WEA Member Benefits vs. WEA Trust
Sometimes WEA Member Benefits (us) has been confused with WEA Trust (not us). Here is a simple table to help clarify what each of us does so you know where to go to find the help you need.
|WEA Member Benefits||WEA Trust|
|Has never offered group health insurance.||Offered group health insurance until January 1, 2023.|
|Offers individual retirement savings options, personal insurance policies, and financial planning services.||Offers group life, long-term care, disability, and vision insurance to employers.|
|Explore this website for more information.||Visit weatrust.com for more information.|
Help keep your teens safe this summer
AAA is reminding parents and teens to be aware of the sharp increase in teen fatalities from auto accidents that happens each year during the “100 Deadliest Days” — the span of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Teen driver statistics
According to AAA, an average of 2,108 teens are involved in deadly crashes every year, and 660 (31%) of those occur during the 100 Deadliest Days. From 2011 to 2020 nationwide, nearly half of the total number of those killed in teen-driver crashes for the rest of the year were during the summertime. AAA noted that it’s not the fact that teens tend to drive more in the summer; instead, it’s the driving behavior that increases the risk of a crash.
Research also shows that the risk of a fatal crash increases in direct relation to the number of teenagers in a car (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). AAA’s research found when a teen driver has only teen passengers in their vehicle, the fatality rate for all people increases 51%, while there is a decrease of 8% when someone 35 or older was in the car.
Steps parents can take to increase safe teen driving behavior
- Set very specific household rules around driving. Talk with teens early and often about being safe behind the wheel. This can include creating a parent/child driving contract that relates to things like:
- Everyone buckles up for every trip.
- Never drive impaired. It’s not only dangerous, but also a crime.
- Teen passengers are the biggest distraction to teen drivers, and cell phones are second. Set rules covering these and other potential distractions.
- Follow posted speed limits. Speeding is a factor in nearly 30% of fatal crashes involving teen drivers (AAA).
- Limit nighttime driving, which is riskier for novice drivers. Drowsy driving is also an issue for many teens who don’t get enough sleep.
- Enroll your teen in online and in-person driving classes. Make sure they get at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving under a variety of conditions.
- Be sure you know your state’s laws regarding passenger restrictions for teen drivers.
- Teach your teen defensive driving skills. Making these skills a habit can help reduce the chances of an accident. Pick up tips online or find a formal course.
- Be a positive example: Maintain appropriate space around your vehicle, adjust your speed to conditions, and adhere to the same guidelines you give your teen.
Need guidance on drawing up a contract with your teen? Get started with a sample parent/teen driving agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Remember, teens’ inexperience behind the wheel makes them more likely to engage in risky behavior. It’s critical for parents to play an active role in guiding their teens to embrace safe driving behaviors.
Here’s why it’s so important. The named beneficiaries on your retirement accounts supersede your will. This is not limited to accounts you have with us. It’s true for any retirement savings account, 403(b), 401k, IRA, and your WRS pension account, as well as your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance, and annuity policies.
The who’s who of beneficiaries
…is entitled to the proceeds of the account upon death of the account owner. In Wisconsin you aren’t required to name your spouse as a beneficiary on your account. However, because of Wisconsin’s marital property law, your spouse could claim their right to 50% of your account even if he/she is not named as a beneficiary. A spouse is like the king or queen of beneficiaries—they have more rights than non-spouses and greater flexibility with an inherited retirement account, allowing them to liquidate the assets or roll them over to their own retirement plan or IRA.
…or secondary beneficiary receives benefits at the time benefits are to be paid only if the primary beneficiary has died.
Many people fail to change their beneficiary designations after a marriage or divorce. Be sure to review your designations annually to ensure they are current and in line with your intentions. You may want to consult your attorney to ensure that you understand all aspects of your decision.
Log into yourMONEY to review and update you beneficiaries, or give us a call at 1-800-279-4030.
Be alert for online scam tactics
The ways in which scams are perpetrated continually shift due to the rising use of technologies (such as social media), consumer behavior patterns, world events, and other factors. According to a report by the Institute for Marketplace Trust, a division of the Better Business Bureau, online scams rose 87% between 2015 and 2022, while phone scams dropped 42%. In 2022, online scams are most prevalent overall (55%), with a higher percentage of people losing money when targeted this way (75%). Nearly 83% of those targeted online said they paid via credit card, online payment system, or bank account debit.
The top two areas that people are targeted while online are while using social media (25%) or doing online shopping (24%).
However, not all scams begin online. Scammers use other means to push people online, such as sending a link in a text, a phone call, or in the mail. Text messages are especially risky, with an $800 median dollar loss across all scam types as of October 2022. But scams perpetrated directly online that included a monetary loss were reported more than all other methods.
Eighty-two percent of online scammers used impersonation as a tactic, and half of those pretended to be a trustworthy business (Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Microsoft, etc.). People who lost money to an impersonation scam were almost twice as likely to lose money as those exposed to other types of tactics.
How can you protect yourself from online scams?
Tips from the Better Business Bureau
- If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Price is often a strong motivator for people to buy—be cautious about a ‘great’ deal.
- Make sure the shipping company is legitimate. Go to their website and use the code you receive to make sure it’s the real deal, and search bbb.org on the company name.
- Avoid an impersonation scheme—be cautious about who contacts you. Ask for verification and do your research with a trusted source. Be skeptical about unsolicited offers, and don’t believe everything you see—scammers are great at mimicking logos, official seals, fonts, etc.
