Maintaining Your Financial Course
By Larry Dresner, ChFC
The world has changed a lot since the last time this article appeared in the summer of 2017, and I think it’s a particularly good idea to revisit and update this topic.
If you have a solid long-term savings and investing plan, you may want to stay the course. Consider changing it only 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.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you stay on a good track.
Have an annual financial checkup.
Make sure that your financial assumptions are still appropriate, and if necessary, modify them. Also make sure that the beneficiary information on file with the Church Pension Group for you and your family is accurate. These are great steps that may help you have more peace of mind as you sit back on the beach (at a safe social distance), 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. Contributions to a defined contribution retirement plan made on a pre-tax basis could lower your income tax and place your other income into a lower tax bracket. And don’t forget that the earlier you contribute money, the more time it has to grow. Consider using a percentage instead of a dollar amount: so when you get raises, your contribution will also increase. Certain types of saving vehicles allow money to grow tax-deferred, and for ordained clergy, when you take money out, it may also be designated as a housing allowance upon withdrawal.* That could be a big win in retirement!
Request a pension estimate.
Request an estimate from CPG 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. You can also go online to your MyCPG Account and use the pension estimate calculator there.
Make sure your assessments are up to date.
Have you checked lately? Accidently becoming inactive can throw a big monkey wrench into your well-laid financial plans. Consider checking annually and when you change to a new position/employer. Your Annual Statement will also indicate your current status.
Learn what you need to know about your CPG Pension Plan.
Are you a participant in The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan or The Episcopal Church Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan? Review the plan documents to understand your benefits and eligibility.
To discuss your current benefits, strategize how to maximize them, and discuss any financial topics important to you, call for a retirement discussion at (866) 802-6333, Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 8:00PM ET.
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.