A New Option for Rabbis and Cantors Saving for Retirement

Welcome to the Rabbis and Cantors Retirement Plan website

General Introduction

This innovative option for retirement planning is available to rabbis and cantors of all denominations within the Jewish community.  We provide an opportunity for Jewish clergy to manage their funds for retirement in self-directed accounts at major mutual funds, at low cost to our participants. The Rabbis and Cantors Retirement Plan (RCRP) is an independent non-profit established in 2012.  Fees are on a sliding scale based on the amount invested.

What is special about RCRP?

RCRP (like the retirement plans of major rabbinic and cantorial organizations) offers the ability to designate withdrawals in retirement as housing allowance (parsonage),which offers a considerable saving on federal income tax. This benefit is only eligible to clergy.

Who decides where my retirement funds go?

All RCRP accounts are self-managed and are in your name at Fidelity Investments (our primary provider) or at Vanguard (for those who prefer a socially responsible investment, Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund.)  Fidelity does not currently offer a SRI fund. You can choose from dozens of investment options—stocks, bonds, domestic, international– including low-cost index funds, actively managed funds, 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. You can have funds at both Fidelity and Vanguard.

Why should I join now?

First, if your circumstances allow, you can invest higher amounts than in an ordinary IRA or similar plan.

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 (in the IRS language “in exercise of your ministry.”  See the FAQ section on DEFINING “EXERCISE OF MINISTRY” for more about this term.)

Third is supporting the enterprise: a retirement plan specifically designed to meet the needs of Jewish clergy across the denominational spectrum.  RCRP has very low expenses and a volunteer staff. However, there are still expenses that must be met including directors’ liability insurance and legal advice (tax laws are complex).  In the future, as we grow, RCRP may need to pay for part-time administrative help.

A final reason to join is this: As RCRP grows in numbers and total dollars, it is more likely to be able to include additional investment options in the future.

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

For more information, email administrator@rabbisretirementplan.org


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