Frequently Asked Questions Find answers to your most common questions YMCA Leaders FAQ What is a church pension plan? A church pension plan is a plan that serves the employees of an organization that is either a church or is associated with (and shares common religious bonds with) churches or associations of churches. On December 21, 2004, President George W. Bush signed a bill into law which clarified that plans of the YMCA Retirement Fund are church plans. How is the YMCA Retirement Fund different from other retirement plans? As an administrator of church plans, the Fund can offer retirement income accounts, commingle assets for investment purposes and provide annuities without paying an insurance company. In addition, the Retirement Plan and the Savings Plan have a unique plan design. Unlike a typical 401(k) retirement account, retirement savings at the YMCA Retirement Fund are protected during stormy economic times as a result of this unique structure of the plans. Not once in the Fund’s 100-year history have account balances ever gone down. Is the money in the Fund insured by the federal government? The YMCA Retirement Fund’s plans, like defined contribution plans, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, etc., are not insured by the government. Is money saved in the Fund safe? Yes. The safety of the Fund is in its highly diversified portfolio, managed by professionals and a dedicated Board of Trustees. Not once in the history of the Fund have account balances ever gone down nor have annuity payments ever been missed. The Fund’s plans are designed in such a way that minimizes the risk of investment loss to the participant. What is ERISA and does the YMCA Retirement Plan follow the ERISA rules? The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) was passed to protect employee pensions in response to some spectacular company failures in the 1960’s, most notably the Studebaker automobile company. They had failed to put aside sufficient money to pay pensions if they went out of business and, when they did, all their retirees lost their pensions. This federal law requires certain standards for participation, enrollment, vesting and benefit payments. It also requires that the people who manage a pension plan (fiduciaries) meet certain standards. The law generally classifies pension plans into three groups: company plans, government plans and church plans. There are different rules for each of these. It also classifies plans as defined benefit (formula) or defined contribution (individual account). Plans created before ERISA was enacted may not fall clearly into one of these categories. Although church pension plans are not subject to ERISA, the YMCA Retirement Plan elected to become subject to ERISA in connection with the 2004 legislation confirming its status as a church pension plan. What are the benefits of the Fund? The Fund’s benefits are: Opportunities for tax-deferred savings for retirement Retirement income for participants and their beneficiaries (see annuity) Income for participants who are permanently and totally disabled Death benefits for beneficiaries of active and retired participants Is enrollment in the Retirement Plan optional? No, individuals employed at Ys that participate in the Fund’s retirement plans must be enrolled in the Retirement Plan as soon as they are eligible, as a condition of employment, regardless of financial hardship. Only new employees hired for the first time by a Y after age 60, who are working for a Y that requires employees to make contributions, may elect to waive participation. These employees must complete a Waiver of Participation.