MY_savings_plan

To get the most out of MaineSaves, you need a good understanding of how this plan works. Here in My Savings Plan, you’ll get an introduction to MaineSaves through the Plan Highlights and Frequently Asked Questions. Under Manage My Account you can find out how to make adjustments to your account (such as changing your contributions or investments) and download the most frequently used forms. You’ll also learn how this plan is governed under Plan Supervision and Governing Documents.

 

 

Plan Highlights

MaineSaves, the State of Maine’s voluntary retirement savings plan, provides a convenient way for you to save and invest for retirement on a regular basis. With MaineSaves, you set aside money for retirement and you don’t pay taxes on that money, or on any earnings from your investments, until you take a distribution from the plan. Read on for a quick overview of what MaineSaves is all about. You may also print a copy of these plan highlights.

 

Enroll in MaineSaves

Want to enroll in MaineSaves? Great! You can enroll at any time and be on your way to financial freedom. To get started, check out Enroll Now.

  • Your contributions are deducted before you pay current income taxes, so you save on taxes now while building savings for your future.
  • You don’t have to remember to save—once you enroll, your contributions will be withheld directly from each paycheck by automatic payroll deduction.
  • You can change your contribution amount—or stop contributing—at any time. When you make a change, it usually takes effect on the first day of the following month.
  • Your annual contributions to this plan, when combined with contributions to any other 457(b) plan, cannot go above the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) limit, which is $18,500 for 2018. This limit may be adjusted from time to time as the cost of living changes.
  • Participants 50 years old and older can make a special “catch-up” contribution every year—over and above the regular contribution limit. The dollar limit for this catch-up contribution is $6,000 for 2018 and may be adjusted from time to time as the cost of living changes.
  • If you’re approaching retirement, you may also be able to take advantage of three-year pre-retirement catch-up contributions. These allow you to make up contributions you could have made in the past but didn’t. Contact your local representative from one of the local providers for more information.
  • The plan features three local providers—ING, MassMutual and VALIC. Each one offers a variety of options in which you can invest your savings. You must choose one local provider with which you will invest.
  • Once you enroll, your contributions are sent directly to the local provider you selected. You direct how your dollars are invested and any gains or losses on your investments are applied to your account.
  • You may choose only one local provider at a time, but you can change local providers once every 12 months.
  • You can roll over your retirement savings into your MaineSaves account from other sources like 403(b) plans, qualified plans (like 401(k) plans), individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and other governmental 457(b) plans. Note: The plan does not accept rollovers of after-tax money.
  • MaineSaves is designed primarily to enable you to save for retirement. However, if you have an unforeseeable emergency and you meet certain very specific criteria established by the IRS, you may take a withdrawal while you are still working. See Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
  • You may request a distribution of your account when you retire, stop working for the State of Maine or become disabled.
  • You have a number of payment options, including installments, annuities (monthly payments for life), a lump sum (all of your money at once), a partial lump sum, or a rollover to another financial institution or retirement plan.
  • You can avoid paying current income taxes by rolling over your account to another employer’s plan (for example, a 401(k), 403(b) or other governmental plan) or a traditional non-Roth IRA.
  • Contact your local representative or visit your local provider’s website to initiate a distribution.

If you need assistance, check with one of these resources or call your local representative.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the MaineSaves plan? You can view the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the plan here.

 

If you don’t see your question listed here, you can also call your local representative or Employee Health & Benefits at (207) 624-7380 or 1-800-422-4503.

General Information

No. MaineSaves is a 457(b) plan. Section 457(b) of the Internal Revenue Code contains savings plan rules for tax exempt organizations and governments. Like a 401(k) plan, a 457(b) plan allows you to delay paying taxes (known as “deferring taxes”) on the portion of income you contribute to the plan until you take a distribution from the plan. Unlike a 401(k) plan, however, this plan has no tax penalty if you receive a distribution before age 59½.

You are eligible to participate in the plan if you are:

  • An employee, elected official or appointed official of the State of Maine,
  • Actively performing services for the State of Maine, and
  • Being paid for your services by the State of Maine.

Leased employees and independent contractors are not eligible to participate in the plan.

 

 

Enrolling in the Plan

You may enroll at any time, but you can only invest with one of the three local providers. So your first step is to choose a local provider. To learn more about the local providers and the various investment options available to you, visit My Investment Options. You may also wish to speak with local representatives to learn more about the services offered by the local providers. Contact information for the local representatives is shown under Local Providers on the Home Page.

