Educator

District ERP Member Benefits

Introduction

Our vision is to assist the thousands of educators that need – and deserve – access to information and resources to help make decisions regarding planning for retirement.

The challenge is that the districts themselves are often under-resourced and/or don’t have the knowledge or capacity to create programs to help better serve their constituents.

Thus, we collaborated with some of the most influential Financial Advisors in Arizona, such as the AZ 403(b) Professionals Group, to identify what districts need and want (Learn more about the group).

As a result, our District ERP Member Benefits Platform was created, which includes a set of tools that help school districts manage and support their Supplemental Retirement Plans. Now, you can better serve your employees with a platform that consolidates all the information together into a “Playbook”!

We look forward to your participation, as well as questions, concerns, or any feedback as to how we can further assist you.

What the districts need

Schools Districts have two primary challenges they face in administering their Supplemental Retirement Plans program:
1. Management of the Supplemental Retirement Plan program

The first issue is the management of the program. Here are a few of the major concerns:

    • Consolidation
      Districts would like to point employees to a single site that has been populated with district-specific resources, such as Salary Reduction Agreements (SRA’s), information on loans and withdrawals, and
      relevant links to resources, such as their Third Part Administrator (TPA).
    • Maintenance
      Maintaining an accurate list of approved Supplemental Retirement Plan providers and their associated advisors is another major challenge for the districts. In short, districts need an effective way to
      update the provider list.
    • Verification
      Hand-in-hand with list maintenance is verification. It is essential that districts verify that approved advisors have been fingerprinted and/or have passed a background check (some districts may require
      background verification in order for providers to be invited on campus).
    • Code of Conduct
      Another stipulation that districts need is a “Code of Conduct” that advisors agree to adhere to when on campus interacting with staff.
2. Financial education and compliance with rules

The second challenge for districts when it comes to the Supplemental Retirement Plans program is administering financial education for employees, along with staying compliant with the IRS rules on Universal Availability. Note that the resources ERP provides should be used to supplement any on-site efforts currently in place. Here are the challenges:

    • Product Neutral Education
      While financial education is essential, it is also essential that it be “product neutral”, in other words, not favoring one solution over another. Districts deem this information to be an
      important win-win, because not only does it help their current employees by helping them to be more retirement ready, it also helps the district itself with recruiting and retention of talent
    • Communicating more value to employees
      Often employees only think about the value of their salary, without considering the full range of benefits. Thus, ,,districts would like to make sure employees understand the
      value of ALL of their benefits, including: the State Retirement System, SSI, Supplemental Retirement accounts and retiree health insurance, etc.
    • Participation
      Districts also consider getting as close as possible to full participation to be a very important goal. To that end, here is what one district had to say about our program: “I just wanted to send you
      all an email to say THANK YOU for all of the hard work we have done as a team to make Queen Creek employees more financially literate and aware. Participation has gone up approximately 250% since we began this endeavor about
      15 months ago. My goal has always been 100% participation, but I am an overachiever who firmly believes that people should have control of their own money and their financial future.”- Brian Lockery, Director of Business Services,
      Queen Creek Unified School District
    • Compliance with Universal Availability (UA) requirements
      In an environment in which the IRS has opened inquiries and, in some cases, levied fines for non-compliance, the districts recognize the importance of staying
      current with UA requirements.

The ERP Solution: The District Members Benefits

1. Administrator Management Page for Each District

As part of our Platform, every district will have an Administrator Management Page to be managed by a "Designated Manager" (i.e., a designated employee of your district). The management page, which includes the following types of information, is used to create and update an "Employee Retirement Resource Page" that is publicly available for the employees of each district

    • Contact information for each district representative (HR staff)
    • Salary reduction agreements
    • Link to your Third Party Administrator (TPA)
    • Spotlight important information specific to your plan (i.e. loans, etc.)
    • Code of Conduct “template” available for advisors to follow when interacting with your school sites and employees. The Code of Conduct is editable to meet your specific district needs.
2. Create List of Approved Providers and Advisors

Our ERP Platform also includes the ability for your HR/Benefits staff to quickly and easily (within minutes!) generate a list, for your specific district, of approved Supplemental Retirement Plan providers and advisors.

    To make the list more interactive and helpful, advisors have the capability to include biographical information in video/text, enabling staff to “meet”, evaluate, and more accurately identify who you want to work with in creating your
    own District Playbook.

    Additionally, one of the many benefits of our Platform is that we provide periodic updates to ensure the accuracy of the list.

    In short, using the ERP Platform, you can reduce the workload of your HR and Benefits staff!

    The Lists: How, Who, and Which

    We believe that our lists are of the utmost importance to you because, at the end of the day, it is relationships that DRIVE increased participation in your plan. Thus, the more comprehensive and better managed our information is for
    you, you can make better – more lasting – provider and advisor decisions.

