferred Compensation"?
  1. Participation in the Deferred Compensation Plan allows you to "defer", or delay, receiving a portion of your income until a later date; generally when you retire. The primary purpose of the Deferred Compensation Plan is to help you save and invest a sum of money, helping to supplement your retirement income.  This income will be in addition to the benefits you are expecting to receive from the Florida Retirement System (FRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Participation allows you to "defer", or delay, receiving a portion of your income until a later date, generally when you retire.  The State has established this Plan under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 457(b).

How Do I Enroll?
  1. Take some time to review the important documents section (on the right) so that you can select the best investment company for you.

    Enrolling is now faster and easier than ever with our new Electronic EZ Enrollment Form!  Click the "Enroll Now" button in the top right corner of this webpage to open the form.  Click submit when it is filled out and an  email will be generated to send the form to our office.  You may also call or visit the website of the investment provider(s) that you have chosen to enroll.  Their links can be found below at the bottom of this page.  They will provide you with an enrollment package, and also answer any questions that you may have.  All representatives are licensed to enroll State employees in the Plan, and can discuss their investment products in detail.  You may enroll online with Nationwide, Great West, ING, VAL and Charles Schwab through Nationwide.

    You may also click on the link below, print the form, and fax the form back to the state deferred compensation office at 850-488-7186. You will be contacted by your investment company.

    EZ Enrollment Form

Why should I enroll?
  1. This is an excellent way to help provide additional income at retirement, as well as realize a variety of tax advantages.  The benefits you will receive from the Florida Retirement System (FRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) will most likely provide less income than you are normally accustomed to.  In fact, retirement experts estimate that the average person's benefits from pension plans and social security will provide for only 50%-75% of the yearly income earned in your working years. This amount could be much lower in the future. For example, a person who has worked for the state for 30 years and is in the Defined Benefit (Pension) Plan, with $30,000 being the average of the highest five annual salaries achieved during those years, will on average receive $14,400 annually in benefits from the FRS.  The majority of employees do not work at the State for 30 years, so for many, the percentage will be even less.  You should obtain a FRS handbook that will allow you to evaluate your own situation, which could be more favorable than the above example.  Social Security benefits will provide you with additional income; however, the age to receive unreduced benefits continues to rise. The average Social Security benefit will most likely become smaller as more and more people reach retirement age.  You are unable to influence the amount of benefits you will receive from the FRS and the SSA (outside of working longer.)  You should also keep in mind that medical expenses will increase when you retire.  You can invest in your future and take control of your financial security by actively participating in the pre-tax Deferred Compensation Plan.

What choices do I have once I have decided to join the Plan?
  1. You have the opportunity to choose from five (5) investment provider companies and one (1) on-line brokerage firm. All of the companies offer some type of a fixed account. The fee structure for the companies and their products differ.  Please refer to our "Performance Report" for specific amounts.  This can be found on our website at "Performance Report" www.MyFloridaDeferredComp.com or by calling the Bureau of Deferred Compensation at 1-877-299-8002.  Available investment provider contracts are subject to change. You may choose more than one company.

Is there a way to compare all the investment providers and the products they offer?
  1. Yes.  The Bureau of Deferred Compensation publishes a document that presents the historical rates of return for all investment products available in the Plan, with the exception of the on-line brokerage products, along with the fees assessed by each company.  The name of this publication is the "Performance Report". This report allows you to compare the fees of the six providers uniformly.  We urge you to review this document before enrolling with any of the companies in the Plan.  The "Performance Report" is available by visiting our website at  www.MyFloridaDeferredComp.com.  If you would like to be added to the mailing list to receive this report quarterly, please contact the Bureau of Deferred Compensation.

When can I join? Am I only allowed to enroll in the Plan during the "open window" enrollment period?
  1. No. You may enroll in the Plan at any time during the year.

Eligibility

Who is eligible to enroll in the Plan?
  1. Persons who are appointed, elected, or under contract, and who provide a service (state employees) including OPS for the State of Florida for which compensation or statutory fees are paid by the Bureau of State Payrolls may participate in the Plan.  The State of Florida 457 Deferred Compensation Plan is also available to state university employees, employees of the State Board of Administration, Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority, Suwannee River Water Management District, and Division of Rehabilitation and Liquidation. 

