Rostered Ministers

Savings Matching Programs

Kick-start your savings efforts through programs for emergency savings as well as saving for retirement.

Two Savings Matching programs share financial resources with rostered ministers on the road to improved financial wellness. These programs match rostered ministers’ contributions to a dedicated emergency savings account and/or increased contributions to their ELCA retirement plan accounts.

Emergency Savings Program

Emergency expenses often present very real challenges. Only 38 percent of Americans have enough in savings to address an unexpected expense (from an emergency room visit to a car repair). Having even $1,000 in emergency savings can set you up to overcome unforeseen financial hurdles.

The Emergency Savings Program provides qualifying rostered ministers the opportunity to build up their emergency savings reserves through a dollar for dollar match. Contributions to a dedicated emergency savings account with the ELCA Federal Credit Union will be matched up to $50 per month. Over the course of two years, recipients’ contributions will be matched up to $1,200 ($600 per year), through the generous donations of the Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA and the Lilly Endowment.

Readiness for Retirement Program

It is recommended that 15 percent of earnings be contributed to retirement savings. Saving 15 percent of one’s income is often a challenging goal; it is important to maximize contributions even if they do not reach this level.

The Readiness for Retirement Program provides qualifying rostered ministers the opportunity to build up their retirement savings through a dollar for dollar match. Over the course of one year, recipients’ increased individual contributions of $600 to their ELCA retirement plan accounts with Portico Benefit Services (an average increase of $50 per month) will be matched dollar for dollar, through the generous donations of the employees and trustees of Portico and of the Lilly Endowment.

Get Started: Participate in the Savings Matching Programs

The Savings Matching programs are each comprised of the following phases: Qualification and Application, Selection, Notification, Participation, and Distribution. Review these phases below for an overview of the program and to find out how to participate.

The information below pertains specifically to the 2018 launch. If you are a current recipient, click to access information about the 2017 launch.

Qualification and Application: How do I qualify and apply for the Savings Matching programs?

Emergency Savings Program:

ELCA rostered ministers serving a call who have less than six months’ income in emergency savings are eligible to apply for the Emergency Savings program.

Readiness for Retirement Program:

ELCA rostered ministers serving a call who have less than 15 percent of their compensation contributed to their ELCA retirement plan account with Portico Benefit Services (when combining employee and employer contributions) are eligible to apply for the Readiness for Retirement program.

To begin the qualification and application process, complete the Financial Wellness Assessment. The Financial Wellness Assessment will ask you about several aspects of your financial life, including behaviors and attitudes. To complete the assessment, you will need a rough idea of your household level of emergency savings, your individual retirement contributions and your credit score. To log in, you will need your rostered leader ID and a password (both provided in the email you received regarding Resourceful Servants). If you are a current recipient, you are not eligible to participate in this year’s program.

If you qualify for either or both programs through the Financial Wellness Assessment, you will be directed to the appropriate application(s) as part of the assessment. The applications will collect additional information and ask you to acknowledge the program participation requirements.

If you qualify for both programs, you can apply for both programs. Applying does not guarantee your selection into either program.

The due date to complete the Financial Wellness Assessment and the program applications is Oct. 14, 2018. All applications will be reviewed at that time.

Selection: How will I be selected for the Savings Matching Programs?

Matching funding for each program will be granted to those with the greatest financial need. A financial-need score will be calculated, using the following factors:

  • level of emergency or retirement savings;
  • salary relative to synod guidelines;
  • age of the rostered minister; and
  • number of years in ministry.

Recipients will be selected based on their financial-need score.

The matching programs focus on rostered ministers who have lower levels of emergency and/or retirement savings and lower salaries relative to synod guidelines, as well as those who are younger and earlier in their careers.

Influencing good financial practices early in one’s life and career can affect personal financial wellness throughout one’s life and that of the life of the congregations and organizations served.

Notification: How will I find out if I have been selected?

You will receive an email by Nov. 1, 2018, to notify you if you have been selected for both, either or neither Savings Matching program. This notification will include step-by-step instructions on how to complete the program requirements. Please DO NOT take action before you are notified that you have been selected.

