Retirement Planning: 2020 IRS Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

Could you be saving more for your retirement? Whether you’ve just started working at MSU or have been here for 30+ years, it is important that you continue to monitor and adjust how much you’re saving if you want to have a comfortable retirement.

The IRS places limits on how much employees can contribute to a retirement plan each year. The IRS recently announced the retirement plan limits for 2020:

  • The annual employee contribution amount increased to $19,500 from $19,000 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.
  • The age 50 catch-up contribution amount increased to $6,500 from $6,000 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

If you want to save as much as you can for your retirement, there is a tool in the EBS Portal called the Max Savings Contributions Calculator available to assist you. This tool automatically displays the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available before reaching one of the limits, and the equivalent percentage of your pay to help you spread that out for the year.

To access this tool:

1. Login to the EBS Portal with your MSU NetID and password.

2. Click the My Benefits tab at the top.

3. Click the Benefit/Retirement tile.

4. Select Enroll/Change my Retirement/Health Savings Account Options in the drop-down menu and then click Next in the bottom right.

5. Navigate in the bar graph to the Savings Plans screen by clicking Next in the bottom right.

6. The Max Savings Contributions Calculator screen will display. This display will automatically show the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available (if any) before reaching the IRS limit.

7. You can adjust the percentage of your contributions to any retirement plans you participate in by clicking on the pencil icon, and then choose Select to make the change.

8. If you want to enroll in a new plan, begin by clicking on the paper icon next to the plan and vendor of your choosing, and then enter the percentage of your new contribution and choose Select to enroll.

9. Make sure to click on Save in the bottom right to complete and save any changes/enrollments.

If you are an academic year faculty or academic staff employee, or a Voluntary 403(b) Base participant age 50 and over, contact the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or for further assistance in calculating your maximum contribution percentage.

Learn More About MSU’s Retirement Plans 

The HR website contains a wealth of information about the different types of retirement plans offered, retirement investment vendors, and planning tools available.

Job of the Week – Project Manager

This week’s job of the week is a Project Manager (#628566) for MSU Information Technology (IT) Services. MSU IT provides the primary leadership for strategic, financial, and policy initiatives affecting information technology across MSU.

This position is responsible for planning and tracking small to medium projects of simple to medium complexity/risk and supporting the academic and administrative business requirements of MSU. Projects will include, but are not limited to, software application development and implementation, infrastructure implementations/installations, process re-engineering, and implementation of process improvements.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in business administration, management or field related to the employing unit; three to five years of related and progressively more expansive work experience in project management leading projects’ experience in project scheduling using a scheduling tool, business analysis, facilitating/training with a focus on business management, workflow process analysis and implementation of strategic initiatives, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Ready to Use Your Educational Assistance Benefit? Make Sure Your Application is Approved First.

Have you come across an interesting course or conference that you know would help you grow in your career but aren’t sure how to pay for the registration fees? Remember, if you’re an MSU support staff employee, you have access to Educational Assistance. This benefit offers financial assistance (up to $800) to receive reimbursement for registration fees for credit or non-credit courses that are job-related and from an approved institution/program. Non-credit courses include opportunities such as conferences, workshops, seminars, or trainings. Find more details about your Educational Assistance benefit here.

In order to use the benefit, you must submit an application and be approved prior to the course start date. To make sure you or your department gets reimbursed for the registration fees, you should apply and be approved for educational assistance before you pay any registration fees up front.

Process to Apply for Educational Assistance

  1. Find and Discuss the Course with Your Supervisor: If you find a non-credit or credit course that you’re interested in taking, talk to your supervisor about how it will help you grow in your career. Consider tying the course to one of your Performance Excellence goals.
  2. Submit an Educational Assistance Application Early: If your supervisor agrees that you should take the course, submit an Educational Assistance application via the EBS Portal. Login to the portal, click on My Career and Training, click the Educational Assistance System tile, then select the correct application type from the Apply tab in the top navigation. Please note the following:
    • Credit Courses: submit an application 60 days prior to the first day of the course for MSU credit courses or 30 days prior to the first day for all other credit courses.
    • Non-Credit Courses (training, conferences, etc.): submit an application 30 days prior to the first day of the course.
  3. Supervisor Reviews Application: Your application will be sent to your supervisor for approval. You will receive a confirmation email after they approve your application. The application is then sent to MSU Human Resources (HR).
  4. MSU HR Reviews Application: Your application will be reviewed for final approval. You will be notified within 15 days (after receipt of application to MSU HR) if the request has been approved or denied. 

How to Receive Reimbursement

After your application is approved, you’re all set to attend your course! After you finish your course, you’ll need to submit documents to receive reimbursement. You can find more details about Educational Assistance reimbursement for a credit course or non-credit course on the HR website.

Please note: you do not need to submit an Educational Assistance application for courses offered by HR Organization and Professional Development.

Questions? Find more Educational Assistance information on the HR website. Contact the Solutions Center at or 517-353-4434 with any further questions.

Thinking about your 2021 benefits options? Consider the Consumer Driven Health Plan with Health Savings Account.