- When you’re visiting a website, check the URL to make sure it’s correct. Sometimes even one character can be off. Watch for bad grammar in the content, make sure the
- URL starts with ‘https’ and has a secure lock. You can also use an online domain age checker to be sure it’s not a brand new site. And check that they have their full name/address/contact info on their website, not just an online form.
- NEVER click on unsolicited text messages.
- Avoid making quick purchase decisions. And don’t base your decision solely on others’ reviews.
- Use secure and traceable transactions. Those who used a credit card or PayPal were most likely to recover their funds from a scam.
Friends tell friends about Member Benefits
As you continue into the school year, we would love it if you would refer us to your colleagues.
Our products and services are built by educators, for educators. Let them know about our retirement savings, financial planning, and personal insurance programs and services.
Refer a colleague or a family member!* Fill out the quick form on our referral page and they will receive an email from us.
Explore our products and services:
- Financial Planning
- Auto insurance
- Home insurance
- Condo insurance
- Renters insurance
- Umbrella insurance
- Long-term care insurance
- Life insurance
*Family members, including your spouse or domestic partner, children and their spouses, parents, and parents-in-law, may also be eligible to participate in many of our programs. Restrictions may apply. Certain state residency required.
Perception Survey 2022
Member Benefits completed its fourth annual Member Perception Survey to gauge customer satisfaction and understand trends. Says David Kijek, President and CEO, “We always appreciate member feedback so we can know how to best meet your needs.”
What first comes to mind when thinking about WEA Member Benefits is:
- Customer service (28%)
- Products/services (23%)
- Retirement/retirement planning (27%)
Members’ first impressions include:
“Well managed and easy to access help with any questions.”
“Value. WEA professionals provided my wife and I with financial advice that allowed us to achieve financial security in retirement.”
Member Benefits has a world‐class reputation among members. Eighty-eight percent felt we have a Very Good or Excellent reputation.
Sixty-nine percent of members feel Member Benefits Exceeds or Somewhat Exceeds expectations, a 2% increase from 2021.
Lives up to brand promise
Member opinion on whether Member Benefits lives up to its brand promise remains excellent at 90% replying Often or Always.
The number one personal financial issue for members every year of our survey, including this year, is preparing for the future (32%), followed by the economy and politics (16%), and paying off debt (12%).
As in 2021, a vast majority of respondents Agree or Strongly Agree that providing excellent customer service is a top priority at Member Benefits.
“I feel like they have always delivered on promises and I can trust them to give me advice that will actually benefit me, not them.”
“They provide the most personal attention of any company I have worked with.”
Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score, a measure of likelihood to recommend an organization, remained consistent from last year (57%). A score above 50% is considered excellent.
Top advice from members
Member advice for David Kijek focused on service and outreach, which has been a top priority each year of the survey. Members would like more personalized contact with representatives, and education remains important to members.
One‐quarter of respondents gave us kudos and thanks, such as:
“Honestly, I really like what you do. I look forward to your quarterly magazine. I like your website. I think your employees are respectful and kind. Keep up the good work.”
“Continue to provide the affordable investment options that you do for your members.”
“Thank you for being responsible and committed to WEA members.”
David Kijek adds, “Despite the challenges that continue with the pandemic, you’ve let us know that we’ve continued to provide the excellent customer service you have come to value—and that is incredibly important to us. We’ll keep striving to make improvements and to do our best to serve you.”
No participants of this survey were compensated for their reviews.
Inflation got you down? Don’t panic
The price of stuff is going up, which may be the case for some time. Do you also know about these other components of inflation?
Shrinkflation. Companies reduce the size or quantity of their products while charging the same price or even more. One example is paying the same for less sheets of toilet paper (and smaller sheets!). Companies have been doing this for years because people are more sensitive to changes in price than to changes in quantity.
Skimpflation. Instead of simply raising prices, companies skimp on the goods and services they provide. Shoddier service is the result of a labor shortage and rising business costs. For example, it’s now taking longer for packages to be delivered.
The key to coping with inflation is to plan for it.
- Follow a budget. It’s really important to understand where your money goes and to cut out unnecessary expenses.
- Cut back. Try alternate grocery stores, use coupons, eat out less. Look for free and cheap entertainment options.
- Continue to save and invest your money, especially for retirement. You don’t control economic conditions, but you do control your spending and saving habits.
Help secure your account
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is required to access your retirement account through yourMONEY. If you receive a phone call or text message providing a verification code and you aren’t currently attempting to log into your account, please notify us as soon as possible and change your account password.
We also encourage you to add a verbal password to your account as an extra layer of protection. You will need to know this password if you call us to discuss specifics about your account. Simply complete and send in the Telephone Access authorization form from our retirement forms and brochures page or call us to request one.
A Trusted Contact is someone you deem trustworthy who may be contacted by Member Benefits if we are not able to reach you or if we have reasonable belief that you or your account may have been exposed to financial exploitation. The Trusted Contact does not have rights to make changes to your accounts.
Setting up a Trusted Contact is optional. If you are interested, please contact a Member Service Representative at 1-800-279-4030.
Severe weather WATCH vs WARNING
A severe thunderstorm or tornado watch gives you advance notice that conditions are favorable for dangerous weather. When your area is in a watch, stay alert for changing weather. During a watch, there will be information about what type of weather you might see and the chance of it actually occurring. Risk levels can range from a few storms with hail and high winds to a particularly dangerous situation when deadly tornadoes can occur. Tune in to local news for updates.
A warning is issued when severe weather is about to strike in your area. For severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flash floods it means the weather event is happening now and you need to take action immediately.
Review your family emergency plan and check your emergency supply kit so that if a warning is issued, you’re prepared. For more information, go to www.ready.gov.