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March 14, 2014

Treasurer Cowell Launches New Retirement Option for Teachers and Educators

Cowell_403b_3-14-14-400.jpgRaleigh – State Treasurer Janet Cowell and TIAA-CREF today launched the North Carolina Public School Teachers’ and Professional Educators’ Investment Plan, a statewide, supplemental 403(b) retirement program for the state’s public K-12 educators.

“I’m excited that we’re launching a high-quality, low-cost supplemental retirement plan for teachers and educators across the state,” said State Treasurer Janet Cowell. “This statewide plan will help teachers and education employees boost their retirement savings.”

The program, which was unveiled at the North Carolina School Administrators Association conference, features 27 well-diversified, low-cost investment choices and a variety of services designed to help teachers prepare for retirement. Research shows that educators who participate in low-fee plans can accumulate significantly more retirement savings versus those in plans with higher fees.

All of North Carolina’s 115 school districts will have the option to participate in the new program. Participating districts will be able to take advantage of centralized program management, relieving them of significant administrative burdens. In most cases, districts will also be able to take advantage of lower fees, as the new program is designed so that fees decline as more school districts enroll and asset levels increase. Empirical evidence suggests that professional, personalized financial education is important to driving successful retirement outcomes for teachers. This support, under a fiduciary standard of care, is a key feature of the new North Carolina program.

Participating teachers, educators and staff of North Carolina public K-12 schools can access a full spectrum of informational services online, via the telephone or in person. Clients can choose to work with a TIAA-CREF advisor or with a local, independent Registered Investment Advisor that has been subject to a robust third-party vetting process.

The 403(b) Program was authorized by the General Assembly in 2011 and approved by the Supplemental Retirement Plans Board of Trustees last week. The Department of State Treasurer is the program administrator and TIAA-CREF will be the program provider.


Download High-Res Photo: Treasurer Janet Cowell joins James Summerlin of TIAA-CREF in unveiling the 403(b) program at the North Carolina School Administrators Association conference in Raleigh on March 14, 2014.

The North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans offer state and local employees the NC 401(k) and NC Deferred Compensation (457) plans as a means to save for retirement. The plans contain combined assets of nearly $7 billion for more than 250,000 participants. For more information, visit​​.