While building and managing your retirement is quite literally the project of a lifetime, with a little work and some good advice, a comfortable retirement is attainable. Just remember, it’s a marathon – not a sprint!
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A 403(b) or tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) plan is a retirement savings program allowed by the Internal Revenue Code which enables you to save pre-tax dollars for your retirement, thus reducing your current taxable income.
A 403(b) plan offers you:
• Higher pre-tax contribution limits than a traditional IRA
• Reduced taxes on your income
• A convenient, regular savings program • Tax-deferred growth on your earnings
• Varied allocation options - flexibility to individualize how you may receive interest
Provides benefits to help replace a portion of your income if you’re sick or injured and unable to work. It’s financial protection that helps you focus more on your recovery and less on how you’ll cover expenses.
Here are some of the most important things in your life that disability coverage can help protect:
• Your home
• Your personal savings
• Your retirement
• Your lifestyle
• Your family
• And your income
A deferred compensation plan is another name for a 457(b) retirement plan, or “457 plan” for short.
Deferred compensation plans are designed for state and municipal workers, as well as employees of some tax-exempt organizations.
Retirement planning for the hardworking people who make our communities work. We speak public sector retirement and are fluent in the details of governmental deferred compensation and defined contribution plans.
We provide a full-service approach to help you take advantage of your employer’s retirement plan.
The Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefit programs for public employees throughout the state of Ohio who are not otherwise covered by another state or local retirement system. OPERS serves more than 1 million past and present Ohio workers and had over $94.1 billion in net assets as of the end of 2018. OPERS is the largest pension fund in Ohio and the 12th largest public retirement system in the country.
There is serious and frequent discussion among state legislators focused on reducing the retirement benefits that members of OPERS have spent their working lives accumulating. While no one individual may be able to halt the long-term momentum of public sentiment, you can, to some extent, protect yourself by making sure you and your family have coordinated and managed your future entitlements before you retire.
For an OPERS member to effectively manage their retirement, they need the knowledge to make informed personal decisions and the initiative to take action now. The goal should be to maximize individual benefits available under your personal pension and any deferred compensation plans, and to consider whether a Partial Lump Sum Option Payment (PLOP) may be right for you.
Look at all the other factors affecting your retirement – Social Security benefits, other savings plans, potential medical costs, spousal retirement plans, changes in the cost of living, and other factors. Build your team and find the right Financial Quarterback to get all the players working together and you will go much further.
There are three options for OPERS members: the Traditional Plan, the Combined Plan, and the Member-Directed Plan. For the Traditional and Combined Plans, your eligibility, and, ultimately, your benefits depend on which group you fall into—either A, B, or C. Your group can be found either on your latest OPERS statement or by registering and logging into your account online. The Member-Directed Plan does not make use of these groups.
Any student – no matter the level – knows from experience the importance of having a skillful and engaged teacher. Unfortunately, it’s also been our experience that teachers often spend more time focused on their students’ growth than on their own financial future.
This occupational hazard is made worse by the fact that states’ budget constraints are forcing communities throughout the country to work toward permanently reducing the earned pension benefits teachers have spent their entire careers earning. It has always been incumbent on you to coordinate and manage your own future entitlements and to do it while you’re still working.
Teachers selflessly spend their days preparing young minds for the future, often to the detriment of their own futures. There is no better time than the present to secure that future.
Educators are covered by the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), which is similar to OPERS in that it also offers Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution, and Combined Plans. However, some members may have the option of an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP). These are generally administered by a third-party vendor, and can vary dramatically. Generally speaking, if these are available to you, it’s best to contact the third-party vendor about the details of these plans.
Being a first responder means constantly dealing with the unexpected. You’re having a nice, calm day one minute; the next, you’re off to a call with lights and sirens blaring, adrenaline-pumping, and senses on high alert.
Emergency workers are surely a group of professionals who deserves the ability to step aside and enjoy the pension and benefits due to them as part of an agreement made many years earlier, after working years full of sacrifice and risk.
