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your $

A magazine from WEA Trust Member Benefits


WINTER 2011-12

Fees Bite! Three more reasons to pay attention.


your investment How mutual funds make our lineup.

your resource New and improved

your kiosk Is your dog a liability? TM

your $ {


WINTER 2011-12


- Do you qualify for the Saver’s Tax Credit? - Contribution limits for 2012.


- Insured must mitigate loss.

4 YOUR BENEFITS - Fees Bite. Three more reasons to pay attention to product costs.

6 YOUR INVESTMENT - Learn what criteria we use to select and monitor mutual fund offerings.


6 10 YOUR KIOSK - Thinking of getting a dog? Read these tips and liability considerations first. - Still time for 2011 IRA contributions.

- Make a New Year’s resolution to attend a financial education - New and improved seminar.


president’s letter

10 © 2011 WEA Member Benefit Trust. All Rights Reserved.

Dave Kijek, President/CEO, WEA Trust Member Benefits

Checking the price tag on financial products is good practice.


There has been a lot of press lately about debit transaction fees many banks announced they would begin charging customers. The banks say they need to recoup revenue lost (an estimated $10 billion annually) because of recent federal limits on how much they can charge retailers per “swipe.” Bank customers were outraged at the news. So much so that some banks have backed down, but they have made no

secret that they’ll increase other fees— everything from checking accounts to penny rolls—to recover the lost profits. This new consumer awareness of and sensitivity for fees is important and the timing is perfect for us to remind you to also pay attention to fees charged to your retirement savings accounts. The article on page 4 illustrates the numerous ways fees can negatively impact your future nest egg and retirement plans. Many people don’t know how much or what fees are being charged to them—maybe they never asked the question—and therefore they don’t recognize how much they are losing because of the fees.

Our fee structure for both our 403(b) and IRA programs is reflective of our organization’s purpose and mission. Because we were created to provide high-quality, low-cost, member-focused savings vehicles, our fee structure is simple and transparent. Resolve to evaluate your retirement savings account fees especially if you are not with us. Compare and then decide what is in your best interest. Happy New Year!

{ your account IRA and 403(b) News Do you qualify for the Saver’s Tax Credit? The Saver’s Tax Credit allows retirement plan participants with annual adjusted gross income of up to $28,250 (filing individually) or $56,500 (filing jointly) to save on their federal income tax. The maximum annual contribution eligible for the credit is $2,000 per person. The rate is based on your income in the taxable year for which you claim the credit.

Insurance News

Contribution limits increase for 2012 Contribution limits for 403(b) accounts will increase to $17,000 for 2012. Employees age 50 and older can contribute an additional $5,500 for a total of $22,500. If you have 15 years or more of service with your employer, you may have an additional “catch-up” opportunity. IRA contribution limits will remain at $5,000 for 2012. If you are age 50 or older, you may contribute an additional $1,000 to your IRA. To increase your 403(b) contribution, you must fill out a new Salary Reduction Agreement with your district business office. This is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal or tax advice. Consult your tax-advisor or attorney before taking any action.

Target Retirement Funds One of the investments offered by Member Benefits is Target Retirement Funds (TRFs). TRFs are intended to provide investors with a one-fund solution that allocates money between stocks, bonds, and cash based on the number of years until the target retirement age is reached. However, when selecting a TRF, also consider factors such as when you intend to start withdrawals, what the allocation of the TRF is to and beyond its target, and your risk tolerance. Although TRFs are intended to simplify your investment decision, they still carry risk. Target retirement funds invest in a mix of stock and bond funds that steadily become more conservative as they approach their target date. The principal value of a target retirement fund is not guaranteed and may gain or lose value now and after its target date. If you have questions, please call us at 1-800-279-4030, Ext. 8568.

Before investing in any mutual fund, call WEA Trust Member Benefits at 1-800-279-4030 to request a prospectus. The prospectus contains information about the fund’s investment objectives, risks, fees, and other information about the investment company.

Vanguard moves TRF 2005 to TRF Income On February 10, 2012, we will merge Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 fund with the Vanguard Target Retirement Income fund due to notification from Vanguard that their asset allocations have become nearly identical.

