MSU Celebrates 2020 Award Winners!

The University acknowledges and expresses its gratitude for both long-term support staff and support staff going “above and beyond” in their job performance. Each year, the University recognizes these individuals through the MSU Retirement and Service Recognition, Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards, and Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award.

MSU Retirement and Service Recognition

The MSU Retirement and Service Recognition recognizes support staff employees celebrating long-term service work anniversaries of 15+ years, as well as employees who have recently retired within the last fiscal year. This year we recognize 573 employees celebrating a long-term work anniversary and 188 employees retiring from the University. Thank you for your years of dedicated service to MSU! Click here to view a full list of those celebrating this year.

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards

The Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards honors six University support staff members annually. These individuals are nominated by their colleagues as demonstrating the qualities of Jack Breslin, who served MSU as a student leader, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate, personifying the “Spartan Spirit.” Award honorees display overall excellence in job performance, supportive attitude and contributions to their unit and the University. This year’s awardees are:

Shannon Davis

Davis is an Administrative Associate in the Dean’s Office in the College of Social Science. She manages all aspects of the college’s Human Resources operations. Davis’ colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Shannon [is] one of [the College of Social Science]’s shining stars and the work product she provides is exceptional. Shannon is more than willing to provide support to anyone on our team and does so with a positive and collegial attitude.” 

“Those of us in the College of Social Science continue to be amazed at the consistent, appropriate and accurate work-product that Shannon provides. Even though she has a tremendously busy life outside of MSU, she seems to be able to adequately compartmentalize, and while at work, gives more than 110% to the College of Social Science. She does us all proud, and we are truly fortunate to have her.”

Theresa (Terry) Edwards

Edwards is a Secretary III in the Department of Teacher Education in the College of Education. She provides direct support to the Department Chairperson, as well as support for departmental faculty, staff, students and visitors. Edwards’ colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Terry is an expert on academic triage and in performing her varied routine and ad hoc duties, she is skilled at not only managing her own priorities, but in managing the flood of issues she must field for others, whether the department chair or the myriad faculty and students that come to her for assistance or referral. We perform very well, in large part, due to Terry’s excellence.” 

“We truly believe Terry deserves this honor. In particular, at this challenging moment in MSU’s history, we believe it’s important to recognize community members who go out of their way to build relationships, make others feel safe and valued, and create workspaces that are humanizing as well as productive.” 

Todd Wilson

Wilson is a Planner/Inspector/Analyst II in Planning, Design and Construction for Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. He manages capital construction projects for MSU and serves as the University’s liaison. Wilson’s colleagues had this to say about him: 

“One of Todd’s real joys about working at MSU is his ability to construct learning environments that forward the mission of MSU and offer spectacular facilities for faculty and students.” 

“Spartans Will (or…Spartans Wil-son in this case)!”

Robert (Bob) Patterson

Patterson is the Chief Financial Officer for Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS). He is responsible for the financial budgeting, financial management and overall viability of the financial success of all departments which make up RHS. Patterson’s colleagues had this to say about him: 

“Bob is a tireless advocate for students. For their overall experience and for the stewarding of resources that impact that experience.”

“I have never seen anyone so great at relating to people of all walks of life as Bob does. Bob tries to find common ground with everyone he meets.”

Maggie Chen-Hernandez

Chen-Hernandez is Student Services Coordinator in the Office of Cultural and Academic Transition. She is responsible for assessing and developing curriculum for the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience and Intercultural Aide Program, developing diversity, equity and inclusion training, and collaborating with academic affairs, faculty and students to implement student retention initiatives, among others. Chen-Hernandez’s colleagues had this to say about her: 

“In her close to 30 years of service, Maggie Chen-Hernandez has always and continues to go above and beyond what is expected of her because she deeply cares about the students she serves and wants them to feel a sense of belonging, and wants them to be successful both academically and socially.”

