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FAQ

  • Who is eligible to participate in the Board of Retirement Pension Plan?

    All ministers, missionaries and missionary wives, as well as other employees who receive compensation from a Free Will Baptist church or agency (i.e. Free Will Baptist state and national offices, Publish House, colleges, camps, children’s home, Christian day schools and daycare centers). All participants must be U.S. citizens.

  • Who profits from my involvement in the plan?

    The Board of Retirement is a non-profit organization designed exclusively for ministers and employees of churches and related entities. Our main objective is to build the value of your retirement account. We’re here for your benefit because we have no profit motive and no competing interests. Our bottom line is to help you strive towards your retirement goals.

  • When is my money available to me under the Board of Retirement Pension Plan

    Funds are available when a participant attains age 59 1/2. Limited circumstances may allow earlier withdrawals.

  • Is it mandatory for a participant to retire and receive his/her benefits at age 59 1/2?

    No, a participant does not have to retire at age 59 1/2, but is permitted to continue making contributions provided the participant is active and receiving ministerial income.

  • Are my pension benefits taxable?

    A benefit paid to an eligible minister by a denominational pension board such as the Board of Retirement can be designated as a tax-free housing allowance, subject to IRS rules. (See IRS Publication 517 for more details.) This is usually not available with other retirement plans. For non-ministers, distributions are taxable when received by the participant.

  • What about a participant who may become disabled before reaching retirement age?

    When a participant is declared totally and permanently disabled, the participant’s accumulations may be refunded or applied to provide an actuarially equivalent distribution.

  • What happens to my account if I die before I retire?

    If you are married, your spouse (or other beneficiary) will receive all the money in your account. If your spouse is deceased (or if you are not married), the beneficiaries you have named will receive the amount accumulated in your account. If you fail to designate a beneficiary, the plan determines to whom the remaining accumulations will be paid. The plan hierarchy is your surviving spouse (if married); if no spouse survives you, then your surviving children in equal shares; if no children survive you, then your surviving parents in equal shares; and if none of the above, then your estate.

  • What will the Board of Retirement do with any surplus assets if I select an annuity?

    All companies retain some surplus to offset unforeseen contingencies. For-profit companies frequently use excess surplus to expand their business, reward stockholders, or buy other companies. The Board of Retirement, a non-profit church benefits board, annually reviews its surplus. When possible, The Board of Retirement grants permanent benefit increases to annuitants.

  • Is it possible to make a “lump sum” contribution at the end of the year?

    Yes, if you have not contributed the maximum amount to your account (contact the Board of Retirement).

  • May I make a contribution in the year that I file my tax return to reduce my taxes for a previous year?

    No, all contributions must be received by the Board of Retirement no later than December 31 of each calendar year.

  • Is there a provision for “rollovers” from another plan?

    Yes, as long as the money is not from “after-tax” contributions. You can roll money into your retirement account from other 403(b) or 401(k) plans or from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). With a direct rollover or a transfer of assets you can consolidate your investments with no adverse tax consequences. Please contact the Board of Retirement to obtain the proper forms to allow for such a “rollover” of funds .

  • Does my spouse have to be the primary beneficiary?

    Yes, unless your spouse signs a spousal waiver or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is in place. Others may be named as secondary beneficiaries.

  • Is there a maximum amount that I can contribute yearly?

    With some stipulations a participant in the Board of Retirement Plan can contribute up to 100% of his/her compensation or $53,000 per year, whichever is less. A worksheet is available from the Board to calculate contribution limits. Participants with 15 or more years or service may qualify for additional “catch-up” contributions, as well as those who are over 50 years of age.

  • How can I contribute more than what my employer/church contributes for me?

    This can be done in two ways. First of all a participant can make after-tax contributions by sending a personal check to the Board of Retirement. Second, the participant can make pre-tax contributions by completing a Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) Form with your employer for any contribution deducted from your salary. (If the employer/church pays your total contribution, no SRA is necessary.) This office will provide you with forms and further information if you wish to increase your contribution.

  • If a participant contributes through the Salary Reduction Agreement method and moves to another pastorate, department, etc., what is the proper procedure?

    A new Salary Reduction Agreement Form must be completed with the clerk/treasurer of the new congregation or employer.

  • If an employee (non-minister) leaves the employment of the church, agency, etc. prior to retirement, are they required to withdraw all their contributions?

    No. If you no longer have taxable income from an eligible employer, you cannot continue to make tax-deferred contributions to your 403(b) account. If your account balance is in excess of $1,000 you may leave your account with the Board of Retirement. Smaller accounts will either be cashed out or rolled or transferred into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). With an IRA you could continue to make contributions (within legal limits) if you have earned income from any source. However, to make tax deferred contributions to your ac count with the Board of Retirement, you must be employed by a Free Will Baptist church or church-related entity.

  • Is my retirement account guaranteed by any agency of the federal government?

    No, the Board of Retirement’s Plan is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. In addition, the Board of Retirement’s Plan is a church plan and it is exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”).

  • What types of companies will my money be invested in?

    Investments are not permissible in any company that is publicly recognized (as determined by the Board of Retirement) as being in the liquor, tobacco, gambling, or pornography industry, The Walt Disney Co. or any company whose products, services or activities are publicly recognized as being incompatible with the moral and ethical posture of the Board of Retirement. The funds may not be able to take advantage of certain investment opportunities due to these restrictions.

  • Does my employer have to contribute?

    Your employer is strongly encouraged to contribute to your retirement plan but is not required to do so. You can complete a Salary Reduction Agreement Form that allows your employer to reduce dollars from your salary that is contributed to your account as a participant-paid contribution. You can also send personal checks as after-tax contributions.

  • What kinds of distribution options are available at retirement?

    The Board of Retirement offers a wide variety of retirement benefit options such as fixed period payments, installments, lump sum distributions or various forms of annuities.

  • What if I have other questions?

    If you have any additional questions, please contact us by phone at (615) 731-6812, toll-free at (877) 767-7738, by e-mail at boardofretirement@nafwb.org or by writing to: Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement, P.O. Box 5002, Antioch, TN 37011-5002.