A Unique Retirement Savings Option for Rabbis and Cantors

This innovative option for retirement planning is available to rabbis and cantors serving the Jewish community, both within and outside of the denominational structure. The Plan provides an opportunity for Jewish clergy to manage their retirement funds in self-directed accounts at a major financial services provider, at low cost in a way uniquely available to clergy under the U.S. tax structure. The Rabbis and Cantors Retirement Plan (RCRP) is an independent non-profit established in 2012 that exists solely to serve its participants. Fees are on a sliding scale based on the amount invested.


What is special about RCRP?

The RCRP (like the retirement plans of major rabbinic and cantorial organizations) offers the ability to save for retirement in low-cost mutual funds and to eventually designate withdrawals in retirement as housing allowance (parsonage), which can offer a considerable saving on federal income tax. This benefit is only eligible to clergy participating in a "qualified" plan and is not available if your funds are invested in a traditional IRA or 403(b), for example.

Participation in the RCRP does not require membership in any specific Jewish clergy organization, although participants must meet certain eligibility requirements that can be found on the Am I Eligible section of this website.

Find Out if You are Eligible

Who decides where my retirement funds go?

All RCRP accounts are self-managed and are in your name at Fidelity Investments (our primary provider). You can choose from dozens of investment options—stocks, bonds, domestic, international–including low-cost index funds, actively managed funds, socially responsible investment options (SRI), and target-date funds based on an anticipated year of retirement. RCRP does not tell you how to invest your funds, which are subject to the same risks and modest costs as any other investor. Investment guidelines and education are available through Fidelity, both online and one-on-one, and we also offer occasional additional online resources.

Learn More About the Plan: Click here to review our introductory FAQ

Why should I join now?

  • First, if your circumstances allow, you can invest higher amounts than are allowed in an ordinary IRA or similar plan, including making "catch-up" contributions for those over age 50.
  • Second, if you have had multiple employers, you may have multiple IRAs or 403(b) accounts. RCRP allows you to consolidate retirement funds earned while working as a rabbi or cantor into one account (in the IRS language "in exercise of your ministry"). See the FAQ section on DEFINING "EXERCISE OF MINISTRY" for more about this term.
  • Third, participants support a resource available to your Jewish clergy colleagues across the denominational spectrum. RCRP is dedicated to providing this opportunity at very low cost by keeping expenses to a minimum, while maintaining a high level of fiduciary responsibilities.
  • A final reason to join is that as RCRP grows in number of participants and total dollars, it is more likely to be able to include an even broader range of investment options in the future.

As a "first step," click here for our Retirement Planning For Rabbis and Cantors FAQ, created by RCRP Board member Rabbi Robert Tabak, which addresses the unique advantages available to participants in Clergy Retirement Plans like the RCRP. For specific questions, email us at administrator@rabbisretirementplan.org

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