Useful information to help you learn more about our benefits.
A complete summary of retirement plan benefits offered by the Alliance Health Plan.
The plan offers 28 investment options including two values-based funds and 12 lifecycle index target date funds.
Log in to view your account balance and manage your funds.
If you have questions as you read through the materials provided, feel free to contact Alliance Benefits.
Day-to-day challenges keep most churches and ministries struggling to keep up, let alone thinking ahead to the future. For some, retirement may seem like a long way off. For others, it is just around the corner. Regardless, saving for retirement will be one of the most important things you do for yourself and your family.
When it comes to preparing for retirement, there are many things you can’t control—the future of Social Security, tax rates, and inflation, to name a few. But one thing you can control is the amount you save.
Alliance Benefits is passionate about the Alliance 403(b) Retirement Plan and the unique and great advantages it provides. We are also eager to help our Alliance workers save effectively for retirement. While “retirement” may look different for you than it does for your friend or neighbor, the common thread is that it takes planning and preparation. The Alliance Benefits team is here to help you every step along the way.
An old Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” Perhaps you are one of those who did not start 20 years ago, or not at the level you would like. Financial planners nationwide are now encouraging employees to think in terms of contributing 15% of their income to a retirement plan, including both employer and employee contributions. You can start today—or keep contributing—with whatever amount you can. At the same time, consider increasing your contribution 1% per year until you reach your desired percentage. Or, if you happen to eliminate debt, you may want to consider taking that opportunity to boost your annual saving further.
We want this plan to keep the dollars you contribute in your pocket as much as possible. The most common barrier to that are fees and taxes. Not only do the investments in this plan have very low internal expenses, but the plan also has low fees compared to many you would find if you invested in an individual account on your own. Additionally, under the current tax law, plan assets are eligible for the ministerial housing allowance exclusion for Alliance official workers after retirement.
Below are the IRS maximum 403(b) account contribution limits for 2020 and 2021. Note that while the housing allowance is considered in your overall compensation for calculating your deferral amount, the dollar amount cannot exceed your includible pay. Therefore, a sizeable ministerial housing allowance may limit what you can defer.
|403(b) Maximum Contribution Limits||2020||2021 (no change)|
|Catch-Up (age 50 or older)||$6,500||$6,500|
Accounts are administered through Empower Retirement, the second-largest retirement services provider in the United States. Your Empower account offers many educational resources and retirement planning tools. Once enrolled, log into your account, and watch your savings grow!
First, ask yourself these three questions:
• Do I want to select my own mix of individual funds?
• Do I want to decide how much to invest in each fund?
• Will I manage and monitor my account regularly?
If you answered NO to any of these questions, you might want some help! Consider a Lifetime pre-mixed option that’s already diversified for you.
If you answered YES to all questions, you might be comfortable managing your investments on your own. To stay up-to-date on what’s offered through your plan, be sure to visit your account regularly.
Empower Retirement offers several self-service tools that can help you stay the course.
• Retirement Income Replacement Projection: See the progress you’re making toward replacing 100% of your working income.
• Health Cost Estimator: Are you over 35? Get an idea of how much your retirement budget may go toward health-related expenses.
• See How You Compare: Know where you stand as a saver compared to those who are similar to you.
To access these great tools, log in to your account or download Empower Retirement’s mobile app, and you’re off and running!×
Traditional vs. Roth 403(b)
By Empower Retirement
Your plan offers flexibility with two different ways for you to save — traditional 403(b) contributions and Roth 403(b) contributions. The main difference between the two is how taxes are handled.
Traditional 403(b) contributions are made on a before-tax basis, and you pay taxes only when you take a distribution. Roth 403(b) contributions are made with after-tax dollars, and withdrawals are tax-free as long as you’ve reached age 59½, suffered a disability or died (in which case your beneficiary would receive the withdrawal) and as long as it has been at least five years since you began making contributions to your account.
Each contribution type has its advantages and gives you flexibility related to how you choose to save. It’s important to learn more to decide if making traditional, Roth or a combination of both types of contributions is the right option to best help you reach your savings goals.
TRADTIONAL 403(B) WITHDRAWALS – Earnings taken from your traditional 403(b) account are subject to income taxes. If the withdrawal is made prior to you reading age 59½, a 10% penalty tax may be due on the amount of the withdrawal in addition to ordinary income tax.
ROTH 403(B) WITHDRAWALS – It’s important to know what happens if you take money out of your Roth 403(b) account before you have reached age 59½, suffered a disability or died (in which case your beneficiary would receive the withdrawal) and before at least five years have passed since you began making contributions to your account. You would generally pay income taxes plus a 10% penalty tax on any earnings that are distributed.
Just like with your traditional contributions, you are eligible to receive matching contributions from C&MA on your Roth 403(b) contributions. But keep in mind that any discretionary matching contributions you may receive are made to your traditional 403(b) account on a before-tax basis and will be subject to taxes when you take a withdrawal.
Your Roth 403(b) contribution limits are the same as traditional 403(b) contribution limits. The IRS limit for 2020 is $19,500 ($26,000 if you are age 50 or older, with the opportunity to save up to an extra $6,500 through catch-up contributions). In addition, your Roth 403(b) account doesn’t have any income phase-out provisions.
Roth IRA contributions are limited to $6,000 in 2020 ($7,000 if you are age 50 or older). Depending on your income, the amount could be less. For individual tax filers, income phase-out rules apply if earnings range from $124,000 to $139,000. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $196,000 to $206,000.
Once you reach age 70½ — or 72 effective January 1, 2020 — you are generally required to begin taking minimum distributions from either a Roth 403(b) or a traditional 403(b) account. If you are still employed with the employer who sponsors your plan or own less than 5% of the business sponsoring the plan, you might not be required to take a minimum distribution. Refer to your plan provisions for more information.
Another option available to you is an In-Plan Roth Conversion of your existing non-Roth account to a designated Roth account within the plan. Prior to requesting an In-Plan Roth Conversion of your current 403(b) pre-tax account to a Roth after-tax account, consider all your options and their features and fees before moving money between accounts.
To obtain an In-Plan Roth Conversion package that contains the appropriate form and additional information, please call Empower Retirement at (866) 467-7756.
Note: Once the request for an In-Plan Roth Conversion is processed, the transaction cannot be reversed.
When it comes to making traditional 403(b) contributions, Roth 403(b) contributions or both, the choice is yours. And your decision depends on your personal situation. The Roth 403(b) option essentially locks in today’s tax rates on your contributions. If you expect to be in a higher tax bracket when you retire, the Roth 403(b) option may make sense for you, because your contributions will presumably be taxed at a lower rate now compared to when you retire.
If you expect to be in a lower tax bracket when you retire, you might want to consider the traditional 403(b) option. You won’t pay taxes on your contributions or any potential earnings until you take a distribution, which is usually at retirement when your income and tax obligations may be lower than today.
While choosing which type of contributions you want to make matters, the most important thing to do is save as much as you can today for your retirement. If you are not currently enrolled in your plan, you can elect to make traditional 403(b) contributions, Roth 403(b) contributions or both by completing your plan’s Enrollment form.
If your employer is not yet participating in the Alliance 403(b) plan, please contact Alliance Benefits for further clarification on how you can join.
Once you’ve done your research and consulted the experts, you decide on the contribution strategy that’s best for you. And remember, you can always make changes along the way based on your needs and goals by completing a Paycheck Contribution Election Form. Please give this form to your employer so they can send this — along with their updated Monthly Contribution Report — to Alliance Benefits reflecting your changes.
As always, you’re welcome to contact Alliance Benefits at email@example.com regarding this process or for any other questions you may have.
Securities offered and/or distributed by GWFS Equities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. GWFS is an affiliate of Empower Retirement, LLC; Great-West Funds, Inc.; and registered investment adviser, Advised Assets Group, LLC. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide investment, legal or tax recommendations or advice.
The tax information provided is based on current laws, which are subject to change and interpretation.
