Rostered Ministers

Resourceful ServantsRostered MinistersSavings Matching Pilot Programs

Savings Matching Pilot Programs

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

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 lessen an unexpected blow.

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; even so, it is important to maximize contributions even if the contributed amounts do not reach this level.

Two Savings Matching Pilot 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 existing retirement accounts.

Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program

The Emergency Savings Matching Pilot 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, matching funds are available to qualifying rostered ministers through the Emergency Savings Program.

Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program

The Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program provides qualifying rostered ministers the opportunity to build up their retirement savings through a dollar for dollar match. Increased monthly contributions of $50 to their existing personal retirement account with Portico Benefit Services will be matched. Over the course of one year, recipients’ increased contributions of $600 will be matched dollar for dollar. Through the generous donations of the employees and trustees of Portico Benefit Services and the Lilly Endowment, matching funds are available to help build up retirement accounts of qualifying rostered ministers through the Readiness for Retirement Savings Program.

Getting Started: How to Participate in the Savings Matching Pilot Programs

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

Qualification: How do I qualify to apply for the Savings Matching Pilot Programs?

Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program:

The Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program is designed for active rostered ministers who have less than six months’ income in emergency savings.

Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program:

The Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program is designed for active rostered ministers who have less than 15 percent of their compensation contributed into their existing personal retirement account with Portico (when combining employer and individual contributions).

To qualify, 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 your email address.

The due date to complete the Financial Wellness Assessment is Sept. 15, 2017.

Application: How do I apply for the Savings Matching Pilot Programs?

If you qualify for either or both programs through the Financial Wellness Assessment, you will be directed to an application(s) as part of the assessment. The applications will collect additional information and ask you to acknowledge the program participation requirements. You will have the opportunity to apply right now, to wait to apply, or to not apply. If you choose to wait to apply, you will receive an email reminder with a link to the application.

You can apply for any of the programs for which you qualify. Applying for multiple programs does not disqualify you from applying for the other program, nor does it guarantee your selection into either program.

The due date to complete the applications is Oct. 15, 2017. All applications will be reviewed at that time.

Selection: How will I be selected for the Savings Matching Pilot 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.

Each rostered minister will receive a financial-need score, and recipients will be selected based on that 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 well-being 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, 2017, to notify you if you have been selected for either, both or neither Savings Matching Pilot Programs. This notification will include step-by-step instructions on how to complete the program requirements.

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

Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program you will need to:

  • Open a dedicated savings account with the ELCA Federal Credit Union by calling 877-715-1111 or by visiting the lobby at 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Suite 675, Chicago, IL 60631, between the hours of 9am and 5pm CST on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday. This must be set up in time for the first payroll of January 2018. To ensure that this happens, please call or visit the ELCA Federal Credit Union by December 1, 2017. 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 Savings Matching Pilot Program.
  • Set up automatic withdrawals of up to $50 per month (or up to $25 per pay period if paid bi-monthly) from your paycheck or primary checking account to be deposited into your dedicated account with the ELCA Federal Credit Union. This must be set up in time for the first payroll of January 2018. To ensure that this happens, please call or visit the ELCA Federal Credit Union by December 1, 2017.
  • Contact Lutheran Social Service (LSS) Financial Counseling by calling 800-528-2926 to schedule an appointment for financial counseling. Up to six financial counseling sessions are provided per calendar year at no cost to rostered ministers and their spouses, as a benefit from Portico Benefit Services. At least one session must be held with a financial counselor at LSS Financial Counseling by Feb. 1, 2018.

Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program you will need to:

  • Increase your individual retirement contribution by $50 per month (or $25 per pay period if paid bi-monthly) through your myPortico page. The process for increasing one’s personal contribution must be set up in time for the first payroll of January 2018.
  • Contact Lutheran Social Service (LSS) Financial Counseling by calling 800-528-2926 to schedule an appointment for financial counseling. Up to six financial counseling sessions are provided per calendar year at no cost to rostered ministers and their spouses, as a benefit from Portico Benefit Services. At least one session must be held with a financial counselor at LSS Financial Counseling by Feb. 1, 2018.

Distribution: How often will I receive funding?

Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program:

Funding will be distributed to your dedicated savings account monthly, beginning in February 2018 and continuing through January 2020.

Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program:

Funding will be credited to your existing retirement account in February 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions

Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program

What if I already have an account with the ELCA Federal Credit Union?

