September 2022 ProActive newsletter

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September 2022 – Messages from your retirement system

Anthony Estell

From Anthony's desk

Notes from ORS Director Anthony Estell

Welcome to your September 2022 issue of the Proactive newsletter.

It’s been a challenging year when it comes to household and family finances. We’ve all been dealing with pandemic-related supply chain issues, and now inflation is putting a strain on many, if not all.

So, what can you do to make headway? Well, for starters, review your spending and consider adopting a budget. Use Voya’s budget calculator to get a start doing that.

Personal finance experts offer some budget-tightening tips:

  • Shop around. That includes pretty much everything.
  • Buy secondhand items. Try thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales, or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Consider delaying. Do you really need that big-ticket purchase now?
  • Buy in bulk. Well, when you can.
  • Look at your auto-drafts, like subscription services and memberships. Review your bank and credit card statements to see if you truly need what you’re paying for.

In October, all state of Michigan employees will receive a 5% salary increase. Consider whether you can use some of that increase to pay down debt, boost your emergency fund, or raise your retirement savings.

Retirement takes planning and understanding. That’s why ORS and Voya Financial team up to offer you helpful resources year-round, including during National Retirement Security Month in October.

Retirement is a journey. We are here to help you along yours.

We hope you gain from this issue of Proactive.

Anthony Estell, director
Michigan Office of Retirement Services

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UM-Flint economist suggests ‘up your savings, reduce your consumption'

Chris Douglas says the sluggish economy is harming personal finances, but offers there are moves you can make to improve your financial situation.

“It’s tough the way things are going,” the University of Michigan-Flint associate economics professor said. “All terminology aside, we’re in a slowdown.”

Inflation lingers near its recent 40-year high. The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment isn’t far above its 70-year history’s lowest point hit last summer.

"When there’s a slowdown, you want to be able to get through it,” Douglas said. “Up your savings and reduce your consumption.”

He offers these suggestions:

  • Set aside money for an emergency fund.
  • Delay major projects or purchases, such as a new vehicle, roof, home improvement, or other need, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Live within your means, don’t overextend yourself, and “don’t overdo it on credit cards or dip into your nest egg.”
  • Make sure your asset balance is appropriate and check in with a financial planner.

“You’ve got to up your savings, however you can,” Douglas said. “Your paycheck just isn’t going as far as it used to.”

He advises:

  • Save and put aside as much as possible for retirement.
  • Check in regularly with your financial planner. “You go to the doctor once a year. You should have the same philosophy for your retirement savings.”
  • Speak with family and friends about who helps them and what they do.

“My No. 1 piece of advice is start early or start now. It’s never too early nor too late,” he said. “I’m halfway to retirement, and it feels like l just started a couple years ago.”

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To: You; From: ORS

According to email receiving statistics, most people get just over a hundred emails each day. Messages from friends, family, and authorized contacts may also be mixed in with phishing attempts, spam, and junk mail. With so many messages clogging your inbox, it can be challenging to know for sure which messages are authentic.

Here is how to recognize a legitimate email from the Office of Retirement Services (ORS):

  • All state agencies, including ORS, use the web-based email application called GovDelivery for bulk emails. When you receive an email from our office, the from address field may show that it came from
  • Our emails include a banner with the ORS logo. Any email without a banner showing our logo did not come from ORS.
  • The footer on our email will show ORS’ contact information, including a website link which allows you to select your system and plan for specific information.
  • Our office sends occasional surveys via email. Those emails will show ors‑ in the from field.
  • Our partner, Voya Financial, sends emails as well, and a legitimate email from Voya will have in the from field.

ORS will never send or request personal information through email. Instead, our miAccount Message Board is your secure link to an ORS customer service representative.

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Get ready for National Retirement Security Month

October is National Retirement Security Month, which is a great opportunity to review your retirement plan and make sure you’re on the right track to meet your retirement goals. Visit Countdown to Retirement on the ORS website and select several tasks to complete this month. Log in to miAccount and create a pension estimate.

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Working After Retirement

Whether retirement is a long way off or right around the corner, it’s important to understand how retirement law may impact your future decisions. This is especially true when it comes to working after retirement.

As a state of Michigan employee, if you decide to return to work for the state after retirement, you must forfeit your state pension and insurance subsidy for the duration of the reemployment. Once you no longer work for state of Michigan, your pension and insurance subsidy will be reinstated.

You may have heard that Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed legislation that changed the working after retirement rules. While Public Act (PA) 184 was signed into law on July 25, 2022, these rules apply only to Michigan public school retirees who return to work for a public school. Rules for retired state workers have not changed.

For more information on rules for former state employees who return to state employment, see the Working After You Retire section of our website.

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