LifeStage Investment Management

Options for Managing Retirement Investments

Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) offers two options for managing your retirement accounts:

  • Self-manage the account(s) by selecting from Wespath’s investment funds or
  • Have the account(s) managed for you with LifeStage Investment Management.

If you have an account balance in the Ministerial Pension Plan (MPP), an appropriate investment mix will automatically be determined by LifeStage Investment Management. However, the service is also a convenient option—offered at no charge—for managing Wespath-administered (non-MPP) defined contribution retirement account(s).1 LifeStage Investment Management manages balances for more than 60% of participants in non-MPP plans.

Before choosing whether to self-manage your account or use LifeStage Investment Management, consider:

  • Your personal investment style and preferences
  • Your readiness to make investment decisions
  • Amount of time and effort you’re willing to spend managing the account

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How LifeStage Investment Management Works

The service develops a customized target investment mix (also called a “target fund allocation”) based on key information about you, including your age, a risk tolerance that you specify and whether you will qualify to receive Social Security benefits. You can choose to personalize your LifeStage Investment Management variables by completing your Personal Investment Profile. To attain your target mix, LifeStage Investment Management allocates your account balances among the following Wespath investment funds: the Stable Value Fund (SVF), Inflation Protection Fund (IPF), Fixed Income Fund (FIF), Extended Term Fixed Income Fund (ETFIF), U.S. Equity Fund (USEF) and International Equity Fund (IEF).

If you have an MPP account balance, LifeStage Investment Management will reduce your risk exposure as you approach the age at which you anticipate converting your MPP balance to a monthly benefit payment. This reduction in equities will lower the risk of a significant change in your account balance prior to receiving benefits. LifeStage Investment Management allocates the portion of your MPP account balance that you must annuitize to lower risk investments compared to the non-annuitized portion.

LifeStage Investment Management uses a different investment strategy for your (non-MPP) Defined Contribution Account. The service manages these account balances with a longer time horizon, as it assumes you will gradually withdraw funds from your account during your retirement years. So that LifeStage Investment Management can determine your best investment mix, it considers your age and your other retirement benefits administered by Wespath, as well as the current value of your future Social Security benefits, if applicable. For clergy, other Wespath-administered retirement income sources may include the Pre-82 Plan and the Clergy Retirement Security Program defined benefit component, as well as the value of your monthly MPP benefit (if you are eligible and receiving such benefits). Consideration of other sources of retirement income means that your Defined Contribution Account can be invested in assets that offer greater growth potential, as illustrated in the examples below.

Allocation of Total Retirement Support—Examples

Lay Participant
LifeStage Investment Management includes future Social Security benefits and the Defined Contribution Account in Total Retirement Support.

LifeStage Investment Management assumes that the current value of a participant's future Social Security benefit is similar to holding fixed income instruments. As a result, the service will invest a higher percentage of the lay participant’s Defined Contribution Account in equities.

Clergy Participant
LifeStage Investment Management includes future Social Security benefits, other Wespath-administered retirement benefits, the Ministerial Pension Plan Account and the Defined Contribution Account in Total Retirement Support.

The percentage of a participant's MPP account invested in equities decreases as the participant approaches the age at which he or she anticipates beginning to receive MPP monthly benefit payments.

LifeStage Investment Management can continue to invest a significant portion of the clergy participant’s Defined Contribution Account in equities since the participant has other sources of retirement income that are considered to be similar to holding fixed income investments.

These examples are illustrative for LifeStage Investment Management allocations but may not be representative of the actual allocation created for you.

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Personal Investment Profile

Your Personal Investment Profile enables you to specify if you want LifeStage Investment Management to manage your (non-MPP) Defined Contribution Account and to answer questions that will fine-tune your target fund allocation.

It asks the following questions:

  1. Do you want LifeStage to manage the investment of your Defined Contribution Account?
  2. What is the term that best describes your willingness to accept risk with your investments: Conservative, Moderate or Aggressive?
  3. Do you expect to be eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits?

For participants with an MPP balance, it asks the following additional questions:

  • At what age do you anticipate beginning to receive your lifetime MPP monthly benefit payments?
  • What is your intention for the non-annuitized portion of your MPP account balance at retirement? (Will you take it in one lump sum or roll over to UMPIP or another plan and take partial distributions or monthly installments?)

