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401(k) Savings - Features & Highlights

The County of Los Angeles 401(k) Savings Plan is a powerful tool to help you reach your retirement goals. As a supplement to other County retirement/pension benefits that you may have, this voluntary Plan allows you to save and invest extra money for retirement . tax-deferred!

Not only will you defer taxes immediately, you will save money consistently and automatically, have a variety of investment options to choose from, and learn more about investing for a secure financial future.

Read these highlights to learn more about your Plan, and how simple it is to enroll. And, if you have any questions, visit this Web site or call a Client Service Representative at (800) 947-0845.

  • How do I enroll in the Plan?
  • How much may I contribute to the Plan?
  • What is the County matching contribution?
  • What is the vesting schedule?
  • What are the Plan's investment options?
  • How do I keep track of my Plan account?
  • How do I change my investment options?
  • How may I take withdrawals from the Plan?
  • What are my payout options?
  • What are the participant fees?

    How do I enroll in the Plan?
    Read the Enrollment Planning Guide and complete a Participant Enrollment Form indicating the amount you wish to contribute and your investment option(s) selection. Please sign the form and return it to the County of Los Angeles Service Center, 500 North Central Avenue, Suite 220, Glendale, California 91203 (Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm Pacific Time).

    How much may I contribute to the Plan?

    Your personal pre-tax contribution limit, effective on January 1st of each year, is either the amount listed on Table A or 100% of Eligible Earnings as defined by the Plan, whichever is less.

    1) You may defer from 1% up to 100% of your Eligible Earnings in any one month.
    2) All deductions must be made as percentage of your Eligible Earnings and rounded up to the highest tenth of a percentage (e.g., 8.6% but not 8.54%).
    3) From 2007 to 2010, the annual contribution limit will be indexed to inflation. The increases can only take place in $500 increments, and may not occur every year.

    The annual increase listed above will apply to you automatically unless you defaulted or elected into the "low" contribution limit option. If you made contributions to both the Savings Plan and the Horizons Plan, the contribution limit option that you previously elected will remain in effect - the "low" election will remain an $8,500 annual limit and the "high" election will reflect Table A annual limits. If you decide to change your contribution limit option, you must submit a completed Contribution Limit Option Form. You can obtain a form by calling KeyTalk at (800) 947-0845. Your payroll deductions become effective the month following the date you submit your completed Participant Enrollment Form. Since your contributions to the Savings Plan are made in pre-tax dollars, they are not included in the gross wages category on your Form W-2 but will be reflected as a pre-tax deduction on pay receipts issued on the 15th of the month following a deduction.

    What is the County matching contribution?

    To support your efforts to save for retirement, the County will match your contributions dollar-for-dollar up to 4% of your monthly "compensation" as defined in the Plan. To receive the entire match, you must contribute a dollar amount equivalent to at least 4% of your monthly compensation to the Plan.

    What is the vesting schedule?

    The money you personally contribute to the Plan is always 100% vested. The matching contributions made by the County are vested as shown in Table B.

    The Plan Administrative Committee invests the unvested portion of the matching contributions, currently in the Stable Value Fund. You direct the investment of vested matching contributions.

    What are the Plan's investment options?

    You can choose from fifteen investment options including three Pre-Assembled Portfolios.

    Please see the fund profile sheets for more information on the available investment options, located in the Fund Options section of this Web site. Investment Option information is also available through KeyTalk at (800) 947-0845, 2 which is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also view investment option prospectuses on this Web site or obtain one from your Client Service Representative.

    How do I keep track of my Plan account?

    Great-West Retirement Services® will mail you a quarterly account statement showing your account balance and activity within your account. You can also check your account balance and move assets between investment options on this Web and KeyTalk at (800) 947-0845.*

    How do I change my investment options?

    Use your Social Security number and Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access either this Web site at or KeyTalk at (800) 947-0845.*

    You can:

  • move all or a portion of your existing balances between investment options (subject to Plan rules/ fees)
  • change how future deferrals are allocated
  • change your deferral percentage
  • set-up custom transfers and automatic account rebalancing

    How may I take withdrawals from the Plan?

    The money you have invested in the Plan as well as your vested County contributions can be withdrawn upon the following events:

  • retirement
  • disability
  • death of participant
  • termination of employment with the County

    You may also be eligible to access your money via a loan, in-service withdrawal or hardship withdrawal.

    As an active participant, you may take out a loan against the vested portion of your account if your vested account balance is $2,500 or more. There are two types of loans available - general purpose loans and real estate/home purchase loans (for the purchase of your principal residence only). General purpose loans must be repaid within 5 years. Real estate/home purchase loans must be repaid within 15 years.

    You may have only two loans outstanding at any time.

    In-Service Withdrawals
    Provided you meet the requirements outlined below, you may be eligible for an in-service withdrawal. You may only make two in-service withdrawals per calendar year.

    If you have been a participant for 10 years, you may withdraw all or part of your vested County matching contributions. If you have withdrawn all your matching contributions and have reached age 59, you may withdraw all or a part of the money that you have contributed to your account. You must select the specific dollar amount as well as the funds from which the money will be withdrawn.

    All distributions from a qualified retirement plan that are eligible for rollover but are not rolled over are subject to a mandatory 20% federal income tax withholding. If you roll your full account balance directly into an IRA or another qualified account that accepts such rollovers, no federal income tax will be withheld.

