October is National Retirement Security MonthNational Retirement Security Week has expanded to an entire month dedicated to raising awareness on the importance of retirement savings. The nationwide campaign was originally established to encourage Americans to reflect on their retirement goals and take action with their available employer-sponsored plans. Retirement security is the heart of the YMCA Retirement Fund’s mission. Whether you have just started your Y career, put in a decade of service, or see your retirement on the horizon, we encourage you to explore our online resources and tools for tips to reach your goals. The most effective way is to take advantage of the Fund’s 403(b) Smart Account, which offers all Y employees a direct path to retirement savings. SET YOUR GOALS Do you have a savings goal for your ideal retirement? To learn more and evaluate your financial fitness, click here. Once you have determined your savings goal, keep a budget to track your expenses. The Fund’s Spending Plan Worksheet is a tool that helps you itemize your total monthly expenses, such as food and transportation, and how much you have left to save. When you can visualize where your money goes each month, it is easy to make adjustments and prioritize your savings. AUTOMATICALLY PAY YOURSELF By making contributions to your 403(b) Smart Account, you create tax-deferred savings, enabling tax-free growth of your money until retirement. To open an account, fill out the 403(b) Smart Account form and submit it to your human resources or payroll department. You can choose to save a dollar amount or percentage of your salary through payroll deductions. COMMIT TO A LIFETIME OF FINANCIAL STABILITY The most important action you can take to build your savings is to start saving for your future as soon as possible and commit to your plan — even a small amount can add up over time. Once you have saved more than $5,000 in your Smart Account, you are eligible to receive a lifetime annuity from the Fund when you retire. Life events can impact the ability to budget and plan for the future, especially as we face challenges brought on by the pandemic and economic uncertainly. The YMCA Retirement Fund is structured to protect and preserve your savings even with market fluctuations. Account balances have never gone down since the Fund was established in 1922. Now is a great time to kick start your savings goal or refresh your retirement plans. When your account is created, or, if you are already contributing to your Smart Account, log in and use the Fund’s Retirement Goal Calculator to assess much you will need to save to reach your retirement savings goal.