FAQs about Retirement


Can I take money out of my retirement account?

Each retirement plan is unique and has a specific setup of rules. There are numerous factors that come into consideration including whether you are an active employee, your age, and circumstances. Contact our Client Service Center to speak with an associate who can walk you through the options available to you.

What is the status of my distribution/loan/rollover?

Once we receive your request in good order, our standard turnaround time is three to five business days. For checks, allow additional time for mailing from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Direct deposit requires an additional one to two business days to process. Contact our Client Service Center to speak with an associate for specific details about the status of your request.

Do I need a tax form for my retirement account?

You may not receive a tax form for your retirement account each year. If you took a taxable distribution from your retirement plan you will receive IRS Form 1099-R from Alerus. The form is available online in early February of the year following the distribution.

To download your Form 1099-R log in to My Alerus and select My Documents from the top menu. From there, select your retirement account and then 1099R.

Keep in mind that a loan from your retirement account may not be considered taxable unless you default (stop paying) on the loan or leave your employer. Contact our Client Service Center for more information.

Where do I upload my distribution form/loan application?

If your form or application does not require your current or former employer’s signature or has a Medallion Signature Guarantee you may upload it directly to Alerus. If you’re unsure how to submit your form, contact our Client Service Center.


Log in to My Alerus and locate your account under Retirement, then select Plan Summary from the right side menu. Click Contact Us from the top menu to upload your form. If you need help logging in, refer to Retirement Account Access.

How often can I change my investments?

You can change your investments daily, if desired, but be aware that some funds have restrictions on how often they can be traded. Review short term trading fees before making changes.

How do I get a loan payoff for my retirement account loan?

Log in to My Alerus, select your retirement account, then click Loan Center. From there, select the Payoff tab and use the calculator to find your estimated payoff projection.

How do I change how much I am contributing to my retirement account?

If your plan supports online deferral changes, instructions can be found here. If your plan only allows for changes via a Salary Deferral Agreement, log in to your retirement account and download the form from the Resources section under Plan Documents and Forms. If you need help logging in, visit Retirement Account Access. You can also get a Salary Deferral Agreement from your human resources department.

The market isn’t doing well, what action should I take?

At Alerus, our investment philosophy and process are to take a long-term view and prudently manage risk through asset allocation. This philosophy extends to periods of global economic change. Even in times of uncertainty, both our team and our approach are designed to support you and your goals. If you have any questions, please contact your financial advisor.

Medallion Signature Guarantee

What is a medallion signature guarantee?

A medallion signature guarantee is a guarantee by the transferring financial institution that the signature is genuine and the financial institution accepts liability for any forgery.

Is a medallion signature guarantee the same as a signature guarantee?

No, the medallion program includes insurance indemnifying the guaranteeing bank in the event a guarantee fails. Alerus will only accept the medallion signature guarantee.

When is a medallion signature guarantee is required?

A medallion signature guarantee is required for any of the following transactions:

  • Distributions over $100,000
  • A bank wire or automatic clearing house (ACH)
  • Payment to a destination outside the U.S.
  • Payment to an alternate payee, beneficiary, or any third party other than the rollover recipient institution
  • Payment to an address that is different than the address of record on the account
  • If the address on the account has been changed within the past 15 days

Can Alerus provide the medallion signature guarantee?

Alerus cannot provide a medallion signature guarantee on distribution requests. The medallion signature guarantee must be provided by a financial institution that offers this service. Different institutions have different policies as to what type of identification they require to provide the guarantee and whether they charge a fee for such service. Most institutions will not guarantee a signature of someone who has not already been their client.

Why is a medallion signature guarantee necessary?

The requirement for a signature guarantee provides protection from fraud because it validates that the participant signature is genuine. In addition, the guaranteeing entity promises to make the affected parties whole if the signature is fraudulent.

How can a participant get a medallion signature guarantee?

Medallion signature guarantee services may be offered by certain banks, brokerage firms, and credit unions. Different institutions have different policies as to what type of identification they require to provide the guarantee and whether they charge a fee for such service. Most institutions will not guarantee a signature of someone who has not already been their client.

Can the medallion signature guarantee requirement be waived?

