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your $

A magazine from WEA Trust Member Benefits





An emotional rollercoaster your money

Investing now: essential survival strategies

your account

Minimum required distributions suspended for ‘09

your kiosk

Financial Tune-Up seminars Flood insurance Kids and IRAs

your $ { contents


3 YOUR ACCOUNT - Minimum required distributions suspended for 2009.

- How TPAs impact your 403(b) transactions. - Moving? Let us know.


4 YOUR MONEY Essential survival strategies for

4 8 YOUR EDUCATION - Summer Financial Tune-up

6 YOUR STORY The decision to retire is not easy.

12 YOUR KIOSK - Need flood insurance?

- Plan ahead for withdrawals. - Service vehicles coverage.

investing in today’s market.

Member Mike Gaynor shares his rollercoaster ride through the retirement process.


- Summer fun…on the cheap. - Ask the expert: Kids and IRAs.

{ president’s letter

Dave Kijek, President/CEO, WEA Trust Member Benefits

There is nothing like spring in Wisconsin

Spring is here. Another winter under our belts. Wisconsinites feel a certain satisfaction having endured yet another winter season. There’s no doubt we are hardy people—resilient to harsh conditions. This winter we were also burdened with the cruel winds of economic downturn. The situation is of a magnitude many of us have not experienced before. Feelings of fear and anxiety are widespread as we

watch our life’s investment plummet, hear of yet another business closing in our community, and watch the unemployment numbers tick up. It’s impacting everyone. We want to remind you that as your member benefit organization, we are here for you. Our mission to serve you—our members—in ways that help you and your family achieve financial security is constant regardless of the economic climate. Whether through educational opportunities, knowledgeable staff to answer your questions and concerns, or quality programs, we are here and will be here serving members when the storm is over.


In this issue of your$—our first onlineonly edition—we acknowledge the challenges of today’s economic situation and offer stories of member experiences that may validate your feelings and empower you in your financial decisionmaking. In addition, learn about flood insurance, savings options for your children, and easy-on-the-wallet summer events to enjoy with your family right here in Wisconsin. Happy spring,

P.S. How do you feel about our online-only edition? E-mail us at

{ your account IRA and 403(b) News Minimum required distributions suspended for 2009

On December 23, 2008, President Bush signed the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, which suspends minimum required distributions (MRDs) from certain retirement accounts for 2009, including 403(b)s, Traditional IRAs, inherited IRAs, inherited Roth IRAs, and inherited 403(b)s. This means if you are age 70½ or older in 2009 or are required to take a distribution, you can suspend your MRD in 2009. However, if you delayed your initial 2008 MRD until 2009, you should have still satisfied your 2008 MRD by April 1, 2009. There is currently no legislation in place to extend the MRD suspension beyond 2009. Therefore, MRD requirements will resume in 2010. Member Benefits has revised how we will process your MRDs.

IRA 5498 forms on their way

Form 5498 is a tax form that IRA holders receive at the end of May if you made a contribution for year (2008) or you had a balance as of December 31, 2008. A contribution is defined as Traditional IRA and Roth IRA contributions made between January 1, 2008, and April 15, 2009, for 2008 tax year and rollovers, conversions (Traditional to Roth), and recharacterizations.

Make it a

Smooth Move

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated one-third of Americans will be knee-deep in bubble wrap this summer—the peak season for moving. In preparing for a move, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the details. To help you stay on top of it all, we have provided you with a handy, ready-to-print checklist which covers everything from who to contact with your new address to finding a reputable mover.

Privacy notice enclosed with your statement

Protection of your nonpublic personal financial information is very important to us. Enclosed with your statement this month is a copy of the WEA TSA Trust privacy policy. Please read it carefully.

TPA issues

If your district hired a third-party administrator (TPA) to help them with their 403(b) plans, you are required to complete additional forms from the TPA in order to process most transactions or account changes. Please contact your TPA or payroll office for the additional forms and/or approval. Even if you are retired from a school district, you may be affected by the TPA administering the district’s plan. The staff at WEA Trust Member Benefits is eager to help. Call us at 1-800-279-4030 for help navigating the changes.