All communication from Resourceful Servants will be electronic. To ensure that you receive the notification email, add resourceful.servants@elca.org and adam.dehoek@elca.org to your “Safe Email” list.

Participation: What do I need to do if I am selected?

Emergency Savings Program you will need to:

  • Open a Resourceful Servants savings account by completing the membership process with the ELCA Federal Credit Union by December 15, 2018. If you already have a savings account with the ELCA Federal Credit Union, you will work with Credit Union staff to open a dedicated account for the Emergency Savings program.
  • Contribute to your Resourceful Servants savings account monthly using an automatic transfer. The first transfer must be completed by January 15, 2019.
  • Schedule an appointment with LSS Financial Counseling by February 15, 2019. Up to six financial counseling sessions are provided per calendar year at no cost to you and your spouse, as a benefit from Portico Benefit Services. At least one session must be held with a financial counselor at LSS Financial Counseling before you will receive any matching funding.

Readiness for Retirement Program you will need to:

  • Increase your individual ELCA retirement plan contributions by $600 in plan year 2019 (an average increase of $50 per month) over your current contributions (defined as contributions made between September 2017 and August 2018). You will receive a letter from Portico, informing you of your current contribution amount and your increased contribution amount for plan year 2019.
  • Schedule an appointment with LSS Financial Counseling by February 15, 2019. Up to six financial counseling sessions are provided per calendar year at no cost to you and your spouse, as a benefit from Portico Benefit Services. At least one session must be held with a financial counselor at LSS Financial Counseling before you will receive any matching funding.

Distribution: How often will I receive funding?

Emergency Savings Program:

Funding will be distributed to your Resourceful Servants savings account monthly, beginning in February 2019 and continuing through January 2021.

Readiness for Retirement Program:

Funding will be credited in a single installment to your ELCA retirement plan account in February 2020.

Program Details and FAQs

Emergency Savings Program

If I am a current recipient in the Emergency Savings program, am I eligible to participate again?

No, if you are a current recipient, you are not eligible to participate in the Emergency Savings program again.

What if I am already a member of the ELCA Federal Credit Union?

If you are already a member of the ELCA Federal Credit Union, you can open a Resourceful Servants savings account by calling the Credit Union at 877-715-1111 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday.

If I am NOT a member of the ELCA Federal Credit Union, how do I start the process of becoming a member?

If you are not a member of the ELCA Federal Credit Union, begin the membership process online by visiting elcafcu.org. Click on the “Become a Member” button in the top right corner and follow the instructions. The staff from the Credit Union will contact you within several days and work with you to complete the membership process.

When I communicate with the ELCA Federal Credit Union, do I need to identify myself as part of the Resourceful Servants Initiative?

No, the Credit Union will already have your name as a recipient in the Resourceful Servants Emergency Savings Program.

What will I need to complete the membership process with the ELCA Federal Credit Union?

To complete the membership process with the ELCA Federal Credit Union, you will need your Social Security Number, a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID, a valid email address, and the name of the congregation or organization with which you are associated.

What is the due date to complete the membership process?

You must complete the membership process by December 15, 2018 to qualify for the matching funding. This date is firm.

How do I provide funding to my Resourceful Servants savings account using an automatic transfer?

There are a variety of options available to meet your needs. When you communicate with the Credit Union to complete the membership process, the staff will help you choose the option that is best for you.

What is the due date to provide funding to my Resourceful Servants savings account using an automatic transfer?

You must provide funding to your account using automatic transfer by January 15, 2019 to qualify for matching funding. This date is firm.

My spouse and I were both selected into the Emergency Savings Program. Can we open just one account?

No, unfortunately not. To be able to easily and expediently distribute matching funding, each of you needs to have your own savings account.

If you wish, your spouse can be an authorized user on your account.

How will I know that I have done everything I need to do?

Once your membership has been established, you will receive a welcome email from the staff of the Credit Union, confirming you have completed the application, provided identification, and signed the required documents. This email also confirms that your contribution has been processed.