Once you’ve chosen a local provider, call or meet with your local representative, who will help you complete the forms to enroll. All the forms you need, as well as information on how to enroll, are available under Enroll Now. You can also call Employee Health & Benefits at (207) 624-7380 or 1-800-422-4503 if you have questions.

It’s important to have an up-to-date beneficiary designation on file so that the right person receives payment of your account balance in the event of your death. To designate—or update—your beneficiary, visit your provider’s website by clicking the button under Providers on the home page.

The State has carefully selected a group of local providers to support your participation in the plan. The role of the local providers is to help you enroll in the plan, assist you in investing your plan account and process any distributions you receive from the plan. For more information on local providers, visit My Investment Options.

Before you can contribute to the plan, you need to choose one of the participating local providers. You may change your local provider once every 12 months and have your future contributions directed to the new local provider. When you choose a local provider, there are four main factors to consider:

  • Whether the local provider offers investment fund options that appeal to you,
  • The fees associated with each investment fund offering,
  • The local provider’s services, and
  • The fund returns from each local provider’s Fixed Account option, if you plan to invest in that option.

For more information on these factors, as well as the investment fund options offered by each local provider, check out My Investment Options.

MaineSaves’ investment funds are managed by investment professionals who direct the fund’s investment strategy according to the plan’s investment policy, the fund objective and their own philosophy. Investment management fees cover the cost of managing the fund, including salaries for staff, research, overhead expenses and certain administrative expenses. Because the plan does not receive financial support from the State or participating employers, the costs of all services are supported by plan participant accounts. Costs vary by local provider and investment option. See Understanding Fee Charges under My Investment Options for more information.

 

 

Participating in the Plan

Once you enroll, your contributions to the plan are deducted automatically from your paycheck before you pay current state and federal income taxes, so you save on taxes now while growing savings for your future. Your annual contributions to this plan, when combined with contributions to any other 457(b) plan, cannot be more than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) contribution limit. You may change your contribution amount or stop contributing at any time.

The plan features three local providers that offer a variety of investment options for your savings. After you enroll, your contributions are sent directly to the local provider you chose. You direct how your dollars are invested, and your account balance will reflect any gains or losses on your investments.

You can check your account balance at any time by logging on to your local provider’s website (registration may be required). As a plan participant, you will also receive quarterly statements showing your account balance and investment performance. These statements are also available online. You can find each local provider’s website address on the Home Page under Local Providers.

You can change your contribution amount—or stop contributing—at any time. To do so, you will need to submit a form a few days before the end of the month. Your change will take effect in the month following the month in which your form is received. Forms are available under Manage My Account or from your local representative. Please work with your local representative to determine the exact timing requirements for your change and to start the process.

Yes, generally you would need to go online or call the automated phone system the same day, while the transaction is still pending.

Because this plan is designed primarily to help you save for retirement, the withdrawals you may make while you are working for the State are limited by law. Three types of withdrawals are permitted:

  • Unforeseeable emergency. In general, you may take a withdrawal from the plan only if you have an unforeseeable emergency, as defined by the IRS (see the next question for more information). However, you will have to apply for a withdrawal and have your request approved. If you are considering taking a withdrawal from the plan as a result of an unforeseeable emergency, please speak with your local representative about the requirements related to withdrawals.

Keep in mind that if you take a withdrawal when your investments are showing a loss, you will not have an opportunity to recover from that loss if the market improves. You will also be subject to taxes if you take a withdrawal while working.

You may request only one emergency withdrawal within a given twelve-month period.

  • Inactive account with a balance not exceeding $5,000. If you have not made any contributions for at least two years, and your MaineSaves account balance is $5,000 or less, you may withdraw the total amount in your account for any reason. Speak with your local representative if you are considering this option.

You may request this type of withdrawal only once.

  • Purchasing MainePers service credit. Under certain conditions, you may use money from your MaineSaves account to purchase additional service credit in MainePERS. This may allow you to increase the amount of your benefit under that plan and/or meet the requirements for early retirement.

To be eligible to purchase additional service credit, you need to qualify under one of the categories identified by law. These categories include time you spent on active military duty, refunded time and time working for a state outside of Maine. Special rules, limitations and verification requirements apply to purchasing service credit.

For more information on purchasing service credit, visit the Publications section of the MainePERS website (www.mainepers.org) and click on the member handbook for your plan.

