Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Inside Colorado PERA

What to Know About PERAPlus 401(k)/457, DC Plans in 2022

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The PERAPlus 401(k)/457 plans and the Defined Contribution (DC) Plan — collectively known as Capital Accumulation Plans — have become an important part of PERA, with more than $5.5 billion invested as of Dec. 31, 2020.

There are some important changes coming to the CAPs in the coming months, including increased contribution limits and a new recordkeeper. Continue reading for an overview of these changes and what they mean for plan participants heading into 2022.

New contribution limits

Earlier this month, the Internal Revenue Service announced updated contribution limits for 401(k) and 457 plans for 2022. Participants will be able to contribute up to $20,500 into a 401(k) or 457 plan next year, up from $19,500 in 2020 and 2021.

The IRS said the catch-up contribution limit for participants who are 50 and over will remain unchanged at $6,500, making for a contribution limit of $27,000 in each type of plan for that age group.

PERAPlus and DC plans moving to Empower

In March, the PERA Board selected Empower Retirement as the new recordkeeper for the PERAPlus 401(k)/457 and DC plans, replacing Voya Financial. That transition will take place in late November and early December.

Greenwood Village-based Empower is one of the largest retirement providers in the country, with significant experience administering large public plans like PERA. The Board selected Empower based on its experience, customer service, mobile-friendly technology tools, and its modern approach to communicating with members.

With the transition to Empower, plan participants will have access to:

  • Expanded call center hours
  • A robust technology platform, including Empower’s website and mobile app
  • Financial wellness tools
  • Retirement planning tools, including personalized, one-on-one financial advice at no additional cost

The PERAdvantage funds available for investments in the 401(k)/457 and DC plans will not change — account balances will transfer to the same funds within Empower.

For more information on the Empower transition, including key dates, fees and more, visit

Defined contributionA type of individual retirement plan in which an employee saves a portion of each paycheck (along with a potential employer match) and invests that money. The employee’s retirement benefit is based on their account balance at retirement. A 401(k) is a type of defined contribution plan.


  1. Theresa J. Ragsdale says:

    Can retired employees able to get and join on a 401K???
    I have retired since 2007 and did not know this!

  2. Sarah says:

    In the article you wrote “Participants will be able to contribute up to $20,500 into a 401(k) or 457 plan next year” . I thought that you could contribute $20,500 to each the 401(k) and the 457 for a total of $41,000?
    Please let me know the correct answer as to contributions.

    Also does the DC/DB plan count against any of these max contributions?

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      You are correct that you can contribute up to the limit in each type of account. Your DB/DC contributions are separate from those made to a 401(k) or 457 plan.

  3. Gayle Craun says:

    I am scheduled for a required minimum distribution in December. Will this carry over from Voya to Empower? Is there anything I need to do to make sure this happens? Thank you.

  4. Cara Meyers says:

    Since when did retirement savings accounts become “capital accumulation plans”?Do we have to have revisionist rhetoric even in our financial instruments and retirement planning too?
    The reason people had to start 401k’s, 457‘s and IRAs is because the federal reserve and the banking system went off the gold standard, pays almost 0 interest on savings , and there by made these retirement accounts the only instruments available to the average working class have that want to save for retirement . So since now they are “CAP’s” does that set us up for the “unrealized capital gains” on our capital “accumulation” that this heavy handed tax happy administration wishes to be part of the tax code?
    Words have meanings and every day the revisionist word smith’s are very busy trying to manipulate the english language to insert the ideology into everything. Now its my meager ( but hard earned) retirement plan. Sigh..

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Cara, “capital accumulation plans” is simply a retirement industry term that refers to plans like the PERAPlus 401(k), 457 and DC plans — plans in which your retirement benefit is based on how much you contribute and in which you have individual control over your investments — to distinguish them from the defined benefit (DB) plan, also known as a pension. We apologize for any confusion resulting from using an unfamiliar term — the plans themselves have not changed.

      • Cara meyers says:

        Thats why they used to be called “ defined contribution plans”. But thanks for the new spin on an existing program that could possibly be taxed before it even comes to the RMD..should be interesting what feds and the congress come up with tax wise in their new bill huh?

    • George Miller says:

      Yes Cara- this is the first step in the federal government taxing your 401 and 457 plans even before you take a withdrawal. As you know, this is being discussed in Congress for the “wealthy” and it will be but one step removed from taxing the middle class as the next step. As always the first step is to “change the words” so you will get unconsciously acclimated in understanding that these funds are ( hopefully) “appreciating”- hence why should you not be paying taxes on it? The next step, indeed will be establishing a tax on your “capital appreciation” even though it is unrealized. Very observant of you.

  5. Shelley Burke says:

    I received a letter stating my account was moving from voya to empower
    My balance went from 13,000 to 0??

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Shelley, your account balance should have transferred over to Empower in December. Please call 1-833-426-7372 so Customer Service can look into this.

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