“Ms. Chen-Hernandez has made a great impact during her distinguished career at Michigan State University. The campus is a more inviting and inclusive community for students and staff due to her presence and service.”

Cindy Baswell

Baswell is the Bakery Manager for MSU Bakers. She is responsible for all aspects and operations of the unit. Baswell and her staff are responsible for almost all the fresh baked goods served on campus. Her colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Cindy truly cares about everything she does and puts the best interests of our students, guests and University as a whole in the forefront of her work.”

“Through her work at the bakery, Cindy has touched the lives of countless individuals; those with whom she works, student customers and other customers, and so many people throughout the community. Cindy leads her team to excellence in all they do, creating a culture of creativity, compassion, generosity, and strong ethics.”

Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award

This annual award recognizes a support staff member who most closely exemplifies the contributions, personal characteristics, and commitment to MSU demonstrated by Ms. Ruth Jameyson, going “above and beyond” what is reasonably expected in supporting the mission of MSU. In recognition of Ms. Jameyson’s own pursuit of a graduate degree while working at MSU, the award recipient must be pursuing a graduate degree at MSU or elsewhere concurrent with their employment at MSU.

This year’s recipient is Michelle Gunn Van Deuren. She is a Research Assistant II in the Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Gunn Van Deuren is pursuing a graduate degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine from MSU. Her colleagues had this to say about her:

“She is a very intelligent young lady, who is extremely creative in getting each task of her job done efficiently. In order to maximize time efficiency, she took courses to learn complicated software for bookkeeping, accounting and visual arts and mastered them.”

“Ms. Van Deuren unequivocally is the hands down, standalone, single best embodiment of “Above and Beyond”. Truly, as I became aware of this award and was reading about Ms. Jameyson, I swore the authors were writing and describing Michelle herself. Professionalism, Michelle. Loyalty, Michelle. Kindness, Michelle! Strength, patience, ambassador, Michelle! Never daunted by workload, whether piles or mountains, and being uncannily stalwart, Michelle is a tremendous asset to my growing program.”

The University would like to congratulate all award winners once again for all of their outstanding work. MSU would be nowhere near where it is today without the help of our dedicated employees. During this time, we invite the colleagues of these award recipients to extend their congratulations and appreciation to these individuals so they may receive the recognition and thanks they so greatly deserve.

Tips to Enhance Savings During America Saves Week!

Today marks the start of America Saves Week, taking place February 24-29, 2020. America Saves Week is a nationally recognized time to encourage individuals and families “to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth” (America Saves, 2018). Saving money is much easier said than done, so MSU’s retirement vendors TIAA and Fidelity have provided tips and tools to make saving for retirement and (life in general) a bit easier.

  • Save just 1% more. If you’re already saving, that’s great! But, did you know that increasing your 401(k) savings by just 1% can cause your savings to grow exponentially? Try the Power of Small Amounts tool by Fidelity to see how a small increase can have big effects on your savings.
  • Utilize a financial goal planner. Reveal your personal financial path in just three steps:

1. Map your income and expenses.

2. Write down each of your goals.

3. Match each goal to a time frame.       

4. Find an in-depth financial goal planner from TIAA here.

  • Try an online webinar. Both Fidelity and TIAA offer a variety of online resources. Fidelity hosts webinars on everything from managing life to saving and investment, to preparing for retirement. Fidelity is offering live webinars for Fidelity members during America Saves Week; if you’re not a member, you can find previous webcasts available any time on the Fidelity website. TIAA offers educational articles on saving, tools for goal setting, a retirement calculator, and free live webinars. You don’t need to be a TIAA member to participate in the live webinars, simply select the “Guest Login” option on their website when signing up for a webinar. You can also give them a call at 800-842-2252.
  • Try to follow the 50/30/20 rule. Allow 50% of your income to go towards necessities, 30% towards discretionary items, and 20% towards savings. Click here to learn more about monthly savings plans and the 50/30/20 rule from TIAA.