As you think about the best benefits options for you and your family for the 2021 plan year, we encourage eligible employees to look at the Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP) with Health Savings Account (HSA) option. If you do not anticipate having a lot of health care needs for the 2021 plan year and are looking for a sound strategy to save for your retirement health care, this plan may be the most cost-effective option for you.

This health plan is currently only available to faculty, academic staff, executive management and non-union support staff with an employment percentage equal to or greater than 50% and an appointment for nine months or more. You may also enroll your benefits-eligible dependents.

About the Consumer Driven Health Plan

While you pay a deductible ($2,000/single and $4,000/ family) first before the plan pays medical and prescription benefits, preventive care and certain generic medications for chronic conditions (asthma, cholesterol, diabetes, and anti-hypertensives) are 100% covered with no deductible or co-pays when using an in-network provider. Review the Health Plan Coverage Summary in the applicable Open Enrollment guide to anticipate your annual costs under this plan – you may find that most of your annual medical costs are 100% covered:

This plan limits the maximum amount you pay for any covered services in a year to $3,000/single and $6,000/ family using in-network providers. After expenses reach this amount, you do not have to pay for any other health care costs for covered services, including prescription drugs.

About the Health Savings Account

Along with the CDHP, you should enroll for the HSA at the same time. MSU contributes up to $750 to the HSA each year (prorated by employment percentage) and you may add funds to the HSA tax-free. You can use these HSA funds to pay for any eligible medical expenses or doctor visits you do incur. Note: If you do not enroll in the HSA during Open Enrollment, you will lose MSU’s contribution.

These contributions are triple tax-free! You make contributions pre-tax, your account balance earns interest tax-free, and your distributions are tax-free if they are used for eligible medical expenses. Do you have an existing HSA from a previous employer? You can add those funds into your new HSA. The money in the HSA is yours to take with you – even if you leave MSU for a different employer or retire. In fact, investing in your HSA now to use in your retirement is a sound strategy to fund your medical expenses in retirement.

Questions? Learn more about the CDHP with HSA plan on the HR website. Also, consider visiting the MSU Virtual Benefits Fair in October to ask us questions about this health care plan.

What happened the last time you made a mistake?

Have you ever wanted to ask a question during a meeting, but didn’t because you thought you should already know the answer? Or have you noticed an issue with a project but kept it to yourself because you were afraid of calling out a team member’s mistake? While it may feel safer to not ask questions, admit weaknesses or share critiques, you end up missing out on something important: small learning opportunities that help you and your team grow.

Dr. Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard Business School, studies the relationship between successful teams and how they handle mistakes. When she began her research in 1999, she hypothesized that the most successful teams would make the fewest mistakes. Surprisingly, this was not the case! She discovered that the most successful teams made more mistakes. However, they were open and candid about them and used them as learning tools. From this research, Edmondson identified the concept of “psychological safety,” or the belief that you won’t be punished for making a mistake (Delizonna, 2017).

Edmondson explains that psychological safety is not about being “nice” to each other; it is about trust. Building trust through candid feedback, shared learning, and the ability to admit mistakes without fear (“Creating Psychological Safety,” 2019). The concept of psychological safety impacts employees at all levels and, therefore, the overall success of your team.

The alternative – a lack of trust between team members – can create a culture of blame, denial, and cover-ups, which stems from wanting to look competent in front of our colleagues. How does this impact a team’s success? When employees do not have psychological safety, they don’t share new ideas, innovation is slowed and competitive advantage stalls; the team suffers. Healthy teams still have issues, they just have a positive way to channel mistakes into learning opportunities and improvements.

So, what happens if you make a mistake at work? If you are a leader, what happens if someone on your team makes a mistake? If you’re told to keep your eyes down and “don’t rock the boat” these are warning signs that your team is in trouble. How can you improve psychological safety on your team? Key aspects of a psychologically safe work environment include learning and practicing resiliency skills and modeling behavior that will help others feel safe.

Psychologically safe environments include many different expressions. To help you begin to think about your work environment, do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

  • I can express my opinions and ideas without fear of negative consequences from my team, my supervisor, or my peers.
  • I am encouraged to take risks and try things.
  • When I make a mistake, I can easily own it.
  • My supervisor helps us get comfortable with failure.
  • There is a humble spirit that allows us to try new ideas.
  • I work in an environment where respect is shown to all employees.
  • We can work through conflict productively.
  • Accountability is evident for both supervisors and employees.
  • Mistakes are “lessons learned.”

Interested in learning more about psychological safety? MSU faculty and staff can access the resources below for free on elevateU, including Edmondson’s new book, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth.  

Free elevateU Resources Featuring Dr. Edmondson’s Research:



Instructor-Led Courses to Help Build Relevant Skills:

Delizonna, L., Tjan, A. K., Walker, C. A., D’Souza, S., & Renner, D. (2017, August 24). High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It. Retrieved from

Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace. (2019, January 22). Retrieved from

MSU employees call Teladoc “a game changer”

When you or a family member gets sick, it can be hard to fit in a trip to the doctor’s office – especially if sickness strikes in the middle of the night. Next time you need non-urgent medical care, remember you and your dependents (who are enrolled in an MSU health plan) have access to Teladoc – a service that gives you 24/7 access to a health care professional via web, phone or mobile app.