Watch for your 1099R If you took a reportable distribution from your WEA TSA Trust 403(b) and/ or WEAC IRA account(s) during 2011, we will send you a 1099R to the address on file on or before January 31, 2012.


Guaranteed Annual Rate of Return


* % 4.15

with the WEA TSA & WEAC IRA

Guaranteed Investment

*Interest is compounded daily to produce a 4.15% annual yield prior to the deduction of administrative fees of the WEA TSA Trust and the WEAC IRA program. Principal and net credited interest are fully guaranteed by Prudential Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company (PRIAC). Such guarantees are based upon the financial strength and claims-paying ability of PRIAC. The Trustee for the WEAC IRA program is First Business Trust & Investments.

• Did you know? Homeowners policies generally hold you (the insured) responsible for mitigating loss. For example, a tree limb falls and puts a hole in your roof. You must take action, such as covering the hole or doing a temporary fix, to prevent further loss until it can be professionally repaired. Keep your receipts for any expenses related to the fix, because your insurance company may reimburse you. • Newly retired? Let us know. You may be able to reduce your auto premiums if your annual mileage has been reduced due to eliminating your work commute. • FREE convenience. There is no fee to pay your WEA P&C policy premiums with electronic fund transfer from a checking account or payroll deduction (available in over 150 districts). Most companies charge for this convenience, but not us. During these challenging times, our budget friendly payment options make paying your premiums easy and affordable. • Bundle up and save. If you have your auto and home insurance with separate providers, you may be missing out on savings. Contact us to see if bundling coverage together can reduce your premiums. • Child launching. Do you have a child who recently graduated or left your household? Don’t forget they may be eligible to have their own WEA P&C policy(ies) as long as they meet underwriting criteria. Give us a call at 1-800-279-4010 for information. Property and casualty insurance programs are underwritten by WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company. The terms and conditions of your coverage are exclusively controlled by your written policy. Please refer to your policy for details.


{ your benefits

FEES BITE! We’ve said it before. The fees you pay in your retirement savings accounts matter! Over time, fees eat away at your account balance and can significantly reduce your retirement nest egg. But this isn’t the only reason to keep fees in check. Fees bite (into your financial security) in three additional ways. Michelle Slawny, CFP®, Sr. Financial Planner


t’s a fact. Fees negatively impact the value of your retirement account over time (see graph on page 5). This has been a constant and powerful message we at Member Benefits have delivered to members for over three decades. Many of you have chosen our 403(b) or IRA, and this article will reaffirm the importance of saving with a low-cost program. For those who are still uncertain of just how significantly fees can affect your financial future, maybe the following will dismiss any lingering doubt.

••• As a member of the Financial Planning Association professional group, I receive the Journal of Financial Planning each month. The 2011 May and August issues included contributory articles by Wade D. Pfau, Ph.D. One article was about safe savings rates and the other was about sustainable withdrawal rates. In

both articles, the author considered the impact of investment account fees in his evaluation.

Need to save more In the May article, Pfau found that

author evaluated the impact of investment account fees on a retiree’s withdrawals. He found that “with a 60% bond/40% stock asset allocation, a 1% account fee would, on average, result in a 0.63% point reduction in the maximum withdrawal

Every percentage point you pay out in fees needs to be made up in earnings just to break even. when a 1% fee was applied as part of his analysis, the amount a person needs to save during their working career in order to meet their retirement expenses—what Pfau calls a “safe savings rate”—increased “significantly from 16.62% to 22.15%.”

Reduced spending power Pfau’s August article examined the opposite concept, a sustainable withdrawal rate for retirees. Again, the

{ ABOUT MICHELLE Michelle has over 16 years of financial services experience. Her knowledge of the Wisconsin Retirement System and Social Security system provides much-needed guidance for coordination of 403(b) personal savings decisions with other anticipated income resources and retirement benefits. Michelle currently consults with school employees and provides a variety of fee-based financial planning services, including the Portfolio Analysis, Retirement Income Projection, and Retirement Income Analysis. There are no commissions or product sales attached to these services, which means you receive an unbiased analysis of your situation.


Call 1-800-279-4030, Ext. 2753 for more information.

Fees increase the amount you will need to save over your career to meet your goals.

rate, which represents an average reduction in retiree annual spending power of 11%.”

Running out of money Finally, many members worry about running out of money before the end of their lives. Fees can impact this as well. According to David Blanchett, a Director at Unified Trust Company, a 1% advisory fee plus 0.50% in fund expenses (total annual fee of 1.50%) increases the chances that an account will be depleted early from 5% to 13%. (This assumes a 60% bond/40% stock asset allocation and 4% in annual withdrawals.)

Choose wisely So, as you consider which retirement account to use as you plan for your future, be sure to pay attention to the cost. Not only will account fees impact your account accumulation, but they will also affect the amount you need to save, the amount you can withdraw later, and the chances of outliving your money. Consider how choosing a low-cost provider will help you better prepare for your retirement as you evaluate your retirement savings account options. Remember, not all providers charge the same fees. See page 9 for a list of fees to watch out for. Ask your current or potential provider which fees they charge and request it in writing.

Fees increase the likelihood that you will deplete your accounts before the end of your life.

Fees decrease the amount you can “safely” withdraw from your accounts during retirement.

members and $750 for nonmembers. (Mutual fund management fees apply.) It is also worth noting that your family members, including your spouse, children and their spouses, parents, and parents-in-law may also be able to reduce costs associated with various retirement accounts by opening or rolling over

into our IRA program. Give us a call for more information. Wisconsin residency required. [Source: Journal of Financial Planning, May 2011, August 2011] This is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal or tax advice. Consult your tax advisor or attorney before taking any action.

continued on page 9

The Impact of Fees Over Time Ending Account Balance $500k ------------------------------------------------$487,536 $476,175 $480k ------------------------------------------------$458,583 $460k -------------------------------------------------

$440k ------------------------------------------------$419,008 $420k -------------------------------------------------

$400k ------------------------------------------------Insurance Company Annuity

Loaded Mutual Fund



Illustration assumes an annual contribution of $5,000 and an annual rate of return of 7% over a period of 30 years. This is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any investment. The assumed fees are:

Our fees are simple

Annuity: 1% annual insurance charge (mortality and expense plus administrative charges).

The WEA TSA Trust has received national recognition for being a low-cost, high-quality 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity provider. We charge one low annual administrative fee (0.35%) with an annual cap ($300). Likewise, our IRA program charges one low annual administrative fee of 0.45% with a fee cap of $600 for WEAC

Loaded mutual fund: Front-end sales charge (5.75–3.5% with reduction at breakpoints) and annual 12b-1 fee of 0.25%.

WEAC IRA: Annual administrative fee of 0.45% with an annual maximum of $600 for WEAC members and $750 for nonmembers. This illustration assumes fees for a WEAC member. WEA TSA Trust: Annual administrative fee of 0.35% (with an annual maximum of $300). $25 inactive account minimum annual fee applies to accounts with no contributions or distributions. Mutual fund management fees apply. The 403(b) retirement plan is offered by the WEA TSA Trust. TSA program securities offered through WEA Investment Services, Inc., member FINRA. All investment advisory services are offered through WEA Financial Advisors, Inc. The Trustee for the WEAC IRA program is First Business Trust & Investments.

5 5

{ your investments

Mutual Funds There’s nothing random about our mutual fund offerings.

Nineteen no-load mutual funds and our Guaranteed Investment provide the flexibility participants need to create a diversified portfolio. However, to make our lineup, mutual funds must survive a rigorous screening process and meet our high standards.


mutual fund is basically a collection of stocks or bonds with something in common. When investing in a mutual fund, you’re essentially pooling your money with other investors to access a broader range of stocks or bonds than most people can own by themselves. Your decision to incorporate mutual funds into your investment mix needs to take into consideration your particular situation, including financial goals, investment timeline, and tolerance for risk.


