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Steps for Adding a Retirement Tier to a DC Plan

Design Matters: The Retirement Tier

DCIIA is pleased to share this series of brief white papers and related resources highlighting a retirement tier’s potential components, exploring its benefits and challenges for plan sponsors, and providing a roadmap for implementation.

“Retirement tier” is a broad term; for the purposes of this series, DCIIA has defined it as a range of products, solutions, tools and services, all of which allow a DC plan sponsor to broaden the plan’s goal from one wholly focused on savings to one that also accommodates and supports participants who are near, entering, or in retirement.

Series Content

Series Overview | Paper #1

Start here for an overview of the entire white paper series plus the infographic seen on this page.

What is it? | Paper #2

Learn how a retirement tier fits in with a plan's investment tiers. Common misconceptions about the retirement tier and potential components are discussed.

Why Now? | Paper #3

Find out why the need to assist retirees and near retirees is being elevated in importance. Reasons include the sheer number of people approaching retirement, the complexity of choices that need to be made and new developments that are making offering assistance and support at and during retirement easier.

Putting it Into Practice | Paper #4

Discover how a plan sponsor can create a retirement tier and learn from three hypothetical case studies that are designed to highlight how the process of developing a retirement tier need not be especially complex.

Are Partial Distributions for Retirees Right for Your Plan? | Paper #5

Assess the pros and cons of a key retirement tier decision — whether, how, and to what extent to allow/not allow retirees to stay in the plan and take partial withdrawals.

Full Retirement Tier Series with Resources

The full white paper and all resources are available in one pdf.

Retirement Tier Resources

Additional tactical resources we offer as part of this series include:

How to Find Out What Your Service Providers Offer | Paper #6

Use this sample email as a resource if you are a plan sponsor and want to reach out to investment managers and service providers to request information related to a retirement tier.


These reports may help you determine your plan participants’ actual distribution history, review how participants’ money can leave the plan, and identify what percentage of them might benefit from having access to a retirement tier now or in the near future.

Slide Deck Summary

Click here for summary slides (PDF) of the retirement tier series. Please contact us on if you are a member or plan sponsor and would like a PPT version.

DCIIA would like to thank the many members who contributed to this endeavor:

  • Rob Austin
    Alight Solutions

  • Vidya Rajappa
    American Century

  • Kathleen Beichert

  • Toni Brown
    Capital Group

  • Drew Carrington
    Franklin Templeton

  • Elizabeth Heffernan
    Fidelity Investments

  • Neil Lloyd

  • Joseph Healy

Click on image below for larger version in pdf format.