The RPB supports Reform congregations and institutions by providing their eligible professionals with a 403(b) pension plan that is invested in a prudent manner by a well run, cost-effective organization that serves the Reform Movement exclusively. The foundation of a dignified retirement starts with regular, annual employer and participant contributions to the Reform Pension Plan.
The Reform Pension Plan is a Defined Contribution Plan organized within the framework of IRS 403(b) regulations. The Reform Pension Plan is recognized by the IRS as a “Church Plan,” as the RPB provides benefits to employees of religious institutions. The retirement benefits are based upon a participant’s pension account balance at retirement. As the employer, the congregation’s responsibility is “defined” by its contribution, expressed as a percentage of salary (including parsonage) or flat dollar amount, deposited to the participant’s pension account.
We want to stress that it is the employer’s and participant’s responsibility to make regular annual contributions, which will enable the participant’s account balance to grow over time. All contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, reducing current taxation. Income tax on contributions and earnings is deferred until the participant takes a direct retirement distribution.
The RPB reviewed its recommended contribution rates. The RPB commissioned Summit Strategies Group, its independent investment consultant, to conduct an objective evaluation. Click here to read the summary document, which includes Summit’s detailed report and other supporting documents: Evaluation of Recommended Contribution Percentages.
Full enrollment of eligible participants provides confidence for the professionals regarding retirement, allowing them to focus on the work of the congregation. The RPB was developed to ensure that individual congregations are only responsible for that portion of a professional’s pension during his or her employment period with each congregation. The RPB recommends that the congregation make an annual contribution of at least 15 percent of the participant’s salary and parsonage, if applicable.
The RPB also recommends that the participant make an annual contribution, called an elective salary deferral. The RPB recommends an elective salary deferral of no less than 3 percent of salary, including parsonage, if applicable, which the participant’s employer deducts from his or her salary on a pre-tax basis.
Congregations and participants can contribute more than the RPB’s recommended amounts to the pension plan up to the IRS maximum contribution limits. There are no minimum pension contribution requirements for the Reform Pension Plan.
Please see the section on the Rabbi Trust for additional contribution opportunities.
Pension contributions are invoiced to congregations at the beginning of every plan year, (July 1st). The RPB provides flexibility to make contributions that fit with your congregation’s cash flow needs and schedule. The RPB Pension Tracking System, available to authorized congregational staff online at www.rpb.org, enables congregations to easily manage their professionals’ RPB information, including their salary and pension contribution amounts. Pension contributions can be scheduled via the RPB Pension Tracking System to be paid electronically on a one-time, monthly or quarterly basis.
A participant can contribute to the Reform Pension Plan by making an elective salary deferral, in which a pre-tax deduction is made from his or her salary by the employer. The participant must first enter into a Salary Reduction Agreement with the employer, which should remain at the congregation’s office; the agreement should not be submitted to the RPB. Participants may change their elective salary deferral amount at any time, but the participant and employer must enter into a new salary reduction agreement in each instance.
It is important to note that both employer contributions and elective salary deferrals have to be paid by the employer to the RPB because all contributions to the plan must be made with pre-tax dollars.
If a participant should leave employment with their congregation before the end of a plan year, the congregation may request a refund of the unearned contribution amount. The RPB will send a Termination of Employment/Participation form, which will document the participant’s termination of employment with your congregation and facilitate the RPB’s processing of the refund amount. Please contact our Participant Account Executive, Ingrid Aponte, at email@example.com to report changes of employment with your staff and/or to request a refund, or by clicking on the Contact Us section of our website.
Reform Pension Plan Portfolio
The Reform Pension Plan provides four objective-based funds with a focus on capital appreciation, income, a balance of appreciation and income, and capital preservation. The RPB’s Investment Committee, along with Summit Strategies Group, an independent investment consulting firm, performs an ongoing evaluation of the structure of the Reform Pension Plan and monitors the performance of all RPB investment managers. To learn more about our investment portfolio, please click the links below: