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Financial Fitness Blog

Contribution limits remain the same

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Griffin KaleppAre you maximizing your retirement contributions? If not, you may wish to re-evaluate the amount you're putting toward retirement. Not only do you lower your taxable income, you ensure that you're doing everything you can to reach your retirement goals.

Annual contribution limits for the 403(b) and IRA retirement savings plans remain unchanged once again this year. The 2017 limit for the 403(b) is $18,000 and the age 50 and over catch-up is $6,000. For the IRA, the $5,500 limit remains the same, with the age 50 and over catch-up limit an additional $1,000 for a total of $6,500.

Read more about maximizing your contributions, making contribution changes, and automatic contributions.

Griffin Kalepp, Retirement and Investment Services Specialist

Watch your mail for important retirement information

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Laura Kamps1099-R coming in the mail

If you took a reportable distribution from your WEA TSA Trust 403(b) and/or WEAC IRA account(s) during 2016, we will send a 1099-R to the address on file on or before January 31, 2017. You will receive your 1099-R from our custodian, Mid Atlantic Trust Company.

IRA participants: Don't forget your beneficiary information

If you have an IRA with Member Benefits, you should have received a letter from us reminding you to name your beneficiaries if you haven’t already done so. It’s important to review your beneficiaries from time to time, especially when your circumstances change. Keep in mind, the beneficiaries on your retirement account may supersede what you may have in your will.

If you have any questions or concerns about your retirement account, we're happy to assist you. Please call us at 1-800-279-4030.

Laura Kamps, Financial Planning Specialist

January is National Radon Action Month

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Tim GanoungWhat is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless radioactive gas that is present in nearly all homes (regardless of age) and in every region of Wisconsin. It typically moves up through the ground through the air above and into your home through cracks and gaps in your foundation.

Why should I be concerned about radon in my home?

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer death among nonsmokers in the U.S.

How do I know if I have a high level of radon in my home?

You’ll need to purchase a radon test kit online or from a home improvement store (or hire a qualified tester). Follow the directions on the package and send the test kit to a participating test lab to get your results.

You should take multiple tests by using a combination of short- and long-term tests. Radon levels can fluctuate throughout the year and even day to day, so you want to get both quick results as well as your home's year-round average radon level.

While new homes can now be built with radon-resistant features, every new home should still be tested once it is occupied.

What is considered a “high level” of radon inside a home?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s guideline says that a radon reading of higher than 4 pCi/L needs mitigation.

Can I reduce the radon level in my home? 

The good news is that radon reduction systems work, cost the same cost as other common home repairs, and may reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

More information about radon exposure, testing, and mitigation  

Tim Ganoung, Personal Insurance Consultant