Plan ahead for withdrawals

Remember, when requesting withdrawals from your 403(b) or IRA accounts, it will likely take two or more weeks for you to receive your money— or possibly longer if a TPA is involved.

Got toys?

WEA Property & Casualty >>More insures your summer toys, including boats, motorcycles, mopeds, campers, and ATVs.

Insurance News Got green acres? WEA Property & Casualty is now offering coverage limits up to $10,000 for service vehicles—such as riding lawn mowers and lawn tractors. Call 1-800-279-4010 if you would like to increase your current coverage.

{ your money It’s a

JUNGLE out there

For many of the nation’s investors, 2008 was the year their retirement dreams kicked the bucket. Or at least that’s how it felt watching the value of nest eggs plummet to chilling lows. Indeed, many investors, particularly those with heavy stock allocations, saw their retirement accounts shrivel by 30% or more. This has led many worried and frustrated investors to ask, “Should I continue to invest during these difficult economic times?”


ourtney Quast, a K-8 school counselor in the Williams Bay School District, isn’t letting the recent market meltdown spoil her financial future. In fact, she’s taking it as a challenge. “In light of the recent economic turmoil, I decided I want to empower myself and take control of my financial future.” Courtney began saving in a 403(b) six years ago at the age of 24. “I want to understand exactly what it is I’m investing in and how it will help me achieve my retirement goals.” Courtney contacted WEA Trust Member Benefits for help in arming her and others with basic investment knowledge. So, Courtney (and all you fellow investors out there), here you go!

A good opportunity in bad economic times

Declining markets and poor investment returns present a challenge to even the savviest investor. It doesn’t matter how much money you have invested in the market—losing money hurts. It’s during these bear markets that your patience will be tested. If fear sets in, you might consider bailing on your investment plan, which could do more damage than anything else. So, are there any opportunities for investing in bad economic times? “We’re in a situation where people can buy traditionally strong stocks at lower-than-average prices,” explains Scott Thomas, a Retirement Investment Services

Specialist at WEA Trust Member Benefits. “Although many people are afraid to invest in tough times, it’s important to look at the big picture and not be fixated on shortterm losses.”

Determine your investment strategy

No one can predict with accuracy when the market turnaround will come or how robust it will be when it does, and waiting around for a new bull market to rescue your retirement dreams certainly isn’t your answer. “A well-planned investment strategy is essential for any investor,” explains Thomas. “In these tough economic times, having an investment strategy that meets your risk tolerance and investment objectives

is critical to successfully preparing for retirement, and it may be your answer to maximizing long-term growth.”

One size doesn’t fit all

So, are target retirement funds the right choice for you?

“In light of the recent economic turmoil, I decided I want to empower myself and take control of my financial future. I want to understand exactly what is it I’m investing in and how it will help me achieve my retirement goals.” - Courtney Quast, Williams Bay School District Thomas explains there are three key steps in building an investment strategy: 1. Understand your investment options. 2. Determine the investment mix (asset allocation) that will best help you achieve your goals. 3. Select an investment path to fulfill your asset allocation objective.

Understand your investment options

Are you someone that has the time and desire to be actively involved in managing your investments? Or do you see investing as a complicated and time-consuming process you just don’t have time for? Your answers to these questions can be the starting point in determining which direction you should take when building your investment strategy. For those that desire a simple, onedecision investment option designed to build assets without the need for monitoring or rebalancing, a new breed of “targeted maturity” funds may be for you. With names like “Target Retirement Fund” and “Life Cycle Fund,” targeted maturity funds are becoming increasingly popular among 403(b) contributors. “A target retirement fund is a mutual fund designed with a specific retirement year in mind,” explains Thomas. For example, if you are 30 years old now and would like to retire at age 65, you can invest in a 2035 Target Retirement Fund. As the fund approaches the target retirement year, the fund allocation becomes more conservative, meaning investment allocations switch to more fixed-income investments to decrease risk and preserve capital.

