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.

 

Ways to Save: Discounts on Communication and Media Services

Have you recently thought about switching up your cellular plan or cable provider? Well, we have exciting news for you! Eligible MSU employees have access to various discounts and deals on communications and media services. Enjoy discounts on phone plans, devices, accessories, and more! Here are some ways to save:

AT&T – AT&T is proud to offer MSU employees a 17% discount on qualified mobile phone plans, as well as discounts on devices and accessories. Receive this discount and see special promotions by registering with your MSU email address here or by visiting any corporate-owned AT&T Wireless store and refer to FAN number: 2392567. Please have a valid MSU email address and proof of employment (ID card or pay stub) when visiting a store.

DISH Network – New customers receive a $75 VISA gift card* and $20/mo off their first year with five Packages under $50! Additionally, get free installation, free HD for life, and three months of the new DISH Platinum package for free! Call 866-395-9955 or click to order DISH Network. *$75 VISA gift is available for new customers only. Click or call for complete details.

HughesNet Satellite Internet – New customers receive a $50 VISA gift card* and free installation if equipment on service with internet speeds up to 5.0Mbps. Call 888-986-9887 or click here to order HughesNet today! *$50 VISA gift card is available for new customers only. Prices are subject to change without notice. Click or call for complete details.

DIRECTV – New customers receive a $75 VISA gift card* when activating the best package! For just $34.99/mo. new customers can get more than 210 channels and the new DIRECTV CINEMA featuring 400 of the newest releases plus over 6,000 shows and movies! Other qualifying packages start at $29.99/mo. Call 1-888-929-7905 or click to order DIRECTV. *$75 VISA gift card is available for new customers only. Prices are subject to change without notice. Click or call for complete details.

Sprint – Sprint offers MSU employees an 18% discount on select regularly priced Sprint Monthly Data Services. Activation fee waived for new accounts with Sprint with the Corporate ID: GVSMI_WCA_ZZZ. Visit sprint.com/save, visit a local Sprint Store (sprint.com/storelocator) or call Sprint Sales at 866-639-8354 for more information. Existing Sprint customers can register for their discount at sprint.com/verify. Proof of employment is required and will be required every two years for the discount.

Verizon – Verizon Wireless offers MSU employees discounts on plans and equipment. For more details please visit the Verizon website for MSU employees through MSU Benefits Plus.

Looking for additional deals for MSU employees? Don’t forget to check the MSU Benefits Plus website for discounts and deals on many services such as hotels, vacation packages, electronics, sporting events, and more. Discover more deals here.

For more information on communication and media Services discounts through MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

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.

The Gift of Savings: Deals and Discounts for MSU Employees this Holiday Season

Are you looking for deals and discounts on gifts for the holiday season? As a benefit-eligible MSU employee, you have access to many discounts and savings through MSU Benefits Plus. Here you can find discounts and special offers on a variety of products such as electronics, entertainment and more!

To access all the discounts, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign-in by clicking on the Log In link in the top right corner of the page. First time users will need to sign up for an account using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge or you can find the number in EBS).  Use a capital “Z” when putting in your ZPID number.

Check out some of the deals you can find through MSU Benefits Plus:

Apple – Enjoy employee pricing on your favorite Apple products when you shop the exclusive store. Discounts automatically applied with the link. Take advantage of this deal!

Cirque du Soleil – Find special offers on various shows across the country including cities like Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, and many more! Get more information and find automatically applied discounts here.

Dell – Discover great deals and discounts on Dell electronics. There’s something here for everyone!

Disneyland – In need of a vacation? Save on multi-day tickets at Disneyland Resort in California! Discounts are automatically applied through this link.

Sprint – Enjoy exclusive savings on your Sprint Unlimited and Unlimited Plus plans! Take a look at what Sprint offers!

Perfume Emporium – Take $10 off when you spend $40 or more on your favorite fragrances at the official Perfume Emporium website. Use code CD1972 at checkout to redeem your offer!

Premium Seats USA – Concerts, Sporting Events, Theater Tickets, and more! Save 10% with code CORESTREAM on great seats and exclusive VIP packages to live entertainment and sporting events throughout the country. From concerts of all sizes to professional and college sports to Broadway and beyond, you’ll find tickets to thousands of events at Premium Seats USA! Take a look at some upcoming events on the Premium Seats USA website.

Hotels.com – Are you traveling during the holiday season? Spoil your special person with a night in the city. Save an ADDITIONAL 8% off most bookings at hotels.com with code CORESTREAM8. Find your destination at Hotels.com.

The HR website also offers other deals you can find on-campus through the MSU Tech Store, MSU Bakers, and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, among others. You can check out some of those deals at MSU HR Website.

For more information on discounts through MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

Thinking about your 2021 benefits options? Consider the Consumer Driven Health Plan with Health Savings Account.

As you think about the best benefits options for you and your family for the 2021 plan year, we encourage eligible employees to look at the Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP) with Health Savings Account (HSA) option. If you do not anticipate having a lot of health care needs for the 2021 plan year and are looking for a sound strategy to save for your retirement health care, this plan may be the most cost-effective option for you.

This health plan is currently only available to faculty, academic staff, executive management and non-union support staff with an employment percentage equal to or greater than 50% and an appointment for nine months or more. You may also enroll your benefits-eligible dependents.

About the Consumer Driven Health Plan

While you pay a deductible ($2,000/single and $4,000/ family) first before the plan pays medical and prescription benefits, preventive care and certain generic medications for chronic conditions (asthma, cholesterol, diabetes, and anti-hypertensives) are 100% covered with no deductible or co-pays when using an in-network provider. Review the Health Plan Coverage Summary in the applicable Open Enrollment guide to anticipate your annual costs under this plan – you may find that most of your annual medical costs are 100% covered:

This plan limits the maximum amount you pay for any covered services in a year to $3,000/single and $6,000/ family using in-network providers. After expenses reach this amount, you do not have to pay for any other health care costs for covered services, including prescription drugs.

About the Health Savings Account

Along with the CDHP, you should enroll for the HSA at the same time. MSU contributes up to $750 to the HSA each year (prorated by employment percentage) and you may add funds to the HSA tax-free. You can use these HSA funds to pay for any eligible medical expenses or doctor visits you do incur. Note: If you do not enroll in the HSA during Open Enrollment, you will lose MSU’s contribution.

These contributions are triple tax-free! You make contributions pre-tax, your account balance earns interest tax-free, and your distributions are tax-free if they are used for eligible medical expenses. Do you have an existing HSA from a previous employer? You can add those funds into your new HSA. The money in the HSA is yours to take with you – even if you leave MSU for a different employer or retire. In fact, investing in your HSA now to use in your retirement is a sound strategy to fund your medical expenses in retirement.

Questions? Learn more about the CDHP with HSA plan on the HR website. Also, consider visiting the MSU Virtual Benefits Fair in October to ask us questions about this health care plan.