What Lay Employees Can Do Now
2023 Spring Issue
Jo Ann Hardy, Canon to the Ordinary and Chief Operating Officer, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, and member of CPG’s Client Council, shares her insights on lay financial literacy.
At General Convention in July 1991, when lay pension contributions became mandatory, a conga line broke out! I have been fortunate, in that my path as a bishop’s staff person has afforded me room for career growth and salary improvement over the years. I’ve never taken it for granted, especially because I realize that many lay employees are lower wage earners, and this is definitely a factor in their ability to save well for retirement.
While I am keenly aware of and concerned about issues of parity between clergy and lay employees of The Episcopal Church, I also know that there are decisions that we can make as individuals that can have a major impact on our financial future.
A pivotal time for me was in 2007, when CPG offered a retirement planning conference for lay employees. It was there that I first clearly saw the need for me to have a firm understanding of my retirement savings. I realized that I had to make it a priority to invest a larger portion of my own funds, far beyond the 9% that the diocese was contributing for me and the 4% of my pay that I was putting into the lay defined contribution plan.
If not for that conference more than 15 years ago, I might not have been inspired to take a good look at my future and to adjust my thinking and my 403(b) contribution habits. The small financial sacrifices that we make now to invest in our future will benefit not only us in our senior years but could also allow us to leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren.
I’m also grateful for all that I’ve learned over the decades about the connection between current physical and emotional well-being and future financial security. CPG has helped me lay a strong foundation for the coming relaxing-on-the-beach-with-Jerry-Hardy years!
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