Financial Literacy Month is the perfect time to take stock of your financial fitness, and NEA Member Benefits is eager to help! We’ve developed programs tailored to your unique needs that can help you build your savings, obtain competitive rates on loans, finance a home, plan for retirement and more.
We know you put your trust in us to provide high-caliber financial options to NEA members, so we invest a great deal of time in selecting and vetting products and services. This starts with getting to know you—surveying the NEA membership and identifying NEA members’ most pressing needs.
Then we conduct an in-depth evaluation of the marketplace, searching for products that would best serve you. In many cases, a formal bidding process is undertaken, which ensures that a wide breadth of companies and their products are considered.
In order to ensure the quality and value of NEA Member Benefits programs, products and services are evaluated using established, stringent criteria: company financial condition, product accessibility, customer service, features and pricing.
Only after going through that lengthy process are programs then opened up to NEA members.
The following six financial programs met that criteria and were built to help you meet your financial goals.
1. The NEA Online Savings Program. Want to build an emergency fund, save for a special trip, or add to your retirement savings? The NEA Online Savings Program, through Discover Bank, Member FDIC, offers four ways to save: an online savings account, a money market account, certificates of deposit and IRA certificates of deposit.
NEA member perk: NEA members and their families receive $20 for each new account type you open and fund each year, excluding IRAs.*
2. The NEA Personal Loan. The NEA Personal Loan helps you pay for things that may seem a little out of reach. These include paying off credit cards and other loans, home remodeling projects, weddings, baby expenses—things that you may not be able to cover with your savings. With loan amounts up to $25,000, the program features low Fixed APRs, 36 to 72 month terms and no application fees, annual fees or prepayment penalties.
NEA member perk: As an NEA member, you are also eligible to receive a 0.25% interest rate discount when you enroll in Auto Pay.
3. The NEA Smart Option Student Loan by Sallie Mae. The The NEA Smart Option Student Loan by Sallie Mae allows you to borrow up to 100% of your school-certified educational costs at competitive fixed or variable rates. You can also reduce your interest rate by a quarter percentage point after making 12 consecutive on-time payments. Take off another quarter percentage by opting for Auto Pay.
You’ll receive the most flexible of terms: You can make payments, including “interest-only” payments, while in school. But, if you prefer, you can defer all payments until after graduation.
Educators, take note: You don’t have to pursue a degree to be eligible. You simply need to attend a degree-granting institution. This means you can take continuing education courses and still qualify for Sallie Mae financing.
4. The NEA Income Protection Insurance Plan. It’s expected that 30% of Americans will, at some point, be unable to work for 90 days or more due to illness or injury.† Since no work can mean no paycheck, it’s best to protect yourself, especially since disabilities are linked to more than one-half of all mortgage foreclosures and personal bankruptcies.
The NEA Income Protection Insurance Plan, underwritten by American Fidelity Assurance Company, helps replace your paycheck by providing a monthly benefit—often tax free—when you’re disabled or partially disabled by covered accidents or illnesses. The program also pays benefits during pregnancy, when your doctor puts you on bed rest or medical leave.
NEA member perk: The program pays your NEA dues and waives your premiums when you’re disabled for six months or longer. Premiums are also waived during NEA-supported strikes.
5. The NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program. If you’re a veteran teacher, you probably think you’ve “seen it all” out in the school parking lot. If something happens to your car there, do you know if you’re covered?
Thanks to the NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program partnership with California Casualty, educators receive $3,000 personal property coverage at school and, if your vehicle is vandalized while parked on campus, the deductible will be waived.‡ You’ll also get coverage that protects $500 in fundraising money.
NEA members save on average nearly $500 a year. And, with 24/365 emergency claims service, dedicated support is just a phone call away.
NEA member perks: This program offers a summer/holiday “skip payments” feature, plus free ID Defense.
6. The NEA Retirement Program. It’s never too early or too late to plan for retirement. Get support from start to finish with free educational resources, planning tools and savings solutions built with educators in mind.
Start with the Five-Minute Retirement Checkup. Answer just a few questions and receive a retirement savings snapshot that will lead you to the planning resources you need.
For a more in-depth assessment, gather basic financial information, sign in to neamb.com and visit the NEA Retirement Income Calculator. Built for NEA members, this calculator includes state pension data so you can use it in your retirement projections. Experiment with different scenarios to see how changes can impact your plans.
The NEA Retirement Program§ offers a suite of investment products to help you save. We understand that retirement preparation isn’t “one size fits all,” so we make available savings/investment solutions designed for those in the early, mid or late phases of their career (or even already in retirement.)
Through the Representative Locator, you can find a local expert who can offer guidance about retirement savings opportunities and conduct an annual review to track your progress. At our free member education workshops, you’ll learn about your state pension plan, the benefits of contributing—and saving—with a 403(b) or 457 plan, and other key concepts that can help you better prepare for retirement.
NEA member perk: Each month, you can download your free issue of the Kiplinger’s Retirement Report. We cover the $40 annual subscription fee, at no cost to you.
NOTE: Information in this article is accurate as of February 2018
* To qualify for the $20 bonus offer, the applicant must: (i) be an Eligible NEA Member (an individual who is an NEA member as of the account application date, or any of the following individuals who is related to and is registered by such an NEA member as of the account application date: parent, spouse, domestic partner, son, daughter, parent of the spouse/domestic partner), and (ii) open either an NEA CD or Money Market account through Discover Bank with an initial minimum deposit of $2,500. While the NEA Online Savings Account through Discover Bank does not require a minimum opening deposit, you must make an initial minimum deposit of $500 to receive the bonus. NEA affiliation subject to verification. Bonus limited to one per Eligible NEA Member, per product, per calendar year. IRA CDs are not eligible for this offer. Bonus will be awarded via account credit within 60 days following the end of the month in which the account is funded and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. Account must be opened at time of account credit. Offer may be withdrawn or modified at any time without notice.
† Source: Terry, Gary. “Disability income insurance misconceptions,” Life and Health Adviser, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2011.
‡ Availability, benefits, discounts, coverages and rates may vary by state/location. Please speak to your representative for details.
§ The NEA Retirement Program (“NEA Program”) provides investment products for retirement plans sponsored by school districts and other employers of NEA members and individual retirement accounts established by NEA members. Security Distributors, Inc. and certain of its affiliates (collectively, “Security Benefit”) make these products available to plans and accounts pursuant to an agreement with NEA’s wholly owned subsidiary, Member Benefits Corporation (“MBC”), which markets the NEA Program. NEA and MBC are not affiliated with Security Benefit. Neither NEA nor MBC is a registered broker/dealer. All securities brokerage services are performed exclusively by the local sales representative’s broker/dealer and not by NEA or MBC.