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Tag Archive | "retirement"

Retirement – Linda Pompa

Congratulations to Linda Pompa for her 30+ years at the United States Postal Service with 9+ years at the Cedar Springs Post Office. Linda will be retiring at the end of the month.

Thank you from the community for your many years of service.

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Sheriff Larry Stelma announces retirement

Kent County Sheriff Lawrence A. Stelma (right) was chosen as the first ever recipient of the Terrence L. Jungel Sheriff of the Year Award in 2017 by the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. Terrence Jungel is on the left.


Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma announced last week that he will retire from his position on November 1, 2018.

“For 46 years I have had the privilege of serving this community, and I consider this privilege a gift from God,” Sheriff Stelma said as he notified the Kent County Board of Commissioners of his intent to retire November 1, 2018. While the decision to retire was difficult, the Sheriff emphasized that he is “confident that the next generation of leadership will serve this community well and bring this organization to new heights.”

Stelma began his career at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office on January 3, 1972, as a deputy working various duties in the jail and eventually transferring to the road patrol. As a detective in the investigative bureau, he was awarded the Sheriff’s Office Combat Star for his efforts to save his partner when a domestic violence suspect shot that officer in the chest in 1980. In August 1981, Stelma was promoted to sergeant on the road patrol; in 1985, he was promoted to road patrol lieutenant; and promoted to road patrol captain in January 1997. In January 1999, Stelma was appointed to serve as Kent County’s Undersheriff. On January 1, 2001, he was elected by the citizens of Kent County to serve as their Sheriff. He has since been re-elected Kent County Sheriff for five consecutive terms.

In 2017 he was named “Sheriff of the Year” by the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. Sheriff Stelma’s investment in his staff, and his strong belief in mentorship have been key elements that have developed the Kent County Sheriff’s Office into one of the most innovative and strategic departments in the country.

“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to work for a leader whose fundamental goal is to guide and develop his staff through mentorship. His approach to mentorship and his unwavering leadership are directly tied to the culture we are so proud of at the KCSO,” Undersheriff LaJoyeYoung said. “We will miss him dearly and we wish him all the best on his next adventure.”

In a recent staff meeting, the Sheriff was asked what he plans to do in retirement. “A whole lot more hunting and fishing,” he responded, with his famous half smile and a nod. Sheriff Stelma has submitted his intent to retire to the County Clerk, and the legislated process to appoint a replacement will be occurring once the statutorily required appointing authority has been assembled.

Stelma is a longtime Cedar Springs resident and has given back to his community in a number of ways. 

Two particular initiatives that have affected Cedar Springs include the City and Sheriff Department partnership on police services, and the school resource officer at Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Stelma was integral in the creation of the partnership between the City and the Sheriff Department in 2015, the first time anything like that had been done in Kent County. The Cedar Springs Police Department was dissolved, and the full-time officers were offered jobs at the Kent County Sheriff Department, and a chance to serve in Cedar Springs. Sgt. Jason Kelley oversaw the Cedar Springs Unit until earlier this year, until Sgt. Todd Probst took over. The unit works out of the former police area at City Hall.

Cedar Springs was not the first public school to employ a Kent County Sheriff Deputy as a school resource officer, but the Sheriff Department did partner with the district to help fund the program. SROs work to improve school safety by investigating school-related incidents and take a proactive approach to improve the security of the campus, staff, and students.

Thank you, Sheriff Stelma, for your service, and the Post wishes you a happy retirement!

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What you can teach your grandchild about Social Security


By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

One of the greatest gifts you can give a grandchild is the gift of financial literacy. Helping them save money early in life and showing them how to make wise spending decisions goes a long way toward a bright financial future. As they get older, they may want to save for special purchases or their college education. You can encourage them when they get their first job to begin saving for the future, including their retirement.

Planning for the Future with my Social Security

When you celebrate their graduation from high school, you can also remind them to set up a my Social Security account. They need to be age 18 or older, have a U. S. mailing address and a valid email address, and have a Social Security number. Even though their retirement is many years away, you can explain the importance of reviewing their earnings record each year since Social Security uses the record of earnings to compute their future benefits. As they start their first major job and begin saving, they’ll be able to monitor the growth of the estimates of benefits available to them. You can access my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Share How Social Security Works

You can share your knowledge about Social Security with your young savers by explaining how the program works and how it has worked for you. About 96 percent of all Americans are covered by Social Security. Nearly all working people pay Social Security taxes and about 61 million receive monthly Social Security benefits. Encourage them to watch our Social Security 101 video at www.socialsecurity.gov/multimedia/webinars/social_security_101.html.