“It depends,” says Thomas. “The ideal asset mix is different for everyone.” Target retirement funds can be a great option for those who don’t want to bother managing their portfolio on their own, but there are other factors to consider such as individual investment goals and risk tolerance. Thomas recommends those with questions call WEA Trust Member Benefits. “Our retirement consultants can answer questions members may have and assist in their investment decisionmaking.”

For those who prefer a more handson investing approach, it’s important to understand and review all of the investment options available. “When deciding which investments to choose, make sure to do your homework,” advises Thomas. Find out the investment objective, company size, the role it plays in your portfolio, and the risk/return tradeoff associated with each type of investment (see Risk/Return Pyramid on page 10).

Spread out your investments

One of the biggest ways to help protect against market ups and downs is to develop an asset allocation strategy. In fact, according to Ibbotson Associates, a leading provider of asset allocation research and services, asset allocation is one the most fundamental of investment decisions. “Asset allocation involves dividing an investment portfolio among different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and cash,” explains Thomas. “By spreading your money around into different categories of investments, you can minimize risk and maximize performance.” Continued on page 10


All investments have their inherent risks—some may promise large profits while others come with less risk. That’s why understanding how these investments function is such a vital step in creating the best retirement plan possible. Stocks

Stocks are available for every industry imaginable, U.S.-based and overseas alike, and usually are categorized as large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap. Large-cap stocks tend to be companies that are mature and represent the mainstream of U.S. economy. Small- and mid-cap companies tend to have more risk. These companies are usually younger, often representing new products, technologies, or sectors of the economy.


When you buy bonds, you essentially become a lender, since a bond is really nothing more than an IOU that’s been issued by a government or corporation. In general, bonds are considered safer investments than stocks. But that’s not always true. Bonds are rated, and the lower the rating, the better interest they pay and the riskier they are.

Mutual Funds

Think of these as a collection of stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents. Mutual funds enable investors to buy a multitude of assets relatively cheaply. Instead of spending $1,000 for shares of a single company, you could spend the same amount on a fund that holds the same company plus many others. It’s a cheap way to diversify your assets and protect against risk.

{ your story



An emotional rollercoaster

Rarely simple, the decision to retire is often riddled with conflicting emotions and a sense of urgency. Add to that the condition of the economy. It’s a ride you won’t soon forget.


he road between thinking about retiring and actually retiring is an emotional rollercoaster for many. Money is typically a top concern, but it’s only part of the equation. We spend a good chunk of our lives working toward retirement—planning, saving, wondering. And then, suddenly we’re there. But are we really ready? Mike Gaynor retired in 2008 after teaching middle school for 37 years. Retiring wasn’t an easy decision. In his article, “Retiring Thoughts,” Mike, shares his experience and the mix of obstacles he needed to overcome to be comfortable with his decision to retire. Excerpts from his article are included here. Like many people, thoughts of retirement materialized in my mid-fifties. People I taught with for over 20 years pulled up and got out. They loved retirement. Every time I saw them they looked younger and happier. They told me how great life was and that I didn’t know what I was missing. What was I waiting for?

Mentally being there

While money plays a major role in the decision to retire, there’s an emotional readiness that many require before taking the plunge. Challenges associated with a change in identity and questions over self-worth and one’s purpose beyond work often undermine the “golden years” for those unprepared for the change. For Mike, the decision to retire was complicated by the fact that he really loved what he was doing. I got up every morning and looked forward to the day ahead. I enjoyed the people I taught with; they were vibrant, fun to be with, and they had a good feel for middle schoolers. I felt like I was still contributing—still felt connected with my students. I was still having fun. Retirement is more than just having enough money. I had to be socially and emotionally ready to change my lifestyle.

Baby steps

During the summer of 2007, Mike and his wife Colleen attended a group session with a state pension counselor. The good news was the Wisconsin Retirement System would provide a comfortable monthly income. The financial end of

things was looking pretty good. The hold up was me. I talked about retirement, I researched retirement, but deep down I had no intention of retiring.

