Temple Times Online Edition
    MARCH 24, 2005
NewsEventsArchivesPhotosStaffLinksTemple Home


Getting investment counseling improves your odds of payoff

Win a trip to Atlantic City!

How’s that for an attention-grabber? It’s certainly more interesting than “Review and update your TSA investments!”

A trip to Atlantic City brings to mind entertainment, good food, the boardwalk and the chance to win the jackpot. We can’t offer you the shows, the buffets and the beaches. But we can offer free one-on-one counseling sessions with investment professionals to review your investments in one of Temple’s Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) plans. That could certainly be a winning situation.

Getting reliable guidance on your investments can be tricky. Who do you go to — family member, stock broker, financial planner? Or do you just do it yourself — or ignore it?

At Temple, it’s easy, because all employees can meet with investment professionals from both TIAA-CREF and Fidelity in free, confidential sessions. Scheduling a meeting is a breeze.

A TSA primer

All Temple employees who are regularly paid on the University payroll are eligible to contribute to a TSA, a plan that lets you save money on a before-tax basis. This means that you don’t pay federal income tax when your contributions go into a TSA.

Contributions and investment earnings are not taxed until the money is withdrawn from this retirement savings plan. Many employees are eligible for matching contributions from the University too.

Contributions can be directed to TIAA-CREF and/or Fidelity Investments and may be invested in many different fund choices. Both firms give you access to online tools to choose how to invest your account balance and to track performance. Both Web sites have tools that help you set your financial goals, evaluate investment choices and track investment performance.

Reviewing investments

Investing can be as simple or complicated as you make it. There are many things to consider: your financial goals, how much you can save, how long until your retirement, your tolerance for risk, diversifying your investments, and investment performance. Regardless of your situation, counseling can help you make good decisions.

What’s your excuse?

People give all sorts of reasons for not paying attention to their investments or getting personal counseling. Let’s look at some of them:

Investing is too complicated. If you don’t know where to start, an investment professional can help guide you. Starting with a simple discussion of investment concepts, the counselor will ask you questions to figure out your attitudes and preferences to risk and return. You’ll talk about possible investments with which you’re comfortable, and those that can help you reach your financial goals.
My account is too small. “A penny saved is a penny earned,” according to Ben Franklin. Another way of looking at it: No account is too small to invest wisely. An investment professional can help you assess your financial situation and review your investments. You’ll come away with a better understanding of how your account can grow to meet your future financial goals.
My investments performed well last year, so I don’t need to make any changes. Have you heard the statement “Past performance is not an indicator of future performance”? Before you stick firmly to your investment decision, sit down with an investment professional to ensure that your current investments will help you achieve your long-term financial goals.
The Wall Street Journal, Morningstar and The Kiplinger Letter are my investment guideposts. I’m all set. Armed with all of that information, you’ll be well-positioned to have a lively discussion with an investment professional, and you might come away with added insights that can improve your TSA’s investment performance.

Why not?

We all come at investing with different experiences and different levels of education. Individual personal counseling sessions can help you make good investment decisions and hit your financial goals. Your personal counseling session might not be a visit to Atlantic City, but you’re sure to come out a winner.

- By Irene Monley

Online investment resources
TIAA-CREF: www.tiaa-cref.org
Fidelity: www.fidelity.com
LifeWorks at www.lifeworks.com — Click on “Financial” in the left-hand column to view resources about Saving and Investing.


Frequently Asked Questions
Who’s eligible for Temple’s Tax Sheltered Annuity?
All Temple University employees who are paid regularly on the University payroll are eligible to contribute to a tax-sheltered annuity. Certain employees also are eligible for employer matching contributions.

Who’s eligible for one-on-one counseling?
All Temple employees are eligible for one-on-one counseling with investment professionals from TIAA-CREF and Fidelity.

How do I make an appointment?
To make an appointment with a TIAA-CREF representative, log on to www.tiaa-cref.org and click on Meetings/Counseling at the top of the home page.
To make an appointment with a Fidelity representative, call the Temple University Benefits Office at 204-1321.

Where are the appointments?
Counseling sessions are held in the Benefits Office in the University Services Building, room 608. Sessions may also be scheduled on the Health Sciences Center and at Ambler.

How much does it cost?
Individual personal counseling sessions are free and completely confidential.

Do I need to bring anything with me to the appointment?
To get the most out of your meeting, bring your most recent TSA statement, so that the counselor can see how your account is invested currently. Of course, bring your questions, too.
You can come alone or bring an adviser such as an attorney, accountant or family member. It’s up to you.

What about the investment representatives — who are they?
The investment professionals from TIAA-CREF and Fidelity are not commissioned sales agents. All are college-educated and many have earned advanced degrees and/or are credentialed as certified financial planners or certified financial counselors. The representatives will provide guidance about investing your account, but not advice about which specific funds to choose.