©2020 Empower Retirement, LLC. All rights reserved. RO1178279-0520×
Steadfast Wealth Co.
Retirement Plan Consultants
We are excited to announce that your 403(b)-retirement plan consulting team, formerly under the name of Strategic Financial Partners, has branched out and created a new firm—Steadfast Wealth Co.!
While the firm name is different, access to the same advisors and associates you have grown to know and respect over the years remains. Steadfast Wealth Co. is committed to offering world-class customized retirement plan services to organizations like The Alliance. In many ways, this change will allow an even stronger and primary focus on helping plan participants reach successful retirement outcomes.
They look forward to connecting and sharing more of their story with you.
Steadfast is a word that describes the ideal temperament for navigating your unique financial journey—a journey filled with inevitable peaks and valleys, serenity, and storms.
As we all work, plan, and invest in improving our financial wellbeing, we face constant negativity, fear-filled headlines, and uncertainty. Facing these challenges is almost impossible alone. Steadfast Wealth Co.’s mission is to drive financial outcomes in your life, not just investment returns so that you can put your energy towards something more significant than money. They will stand by you, helping you to navigate through the complexities of the ever-changing financial markets.
Most importantly, they listen and take the time to understand your situation, ensuring a plan is suited just for you.
With over 100 years of combined experience in financial services, the Steadfast Team offers a full breadth of financial services customized to you, so you can see your vision and life’s purpose become a reality.
For more information, we encourage you to visit their website at steadfastwealthco.com.×
Investments Reach Milestone
Celebrating With You!
Despite the recent market volatility and thanks to committed long-term investing, the Alliance Retirement Plan continues to increase. We are excited to announce that participant investments together have reached a noteworthy milestone of over $200 million! We celebrate this great news and praise God for His faithful provision and giving us yet another example of His care in every detail.
With almost 3,700 account holders (including those actively contributing, retirees, etc.), the desire is for this plan to keep the dollars you contribute in your pocket as much as possible. As we carry out our motto of saving together, here are a few highlights of what goes on behind the scenes on your behalf:
• Alliance Benefits and its team of professionals follow a systematic process by monitoring the existing investments offered by the plan to maintain a best-in-class investment menu. Individual churches can opt into the program and take advantage of tremendous compliance and administrative efficiency instead of “reinventing the wheel” on their own.
• With the sheer volume of Alliance investors, high-quality investment options are available at a lower cost. Did you know that if you invest in a TIAA-CREF lifecycle target-date fund, the “all-in” cost, including administration fees, is just .35% per year? Compare this to a retail, noninstitutional investment platform that can surpass 2%. We accomplish this by continually monitoring costs when considering the plan’s size and scale.
• When participating in a sponsored church plan, you may be eligible to reduce your taxable income—even after retirement. The Alliance Retirement Plan is a “Church Plan” recognized by the IRS. Because of this, it may be possible for you to claim a ministerial housing allowance on your withdrawals after retirement.
• As many of you already know, we are also blessed to have some remarkable partners that assist our participants and their employers in a variety of ways. For instance, our advisors, Strategic Financial Partners, regularly consult at NO CHARGE with our participants to help them structure their investments and plan their financial futures.
• Our partnership with The Orchard Alliance (formerly ADF) allows the plan to offer a fixed income option that pays a competitive interest rate compared to the fixed-rate option in other plans. Therefore, your investment assists in Kingdom-building work.
• Empower Retirement, the Third Party Administer of our retirement plan, meets regularly with Alliance Benefits and Strategic Financial Partners to collaborate and enhance their service. They offer many educational resources and programs available and tailored for our participants.
• Also, churches are sometimes surprised to hear that Alliance Benefits doesn’t charge any fee to set up the Alliance 403(b) Plan.
If you’re not currently saving for retirement, it’s worth consideration. Would you like help to compare your current plan (and its fees) to our plan? Or, perhaps you are already enrolled and have questions about your account. If so, we invite you to contact Alliance Benefits. We are happy to answer questions, get you started with the enrollment process, or connect you with one of our advisors.×
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