Retirement

Harvard provides comprehensive retirement programs to provide for your long-term financial security along with education and planning resources to help you maximize this benefit.

Retirement Program Changes

Harvard is making changes to the investment options and management available through the retirement programs, both those funded by the University and those you fund yourself. The following changes were effective as of April 9: 

  • A new simplified investment lineup where all plan contributions are directed, effective April 9. The lineup includes mutual funds and annuities provided by Vanguard and TIAA, including the default investment Vanguard Target Retirement funds, along with a new TIPS fund option from Schwab.
  • A single platform managed by TIAA at TIAA.org/harvard for retirement account administration and recordkeeping with one website where employees can view and elect investments and make changes. All participants now have an account on the TIAA platform.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stock market volatility, Harvard has postponed the transfer of existing balances at Fidelity and Vanguard to the new TIAA platform. Participants will be notified when a new transfer date has been determined. Read the March 25, 2020 letter.
  • Learn more about the changes and transition

Harvard-Funded Retirement Plans

These plans are fully funded by Harvard to help you save for your future. Depending on your role, you may be eligible for the following University-funded Retirement Programs:

  • 2001 Staff Program,
  • 1995 Retirement Program, or
  • Faculty Plan

All plans allow you to choose an investment for all or some of Harvard’s contribution. There are default funds for those who do not make an election.

Eligible faculty and staff will be automatically enrolled in the retirement plan for their employment type after the appropriate waiting period of six months to one year (depending on plan), and will receive an information package two months prior to enrollment.

Employee-Funded Tax-Deferred Savings

You can begin saving for retirement, while saving money on taxes - now or in the future - through two voluntary and optional tax-deferred Employee-funded Retirement Programs:

  • Tax-Deferred Account (TDA) allows you to save with pre-tax dollars through the Traditional contribution option or after-taxes with the Roth option, which allows tax-free withdrawals in retirement. You decide how much to save, up the plan limits, and how to invest your contributions among Harvard's choices. Some new faculty and staff will be automatically enrolled after 60 days of employment (Traditional option).
  • 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan allows certain high-earning faculty and staff to set aside a tax-deferred portion of their salary, in addition to TDA deductions.

Investments and Education

  • Retirement Investment Options 
    Harvard offers a range of investment options, including mutual funds and brokerage accounts. Your choices will depend on your personal goals, risk tolerance and knowledge of investing.
  • Retirement Education & Planning 
    Access to an array of resources — online, by phone, and in person — aimed at helping you determine how much you need to save and which investments to select.

Retiree Health

Harvard provides optional medical and dental coverage to retirees who meet the eligibility requirements, along with their spouses/domestic partners (at the time of retirement) and their eligible dependents. Learn more.

My Harvard Total Rewards

My Harvard Total Rewards is a secure, frequently updated tool where you can see a personalized view of the value of your total rewards package, including pay, health, insurance and retirement benefits.