Share Your Retirement Stories

Social Security replaces about 40 percent of an average worker’s income, but financial planners suggest that most retirees need about 70 percent to live comfortably in retirement. Americans need more than Social Security to achieve that comfortable retirement. They need private pensions, savings, and investments. That means starting to save early and monitoring your Social Security record for accuracy. The best place anyone of any age can visit for quick, easy information about Social Security is www.socialsecurity.gov.

Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov 

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Small steps to take today to improve your retirement tomorrow

(c) Stephen Coburn - Fotolia.com Whether you plan to take it easy in your retirement or travel the globe, you will need sufficient resources to have the retirement you envision. As you make plans to meet your short- and longer-term savings goals, remember that saving for retirement is important.

(c) Stephen Coburn – Fotolia.com
Whether you plan to take it easy in your retirement or travel the globe, you will need sufficient resources to have the retirement you envision. As you make plans to meet your short- and longer-term savings goals, remember that saving for retirement is important.

(StatePoint) While it is never too early or too late to prepare for retirement, today is always the right day to take action.

“Saving for retirement can seem overwhelming, but don’t wait to get started,” says Jamie Ohl, president, Retirement Plan Services, Lincoln Financial Group. “The sooner you start making contributions to a retirement account, the more opportunity you have to grow your savings.”

Unfortunately, only 19 percent of Americans say they are very prepared for retirement, according to the “2016 M.O.O.D. of America Survey” from Lincoln Financial Group. This National Save for Retirement Week, held October 16-22, learn some valuable steps you can take today to count yourself among the prepared.

  • Meet the match: Sixty-eight percent of Americans say trying to understand their retirement plan options can be an overwhelming process, according to a recent Lincoln Financial study. If there is one principle to remember when mulling over your options, it’s to take advantage of a match if it is offered by your employer. Not doing so is leaving money on the table.
  • Increase your contribution: Whenever there is an opportunity to put more into your retirement fund, take it. When you get a raise or a bonus, consider increasing your contribution. If you save money on other expenses in your budget, for example, canceling a cable subscription you don’t use, try to set aside a portion of the saved money for your retirement fund.
  • Meet with an advisor: Consider turning to a professional. The great majority of Americans—95 percent—trust their financial advisors and 90 percent say their advisor helps them achieve financial security. Relying on their expertise can help position you for a more comfortable retirement.

More retirement tips and resources can be found at LincolnFinancial.com.

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Praise for Chief Davis


This month Chief Mickey Davis of the Courtland Township Fire Department announced his retirement from a long and impressive career in fire service. For two decades Chief Davis served both Oakfield Township and Courtland Township as fire chief simultaneously. For the past six years he has dedicated his services to Courtland Township Fire Department full-time.

It has been nearly 20 years since Mickey asked me to consider becoming the first chaplain for the two departments he led.  Due to his own personal losses, Chief Davis understood that the harm done by fires and accidents goes beyond wounded bodies and damaged property.  Often times the greatest injury is to the human heart.  In beginning a chaplaincy program, Mickey demonstrated that his concern for the townships he served went beyond putting out fires and securing the emergency scene.

=During his tenure, Chief Davis also showed his care for the residents of Courtland Township by delivering toys to children from disadvantaged homes, visiting foster care homes, and directing social services to families in need. He cared deeply for the personal well-being of the people he served.

The residents of Courtland Township owe a debt of gratitude to Davis for his unselfish and professional service.  He provided leadership in expanding the quality and resources of the township fire service, faithfully protected lives and property, and made the township a better place to live and work.

Personally, I wish to express my thanks to the chief for inviting me into a world few know anything about.  I have seen the danger and the trauma that firefighters endure as they assist others in crisis.  It has been one of my life’s greatest honors to be able to assist Chief Davis and the other members of the fire department in their noble work.  I am a better man because of my association with Mickey Davis and the men and women of Courtland Township Fire Department.

Thank you, Chief, and congratulations on a meaningful career of faithful service!

Dr. David A. Oliver

Chaplain, Courtland Twp. Fire Dept. 

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Thank you

Thanks to Cedar Springs Mill & Supply, Inc. friends, family and customers for a wonderful retirement party. With the many cards and best wishes, it made for a memorable day. It has been a wonderful 21 years.

Thank you!

Emma Gebhardt & Lynn Green

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Retirement Party for Emma Gebhardt & Lynn Green

The staff at Cedar Springs Mill & Supply Inc will be hosting a retirement party for Emma Gebhardt and Lynn Green. The party will be Saturday, January 28th, 2012 from 3:00-5:00 PM at the American Legion in Cedar Springs. Coffee, punch, cake and snacks will be served. Please come and help us celebrate twenty plus years of service for these great ladies. No gifts please, just memories.