Teladoc treats general medical conditions including: cold/flu, bronchitis, allergies, pink eye, upper respiratory infections, Dermatology conditions including: skin infection, acne, skin rash, abrasions, moles/warts, Behavioral Health conditions including: stress/anxiety, depression, addiction, domestic abuse, grief counseling, and much more!

You can use Teladoc to treat a range of conditions including cold/flu, bronchitis, allergies, pink eye, dermatology and more. Jaclyn Sayen, an Administrative Assistant for the RHS Planning and Projects Office, is a big fan of Teladoc, “I’ve used it multiple times to treat pink eye for my two children…You can submit a photo (if you’d like), and I received a call back (video or voice) within 10 minutes from requesting an appointment from a licensed provider.” The average wait time to speak to a health care provider is less than 10 minutes – far quicker than sitting in a waiting room at your local urgent care or scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician.  

Quote from Jaclyn Sayen, an MSU employee: "I use Teladoc all the time. It's a game changer."

In Jaclyn’s case, the doctor decided a prescription was medically necessary, “And I was prescribed medication that was sent to a pharmacy nearest, as we were out of state at the time.” A prescription can be sent to any pharmacy in the USA, which is an excellent option if you or a family member gets sick on vacation.

Plus, you receive care at a time that is convenient for you – even the middle of the night. Vivianne Robinson, the HR Director for University Advancement, was especially grateful for Teladoc’s 24/7 service, “My husband has used it twice – the first time was 2 a.m.! They were great, fast and free.”

Jayme Bisard is a Secretary for the MSU Intercollegiate Athletics department and she agrees Teladoc is super convenient: “I called for a very basic, minor thing. It didn’t cost any money and I had a prescription called in that I could pick up right at lunch!” Using Teladoc is free for most MSU employees enrolled in an MSU health plan, the exception being those who enroll in the CDHP with HSA health plan. These folks will pay the full charge until their annual deductible is met.

Sounds great! How do I get started?

Visit the Teladoc website and click on “Member Login” to set up your Teladoc account. When you need medical advice, you can receive convenient, quality care from a licensed health care professional in three easy steps:

  1. Request: ask for a visit with a doctor 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by web, phone or mobile app.
  2. Visit: talk to the doctor. Take as much time as you need to explain your medical situation – there’s no limit.
  3. Resolve: if medically necessary, a prescription will be sent to the pharmacy of your choice.

Questions? Contact Teladoc directly at 1-800-Teladoc or visit the Teladoc website. You can also download the Teladoc app.

How to Find Temp or On-Call Jobs at MSU

We are always looking for talented people to become part of the MSU community. In addition to the support staff and faculty jobs posted on the Careers @ MSU website, you can find temporary or on-call employment with various departments on campus. You will apply for temporary or on-call jobs with the department offering the position. This is a great option if you’re just looking for part-time or seasonal employment and particularly popular with students looking for work over university breaks. Use the resources below to find jobs with various departments on campus.

Infrastructure Planning and Facilities (IPF)

Have you ever wondered who is responsible for keeping MSU’s campus so beautiful? That would be one of the IPF team’s many responsibilities! IPF recruits skilled trades and business professionals for job opportunities in areas related to maintenance, landscape, custodial, transportation and more. Find more information on how to apply from the IPF website.

Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS)

With 27 residence halls, 10 dining halls, 21 Sparty’s Coffee shops, 3 Starbucks and more, RHS is very busy supporting the MSU community. RHS posts jobs for people looking to work in culinary or cleaning service positions. This includes residential and retail dining, Sparty’s Coffee shops, Food Stores, MSU Bakery, MSU Food Truck, Concessions, and Linen Services. Cleaning services may occur in residence halls or other areas such as offices, classrooms, laundry rooms and restrooms. Find jobs and apply from the RHS website.

Spartan Hospitality Group

Does it sound fun to be part of the major entertainment events at the Breslin Student Events Center? The Spartan Hospitality Group (part of RHS) offers jobs with the Breslin Center, Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, Forest Akers Golf course, MSU Tennis Center and Spartan Spirit Shop. Find opportunities for banquet servers, food preparation, kitchen sanitation, hotel housekeeping, ushers/event staff, golf course attendants and more. Find jobs for the Spartan Hospitality Group on the RHS website.

Spartan Child Development Center

Are you interested in working with young children? The Spartan Child Development Center focuses on the social-emotional, cognitive and physical needs of the developing child. They are dedicated to meeting the needs of all children ages two weeks to six years. Find jobs for the Spartan Child Development Center.

From food service and event staff to skilled trades and child development, we offer a variety of temporary and on-call employment options at MSU. We hope you find a job opportunity to suit your needs and join the MSU community! Find more information about jobs at MSU on the HR website.