Can I contribute less than $50 per month and still receive matching funding?

Yes, you may. To qualify for matching funding, you need to make a monthly contribution of at least $10. However, if you are able to make a monthly contribution of $50, this will provide the greatest matching opportunity.

Can I change the amount I contribute from month to month?

It depends. If you are enrolled in account-to-account transfers (A2A), you can increase or decrease the amount you contribute as you choose. If you are enrolled in a recurring payroll deposit, you would need to contact your employer to make changes.

In either case, your monthly contribution will be matched monthly up to $50.

What happens if I don’t contribute in a particular month?

Your contributions will only be matched in the months that you contribute. If you are not able to contribute in a particular month, you will not receive matching funding for that month.

Can I make extra contributions in some months to catch up for months when I did not contribute?

No, unfortunately not. You can only receive matching funding for the months you contributed.

This makes setting up automatic transfers so important. Having automatic transfers in place will ensure that you make a monthly contribution and receive matching funding for that contribution.

What if I contribute more than $50 per month?

If you make a monthly contribution of more than $50, the program will match your contribution up to $50 per month.

If you want to contribute more than $50 per month to a savings account, you have several options:

  • You can deposit extra funding in your Resourceful Servants savings account, with the knowledge that this funding is restricted throughout the life of the program. Withdrawing any of this funding would disqualify you from the program.
  • If you think you will need access to funding during the program, you can deposit extra funding in your regular membership savings account with the Credit Union.

For how long will my contributions be matched?

Your contribution of up to $50 per month will be matched on a monthly basis for a period of up to two years. After two years, you will have received up to $1,200 in matching funding ($600 per year).

If I begin making contributions before the January 2019 payroll, will I receive additional matching funding?

No, unfortunately not. You will receive monthly matching distributions beginning in February 2019 continuing through January 2021. Making contributions in 2018 will not provide you with any additional matching funding.

What if I go on leave from call?

If you go on leave from call and you can maintain your regular contributions, you do not need to do anything differently.

If you go on leave from call and need to stop your regular contributions, depending on the type of automatic transfer you are using, you will need to contact the Credit Union, your employer or your other financial institution to make changes to (for example, to stop or restart) your contributions. During this time, you will remain a member in good standing with the program. However, you will not receive matching funding because you will not be making contributions. After you restart your contributions, matching funding will begin again in the following month.

What if I leave the ELCA roster?

If you leave the ELCA roster, you will be disqualified from receiving additional matching funding.

What if I fail to remain a member in good standing with the ELCA Federal Credit Union?

If you fail to remain in good standing with the Credit Union, you will be disqualified from receiving additional matching funding.

When will matching funding be distributed?

Matching funding will be distributed on the final business day of the month following your contribution. For example, you will receive matching funding for your January 2019 contribution on February 28, 2019.

What happens if I need to withdraw money from my Resourceful Servants savings account while the program is still going on?

If you need to withdraw money from your Resourceful Servants savings account, please call the ELCA Federal Credit Union before doing so. The funding in your Resourceful Servants savings account is restricted throughout the life of the program. As a recipient, you are entitled to withdraw from your account but doing so will disqualify you from receiving additional matching funding.

If you decide to withdraw from this account while the program is still going on, your Resourceful Servants savings account will be closed, and the balance will be transferred to your regular membership savings account with the Credit Union.

How do I get in touch with the Resourceful Servants program directly?

If you still have questions not answered here, you can contact Resourceful Servants by email at resourceful.servants@elca.org.

Readiness for Retirement Program

If I am a current recipient in the Readiness for Retirement program, am I eligible to participate again?

No, if you are a current recipient, you are not eligible to participate in the Readiness for Retirement program again.

Which ELCA retirement plans with Portico qualify for the Readiness for Retirement program?

The two retirement plans which qualify for the Readiness for Retirement program are the ELCA Retirement Plan and the ELCA Retirement Savings Plan. If you use myportico.porticobenefits.org, you are in the ELCA Retirement Plan or ELCA Retirement Savings Plan and could qualify for the program.

