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Financial Fitness Blog

Are you looking to jump-start your retirement savings this year?

(Retirement) Permanent link

Brenda EcheverriaStart the new school year off on the right financial foot. Here are three easy ways to get started:

  1. Pay yourself first. Start contributing to a 403(b) or IRA as soon as you can. Automatic contributions make it easy to start saving.
  2. Build a budget. A budget helps you know where your money is going, it helps you set priorities, save for things you want, and gives you permission to spend.
  3. Watch fees. Keeping fees low on your retirement accounts keeps more of your money working for you.

Get started
For as little as $20 per month (or $50 per month for a Roth IRA), you can start your school year off on the right financial foot. As a Wisconsin public school employee, you are eligible to open a 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity or a WEAC Roth IRA offered through WEA Trust Member Benefits.

Not convinced?
Even saving just a small amount of money now can really add up later. Read the story of Jack and Jill to understand the power of compounding interest over time.

Got questions?
Call us at 1-800-279-4030 to get started, or schedule a phone consultation online.

Brenda Echeverria, Financial Planner

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.

Consider renters insurance in your back-to-school plans

(Insurance) Permanent link

Mark DannehlIs your child heading to college this fall with plans to rent? If they are still your dependent and attend college, they may be covered on your home policy. Even so, there are a few reasons you may want to consider purchasing a separate renters insurance policy for your college-bound child.

1. The deductible on a renters insurance policy may be less than on your home policy.
2. If there is a claim, it will not show up on your home policy and possibly affect your premiums.
3. Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive.

In fact, depending on the amount of coverage and the deductible, a typical renters policy with Member Benefits starts at $6-$7 per month.

Whatever you decide, don’t forget to take an inventory of your child’s belongings in case something happens. 

Give us a call at 1-800-279-4010 if you have any questions, would like a renters insurance quote, or would like to know more.

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant

Certain policy exclusions and limitations may apply. The terms and conditions of your coverage are exclusively controlled by your written policy. Please refer to your policy for details. Underwritten by WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company.


Increase your 403(b) contributions

(Retirement) Permanent link

Brenda EcheverriaBefore summer is over, take time to update your Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) and take advantage of new 2013 403(b) contribution limits. Some employers only allow changes at the start of the school year and then again in January. Others allow more frequent changes. Both you and your employer will need to sign a salary reduction agreement. Do it now and you’ll be ready to go for the school year.

To obtain an SRA for your district, you may print one from our Web site or call us at 1-800-279-4030 and we’ll send it to you.

Brenda Echeverria, Financial Planner

Steps to take when a tree falls

(Insurance) Permanent link

Mark DannehlHome insurance policies generally hold you (the insured) responsible for mitigating loss. So, if a tree falls and puts a hole in your roof, you must take action. Cover the hole or make a temporary fix to prevent further loss until it can be professionally repaired. Contact your insurance company to report a claim as soon as possible and confirm their expectations for mitigating loss and reimbursement. Be sure to keep your receipts for any expenses related to the repair, because your insurance company may reimburse you.

Other steps to take include:

  • Carefully survey the area for downed power lines or other hazards.
  • Assess the damage and call your insurer right away. Your insurer should explain what action if any you need to take.
  • Take photos.
  • Call the power company if the tree is hanging over or touching wires.
  • When hiring a tree service company, make sure they are insured and bonded and provide you with a written guarantee for the work that will be performed.

If you have home insurance through Member Benefits and have questions about your policy, give us a call at 1-800-279-4010.

Does your existing policy cover a vacation rental car?

(Insurance) Permanent link

Mark DannehlWondering about the insurance coverage on that car you're renting for your upcoming vacation? In some cases, the coverage and deductibles you have on your personal auto policy apply to a rented vehicle.

To be adequately covered, your existing policy should include liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage. You can also check with your credit card company to see if they provide coverage.

Furthermore, consider taking the extra Collision Damage Waiver offered by the rental car company, as it relieves you of financial responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. The waiver covers “loss of use”—the money a rental agency loses when the vehicle can’t be rented due to damages. It may also include “diminished value” protection to cover claims for the reduced value of the vehicle after a loss. In most states, your personal auto insurance policy won’t cover these costs, so you might want the added protection.

Have more questions about coverage? Call us at 1-800-279-4010.

Certain policy exclusions and limitations may apply. The terms and conditions of your coverage are exclusively controlled by your written policy. Please refer to your policy for details. Underwritten by WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company.

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant