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Making memories, enjoying time with friends and family, taking care of your health—without worrying about your finances. If this sounds like the retirement you want, consider enrolling in LifeStage Retirement Income. If you are eligible to participate in LifeStage Retirement Income, you can enroll in benefitsaccess.org by selecting Retirement > Distributions > LifeStage Retirement Income.

Transitioning from saving for retirement to spending in retirement can be difficult. LifeStage Retirement Income helps make it easier. It is designed to help you optimize your income in retirement, so you can set up monthly payments based on factors unique to you.

LifeStage Retirement Income: Spend Retirement Right with Wespath

Martin Bauer, Senior Managing Director of Benefit Plans at Wespath, talks about what LifeStage Retirement Income can do for you.

LifeStage Retirement Income: One Participant’s Journey

This video walks through a participant’s decision making and enrollment in LifeStage Retirement Income, a program that manages monthly retirement income from Wespath-administered defined contribution retirement accounts. The program’s modelling tool helps participants customize their monthly retirement income and offers features to minimize the effect of market fluctuations on their balances and reduce the risk of outliving their funds.

Benefit Bites: LifeStage Retirement Income

What is LifeStage Retirement Income? How does it work? What are the key features? This video provides an overview of this monthly retirement income distribution program and its benefits.

  • How Does LifeStage Retirement Income Work?

    LifeStage Retirement Income is a type of cash installment option from your defined contribution retirement account(s).

    • It calculates withdrawal amounts—considering factors such as cost-of-living increases, account balances, your age and other factors—to avoid significant changes in your income from year to year
    • It will ensure your payments stay within the “safety zone,” by annually increasing the payment amounts if it is safe to do so and maintaining or reducing the payment amounts if it is not
    • You can elect to use all or part of your defined contribution plan balances to fund LifeStage Retirement Income

  • Who Manages My Money?

    LifeStage Retirement Income manages your distributions while LifeStage Investment Management manages the investment strategy of your account, at no additional cost.1 This combination of services helps to provide consistent monthly income.

    1 Costs are included in Wespath’s operating expenses that are paid for by the funds.

  • Social Security Bridge

    This feature helps "bridge" the financial gap that would occur if you chose to delay the start date of your Social Security benefits. Why delay applying for Social Security? Because monthly Social Security benefit payments increase by 8 percent for every year you delay beyond your Social Security Full Retirement Age up to age 70.

    • You can elect this optional feature by having a portion of your LifeStage Retirement Income account fund a "bridge" to a delayed Social Security starting date
    • LifeStage Retirement Income then pays what you would normally receive from Social Security during that delayed time period
    • The result is a larger guaranteed income source from Social Security when you start those benefits

  • Longevity Income Protection

    You can also use a portion of your LifeStage Retirement Income funds to purchase optional Longevity Income Protection in the form of a deferred annuity defined by the IRS as a Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC).

    Wespath has partnered with a well-regarded insurance company to provide this deferred annuity, which guarantees monthly retirement income payments starting at age 80 for as long as you and/or your spouse live.

    • Longevity Income Protection is available for purchase when you enroll in LifeStage Retirement Income
    • Taxes are not due at the time of purchase but are deferred until you begin receiving monthly payments

    When elected together, the Social Security Bridge and Longevity Income Protection can help optimize your retirement income and help your retirement accounts last your lifetime—which allows you to focus on living in retirement, not worrying about your finances.

  • Is LifeStage Retirement Income Right for Me?

    If you are not sure whether LifeStage Retirement Income is right for you, the LifeStage Retirement Income modeling tool available in Benefits Access can help. You can model an unlimited number of scenarios before finalizing your setup and enrolling in the program. (Your last modeled scenario will be saved, but not implemented, until you enroll.)

    The LifeStage Retirement Income modeling tool in Benefits Access makes setting up your retirement income easier. When you enter information applicable to your situation, the tool estimates your monthly LifeStage Retirement Income based on the options you choose.

    You can experiment with multiple scenarios:

    • How much of your Wespath retirement savings to include in LifeStage Retirement Income—and whether you are eligible for the Social Security Bridge and/or Longevity Income Protection options
    • If you have not opted out of Social Security, you can adjust the age you begin to receive Social Security benefits in the tool so you can see the impact of using the Social Security Bridge
    • You can see the effect of including Longevity Income Protection by using part of your funds to purchase a deferred annuity contract that begins payments at age 80

    If you need assistance, EY Financial Planning Services can help you understand your retirement income options. Call 1-800-360-2539, Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Central time.

  • Can I Opt Out if I Change My Mind?

    You can opt out of LifeStage Retirement Income at any time and select your own monthly payments. However, if you purchased Longevity Income Protection, that purchase is irrevocable. If you keep your money at Wespath, you may reenroll in LifeStage Retirement Income at any time, provided you continue to meet eligibility requirements.

  • Where Do I Find the Modeling Tool and Enroll?

    If you are eligible to participate in LifeStage Retirement Income:

    1. Log in to benefitsaccess.org
    2. Select Retirement > Distributions > LifeStage Retirement Income

    If you have questions about enrolling in LifeStage Retirement Income, call Wespath at 1-800-851-2201. If you are not sure if this option is right for you, consider contacting EY Financial Planning Services at 1-800-360-2539 to discuss your long-term financial picture.

Accounts Managed by LifeStage Retirement Income

Enrolling in LifeStage Retirement Income moves your defined contribution account balances into the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP). You can then choose how much to include in LifeStage Retirement Income with the account balance managed by LifeStage Investment Management. Any UMPIP account balance excluded from LifeStage Retirement Income can be self-managed or you can use LifeStage Investment Management. You can also transfer money between LifeStage Retirement Income and your UMPIP account at any time.