15 Year Catch-up Provision
For 403(b) plans, a provision that may allow an employee, with 15 years of service with a qualified organization (e.g. an educational organization, hospital, home health service agency, health and welfare service agency, church or convention or association of churches), to make deferral contributions in excess of the plan’s deferral limit.
90-24 Transfer
For 403(b) plans, this is a tax-free direct transfer of assets from one investment provider to another investment provider.
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Accrued Benefit
The Accrued Benefit represents that portion of your benefit that has accrued to a specific date based on the provisions of your plan. Examples of plan provisions that may be considered could be your earnings and service history, age, expected Social Security benefit, etc. Please refer to your own plan's summary for specific information. The amount quoted is a monthly annuity payable on the plan's Normal Annuity Form commencing at your Normal Annuity Commencement Date (Normal Retirement Date).
Actuarial Equivalency
Factors that are used to modify your annuity payment so that the total value of your plan benefits are maintained despite an optional benefit commencement date or annuity form that may be selected. The factors generally take into account the ages of you and your spouse, as well as expected investment returns over the annuity payout period.
Age 50 Catch-up Rule
An additional amount (e.g., up to $5000 for 2007) that may be deferred to the plan in excess of the plan’s deferral limit by participants who have or will have attained age 50 by the end of the year.
An annuity is the payment of funds on a regular basis over a fixed period of time or for the recipient's lifetime. There are many different types of annuities, some of which offer the continuation of benefits to your beneficiary after your death.
Annuity Commencement Date
The date when your accrued benefit payments will commence. Often times, this is referred to as your retirement date.
Asset Allocation
Asset Allocation is dividing investment options among different asset categories, such as cash, bond or stock investments.
Average Earnings
Refers to the average of your eligible earnings (your pay) in the years just prior to a benefit determination. Your average earnings may be one of the factors used in determining the amount of your benefits.
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Bear Market
A prolonged period in which stock prices are declining or have fallen 20% or more.
A person or persons you designated to receive any benefits payable upon your death while you are an active employee or under certain annuity forms.
Benefit Formula
The formula used by a defined benefit plan that determines the amount of the benefit that will be paid to you.
A bond is an interest-bearing or discounted government or corporate IOU that promises to pay the investor a fixed return, usually within established time periods. The principal amount of the loan is paid at maturity.
Bull Market
A prolonged period in which stocks prices are rising.
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Convertible Bond
Sometimes called "convertibles," corporate bonds that can be exchanged for a predetermined quantity of a different security (typically common stock) at a present price. Convertibles are attractive to investors who want the income potential of bonds and the appreciation potential of common stocks.
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Defined Benefit Plan
Generally, defined benefit plans provide eligible participants with a fixed monthly benefit for life. These benefits are promised by the company providing the plan and insured by a government agency - the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
Defined Contribution Plan
Defined Contribution Plans, such as 401(k) plans, offer tax deferred retirement savings that depend on the amount contributed by the employee/employer and any earnings.
Diversification is a way of minimizing investment risk by putting money in different types of investments.
Income paid by your investments. Bonds and some stocks pay dividends. Mutual funds pass dividends on to their shareholders. Tax deferred retirement plans reinvest dividends.
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Early Annuity Commencement Date
This date is often referred to as an early retirement date. You must be eligible to choose to receive your accrued benefit on this date, which may be based on age and service requirements of your plan. The benefit paid on this retirement date may be reduced. The reduction takes into consideration that you will generally receive the annuity over a longer period of time than if you waited until your normal retirement date. As a general rule, early retirement will give you about the same total benefits over your lifetime, but in smaller amounts to take into account the longer period you will receive them. Once you've become eligible for early retirement, you may choose to retire at any date on or following this date.
Estimated Increase in Annual Earnings
An estimate of how much your pay will increase in the future. By assuming your pay will increase, your accrued benefit will more closely reflect your earnings at this future date.
Estimated Social Security Benefit
The estimated monthly benefit payable by the Social Security Administration at your retirement date. The estimated benefit calculated makes assumptions about your prior and future earnings. The Social Security Administration will use your actual past earnings when determining the exact benefit amount.
Estimated Termination Benefit
The estimated termination benefit represents that portion of your benefit that has accrued to a specific future date based on the provisions of your plan. This benefit assumes that you continue to work to the date entered. The amount quoted is the monthly annuity payable on the plan's Normal Annuity Form commencing at your Normal Annuity Commencement Date. Please refer to your plan's provisions for specific information concerning the calculation of benefits.
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Inflation is the rise in the price of goods and services.
Acronym for "Individual Retirement Account", allows an individual to set aside income up to a specified amount each year (based upon current IRS limits) tax-deferred until withdrawal no earlier than age 59.5. There are several types of IRA's. The Roth IRA taxes contributions but exempts savings growth and withdrawals from taxation. The SEP (simplified employment pension) IRA is for self employed individuals and defers tax on contributions.
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Joint Annuitant
The person you designate when you elect retirement who will continue to receive annuity payments for life in the same or reduced amount, upon your death. This situation is only applicable if the annuity form chosen is Joint and Survivor. Some Joint and Survivor annuity forms also reduce the amount paid to you at the death of your Joint Annuitant. Spousal consent may be required if you name a Joint Annuitant other than your spouse.
