Committee Works to Educate on Retirement

New Publication Offers Tips for Those Who Will Retire Soon

STR-coverSeveral years ago, Chapter 5 President Eric Ferren heard from several fellow members that they had a hard time finding information about retirement. While benefits might be available to SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members, it’s generally up to the member to take advantage of them.

Ferren happens to serve on the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Retirement Committee, so he brought the idea forward: how can we make it easier for members to find information on retirement? The committee started by identifying three groups to target. The first group was new employees.

“This group has the most to gain from this information, because the sooner you start saving the better,” Ferren said. “This was driven home for me when I attended the RetireWise seminar. I have shorted my own retirement thousands of dollars that I probably won’t get back because I started saving so late in life.”

The committee created a flyer on the deferred compensation plan for the new employees, which encourages employees to start saving early.

The second group the committee identified are those within a couple of years of retirement.

“This group we wanted to provide a bunch of helpful hints, so they could go into retirement with as much information as possible,” Ferren said. “The committee’s hope was the members could avoid some painful lessons that other members in Chapter 1 had run into.”

SEA/SEIU Local 1984’s Treasurer Avis Crane worked with fellow Chapter 5 member Mel Friese and Chapter 20 member Craig Downing to pull together and refine the information that would eventually go into the committee’s Are You Starting to Think About Retiring? booklet, which was just recently released.

“The committee as a whole provided a lot of the tips, based on what they themselves had experienced and on what they had heard from others over the years,” Crane said.

Ferren said the third group — anyone who doesn’t fit into the first two groups — will be the most challenging to support for a variety of reasons.

“Some of these people haven’t started thinking about retirement,” Ferren said. “Many of these folks are focused on day-to-day activities like raising kids and keeping their job. The other challenge is many of these folks now have to wait for 20 years instead of 10 to be vested in the retirement system, so they might not see any benefit in participation.”

We commend the members of the Retirement Committee for their diligent work to pull this information together. All SEA/SEIU Local 1984 committees exist to serve a purpose, and oftentimes to provide a service to the union. In this case, the members of the Retirement Committee are serving an important purpose and providing their fellow members with invaluable resources as they work and look ahead to retirement.

The Retirement Committee meets the third Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. All members are welcome to attend.

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