We work hard, try to save money and manage our debt. But, before you know it, we wonder where all of that hard-earned money has gone. For those struggling to keep their heads above water, retirement may not be an immediate reality, but there is help.
At the recent General Synod 32, the Pension Boards conducted a small, informal survey* of actively-serving and retired United Church of Christ (UCC) authorized ministers, active and retired UCC laypersons, and participating PBUCC plan members, which indicated that current financial situations may be lessening a person’s ability to save or plan for retirement.
Children’s College Education, Seminary Debt Among Key Concerns
Key findings showed that 20% were paying off seminary debt; 20% were worried about a lack of finances to fund their children’s education; and 27.5% were not sure where to begin when it concerns retirement planning. Other respondents (32.5%) indicated trouble budgeting money, living on a fixed income or low salary, and working to pay off medical bills and other expenses, as among their top financial concerns.
“These findings are not a surprise to us,” said Wynonia Leak, PBUCC’s Director of Employer Development and Member Education. “Throughout the year, the Pension Boards staff meet with UCC members and their spouses/partners at our Retirement Planning Seminars and learn first-hand the current realities facing them today. We know life is hard and challenging, but the Pension Boards is here to help our members prepare for their future, even if it means sacrificing something today,” continued Wynonia.
PBUCC Member Education Retirement Planning Seminars and EY Services
Survey results also showed that while 29.6% of respondents were planning to retire in five years and 33.3% in 10 years, more than 54.5% of respondents had never used a financial planner.
Wynonia points out that many actively-contributing members of the Annuity Plan for the United Church of Christ don’t utilize the no-cost, unlimited access to Ernst & Young (EY) Financial Planning Services®. EY financial planners help members with retirement planning, and also with budgeting, managing debt, saving for their child’s education, buying a home, estate planning, and many more life events that require financial security. The EY services can be accessed by calling 1.877.927.1047, or by visiting their website at: pbucc.eyfpc.com.
The Pension Boards-sponsored Member Education seminars and webinars are available to help members become financially well and informed. These educational events are offered throughout the six regions of the UCC and cover everything from Social Security benefits and options, to investing, budgeting, and most importantly, understanding and maximizing the plans and services offered through the Pension Boards.
“I encourage our members to reach out to us and ask questions about how they can maximize the benefit plans and services we offer so they can reach their individual financial goals. We are here to serve,“ added Wynonia.
*The currently-open survey reflect responses collected as of July 31, 2019.