What’s your timeline? Length of time until retirement is one of the biggest factors to consider when determining asset allocation. Although many investors are feeling cautious in these uncertain markets, the asset mix of a participant with decades until retirement should look very different from that of someone who is on the verge of tapping into his or her retirement savings. The closer you are to retirement, the less time you have to make up any losses due to market volatility. So, a more conservative investment approach may be in order.

On the other hand, for those investors who are many years away from retirement but utilizing a conservative investment mixture, it may be necessary to save more in order to counteract the lower return over time.

Choosing your funds Every mutual fund reflects a particular investment objective and style, such as growth or value, which affects the stocks, bonds, and/or other securities that it buys. Knowing this can help you to determine whether a fund would be a good fit for your overall portfolio. See “What’s In Your

Portfolio” from the previous issue of your$ to learn the basics about selecting funds for your portfolio.

Inspected by… Participants in our 403(b) and IRA programs may choose from 19 mutual funds representing five asset classes. Each fund was selected and is monitored based on a consistent—and rather strict—set of criteria to determine whether they make the cut for inclusion in our lineup. “We take the selection process very serious and are proud of the investments we’ve chosen for participant consideration,” says Susan Winchester, Vice President of Retirement and Investment Services. The following criteria is used for the selection, monitoring, and termination of mutual funds.

and negative. We benchmark investments against the Morningstar® category average and appropriate index over a 5-year period. By combining this evaluation with the return criteria, we are able to monitor the risk/reward profile of each investment.

✓ Style drift Each fund plays a different investment role in your portfolio. They work together to create a diversified portfolio that is intended to spread out your risk and

✓ Manager tenure We believe that participants are best served by fund managers who have proven themselves over an extended period of time. We look for seasoned fund managers with at least three years of history managing the investment. This allows us to attribute past fund performance to a greater degree on the decisions of the fund manager and helps us anticipate their managing effectiveness going forward.

“We take the [mutual fund] selection process very serious and are proud of the investments we’ve chosen for participant consideration.”

✓ Return We look at each mutual fund’s 5-year returns compared to others in its Morningstar® category and its appropriate index. While many investors focus on the short term, we utilize the 5-year period to get a better picture of how the investment will perform long term over different market cycles. While past performance is no guarantee of future performance, looking at historical returns is useful when comparing like funds.

✓ Risk We use standard deviation—the range of return possibilities of an investment-— as our measurement of risk. The greater the standard deviation, the larger the range of return potential, both positive

We seek mutual funds that maintain at least $50 million in assets under management. Typically, funds with significant assets under management have lower costs and are at a lower risk for dissolving.

soften the impact of market volatility. Style drift occurs when a fund begins to stray from its stated investment style or objective. Gone unchecked, style drift can change the risk/reward characteristic of a portfolio. Monitoring funds for style drift ensures that each fund remains invested in its stated category and continues to fill the intended investment role in your portfolio.

We use this criteria to ensure that the fund companies we do business with are conducting themselves in accordance with all securities laws and rules.

✓ Expenses

When funds fall short

Keeping expenses low means more money stays in your account. We seek to include fund with expenses below their Morningstar® category average. Paying less in fees and expenses is one way you can improve the return on your investment. Remember, the number one factor in determining your rate of return—after asset allocation—is cost. Fees matter. (See article on page 4.)

What is Morningstar®? Morningstar, Inc., is a Chicago-based investment research firm that compiles and analyzes fund, stock, and general market data. Their research includes markets in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Morningstar is a respected and reliable source of independent investment analysis for all levels of fund and stock investors, ranging from inexperienced beginners to sophisticated experts. Its Web site includes free information on individual funds and stocks. WEA Trust Member Benefits subscribes to Morningstar analyses for all of our funds. Go to for links to Morningstar investment profiles.

✓ Asset size

✓ Compliance with regulatory requirements

Once selected, funds are monitored on a semiannual basis. Generally, funds that do not align with our goals are further evaluated to determine its future with our program. If it is decided that the mutual fund is no longer appropriate, a search will be conducted to find a fund to replace it. Keep in mind that mutual fund investments are not guaranteed and may gain or lose value. Past performance is no guarantee for future results. Future performance may be lower or higher than past performance. Before investing in any mutual fund, call WEA Trust Member Benefits at 1-800-2794030 to request a prospectus. We advise you to read it carefully and consider the fund’s investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information about the investment company. The criteria and procedures by which we select and evaluate mutual funds is subject to change. The 403(b) retirement plan is offered by the WEA TSA Trust. TSA program securities offered through WEA Investment Services, Inc., member FINRA. The Trustee for the WEAC IRA program is First Business Trust & Investments.


