About Your Plan

The Kern County 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (the Plan) is a powerful tool to help you reach your retirement dreams. As a supplement to other retirement benefits or savings 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 may build extra savings consistently and automatically, have a variety of investment options to select from, and learn more about saving and investing for your financial future.

More information about the Plan is detailed below and in these Plan Features and Highlights. Please refer to the Plan Document located on our website for all provisions contained in the Plan.

What is a 457 deferred compensation plan?

A governmental 457(b)1 deferred compensation plan is a retirement savings plan that allows eligible employees to supplement any existing retirement and pension benefits by saving and investing pre-tax dollars through a voluntary salary contribution. Contributions and any earnings on contributions are tax-deferred until money is withdrawn. Distributions are usually taken at retirement when many participants are typically receiving less income, and may be in a lower income tax bracket than while working. Distributions are subject to ordinary income tax.

Why should I participate in the Plan?

You may want to participate if you are interested in saving and investing additional money for retirement and/or reducing the amount of current state and federal income tax you pay each year. Your Kern County 457 Deferred Compensation Plan can be an excellent tool to help make your future more secure. You may also qualify for a federal income tax credit by participating in this Plan. For more information about this tax credit, please contact your Empower Retirement representative.2

Does Kern County make a matching employer contribution?

Yes, when you contribute to your Kern County 457 Plan, Kern will match 100% of your contribution, up to 6%.*

*Only employees hired after 10/27/07 are eligible for the 6% match.

Is there any reason why I should not participate in the Plan?

Participating may not be advantageous if you are experiencing financial difficulties, have excessive debt, do not have an adequate emergency fund (typically in an easy-to access account), or if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket during your retirement.

Who is eligible to enroll?

All current full-time employees of Kern County are immediately eligible to participate in the Plan.

How do I enroll?

You may enroll in the Plan by clicking on the "Let's Get Started" link under ACCESS YOUR ACCOUNT. Prior to enrolling, you will need to review the Memo of Understanding on the Enroll Now page so you are aware of the risks involved in investing.


1 All references to the 457 Plan are to a governmental 457(b) plan.

2 Representatives of Empower Retirement do not offer or provide investment, fiduciary, financial, legal or tax advice or act in a fiduciary capacity for any client unless explicitly described in writing. Please consult with your investment advisor, attorney and/or tax advisor as needed.


What are the contribution limits?

In 2017, the maximum contribution amount is 100% of your compensation, less any mandatory before-tax contributions to a governmental pension plan, or $18,000, whichever is less. It may be indexed in $500 increments after 2017.

Participants in the Plan have two different opportunities to catch up and contribute more during the final years of their career. "Standard Catch-Up" allows participants in the three calendar years prior to normal retirement age to contribute more to the Plan (up to double the annual contribution limit—$36,000 in 2017).

The additional amount that you may be able to contribute under the Standard Catch-Up option will depend upon the amounts that you were eligible to contribute in previous years but did not.

Also, participants turning age 50 or older in 2017 may contribute an additional $6,000. You may not use the Standard Catch-Up provision and the Age 50+ Catch-Up provision in the same year.


How do I keep track of my account?

Empower Retirement will mail you a quarterly account statement showing your account balance and activity. You can also check your account balance and move money between investment options on the website at www.kern457.com or by calling the voice response system at (800) 701-8255. You will also receive quarterly statements on your SDB account, from your SDB provider that will detail the investment holdings and activity, including any fees and charges imposed in connection with the SBD. The SDB provider will send you a monthly statement if you have account activity.

How do I make investment option changes?

Use your Personal Identification Number (PIN)4 and Username to access the website or you can use your Social Security number and PIN to access the voice response system.3 You can move all or a portion of your existing balances between investment options (subject to Plan rules) and change how your payroll contributions are invested.

How do I make contribution changes?

Once you are enrolled in the Plan, you may log into your account on this website and go to Change Paycheck Contribution on the Transaction menu.


3 3 Transfer requests received on business days prior to close of the New York Stock Exchange (1 p.m. Pacific time or earlier on some holidays or in other special circumstances) will be initiated at the close of business the same day the request was received. The actual effective date of your transaction may vary depending on the investment option selected.