The two retirement plans which do not qualify for the Readiness for Retirement program are the ELCA Retirement Plan for the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, and the ELCA Master Institutional Retirement Plan. If you use either gss.porticobenefits.org or mirp.porticobenefits.org, you are in the ELCA Retirement Plan for The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society or ELCA Master Institutional Retirement Plan, and you would not qualify for the program.

The instructions say that I need to make an average increase of $50 per month to my ELCA retirement plan in 2019. What does that mean?

This means that you, individually, need to contribute a total of at least $600 more in 2019 than you contributed over the last year.

Your baseline contribution will be the amount you contributed to your ELCA Retirement Plan or ELCA Retirement Savings Plan with Portico between September 2017 and August 2018.

To qualify for matching funding, you need to contribute at least $600 (an average of $50 per month) more than that amount in plan year 2019. Your baseline contribution amount and your increased contribution amount have been provided to you in a letter from Portico.

How do I make an increase to my ELCA retirement plan contribution with Portico?

The best way to make your 2019 retirement plan contribution election is to do it during Annual Enrollment; the change will be effective with your first payroll in January 2019 and will be reflected on your employer’s January bill from Portico.

Increase your current contribution by at least $50 per month over your average monthly contribution between Sept 2017 and Aug 2018. For example:

  • If you did not make any ELCA retirement plan contributions between Sept 2017 and Aug 2018, elect a contribution amount of at least $50 per month for plan year 2019.
  • If your contribution between Sept 2017 and Aug 2018 was $1,200, this averages to $100 per month. Therefore, in plan year 2019, your individual contribution would need to be at least $1,800 or $150 per month.

To qualify for matching funding, your contributions in plan year 2019 must be $600 more than they were in September 2017-August 2018. Both the baseline and increased contribution amounts were provided to you in a letter from Portico.

If you’ve already entered your 2019 Annual Enrollment choices and did not increase your pretax retirement contributions by at least $50, return to the Annual Enrollment pages on myPortico and change your retirement plan contribution amount.

To make a change to your retirement contribution amount outside of Annual Enrollment, visit myPortico and select Make a Change.  If you need assistance, you can contact Portico’s Customer Care Center at 800-352-2876.

After you make a change on myPortico, talk to your employer to make sure contributions are withheld from your 2019 paychecks.

What if I do not make an increase of $600 in plan year 2019?

To qualify for matching funding, your contribution in plan year 2019 must be at least $600 more than they were in September 2017-August 2018. If you do not make an increase of at least $600 in plan year 2019, you will not receive any matching funding.

What if I make an increase of more than $600 in plan year 2019?

If you make an increase of more than $600 in plan year 2019, the program will match your increase at $600.

Can I change the amount I contribute from month to month?

Yes, you can. However, to qualify for matching funding, your contributions in plan year 2019 must be at least $600 more than they were in September 2017-August 2018. If you do not make an increase of at least $600 in plan year 2019, you will not receive any matching funding.

Do I need to contribute every month?

No, you do not need to contribute every month. However, to qualify for matching funding your contributions in plan year 2019 must be at least $600 more than they were in September 2017-August 2018. If you do not make an increase of at least $600 in plan year 2019, you will not receive any matching funding.

How do I track my contributions throughout the year?

At Fidelity NetBenefits, accessible through myPortico, select Transaction History from the Quick Links dropdown menu.

You can see your individual pre-tax contributions made year-to-date by selecting Year to Date from the Time Period dropdown menu and clicking the Get History tab.

You can compare this amount to the increased contribution amount in the letter provided to you by Portico to see how you are doing for the year.

If I am not on track, can I increase my contribution to ensure that I qualify for matching funding?

Yes, if you are not on track for the $600 increase, you can increase your contribution.

For example, if you contributed $1,200 between September 2017 and August 2018, you would need to contribute a total of $1,800 in plan year 2019. After 6 months, your contribution amount should be $900 (half of $1,800). If it is less than this, you can increase your individual contribution to catch up.