If you already have a savings account with the ELCA Federal Credit Union, you need to open a dedicated account for the Savings Matching Pilot Program, and the staff of the credit union can help you do that.

Can I make a contribution of less than $50 per month and still receive matching funding?

Yes, you may. In order 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.

What if I make a contribution of 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.

For how long will my contribution 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).

What would disqualify me from the Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program after it has begun?

You would be disqualified from the Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program for any of the following:

  • withdrawing money from the dedicated account (personal contribution or matching funding). As a recipient, you are entitled to withdraw any amount from your dedicated account but doing so will disqualify you from receiving additional matching funding;
  • ceasing contributions to your emergency savings account (Unless you are between calls. If so, see What if I need to contribute less or stop contributing for a few months?);
  • leaving the ELCA roster; or
  • failing to remain a member in good standing with the ELCA Federal Credit Union.

What if I need to contribute less or stop contributing for a few months?

In most cases, this means that you will be disqualified from the program.

The only case where this does not apply is if you go on leave from call. If you go on leave from call, you can apply for a program waiver of up to six months by contacting Resourceful Servants at resourceful.servants@elca.org. When you receive a new call, you must contact the Resourceful Servants team to again become an active recipient.

During the months missed, you will not be required to contribute. Once you return to active call, you would return to the normal procedure of monthly contributions. To receive the full matching amount, you would need to continue contributing beyond the timeframe originally set for a number of months equal to your time on leave from call. For example, the Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program is designed to last for two years. If you went on leave from call for three months, you would be required to contribute for three additional months beyond those two years in order to receive the full amount of 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.

Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program

Can I make an increase of less than $50 per month and still receive matching funding?

No; if you make an increase to your retirement contribution of less than $50 per month, this amount will NOT be matched.

What if I make an increase of more than $50 per month?

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

For how long will my increased contribution be matched?

Selection is for a period of up to one year. If you have made increased monthly contributions of $50 throughout the year, you will receive $600 in matching funding by February 28, 2019.

In the second year of the program, matching funding will be offered to a new cohort of recipients.

Can I participate in the Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program if my congregation is not up-to-date on its payments to Portico?

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

What would disqualify me from the Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program after it has begun?

You would be disqualified from the Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program for any of the following:

  • withdrawing funding from your existing retirement account with Portico;
  • decreasing or ceasing contributions to your retirement savings account (Unless you are between calls. If so, see What if I need to stop contributing at the increased level for a few months?);
  • leaving the ELCA roster; or
  • your congregation failing to remain up-to-date with its payments to Portico throughout the course of the program.

What if I need to stop contributing at the increased level for a few months?

In most cases, this means you will be disqualified from the program.

The only case where this does not apply is if you go on leave from call. If you go on leave from call, you can apply for a program waiver of up to six months by contacting Resourceful Servants at resourceful.servants@elca.org. When you receive a new call, you must contact the Resourceful Servants team to again become an active recipient.

During the months missed, you will not be required to contribute, but you will be required to continue contributing before and after the on leave from call period during the program calendar year. The match will only be effective for the period of time you are contributing during the program calendar year. For example, if you contribute $50 per month for 7 months and receive a program waiver from the ELCA for the 5 months missed, the program match will equal $350 (7 active months x $50).

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 14 2017

Launch Resourceful Servants Initiative

Learn about the financial wellness resources and programs available to you

Sept 15 2017

Due date to complete Financial Wellness Assessment

Qualify for the Savings Matching Pilot Programs

Oct 15 2017

Due date to complete applications for Savings Matching Pilot Programs

Apply for all the programs for which you qualify

Nov 1 2017

Notification of selection into Savings Matching Pilot Programs

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

Dec 1 2017

For the Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program:

The process for opening a dedicated account with the ELCA Federal Credit Union and setting up automatic withholdings must be set up in time for the first payroll of January 2018. To ensure that this happens, please call or visit the ELCA Federal Credit Union by December 1, 2017.

Jan 2018

For the Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program:

The process for increasing one’s personal contribution must be set up in time for the first payroll of January 2018.

Feb 1 2018

At least one session must be held with a financial counselor at Lutheran Social Service.

Call 800-528-2926 to schedule an appointment

Feb 2018

For the Emergency Savings Matching Pilot Program:

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

Feb 2019

For the Readiness for Retirement Savings Matching Pilot Program:

Single installment of matching funding credited to recipients’ existing retirement accounts with Portico Benefit Services.