Maintaining Your Financial Course
By Larry Dresner, ChFC
Did you make a New Year’s resolution to become more financially fit? Are you still following it? A lot has happened in the world since then, but should you change your investment strategy?
Often, the simple answer is “no.”
If you have a solid long-term savings and investing plan, you should probably stay the course. You should consider changing your long-term savings and investing plan if you experience a major life change such as a marriage or divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, the death of a loved one, or a change of employment.
But here are a few things you can do now to keep yourself on a good track.
Have an annual financial checkup — Make sure that your financial assumptions are still appropriate, and if necessary, reallocate your portfolio. Also make sure that the beneficiary information the Church Pension Group has on file for you and your family is accurate. These are great steps that can help you have more peace of mind as you sit back on the beach, focus on your family, and enjoy Mother Nature.
Increase your savings contributions — Speaking about being financially fit, consider increasing your savings contribution when you can. Certain types of contributions can be made from pre-tax deductions from your paycheck, which could lower your current tax bracket, and the earlier you contribute money, the longer it has to grow. Certain types of saving vehicles allow money to grow tax-deferred, and for clergy, when you take it out, it could be designated as a housing allowance upon withdrawal,* which would make it federally income tax-free. That could be a big win in retirement!
Request a pension estimate — Get an estimate from us to see what your retirement benefit might be, or use our online PlanAhead For Retirement® calculator to see if you are on track for a comfortable future.
Make sure your pension assessments are up-to-date — Have you checked lately? Not being up-to-date could result in your designation being changed to “inactive,” and that can throw a big monkey wrench into your well-laid financial plans.
Learn what you need to know about the Clergy Pension Plan revisions — Are you a participant in The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan or The Episcopal Church Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan and are considering retiring in 2017 or 2018?
To learn how the plan revisions being made might affect you, call for a retirement discussion at (866) 802-6333, Monday – Friday, 8:30AM – 8:00PM ET (excluding holidays).
We can talk any time that is convenient for you — even if you are out communing with Mother Nature.
Larry Dresner, ChFC, serves as a Financial Education Client Specialist at the Church Pension Group.
*Limitations under section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code will apply to the amount you may exclude from gross income. We recommend that you consult your tax advisor.
Upcoming Financial Webinars
Clergy Pension Plan Revisions – What you need to know
Be Better Prepared for Retirement – Turn your savings into retirement income
This workshop, hosted by the Church Pension Group and presented by Fidelity Investments, is designed for employees who are less than two years from retirement, are 55 years old or older, and who have an income plan in place.
Have you enrolled in The Episcopal Church Retirement Savings Plan (RSVP)?
The RSVP is your workplace retirement savings plan. It works like a 401(k). It’s meant to help you retire with more money than your pension alone.
Unlike an ordinary savings account, it enables you to save on a pre-tax basis, directly from your paycheck before taxes are taken out and into the plan investment options you select. The more you save, the better off you could be for retirement.