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Retirement Plan

St. Jude and TIAA have worked diligently to enrich our retirement program—officially called the 403(b) Defined Contribution Plan with a Salary Deferral Option. You have more investment choices, personalized advice, planning services and a dedicated website for the St. Jude Retirement Plan. It’s never too early to start thinking about where you want to be at retirement age and how you can get there. St. Jude provides several retirement plan features to assist employees in preparing for retirement. You should use these features in combination with your savings and Social Security to plan for a comfortable, secure retirement.

  • Electing your contributions is easy to save for retirement. Update your retirement contribution on; you are eligible for an automatic increase feature, and salary deferrals are on all 26 pay checks. 

Eligibility and Contributions

The St. Jude Retirement Plan accepts both employer and employee contributions. The funds are invested based upon the selections made by you through Employee contributions are voluntary and are made via payroll deduction on a pre-tax basis. These contributions can be changed at any time throughout the year.

  • St. Jude contributions: All regular full-time and part-time employees with a designated status of 50% or more of full time (excluding research scholars, visiting scientists and students) are eligible. Employees must have completed one full year of continuous employment before employer contributions will begin.
  • Employee contributions: All employees are eligible to participate regardless of position or length of employment. Employees can make voluntary contributions through salary reduction up to the annual allowable maximum (set by the IRS). The maximum for calendar year 2024 is $23,000. Employees age 50 and older can contribute an additional $7,500 (for a total of $30,500). All taxes are deferred until the funds are withdrawn.


"Vesting" refers to an employee's right, usually earned over time, to receive some retirement benefits regardless of whether or not they remain with the employer.

  • St. Jude contributions: Employees do not have full rights to the contributions made by St. Jude on their behalf until they are vested. If an employee terminates employment with St. Jude prior to becoming vested, all funds contributed on that employee's behalf are relinquished. The information below outlines the vesting schedule:
    • Upon completion of two (2) years of service, an employee will be 50% vested. If an employee is 50% vested at the time of termination, death or disability, then 50% of the funds will be relinquished back to St. Jude.
    • Upon completion of three (3) years of service, an employee will be 100% vested. After an employee is fully vested, all funds in the account are guaranteed to the employee.
    • Vested benefits are payable at the time of termination of employment, retirement, death or disability.
  • Employee contributions: There is no vesting requirement on employee-paid contributions. All funds are payable at the time of termination of employment, death or disability.

Enroll Online

Participation in the St. Jude 403(b) Defined Contribution Plan does require enrollment1 on The enrollment form can be completed either at the time you begin voluntary employee-paid contributions or at the time you become eligible for employer-paid contributions (at the one-year anniversary of your date of hire2), whichever comes first. Set up a meeting with a TIAA representative by calling 1-800-732-8353.

Please have the following information available before you enroll online:

  • Your investment allocations selected from your investment choices
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your beneficiary's Social Security number, birth date and address
  • Enroll in the St. Jude 403(b) Defined Contribution Plan

1If you have worked at St. Jude for one year or more and do not make voluntary employee contributions, you must complete an online enrollment form. The online enrollment form allows you to decide how your contributions will be invested. If you do not complete the online form, you will be automatically enrolled with contributions defaulted into the Lifecycle fund that most closely matches your age.

2If you have worked at St. Jude for less than one year and want to start making voluntary employee contributions, you must complete the online enrollment form, as well as a salary reduction agreement form. The online enrollment form allows you to decide how your contributions will be invested. A salary reduction agreement form authorizes St. Jude to deduct voluntary contributions from the biweekly paycheck.

Roth contribution

You may be familiar with how pretax contributions work through the St. Jude Retirement Plan—your contributions are made on a pretax basis. This means the money comes out of your paycheck before your income is taxed, which lowers your taxable income. With the Roth option, your contribution is taken out of your paycheck after your income is taxed, which does not lower your current taxes. Instead, your contributions, and the earnings on them, are tax-free upon withdrawal in retirement (provided you have been contributing for five years). TIAA representatives are available to discuss what retirement option is right for you.


Once you’re hired, you have 30 days to enroll or opt out of participating in the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital retirement plan. When you enroll on your own, you will be able to establish your contribution rate, your investment choices and your beneficiaries. If you take no action within 30 days, you will be automatically enrolled at 3% of your salary, and your contributions will be directed to the target-date fund closest to the year you reach age 65. Your beneficiary will be set to “Estate.” As part of our commitment to ensure you are prepared for retirement, you will also be enrolled in an automatic increase feature. This means, unless you opt out, your contributions will increase by 1% each year around September 30 until a maximum contribution rate of 10% is reached.

AutoIncrease Option

The auto increase feature allows you to set an automatic savings increase that will increase to reach the savings limit you set. As always, with the auto increase feature you may start, stop and change the frequency and time of year it occurs. You may decide what your contributions will be, the rate of the increase and the maximum amount of the deferral. You can review your elections or make changes to your contribution amount at any time. This feature is designed to give you the tools you need to help you save more for retirement, but participation is not mandatory. If the timing for auto increase is not right for you, you can opt out, change or stop contributions at any time.

Student Loan Forgiveness Program

TIAA has joined forces with Savi, a best-in-class service to help navigate the federal student loan repayment system. You may be eligible for federal student loan income- based repayment plans and forgiveness programs designed specifically for people who work at eligible public interest employers, that is, at a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit school, university or hospital; in government or approved governmental entities; or at a few other public interest organizations. This service is designed to make that process easier if you are eligible and applying.