The IRS regulates the types of events that can be considered an unforeseeable emergency. Some examples include:

  • Preventing imminent foreclosure on, or eviction from, your primary residence,
  • Expenses resulting from the loss of your property due to a casualty event (including the need to rebuild) not otherwise covered by insurance,
  • Home repairs not covered by insurance (that is, those that constitute or arise from an unforeseeable emergency),
  • Expenses associated with a funeral for your spouse or dependent,
  • Expenses associated with a sudden and unexpected illness (or accident) for you, your spouse or your dependent,
  • Medical expenses not covered by insurance, including the cost of non-prescription drugs, and
  • Other similar extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstances arising as a result of events beyond your control.

If you have an unforeseeable emergency, you may apply for a withdrawal only if your hardship cannot be satisfied through any other means. You must submit evidence of the financial hardship, as required by the Plan Administrator. Each application will be considered on an individual basis and reviewed based on the facts and circumstances. To request a withdrawal application for an unforeseeable emergency, please contact your local representative.

If you withdraw amounts from the plan due to an unforeseeable emergency, you may also withdraw an additional amount necessary to cover the taxes on the withdrawal amount.

You may request an unforeseeable emergency withdrawal no more than once in a twelve-month period.

Note: An unforeseeable emergency does not include circumstances that can be planned for, such as purchasing a home or car, education expenses or payment of taxes.

Yes. When you leave employment with the State of Maine, you will receive a payment for any unused vacation days you may have. You may contribute all or a portion of this payment to the plan on a pre-tax basis, as long as it is paid by the time you stop working. Keep in mind that, in addition to contributions you make to your account throughout the year, this contribution is subject to the IRS limits.

If you don’t currently have a plan account, you may join the plan just to make this contribution. But you must establish your plan account before your employment ends. First, contact your local payroll representative at least one month before you plan to leave to find out how much unused vacation pay you can expect. Next, enroll in the plan. To do so, choose one of the three local providers to invest your contributions. You can review all the investment options offered by each local provider online at www.MaineSaves457.com under My Investment Options. When you’ve settled on a local provider, download the enrollment form and Joinder Deferral Agreement from the site and call that provider’s local representative to help you complete these forms and set up the contribution. You can find the phone numbers for local representatives on the Home Page of www.MaineSaves457.com under Local Providers.

For more information on contributing your payment for unused vacation to the plan, call your local representative or call Employee Health & Benefits at (207) 624-7380 or 1-800-422-4503.

The advantages of making this payment to the plan are similar to making any contribution to the plan. The taxes on a large, lump sum payment, such as your payment for vacation, could be substantial. By contributing this payment to the plan, you defer taxes on that contribution—which lowers your taxable income and allows your money to grow tax deferred until you withdraw it from the plan.

Yes, if you have MainePERS service credit available for purchase. MainePERS accepts tax-deferred direct rollovers as payment, in full or in part, for the purchase of creditable service. For information about available categories and qualifications for purchasable service call or e-mail the MainePERS Retirement Services department, or refer to the Publications for your plan.

 

Planning and Investing

Your contributions are sent directly to the local provider you choose at the time you enroll. You choose the investments in your account from the options offered by the local provider you chose. Any gains or losses on your investments are applied to your account balance. The State does not guarantee the performance of any of the investment funds or any of the assets in those funds. The decisions you make in selecting the investment options will have a direct effect on the amount available to you under the plan. You should carefully read any fund prospectus and related material before investing and check the performance of your investments regularly (at least with each quarterly statement), keeping your future goals in mind. Past performance is not indicative of future returns.

You may change your investment options with your current local provider (for example, transfer an existing balance from one investment fund to another or change the way future contributions are invested) at any time by calling your local provider’s customer service center or going online. Generally, election changes executed by the close of the New York Stock Exchange, normally 4 p.m. Eastern time, will be processed the same business day. Otherwise, they will occur the next business day. Note: Each local provider has rules in place to prevent excessive trading. Contact your local representative for more information.

You can change your local provider once a year. If you change your local provider, all of your future contributions to the plan will be directed to the new local provider. You may not direct future contributions to more than one local provider at the same time. If you wish, you may keep part or all of your existing account balance with the current local provider or move it to any local provider where you have an account. You may do this at any time, but only once a year.

