Proactive newsletter - June 2021

Proactive newsletter
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In this issue:

June 2021 – Messages from your Retirement System

Anthony Estell

From Anthony's Desk

Notes from ORS Director Anthony Estell

Welcome to the June 2021 issue of the Proactive newsletter.

When it comes to planning for retirement, it can often be difficult to focus on the further away it is. For some people, retirement won’t seem real until they set a date; for others, not until the morning of their first day of retirement.

It’s for that reason the Michigan Office of Retirement Services (ORS), and our partners at Voya Financial, consistently encourage you to review your retirement plans. If after each reminder you make one thoughtful decision about your retirement, that’s one step forward. The journey towards retirement is just a collection of those many small steps.

Perhaps one of the articles in this issue of Proactive will help you in one of your upcoming steps. Read on to find resources to help with retirement planning. We also explain the repayment option for coronavirus-related distributions. You’ll be able to ask for retirement advice from older people and read about a woman who has been with the same employer for 57 years.

We hope you enjoy it.

Anthony Estell

Anthony Estell, director
Michigan Office of Retirement Services

Doralee DeRyke  June2021

WMU business manager loves job after 57 years

Doralee DeRyke has a ready answer for those who ask her why she is still working at Western Michigan University 57 years after she started.

“I actually believe that continuing to work is what keeps me going,” said Doralee, who was one of the first two people honored by the university in 2014 with a Crystal Bronco award for 50 years of service. “I really enjoy my job and the people I work with. Nothing would be more boring than turning into a couch potato.”

Since starting as a secretary in the department of management in 1964, Doralee has received several promotions — she is currently the business manager associate in WMU’s Haworth College of Business — and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working full time. She was inducted into the Beta Alpha Psi national accounting fraternity in 1978.

“It was difficult to balance the time, but I also had the support of my husband to make sure I had time to study,” she said. “We also owned a small bait and tackle store, and I did a lot of my studying sitting at the counter between customers.”

These days, Doralee spends most of her leisure time reading or traveling. New Mexico and Mississippi are the only two states still on her bucket list to visit.

“When I finally make that decision to retire, I will probably try to do more traveling,” she said. “Maybe turn into a snowbird. My pension payment will be important in funding my travel plans and extremely valuable if future health concerns require different living arrangements.”

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Want some unsolicited advice?

I know, I know. We don’t want to hear from someone else about what they did or how they did it. We’re in the working world and can find our way by using the internet and our above-average intelligence. Besides, the advice we usually get is “Don’t feed a dog chicken bones!” or “Buy low. Sell high.” Not very helpful.

But we at the Michigan Office of Retirement Services (ORS) can’t count how many times we’ve heard the words, “I wish someone told me that when I was younger!”

In our Connections retiree newsletter, we’re asking our retirees how they approached retirement and what advice they would give to a younger version of themselves. We’ll publish that advice in the September issue of your Proactive newsletter so you can benefit from (or intentionally ignore) what they say.

What might you want to hear more about? Send us an email at ORS‑ Put “Need Advice” in the subject line. We’ll publish answers in the September issue, even if we make up stuff ourselves.*

*This is because some of us who work at ORS are fairly old. Don’t worry. It’ll be good.


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Repay a distribution to avoid taxation

The Michigan Office of Retirement Services provides retirement information when you need it and how you need it. If you’re a participant in a retirement account through Voya Financial, you may have taken a coronavirus-related distribution in 2020 because you, your spouse, or dependent were diagnosed with COVID-19, or because you experienced financial hardship from a member of your household’s change in employment status. If so, you have an option to return some or all the withdrawn funds to the account within the specified timeframe to avoid taxation.

A repayment of a coronavirus-related distribution must be made in accordance with section 2202 of the CARES Act. All criteria outlined in the CARES Act, including the certification statement from you regarding eligibility, must have been satisfied at the time of the coronavirus-related distribution. Review the IRS Coronavirus relief for retirement plans and IRAs questions and answers website for more information. You may wish to consult a tax professional to determine your eligibility for the repayment option.

Please note:

  • Repayment of a coronavirus-related distribution is permitted within three years from the date of that distribution.
  • The amount of your repayment cannot be more than the total coronavirus-related distributions taken from all your retirement plans.

The repayment amount will post to your retirement account as indicated on the distribution statement that accompanied the coronavirus-related distribution (pre-tax, after-tax or Roth).

Michigan Office of Retirement Services
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