Retirement Plan FAQ
Q. Who is eligible to become a member of the Retirement Plan and how do I enroll?
A. The Servant Solutions Retirement Plan accepts contributions from any Church of God congregation, agency, organization, or institution. It also accepts contributions from any church or church-related organization that shares common religious bonds and convictions with the Church of God (and is not already affiliated with another denomination). If you work for one of these eligible institutions and are receiving compensation from them, you can become a member of the Plan! Missionaries and self-employed ministers are also eligible. To enroll, call Servant Solutions at (800) 844-8983, and we will send you an enrollment packet.
Q. How much can I contribute to my Retirement account?
A. You can view the contribution limits for the current year here.
Q. How can I best contribute to my Retirement account?
A. Servant Solutions always encourages church employers to contribute on behalf of their employees whenever possible. An employer contribution is sometimes called a “fringe benefit” and is in addition to an employee’s taxable income. An employee is also permitted to contribute pretax dollars to their retirement account. This is often referred to as a salary reduction and the employer should have a Salary Reduction Agreement, signed by the employee, on file. Contact Servant Solutions for more information.
Q. What does the term "vesting" mean?
A. Vesting simply refers to who "owns" the contributions in a retirement account. In some company retirement plans, an employee must work for the employer for a certain number of years before the employee owns the contributions. In the Servant Solutions Retirement Plan, the employee is always 100% vested and, in all cases, owns the funds in his/her account for future retirement benefits.
Q. Why are there multiple investment options in the Retirement Plan?
A. Servant Solutions offers a number of investment options which have been carefully constructed to meet the needs of varying ages, time horizons, and risk tolerances. Detailed investment descriptions and information is available here.
Q. How often do I receive statements?
A. Statements are printed and mailed quarterly. They are also available online for those who opt out of a printed mailing. You can access your account in a secure environment by clicking on "Personal Account Login" at the top of this page. Once logged in to your account, click on “My Profile” and update your Preferences.
Q. How often does Servant Solutions mail the Servant Solutions newsletter?
A. The Servant Solutions' periodic newsletter is designed to keep members informed of issues and events that are important to retirement planning. This newsletter is mailed two to four times annually and is also available on this website.
Q. How can I obtain information on my retirement account in between statements?
A. There are several excellent ways to obtain information. The best way is to call Servant Solutions at (800) 844-8983 where we will be glad to share information or provide retirement estimates. Another option: You can access your account in a secure environment by clicking on "Personal Account Login" at the top of this page. Finally, members can call the 24-hour toll-free TeleTouch line to obtain personal account information. The number is (800) 547-7754. This service is operated by Principal, our record keeper.
Q. Why does Servant Solutions need consulting partners like Ronald Blue Trust and Principal?
A. Servant Solutions’ assets are significant and require top-notch oversight. Principal is one of the world’s largest financial service companies and works with a number of church retirement plans. Through their work, Servant Solutions is able to secure some of the best money managers and mutual funds available in the market. Ronald Blue Trust provides investment monitoring and counsel to the Board of Trustees. They help us provide you with the best possible investment options.
Q. Who governs the Retirement Plan?
A. The Retirement Plan has a Board of Trustees which has ten members. Servant Solutions, through ratification by the General Assembly of the Church of God, selects persons from both the clergy and lay ranks of the Church of God, each of whom bring specific financial and administrative skills as volunteers. Servant Solutions is then accountable for its work to the General Assembly of the Church of God through the Ministries Council of the Church of God.
Q. What happens to my account balance if I die before I begin retirement benefits?
A. If you die prior to the time you receive payment of any of your retirement benefits under the Plan, your surviving spouse will be entitled to the ownership of the account. If you have no spouse, your account balance will be paid in a lump sum distribution to your beneficiary, or to your estate if there is no beneficiary designated. See the Retirement Plan Document for more details.
Q. What are my options when I'm ready to receive retirement benefits?
A. The plan is very flexible in providing a wide spectrum of retirement options. From annuities to installments to periodic distributions elected by the member, the various options allow the member to determine the best method of payments. Review the Retirement Plan Document or Summary Plan Description for more detail, or the Retirement Decisions workbook is also available to help provide additional guidance. If you have any question, please contact Servant Solutions.
Q. How does the "minister's housing allowance" work?
A. This feature of the tax law provides a tremendous benefit for ministers. Section 107 of the IRS code permits a minister of the gospel to exclude from gross income a church designated housing allowance. Further, a special Revenue Ruling by the IRS (Rev. Rul. 75-22) allows Servant Solutions to designate the housing allowance for retired ministers as coverage applicable to their church retirement income. See Who is a Minister for Tax Purposes? for more information.
Q. How do I know if I am putting away enough money for retirement?
A. Servant Solutions provides some wonderful tools to help you answer this question. The Saving for Retirement Worksheet is available upon request and on this website. The worksheet has all the tables and calculations to help you know if you are contributing enough. If you would like additional help answering this important question, we would encourage you to complete a financial roadmap with our Certified Financial Planner.