    Hardship Withdrawals
    If you are experiencing severe financial difficulties, and you do not qualify for a Plan loan, you may apply for a hardship withdrawal. There are severe restrictions on hardship withdrawals under Internal Revenue Code rules. You may make a hardship withdrawal only if you have immediate and heavy financial need caused by:

    1. Medical expenses for you, your spouse, or dependents that were not reimbursed,
    2. Payment of tuition for the next semester or quarter of post-secondary education for yourself, your spouse, or dependent,
    3. Purchase or construction of your principal residence, or
    4. The need to prevent imminent foreclosure or eviction from your principal residence.
    Hardship withdrawals will not be permitted for any other reason.

    Any withdrawals and distributions from your account (except for loans) are subject to ordinary income taxes. If you take a withdrawal or distribution before age 59, you may be assessed an additional 10% federal income tax penalty.

    What are my payout options?
    You have a variety of payment methods to choose from - one is sure to meet your needs.

    If your account balance is less than $5,000, you must take a lump-sum distribution. If your account balance is $5,000 or more, you may elect to have your distribution from the Plan paid to you in one or a combination of the following payment methods:

  • Periodic payments made directly from your investment account not extending for more than 15 years,
  • Annuity payments made by an insurance company,
  • A partial or full lump-sum payment of your entire account, or
  • You may roll your Plan assets into your new employer's Plan (if allowed) or to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

    If you select a combination of these options, you must specify at the time of your selection how all funds are to be paid. For example, you may request to receive $5,000 on your benefit commencement date and to receive the balance in the form of an annuity. You may not request to receive $5,000 on your benefit commencement date and then let Great-West Retirement Services® know at some later date how to pay out the balance of your account.

    For more details about the benefit payment options available to you, please contact the County of Los Angeles Service Center.

    What are the participant fees?
    Third-Party Administrator Fees
    The Great-West Retirement Services® third party administrative (TPA) fee is deducted from your account in monthly installments.

    The TPA fee deducted from participant accounts reflect a subsidy that offsets the actual cost of the third party administrative fee charged to the Plan. The Savings Plan Administrative Committee determines annually the availability and amount of the subsidy, contingent upon the Savings Plan reserve balance.

    County Administration Fees
    County administration fees must be paid by Plan participants. These fees are based on the actual cost of services provided by the County to the Plan. They may vary and are deducted quarterly from each participant's account in proportion to the total Plan assets.

    Plan administration fees will be deducted from fund balances in this order:

    1. City National Bank Fund
    2. Stable Value Fund
    3. BlackRock Core Bond Portfolio
    4. PIMCO High Yield Fund
    5. Dodge and Cox Balanced Fund
    6. MSIF Trust Value: INST
    7. SSGA S&P 500 Flagship Fund
    8. TCW Concentrated Core Equities
    9. ICAP Equity Portfolio
    10. ICM Small Company
    11. T. Rowe Price International Stock Fund
    12. T. Rowe Price New Horizons Fund
    13. Aggressive Pre-Assembled Portfolio
    14. Moderate Pre-Assembled Portfolio
    15. Conservative Pre-Assembled Portfolio

    Loan Initiation Fee
    There is a fee of $75.00 for initiating and maintaining a loan, which is subtracted from the net loan check amount.

    Fund Management Fees**
    Some of the funds available to you will assess a fund management fee. These fees are disclosed in the prospectuses issued by the individual mutual fund managers and are netted from the mutual fund earnings by the mutual fund companies prior to establishing their share price.

    The County has negotiated the following fund re-allowances from the investment companies as listed below. This re-allowance amount is reimbursed back to the Plan and credited to participant accounts with assets in the funds shown in Table C.

    For an explanation of re-allowances, please refer to the specific fund's prospectus

    There are restrictions if you attempt to defer 100% of your Eligible Earnings in any one month. Contributions to the LACERA or Judges retirement plan and your flexible benefit program are taken out before Savings Plan deferrals are made. You should also be aware that Savings Plan deferrals take precedence over Horizons Plan deferrals - you should make an allowance in your Savings Plan deferral for the dollar amount you plan to defer into the Horizons Plan.

    *Access to KeyTalk and the Web site may be limited or unavailable during periods of peak demand, market volatility, systems upgrades/maintenance, or other reasons. Transfer requests made by Web site or via KeyTalk received prior to 1pm Pacific Time on business days will be initiated at the close of the business day. Transfer requests received after 1pm Pacific Time on business days, any time on a non-business day, or on days when the market closes early, will be initiated at the close of business the next day. The actual effective date of your transaction may vary depending on the investment option selected.

    **Prospectuses contain information about a particular investment option, including fees and expenses. Read them carefully before investing.

    Withdrawals made prior to age 59 may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. All withdrawals are subject to ordinary income tax.

    Investment options have been selected by the Plan Administrative Committee. Securities, when offered, are offered through GWFS Equities, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company and a broker/dealer member of the FINRA. For more information about available investment options, including fees and expenses, you may obtain applicable prospectuses from your registered representative. Read them carefully before investing. Not for use in New York.

    Please consider the investment objectives, risks, fees and expenses carefully before investing. For this and other important information, please obtain the mutual fund prospectuses and disclosure documents by visiting the Horizons Web site at www.countyla.com or by calling the Los Angeles County Service Center at (800) 947-0845. Read them carefully before investing.

    Investment options are offered through mutual funds and separately managed institutional accounts and have been selected by the Plan Administrative Committee. Securities are offered through GWFS Equities, Inc., a Great-West Company and FINRA member firm.

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