Is there any reason why I should not enroll in the Plan?
  1. You should not consider this to be a savings account that you have access to at any time.  If you do not have sufficient resources to meet short-term emergencies that may occur (car repairs, normal home repairs, etc.) you should not enroll in the Plan.  If you have significant debt you may want to consider if it is prudent to participate in the program, especially if the debt has a considerably higher interest rate associated with it than what you expect to make in the plan. 

Are OPS and FTE eligible to participate in the Deferred Compensation Program?
  1. Yes.  Other Personnel Services (OPS) and FTE personnel are eligible to participate in the Deferred Compensation Program.  As long as the employee receives an earning statement from the state or other participating employers, you can contribute.  If the employee ends employment you can leave your assets in the plan or begin taking a distribution after 31 days of separation from employment.  If an OPS employee is hired into career or select exempt service you can continue contributing to the plan.

Participation

How does the Plan work? How do I invest into the Plan?
  1. Once you enroll with an investment provider company, you participate in the Plan by authorizing an amount of money or a percentage of your gross salary to be automatically deducted from your paycheck before any Federal income taxes have been withheld.  On the day you receive your paycheck, the Bureau of Deferred Compensation wires your deferral amount to your chosen investment provider, where it is immediately deposited into your account.  The only way you can invest in the Plan is through an automatic payroll deduction.  If you are a state employee this is set up on the Bureau of State Payroll's monthly or bi-weekly payroll system.  If you are paid by a non-centralized employer (State University, State Board of Administration, Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority, Suwannee River Water Management District, or Division of Rehabilitation and Liquidation) this will be handled through your human resources department.  You cannot send in a personal contribution.

Does participation in this Plan affect the calculation of my benefits due from the Florida Retirement System (FRS) or the Social Security System (SSA)?
  1. No.  Your eligibility for FRS and SSA benefits are not affected in any way.  You continue to earn creditable service towards benefits from the FRS.  You continue to pay into the Social Security System each time you are paid your salary. 

Can I be in the state's 457 Plan if I am currently participating in a Tax-Sheltered Annuity (403B) Plan or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), or IRA (traditional, Roth, etc)?
  1. Yes, you may contribute the maximum amount allowed into the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan at the same time you contribute the maximum to other retirement plans. 

Is my deferred compensation account subject to marital court orders?
  1. According to Florida Statute 61.076, all deferred compensation plans are considered marital assets and are subject to equitable distribution.  The alternate payee may receive a distribution of the awarded amount even if the participant is not eligible to receive a distribution.  The alternate payee will be responsible for the federal taxes incurred. For questions regarding court orders the Bureau of Deferred Compensation is available for assistance.

Taxation

How does participation in the Plan immediately lower my federal income taxes?
  1. The entire amount that you invest in the Plan every year is not immediately subject to Federal income taxes; therefore, less money is withheld from your pay.  Your investment is automatically made before Federal income taxes are withheld, thereby lowering your amount of taxable income.  Your W-2 form that your employer sends you will reflect a lower amount of income that you report on your Federal tax return.  In addition, all interest earned on your deferred investment will not be taxed until you begin receiving distributions.  To illustrate the advantage of investing "pre-tax" please review the following example, which is based on a single employee paid monthly with zero withholding allowances.  The example compares the gross taxable income and spendable income of an employee investing $200 into a savings account after-tax, versus a pre-tax investment of the same amount into the Deferred Compensation Plan. 

       Savings Acct.

    D.C. Account

     
    Gross Income $2,000.00 $2,000.00  

    Pre-Tax Investment 

    0.00 (200.00)  D.C. investment "pre-tax"

    Gross Taxable Income 

    $2,000.00

    $1,800.00

    You report lower income to IRS!

     Withholding Tax 

    (400.00)

    (360.00) Lower est. tax bill, Lower W/H.

    Social Security & Medicare 

    (153.00) (153.00) Social Security tax  & Medicare

     After-Tax investment  

    ($200.00)  0.00 Savings investment "after-tax"

     Spendable Income

    $1,247.00 $1,287.00   Spendable income is increased!