Baby Boomers, like Mike, are healthier, more active and diverse in interests than preceding generations. Not surprising then, Mike spent a good deal of time thinking about what he might do when he retired. I love to fish. Early spring and late fall

fishing in Wisconsin are great. I have never been able to really do that while I was teaching—that would be a blast. I have a honey-do list that could easily keep me busy for a year. Our 43-yearold house needs some attention…I am a putterer, and I really like working on projects around the house. I needed to know I could keep active.

Mike required a new mind set. Retirement had to be more like a career change instead of a career-ending event— not a winding down but rather a new episode of contributing. Mike needed to find a way to be productively engaged and develop a new identity beyond his teaching career. It also required the support of Colleen.

Spousal buy in

Retirement may create a host of problems for couples who have been together for a long time. Patterns develop within those relationships that may be disrupted by retirement. Dr. Stephen Treat, the director and CEO of the Council for Relationships

“I asked myself, ‘Gaynor, what do you really want to do?’ That day I drafted a letter and informed the district of my intent to retire.” - Mike Gaynor and an instructor in psychiatry and human behavior at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia suggests that couples talk about retirement and start to anticipate it. What will your days look like? How much time will you spend together? Are your retirement goals aligned? It was very important to me that my wife endorsed my retirement. If she doubted the decision or questioned it, I decided I would continue to work. I had friends who retired but both spouses didn’t consent to the decision, and the retirement became problematic. Colleen encouraged me to go ahead with my decision.

For Mike and Colleen, the transition has gone smoothly. Colleen still teaches kindergarten in the Kansasville-Dover district (her choice). Mike has taken on more of the daily household chores to take some of the pressure off Colleen. “I don’t know how she did it all these years. Working full time and tending to our family. It’s the least I can do,” he says.

Crunching numbers for real

There are many financial factors to consider when planning for retirement. In addition to assessing your retirement income and assets, you need to answer

questions like: What kind of lifestyle do you plan to have and will your retirement income support it? Have you accounted for inflation and taxes? Are your investments positioned to deal with turbulent markets? These details are crucial to retirement planning, but many take the leap without a clear understanding of their financial future. According to a study by MetLife Mature Market Institute, which surveyed more than 1,200 working people between the ages of 55 and 65 about retirement income issues, almost 7 in 10 overestimated how much they could withdraw from their savings each month. Forty-three percent believed they could withdraw 10% or more each year while still preserving their principal, even though most experts suggest about 4% annually. Another retirement issue is longevity. It’s a fact that people are living longer, yet 60% of those surveyed underestimated life expectancy. “In my whole life, we never sat down and talked to someone in detail about our financial situation.” Mike and Colleen received all of their financial and investment information from free consultations or seminars provided by WEAC, WEA Continued on page 9


Mike and Colleen Gaynor live in Oak Creek. Mike taught middle school in the South Milwaukee School district for 35 years before retiring last year. Colleen continues to teach kindergarten in the Kansasville-Dover district. After taking the plunge, Mike wrote an article describing the process he went through as he contemplated retirement. Excerpts from his article are included here. You can read a full version of “Retiring Thoughts” online. Mike has no problem keeping busy. He has plenty of home projects, helps with the household chores, takes time out to fish, and helps Colleen with the care of their elderly parents. Mike and Colleen have three successful sons—all the product of Wisconsin public schools—who live in Oak Creek and benefit from Mike’s handyman and babysitting skills.

{ your education


Summer 2009: Financial Tune-Up Seminars

During these times of economic change, many Wisconsin public school employees are looking for help to safeguard their financial situation.

Our free Financial Tune-Up Seminars will help you find the answers you need today and restore your hope for tomorrow.

Whether you are just getting started, wondering what you should or shouldn’t do with your current retirement savings, or looking to find out if and when you can retire, help is here!

Pick a seminar that fits your situation, then register to reserve your spot.

I need help setting up my retirement saving. Finances 101: Seven Mistakes New Members Make With Their Money Making wise financial choices early in your career can have a significant impact on your future financial security and give you peace of mind.