4 The account owner is responsible for keeping the assigned PIN confidential. Please contact Empower Retirement immediately if you suspect any unauthorized.



May I roll over my account from my former employer's plan?

Yes. But only approved balances from an eligible governmental 457(b), 401(k), 403(b) or 401(a) plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) may be rolled over to the Plan. Please check with your Empower Retirement Representative regarding any applicable fees on the rollover account.

May I roll over my account if I leave employment with my current employer?

If you sever employment with your current employer, you may roll over your account balance to another eligible governmental 457(b), 401(k), 403(b) or 401(a) plan if your new employer's plan accepts such rollovers. You may also roll over your account balance to an IRA. Please keep in mind that if you roll over your 457 Plan balance to a 401(k), 403(b) or 401(a) plan or an IRA, distributions taken before age 59½ may also be subject to the 10% early withdrawal federal tax penalty. Please contact your Empower Retirement Representative for more information.


When am I vested in the Plan?

Vesting refers to the percentage of your account you are entitled to receive from the Plan upon the occurrence of a distributable event. Your contributions to the Plan and any earnings they generate are always 100% vested (including rollovers from previous employers).


When can I receive a distribution from my account?

Qualifying distribution events are as follows:

  • retirement;
  • permanent disability;
  • unforeseeable emergency (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code and if allowed by your Plan's provisions);
  • severance of employment (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code provisions);
  • attainment of age 70½ (when required minimum distributions begin);
  • death (your beneficiary receives your benefits);
  • in-service transfer to purchase service credit; and
  • de minimus distribution (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code).

Each distribution is subject to ordinary income tax except for an in-service transfer to purchase service credit.

What are my distribution options?

  1. Leave the value of your account in the Plan until a future date.
  2. Depending on the terms of your Plan yomau may be able to receive payment in one of the following forms:
    • periodic payments;
    • partial lump sum with remainder paid as periodic payments; or
    • a lump sum.
  3. Roll over your account balance to an eligible governmental 457(b), 401(k), 403(b) or 401(a) plan or to an IRA.


May I take a loan from my account?

Your plan allows you to take a loan. For more information on fees, terms, and to determine if you qualify, please contact your plan representative at (661) 868-3467 or (800) 933-9808, or log in to to your account on this website.


Are there any recordkeeping or administrative fees to participate in the Plan?

The Plan charges a 0.15% annual administrative fee (charged 0.0375% quarterly) based on your account balance and deducted on a prorated basis from each investment option in your account.
There is no administrative fee on account balances of $150,000 or more. There is no annual Contract Maintenance Charge.

Are there any fees for the investment options?

Each investment option has an investment management fee that varies by investment option. These fees are deducted by each investment option's management company before the daily price or performance is calculated. Fees pay for trading individual securities in the underlying investment options and other management expenses. Asset allocation funds may be subject to a fund operating expense at the fund level, as well as prorated fund operating expenses of each underlying fund in which they invest.
For more information, please refer to the fund prospectus.

There is an additional $15 quarterly fee and transaction fees to participate in the Self-Directed Brokerage Option. There may be a recordkeeping or administrative fee for investing in certain investment options. Please contact your Empower Retirement representative for more information about any potential investment option fees.

Funds may impose redemption fees on certain transfers, redemptions or exchanges.

Are there any distribution fees?

For the Plan, there are no distribution fees.


How do I get more information?

This website provides information regarding your Plan, investment options and services, financial education information, financial calculators and other tools to help you manage your account. You may call the voice response system, toll free, at (800) 701-8255,3 to speak with client services. You may also call or visit your local Empower Retirement Representative:

Kern County Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office
1115 Truxtun Ave, 2nd Floor
Bakersfield, CA 93301-4639
(661) 868-3467 or (800) 933-9808


3 Transfer requests received on business days prior to close of the New York Stock Exchange (1 p.m. Pacific time or earlier on some holidays or in other special circumstances) will be initiated at the close of business the same day the request was received. The actual effective date of your transaction may vary depending on the investment option selected.


To view the PDF documents, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader Plugin.