Hurry up and wait
I've had a lot of questions about iDeCo, so here's a summary of my application so far and some background information.
I decided to go with Rakuten Securities as my provider, as they have some of the lowest fees (you can see an interactive comparison of providers here).
Applications for public servants opened in mid-December, so I received my paperwork just before Christmas.
There were only three simple forms to fill out, each one less than one page: one form for the individual, one for the employer, and something to sign to authorize the provider to use your personal information.
I quickly filled in my form (needed my pension number but the rest was easy). The next step was to submit the employer form to my university.
I asked the university to deduct the iDeCo payment from my salary, which I hope will simplify tax reporting (we'll see how that works in practice once it gets going). I'll be contributing the full 12,000 yen a month (although I hope this will be increased in the future).
They needed some extra paperwork (copy of my pension booklet and an internal form authorizing them to use my info) and then it took less than a week for the HR department (人事課) to complete the form and return it to me.
I asked whether many people were opening accounts and they told me it was just me so far ;)
Then I returned the forms to Rakuten, who acknowledged receipt on January 11th. The next and final step is for the government to approve my application, after which the account will become active.
Once the account becomes active, I will need to choose my investments from the list of available funds and decide the asset allocation.
After that I can ignore it for the next twenty years ;)
I'll report back again once the account is active and I see how they handle the deductions from my salary.
Anyone else open an account? How did you find the process?