Now, let's take a look at the how, who, and which of the lists:

How Advisor Join

  • All advisors are invited to create their own bio page. Information is entered by the advisor via a simple online form
  • Advisors can, then, request that they be connected to any district(s) they choose. When they request inclusion in each district that District Manager is notified and can either approve or deny the request.
  • After an advisor submits their into they are included into crmaster list/drop down menu” so that districts can easily click to select an advisor to be included in their district list

Who Districts Select

  • Each district creates their own district list of approved Supplemental Retirement Plan providers selecting from a clickable drop-down list
  • Once providers are selected, District Managers can then add the bios and photos for Advisors that represent those providers (ERP maintains the bins and photos).
  • Advisors that already work in your district can request that they be added to your districts page as part of the provider they wish to represent
  • VOW Designated Manager must approve every advisor before they can be made “live, even if they are advisors already working with your district
  • Before any advisor is added to the list, they will be required to verify their Active Fingerprint Clearance Card. Each advisor is also responsible for maintaining their fingerprint clearance. (Arizona Revised Statutes Fingerprint
    Clearance Card may be used prior to or as a condition of licensure, certification, or employment When requested by districts, ERP will solicit confirmation from advisors that they still have an Active Fingerprint Clearance
    Card).
  • Before any advisor is added to the list, they must agree to the District Code of Conduct
  • Every quarter, ERP will send a list of vendors and advisors to the Designated Manager for review, to reapprove, and to update their list

Which Advisors Employees Select

  • Last but not least, is the Employee-Advisor connection. Employees can request contact from selected advisors who represent your district directly from your district’s Employee Retirement Resource Page.
3. Employee Library of Resources

As part of offering “product-neutral” educational opportunities to teachers, ERP has developed a library of resources. Each library is available to be deployed by member districts in just minutes! Resources include:

  • Articles
  • Videos (animated and live)
  • Podcasts o�abinars
About our libraries
Here are some of the product-neutral resources found in our libraries:
  1. Reference Materials

    Employees can learn about important topics, such as 403(B), 457(b), Social Security, State Retirement, etc. We also have useful calculators and planning tools.

  2. Video Series

    This “drip campaign” Video Series offers districts the ability to send videos out at predetermined intervals. Each video is no longer than three minutes and can be attached to an email that is sent by
    the district. Videos and other materials sent directly by the district (1) help enhance the perception that the district is offering employees value and (2) are more likely to be opened/viewed when from a familiar and trusted
    source.

    Other details about the videos:

     

    Each video is on a different topic and is product-neutral

Each contains a call-to-action prompting viewers to read an article or contact one of the advisors from your district-approved list of advisors Incentives are offers, such as gift cards, for individuals that watch the video or request information from one of the advisors. Research shows that "making it fun" dramatically increases the participation rate.

  1. Demographic Specific Content

ERP also maintains video and article curriculum targeted for specific demographics or situations. Such content includes curriculum for:

  • New Teachers
  • Employees Nearing Retirement
  • Market Volatility
Compliance with Universal Availability (UA) Requirements

Many districts are not aware of the IRS requirement to notify their employees that (1) they have a district-approved Supplemental Retirement Plan and (2) they are offering them a meaningful opportunity to enroll. The ERP Video Series
helps districts to comply with these requirements.

Better yet, this compliance piece is simple for the district to manage. When an employee watches a video sent by the district, the employee is required to log-in with their work email and district.

Later, the Designated Manager can run a report of all activity, which can then be provided to the IRS to verify UA compliance efforts. (Note: While this is an important step in compliance, be aware that you should also follow the instructions
of your Third Party Administrator, including sending UA notices at least annually.)

Your information is safe with us!
We will NEVER use your employee’s information for any kind of marketing unless they request it.
5. Employee Retirement Resource Page for Each District

As part of the ERP Platform, EVERY district will have their own district Employee Supplemental Retirement Resource Page for employees. This page focuses ONLY on supplemental retirement plans and is best used as an adjunct to the district’s
own FIR or benefits page. The page includes: Approved providers (updated regularly) Third Party Administrator contact information SRA forms Key information regarding loans and withdrawals, etc.

NOTE Educators Retirement Plan (ERP) District Member Benefits Platform is not designed to replace anything that you are already doing. We encourage you to continue to help your employees plan for retirement in every way possible, including
on site presentations, benefits fairs, etc.

Recent study finds that investment choice leads to higher plan participation

New research published by the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association (NTSA) confirms that there is 0 connection between the number of options – and advisors – available to employees in public education 403(b) plans and participation and contribution rates in those plans.

44% Of Full-Time Employees Worry About Their Personal Finances During Work Hours

More than four in ten (44 percent) American full-time workers say they worry about personal finances during work hours. And what should be of concern to employers looking to improve engagement and productivity, 29 percent of American full-time workers recently said they spend time dealing with their personal finances during work hours, and of those, 46 percent spend an average of 2-3 hours per week at work dealing with their financial issues.

A recent study finds that investment choice leads to higher plan participation

New research published by the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association (NTSA) confirms that there is a connection between the number of options – and advisors – available to employees in public education 403(b) plans and participation and contribution rates in those plans.

Educate your employees on the retirement issue

Make the time today to educate your employees on retirement opportunities in Arizona and be prepared for the IRS Universal Availability compliance.

Our participation in 403b and 457 investment products increased, we believe, due to the introduction of Dr Mark Adkins Retirement Lesson Plan video series that we began in the Spring of 2018. We have seen an increase of over 19% participation
since the video series was introduced.”

 

Janis Peel
Payroll & Benefits Supervisor Dysart Unified School District

Testimonials