457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan

Highly compensated employees have the option of participating in the 457(b) Deferred Compensation plan, which allows you to defer a portion of your compensation into investment funds that you select.

About the 457(b) Plan

Participation in this plan is limited to employees earning 125% or more of the IRS annual highly compensated limit ($193,750 for 2024).

With the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan, you can defer your compensation into the investment funds you select.

Contributions into the 457(b) are exempt from federal and state income taxes, but FICA taxes are withheld. Although the investments are directed by the participant, the funds are owned by Emory until the time of distribution.

Deferred amounts are not available to participants until termination of employment, except under a qualified domestic court order. The distributed amounts are then subject to federal and state income taxes at the time of distribution. Participants select the method and timing of distribution after the termination of employment; however, distribution must begin by age 70½.

You can make contributions to one or more of the following retirement vendors:


Regular full-time employees earning 125% or more of the IRS annual highly compensated limit are eligible. For 2024, an employee must earn $193,750 to be eligible to participate.

Eligible salary from which deferrals can be made:

  • Regular earnings
  • Summer school
  • Summer research
  • Fulton-Dekalb Authority

NOTE: Transfers from other plans are not permitted.


Deferrals may begin:

  • The first of the following month following being hired into an eligible status OR
  • The first of the following month once salary eligibility criteria are met.

Enroll using Fidelity NetBenefits website (see How to Enroll below). It will be processed as soon as administratively possible but no later than the 1st of the following month.


You can defer compensation up to the annual IRS annual limit. For 2024, the IRS limit is $23,000. Catch-up contributions to the 457(b) plan can only occur in the last 3 years of active employment prior to the normal retirement age of 65.

You can contribute the lesser of:

  • Twice the annual limit, or
  • The annual limit plus the total amount of underutilized contributions from prior years

Emory does not contribute or match participant contributions to the 457(b) Plan.

How to Enroll

Read this user guide for detailed information and instructions.

Step 1: Enroll using Fidelity's NetBenefits website

Use NetBenefits to enroll, enter your contribution amounts, and select your vendors. You can also calculate your maximum allowed contribution using an online retirement modeling tool.

Step 2: Complete the online enrollment form for each vendor you selected

Contact the vendor(s) you selected directly to complete this step. You can do this either online or by phone:

Fidelity Investments
Website Instructions:
Select Register and enter the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. From there, you are presented with a series of questions to set up the account. You then select your funds.
Website instructions:
Select Enroll Now. From there, you are presented with a series of questions to set up the account.

Types of Investment Choices

With several types of investment choices within Fidelity and TIAA's investment lineups, you can easily create an investment mix to help you meet your goals, investing style and needs.

These funds offer an all-in-one approach to simplify investing. The Vanguard Target Date Funds are designed for investors expecting to retire around the year indicated in each fund’s name. The funds are managed to gradually become more conservative over time as you get closer to retirement.

If you want to select from passive and active funds that are monitored by Emory, the plan offers a number of passively and actively managed funds for your asset allocation.

The funds have been selected for Emory by CAPTRUST, a leading investment consulting firm, with consideration of performance, fund management, fees and other important characteristics.

The investments include funds across several asset classes, such as domestic and international equities, as well as fixed and guaranteed income investments. It’s up to you to decide how much risk you want in your portfolio and how to allocate your assets among the funds. Each of the vendors offer tools and guidance to help you. As a rule, you should periodically evaluate your investments and retirement portfolio based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.

  • Passively Managed Index Funds: A passively managed fund, or index fund, strives to deliver the return of a specific market index, such as small blend stocks. The lineup offers passive funds across several major asset classes. These funds are offered at a relatively low cost.
  • Actively Managed Funds: An actively managed fund strives to deliver returns that are better than the related market index, through active selection of stocks and other investments by a professional fund manager. The cost of actively managed funds may be higher than passively managed funds.

A self-directed brokerage account combines the convenience of your retirement plan with the additional flexibility of an individual brokerage account. It gives you a wide array of mutual fund investment choices beyond those in your plan’s lineup. Emory does not evaluate or monitor the investments available through a self-directed brokerage account. It is your responsibility to ensure that the investments you select are suitable for your situation, including your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance.

For more information about Self-Directed Brokerage, read the following details from Emory's retirement vendors:

If you decide that a self-directed brokerage account is right for you, contact your retirement vendor for details on how to open a separate brokerage account within your current plan.


If you need help in selecting funds, refer to the Investment Performance Chart or visit your selected vendor(s) website for information on fund performance. The Investment Performance Chart is updated quarterly.

You can also schedule a Retirement Counseling Session with the vendor(s) of your choice.


A flat fee will be deducted quarterly from your accounts to cover administrative costs. The fees are shown in the chart below:

VendorQuarterly Fee
Fidelity Investments$5.50


You are always 100% vested in your contributions. Please note that although investments are directed by you, the funds are owned by Emory until distributed.

Accessing Funds

Post employment distribution

Participants have up to 90 days after separation from Emory and all other affiliates to make a one-time irrevocable decision on the distribution option and timing of distribution. In the event an election is not made during the 90-day period following severance from employment, the participant shall be paid in 5 equal annual installment payments. The payments will begin as soon as administratively possible after the 90-day period.

Distribution options

  • Lump sum, or
  • Installment payments (monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual), or
  • Single Life Annuity, or
  • Joint Life Annuity


  • Federal law does not allow 457(b) money to be rolled over into an IRA.
  • You cannot access funds while still employed with Emory.
  • Plan loans, hardship withdrawals and in-service withdrawals are not available with the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan.

Making Changes

To your contribution amounts

Use Fidelity's NetBenefits website to make changes to your contribution amounts.