Whether you’re looking to save for retirement now or start planning for your future, Fidelity and TIAA can help you plan with webinars, online professional help and financial planners.

For general questions about retirement, contact MSU HR at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434. For questions about your specific retirement plans, please contact your retirement vendor directly.

 

Accomplish Your 2020 Goals with Help from MSU HR

We’re officially one month into the new year! Have you made resolutions that are becoming more difficult to keep each day? If so, don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, 80% of New Year’s resolutions begin to fizzle out by February (Psychology Today, 2018). Here at MSU HR, we want to encourage you to keep going by identifying resources right at your disposal to make keeping your resolutions a bit easier.

Work/ Professional Life:

We often have work or career-related goals that may include enhancing leadership skills, improving communication, increasing knowledge, etc. Discover resources offered through MSU to support you in your professional development:

  • Attend Organization and Professional Development (OPD) courses to enhance your leadership skills and aid in career development. Find a variety of OPD courses offered here.
  • If you’re a support staff employee, be sure to use your Educational Assistance funds for career development opportunities such as OPD courses, attending conferences, and so much more. Learn more about your Ed Assist benefit here.

Health:

It might come as no surprise that the most common (and most commonly broken) New Year’s resolutions are centered around health and wellness (Time Magazine, 2012). Below are benefits and resources you can utilize as an eligible MSU employee to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Take a trip to your doctor and stay up-to-date on your health! Get your annual physicals, eye exams, and check-ups.
  • Check out MSU Health4U courses! From learning how to cook quick and healthy meals, to participating in active stretching, MSU Health4U offers a variety of health and wellness programs. Click here to discover more.
  • Utilize discounts at local gyms offered through MSU Benefits Plus. Receive 5-20% off at various locations including LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness along with regional chains, local gyms, and specialty studios. Log into MSU Benefits Plus to discover ways to save!
  • Prioritize your mental health! MSU employees and their adult dependents who are currently enrolled in an MSU health plan have access to behavioral health services offered through Teladoc. Find support and receive 24/7 access to a healthcare professional conveniently online. Find more information on Teladoc and how to use it here.

Money and Savings:

Money is another common resolution topic amongst Americans. Saving money is often linked to less stress because it allows you to be more prepared for changes in life and may give you the flexibility to spend your money on your own terms (Refresh Financial, 2019). Learn more about MSU benefits that promote financially responsible habits:

  • If you enrolled in a flexible spending account for this year, utilize those funds for eligible expenses such as band-aids, shoe insoles, and aspirin! Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) help you save money by allowing you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible expenses. Participants save an average of 30% on eligible expenses. Discover various items you can use your FSA funds at the FSA Store. You can also learn more about FSAs on our website here.
  • Put more towards retirement! Consider taking advantage of compounding retirement savings that will end up saving you more in the long run. Learn how compounding works and discover various retirement plans here.

Sticking to New Year’s resolutions may not be easy, but with these tips, we hope that you continue to see your goals as possible. Questions? Contact HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434. Find more information about MSU-related benefits and resources on our website hr.msu.edu.

Retirement Planning: 2020 IRS Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

Could you be saving more for your retirement? Whether you’ve just started working at MSU or have been here for 30+ years, it is important that you continue to monitor and adjust how much you’re saving if you want to have a comfortable retirement.

The IRS places limits on how much employees can contribute to a retirement plan each year. The IRS recently announced the retirement plan limits for 2020:

  • The annual employee contribution amount increased to $19,500 from $19,000 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.
  • The age 50 catch-up contribution amount increased to $6,500 from $6,000 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

If you want to save as much as you can for your retirement, there is a tool in the EBS Portal called the Max Savings Contributions Calculator available to assist you. This tool automatically displays the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available before reaching one of the limits, and the equivalent percentage of your pay to help you spread that out for the year.