The plan sponsor or third-party administrator has the ability to waive the requirement and upload the signed form using Employer Plan Access, Alerus’ secure website. In this case, the entity responsible for uploading the form assumes the liability for validating the signature and the potential of fraud. Alerus assumes no liability for the genuineness of signatures on forms uploaded through Employer Plan Access.

Can acknowledgement by a notary public be used instead of a medallion signature guarantee?

No, a medallion signature guarantee is not the same as an acknowledgement by a notary public. The medallion signature guarantee is a certification by the institution that the signature is authentic and that the institution accepts liability for any forgery. An acknowledgment is a certification by a notary public attesting that the signer signed a document voluntarily, signed the document in the presence of the notary, and provided proof of identity.

Returning Service Personnel

What should service personnel know about returning to work from qualified military service?

The following provides general information regarding service members’ retirement benefits under 401(k), 403(b), and governmental 457(b) retirement plans when returning from qualified military service. Service members have numerous additional rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940. This is not intended to be a complete review of all of your rights but addresses what we believe to be the most relevant issues regarding your 401(k), 403(b), or governmental 457(b) plan.

What is the basic rule for employers reemploying veterans?

If the service member returns to work, USERRA requires the employer to fund the retirement benefits missed due to qualifying military service. We will refer to these payments as “make-up contributions.”

Am I entitled to a make-up contribution to a profit sharing or money purchase plan?

Yes, if you were entitled to a contribution had you continued to work, then you will receive one upon your return to employment. The plan calculates the make-up contribution using the same formula used for other plan participants with the theoretical compensation you would have received had you continued to work. Your employer will make the contribution to the plan on your behalf by the latter of 90 days following your return to work or when the company would normally make the contribution for the affected period. You do not have to take any action to cause the contribution to occur.

For example: Mary is called up for active duty for 12 months. While she was deployed, her employer contributed 10 percent of compensation to the plan for each eligible employee. Following Mary’s return to work, the company estimates her missed compensation at $48,000 and will make a profit sharing contribution to her account of $4,800 ($48,000 x 10 percent).

Do I have the right to make-up deferrals?

Yes, you may designate some or all of your wage withholding (or deferral) to apply to the period of military service. This provision allows you make up for savings opportunities lost while on duty. In addition, consider:

  • The company match: Deferrals will receive company match contributions based on the formula in place during your absence.
  • IRS calendar year limitations on deferrals: The Tax Code imposes an annual limit on deferrals (see your Human Resources representative for current amounts). Returning veterans who exceed the annual limitation may count a portion of their deferrals for the period of military service.

For example: Bob, age 30, is on active duty during all of 2017. When he returns in 2018, he wishes to save $23,500, which is $5,000 more than the 2018 deferral limit. He designates $5,000 of his 2018 deferral as a make-up deferral for 2017. By doing so, his 2018 and 2017 contributions are deemed to be $18,500, and $5,000 respectively. He has not exceeded the annual limitation.

If I make-up deferrals, do I receive employer match contributions?

Yes, you will receive a company match based on the match formula in place during your absence. To receive the match, you must designate certain deferrals to count as deferred during the period of military service.

For example: In 2017 and 2018, ABC Plan provided a match of 50 percent on deferrals up to six percent of pay. Carl is on active duty for all of 2017 and returns January 1, 2018. Carl may defer 12 percent of his pay, designating six percent for 2017 (the period of military service) and six percent for 2018. By doing so, Carl receives the maximum match for both the time when he was deployed and the current plan year.

How long do I have to make up missed deferrals?

The period to make up missed deferrals begins on the date you return to work and lasts for a period of time not exceeding the lesser of: a) three times the period of qualified service, or b) five years.

How does my employer calculate compensation for the purposes of company contributions and match?

Your employer will calculate your theoretical compensation during the period of military service as follows:

  • Your employer will assume compensation at the same rate of pay you would have received had you not had military service; or
  • If your pay during your absence cannot be reasonably reconstructed (for example, you worked part-time or had periods of overtime), then your employer may establish compensation by reference to the 12 month period immediately before your military service. If you did not work for your employer for at least 12 months, your compensation history for the time you were employed would be used for the estimate.

