Retirement plans, advice offered by TIAA

Currently serving 15,000 institutions and over 100 years of experience, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America has assisted members of the University of Indianapolis’ faculty and staff and their plan for retirement in creating a retirement saving plans, according to TIAA Financial Consultant Michael Dooley. Dooley said he visits the university once a month for one-on-one personable financial advice sessions with UIndy faculty and staff.

According to Dooley, the main goal of the meetings are to help people understand how retirement plans work. When meeting with clients, Dooley explains how they should invest money from their paychecks based on what will work for that person’s financial needs and investment strategy. He said that TIAA works to serve each employee of the institutions they assist.

“… What’s nice is everybody who works, whether you are a faculty member, staff member, [or] administrator, everybody has an opportunity to save for their retirement,” Dooley said.

With members of faculty and staff in varying stages of life, Dooley and members of UIndy’s Office of Human Resources, like Benefits Manager Aaron Campbell, customize plans and continue already established financial plans throughout the employee’s time at the university. Both Campbell and Dooley said that saving for retirement early on, even if it is a small percentage of one’s paycheck, can help significantly later on.

“The earlier you can start, the better because even saving small amounts in your 20s, you will have 40 years of that compounding to grow,” Dooley said. “… Yes, you have to balance student loan debt, personal loans, those kinds of things, but ideally if you could save between 15 to 20 percent of your income towards retirement starting in your 20s, you will be in good shape.”

Campbell, who came to the university two months ago, said that along with TIAA the university has the Emeriti Retirement Healthcare Savings Program, in which UIndy contributes $500 a year to the faculty or staff member’s account and is made accessible to them once they liquidate the funds in the TIAA account and are officially retired. Campbell and other employees for UIndy’s Human Resources will then further educate on the benefits that employees of the university have, encourage employees to save their funds and educate on the matching model that the university has implemented for their employees. He said that employees are encouraged to be mindful of retirement and saving funds for retirement as soon as their new hires sessions and open enrollment meetings.

Campbell said that communicating with university employees about financial events and other wellness events that are held on campus is important and a goal of his going forward.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve really hit it hard in the new hire orientations, but outside of that and outside of webinars, sending out faculty and staff email communications alerting them to updates or plan changes or again just kind of promoting the benefit and kind of keeping it on everybody’s radar would be very important,” Campbell said.

When it comes to how often a staff or faculty member should attend a financial meeting is mainly dependent upon the person according to Campbell.  He said that some employees have their own financial advisor outside of the ones provided by UIndy, but those advisors are extremely important for those who may not have that person outside what is provided to them. Campbell also said that some employees may attend these meetings more due to upcoming life changes like retirement or starting a family.

“…Any of those types of situations I think… it’s extremely important that they speak to somebody and I would highly encourage anybody to take advantage of that option that we have available,” Campbell said.