What is the due date for me to provide the full amount of my increased contributions?

All of your plan year 2019 ELCA retirement plan contributions must be withheld from paychecks by December 31, 2019 and submitted to Portico no later than January 15, 2020. This will allow your employer enough time to deduct your ELCA retirement plan contribution amount by the end of December and submit it to Portico within the IRS guidelines.

Can I participate in the Readiness for Retirement program if my employer is not up-to-date on its payments to Portico?

No; if your employer is not up-to-date with its payments, you are not eligible for this program.

What if my treasurer or bookkeeper needs help sorting out this process?

If your treasurer or bookkeeper has questions, please direct them to Portico’s Customer Care Center at 800-352-2876. The Customer Care Advocates will be able to help them with processing payments.

What if I go on leave from call?

If you go on leave from call, there are several things to be aware of:

  • You will remain in good standing with the program.
  • Portico will be able to track your call status, so there is no need to complete any paperwork for Resourceful Servants.
  • You will not be able to make contributions to your ELCA retirement plan account while you are on leave from call.

When you begin your new call, you will be able to restart your contributions to your ELCA retirement plan account. At that time, if you make catch-up contributions to reach the $600 increase for plan year 2019, you will receive full matching funding.

If you are not able to make catch-up payments to reach the $600 increase, the amount of matching funding you receive will be prorated based on the amount of your increased contribution. For example, if your contributions in plan year 2019 are $550 above your contributions between September 2017 and August 2018, you will receive $550 in matching funding. This only applies if you have gone on leave from call.

What if I accept a new call and am no longer a Portico member?

If you are no longer a Portico member, you are not able to make or receive contributions to your ELCA Retirement Plan or ELCA Retirement Savings Plan. As a result, you will become ineligible for the $600 match.

What happens if I retire?

If you retire, you will become ineligible for the $600 match.  Since you are no longer employed, you are no longer able to make or receive contributions to your ELCA Retirement Plan or ELCA Retirement Savings Plan.

What if I leave the ELCA roster?

If you leave the ELCA roster, you will be disqualified from receiving matching funding.

When will matching funding be distributed?

Matching funding will be distributed in one installment in February 2020.

What happens if I need to withdraw money from my ELCA Retirement Plan or ELCA Retirement Savings Plan account with Portico while the program is still going on?

If you withdraw money from your ELCA Retirement Plan or ELCA Retirement Savings Plan account, this will disqualify you from receiving any matching funding.

How do I get in touch with the Resourceful Servants program directly?

If you still have questions not answered here, you can contact Resourceful Servants by email at resourceful.servants@elca.org.

What are the key dates in the process?

Aug 15 2018

Launch Resourceful Servants Initiative

Learn about the financial wellness resources and programs available to you

Oct 14 2018

Due date to complete Financial Wellness Assessment and applications for Savings Matching Programs

Qualify and apply for the Savings Matching Programs

Nov 1 2018

Notification of selection into Savings Matching Programs

You will find out if you have been selected into both, either or neither program.

Dec 15 2018

For the Emergency Savings Program:

The membership process for a Resourceful Servants savings account with the ELCA Federal Credit Union must be completed.

Jan 15 2019

For the Emergency Savings Program:

The process for funding your Resourceful Servants savings account using an automatic transfer must be completed.

Feb 15 2019

Schedule a session with a financial counselor at Lutheran Social Service

Call 800-528-2926 to schedule an appointment

Feb 28 2019

For the Emergency Savings Program:

First monthly installment of matching funding distributed to recipients’ Resourceful Servants savings accounts with the ELCA Federal Credit Union.

Dec 31 2019

For the Readiness for Retirement Program:

All plan year 2019 ELCA retirement plan contributions must be withheld from paychecks

Jan 15 2020

For the Readiness for Retirement Program:

All plan year 2019 ELCA retirement plan contributions must be submitted to Portico

Feb 2020

For the Readiness for Retirement Program:

Single installment of matching funding credited to recipients’ ELCA retirement plan accounts with Portico Benefit Services