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Financial Fitness Blog

Time to review your retirement account

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N'Kenza WhitlowDid you review your retirement account when school started in the fall? If not, a brand new year can also be a good reminder to give your account an annual checkup. You may want to:

  • Increase your 403(b) contributions by completing a new Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA).
  • Review and update your beneficiaries, especially if you’ve experienced any life events (marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a family member, etc.). It’s important to note that beneficiaries named on your retirement account supersede your will
  • Update your address, review your portfolio, and rebalance your investment allocation.

Visit yourMONEY online to review your account, or call us at 1-800-279-4030.

N’Kenza Whitlow, Retirement Savings Consultant

Important end-of-year dates for your retirement accounts

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Laura KampsCheck your calendar

403(b) and IRA exchanges/transfers/rollovers

Exchanges, transfers, and rollovers require significant processing time. Your completed paperwork (including approved third-party administrator transaction authorization, if applicable) will be submitted to the payer company by the end of December if we receive it by December 7. This includes requests for IRA recharacterizations and conversions. Call us if you have any questions. We’re happy to help you through the process.

Postdated checks

We are unable to accept IRA contribution checks written and received this tax year (2018) for next tax year (2019). Postdated checks will be returned.

Year-end withdrawal deadlines

If you would like to take a lump sum withdrawal from your 403(b) or IRA accounts before the end of 2018, your completed request (including third-party administration transaction authorization, if applicable) must be received by us on or before December 14. Requests received after this date may not be processed before year-end.

Watch your contribution limits…year-end is closing in

Employee contribution limits for 403(b) accounts are $18,500 for 2018; however, employees age 50 and older can contribute an additional $6,000 for a total of $24,500 per year. Give us a call if you need assistance. 

Laura Kamps, Financial Planning Specialist

2018 Financial Mentor Award winners

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Brenda EcheverriaOur 2018 Mentor Award winners were recommended by their peers as champions of education who take the time to mentor their colleagues on good financial planning and saving for retirement. Their comments speak for themselves:

“He meets with every new employee to discuss investment and savings plans in detail and spends a great deal of time assisting our staff with their financial questions and situations.”

“She is always helping other staff with their questions related to retirement and benefits.”

“She truly cares about the teachers in our district and helping them to make good choices. Her e-mail reminders, after school planning sessions, and personal conversations go above and beyond her call of duty.”

Congratulations to these exceptional financial advocates. You are appreciated for what you do!

  • Rick Sutherland, Nekoosa
  • Al Crider, Nekoosa
  • Douglas Olsen, Kickapoo
  • Kathy Johnson, Wittenberg-Birnamwood
  • Mary Blaha, Sheboygan Falls
  • Sherry Hendrickson, Monroe
  • Cheryl Richards, Ithaca
  • Kara Bolly, Fontana
  • Tom Wilcox, Germantown
  • Del DeBerg, Melrose-Mindoro

Each winner was recognized in your$ magazine and will receive a personal certificate of recognition.

Don’t see your mentor on the list? 2019 Mentor nominations are now open at

Brenda Echeverria, Financial Planner

Do your accounts have the right beneficiaries?

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Andie HartwigAs you experience changes in your life such as marriage, divorce, or death, don’t forget to review your beneficiary designations. The beneficiary designations associated with your retirement account(s) take precedence over your will.

Want more information about choosing beneficiaries? Read our online brochure, Choosing Beneficiaries for Your Retirement Account.

Andrea Hartwig, Financial Planner

Shore up your retirement savings

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Sue LukasAre you maximizing your 403(b) contributions? Summer is a good time to update your Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) so you’ll be ready to go for the school year.

To update your SRA, please contact your school district business office for their most recent SRA, download our SRA form, or if your district allows, update your SRA online through yourMONEY.

Sue Lukas, RIS Specialist

Learn more about the 403(b) and IRA

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N'Kenza WhitlowDid you know we have online guidance for you about 403(b) and IRA retirement savings options? Each section has information, tools, and resources to help you understand what you need to consider when choosing a retirement plan.

Learn about the Roth, investment strategy, risk tolerance, choosing beneficiaries, and much more.

N’Kenza Whitlow, Retirement Savings Consultant

Nominate a financial mentor for 2018!

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Laura KampsWe hear from many educators who tell us that someone during their career made a big impact on their life. What about you—do you have a colleague who has helped you or others with good advice on financial planning and saving for retirement? If so, take a moment today to give them a little recognition.

Some comments we’ve received so far for current nominees include:

  • Kara volunteered to assume leadership of our 5 (now 6) year long teacher personal finance meetings at school. This was 'my baby' and I'm glad she has cared for it so well in my stead.
  • Cheryl has been a rock star and a cornerstone in this district for almost 20 years. Everyone know she will help as best she can. 

Sound familiar? It only takes a minute to nominate someone. Just visit

The 2018 deadline is August 31, so don’t wait! Award winners will be announced on October 22. They will also be mentioned in the fall your$ magazine and receive a certificate of recognition.

Laura Kamps, Financial Planning Specialist