Determining your retirement income needs and monitoring your progress toward your goal can mean the difference between having a comfortable, financially secure retirement and struggling to afford the bare necessities.
For participants in Wespath-administered retirement plans, projecting retirement income requires about 10 minutes with Benefits Access. This participant account management website provides two projection tools: The Retirement Readiness Tool and the Retirement Benefits Projection. Both tools provide information to help you plan. However, the Retirement Benefits Projection gives an in-depth look at only your Wespath-administered retirement accounts projected to your retirement date and allows you to select distribution options, while the Retirement Readiness Tool incorporates estimated Social Security benefits and allows you to enter balances for accounts held outside of Wespath.
Benefits Access Resources
Online Retirement Readiness Tool
Adjust Your Projection
If you would like to use the online Retirement Readiness Tool to customize your projection, visit www.benefitsaccess.org and select the book on the home page or select "Take Action" in the toolbar, and under PROJECT FUTURE VALUES, choose "Determine retirement readiness."
The Retirement Readiness Tool helps estimate:
- Your projected retirement income.
- Your projected retirement income needs.
- Your projected retirement income gap or surplus.
A video about the Retirement Readiness Tool is below in the See Your Future section of this page.
As you use the Retirement Readiness Tool, consider the following factors that could impact your projection:
- Compensation—If your compensation is not available, you will be prompted to enter it. If your compensation is inaccurate as shown, be sure to change it before customizing your projection.
- Other sources of retirement income—Retirement accounts (e.g., IRAs, brokerage accounts, savings accounts and/or other retirement plan accounts) and defined benefits (pensions) that are not administered by Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) are not included in this projection. You can enter the value of those accounts in the box at the top of the second page. You can also add an estimate of the value of any pension payments by dividing the annual benefit by .04 and adding the amount to the box.
- Social Security—The projected Social Security benefit reflected in the tool is only a rough estimate. It assumes that you have been working continuously for your entire career, you have received regular income increases over time and all of your income was subject to Social Security withholding. If you were unemployed for some time, had large increases or decreases in compensation over short periods of time or waived Social Security, the assumed Social Security benefit reflected in the tool could be significantly overstated.
- Your family situation—The tool doesn't account for spousal income or benefits. Your spouse's income generally must also be replaced to maintain your standard of living.
The Retirement Readiness Tool allows you to personalize your retirement income projections. You can move interactive sliders within the Tool to adjust:
- Housing and health care costs
- Discretionary expenses
- Retirement age
- Personal contributions toward retirement (UMPIP or Horizon)
- Investment risk tolerance
When you hold your cursor over the slider, a message will appear to help you decide where to place the slider to best reflect your plans.
Moving the slider illustrates how saving more can help you attain the retirement lifestyle you desire, but it does not change your actual contribution election. To increase your contribution percentage or dollar amount, complete the Before-tax and After-tax Contributions Agreement and submit it to your payroll administrator.
Saving for your future is easier than you might think. You can set aside relatively small amounts that could lead to significant savings over time. Plus, contributing on a before-tax basis can help reduce your current taxable income and results in fewer federal taxes being withheld from your paycheck. This means your out-of-pocket cost to contribute to your retirement plan can be hundreds—or even thousands—less than the amount you save toward your future, especially if you can take advantage of the Saver's Credit.
By saving earlier in your career, your money remains invested longer and benefits more from compounding. In fact, a small contribution invested over a longer time period will grow more than a much larger contribution invested for a shorter period, given equal growth rates.
Still don't know whether you can afford to save? Give EY a call and let a financial planner help you find savings opportunities.
Aside from savings, your investment decisions may have the largest impact on how much your retirement savings grow. Consider whether your account is invested appropriately to reflect your current lifestyle and your planned retirement lifestyle.
If you prefer to have investment decisions handled for you, the LifeStage Investment Management Service can help you manage your Wespath-administered retirement accounts sensibly and effortlessly. It automatically determines your target fund allocation and rebalances your account when necessary. Your customized target investment mix (also called a "target fund allocation") is based on key information about you contained in your Personal Investment Profile, including age, a risk tolerance that you specify and whether you will qualify to receive Social Security benefits. While LifeStage takes the everyday work out of managing your account, you might still want to regularly assess whether your risk tolerance should be updated (via the Personal Investment Profile) as your plans change. You also may wish to speak with EY to discuss investments held outside of Wespath and spousal investments and income.
EY Financial Planning Services is available2 at no charge3 to address any financial or retirement planning questions you may have. EY financial planners have special training in topics important to participants, including Wespath-administered plans and programs and the clergy housing allowance.
You don't need to complete any forms to start your conversation with EY. To speak with a financial planner, call EY directly at 1-800-360-2539 Monday through Friday (excluding EY holidays) between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Central time.
2 Services are available to active participants and surviving spouses with account balances, and to retired and terminated participants with account balances of at least $10,000.
3 Costs for these services are included in Wespath’s administrative expenses that are paid for by the funds.
See Your Future
Your Annual Retirement Readiness Statement is designed to help identify gaps in your retirement planning and suggest ways to potentially improve your projected income in retirement. Your projections are based on several standardized assumptions. However, you can visit the Retirement Readiness Tool in Benefits Access to customize your projections. You can also call EY Financial Planning Services to receive personalized, one-on-one guidance at no charge.1
Video: Retirement Readiness Tool
Even if you don't take action to customize your projection, take this opportunity to make a difference in your retirement by saving more. Experts recommend that you save 10% to 15% of your annual income if you start in your 20s, or 15% to 25% of your income if you start in your 30s (remember, employer contributions count).
Assumptions and Methodology
To view the assumptions and methodology used to project your benefits, visit www.wespath.org/assets/1/7/4258.pdf
1 Costs for these services are included in Wespath’s administrative expenses that are paid for by the funds. Services are available to active participants and surviving spouses with account balances, and to retired and terminated participants with account balances of at least $10,000.