Sam and the staff at the mill.

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Get Credit for Your Retirement Savings Contributions

You may be eligible for a tax credit if you make eligible contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or to an individual retirement arrangement.  Here are six things the IRS wants you to know about the Savers Credit:

1. Income Limits The Savers Credit, formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, applies to individuals with a filing status and income of:
•    Single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er), with income up to $27,750
•    Head of Household with income up to $41,625
•    Married Filing Jointly, with incomes up to $55,500

2. Eligibility requirements To be eligible for the credit you must have been born before January 2, 1992, you cannot have been a full-time student during the calendar year and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person’s return.

3. Credit amount If you make eligible contributions to a qualified IRA, 401(k) and certain other retirement plans, you may be able to take a credit of up to $1,000 or up to $2,000 if filing jointly. The credit is a percentage of the qualifying contribution amount, with the highest rate for taxpayers with the least income.
4. Distributions When figuring this credit, you generally must subtract the amount of distributions you have received from your retirement plans from the contributions you have made. This rule applies to distributions received in the two years before the year the credit is claimed, the year the credit is claimed, and the period after the end of the credit year but before the due date – including extensions – for filing the return for the credit year.

5. Other tax benefits The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is in addition to other tax benefits which may result from the retirement contributions. For example, most workers at these income levels may deduct all or part of their contributions to a traditional IRA. Contributions to a regular 401(k) plan are not subject to income tax until withdrawn from the plan.

6. Forms to use To claim the credit use Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.
For more information, review IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), Publication 4703, Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, and Form 8880. Publications and forms can be downloaded at www.irs.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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What’s your financial personality?

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Understanding it could help your retirement nest egg grow

(Family Features)
More than 90 percent of people aged 44 to 75 feel the United States is facing a retirement crisis, yet most have a limited understanding of how much money they’ll need and fear they’ll outlive their income, according to a 2010 survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life).
The study, “Reclaiming the Future: Challenging Retirement Income Perceptions,” found that although 61 percent of these people fear outliving their money in retirement more than death, nearly one third (31 percent) say they are not too clear about what their expenses will be in retirement, and 36 percent have no idea if their income will last.
“These results are troubling not only because people are fearful about retirement income, but also because of how little they know about how much money they’ll need,” said Gary C. Bhojwani, president and CEO of Allianz Life. “We hope that this study will shed some light on the issue and inspire Americans to take control of their retirement planning today.”

Your Financial Personality

Nearly half (47.2 percent) of baby boomers aged 56 to 62 could be at risk of not having sufficient retirement income to pay for basic retirement expenditures as well as uninsured health care costs, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Understanding your financial personality can help you take the appropriate steps to start building a better financial future.


• Tends to be in financial survival mode.
• Has high credit card debt and meager assets.
• Feels unprepared for retirement.
The overwhelmed personality is unsure when — or if — they’ll be able to retire. And when they do, they expect to significantly reduce their living expenses and possibly to continue working.
What to do:
• Get control of spending.
Keep track of your spending during the next month — everything from rent or mortgage to your morning coffee at the café down the street. Looking at those expenses will show you how extra spending begins to add up. A $5 lunch every weekday can cost you nearly $1,300 over the course of a year. That $1,300 could help you get closer to your financial goals — if you stop spending it. You can find helpful expense tracking and spending worksheets at www.smartaboutmoney.org.
• Reduce debt.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling recommends paying at least double the minimum required credit card payment. High interest rates and only paying the minimum due will cause you to pay more in interest and extend the term of your debt. For example, if you have a credit card balance of $3,000, with a 17 percent APR, it will take you 126 months to pay it off, and you will pay $2,241 in interest charges alone. Calculate the true cost of paying just the minimum at www.creditcard.com.
• Strategize savings and investment.
The National Endowment for Financial Education recommends saving money in three categories — money for an emergency fund, money for short-term purchases, and money for long-term goals, such as retirement. Emergency fund and short-term spending money should be kept in a savings or money market account that is easily accessible. Long-term funds can be invested in mutual funds, stocks or bonds. Paying yourself first — putting money aside before you spend any — is one of the best ways to start a strong retirement planning program.