{ your resource

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Related Links

Bookmark it.


Fees Bite —continued from page 5

Fees Bite —continued from page 5

The number one factor in determining your rate of return—after asset allocation—is cost. Fees eat into your bottom line, so to make the most of your invested dollar, you will want to minimize the fees you pay.

WATCH OUT FOR THE FOLLOWING FEES COMMONLY CHARGED TO RETIREMENT SAVINGS AND INVESTMENT ACCOUNTS. $$ MORTALITY AND EXPENSE (M&E) FEE Mortality fees are paid to ensure that, after your death, your beneficiaries will not receive less than what was contributed to the account. These fees generally cost you about 1.25%-1.5% per year. M&E is most often associated with variable annuity accounts. $$ COMMISSIONS (LOADS) A load is a commission the investor pays to purchase (front end) or sell (back end) an investment. Look for no-load investment options to avoid this cost. $$ MANAGEMENT FEE Also called the investment advisory fee, this represents the company’s cost for managing the money in the fund. $$ 12B-1 FEE This charge generally allows fund companies to compensate broker/dealers for selling their funds, with a payment to the representative who sold the fund. This fee is also used to cover the marketing and distribution costs of the investment. $$ ANNUAL CONTRACT CHARGE A fee charged by a vendor for administrative expenses. $$ CUSTODIAL FEE The charge for safekeeping or physically holding the securities in the account. $$ SURRENDER CHARGE (WITHDRAWAL CHARGE) This fee is charged as a penalty for withdrawing your money (even for transfers) before the required holding period is over. Holding periods can be 7, 10, or even 20 years. The penalty claims a percentage of your account, typically up to 7%, but it may be higher. $$ WRAP ACCOUNT FEE Charged by a personal financial advisor, this fee is expressed as a percentage of the client’s assets under management. It is in addition to the other fees listed. The WEA TSA Trust program has one low annual administrative fee of 0.35% (with an annual maximum of $300)*. The WEAC IRA program has one low administrative fee* of 0.45% (with an annual maximum of $600 for WEAC members and $750 for nonmembers). Mutual fund management fees apply. For help determining which of the above fees you pay with your current vendor, call a WEA Trust Member Benefits retirement consultant at 1-800-279-4030. *A minimum administrative fee of $25 will be assessed to inactive accounts. Inactive accounts are accounts with no contributions or distributions.

Retired? Changing jobs? Stick with us! Despite what you may hear, you do NOT have to move your 403(b) or IRA account when you retire or change jobs...even if you change careers. Once you have an account with us, you can keep it here and continue to enjoy the quality service and low fees. We administer accounts for thousands of retirees and we even administer beneficiary accounts. We are happy to continue administering the account your spouse, children, or whoever you designate as your beneficiary to the extent allowed by the IRS. The IRS imposes a required minimum distribution (RMD) in the years following the account holders 70½ birthday. Visit for a brochure detailing RMD requirements, or consult your financial or tax advisor.


WANT MORE? “Just for Teachers” teachers.shtml Click on Evaluating my retirement plan options


{ your kiosk Things to consider

prior to picking a pooch Americans love their dogs. Currently some 78 million dogs reside in 41 million U.S. homes, according to the Pet Food Institute. Certainly the benefits of dog ownership are many. They provide companionship, loyalty, and oftentimes security and protection. There is also evidence that dogs can have a positive effect on our psychological and physiological health. Is it any wonder they’ve been crowned “man’s best friend?” Dog ownership, however, does not come without risk. If your dog damages someone else’s property, or worse, injures another person (or even another pet), you could be liable. Dog bites account for more than onethird of all homeowners claims paid out in 2010, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Their analysis of homeowners insurance data also found that the average cost of dog bite claims in 2010 was $26,166.