No one can guarantee that your account won’t lose value when you invest in stocks and bonds. However, in the unlikely event of a local provider’s bankruptcy, there are some protections that may be available to you as an investor:

  • Fixed interest options. Your investment in fixed interest options (a type of fixed-income investment) is insured by the Maine Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association up to the legal limit of $250,000 per local provider, if your local provider goes bankrupt and does not have the money necessary to meet its obligations to creditors.
  • Mutual funds and variable annuity account options. Mutual fund investments are regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Variable annuity account options are regulated by state insurance commissioners, as well as by the SEC. Money held in these funds may not be used to meet obligations to creditors if the local provider goes bankrupt

Whether the market is up or down, it’s still important to save for retirement. It is also important to continue investing at times when assets (like stocks) have lower prices in order to reap the benefits of a later upturn in the market. While security is important, there are other important factors—such as the rate of return, withdrawal restrictions, and fees—that you should consider when choosing your investments.

To make sure you stay on track to meet your investment income goals, you should review your investment strategy and decide whether to re-allocate your assets on a quarterly basis or if a significant event occurs (for example, you have a child, you change your planned retirement date or there is a significant shift in the U.S. marketplace).

Manage My Account

If you need to make an adjustment to your MaineSaves account or update your information, you can use the resources below.

MaineSaves Resource How to Use What You Can Do
Forms
Unforeseeable Emergency
Withdrawal Request
Complete your provider’s form:

  • MassMutual
  • VALIC
  • Voya (contact the Retirement Readiness Service Center at 1-800-584-6001 to request the Voya form)

and return it to your local representative.

  • Request a withdrawal while you’re still working; note there are strict IRS rules and the form will be reviewed to ensure your request meets the eligibility requirements
Provider Resources
Online
Mass Mutual
http://retirement.massmutual.com/rsgovnp/
VALIC
www.valic.com
Voya
www.voyaretirementplans.com
You may have to register the first time you use your provider’s personalized website. 24 hours a day, you can:

  • View up-to-date account information
  • Access investment fund information
  • Use retirement planning tools
  • Obtain a Rollover Contribution form
  • Perform the following transactions:
    • Change how your future contributions are invested
    • Change how your existing account balance is invested
Local Representatives Go to Providers for a list of the local representatives’ phone numbers.
  • Assist you in enrolling in MaineSaves
  • Roll over retirement savings into MaineSaves
  • Request the 5% Enrollment Option (this option is available ONLY for elected and appointed positions not participating in the pension plan with the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS))
  • Request three-year pre-retirement catch-up contributions (this option is available to employees within three years of their normal retirement date)
  • Request a vacation pay deferral (this is an option for employees who are approaching retirement and have extra vacation time built up)
  • Ask questions and obtain additional information about the plan and about planning for retirement
  • Request a withdrawal while working due to an unforeseeable emergency (strict rules apply)
  • Request a distribution from the plan when you’re ready to retire or when your State employment ends
Providers by Phone
Mass Mutual
1-800-528-9009
VALIC
1-800-448-2542
Voya
Local Service Office:
1-866-826-8063
National Customer Contact Center:
1-800-262-3862
To use this automated telephone service, you will need a personal identification number (PIN). Depending on the provider, you may also need your Social Security number. 24 hours a day, you can:

  • Listen to up-to-date account information
  • Request a PIN reminder
  • Perform the following transactions:
    • Enroll
    • Change how future contributions are invested
    • Change how your existing account balance is invested
    • Add or change beneficiaries
State of Maine Resources
www.MaineSaves457.com Log on any time from your computer or smart phone.
  • Plan Highlights and Frequently Asked Questions
  • My Investment Options
    • Compare providers
    • Learn about your investment fund options
  • Enroll Now
    • Enroll in the plan and choose your investment funds
    • Increase, decrease, suspend or reinstate your contributions
    • Change how your contributions are invested
    • Designate or change your beneficiary
  • My Resource Center
    • Plan for retirement, including figuring how much to save, how to choose investments, and what to do when you’re just about ready to retire
Employee Health & Benefits Phone:
(207) 624-7380 or
1-800-422-4503
Email:
benefits.info@maine.gov
  • Ask questions and obtain additional information about the plan
  • Request assistance in performing transactions (such as requesting a rollover)
  • Note: Address changes should be made through the self-service portal on TAMS. Those without TAMS access should contact their HR/Payroll representative to make changes.

Plan Supervision

MaineSaves is governed by an Advisory Council. The Council is the plan’s policy-making body and governs how the plan will operate, in accordance with the official plan document and applicable regulations.