This presentation will provide the information you need to start your career on the right financial foot. Don't miss it! >>More

Seminars run June 22 through July 29 and will be offered in 19 locations around the state. Seating is limited. Spouses welcome.

You may also sign up for a personal phone consultation with a Member Benefits consultant to discuss your specific situation.

Where can I turn for help with investment options? Turbulent Markets and Law Changes: Investment Lessons You Can’t Afford To Miss

The last 18 months have left many investors questioning their investment portfolio and wondering what to do next. Coupled with the market turbulence, public schools now face new IRS regulations governing their 403(b) plans. In this seminar we will discuss time-tested investment lessons to guide you through market volatility. We will also discuss the impact the 403(b) regulations have on you and your ability to move money from one investment provider to another. >>More

I’d like to retire, but I’m not sure if I can. Retirement Planning 101

For those who are considering retirement, this seminar will provide you with a general understanding and overview of the three main sources of retirement income—Wisconsin Retirement System, Social Security, and personal savings. It will also help you understand the most common roadblocks that prevent a secure retirement. Finally, it will help you understand the different retirement planning solutions available to you. >>More


WANT MORE? Seminar details Schedule and Registration

Trust Member Benefits, or the Wisconsin Retirement System. Although Mike felt that financially retirement was a go, at this point in his life, he did not want to make a mistake. I read an article in a WEAC publication about a Retirement Income Analysis. It was an in-depth look at a couple’s financial status in relation to their retirement goals and objectives, and there was a price tag on the service. Talking to someone about our investments was difficult. As a Catholic, I don’t like going to confession, so I sure wasn’t excited about going to financial confession. We mulled the idea over for several weeks. Finally, I called WEA Trust Member Benefits and I was introduced to Michelle Slawny. She wanted to know our financial and personal goals for the future. She helped us examine a variety of perspectives related to retirement.

After several meetings, Michelle shared the results of her analysis with the Gaynors on New Year’s Eve 2007. The bottom line, both Colleen and I found out we could retire. Colleen felt she wanted to teach a few more years. She was in no hurry. I knew that day I was not going to wait. On the ride home from Madison, we decided that I was going to retire in 2008. I felt good. It was a good decision.

Following through hard to do

In late January, Mike attended the district’s retirement meeting, but could not bring himself to take the actual step to start the official process. He even asked the district for an extension. The truth is I was still scared to death to act on my decision. Late in February, I had an epiphany. I asked myself, “Gaynor, what do you really want to do?” That day I drafted a letter and informed the school district of my intent to retire.

Moving on

Decision made, Mike looked forward to this new adventure. By late August, he was fishing in Canada. When he made is midweek call home, Colleen said he had a message from the middle school. There was a long-term subbing position open. The principal offered it to Mike. He rocked my retired world when he offered me the position. Recently

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retired, just home from a Canadian fishing trip, looking forward to fall fishing, a ton to do on my honey-do list—what should I do? Easy. I took the job.

Retiring in turbulent times

Like the rest of the country, the Gaynors were not prepared for what Mike calls the “economic tsunami.” In hindsight Mike says taking the subbing position was a “stroke of genius.” Despite some concerns, Mike is glad he decided to retire before the market tanked. He left on a high—on his terms. If it had gone the other way, Mike believes he would’ve felt pressure to stay whether he wanted to or not. That’s not how he wanted it to be. In the past six to seven months, I have checked the stock market’s closing more than I have for the past 30 years. Most of our investments are in mutual funds. Over the years, we tried to establish a diverse portfolio. We were comfortable with our asset allocations, so we decided to ride out the market fluctuations. The plan we had established with Michelle called for me to have five years worth of money in a secure investment. We don’t plan to touch our mutual funds until age 70, so we felt comfortable financially even though the market was iffy.