However, the compensation these public service workers were promised is facing pressure from many directions. Firefighters and police officers facing the end of their careers have spent decades working hard and deserve to enjoy the compensation they’re due upon retirement. It’s important for these men and women to take steps on their own to maximize what they have; firefighters and police officers, specifically, understand that being prepared for the unexpected can avert disaster.
If you’re currently at the end of your career as an emergency worker, you can expect to receive the most benefits in retirement as promised. But as we all know, there are no ironclad guarantees in life. It is fortunate that any new cutbacks are likely to be geared toward those with the most lead time to adjust; those expecting to retire soon will be less affected than those who still have years or decades of work to look forward to. The majority of this chapter summarizes potential pension changes and how you can adapt your plans to compensate, right now.
While there aren’t as many options as can be found in OPERS and STRS, there are still many things you can do to help set yourself and your family up for success, including strategies around maximizing contributions, taking full advantage of the deferred retirement option plan (DROP), expanding your investment options, life and health insurance strategies, and much more.
Members of the School Employee Retirement System (SERS) are the unsung heroes of the Ohio public school system. Although you may not be as recognized as teaching staff in general, you perform important responsibilities that keep schools running smoothly, the student experience conducive to learning, and the learning environment safe. Part of the reward for the top service you provide is SERS membership and access to SERS programs. These programs include one of the strongest retirement systems in public service. SERS also provides its members with significant financial tools for retirement, savings, and healthcare, along with solid support for all its members.
In 2018, SERS had 237,138 active and retired members.
As the 61st largest public pension fund in the country, SERS holds $13.6 billion in assets.
SERS does not offer the same number of plans as OPERS, STRS, and some of the other Ohio public pension funds. Instead, there is a single plan, which is similar in many ways to the Combined Plans offered by both OPERS and STRS. As a member, you are essentially funding your retirement through employee and employer contributions, as well as investment returns on these contributions.
The State Highway Patrol is the division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety tasked with keeping Ohio’s roadways safe, protecting the governor and dignitaries, providing emergency response services, and supporting the overall allied criminal justice fraternity. The ranks swell at times and contract at times, but the High-way Patrol maintains an overall force of roughly 1,600 uniformed officers and 1,000 support personnel.
There are many character values sought after during the recruiting process, and these values are reinforced and encouraged through membership in the Highway Patrol. These values include professionalism, adaptability, urgency, and a strong sense of safety. This is obviously not a complete list of traits, but these are some of the attributes that may also need to be called upon as members review their retirement options.
As budgetary pressure mounts to reduce retirement benefits, members of the Highway Patrol Retirement System (HPRS) have a unique set of options that, when taken together with their values, should lead toward success as they disconnect from service. There are many strategies at the disposal of HPRS members, including Partial Lump Sum (PLUS) and Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) that can effectively help you maximize your success in retirement.
With a 403(b) program, the funds grows faster because they earn interest on dollars that would otherwise be taxed. The premium earns interest, the money saved in taxes earns interest and the interest compounds.
This retirement program is available to employees of most public and private education institutions, colleges and universities, nonprofit hospitals and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations, such as charitable institutions, foundations, and religious organizations. Generally, annuities and mutual funds are available within 403(b) plans.
457(b)s are considered separate and distinct plans, and not aggregated with other retirement accounts, which allow you to defer additional retirement funds.
Deferring compensation into your account allows you to reduce your current income, which can reduce your income taxes now. Federal and state income taxes (in most cases) are also deferred until the funds are withdrawn during retirement.
A solid financial plan starts with your ability to earn an income. That’s why your income might be your most valuable asset – even more so than your house, car or savings – and why it’s so important to help protect your income.
While it’s not something people want to think about, 7 out of 10 Americans say they’d face financial difficulties within a month without an income if they were sick or injured and can’t work.
Here are some of the most important things in your life that the coverage can help protect:
• Your home
• Your personal savings
• Your retirement
• Your lifestyle
• Your family
• And your income
Our Employee Benefits advisors will work with you to create and implement a customized benefits strategy.