By Helen Gonzales, vice president, Human Resources

Saving for retirement continues to make national headlines. Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced the Automatic IRA Act of 2010 to require employers who have 10 or more employees and do not offer a qualified retirement plan to establish an automatic IRA investment. While UNM already participates in a retirement plan through the Educational Retirement Board, as part of UNM's benefits, all employees can also participate in 403(b) and 457(b) plans to save for retirement.

These tax-deferred plans, similar to 401(k) retirement plans, allow employees to put a portion of their salary into a supplemental retirement plan. No taxes are paid on contributions or potential earnings until employees withdraw the money at a future date – most likely when they are at a much lower tax bracket.

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of all Americans do not feel that they have enough money saved for retirement. UNM has annuity representatives and tools to help each employee identify investments to meet retirement objectives. To introduce employees to these resources, the Division of Human Resources organized the 2010 Retirement Vendor Fair on Monday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Student Union Building ballrooms B and C. Employees will have a chance to learn about Retirement Manager and speak with UNM's retirement vendors.

Retirement Manager is a tool that allows employees to access retirement plans 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Faculty and staff can utilize Retirement Manager to get more information about tax-deferred annuities, participating vendors, calculators to determine retirement goals and more. Visit the HR Web site at hr.unm.edu, click HR News and then click Retirement.

Enrolling in UNM's 403(b) or 457(b) retirement plan is a big step in preparing for retirement. It is never too early to start saving for retirement – and it is never too late. The most important factor is starting so that the investment has time to grow.