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Financial Fitness Blog

At WEA Member Benefits, we are celebrating American Education Week!

(Retirement) Permanent link

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We believe in education. 
We believe in our public schools. 
We believe every public school employee deserves to be financially secure.
WEA Member Benefits has been serving Wisconsin public school employees and their families for over 45 years. Thank you for allowing us to serve you, and thank you for being a Wisconsin public school employee.

>> Follow us on Facebook this week for more conversations...

We can help you plan ahead for year-end distribution

(Retirement) Permanent link

Laura KampsIf you have a 403(b) or IRA account with Member Benefits, we have some important things for you to make note of as we head towards year-end. Always feel free to contact us with your questions at 1-800-279-4030 or retirement@weabenefits.com.

403(b) and IRA exchanges/transfers/rollovers

Exchanges, transfers, and rollovers require a longer processing time. Your completed paperwork (including approved third-party administrator transaction authorization if applicable) will be submitted to the payer company by the end of December if we receive it by December 20, 2014. This includes requests for IRA recharacterizations and conversions.

We’re happy to help you through the process, just give us a call.

Postdated checks

We are not able to accept checks written and received this tax year (2014) for next tax year (2015). Postdated checks will be returned.

Laura Kamps, RIS Specialist

The 403(b) retirement program is offered by the WEA TSA Trust. TSA program registered representatives are licensed through WEA Investment Services, Inc., member FINRA. The Trustee Custodian for the WEAC IRA accounts is Newport Trust Company.

Facing the top FIVE most frightening financial fears this Halloween

(Retirement, Money Management) Permanent link

Brenda EcheverriaLet’s face it, we all have fears when it comes to finances.Maybe your heart skips a beat when bills and bank statements arrive. Perhaps you fear your identity will be stolen or you will lose your job.  Or it’s facing the looming questions: Have I saved enough? How do I create a budget and make it work? Here are several common fears and how to face them this Halloween:

  1. I fear I may never get out of debt.
    How to face your fear: The scariest part is identifying exactly how much debt you have and why. Once you’ve assessed your debt, devise a plan to pay off the smallest debt first. If you need some help, contact our financial planner. We’ll help you come up with a plan to get you back on track.

  2. I fear bills and bank statements.
    How to face your fear: Bills and bank statements are unavoidable. But, don’t live in denial, if you’ve gotten to the point of fearing bills and bank statements, you’re probably overspending. Cut back, don’t spend more than you make. Then, build a budget and stick to it. We have tools and calculators to help you.

  3. I fear my identity will be stolen.
    How to face your fear: Be diligent. Monitor your credit reports,bank statements, and transactions. Sign up to receive text or email alerts from your bank or credit union if your financial institution offers this service. Our Identity Theft Infographic has some great tips.  

  4. I fear I haven’t saved enough for my future
    How to face your fear: It’s never too late to start. Contribute more. Pay yourself first, and stick to your budget.

  5. I fear I will lose my job someday
    How to face your fear: Prepare in advance. Establish an emergency fund, and stash away at least six months of living expenses.
Remember,facing your financial fears doesn’t have to be scary. The key is to identify the cause of your fears, and face them by taking action, making a plan, and being realistic about your situation. 

Brenda Echeverria, Financial Planner

It’s National Save for Retirement Week!

(Retirement) Permanent link

Eric SchwartzNational Save for Retirement Week is a national effort to raise public awareness about the importance of saving for retirement. It’s a great time to reflect on your personal retirement goals, get information, and ask for help when you need it.

Here’s some of our best retirement savings advice in a nutshell:

Of course, there’s lots more to know. Member Benefits has many tools and resources to help you, including:

Our retirement resources page has some great articles and videos as well, including WRS information. As always, give us a call if you need assistance or just have questions at 1-800-279-4030 or email retirement@weabenefits.com.

Eric Schwartz, Financial Planning Specialist

This blog post is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal or tax advice. Consult your tax advisor or attorney before taking any action.

Focus on your financial planning goals this fall

(Retirement) Permanent link

Brenda EcheverriaAs you're filling up your busy fall calendar, why not do yourself a favor and fit in an appointment for one of our financial planning services? Our services are designed to address your changing needs at various points of your career. We understand the unique retirement benefits available to Wisconsin public school employees, help you identify and prioritize your financial goals, and determine whether you're on track to meet those goals.

We're also excited to offer some new opportunities:

  1. Additional time: If you need additional time beyond our one-hour consultation service, you can now purchase it by the hour.
  2. Additional locations: To make it more convenient for you, services have been expanded on a once-per-month basis to:
    • Green Bay (1136 N. Military Avenue)
    • Brookfield (13805 W. Burleigh Road)
    • Eau Claire (2004 Highland Avenue)  

Ongoing appointments are still available in our Madison office at 660 John Nolen Drive.

Here is an overview of your options:

  • One-Hour Consultation: For those just starting out or those new to investing, we can help you evaluate your retirement savings options and determine your goals.
  • Portfolio Analysis: This provides a comprehensive analysis of your current investment portfolio and gives you recommendations.
  • Retirement Income Projection: If you are 11+ years from retirement and wondering if you’re on track, we can help you discover adjustments you may need to make.
  • Retirement Income Analysis: If you are within ten years of retirement, this service will help you evaluate your current financial position and determine your readiness for retirement.

Would you like more information? View our short financial planning video.

Contact me for questions or to make an appointment at 1-800-279-4030 or weafa@weabenefits.com.

Brenda Echeverria, Financial Planner

All investment advisory services are offered through WEA Financial Advisors, Inc. 

Give your savings a boost

(Retirement) Permanent link

Laura KampsNow is a good time to update your Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) to take advantage of new 2014 403(b) contribution limits. Do it now and you’ll be ready to go for the school year.

To update your SRA, please contact your school district business office for their most recent SRA, download our SRA, or if your district allows, you can update your SRA online through yourMONEY access.

Laura Kamps, RIS Specialist

Update your retirement goals

(Retirement) Permanent link

Brenda EcheverriaSummer is a great time to revisit your personal financial goals. If you have an IRA or 403(b)/TSA account with us, you can log in to yourMONEY to access your account.

On your home page, you will find a “My Retirement Goals” section with three boxes (blue, green, and red). Clicking on the “Update My Goals” gives you the opportunity to add in information that will indicate how much you will need in retirement, where you are at today, and identify any shortfall. An easy sliding calculator allows you to learn what it will take to eliminate the gap.

We also have a number of free calculators for you to use to help you with your retirement planning as well as savings goals, WRS projections, debt management, and more. Visit weabenefits.com/calc.

Brenda Echeverria, Financial Planner

The Trustee Custodian for the WEAC IRA accounts is Newport Trust Company. The 403(b) retirement program is offered by the WEA TSA Trust. TSA program registered representatives are licensed through WEA Investment Services, Inc., member FINRA.