To access this tool:

1. Login to the EBS Portal with your MSU NetID and password.

2. Click the My Benefits tab at the top.

3. Click the Benefit/Retirement tile.

4. Select Enroll/Change my Retirement/Health Savings Account Options in the drop-down menu and then click Next in the bottom right.

5. Navigate in the bar graph to the Savings Plans screen by clicking Next in the bottom right.

6. The Max Savings Contributions Calculator screen will display. This display will automatically show the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available (if any) before reaching the IRS limit.

7. You can adjust the percentage of your contributions to any retirement plans you participate in by clicking on the pencil icon, and then choose Select to make the change.

8. If you want to enroll in a new plan, begin by clicking on the paper icon next to the plan and vendor of your choosing, and then enter the percentage of your new contribution and choose Select to enroll.

9. Make sure to click on Save in the bottom right to complete and save any changes/enrollments.

If you are an academic year faculty or academic staff employee, or a Voluntary 403(b) Base participant age 50 and over, contact the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu for further assistance in calculating your maximum contribution percentage.

Learn More About MSU’s Retirement Plans 

The HR website contains a wealth of information about the different types of retirement plans offered, retirement investment vendors, and planning tools available.

Register for an Upcoming Roadmap to Retirement Course!

Is retirement on your radar for the next 1-2 years? First, we’d like to say thank you for your years of service to MSU! We want you to feel prepared for this next stage in your life. To support you, we offer courses, tools and resources to help you plan for your retirement, including the Roadmap to Retirement course.

“We know it can be overwhelming to think about all of the things to consider when retiring. Based on our years of experience helping MSU employees, we’ve designed the half-day Roadmap to Retirement course to provide you with some of the most important information you will need as you prepare for this exciting transition to your next chapter in life,” says Dan Mackey, Human Resources Manager and Retirement Administrator.

This course gives you a chance to ask retirement experts questions and covers a range of topics critical to your successful retirement, including:

  • Your MSU benefits in retirement
  • An overview of Social Security
  • Financial preparation tips for retirement.

This half-day course is free to MSU faculty and staff. There are two Roadmap to Retirement courses available on Thursday, January 23: a morning session from 8:30 am – Noon and an afternoon session from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Ready to Register?

To register for Roadmap to Retirement, login to the EBS Portal and click on the My Career and Training tab, then the Courses for Employees at MSU tile. Find a complete list of available OPD courses on the HR website.

Retirement Resources on the HR Website

If you are unable to attend the Roadmap to Retirement course detailed above, there are a variety of webinars and online tools available on the HR website. The webinars on this page include the same presentation slides that are shared during the Roadmap to Retirement course.

Questions? We’re here to help! Contact the Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Don’t Wait to Start Saving for Retirement

For younger MSU employees, creating a comprehensive retirement savings plan may not be a top priority. Why should you plan for your retirement now when that day is 30 to 40 years in the future? But the young have a huge advantage when it comes to saving money for retirement: more time. This additional time allows the young to potentially benefit the most from compounding, which may lead to greater savings down the road.

How Compounding Works
Compounding basically means allowing an investment to earn money while continually reinvesting those earnings over time. The more time you have, the smaller your original investment may need to be. In the hypothetical example below, a 25-year-old starts saving $5,000 annually ($416 per month) and a 40-year-old starts saving twice as much but waits until age 40 ($833 per month). 

The 25-year-old ends up contributing less money over time – $200,000 versus $250,000 – but ends up with a higher balance: $798,735 versus $566,317. In other words, the 25-year-old contributes $50,000 less but ends up with $232,000 more than the 40-year-old who waited to save.

As this example shows, younger investors may benefit from saving as much as possible as soon as possible. MSU offers two voluntary savings plans: the 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Plan and the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Program. Starting to save earlier in either plan means contributing a smaller percentage of income and potentially earning more than if you wait until you’re older to contribute. So while retirement may be a long way off, the choices you make today can have a dramatic, long-lasting difference.

