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Financial Fitness Blog

Start your savings plan

(Money Management) Permanent link

Jay LukasThis week is America Saves Week, which raises awareness about good savings behavior and encourages people to set a savings goal, create a plan, and save automatically.

According to their Web site, only 54% of Americans say they have a savings plan with specific goals. If you don't have your own plan, now is a good time to start. Here’s a few savings tips to keep in mind:

  • Contribute as much as you can to your savings plans as early as possible so you can to benefit from potential investment growth.
  • Beware of fees when choosing a retirement savings provider. They do not all charge the same. Learn more about fees.
  • Make it easy to contribute. Payroll deducted contributions to an IRA or 403(b) not only build your savings but also make it more affordable because you are budgeting for smaller, regular amounts.
  • Diversify your investments. Putting your money in different types of investments can help you achieve a more consistent long-term performance than you would likely achieve if you put all your money in a single type of investment.
  • Review your plan on a regular basis. Changes in personal circumstances can have a big impact on how much you need to save and how you invest.

Want to learn more?

Jay Lukas, Senior RIS Specialist

This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal or tax advice. Consult your tax advisor or attorney before taking any action. Seminars are free to attend; however, if you choose to invest in the WEA Tax Sheltered Annuity or WEAC IRA program, fees will apply. Consider all expenses before investing.  The Trustee Custodian for the WEAC IRA accounts is Newport Trust Company. The 403(b) retirement program is offered by the WEA TSA Trust. TSA program registered representatives are licensed through WEA Investment Services, Inc., member FINRA.

Do you need flood insurance?

(Insurance) Permanent link

Tim GanoungIt doesn’t take a major body of water, or even a major storm, to cause a flood. You can live miles away from water and still be a victim of flooding. In fact, 25–30% of flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas.

Member Benefits is now offering flood insurance in response to member requests. But plan ahead. There is a 30-day waiting period,* so contact us before the snow begins to melt and spring rain begins.

Even if you have flood insurance, you may want to consider moving it to us at renewal. To assess your options, contact one of our insurance consultants. Call us today at 1-800-279-4010.

Tim Ganoung, Personal Insurance Consultant

*Some exceptions apply, call us for details. Flood insurance offered through the National Flood Insurance Program and underwritten by Bankers Insurance Company.

Ready to talk finances with your sweetie?

(Money Management) Permanent link

Laura KampsIf the topic of money is the “elephant in the room” in your relationship, you’re not alone. (See our article, “BIG issue, small talk” to learn how starting a financial conversation with your partner can help manage this typically weighty issue.)

However, open, honest communication is just as important with finances as any other partnership decision. And that’s an essential first step to take before you can move forward to make a financial plan.

If you’re ready to talk it out, we have a few helpful tips for you.

First step: Understand each other

  • How did your parents handle their household finances?
  • When did you start paying your own bills? Did you ever run into trouble with debt?
  • Are you a spender or saver?
  • What stresses you the most about money?
  • How do you define “needs” versus “wants”?
  • What is your most important financial goal?

Second step: Make a plan

  • Decide who should handle the finances.
  • Determine whether you will have separate or joint accounts.
  • Work out who will pay what and how much. Make sure both of you are happy with the plan.
  • Develop a strategy to balance saving against spending.
  • Agree upon some short-term and long-term financial goals.
  • Set rules on when you need to discuss a purchase together.
  • Create a written budget. Member Benefits recommends using one and revisiting it every year.

Resources to help you

Laura Kamps, RIS Specialist

Snowmobile safety tips

(Insurance) Permanent link

Janet AndersonWe have plenty of the white stuff this year for some great snowmobiling opportunities, and Wisconsin offers some of the best. Using a little common sense will minimize your risk of an accident while you're out having fun. Here's a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Always carry safety equipment. Include a tool kit, knife, spark plugs, drive belt, first aid, tow rope, pry bar, duct tape, waterproof matches, flashlight, compass, map, and extra ignition key. A cell phone is great but keep in mind you may be out of range at times.
  • Keep your snowmobile in good working order and make sure the throttle, brake, steering, and light systems are all functioning properly.
  • Everyone should have a helmet with goggles or a face shield and dress warmly in layers. Keeping dry is key. At night, wear reflective trim on your clothing.
  • Go slow. Speed is a contributing factor in nearly all fatal snowmobiling accidents. Being mindful of your speed is especially important with young passengers. Children should have a firm grip on the handles and both feet on the running boards. Use smooth starts and stops to prevent whiplash.
  • NEVER drink and drive.
  • Stay to the right. Most trails are two-way. It's especially easy to get in a collision on hills and corners.
  • Stay on designated trails. Trespassing is a major complaint about snowmobilers and can result in trail closures as well as accidents.
  • Be alert for obstacles beneath the snow, drifting snow, trees and branches on the trail or that hang low, and wildlife and other domestic animals.
  • Avoid riding on lakes and rivers. Ice may be thinner than you think. Rapidly changing weather and moving currents can affect the thickness of the ice. Snow can also act as a blanket and prevent strong ice from forming.
  • Always ride with at least one other person. You don't want to find yourself badly injured with no help available. If you must travel alone, tell someone your planned route and when you expect to return.

Last but not least, don't forget to insure your snowmobile. Call us for a quote at 1-800-279-4010.

Janet Anderson, Personal Insurance Consultant