Secure your future

Plan now for the security of your loved ones


The UFT’s popular pension clinics — a mini-course in pensions and related retirement matters — have been scheduled for the 2012–2013 school year in all the boroughs.

We urge all members to participate in these clinics two or three years before retirement. The clinics are only one part of the UFT’s many services devoted to helping members prepare for a financially secure retirement.

Go to the Pension Clinic page for the full schedule >>

NFL referees and their pensions

Since many of you are fans of professional football, you might be interested to know that the recent strike was related to pensions. One of the big issues was the referees’ defined-benefit pension plan, which the owners wanted to freeze and the referees wanted to continue untouched.

The deal that ended the strike was to freeze the pension plan after the 2016 season (or until a current official earns 20 or more years of service).

Retirement benefits will be provided for new hires and for all officials beginning in 2017 through a defined contribution plan — in their case, a 401(k). This is from a business which is one of the most successful in the country. The NFL took in more than $9 billion in revenue last year.

Our own Tier VI, which maintained a defined-benefit pension plan for newly hired unionized public employees, is looking better and better. We will continue to fight to provide all members with a traditional defined-benefit pension plan.

The Affordable Care Act

Elections count! President Obama’s Affordable Care Act has resulted in Medicare beneficiaries saving a total of $4.5 billion on their prescriptions between January 2011 and August 2012 — an average of $641 this year.

The act is on schedule to eliminate the infamous donut hole in the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D) by 2020. This is a huge benefit for our sickest, most vulnerable retired members.

Many of you also received a rebate check from your catastrophic insurance provider. This is due to the fact that the Affordable Care Act requires that 85 percent of your premium go toward plan benefits and not to the profits of the insurance company.

Change of investment elections

In-service members and retirees can change their Tax-Deferred Annuity investment elections by filing before Dec. 1.

If a careful review of your investments leads you to want to change your investment choices among the six Passport funds available, you can do it by filing now. Forms are available from the UFT and the TRS or changes can be made online at

Latest news on Social Security

On Oct. 16, the Social Security Administration announced that monthly benefits will increase 1.7 percent beginning January 2013 for more than 56 million recipients.

In January, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $113,700 from $110,100.

You have worked hard all of your adult life educating the children of New York City — but have you neglected to plan for the security of your loved ones? Have you made appropriate end-of-life plans?

You may not realize the value of your assets, nor have thought about how to ensure you get the care you would want should a serious health problem arise. This article will highlight some things you should consider.

It is a good idea to prepare a net worth statement to determine the value of what you own. Such a statement lists the value of what you own and subtracts the liabilities of what you owe.

Who will get this balance and how will it be distributed? Think about this, discuss it with your loved ones and legal and financial advisers, and then prepare appropriate estate documents. These estate documents might include a will, trust or other legal documents as recommended by your advisers.

Below we will discuss some of the items related to proper planning. Share this column with your loved ones and your legal and financial advisers.

Estate documents — Many members can lay out all of their estate plans in a simple document like a will. Others with complex familial situations or financial concerns may need a will plus other legal documents. You should consult experts in your area of concern to help you decide how to distribute your assets.

The state of New York will impose its own formula on the distribution of your estate if you have not prepared estate documents. This could result in serious consequences for your loved ones.

Asset inventory — In order to execute appropriate estate documents, you must prepare a list of items you own and share this list with appropriate people. The inventory should include: Teachers’ Retirement System records, bank accounts, mutual funds, stocks, insurance policies, and valuable or sentimental personal property. Do not forget debts you owe and debts owed to you.

Make sure you have on file up-to-date designation of beneficiary forms with the TRS and other institutions, and include a list with contact information for all your important advisers.

Health care proxy (durable power of attorney for heath care) — You should have a discussion with your loved ones about health-related issues. Many health-related problems can leave you unable to make appropriate decisions about your care. In advance of that situation, name a person who has the power to make health-related decisions in your place.

You may accomplish this by designating a health care proxy. The health care proxy is typically a spouse, domestic partner or significant other, but it can be another family member, friend or anyone else you feel will see that your wishes are met. The person you name will have the authority to make decisions regarding artificial nutrition and hydration and any other measures that prolong life.

Living will — Help your health care proxy to make the decisions you would want by executing a living will. If your health deteriorates so that you cannot possibly make your own care decisions, you should not put your loved ones in the position of having to make a life-or-death decision on your behalf.

In a living will, you leave directions to either take advantage of every possible treatment available to keep you alive or allow you to die in a peaceful, pain-free, dignified manner. You can also leave instructions about organ donations. Whichever choices you make, it is unfair to place this burden on your loved ones.

Remember, the actions you take now will make your retirement a more secure and satisfying one.

Contact an attorney if you choose to do any of the above. If you do not have an attorney, in-service members can contact the NYSUT Legal Service Plan at NYSUT Member Benefits at 1-800-626-8101.

The unit value is computed during the latter part of each month. Recent values are:
Diversified Equity
International Equity
Inflation Protection
Socially Responsive
August 59.543 19.269 8.455 11.084 10.159
September 60.744 19.234 8.621 11.225 10.443
October 62.048 19.196 8.843 11.439 10.543
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