Do I receive plan service credit for my period of military service?

Yes, the retirement plan will treat your time of military service as if you had continued to work for your employer. You will receive service credit for the entire period of absence for the purposes of plan eligibility, vesting, and service required to receive company contributions. Qualified military service is not treated as an interruption in employment for purposes of the break-in-service and vesting rules, nor for the accrual of benefits.

For example: Joe worked for the entire years of 2015 and 2016 and was away during all of 2017 for uniformed service. Upon his return to employment on January 1, 2018, Joe will have three years of vesting service: 2015 and 2016 (years of employment) and 2017 (year of uniformed service). This is the same vesting that Joe would have attained had he remained actively employed throughout those three years.

How does the plan treat an outstanding plan loan?

If a participant fails to repay a loan according to its terms, it creates a taxable distribution. Plans may, but are not required, to adopt special loan provisions for participants on military leave to avoid this outcome. USERRA allows plans to suspend loan payments provided:

  • Loan repayments resume upon completion of the period of military service;
  • The interest is paid for the period of military service (either by increasing the payment or having a balloon payment at the end of the loan);
  • The repayment amount and frequency is no less than the original amortization; and
  • The loan is repaid in substantially level installments over a period that ends not later than the “latest permissible term,” defined as five years plus the time of qualified military service.

For example, Darla obtains a loan on January 1, 2016, with a final payment due December 1, 2020. She is on active duty during all of 2017 and returns January 1, 2018. She can begin repaying the loan in January 2018 with an extended amortization schedule ending December 1, 2021, (extending her repayment period by one year). She can either increase her installment payments to include accrued interest for 2017 or make a lump sum payment at the end of the loan period.

Plan Refunds

Why did I get a refund from my retirement plan?

The Internal Revenue Code has numerous restrictions on contributions that may be made to a retirement plan. If excess amounts occurred, the plan must return them to the affected participants. For more information on the types of refunds and how they affect you, click here.

Managed Account Program

Are there fees associated with Alerus Managed Account Program?

The fee is 0.45 percent prorated over 365 days and applied to the average daily balance of your managed account. The fee is accrued daily and collected monthly. On an annual basis, the fee equals approximately $4.50 for each $1,000 invested.

Who is managing MAP portfolios?

Alerus will act as your investment advisor with full decision-making authority over the investments in your account(s). Alerus acknowledges that we are an “investment manager” as defined by ERISA’s Section 3(38). Unlike most other providers, the Alerus Managed Account Program does not use proprietary mutual funds in the participant asset allocations. This gives Alerus the freedom to create the most effective portfolio for participants. In addition, Alerus may offer individual securities to balances above $400,000 reducing management cost.

How does MAP work and how often is my account reviewed/rebalanced?

When a participant enrolls in MAP they provide relevant retirement information through an intuitive digital experience. MAP then analyzes combinations of retirement goals (retirement age and retirement income) and actions (savings rate and investment strategy). For each combination of these four elements, MAP determines the statistical likelihood that the strategy will fund an acceptable level of retirement income from the start of your retirement through your life expectancy. Alerus will monitor your managed account’s performance, periodically rebalance it back to its target allocations, and if your personal or financial circumstances lead to a different suggested strategy, we may change your investment to reflect the updated strategy. We recommend participants review and update their MAP data annually or as material changes in your personal situation occur.

What is the client experience like?

Alerus MAP offers a digital experience to help you navigate your retirement goals. Alerus has backed this technology with a team of financial professionals to support more complex situations or questions. Participants are able to pick-up the phone and talk to a professional at no additional charge.

What is a managed account?

Alerus’ managed account program (MAP) delivers retirement advice directly to participants, helping them navigate retirement with confidence. MAP is much more than an investment solution; it allows participants to prioritize personal goals to deliver a tailored solution. This includes advice on contribution rate and investment strategy to meet participant goals around retirement income range, retirement age, and risk appetite.

To learn more about Alerus Managed Account Program, click here.

Can participants leave the Alerus MAP once enrolled?

Participants can change investments at any time, moving assets from the Alerus MAP to the general plan fund choices. Transfers into and out of the Alerus MAP require three to five business days for processing.