Check the source of retirement planning offers

Preparing for your future is important, so make sure to seek out trusted advice when working with financial planners and retirement advisors.

Many faculty and staff recently have received email offers for financial and retirement planning that aren't connected with or endorsed by the university. The messages purport to be from an individual named "Alexa Brown" and encourage the recipient to schedule a consultation available to them as a "valued employee of Iowa State University" about topics such as Medicare coverage and retirement income. 

The messages are solicitations a licensed independent insurance agent based in Missouri Valley, Iowa, is sending to state employees, said Rich Tener, ISU's chief information security officer. 

"These emails and the services being offered are not affiliated with ISU," Tener said. "If you are not interested, we recommend unsubscribing or reporting the messages as junk (not phishing) through your email client to enhance Microsoft's spam filter."

University consultations

Iowa State employees have several options for free financial and retirement planning via university staff, partners and retirement savings vendors, said Ed Holland, director of benefits and WorkLife for university human resources (UHR).

TIAA, AIG and Ameriprise all offer individualized meetings with advisors, both in-person and virtually. TIAA advisors hold on-campus one-on-ones a few days a month, and AIG and Ameriprise agents are available to meet on-campus by request, as well. 

On a quarterly basis, UHR holds a two-day workshop called Ready, Set, Retire, which includes presentations about Medicare, Social Security, ISU retiree benefits, TIAA and IPERS retirement plans, and the emotional and mental health impacts of retirement. Videos and slides from prior workshops are online, and the next Ready, Set, Retire event will be Sept. 29-30, Holland said. Employees can contact the UHR benefits office if they have specific questions about Medicare coverage. 

Financial consultations also are available through the Employee Assistance Program and Financial Wellness at Work, a pilot project of ISU Extension and Outreach.