No regrets…really

Mike says he has no regrets about retiring. At least not yet. And he’s had no problem staying busy. His decision to retire, though peppered with a plethora of emotion and uncertainty, was the right decision for him. I am glad I chose to retire and that my wife encouraged me. Really. I am glad, personally and financially, that I took the long-term subbing position. Really. I try not to watch the market closings everyday, attempting to keep my 10-year window in perspective and

avoid making emotional investment decisions. Really. Like many people, I began 2009 with hope. I hope that our new president is up to the task of leading our country into better times. I hope that Americans pull together and endure the tough times—social, financial, and political—that lie ahead. Time will tell. Really.


Mike has these recommendations for those considering retirement. Talk. Listen. Read. Learn as much as you can from those further along the retirement path than you, and check out other community resources. Read “What Color is Your Parachute? For Retirement.” Talk to your spouse. Imagine the possibilities with the help of your spouse. Cherish new opportunities to meet people or get involved in something new. Try on a few new hats. Seek out help Take advantage of resources available to public school employees, like WRS, WEA Trust Member Benefits, and WEAC. Have fun! Don’t become an old fuddy duddy. You’ve gotta listen to the new music in addition to the moldy oldies.

In addition to allocating your investments among stocks, bonds, and cash (and Growth Funds invest in stocks of companies that have the greatest possibly other asset potential for long-term growth. Investing in Growth Funds requires categories), you will Growth a tolerance for above-average risk and a holding period with a also need to spread time horizon of 5 to 10 years. Funds out your investments Growth and Income Funds aim to provide both growth within each asset and income, often by investing in companies which have Growth and category. This is earnings growth as well as dividends. These funds are called diversification. Income Funds typically moderate in risk. “One way of diversifying your Tax-Free Funds invest primarily in municipal bonds. investments within Income Tax-Free These conservative funds offer investors income an asset category is exempt from federal tax and, in many cases, state Funds Funds to identify and invest and local income tax. in a wide range of companies and Income Funds emphasize current income as opposed to capital industry sectors,” appreciation. These funds typically invest in conservative explains Thomas. investments such as government securities and preferred stock. “The key is to answering 13 questions, your score will detailed screening process to evaluate identify investments suggest an asset allocation appropriate for the available mutual funds that meet the in segments of each asset category that you. The idea is to find an allocation mix criteria outlined in our Investment Policy may perform differently under different and stick with it; many experts advise that Statement. To make the cut, we look for market conditions.” maintaining an asset allocation strategy funds that have multiple-year solid return Determine the right mix to can be more profitable in the long run than histories and stable management teams. making frequent investment changes. We sort by investment categories, compare achieve your goals fund performance, and then screen these The process of determining which mix Select the path that’s best funds for low fees and operating expenses. of assets to hold in your portfolio is a very The resulting selections cover a broad for you personal one. When deciding how to best spectrum of investment styles, all from a Whether you choose to create your allocate your money, you should know variety of mutual fund families. own custom portfolio or opt for a target your retirement goals, how much you can retirement fund, it’s important to keep save annually toward your goal, and how your long-term investment goals in mind. much risk you are willing to assume. The Trustee for the WEAC IRA Mutual Fund Accounts is “Take the time to research the funds “Risk tolerance is all about your ability First Business Trust & Investment Services. offered by Member Benefits,” advises and willingness to lose all or some of your TSA program securities offered through WEA Investment Thomas. initial investments in the expectation of a Services, Inc., member FINRA. All of the investment types available higher return,” explains Thomas. in our 403(b) and WEAC IRA programs To help determine which approach best have been carefully chosen with longfits your style, take the Risk Tolerance term investing in mind. We conduct a Quiz available on our Web site. After

Risk/Return Pyramid



“I absolutely love what I do,” says Courtney Quast, a K-8 School Counselor in the Williams Bay School District. “I truly found a career that is just as fulfilling as it is demanding.” Courtney has lived and taught in Williams Bay, a small village just outside Lake Geneva, for the past six years. Originally from Rosendale, Courtney attended UW-La Crosse for her undergraduate degree and then ventured north to UW-Stout where she earned a master’s degree in K-12 Guidance and Counseling. Outside of the classroom, Courtney enjoys biking, skiing, swimming, hiking, and traveling. Her latest travel adventure? Africa! “My trip to Africa had an absolutely amazing impact on me,” she notes.