• Still working.
• Moderate income, moderate assets.
• Concerned about outliving income.
The resilient personality tends to be in their late 50s and is worried that the U.S. is entering a major economic depression. They know they need to invest for retirement, but might not have time to save enough.
What to do:
• Reduce spending.
Here again, examining your spending habits can pay off. Look at what you’re spending, particularly on bigger ticket items. Having that money automatically deducted from your paycheck and put into a retirement, savings or investment account now will help you build your nest egg for the future. The American Institute of CPAs has a Benefits of Spending Less Calculator that shows you how much your budget reductions could be worth (www.360financialliteracy.org).
• Delay Social Security benefits.
If you start receiving benefits before your full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced. For example, according to the Social Security Administration, if you choose to retire at age 62, it could result in a reduction as much as 30 percent. You’ll get your largest benefits at age 70. Calculate your benefits at www.ssa.gov.
• Invest now.
Are you contributing as much as you can to your 401(k) at work? Do you have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)? If you are 50 or older before 2011, you can contribute up to $6,000 to your IRA account each year. Consulting with a financial planner is a good way to navigate your options and figure out a solid investment strategy. Get tips on choosing a financial planner from the Financial Planning Association at www.fpaforfinancialplanning.org.


• Has the highest income, but net worth has dropped.
• Has cut back spending, but not changed retirement or investment strategies.
• Does not have a plan for growing savings.
This group is the youngest (40s to 50s), generally counts on receiving full Social Security benefits and is relying on 401(k)s more than any other group. While they are worried that their savings won’t be adequate for the future, they are content to live for today.
What to do:
• Evaluate your retirement plans.
Do you have realistic expectations for your retirement lifestyle? It’s time to get a better handle on how much you’ll really need to retire, especially if you don’t take inflation into account. Use the Ball Park Estimate at www.choosetosave.org to see if your plans fit your budget, or if you need to adjust your plans.
• Reexamine investments.
Give your 401(k) a checkup. Is it growing enough? The site www.morningstar.com tracks mutual fund growth and can show you how well yours are performing. Look at all your investments and make sure they are growing. If not, it may be time for a change.
• Make changes to secure retirement income.
Living longer than expected, unforeseen health problems, job loss, more market downturns, and inflation can all drain away retirement funds before you know it. Protecting your assets and guarding against outliving them needs to be a priority. “In our study,” said Bhojwani, “the majority of respondents said that the safety of their money matters more now than it did a few years ago. The attributes people are looking for now in investments are the ability to create a stable, predictable standard of living, and the ability to provide a guaranteed income stream for life — one that won’t lose value. Without realizing it, they described an annuity-like solution.”
An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company. In exchange for your purchase payment, the insurance company provides you income, either immediately or sometime in the future. To find out more about annuities and whether they are a good fit for you, visit www.allianzlife.com.
Whatever your age, whatever your financial personality, it’s time to give your retirement plans a checkup and take action to secure the nest egg you’ve worked so hard for.

Retirement Resources

• Retirement Nest Egg Calculator — www.aarp.org
• Guidebook to Help Late Savers Prepare for Retirement — National Endowment for Financial Education — www.smartaboutmoney.org
• Saving on a Tight Budget — www.americasaves.org
• Advice on Getting Out of Debt — National Foundation for Credit Counseling — www.debtadvice.org

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Free Social Security retirement seminar

Social Security is sponsoring a free retirement seminar for those thinking about retiring in the near future. If you have questions regarding your benefits, you may want to attend. Social Security public affairs specialist Vonda VanTil will be the presenter providing information on how to file for benefits, how a retirement benefit is calculated, how spouses benefits are calculated, how to work and receive benefits at the same time, widow(er)s benefits, Medicare and much more! The seminar will be November 10 at 6pm at the City of Walker Ice and Fitness Center, Grand Rapids. To RSVP email vonda.vantil@ssa.gov or send a notice to Vonda, SSA, 50 College SE, Grand Rapids MI 49503. Space is limited.

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Tools to help you decide when to retire

By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

These days, everyone is taking a new look at their finances — and no one is looking more closely than the millions of baby boomers who are nearing retirement age. While some boomers expected to retire at one of the traditional milestones, such as age 62, the current economy is forcing many of them to re-evaluate their plans. Many are wondering if they should work longer, or how their Social Security benefit – or their spouse’s benefit – would be affected if they continued working.

As most workers know, your choice of a retirement age—from 62 to 70—can dramatically affect your monthly Social Security benefit amount.

If you choose to start receiving benefits early, the monthly payments will be reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach your full retirement age. The rate of reduction will depend on the year you were born.  For example, those born between 1943 and 1954 receive a maximum reduction of 25 percent.

If you wait until your full retirement age, your benefits will not be reduced. If you should choose to delay retirement, your benefit will increase up to eight percent a year from your full retirement age until age 70. However, there is no additional benefit increase after you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.

There is an online calculator, called the Retirement Estimator, which can provide immediate retirement benefit estimates to help plan for your retirement. To use the Retirement Estimator, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 50 College SE, Grand Rapids MI 49503 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

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