Advisory Council meetings are open to the public. If you would like to attend a meeting or request that the Council discuss an issue, please call Employee Health & Benefits at (207) 624-7380 or 1-800-422-4503 to find out the date of the next meeting.

About the Advisory Council

It is the Council’s duty to represent State employees who are eligible to participate in the MaineSaves plan and ensure that all eligible groups have a say in how the plan is run. Some Council positions (the ex-officio members) are specifically listed in the plan rules, while the others are employee representatives appointed by the governor at the recommendation of employee organizations certified to represent the unit. All members are State of Maine employees.

The Advisory Council consists of 12 members, as follows:

  • There are three ex-officio members:
    • The Commissioner of Administrative and Financial Services, or the commissioner’s designee,
    • The Superintendent of Insurance, or the superintendent’s designee, and
    • The Superintendent of Financial Institutions, or the superintendent’s designee
  • There are nine employee representatives:
    • Seven classified state employees, one from each bargaining unit in the executive branch,
    • One employee from the largest bargaining unit in the legislative branch, and
    • One from the largest bargaining unit in the judicial branch.

The Council meets periodically during the year to review fund performance and plan operations, and the public is invited to attend, except for meetings relating to the evaluation and rating of proposals, vendor selection or personnel matters. To see the latest Investment Performance Report visit Fund Performance.

Special meetings of the Advisory Council may be called by the co-chairs, provided the public notice requirements are fulfilled and members are provided at least seven calendar days’ notice.

The Council’s primary responsibilities include:

  • Making sure that the plan is operating in the best interest of plan members,
  • Overseeing the plan from a policy-making standpoint,
  • Deciding on plan amendments that will change the way the plan works in the future,
  • Choosing local providers,
  • Choosing appropriate investment funds,
  • Monitoring fund performance with the help of a professional investment advisor,
  • Changing investment funds as needed if they are not performing well or if the Council discovers other funds that will better meet participants’ needs, and
  • Ensuring that the plan operates in accordance with IRS rules and the laws of the State of Maine.

The Council has two co-chairs, one for management and one for labor. The management co-chair is the Commissioner of Administrative and Financial Services, or the Commissioner’s designee. The labor co-chair is chosen by the labor members of the Council. When the Council meets, all members express their opinions on issues; however, when voting on an issue, only the votes of the two co-chairs are counted. Note that the vote of the labor co-chair is meant to be representative of the other labor members.

List of Advisory Council Members

The members of the State of Maine’s Advisory Council on Tax Deferred Arrangements are as follows. Currently, the Legislative Branch has an open seat. Employees who are interested in joining the Council may contact their union office.

Member Name Representing Contact
Alexander E. Porteous Commissioner, Department of
Administrative & Financial
Services (DAFS)
Holly Pomelow
Management Co-Chair
Designee (DAFS) Director (Acting), Bureau of Human Resources
holly.pomelow@maine.gov
Eric Cioppa Superintendent of Insurance
Stuart Turney Designee (Bureau of Insurance) Director of Examinations
stuart.e.turney@maine.gov
Lloyd P. LaFountain, III Superintendent of Financial
Institutions
Lindsey Mattson Designee (Professional &
Financial Regulation)
Principal Bank Examiner
lindsey.mattson@maine.gov
Rebekah Koroski MSEA – Professional-Technical Unit (207) 287-7192
rebekah.koroski@maine.gov
Vacant AFSCME
Terry James Maine State Troopers  terrance.j.james@maine.gov
Tracy Bonnevie MSEA – Administrative Unit (207) 562-4228
tracy.bonnevie@maine.gov
Seth Blodgett MSEA – Law Enforcement Unit (207) 626-8529
seth.blodgett@maine.gov
Wayne Morrow
Labor  Co-Chair
MSEA – Supervisory Unit (207) 493-4040
wayne.morrow@maine.gov
Ricky Welton MSEA – Operations &
Maintenance Unit
 ricky.w.welton@maine.gov
Alex Burnett (appointment pending) Legislative Branch  alex.burnett@legislature.maine.gov
Robyn Saucier Judicial Branch  robyn.saucier@courts.maine.gov

 

Council Meetings: Agendas and Meeting Minutes

Council meetings are open to the public. If you cannot attend a meeting, you can find agendas and minutes for each meeting below.

Governing Documents

To see the governing documents that control the MaineSaves plan, click the appropriate link below.