You can review and change your Personal Investment Profile at any time by selecting “LifeStage” from the Retirement Benefits category of “My Benefits.”

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Aligning Your Actual Investment Mix with Your Target

LifeStage Investment Management allocates account balances among a selection of Wespath’s investment funds to create a customized target investment mix (i.e., the mix between equity and fixed income investments), which is based on your Personal Investment Profile.

There are four funds to which your account will not be invested by LifeStage Investment Management: the Multiple Asset Fund (MAF), Social Values Choice Equity Fund (SVCEF), Social Values Choice Bond Fund (SVCBF) and the U.S. Treasury Inflation Protection Fund (USTPF).

LifeStage Investment Management invests in:

The two equity funds:

  • U.S. Equity Fund
  • International Equity Fund

and in four fixed income funds:

  • Stable Value Fund
  • Inflation Protection Fund
  • Fixed Income Fund
  • Extended Term Fixed Income Fund

Each quarter, LifeStage Investment Management compares your target mix with your actual mix, which changes in real time due to market fluctuations. If there is a significant difference, the service will automatically buy and sell units in Wespath investment funds to more closely align your investments with your target allocation. This realignment is called rebalancing. To further assure alignment of your target fund allocation with your actual investment fund mix, LifeStage Investment Management may allocate new contributions to a single fund rather than to all of the Wespath funds in which LifeStage Investment Management invests. The fund selected will be the one in which the actual allocation is the furthest below the fund’s target allocation percentage.

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Is LifeStage Investment Management Right for You?

LifeStage Investment Managemet does all the work of determining your target fund allocation and rebalancing your allocations when appropriate. If you prefer to have investment decisions handled for you, the service is an ideal way to manage your Wespath-administered retirement accounts sensibly and effortlessly.

However, LifeStage Investment Management may not be appropriate for everyone. In particular, it may not be the best option if you:

  • have significant retirement resources outside of Wespath,
  • have a pension from a previous employer,
  • entered the work force relatively late in life,
  • have an illness that could shorten your life expectancy,
  • have some Social Security coverage but elected not to participate in Social Security as a clergyperson, or
  • do not plan to rely on your defined contribution account balances to provide you with lifetime income.

Some people prefer a more hands-on approach than LifeStage Investment Maagement offers for managing their retirement account balance(s). A professional financial adviser can help you rebalance your investment allocations periodically to adjust to market fluctuations and changes in your circumstances. Eligible participants in Wespath-administered retirement plans can receive financial planning assistance at no additional charge from EY Financial Planning Services.1,2

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Electing LifeStage Investment Management

To elect LifeStage Investment Management:

If you have questions, call Wespath at 1-800-851-2201. Representatives are available business days from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Central time.

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Changes to Your LifeStage Personal Investment Profile

Your election whether to have LifeStage Investment Management manage the investment of your Defined Contribution Account is one factor in your Personal Investment Profile. You can review and change your Personal Investment Profile at any time by selecting “LifeStage” from the Retirement Benefits category of “My Benefits.”

If you decide to manage the investment of your Defined Contribution Account without using LifeStage Investment Management, you can elect or re-elect the service at any time, but you may be subject to a minimum 60-day waiting period before LifeStage Investment Management resumes management of your account.

You may also be subject to the minimum 60-day waiting period if you elect LifeStage Investment Management but you were previously actively managing your Defined Contribution Account.

Please note: If you have a Ministerial Pension Plan Account, LifeStage Investment Management will automatically manage this account balance. You cannot opt out of the service for your Ministerial Pension Plan Account.

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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.

Wespath uses LifeStage Investment Management to determine an appropriate investment mix for Ministerial Pension Plan (MPP) account balances. Participants can choose to use LifeStage Investment Management for their other retirement accounts in Wespath-administered plans, including the defined contribution component of the Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP-DC), Horizon 401(k) Plan, United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP), and Retirement Plan for General Agencies (RPGA).



Wespath Investing Opportunities Brochure—contains LifeStage Investment Management information

EY Financial Planning Services

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