    Investing the same amount of money before taxes are withheld actually increases your spendable income.  The bottom line is that you can invest a higher amount of money into the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan versus an after-tax program and still have the same amount of spendable income afterwards.

When will I be taxed on  the income that I "defer"?  -- on the earnings?
  1. You will report the income and earnings on your Federal tax return only when you begin to receive distributions from the Plan.  There will be a mandatory 20% Federal income tax deduction withheld from lump sum distributions, partial distributions, and any distribution with less than a 10-year payout. The distributions you receive will be reported as ordinary income in the year that you receive them. Your investment provider company(s) will provide you with a form stating the proper amount of income to include on your tax return.

Risk

Is there a chance that I could receive less than I invested into the Plan?
  1. The amount and type of risk varies from one investment to another.  Some products are guaranteed by the investment provider against loss of principal, but if the investment provider becomes insolvent it is possible to lose your principal.  The Department of Financial Services conducts quarterly reviews of the financial condition of each investment provider company in the Deferred Compensation Program.  Historically, our companies have been in excellent financial condition. It is important that you understand the risks involved in your investment choices.  You may wish to consult a qualified investment advisor at your investment company to help you understand the risks involved in your investment options and your own tolerance for the various types of risk.

How safe is my money? Is there any chance that I will lose money?
  1. As with any investment, there is always the possibility that you could lose your principal unless you are invested in a guarantee of principal and interest account.  There is also the possibility that your chosen investment provider's financial condition could deteriorate.  As to the guarantee of principal and interest accounts, consult with your investment provider company for information regarding the safety of assets.  The liquid savings account and certificates of deposit offered by Nationwide Bank are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000 per account.  Amounts at Nationwide Bank, in the FDIC product, in excess of $250,000 are collateralized at 150% with the Department of Financial Services.  The FDIC does not insure the mutual funds offered by the investment providers.  However, mutual funds are held in separate accounts at the offering investment company, and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.).  These balances would not be made available to creditors of the companies in the event of bankruptcy.  In addition, the Department of Financial Services analyzes the financial condition of the investment provider companies on a quarterly basis.  All assets of the Plan are held in trust for the exclusive benefit of participants and their beneficiaries.  The State of Florida owns such assets and the Chief Financial Officer of Florida acts as Trustee, while the participants and their beneficiaries hold the equitable interest.  This trust fund is, by definition, not subject to the claims against and the creditors of the State of Florida.

Analytical Tools

Market Analysis

Market Watch from Dow Jones www.marketwatch.com

Morning Star www.morningstar.com

Bloomberg www.bloomberg.com

Standard & Poors www.standardandpoors.com

Yahoo! Finance http://finance.yahoo.com

Calculators

Paycheck Calculator™ Determine the cost and tax savings of making tax-deferred contributions to the Plan.

Calculate Current Asset Allocation™ Use this worksheet to determine your division of assets

Great West Retirement Services

Great West Retirement Services

1-800-444-9412

Click Here for Great West Website

Online enrollment available

ING

ING

1-800-282-6295

Click Here for ING Website

Online enrollment available

Nationwide Retirement Solutions

Nationwide Retirement Solutions

1-800-949-4457

Click Here for Nationwide Website

Click Here for Nationwide Email

Online enrollment available

T. Rowe Price

T. Rowe Price

1-800-893-0269

For current participants: Click Here

For first-time investors: Click Here

Valic

1-888-467-3726

Click Here for Valic Website

Online enrollment available

Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Account®(PCRA)

A Self-Directed Brokerage Account (SDBA)

1-888-393-7272

Click Here for Charles Schwab Website

Enrollment available through Nationwide

This website is intended to provide information about the State of Florida's Government Employees Deferred Compensation Plan. It is not intended as investment, legal, or accounting advice. If investment advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. For changes to your account, go to your investment provider('s) website and log in using the ID and password you created for that investment company.

Department of Financial Services  |   Division of Treasury  |   Bureau of Deferred Compensation

Florida Department of Financial Services · Division of Treasury · Bureau of Deferred Compensation
850-413-3162 (phone) · 850-488-7186 (fax) · DeferredCompensation@fldfs.com
200 East Gaines Street · Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0343