SmartTALK

Five-Year Plan Reselection Period Now Underway for Eligible Members

STRS Ohio will soon mail retirement plan reselection packets to Defined Contribution Plan and Combined Plan participants who are in their fifth year of service and are now eligible for their permanent plan election. If you are now eligible to reselect your plan, you must submit your retirement plan selection by June 1, 2019, and the plan choice will become effective on July 1, 2019. Below, SmartTALK provides answers to some common questions about the reselection period.

Who is eligible to reselect their retirement plan?

This year, the reselection window is open to Defined Contribution Plan or Combined Plan participants who are in their fifth year of STRS Ohio membership. Members are eligible if they enrolled as a new member between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. If you were hired after this period, you will be notified when you are eligible for plan reselection during your fifth year of membership.

What retirement plan choices are available?

Your options include the STRS Ohio Defined Benefit Plan, the Defined Contribution Plan and the Combined Plan.

Do I have to change plans?

No, however, you must indicate your permanent plan selection. Eligible members who do not make a choice during the reselection period must remain in their current plan for as long as they are STRS Ohio members.

What happens to my defined contribution account if I change plans?

The answer depends on your current plan and the plan you now choose as your permanent plan. If you select the Defined Benefit Plan, your current defined contribution account will be closed, and you will no longer have an account to manage. Instead, a defined benefit account will be created for you, based on your years of service as if you originally enrolled in the Defined Benefit Plan.

However, if you now select either the Defined Contribution Plan or the Combined Plan as your permanent plan, you will still have a defined contribution account to manage. The STRS Ohio Retirement Plan Reselection Options brochure that you will receive in the mail covers these options in greater detail.

Will I have another chance to reselect my retirement plan?

No. This is a one-time opportunity to change plans. The decision you make now is permanent, and the plan you choose will be your retirement plan for as long as you are an STRS Ohio member. The deadline for your permanent reselection is June 1, 2019. You must respond with your selection by that date. If STRS Ohio does not receive your selection by the deadline, you must remain in your current plan, in accordance with Ohio law.

What if I don’t receive my reselection packet in the mail or if I have more questions?

STRS Ohio will be happy to assist you with this important decision. Just call our Member Services Center toll-free at 888‑227‑7877 and we will answer your questions and provide you with the materials you need.

Investor’s Corner

Allocation Review?

The capital markets endured a choppy end to 2018, as several indices saw roller-coaster like swings between positive and negative returns. Individual investors may notice the impact on their quarterly statements. The new year may be a good time to double-check your asset allocation. Does your allocation adequately reflect your investment goals going forward? Many experts recommend a periodic review of your portfolio. If you would like more information about asset allocation, the retirement specialists at Nationwide Retirement Solutions (NRS) are available to help. Just call toll-free 866‑332‑3342 Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. to talk one-on-one with an NRS representative.

Investment Choice Profile

This quarter’s SmartTALK profiles the STRS REIT Index Choice.

The STRS REIT Index Choice is composed of public securities of real estate companies, primarily real estate investment trusts (REITs). REITs generally provide a high dividend income component with a potential for capital appreciation. This allocation choice is intended to closely match the return of its index benchmark, the FTSE NAREIT Equity REITs Index, before fees.

The focus is on leading large- to medium-capitalization real estate stocks. These securities, however, tend to be small-capitalization in relation to the broad U.S. stock market. Top holdings as of June 30, 2018, include Simon Property Group, Prologis, Equinix Inc., Public Storage, Avalonbay Communities and Welltower Inc. Intermediate and long-term performance figures for this allocation choice are provided in the Investment Performance Report.

Ask SmartTalk

How Do I Know if I’m Saving Enough for Retirement?

Every individual has his or her own financial goals and challenges. The key is to start with a plan. How much longer can you invest before retirement? What type of lifestyle do you want to maintain in retirement? Do you have debts that you are currently paying off that limit your ability to save for retirement? These are just a few questions to consider when developing a retirement plan.

In general, the earlier you begin to save, the better prepared you will be for a satisfying retirement. Work with a financial advisor you can trust and develop your personal retirement plan. A number of financial planning websites offer resources to help you set retirement goals. That is a good first step — then you can project how your STRS Ohio retirement plan is helping you meet those goals and how much additional savings you may want to consider through a deferred compensation (www.ohio457.org) or 403(b) plan.