You can learn more about MSU’s voluntary savings plans on the HR website, including information about how to enroll or make changes to your retirement plan contributions. MSU employees can change their contributions at any time throughout the year. Reference this Retirement Plan Comparison document to see the differences between the 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Plan and the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Program.

Of course, remember that investment returns are not guaranteed and will fluctuate — in some years you may have gains, and in other years you may have losses. But over time, any investment that has a net gain will have benefited from compounding.

Important Information: Please note, the example above is a hypothetical illustration only and is not intended to represent the past or future performance of any investment. The example assumes contributions are made monthly at a 6% annual effective rate, compounded monthly. and no withdrawals. Actual performance will vary with market conditions. Investing involves risk. There is no assurance that the goals will be met or that the solution or strategy will be successful.

Questions? We’re here to help! Contact the Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

This article was written in partnership with TIAA.

Register for Upcoming Roadmap to Retirement Courses

Are you thinking about retiring from MSU in the next 1-2 years? Thank you for your years of service to the university! We want you to feel prepared for this next stage in your life. To support you, we offer courses, tools and resources to help you plan for your retirement, including the Roadmap to Retirement course.

“We know it can be overwhelming to think about all of the things to consider when retiring. Based on our years of experience helping MSU employees, we’ve designed the half-day Roadmap to Retirement course to provide you with some of the most important information you will need as you prepare for this exciting transition to your next chapter in life,” says Dan Mackey, Human Resources Manager and Retirement Administrator.

This course gives you a chance to ask retirement experts questions and covers a range of topics critical to your successful retirement, including:

  • Your MSU benefits in retirement
  • An overview of Social Security
  • Financial preparation tips for retirement.

This half-day course is free to MSU faculty and staff. There are two Roadmap to Retirement courses available on Wednesday, August 7: a morning session from 8:30 am – Noon and an afternoon session from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Ready to Register?

To register for Roadmap to Retirement, login to the EBS Portal and click on the My Career and Training tab, then the Courses for Employees at MSU tile. Find a complete list of available OPD courses on the HR website.

Retirement Resources on the HR Website

If you are unable to attend the Roadmap to Retirement course detailed above, there are a variety of webinars and online tools available on the HR website. The webinars on this page include the same presentation slides that are shared during the Roadmap to Retirement course.

Questions? We’re here to help! Contact the Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Retirement Planning: 2019 IRS Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

Could you be saving more for your retirement? Whether you’ve just started working at MSU or have been here for 30+ years, it is important that you continue to monitor and adjust how much you’re saving if you want to have a comfortable retirement.

The IRS places limits on how much employees can contribute to a retirement plan each year. The IRS recently announced the retirement plan limits for 2019:

  • The annual employee contribution amount increased to $19,000 from $18,500 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.
  • The age 50 catch-up contribution amount stayed the same and is $6,000 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

If you want to save as much as you can for your retirement, there is a tool in the EBS Portal called the Max Savings Contributions Calculator available to assist you. This tool automatically displays the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available before reaching one of the limits, and the equivalent percentage of your pay to help you spread that out for the year.

To access this tool:

1. Login to the EBS Portal with your MSU NetID and password.

2. Click the My Benefits tab.

3. Click the Retirement/Health Savings Account tile.

4. Navigate to the Savings Plans screen.

5. The Max Savings Contributions Calculator screen will display. This display will automatically show the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available (if any) before reaching the IRS limit.

6. You can adjust the percentage of your contributions to any retirement plans you participate in by clicking on the pencil icon.

7. If you want to enroll in a new plan, begin by clicking on the paper icon next to the plan and vendor of your choosing, and then enter the percentage of your new contribution.

If you are an academic year faculty or academic staff employee, or a Voluntary 403(b) Base participant age 50 and over, contact the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu for further assistance in calculating your maximum contribution percentage.

Learn More About MSU’s Retirement Plans

The HR website contains a wealth of information about the different types of retirement plans offered, retirement investment vendors, and planning tools available.