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Transitioning from saving for retirement to spending in retirement can be difficult. Decisions need to be made—from how much to take from your retirement accounts to ensure your payments last your lifetime, to when to adjust those payments and by how much. And because your retirement is as unique as you are, these decisions are different for everyone.

LifeStage Retirement Income helps make this easier. It is designed to help make your retirement money last your lifetime, helping you avoid taking too little out and enduring unnecessary hardship, or taking too much out and running out of money. LifeStage Retirement Income is available to manage your distributions in retirement at no additional cost.1

Retirement Payment Safety Zone

LifeStage Retirement Income turns your defined contribution account into monthly payments designed to last for your lifetime. 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. LifeStage will ensure that your payments stay within the “safety zone,” automatically increasing the amounts annually if it’s safe to do so and maintaining or reducing payment amounts if it isn’t.

Available Spring 2022: 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 up to 8% for every year you delay beyond your Social Security Full Retirement Age.

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

Available Spring 2022: Longevity Income Protection

You can also use a portion of your LSRI funds to purchase optional longevity income protection in the form of a deferred annuity known as a Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC). Wespath has partnered with a highly regarded insurance company to provide this deferred annuity, which guarantees monthly retirement income payments starting at age 80 for as long you and/or your spouse live. This optional feature can add peace of mind in the later years of retirement.

Longevity income protection is available for purchase when you enroll in LifeStage Retirement Income. Taxes are not due at the time of purchase but, rather, are deferred until you eventually receive monthly payments.

When elected together, the Social Security Bridge and Longevity Income Protection can help you maximize your retirement income and help your retirement accounts last your lifetime—which goes a long way to ease the worry about finances in retirement.

LifeStage Retirement Income Details

LifeStage Retirement Income manages your payments, while LifeStage Investment Management manages the investment of your account, determining an appropriate investment strategy. This combination of services helps to provide consistent monthly income with cost-of-living adjustments.

With LifeStage, you have the flexibility to leave any remaining account balance to beneficiaries upon your death.

You can opt out of LifeStage Retirement Income at any time and determine your own monthly payments. If you keep your money at Wespath, you may reenroll in LifeStage Retirement Income at any time, provided you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

LifeStage Retirement Income Modeling

If you aren’t sure whether LifeStage Retirement Income is right for you, use the LifeStage Retirement Income calculator/modeling tool available in Benefits Access. EY Financial Planning Services1 is also available to eligible participants2 to help determine if LifeStage Retirement Income is the best option for managing your retirement benefit payments.

Coming Spring 2022, Wespath will introduce the LifeStage Retirement Income modeling tool in Benefits Access. When you enter information applicable to your situation, the tool estimates your monthly LifeStage Retirement Income based on the options you choose.

Once this tool is available, you can experiment with how much of your Wespath retirement savings to include in LifeStage—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 LifeStage Social Security Bridge. Finally, you can see the effect of including longevity income protection by using the tool to model using part of your funds to purchase a deferred annuity contract that begins payments at age 80. Please note that the current estimating tool does not include the Social Security and Longevity Income Protection options.

You can review and change your options as many times as you want before finalizing your setup and enrolling in LifeStage Retirement Income.

If you need assistance, EY Financial Planning Services1 can help eligible participants2 understand their retirement income options at 1-800-360-2539, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Central Time.

How to Sign Up

If you’re already retired or planning to retire soon, it’s time to explore your retirement income options. To participate in LifeStage Retirement Income, you must have a Wespath defined contribution account.

You can elect to use all or part of your defined contribution plan balances to fund LifeStage Retirement Income. You can opt out of LifeStage Retirement Income at any time and determine your own monthly payment amount, except if you elect to purchase the deferred annuity contract to provide longevity income protection. That contract purchase is final.

You can sign up for LifeStage Retirement Income in Benefits Access. From the Retirement details page go to Distributions > LifeStage Retirement Income. If you have questions about enrolling in LifeStage, please call Wespath at 1-800-851-2201.

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

2 EY Financial Planning 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.

Innovative Features for Your Retirement Distributions

In Spring 2022, Wespath will add innovative features to LifeStage Retirement Income: the Social Security Bridge and Longevity Income Protection. The goal: improve your financial security throughout your retirement.

Accounts Managed by LifeStage

LifeStage Retirement Income can be used to manage distributions for all of your defined contribution accounts, including the Clergy Retirement Security Program Defined Contribution plan (CRSP DC), the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP), the Retirement Program for General Agencies (RPGA) and the Horizon 401(k) Plan. Any balances in these accounts will be consolidated into a single defined contribution account in UMPIP. If you have a Ministerial Pension Plan (MPP) account, you can also include up to 35% of your MPP account balance in LifeStage Retirement Income by initiating a rollover into UMPIP.