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Financial Fitness Blog

You don't need to save a lot to get ahead, but start you must

(Retirement) Permanent link

Michelle Blog PhotoA comfortable retirement is an expensive proposition. But you might be surprised to learn that saving with as little as $20 per pay period can make a difference.

It's ok to start with a small amount, as long as you start. And, the sooner the better.

The importance of saving early is illustrated clearly in our story of Jack and Jill. Jill starts contributing soon after starting her first job and reaps the benefits of compounding interest. Jack procrastinates and will need to contribute much more to catch up with Jill's account balance in retirement. Compounding is when earnings on your investments are reinvested in your account. The reinvested earnings may also have earnings, and then those earnings are reinvested and so on. It’s said that Albert Einstein called compound interest the "eighth wonder of the world." Any small amount you can start contributing now could benefit you more than larger amounts you contribute later on because of compounding.

If your retirement savings account is up and running, work toward contributing the maximum amount possible. Use our paycheck comparison calculator to help you determine the impact of changing your retirement savings payroll deductions.

You can open a 403(b) or IRA with automatic contributions of just $20 per pay period. No large amount is required like with many other providers. Plus, our fees are among the lowest around so more of your money is working for you. Remember, family members, like your spouse/domestic partner, children and their spouses, parents, and parents-in-law are also eligible to open an IRA account. (Wisconsin residency required.)

Michelle Slawny, CFP®

The 403(b) retirement program is offered by the WEA TSA Trust. TSA program securities offered through WEA Investment Services, Inc., member FINRA. The Trustee Custodian for the WEAC IRA accounts is Newport Trust Company. This article is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal or tax advice. Consult your tax advisor or attorney before taking any action.

Even a short nursing home stay can take a huge bite out of your assets

(Insurance) Permanent link

 Kelly Blog PhotoA recent study indicates that even a short nursing home stay can ruin your finances. The Employee Benefit Research Institute recently released the results of a study that illustrate the enormous hit your finances could take if you had need for long-term care services.

Data used in the study shows the median household wealth for those who spend fewer than 30 days in a nursing home is about $108,000. But after six months, many nursing home residents are effectively broke, with median assets of barely $5,000. In other words, after six months in a nursing facility, half of all residents lose essentially all of their wealth. This includes both their home equity and financial assets.

Because neither health insurance nor Medicare was designed to pay for long-term care (LTC) services, individuals who require LTC services as a result of an accident or illness may need to dip into their personal savings or use other assets to cover the costs…unless they have LTC insurance.

If you are curious about how LTC insurance fits into your financial plan, sign up for an Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance seminar or schedule a personal consultation.

Kelly Behnke, CIC, CISR, ACSR
Personal Insurance Consultant

College-bound insurance coverage

(Insurance) Permanent link

Mark Blog PhotoIf you have a son or daughter going off to college this fall, you are likely already deep in preparations. I recently received a question from a member regarding insurance coverage for their daughter who was going to college in Iowa. She was taking one of the family vehicles with her and the member wanted to know if it could still be covered on their WEA P&C auto insurance policy.

Here is the answer to his question. Students attending college outside of Wisconsin who take a vehicle with them may continue to insure that vehicle under their parents’ auto policy with a special out-of-state rating for that vehicle. However, if the child resides in that state full-time due to a job, etc., that driver and vehicle will be removed from the parents’ policy at the renewal.

If your college-bound child will be taking a vehicle with them to school, take a few minutes now to contact your insurance company to make sure you have coverage for your situation. You do not want to send your child (and vehicle) off without proper protection.

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant

Do I have coverage if I rent a moving truck?

(Insurance) Permanent link

Mark Blog PhotoIf you're planning a family move or sending your child off to college this fall, you may be planning to rent a moving truck or trailer to haul all that stuff. We often field questions from our policyholders this time of year about whether the rental is covered by their WEA Property and Casualty insurance policy. Here is how we handle these types of rental vehicles.

We do not provide any coverage for moving trucks. However, belongings inside the moving truck are covered under your home policy up to the coverage limits of your policy. Personal property is covered if it is stolen or damaged in an accident but not for breakage while in transit or moving into the new home. We recommend that you purchase liability and physical damage coverage from the rental company.

We do cover utility or moving trailers. If you rent a utility or moving trailer to help you move your belongings, your policy extends your liability coverage to the trailer and also provides up to $500 for physical damage to the trailer. Again, your personal belongings are covered under your home policy up to the coverage limits of your policy.

However, if you have coverage with another insurer, check your policy before you rent to make sure you have the protection you need.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us toll free at 1-800-279-4010.

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant

Do you have unclaimed money?

(Money Management) Permanent link

Michelle Blog PhotoYou might be surprised at how common it is for people to lose track of money that is owed to them. Why not take some time to see if there are any forgotten funds in your name? The internet has made it much easier to do so. Below are common situations in which money is unclaimed and resources to help you track it down.

Be sure to check every state you've lived in and every name you've lived under.

Forgotten security deposits, overtime checks, insurance refunds, or abandoned safe deposit boxes
National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA)   

Unclaimed savings bonds
TreasuryDirect 
... or read more about it on my blog post, "On the hunt for lost savings bonds?"  

Keep track of your Federal IRS refund
"Where's My Refund"  

Lost life insurance policies
Insurance Information Institute 
If you suspect you're a beneficiary of a lost insurance policy, there are a number of strategies on this site that might help in your search.

If you didn't collect your money when a bank or credit union went under
• Failed bank accounts - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)  
• Failed credit union accounts - National Credit Union Association (NCUA)  

Missing retirement money
• Misplaced private pensions - Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) 
• Reuniting retirement money with its rightful owner - Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
• Lost 401(k) - National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits  

Michelle Slawny, CFP®

Source: ABC News