Bay Area Rapid Transit: Retirement Plans

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457 Plan (Voluntary Contributions)

Overview | Enroll | ContributionsRoth (After-Tax Contributions)Investments | Withdrawals | PERS | RolloversPurchase of Prior Service Credit | Fees

What is the BART 457 Deferred Compensation Plan?

  • You make contributions from each paycheck that are invested with the goal of generating even more savings for your retirement. You choose how your savings are invested.
  • You may make contributions on a pre-tax basis (you don't have to pay taxes on these savings until you withdraw them when you retire), or on a Roth (after-tax) basis (you pay taxes on these savings now so you don't have to later).

What are the benefits of participating in the 457 Plan?

  • Save more for your retirement!
  • You choose whether to pay taxes on your contributions now or when you retire.
  • You choose how your savings are invested.
  • Your 457 savings are an important supplement to your retirement income.

Who's eligible to participate in the 457 Plan?

All BART Employees, officers, and members of the Board of Directors.

If you're re-employed by BART under USERRA, your military service will be counted as service with BART and you may enroll and make contributions to your 457 plan. Please contact the BART Benefits Office for additional information.

How do I enroll in the 457 Plan?

Enroll online or complete the Enrollment Form. When filling out the form, you'll specify:

  • The amount from each paycheck you wish to contribute toward retirement.
  • Your investment selections.
  • Your beneficiaries (those who will receive your retirement savings upon your death).

How can I change my contribution amount?

  1. Log into EmployeeConnect Self Service.
  2. Go to My Benefits, then click on Savings and Commuter Summary.
  3. Click on either Deferred Compensation or Roth 457.
  4. Click the yellow Edit button.
  5. Enter a new dollar amount or percentage and click Save. All changes are effective on the first day of the following month.
  6. If ROTH 457 plan is waived, complete a ROTH Enrollment form.

If you would like to change your contribution amount via mail, please complete the Enrollment Form and return it to:

BART Benefits Office
2150 Webster Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

You may also fax your form to the BART Benefits Office at (510) 464-7618.

Can I set up my contributions to automatically increase over time?

Yes! BART's Auto-Escalator feature works for you by automatically increasing your contribution amount by 1% of your current base salary each year. Once you sign up, the first auto-increase will come out of your first paycheck in August; your amount will go up by 1% each year after that.

Example: If your pay rate is $25 per hour or $2,000 per pay period, the increase to your contribution amount would be $20 as of the following August 1st.

Is there a maximum amount I may contribute to my 457 account?

You can find contribution limits for your age and specific situation here.

Limits are subject to increases in accordance with IRS rules.

How can I save more now that I'm getting closer to retiring?

BART offers two catch-up contribution types that allow participants to contribute more than the normal maximum contribution amount for each year:

Age 50+ Catch-Up - For participants age 50 or older by the end of the year.

Pre-Retirement Catch-Up - Allows you to make additional contributions to your BART 457 Deferred Compensation Plan in order to make up for years in which you did not contribute the maximum permissible amount. You can review the BART 457 Deferred Compensation Catch-up Provision Packet for details regarding this special provision. The packet will also have instructions on how to get started and who to contact for assistance.

*Please review the BART 457 Deferred Compensation Plan Catch-up Provision Packet.

What are the benefits of making Roth 457 contributions?

Roth 457 contributions can be withdrawn tax-free! (As long as you meet the requirements for a qualified distribution.)

When can I make a "qualified tax-free" withdrawal of my Roth 457 savings?

  • When a period of five years has passed since January 1 of the year of your first Roth contribution; and
  • You are at least 59½ years old, or disabled; if you have passed away, your beneficiaries may make tax-free withdrawals of your Roth 457 assets upon your death.

What are the annual contribution limits for Roth 457 contributions?

The normal 457 plan contribution limits apply to the combination of pre-tax and Roth 457 contributions that you choose to make.

How do I start making Roth 457 contributions?

It's easy! Simply complete the BART Roth 457 Enrollment Form to designate all or part of your contributions as Roth 457 contributions.

What resources can help me decide if Roth 457 contributions are right for me?

Check out the Roth Analyzer calculator to help you determine if Roth 457 and/or or pre-tax contributions are best for you. We also recommend that you consult with your tax advisor or your BART Retirement Plans Specialist for more information when making this decision.

How can I change my investment choices?

There are two types of changes you can make:

  • Changes to how your current account assets are invested (fund-to-fund transfers).
  • Changes to how your future contributions are invested (future allocation changes).

You can make changes to your investments by logging into your account or by calling MissionSquare Retirement at 1-833-538-BART (2278) for assistance with your transaction.

Can I invest in funds outside the BART plans fund lineup?

Yes! Brokerage services are available and allow you to invest in mutual funds, fixed-income securities, and stocks through your BART account.

To open a brokerage account, you must have a total account balance (across both BART plans combined, if you participate in both) of at least $6,000.

Your brokerage services are provided by TD Ameritrade, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA/SIPC/NFA. For more information, read the Brokerage Program Highlights.

Are there penalties for taking an early withdrawal?

There is no early-withdrawal penalty if you withdraw your 457 assets before age 59½.

Does the 457 Plan affect my PERS benefits?

No, your PERS benefits are not affected by your participation in the 457 Plan.

Can I simplify my retirement planning by consolidating my old retirement accounts into my BART plan?

Yes! Consolidations are allowed into either the 401(a) or 457 Plans. Commonly consolidated accounts are: 401(k), 401(a), 457, 403(b), Traditional IRAs, Federal TSA, and Defined Benefit Pension Lump Sum payouts. You can use the Direct Rollover/Transfer to BART Packet to get the process started.

What is a purchase of prior service credit?

A purchase of prior service credit allows you to "buy" or increase the years of service used in calculating your final benefits in a defined benefit plan such as the CalPERS plan. This amount of service is credited to your CalPERS account and used as part of the formula to determine your retirement benefits. For more information about purchasing prior service credits, review the BART Purchase of Service Credit Packet.

What fees do participants pay?

As a participant in the BART Plans, you pay a monthly fee of $7.00 for each plan you participate in. This fee helps cover plan costs for record-keeping, consulting, trustee/legal services, and plan audits.

Contact Your Representative

Ryan Bertrand
Retirement Plans Specialist
(202) 759-7187
Patrick O'Marah
Retirement Plans Specialist
(202) 759-7277
Ray Ortiz
Retirement Plans Specialist
(202) 759-7126
Bilingual (English & Spanish)