Ask the expert: My 16-year-old son has a parttime job and makes about $3,000 a year. I’m trying to encourage him to start saving. Can he open a Roth IRA?

Yes. Your son can open a Roth IRA as long as he has earned income from a job. Gifts of money or interest on a savings account do not count, nor does an allowance. Contribution limits for 2009 are $5,000 per year for those under age 50, but your son may only contribute up to the amount of his actual earnings—$3,000 in this case. A Roth IRA is a particularly attractive savings option for young people who can count on years of tax-free earnings.

Children of WEAC members or employees in a district offering Trust Advantage may participate in the WEAC IRA program. Here are three reasons to consider this now:

1. Low Fees. The WEAC IRA has just one low annual administrative fee (0.4%) that is capped at $500. 2. Open a WEAC IRA with as little as $200 a year. Many companies require a large contribution just to open an IRA, making it difficult for young people to get started. 3. It’s easy. Our online enrollment application makes it easy and convenient to open an IRA.

4. Don’t miss the boat. Children who open a WEAC IRA may continue to participate in the program as long as they desire, but they must have their account opened before age 26. Don’t miss this opportunity to pass this member benefit on to your children. This article is for informational purposes only and not intended to be personal legal or tax advice. Consult your tax-advisor or attorney regarding your individual situation.


HAVE A QUESTION? We’ll get you an answer and maybe publish it in our next issue. Send an e-mail to: Please type “your$ expert” in the subject line.

If you would like to open an IRA, call 1-800-279-4030 or enroll now.

No. 1 rated health plan in Wisconsin CAHPS® survey results, 2008 For more information, visit


{ your kiosk


looding in June 2008 caused more than $765 million in damage to property and crops in Wisconsin. According to Wisconsin Emergency Management, it was the costliest natural disaster in state history. More than 40,000 Wisconsin households registered with FEMA for disaster assistance in 2008, yet according to the National Flood Insurance Program, only 15,000 Wisconsin homes and businesses have flood insurance. Flooding is possible again this spring. The water table in most southern counties is still above normal after last spring’s floods and heavy snow in December. Because homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover floods, and less than 50 percent of floods qualify for federal disaster assistance, the agency suggests that homeowners get flood insurance. Whenever there is flooding in the state, WEA Trust Member Benefits receives a large volume of calls from members wondering about how to get insurance coverage to protect themselves from losses due to flooding. Here are answers to commonly asked questions.


Does my homeowners insurance policy cover flooding? No. Most home and business insurance policies do not cover flood losses. Am I eligible for flood insurance? If your community is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you’re eligible for federally sponsored flood insurance coverage for your home or business.




Flood insurance What you need to know

Lake Delton overflowed its banks washing away four homes and a portion of County Highway A while nearly emptying the lake basin into the Wisconsin River following several days of torrential rains in 2008. How can I find out if my community participates in NFIP? Access the NFIP Community Status Book at to see if your community participates. If my home is flooded, won’t federal disaster assistance pay for my damages? No. Federal disaster assistance offers loans to help cover flood damage, not compensation for your losses. Even then, those loans are only available if the President formally declares a disaster…and less than 10% of all weather emergencies in the U.S. are declared. How do I know if I live in a high- or low-risk flood area? You can find out your relative flood risk for your area by entering your property information at—a Web site created by FEMA. However, digital maps are not available for all areas at this time. You can call NFIP at 1-888-379-9531. I live in a low-risk flood zone. Do I really need flood insurance? Almost 25% of all flood insurance claims come from areas with minimal flood risk. You will need to make the decision whether you can manage this risk. You may qualify for the Preferred Risk Policy (a lower-cost flood insurance policy) that provides building and contents coverage for about $112 a year.

