Saturday, August 30, 2008

Utah Retirement Systems (URS)

First let's talk a bit about the URS system. This is run by the state of Utah and is a basic 401K model for retirement. What does that mean? That means you can pick general classes of funds (Income to Long Horizon) and cross your fingers and hope these generic groups of funds perform.
The up side to a 401k is that if the market does well and the funds you chose do well you can have dramatic increases in your invested funds.
The down side to a 401k is that if the market does not do well, or if the funds you chose do not do well ten you can have a dramatic decrease in the funds you saved for retirement.

In most school districts across the state of Utah your district will contribute to the 401k for you (usually 1.5% of your salary every year). The amount the district funds is NOT A MATCH to what you deposit. In fact every district I have spoke with will deposit the same amount -not a penny more not a penny less- regardless of what you contribute.

To view how your URS is doing you can contact them directly, receive regular statements, or look at the last years results online. (

Is funding the URS sponsored 401k your best option for retirement? Not for most. Why? If you stop teaching / working with a school in the state, then your funds sit and wait. If you move to another state your UT account sits. You have the option to 'roll' the funds to your new district- and I strongly encourage you do- but if you do not request it the funds will just sit. If you choose to change careers you can no longer contribute to your URS account either.

For advice consult the Utah Pension Experts (

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