Brethren Pension Plan
Brethren Pension Plan has been serving employees of the denomination from the very young to the very old for almost 70 years. Here are two members at unique points on the journey to retirement.
As a pastor midway through his years of service, Glenn can see the makings of a bright future in his contributions to the Plan.
“I would recommend that any pastor starting out consider being a part of Brethren Pension Plan as early as possible,” said Glenn. Glenn feels thankful to the churches he has served, including his current congregation, Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren, for helping him grow his retirement fund. “I have been fortunate to pastor at churches that contribute to the Plan.”
Although it may be awhile before Glenn must rely on the Pension Plan, he feels confident that it will serve as the backbone of his retirement plans — “My pension will allow my wife and me to do things to give back to the church upon retirement.”
Don and Betty Stern
In 1990, a new chapter began in the Sterns’ life — one in which they could live in a retirement community in scenic Lacey, Wash.; volunteer for its stewardship team; and pursue woodworking and gardening. This time of recreation and relaxation began more than 40 years after they were first introduced to Brethren Pension Plan at Bethany Seminary where Don studied. He joined the Plan once he began serving as pastor to his first congregation.
“Any pastor who has the opportunity to join should do so,” said Don. “It keeps the Plan strong and creates a collegial atmosphere.” And although the Plan’s reduction in annuity payments in 2009 was a difficult change to their budget, they have since adjusted.
“It was the right thing to do,” said Don.
Brethren Insurance Services
Like some retirement communities, Garden Terrace Retirement Home in Wenatchee, Wash., was facing an increase in its medical insurance premium for the coming year, but it had resolved to pay the 15.2 percent increase. On Oct. 4 — the very day they were prepared to send in their payment — Willie Hisey Pierson, director of Insurance Services at BBT; Diana Seymour, manager of sales for health and welfare benefits; and Nevin Dulabaum, president of BBT, stopped by for a visit.
Seeing an opportunity to possibly lower their costs, Todd Hall, office manager, decided to wait to see what Brethren Insurance Services could offer them. The Insurance staff quickly put together a quote and presented it to Garden Terrace by the end of the next week.
The Garden Terrace staff was pleased to learn that they could save money and also be a part of a program affiliated with the denomination. Todd said, “Sign us up!” So they did, and the coverage began on Nov. 1.
“We were proud to be able to offer Garden Terrace a quote that was 8.8 percent lower than their renewal rate,” said Willie.
Asset managers should do more than monitor money — they should be committed to their clients’ causes. Pacific Southwest District’s executive board, headquartered in La Verne, Calif., firmly believed this, which is why it consolidated its five investment portfolios into two — with the bulk of its funds now in Brethren Foundation’s care.
“Having that Brethren relationship has made all the difference,” said Pacific Southwest District Executive Don Booz. “BBT has been more responsive and timely than our previous investment managers and presents our performance results so that they’re easy to understand.”
The money Pacific Southwest District invests with BFI is primarily from the sale of churches; that money is now being used to reinvest in that district’s congregations and leadership.
“We have been blessed to be able to give $400,000 in grants to our churches over the years,” said Don. “We have also sponsored seminary participants.”
The money Pacific Southwest District invests with Brethren Foundation needs to sustain that district’s present and make promise for its future, which is another reason BFI was the right direction for them. “Return on investments at BFI is as good, if not better, than most other investment firms,” said Don.