Wisconsin law The dog bite statutes of Wisconsin make a dog owner strictly liable for damages

resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person, domestic animal, or property. If the dog’s owner knew that the dog previously caused injuries, the owner must pay double damages. The owner also faces a fine and other penalties.

Breeds and insurance Generally, homeowners insurance policies do not exclude “canine exposure” from coverage, however, each insurer may handle the risk differently. Insurers may charge a higher premium or deny coverage for breeds construed as dangerous. WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company, for example, will not insure homeowners who own a Rottweiller, Cane Corso, Pit Bull, Doberman, or Chow. All are on the list of dangerous breeds published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Generally, claims arising from a dog incident will be paid up to the liability limits stated in the policy. If the claim exceeds this amount, the dog owner’s umbrella

Before you take that cute puppy home, think about what it means to own a dog and evaluate your situation to find the right dog for you. Ask these important questions:

Why do you want a dog?

policy (if applicable) will kick in. However, insureds run the risk of nonrenewal following a dog bite incident.

Keep Fido Safe Even docile dogs can be pushed to their limits. Reduce the chances of your dog biting someone with these tips from the Humane Society: • Consult a professional to learn about breeds of dogs suitable for your situation. • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. • Have your dog spayed or neutered. Studies show that dogs are three times more likely to bite if they are NOT neutered. • Socialize your dog so it knows how to act with other people and animals. • Complete a dog obedience and training class. • Leash your dog when out in public. • Replace “tug of war” type games with nonaggressive games, such as “go fetch.” • Avoid exposing your dog to new situations in which you are unsure of its response. • Seek professional help (veterinarian or animal behaviorist) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

Who will care for the dog for the next 12 + years? Can you afford a dog? The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals estimates a minimum cost of $7,000 over the course of the average dog life for food, health care, grooming, and training.

Do you have time to care for the dog? Walk it, play with it, and train it?


Still time for 2011 IRA contributions!

We believe...

Financial education can help you and your family improve your finances and secure your future.

Plan to take advantage of free financial seminar offerings this year. Go to to find scheduled: • Live presentations offered around the state • Online presentations you can participate in from the comfort of your home


There is still time to make contributions to your IRA—or open one—for the 2011 tax year. Contributions for 2011 must be postmarked by April 17, 2012. Be sure to indicate the year for which you are contributing. Contribution limits for 2011 are $5,000 per year for those under age 50 and $6,000 for those age 50 and older.

IRA Contribution Limits for 2011 and 2012 Under Age 50

$5,000 Age 50 or Older

View one of our“On Demand” (pre-recorded) presentations at your convenience.


Seminars are free to attend, however, if you choose to invest in the WEA Tax Sheltered Annuity Trust or WEAC IRA, program fees will apply. Please consider all expenses prior to investing.

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


{ FEEDBACK Do you have a story to tell? Do you want to tell us what you think about the magazine or suggest an article idea? Send an e-mail to Please type “your$” in the subject line.




PO Box 7893, Madison, WI 53707-7893

Say What?

Would it surprise you to learn that private sector companies are taking advantage of the current political environment to make a buck?

We’re not surprised. After all, we are the 403(b) program of choice for Wisconsin public school employees. The only way they can compete with our member-focused, low-cost program and excellent service is to spread rumors about us.

Don’t let the wool be pulled over your eyes. MEMBER BENEFITS HAS BEEN SERVING YOU FOR OVER 35 YEARS.

SPREAD THE TRUTH. Tell a colleague about our commitment to helping Wisconsin public school employees become financially secure.

We’re not going

ANYWHERE! (That go goes for our financial programs, too!) Don’t get fleeced ee eced by a high cost 403(b). TM TM The 403(b) retirement plan is offered by the WEA TSA Trust. TSA program securities offered through WEA Investment Services, Inc., member FINRA.

Your$ Magazine -- Winter 2012  
Your$ Magazine -- Winter 2012  

Your investment: How mutual funds make our lineup. Your resource: New and improved Your kiosk: Is your dog a liability?