Who do I contact if I want to purchase a flood insurance policy? The NFIP has an arrangement with private insurance companies to sell and service flood insurance policies. A list of agents is available at Click on Find an Agent and enter your address information to get a list of agents in your area. Alternatively, you may call NFIP at 1-800-611-6123, Ext. 901. What water damage is covered by my homeowners policy? If you have your homeowners insurance with WEA Property & Casualty, you have coverage for water damage resulting from a covered loss up to the limit of your policy. Flooding is not a covered loss, however, water damage caused by bursting water pipes, for example, would be considered a covered loss. Another common cause of water damage is drain and sewer backup. Up to $20,000 coverage can be added as an endorsement to your policy to protect you from losses due to sewer or drain backup. If you have questions about our homeowners coverage or want more information, call 1-800-279-4010.

Summer Fun…On The Cheap

Summer is just around the corner, and frankly, we can’t wait! Don’t let the economy keep you from making the most of your summer. Here is a sampling of Wisconsin’s top summer events that won’t break your budget. Wisconsin State Parks Open House Day June 7, Statewide No admission stickers are required on June 7, so it’s an ideal time to visit the Wisconsin State Park of your choice. Many parks have special events and refreshments for the occasion. Cost: Free Hot-Air Balloon Rally June 26 in Monroe Hot-air balloonists from around the world lift into the sky over the Green County Fair Grounds for the Monroe Balloon Rally. As many as 40 inflated and tethered hot-air balloons light the night sky during the annual Friday “Nite Lite.” Cost: Free

Great Circus Parade July 12 in Milwaukee This spectacular parade will roll through the city’s downtown for the first time since 2003. The parade will feature scores of clowns, bands, animals, and performers, as well as 50 of the Circus World Museum’s antique circus wagons pulled by 300 horses. Cost: Free Lumberjack World Championships July 24–26 in Hayward This international competition welcomes professional lumberjacks and logrollers from around the world to compete for one of the largest purses in lumberjack competitions. More than

* ! k c a B 1% Cash

12,000 spectators watch as participants compete in sawing, climbing, log rolling, and chopping events. Cost: General admission starts at $14 for adults and $12 for children. Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival August 21 & 22 in Superior Held on the waterfront of Barker’s Island, watch as 100 teams in exotically decorated boats paddle feverishly in time with the pounding of the boat’s drummer toward the finish line. Also enjoy food and live entertainment. Cost: Free



When you refinance your Auto Loan with WEA Credit Union !

For example: refinance a $20,000 loan and earn $200 - and enjoy WEA’s low rates!

800-457-1142 . *Membership eligibility required. Offer available for limited time only and loan must remain open for 90 days. Maximum reward $250 per member. Approval subject to normal credit standards.


I believe... Q


Wisconsin’s public schools are among

the very best in the nation because of our state’s talented, caring and committed teachers and education support professionals.

Wisconsin students have their best chance at

a successful future with high graduation rates and individualized attention from highly qualified teachers and education support professionals.

Children reach their potential

as students and human beings when they have a well rounded education that includes a wide variety of courses and programs. tools and safe, secure facilities. STRONG COMMUNITIES.


Students learn best with up-to-date learning I BELIEVE INVESTMENTS IN GREAT SCHOOLS BUILD

Every great school is the result of successful teamwork:

students, educators, parents and communities working together for a brighter future. Public schools work with parents and communities to instill the character values that help children become lifelong learners, responsible adults, and kind, caring people. Public schools build local economies by preparing young people and attracting the jobs of the future to our communities.

Local public schools are the heart of their communities

and provide a place for friends and neighbors to come together. TAKES PRIDE IN GREAT SCHOOLS.



The public schools we have today are the result of the

investments, ingenuity and commitment of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

We take pride in the quality of our public schools and our Wisconsin

way of living: successful students; happy and caring young people; a high quality of life; top graduation rates; the most highly qualified teachers and staff; top scores on the ACT and other tests.

Elected officials

should take the same pride in our public schools that we take. Together we can maintain our traditions and keep Wisconsin at the forefront of quality and innovation in public education. Q


Your$ Magazine -- Spring 2009  

Your$ magazine is published by WEA Trust Member Benefits.

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