Retirement Planning

Graphic with 15% in the center of bulls-eye target.

Be Ready for Retirement - Think 15%

The university knows it's important for you to be ready for retirement. You can improve your readiness for the future by hitting the 15% savings target today. With the university's contributions added to your own savings, reaching 15% is easier than you think. Use a combination of the university's contributions and other retirement savings options to save the equivalent of 15% of your annual salary. Review the information below for details.   

Tips for Retirement Readiness

  • Start saving early.
  • 15% of what? Aim to save an equivalent of 15% of your annual salary each year. 
  • Get to 15% by saving both what OU contributes on your behalf and some of your own money.
  • Use payroll deduction to save your money. It's saved before you can even think about spending it.
  • Save your own money in the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS) and in a voluntary retirement savings plan. Learn about the retirement plans below.
  • You don't have to make it to 15% savings all at once. Plan to save a little more each year and, before you know it, you'll be at 15.  
  • Periodically review your retirement readiness with a Fidelity representative or a private financial planner.

How can I get to 15%?

Benefits eligible employees can save 15% by combining the amount that OU contributes to a 401(a) defined contribution plan on your behalf with money that you save from your salary.

On Target with 15%

You're On Target!     7% + 8% = 15%

Use these plans: Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System + 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan 

Your Savings: If you're in the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS), you contribute 7% of your total compensation to OTRS.

OU's Contributions: The university also contributes 8% of your base salary after $9,000 on your behalf to a 401(a) defined contribution plan called the OU Contributory Retirement Plan. Together these contributions bring your savings to around 15% of your annual salary. 

NOTE: You can save even more of your own money by enrolling in a Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan.

On Your Way with 9%

You're On Your Way!    9% + x% 

Use these plans: 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan + Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan

If you're not participating in Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS), then you're not automatically saving any of your own money for retirement.

OU's Contributions: If you're benefits eligible, the university contributes 9% of your base salary on your behalf to a 401(a) defined contribution plan. If you're a salaried, that plan is the OU Retirement Plan and, if you're hourly-paid, that plan is the OU Contributory Retirement Plan.

Your Savings: You can move toward the 15% savings target by adding your savings to the contributions made by OU through a Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan.

Save More with Voluntary Plans

Use these plans: 403(b) Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan + 457(b) Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan

The sooner you're saving the equivalent of 15% of your salary, the readier you'll be for retirement down the road. You can reach the 15% savings goal by putting money from each paycheck into a Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan. You determine how much to save and you can easily increase it over time. 

When you enroll in these plans, your savings is automatically kept from your paycheck before you can even consider spending it. You can start or stop participation in these plans at any time. You can invest in one or both of them. 


What plans are you participating in? Contact HR

How much is enough?

It's not easy to know exactly how much you're going to need in retirement. But, you can make decisions now that make you as ready as possible. It's recommended that saving the equivalent of 15% of your annual salary each year will help you be ready for retirement. So how much does saving 15% a year equal when you reach retirement? Learn more by using the tools on the Fidelity website

Actions for New Participants

New benefits eligible employees have two options to save for retirement. The deadlines for choosing an option depend on your employee group.


Deadline: Beginning January 1, 2017, new salaried employees must make their choice about participation in the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System within 30 days of their date of hire. 

Participation: Beginning July 1, 2016, all new employees eligible for either 401(a) Defined Contribution Plans described on these pages must complete a 12-month waiting period before entering the plan and receiving contributions from the university. The eligible employee begins participation in the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan they selected at the time of hire, on the first day of the month following the employee's completion of the waiting period. This update was approved by the OU Board of Regents at their June 2016 meeting.  

Actions for Current Participants

Once you're already enrolled in a retirement option, your opportunities to make changes depend on your employee group (see below). Any employee can start, stop, or change their contributions to the Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans at any time. 

Retirement Plan Descriptions

Several retirement plans are available at OU. Click the button below to learn the details of each plan.
  • 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan (also known as the Optional Retirement Plan)
  • Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS)
  • 403(b) Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans (Pre-tax & Roth options)
  • 457(b) Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans (Pre-tax & Roth options)


Retirement Enrollment Forms
These forms are used to enroll in OU's retirement plans.
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa