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Financial Fitness Blog

Spring break is a great time to get a quote

(Insurance) Permanent link

Janet AndersonSchools districts throughout Wisconsin are taking some well-deserved time off during March and April for spring break. It's always a great time to spend time with your family, take care of unfinished home projects, or file your taxes. It’s also a great time to get a comparison quote for auto and home insurance.

Here's five reasons to contact us:

  • Our consultants will evaluate your current policies to make sure you have the right coverage. No high-pressure sales.
  • Get a comparison quote and maybe save some money.
  • Learn why we are a good value for Wisconsin public school employees.
  • It has been more than one year since you’ve received a quote from us.
  • This is your program. We were created by Wisconsin public school employees for Wisconsin public school employees.   

And, we have three easy ways to get a quote!

Janet Anderson, Personal Insurance Consultant

Plan ahead for flood insurance and sewer back-up coverage

(Insurance) Permanent link

Mark DannehlSpring is slowly but surely making its way into Wisconsin. While we welcome the moderating temperatures, we should also keep in mind that with thawing snow and ice comes increased risk of flooding.

You may not realize that home insurance never covers flood damage. So if you want to purchase flood insurance, let us help explain what a flood insurance policy can do for you and know there is a 30-day waiting period* so you can prepare for more thawing plus spring rains. 

While you're thinking about insurance, you may also want to check as to whether you have sewer back-up coverage on your home policy. Water damage due to drain and sewer backup or sump pump overflow may be covered if you’ve added an endorsement to your policy.

Again, timing can be everything. If the coverage is included at the inception date of the policy, the coverage begins on that date. However, if it’s added to or increased on an existing policy, there is generally a 30-day waiting period.

To learn more about the flood insurance offered through Member Benefits, or for questions about your current home policy, give us a call at 1-800-279-4010.

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

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant

It's a great time for saving o' the green

(Money Management) Permanent link

Brenda Echeverria "May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, and may good luck pursue you each morning and night."—Irish blessing

What better time than St. Patrick's Day to pad your luck by saving a little more green! No four-leaf clover required. Here's a few ideas to help you build up your pot of gold.

Start today. Contribute as much as you can to your savings plans as early as possible. That way, your savings have a longer time to benefit from potential investment growth.

Diversify. 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. In theory, when certain types of investments are declining in value, other types are gaining value.

Use online tools to guide you.

  • Our budget worksheet can help you get a handle on your income vs. spending habits. Having a clear picture of where your hard-earned green is going will help you make more informed decisions.
  • Wondering how much to save? Use the Ballpark E$timate calculator from Choose to Save®. Or take advantage of our free financial calculators that can help you with your financial decision-making and retirement planning.

Utilize your workplace benefits. Take advantage of benefits offered by your employer, like the 403(b). As a public school employee, you can contribute on a pre-tax and/or after-tax (Roth) basis if your schools district plan allows. Before-tax savings reduce taxable income now and, at the same time, increase your savings for the future. Roth contributions are taxed now, but qualified withdrawals, including earnings, are tax-free. 

Start an IRA. An IRA is also a great way to save for your future and take advantage of potential tax benefits. You can open an IRA with Member Benefits with as little as $25. Call us at 1-800-279-4030 or use our online enrollment form to get started.

Brenda Echeverria, Financial Planner

Daylight saving time checklist

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Steve SchofieldReady or not, daylight saving time begins this Sunday. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night. The time change is a good reminder of things you should do twice per year. Here are a few things to consider:

Around your home

  • Test and replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check and replace your furnace filter.
  • Inspect your exterior dryer and furnace vents to ensure they are clear of debris.
  • Clean your dryer filter and inspect hoses.
  • Inspect your gutters and downspouts for ice and/or blockage.
  • Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles.

Your car

  • Check the inflation and tread on your tires.
  • Test your headlights, break lights, and turn signals. Replace any non-functioning bulbs.
  • Check the fluid levels under the hood.

Your accounts

  • Review and update your beneficiaries on all of your savings and retirement accounts, especially after a life event (i.e. the birth of a child, death, marriage, or divorce).
  • Make sure your address, phone numbers, and email information is up-to-date on all of your accounts.
  • Evaluate your retirement account to see if your holdings reflect your desired allocations. Rebalance as needed.

Steve Schofield, Personal Insurance Consultant