Webinars: Convenient retirement planning

If you think you don’t have enough time to attend one of the many retirement seminars human resource services (HRS) offers each semester, think again.

In addition to face-to-face seminars with TIAA-CREF representatives, Iowa State offers three types of retirement webinars, giving you an opportunity to learn general retirement terms or get a start on long-range financial planning in front of your computer at work, at home or wherever it suits you.

Webinars … three ways

HRS, in conjunction with TIAA-CREF, records its lunch-hour or late-afternoon seminars and rebroadcasts them as webinars for about two weeks following the face-to-face meetings. Ann Doty, retirement information specialist, sends the webinar link via email to certain employee groups based on the topic.  These webinars are not interactive. A list of upcoming retirement seminars is available on the HRS website.

For an interactive alternative, HRS and TIAA-CREF also conduct live retirement webinars. These webinars require advance registration and computer and telephone access.  The audio portion of the webinar is available over the telephone, which also lets participants ask questions. Online participants also may submit their questions electronically. Three live webinars, all from noon to 1 p.m., are planned for spring semester:

TIAA-CREF also offers prerecorded webinars online. Topics cover information for new employees just beginning to save for retirement, strategies for mid-career employees, options for those nearing retirement and more. These webinars address general topics and do not talk specifically about Iowa State's retirement options.

Attention IPERS participants

Doty said all employees, including those with IPERS, can participate in the TIAA-CREF seminars and webinars. While there are no seminars tailored specifically for IPERS participants, an IPERS representative is on campus each month to discuss personal retirement plans with participants. To make an appointment, call (800) 622-3849. Upcoming dates (8 a.m.- 5 p.m., 3558 Memorial Union) are:

  • Feb. 16
  • March 5
  • April 4
  • May 4
  • June 5


Webinar pros and cons

The biggest advantage retirement webinars offer employees is convenience, according to Doty. You can choose to view a webinar at your desk while eating lunch or in the evening at home with your spouse or a friend. It also is easy to share the webinar's link with friends or family at a distance.

Doty recommends that employees watch the webinars to become familiar with the retirement jargon.

"Financial planners have a language all their own," Doty said. "Webinars allow you to get familiar with terms so that personal appointments can be spent discussing your financial future, not learning the terminology."

Doty recognizes webinars may not be for everyone.

"Not everyone is comfortable in front of, or has access to, a computer," Doty said. "We're trying to reach out in a variety of ways."

And, seminars offer something most webinars can't -- immediate answers.

"The seminars offer an opportunity to ask personal questions right on the spot," Doty said. "That doesn't happen in a webinar, most of the time."

Appointments still important

Doty says whether an employee prefers to view webinars or attend seminars, both should be preparation for a personal appointment with her, a TIAA-CREF representative or other financial planner.

"I recommend people talk to me or someone else at least 10 years before they plan to retire," Doty said. "Very often, people wait until a year or so before retirement to talk to a financial adviser, but by then there is little time available to save more if needed or to make other needed changes."

Doty said TIAA-CREF representatives suggest employees meet with a financial planner every three years or after a significant life change, such as a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, etc.

"When it comes to investments, a long-term plan will get you to your dreams," Doty said.