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Typically refers to a participant who has been married throughout the one year period immediately preceding the date benefits are calculated for a death benefit paid prior to retirement.
Matching Contributions
The predetermined dollar amount or percentage of salary that is contributed to a retirement account by the organization sponsoring the retirement plan. These contributions are subject to vesting.
Money Purchase Pension Plan
A tax deferred retirement plan in which the employer contributes a fixed annual amount on behalf of each participant.
Mutual Fund
A mutual fund is formed when an investment company pools money from shareholders and invests it. Investments can include stocks, bonds, gold or government securities.
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Normal Annuity Commencement Date
This date is often referred to as your normal retirement date as described by your plan. You are entitled to 100% of your accrued benefit on this date with payments commencing immediately upon your retirement from the plan.
Normal Annuity Form
The basic way of paying retirement income to you according to the terms of the plan. This standard method of payment is automatically in effect unless you choose an optional manner of receiving your retirement income. If you are married, in order to receive your benefits on the normal annuity form, your spouse must agree in writing.
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On-Demand Rebalancing
On-demand rebalancing realigns the percentage of your total account balance that is invested in each separate investment account with the investment allocation percentage that you have chosen for that account. On-demand rebalancing is done on a one-time only basis and will not occur again unless you select it again.
Optional Annuity Form
An alternate method of receiving retirement income designed to fulfill different financial needs or personal situations. You must make this election prior to retirement and it is subject to the terms of the plan.
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Participation Date
The date you become eligible for coverage under a pension plan.
Pension Plan
A qualified retirement plan set up by an employer for its employees.
The legal document that describes the rules governing your eligibility dates and benefit entitlements with respect to the pension provided by your employer.
Plan Year
The twelve-month period as defined in the plan for record keeping purposes.A plan year can be a calendar year, the employer's tax or fiscal year or the anniversary of effective date of the plan.
A portfolio is all of the different investments made by a given individual or institution.
Profit Sharing
A tax deferred retirement plan in which an employer contributes a portion of the Company's profits to its employees. Compensation can be stocks, bonds, or cash.
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Qualified Retirement Plan
A retirement plan that receives special treatment because it meets certain Internal Revenue Code requirements is also referred to as a qualified retirement plan.
Qualified Spousal Joint and Survivor Annuity
The method of receiving retirement annuity payments for a married participant unless you and your spouse choose otherwise. You will receive reduced payments. At your death, your spouse as joint annuitant will receive payments as long as they live. These payments to your spouse will equal at least 50% of the amount you were receiving.
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Rate of Return
The estimated rate of return is the percentage in the account balance relative to the amount invested.
To help you maintain your investment portfolio over time, your account can be periodically rebalanced. This ensures that the percentage of your total account balance in each investment account corresponds to your allocation for that account. This is important since gains and losses in different investment accounts may change the percentage of your total account balance that is invested in each separate investment account.
The start of an immediate annuity pension payment on account of age and/or service as defined under your plan.
Retirement Date
The date on which retirement income payments begin under a plan.
Retirement Plan
An agreement between the employer and his/her employees to provide their retirement benefits.
Risk Tolerance
Risk Tolerance is the degree to which an investor is willing to take risk in the hopes of a certain level of returns.
A rollover is the tax-free transfer of funds from one plan to another.
Roth Start Date
The first taxable year for which an individual made a designated Roth contribution to his/her Roth account under the plan (or based upon a rollover contribution from a previously established Roth account under another applicable retirement plan, if earlier).
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The period of time credited to you in your pension plan which is used in determining if you are entitled to a benefit and the amount of your benefit. There are several ways of determining service, depending on the purpose for which it is used.
To own stock in a company means to be a part owner of the company.
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Your employment ends for a reason other than death, disability or retirement.
Total Return
The dividends and interest received, plus any change in the value of the principal. If your mutual fund share price increased from $23 to $25 and you received a .20 cent/share dividend, your total return was $2.20 - a little over 9%.
Treasury Securities

The IOU's of the government. The federal government borrows money by selling securities. There are three types based on maturity dates.


  • T-Bills, 90 days to one year
  • T-Notes, one to ten years
  • T-Bonds, ten to thirty years


Treasuries are considered to have no risk of default. But, like all bonds, they are vulnerable to interest rate risk.

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Valuation Date
Any Business Day on which MassMutual determines the amount in the [Guaranteed Interest Account or Fixed Interest Account] and determines the price for each investment option.
Vested Balance
That portion of your account balance that you can take at termination.
The right you have to benefits from the plan if you terminate employment prior to retirement and have met appropriate plan requirements. This right is protected by law and is nonforfeitable.
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We Can Help

Contact us for personalized assistance.

For immediate assistance, contact our Participant Information Center at 1-800-743-5274

Monday through Friday Between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET.

After entering in your Social Security Number and PIN, press “1” for account information and to speak with a representative.

Retired or Terminated Participants, contact a Retirement Specialist at 1-800-743-5274

Monday through Friday Between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET.

After entering in your Social Security Number and PIN, press “2” to speak with a representative.