When you think of spring, what words come to mind? Some words on your list might include planting, growth, or renewal.
It could be that after the long year we’ve had, you’re not feeling particularly spring-like. Maybe none of those words popped into your head. But spring is a good time to get a fresh start on things. And those particular words are good to keep in mind when it comes to your finances, because they can be applied so aptly to your spring to-do list:
- Plant…the seeds for a financial strategy for 2021.
- Grow…your savings with a retirement savings account.
- Renew…your commitment to make sure your personal insurance meets your needs and to educate yourself on how best to save for your future.
Member Benefits can help you with many of those items you may have on your financial to-do list. Let us help you with your fresh start this year. Begin here to create and review your list before you spring ahead with your plans. Then give us a call—we’re here to help.
Whether you’re just beginning to save or want to continue to grow your savings, it’s important to plant some seeds—not just at the start of the journey, but throughout your lifetime. Life is full of beginnings and endings, and as we move forward, our circumstances may dictate that some new planting is needed.
Germinate a plan
If you haven’t started saving for retirement yet, now is a great time. Even as little as $20 per pay period will make a big difference over time due to compound interest. Compounding is when earnings on your investments are reinvested in your account. The reinvested earnings may also have earnings and then those earnings are reinvested and so on.
Not sure how much to save? Use our paycheck comparison calculator to help you determine the impact of changing your retirement savings payroll deductions. Go to our calculators page for this and many other free financial calculators.
Our retirement account fees are among the lowest around, so more of your money is working for you. Consider investing in a WEA Member Benefits 403(b) and/or IRA. No large amount is required like at many other providers. It’s easy to get started online. Or give us a call and we’ll walk you through it.
Feather a new nest
Many people don’t think about insurance as a way to conserve money, but if you don’t have the right coverage, you put yourself at financial risk. If you’re putting down new roots in a home, condo, or apartment this year, you need to start protecting it right away. But if you’re like most people who treat insurance like a commodity—or one-size-fits-all—you risk leaving yourself (and your family) exposed to financial loss or purchasing coverages you don’t need.
For example, umbrella insurance is an often overlooked or misunderstood coverage because many people assume their basic insurance policy offers them adequate protection. However, you may be surprised at the situations in which you may need umbrella insurance—your dog bites a neighbor, someone slips on your sidewalk, or your teen throws a party while you’re gone and one of the guests gets an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) on the way home. An umbrella policy provides extra protection for you as well as other members of your family.
Another common way people put themselves at financial risk is by assuming their home insurance policy protects all of their possessions—even those of extreme value. However, standard home policies provide only limited protection for high-value items. So you may need to add an endorsement (sometimes called a rider or schedule) to your home policy for valuable possessions to provide coverage for their full worth.
Member Benefits can help you make informed decisions regarding the right coverage for your situation and help you become a better insurance consumer in the process. Sign up for a free consultation with one of our Personal Insurance Consultants.
And if you’re planting new roots and purchasing a home this year, download our free home buying ebook, which is full of tips and information on purchasing, evaluating, and protecting your new home. Find it and other ebooks on various financial topics on our website.
Cover your ride
Auto insurance protects not only you, but also passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. It also offers coverage for damage to your vehicle and other people’s property. Just like home insurance, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. We suggest you consider three principles to help find the right coverage for you:
- Buy the right amount of protection for your situation.
- Buy more liability protection rather than less.
- Choose the highest deductible amount that you can comfortably afford.
While many companies offer auto insurance, ours is the only one created exclusively for public school employees like you. Set up a consultation, and we’ll review your coverage so you can compare. Or get a quote.
And if you have any recreational vehicles or classic cars, make sure they’re covered, too. We can help with that.
In order to continue growing your savings, you have to maintain an active role in your financial strategy.
Save more for retirement
When was the last time you reviewed your investment allocations in your retirement savings account? You may want to change your level of risk. How long has it been since you gave yourself a raise to grow your savings? Most plans let you choose a certain dollar amount or a percentage of your salary.
Make an appointment with one of our financial consultants if you’d like guidance on asset allocation. If you want to change your contributions and have a 403(b), you’ll need to update your salary reduction agreement with your school district. If you’d like to increase your contributions to your WEA Member Benefits IRA, give us a call.
Make it automatic
A good rule of thumb to live by is “pay yourself first.” Financial experts suggest saving 10% or more of salary (if possible) to meet retirement income needs. One really easy to way help you save is to automate your savings. Payroll deduction means you give permission to deduct a certain percentage (or amount) from each eligible paycheck and deposit it into your 403(b) plan account. For your WEA Member Benefits IRA, SmartPlan is an electronic transfer system that allows you to move money into your IRA from your bank, savings and loan, or credit union. For either, you can opt out anytime or change the amount you have deducted.
Peek at your policies
Are you getting married? Adding any new little seedlings to your family this year? You should always review your policies at any life event, good or bad. Check beneficiaries on all your accounts and review life insurance and long-term care (LTC) insurance policies for any changes you may need to make. If you’re adding or subtracting any drivers to your auto policy, be sure to review your coverages and liability limits.
New life events are also the perfect time to explore life insurance or LTC insurance options. Member Benefits offers both. Read more about LTC insurance and get life insurance comparison quotes on our website.
Weed out old spending habits
Make a plan to clean up debt, control spending, and limit credit cards. Debt is like a weed—ignore it and it will multiply, take over, and block out new growth—lessening the potential earnings you could make by saving more instead.
It can also negatively affect your credit score. Information in your credit report is used in various ways. For example, credit card companies may give you a more favorable interest rate and a larger line of credit with a higher score. Potential lenders, landlords, insurance companies, and even some employers use your credit score to help make decisions about you. Companies use different sets of factors related to your score to make their decisions, so it’s safe to say that the higher your score, the better.
Share your bounty with family
Many of your family members may be eligible to participate in our retirement and insurance programs. Let them know! This includes our IRA program, financial planning program, and home and auto insurance.
Even some of your family members who live outside of Wisconsin may be able to participate in our IRA program.
When did you last look at your insurance coverage? Are you saving enough? Time to review your protection and renew your savings goals.
Review your coverage
Make sure your insurance coverages continue to meet your needs. Taking a look at your home and auto policies at renewal can be a good reminder to review your coverages. Perhaps you renovated or added to your home. Maybe you’ve accumulated more possessions in the past year and need to increase your coverage. Minimize your risk so you can more easily maximize what you’re able to save. Ask us for a free insurance review.
Renew your commitment to saving
When you’re ready to retire, will you thrive or survive? Having a financial plan helps you see the big picture, set goals, and stay on track, whether you are just starting your career or planning your exit.
A Member Benefits consultant can provide basic guidance on a variety of financial topics with individual consultations. Or meet with one of our financial advisors for help with building your assets, discovering whether you’re on track for retirement, or planning for an upcoming retirement. Visit our financial planning services section for more information.
Harvest our resources
Make 2021 the year to boost your financial knowledge. Use our free financial calculators, read articles, download ebooks, use an interactive budget sheet, find information on programs and services, or sign up for seminars. Visit our Learning Center to get started.
If you want your finances to flourish, you need to do a little hands-on work. Giving your finances a little care each year can help you cultivate the life you want to live.
No matter what growing season you’re in, we’re here for you and we want to help. Contact us at 1-800-279-4030 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get going on your fresh start.